Sunday, May 30, 2010

(New) Mexico Blows.... No Really, It Does

Last night after setting up our tents after it didn't rain, we made
quick friends with our neighbors Justin and Marissa. Recent graduates
from Denver in chemical and mining engineering, the couple was in
Santa Rosa on a scuba diving escape at Blue Hole. We shared stories
about our trips and made smores as the sun set over the nearby New
Mexico mountain range. It was really nice to finally meet some people
our age and hang out like back home for a while. They had one more day
of diving then back to work. Hope it was fun guys, it was great to
meet you!

The next morning, we woke to a very brisk 15 to 20 mph headwind and
realized that this would be one of our longest days. Packing and
leaving the most uninviting campground in Santa Rosa, we started east
again but a much slower pace than yesterday. Averaging 11.8 mph for
62.13 miles, we were in the saddle for 5 hours and 15 minutes.

I have never rode in a headwind that strong in my life. You start to
hope for a semi to pass to give you a little nudge ahead and block the
wind for a second. We would get a little rest from the wind on the
uphill climbs when the hill blocked the wind but you still had to
climb. 62 miles was suppose to be our off day but the wind really
turned things around. Resting every two or more hours, we powered
through the wind gust into Tucumcari, the last large town on highway
40 in New Mexico.

It's apparent that we're heading back to The South. The people are
becoming more friendly, everyone speaks a little slower and they all
have their own way to give directions. Every place exist around a bend
and directions are as a crow flys. The best ones are the guys that
give you directions with their whole body and hands moving everywhere,
like their calling for a hit and run.

New Mexico was a great transition from Arizona. The air is still dry
so we can sleep without our rain fly but our tents are pitched on
grass instead of red rock. The country is beautiful with green plains
and towering ranges but as the plains widen, the winds increase. We
haven't quite had our fill of New Mexico but the northern region of
Texas will remind us of her. Tomorrow we are shooting for Vega, a
small town just within Texas but may fall short if the forecast is
correct and the winds continue.

Tonight we'll sleep like babies after we plan our route in Texas. We
hear that bikes aren't allowed on highway 40 in certain places so
alternate routes are being persued.

Hope y'all have a good night. Goodnight all!

Saturday, May 29, 2010


After spending the night in Moriarty at a hotel (no camp grounds for miles), we woke at 4:30 and continued east to Santa Rosa. Looking at an 80 mile day, we tried to pick up the pace but were surprised by a pretty constant grade climb for an hour. Only averaging 12 mph, we had our first flat. Evan picked up a staple from truck retread in the back tire. That thing went flat quick! Spending 45 minutes changing that, pumping endlessly on the small pump we have, we took a break at a rest stop a few miles up the road.

About 15 minutes after we left that stop, I got a flat in the back tire from the same thing. Just testing the ground, Evan rubbed the asphalt with a magnet and we picked up 4 staples, just like we found in our tires, within one foot of us. I guess we've just been lucky so far. After those, we stayed at an average of 20.2 mph for 50 more miles.

A wreck occured along the way that stopped traffic long enough to yell at the folks that passed us close on the highway. Getting that off our chest, we headed into Santa Rosa after 81.68 miles of riding.

Jumping off Highway 40, we looked for our campsite on Route 66 and realized that this large town, with three exits, was pretty barren. We arrived at Santa Rosa RV, the only place to camp in town, and found a flat piece of earth to sleep on. Tonight we'll sleep well and head to Tucumcari tomorrow morning. From what we hear, Tucumcari is a pretty nice town and our last stop in New Mexico.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Getting our kicks

Waking early, we got on the road out of Albuquerque and headed east.
We first hit up a dinner for breakfast and found out that the majority
of this town talks to itself. With only six people present, the place
was at full capacity with inner (outter) monologue ranging from
pleasant conversation with their soup special to personal arguments
about the real function of shirt buttons. Then, biking downtown we
passed this guy yelling like a soccer mom at a little leave game with
no one else around. ABQ is a crazy place!

Picking up the pace and biking towards sanity, we started our morning
climb that stetched over 90 minutes and up 1,200 feet. After the hills
in California, this was nothing and the shoulder was massive.
Cresting the hills we flew down the road and came up on this huge
storm to the north. In these wide open spaces, you can see storms
forming for miles and we raced to get beyond the clouds. We made it to
Moriarty just before the bottom fell out and tore up a Chinese buffet
for an hour.

Tomorrow's a long trek to Santa Rosa, about 90 miles, but highway 40
is a straight shot and we've got a nice camp site set up for Memorial
Day weekend. The road was perfect today and better tomorow. We're
starting to get our kicks on Route 66!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

We Love Our Adopted Parents

Thanks Bob and Carol for all of your generousity! The RV ride complimented with great conversation was a welcomed alternative to the barren terrain out of AZ. Carol was our "mother" for three days while Bob was our go to source of knowledge for everything attached to the highways of North America. We made it to Albuquerque after a nice 4 mile descent into the city. Touring around the city we found ourselves in a REI once again and then continued the journey to our great "WarmShowers" host Dagwood and Christine.
I have to say that Arizona and New Mexico rival any sunset out there. The last for about 45 minutes after the sun disappears lighting the sky up with a deep gradient of burnt orange to an iradescent violet.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Albuquerque Express

Today we covered a ton of miles, saw the Contenintal Divide and made
it into New Mexico all from the back seat of an RV! Thanks to our new
found friends, Bob and Carol, we hitched a ride through the gaps of
Arizona and look towards Albuquerque.

The change in scenary from Arizona to New Mexico is amazing. Arizona
was very flat and you could see the same mountain range for days
before you'd reach it. Also, the wind couldn't pick a direction. The
bushes next to you would lean east while the wind would lean on your
face the whole ride.

Covered in lava rock, petrified wood, green highways, and cascaded
moutain ranges, New Mexico's terrain changes dynamically from Arizona.
We've pulled into an RV lot next to an Indian casino where we are
pitching our tents out of the 20 mph winds. Tomorrow, we'll be dropped
off in Albuquerque, our next big city.

Standing on the Corner

So apparently I jumped the gun on "sleeping bag optional" situation the tent. Once again Evan was cozy and warm while I woke up at 3, riffled through my gear to find my sleeping bag, and shivered until sunrise around 5 AM. No worries, I had camp torn down quick as the sun came over the basin.

Heading back into town, we took a turn a road early and ran into "the corner". We found ourselves "Standing on the corner of Winslow, Arizona. Such a fine sight to see! There's a girl, my Lord, in a flat bed Ford slowing down to take a look at me". The corner the Eagles wrote about in Arizona was under our tires and the air was filled with the Eagles greatest hits blaring at 8 AM. After giving the Don Henly statue a couple hugs we headed towards highway 40, looking east to Holbrook.

After 20 miles of random headwinds, we broke off 40 and rode down Highway 66. Looking down the road we found some new wheels... kinda
Jackrabbit even had clipless peddles!

This store was the local watering hole for tourist (more nick-nacks than you could ever adorn a white trash mantle with) and truckers (had more liquor than a wino's dooms day reserve). Even local celebrities stopped in from time to time.

After asking the store owner for water and being denied, thanks buddy, we finished our trek to Holbrook.
Rolling in to the OK RV park, we were welcomed by the keeper who already knew of our arrival thanks to call ahead setting by Momma Robertson. We selected a nice spot next to some campers and set up camp. We became quick friends with our neighbors, Bob and Carol from San Diego who are traveling the country in their RV. After learning of our journey and the 100 miles day coming up tomorrow, they quickly offered to take us to Grants, New Mexico!
We should be in Bluewater, New Mexico by tomorrow night!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

It always taste better when its free!

Thanks to Bill and Jodie for a great lunch and conversation at the Dairy Queen. The blizzards really hit the spot after a hard days ride. Safe travels on your way to Tucumcari and your flights around the great United States.

Deja Vu

Giving it a second try, we made our way east again down Highway 40 in
the hopes of reaching Winslow. We woke up around 5:30, wanting to make
an early start and beat any potential trip ending wind gust, but we
woke to 26 degrees with 11 mph winds. Flagstaff is at 7000 feet so we
knew it would warm up on our decent but we opted to sleep in and wait
out the cold weather.

Around 8:00 we ate a huge breakfast at a classic diner that had model
trains running around and classic decor which made for an entertaining
meal. Also, we found out what churizo is and that they put it in
everything out here.

My first highlight of the day was finally sending back that massive
backpack to Gainesville. After two days of search, I found a front
pannier rack made by Old Man Mountain that accommodated the disk
brakes. If anyone is planning on touring soon, start looking for front
pannier racks. Everyone sells the bags but no one carries the racks,
doesn't make sense! With the backpack gone, finding things on the bike
is much easier and the distributed weight helps control the bike on
fast decents.

Following that, we made for Winslow which was only 57 miles away. It
sucked seeing all the signs from yesterday and having that strange
feeling of deja vu but we really made up time. Without the tail wind
of yesterday, all the biking was left up to us but we faired better
without the occational cross wind. For 3:32:52, we averaged 19 mph for
67.41 miles, taking us straight into McHood park. That's pretty fast
fully packed!

McHood park is still under renovation so we could throw up a tent
anywhere. We first picked this pavillion because it was flat ground
for the tents and sheltered so we wouldn't have to us our rain flys
but then a bunch of high school kids showed up. This place was the
perfect setting for a party because you could see people coming for
miles so we knew we wouldn't get any sleep there. Next we biked down
this gravel road up around a rock face and found an entire camp ground
prime for the taking. The only problem was the wind. Moving back
beyond the site was what looked like a crater. Flat on the bottom and
sheltered on all sides we pitched our tents here. First annoyed that
we had to move, this place turned out to be a lot better.

Using the daylight left, we made our dinner, freeze dried Santa Fe
Chicken, and sat on a rock face watching the sun set for half an hour.
It's strange how cold it gets here, it's mostly the lack of vegitation
the promotes the high winds but the temperture inside the tents
couldn't be better, really sleeping bag optional.
Tomorrow we hope to have a light day, pushing e
astward to Holbrook
only 40 miles away.

We've had some really great camp sites along the way but this is one
of my favorite ones.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Arizona Hurricanes?

After hitching a ride back to Flagstaff when highway 40 was shut down,
we searched for a hotel to wait out the storm until tomorrow.
Apparently the hotels got wind of the highway shutting down before the
motorist and jacked up the prices for the night. After cycling through
the head wind in our biggest gear going 5 mph tops, we stumbled into a
Howard Johnson Inn.

The old lady at the front desk, tall enough to represent the lollypop
guild, labored her way through the Rosetta Stone "Fast Track to Broken
English" guide long enough to sell me a room with no working key and
31 channels of static. At least we're out of the storm. The wind here
rattles the windows like we're in the middle of a squall and the
lights dim with every wind gust. This hotel is the perfect setting to
a Steven King novel.

This gives us time to plan out our route. For the most part, we're
going to hover around Route 66 and Highway 40 which weaves in and out
of each other. Know as "The Mother Road" (thank you momma), Route 66
is one of the most historic roads in the country, laced with cool
places to eat, historic spots and site seeing that'll bring out all
the fanny-pack-socks-with-sandles wearing tourist.

We'd like to say thank you to Mike and Bonnie for opening up their home to us in Flagstaff. Today, Mike came in 2nd in the moutain bike race in Flagstaff, congrats buddy! They made us dinner and breakfast, let us wash our clothes and gave us a ton of tips on our route. Its great to get help from such nice people. Thanks guys!

Tonight we weather the storm and tomorrow we ride east to Winslow, AZ,
taking it easy!

It just wasn't meant to be, at least not yet.

As we mount the bikes early in the morning and set out to make the trip to winslow, we're pumped that the east is in finally in sight. We get about 25 miles along our route and reach a road block thats turning all traffic back west, since the windstorm is so bad. Constant wind of 45-55 mph with gusts up to 75 mph. A huge dust storm is also brewing in the open spaces between here and Winslow making the ride not safe at all.
So in the keeping of the trip were back to the same town again and going to get a cheap motel to ride out the windstorm since pitching a tent is asking to destroy it. We plan to be up before the sun tomorrow and possibly to our campsite by 9-10am.

Saturday, May 22, 2010


Last night we rolled into Flagstaff, AZ around 11 after driving eight
hours straight. The changes in geography are amazing between San
Diego. Heading down Highway 1, the roads were constantly changing
grades and direction but as we crested the mountains, the view went on
for miles. Going through Jacumba, we could see straight into Mexico,
stopping at all the boarder patrol check points where they saw two
white boys in a Navigator and waved us straight through. Catching a
glimpse of the boarder fences, they're pretty sad. No wonder we have
problem with illegals. Traveling 400 miles on the boarder we were
passed by on boarder patrol official surveying fences that I could
jump from a stand still.

Ad the terrain flattened, we drove through the Chocolate Mountains
that appear dark chocolate next to their neighboring red rock
mountains. In Arizona, the sun sets for an hour and you'll see a
mountain range two hours before you reach it.

Deciding to not bother with hotels, we started searching for a place
to park the car and sleep. Apparently there's a huge mountain bike
race here today and we rolled up on a herd of campers and RVs grazing
in the Wal-Mart parking lot, just like home. Opting to join the
watering hole, we slipped between the RV, made our beds next to the
bikes in the back and called it a night. After about an hour, we
started to feel the whole SUV shake and couldn't find the culprit.
Jolted awake, we realized thy the wind in Arizona goes from 0 to 30
mph in a flash... Hope that's to our backs when we ride.

