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Ocean to Ocean on Two Wheels

An extravagant camping scene

Week 2

17 March 1996

After our rest in Mesa, I bought a paperback book. Never in my adult life had I travelled without a book until this past week. I had jettisoned the book at home as I was paring ounces. But it was a wrong choice, and I remedied it. Easily. Besides, the load - approximately 40 lbs - has now naturalized, so a little additional won't matter. The other wrong choice I made at home was to leave my one-pound Nikon behind in favor of a quarter-pounder throwaway, which I did NOT like. But yesterday my daughter hooked up with us for an overnighter reunion, and brought the camera. Otherwise, I'd have bought a new one.

The whole journey has kind of naturalized. The load seems normal; daily riding seems normal; and C. and I have evolved into a team from being merely two people riding together. This is more of feel than anything I can itemize; but I know it's there, and I think she does, too.

In Safford I had a bit of work done on my bike. The test ride put me on a "naked bike" - in much lower gears than I ever use on level ground - and it was actually scary.

Most of our "campgrounds" