Saturday, May 14, 2011

It is finished


Well my friends, it's all over. I pedaled onto the beach on Thursday with a big grin and headed straight for the water. It's been a grand total of fifty days on the road and every second has been incredible. I've yelled obscenities at the wind in Texas, I've flipped off a handful of horrible drivers (mostly in Arizona), I've laughed while riding out of the mountains in Southern New Mexico, and I've shared amazing evenings and nights with people that have inspired me. That's what I come back to in my mind when I look back on the last month and a half. I would have quit the first week had I not discovered early on that at the end of a long day of riding waits an undiscovered stranger capable of restoring something in my soul that a lonely road will begin to remove. If nothing else this trip has taught me that cynicism is something a man creates in his own seclusion. All you've got to do is get out of your home, your car, and allow yourself the vulnerability to experience the goodness in people that begins with eye contact and simple curiosity. We have sheltered ourselves here in America and the walls we put up destroy our understanding of the common ground we can find in any person, in any place.

Thank you, thank you, thank you to the people that have kept me and fed me. Collectively, you have made this possible and I'll never forget you.

Get on the bike!


Monday, May 2, 2011

Tour Of The Gila

_DSC9964 I spent Saturday in Silver City where I happened upon one of the biggest road racing events in the country, The Tour of the Gila.

_DSC9810And this one's just for fun. Rawson was volunteering as a support vehicle driver for the race. This was after a couple drinks and some roof climbing.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Fire Mountain - Radium Springs, NM


Tonight from where I'm camping you can catch a glimpse of the wild fires up in the mountains. Quite the ominous sight.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Carol - Carmine, Tx


It took Carol five years to build her home. She took classes for a while to learn how to construct the bracing and took off from there. When you ask her about any minute detail there's a story behind it; how she got the kitchen tile for a steal because it needed some cleaning or how her island was an old butchers table that took her weeks to sand the grease out of and level. The detail Carol has placed into the making of her home spills over into the way she cares for he guests. She allows cyclists passing through to stay for free in a bunkhouse above her barn for a day or week of resting. It's quite the large space with a wonderful front deck that overlooks a valley of rolling Texas farmland. The floorboards creek and the bathroom door handle falls off if you pull it too hard. There's a claw foot tub without a shower head for washing and a multitude of hotel soaps and shampoos that past travelers have left behind on the table beside it. Cast iron skillets hang on the walls above the stove, linens rest neatly at the end of each bed, cycling books are stacked upon the main sitting table. This is a place where a traveler can't help but feel at home.

As we shared a delicious stew in Carol's home we talked about the folks that have passed through. After she had finished slicing the strawberries in preparation for desert she pulled out a binder filled with photographs and little notes from those who have stayed in years past. They come from different places and none look the same, some travel alone while others have family in tow, some are outfitted in expensive cycling clothing, some where blue jeans, all of them though share one thing in common and it can be read in their notes - they are amazed by Carol. They are amazed by her brightness, by her home, by her generosity and her energy. I am no exception.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Independence Coffee

Penny and I were a bit unsure of where we were headed yesterday and decided we'd poke our heads in at the Independence Coffee Roastery to ask for directions. I managed to snap a couple photos while there and we even let with a couple samples! Good stuff. Austin tomorrow!

Ernie and Doris - Richards, TX

Ernie and Doris's ranch is two miles outside of downtown Richards, Tx. It's an abandoned downtown that looks like the set of an old western. You cross the bridge over the creek and skip across the rusted railroad tracks around a bend where the road widens and a block of disheveled buildings sit to your right. The general store, the barber, the gas station whose owner has stayed to tell the visitors that the country is going to hell and "things just keep gettin' worse." Mostly older men trickle into the gas station there. They ask you where you're from and where you're headed, wish you luck. They buy a sandwich or a beer, and move along.

Mexican Hill Ranch opens up into a beautiful pasture where Ernie has planted hay for his cattle, thirty-something in all. Ernie grabs you with his words and stories right away while Doris chimes in with any details he might leave out. It's as though the two are speaking as one. He and Doris traveled back and forth between Germany and Texas to work on the ranch and build what they call Check Point Harley, a gem just of a place built on their property that provides camping, lodging, kitchen, showers, a pool, bar, and any other luxury a weary cyclist might be dreaming of at the end of a long day for a great price. Penny (my new friend that I've been biking with the past couple of days) and I stopped in for the night and couldn't stop saying sighing and saying, "this is so great."


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

New Orleans

I deviated from my route last week to visit my displaced Nashville friend, Michelle down in New Orleans. I had never been and I knew I'd kick myself if I stayed up north and didn't check it out. The city was incredible. But you already know about that.

What I want to tell you about, or rather, show you is a love affair between a boy, a girl, two dogs and a car. You figure out who's in love with who. Michelle, I know you'll never forgive me for posting photos of you in your early morning attire. I hope we can still be friends.