We ended up riding 25 miles yesterday so we've decided to take a real
off day here, finally. The last off day we planned, we road 50 miles
in San Diego. For tonight, we have a house to stay at thanks to
warmshowers and tomorrow we go north for a couple days at the Grand

The weather here is surprising. Pretty cold wind day and night...
Looks like I'll be investing in some pants.

Friday, May 21, 2010

My Sister's Engaged!

Congratulations Sister! Lauren Christoff got engaged to Tyler Arrington today! Sadly I'm in California heading to Flagstaff Arizona but I will be back soon enough to celebrate with y'all.

Love You Lauren!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

So close to the border you can taste it.

What $7.00 will buy: 3 rolled tacos 1 beef enchilada 1 bean tostada and a drink.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Our day off to recap

To Tarantino this story, we decided to drive south to San Diego. The
car charger is plugged in so we can finally share some happenings
along the way.

When we left San Francisco Wednesday morning and headed north to see
the Golden Gate Bridge, a local told us that a trail would take us
around the east side. Turns out it doesn't and you get to venture
through the up and down hills of San Fran. I'm thankful that we had
fresh legs because we ended up putting in 65 miles that day weaving
around the city streets. We caught a lot of historic sites and biked
through Candle Stick Park and Giant stadium. We finally got to the
bridge later in the day and it re juiced our legs. Walking up to the
bridge outlook, we came across an Aussies couple who had travelled the
entire US, giving us a ton of tips and a great perspective on the
trip. This won't be a "vacation" in the traditional sense but an
adventure in the purest form.

Crossing the bridge was amazing. The bike lane was closed off so it
was packed with all kinds of runner, bikers, and tourist. Right off
the bridge was Alcatraz looming in the distance surrounded by nothing
but water in all directions. You could coast down the bridge at 20 mph
and catch all the sights going into the east side of the bay. The
other side of the bridge is a small fishing town known for cyclist
giving us plent of places to ask directions and pump up the tires.
After a couple of empty suggestions, we found out about a camp site
called China Camp south on the peninsula. After about 15 miles, it
became obvious that we took the wrong way around the moutain, taking
the verticle route instead. Our legs were giving out, started to run
low on water, and weren't convinced this place existed until a random
lady sitting at a lookout pointed us just one mile down the summit to
China Camp. We pitched camp before the sun set and had our reward,
Chunky Man soup and string cheese.

Evan strung our bear bag about 50 yards from us to keep away critters.
Sure enough, as soon as we finished playing cards and went to our
tents we heard the pitter patter of a bum rifling though the site and
approached us. We talked him out of bothering us and he left towards
our bear bag. Wanting to save out peanut butter and bagels, we brought
the bag back and Evan put it in the tent. Later around 2 am, we woke
up to a pack of coyotes about 20 yards from the tents. I wispered to
Evan, "Dude, just throw it!" Evan leaned out the rain fly and chucked
the bag away and the howling stopped. Sadly, we found the bag had
exploded and the bagels were gone. Nature:1 Us:0.

Day two, we headed around the bay by bus because none of the bridges
would let us cross, putting us in El Cerrito. From there we were
shooting for Tilden Park to camp, making us start to finally head
east. Turns out that Sorento road that goes to Tilden is straight up
for 2.5 miles. We climbed for hours at 5 mph in our smallest ring. At
the top of this thing, you could see the whole city and everything we
climbed over, it was pretty rewarding. Our legs were on fire and we
needed somewhere to sleep. We approached a church and talked to the
pastor. She handed us the key to the whole church and cooked us dinner
as we got to finally shower. It's peole like this that make the trip
worth while. I've never seen a family more willing to help strangers
and we sure needed it. It was that night that we found out about
and decided to head south to take the southern tier through the

Day three, we took the Bart train back into San Francisco to Daily
City. From here we headed to Half Moon Beach. To get there, we had to
go up a road with a turn aptly named Devils Slide that had about a 6
inch shoulder and a straight down drop. Luckly, we got to hitch hike
down the mountain into Half Moon. You could not pick a better place to
camp. It was right on the beach and sea breeze put you right to sleep.
Day four was a trek to Santa Cruz. We finally got to ride down highway
1 and follow the coast south. The road wound around the neighboring
mountains and edged the Pacific Ocean. No wonder it's rated the best
drive in America and no better way to see it than on a bike under your
own strength. The terrain was very hilly but were able to average 12.5
mph for 57 miles, not bad for two Florida boys on 80 lb bikes.

Santa Cruz is a cool town, very much a college town. Bars everywhere,
live music, bikers, surfers, everything chill. We were able to set up
a place to stay on with two teachers, Jessica and Tod.
They were fellow cyclist who were preparing to do a long trek
themselves. We exchanged cycling information and had some great
conversation giving us a great end to a long, productive day of riding.
Day 5 we started south to Big Sur to camp after breakfast with Jessica
and Tod who had a long ride that day also. Since highway 1 was closed
to cyclist when it was a divided road, we had to get creative with
routes that surprisingly put us in Pebble Beach. Golfers, believe the
hype, it's amazing, I'll play it some other time. Following Pebble
Beach was a strip called 17 Mile Road which was straightdown hill in
our direction. I don't know about Evan but I was white knuckle around
some of those turns at 35+ mph. Going that fast on a bike loaded up,
the bike wants to pitch over around corners so it gets a little
freaky. Coming out of that free fall we hit highway 1 and followed
that on the coast again. After our 65th mile, we started to look for a
place to camp because we knew we weren't going to make Big Sur. We
came across this really nice cottage and buzzed the doorbell. This
sweet voice came across the speeker from a lady named Yolanda, who
looked like a fratty Mrs.Clever who let us in. Her husban, Ron, told
us that people come across their place all the time and we could tent
in their side yard. If they hadn't let us in, we would have been
camping on a lookout where a cop surely would have ruined the night.
Yolanda cooked us breakfast and Ron told us that traveling anymore
south was on the shy side of stupid and convinced us to head back
north to catch a bus.

That brings us to day six, where we headed back up the mountain to
Monterey, catching a bus to Salenas. Here we rented a car to get to
San Diego to get our maps from and finally start
headed east, heading back home.

The pitures are of the mountain range just east of the highway 1 and
south of San Jose. Second is of us sweating out a trek to San Diego
with a promised midnight stop, love ya momma!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

The ceremonial dip of the back tire in the pacific. We finally found a good place to do it after we toured around the San Francisco bay area and started heading south towards Santa Cruz.

Friday, May 14, 2010

San Francisco part deux

After spending the night in the church, which was amazing, we headed
back west in order to head south. It's always nice to roll out the
front door into a 30 mph downhill decent which lasted for around 15
minutes. We didn't realize that we climbed over 2000 feet yesterday so
coming back down was a blast.

Coming back into town, we took the Bart train to Daily City and road
to Highway 1. It wasn't until we were 5 miles down it when we found
out it was no longer accessible to bikes. From there we used US 35,
taking us back into the city.

Running out of daylight, we road towards the coast again to camp and
it seems like every place you need to go here has a mountain range
between it. Climbing up Skyline Drive, we averaged around 4 mph for
one hour then the road shoulder ran out. I looked to see if there was
any other way off this thing and only had one choice left. Standing at
a bend in the road during rush hour on top of a mountain, Evan and I
stood with our thumbs out, freezing in cycling clothes, hoping for a
truck to come by. Within minutes an old construction truck pulled in
and a dude named Willy jumped out of the cab. He let us ride in the
bed all the way down the mountain to Half Moon Beach were we're
sleeping tonight.

In the pictures is Giants stadium, the Golden Gate Bridge, and our
camp site tonight on the coast of the Pacific in Half Moon.

Thanks Willy!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

A God Send

Thank you so much to Pastor Katie and her awesome family Jay and John. We could not have come across a better family and host.

Thanks to Evangeline for the Pad Thai, it will be the best meal all trip. Also want to thank Steven and Laura for the advise on a successful route.

Now for the haul back to the city we have been trying to get away from this whole time...San Francisco.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

San Francisco Bay at Sunset

We toured San Francisco, stocked up on food and some local cuisine. Now we will spend the rest of the night packing and repacking until we get our bikes set up for the ride tomorrow.


Evan's so excited to get there... He just can't hold it

Monday, May 10, 2010

Flyin Out!

We're leaving at 5:50 PM from Orlando, have a layover in Atlanta, and
arrive in San Francisco at 11 PM western time. Hopefully with our long
layover, our bags won't get lost and the night in San Francisco will
be short.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

My bags are packed and I'm ready to go...

The bike is all boxed up, panniers in a crappy throw away duffel and carry on backpack...and dont forget the gator hat. LET'S DO THIS!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Follow Us!!!

Using the Spot locator, we're able to send out our location to a Google Map. This thing is pretty cool. It has a tracking function that send out location every 10 minutes, an "OK" function that sends our location every time we press it. Also, there are "Help" and "911" key that sends out distress signals.

Anyway, bookmark it, come back to the post, whatever. Now you'll know where we are so if you're close, call us up and we'll stop by/sleep on your couch/raid your fridge/ mud up your showers!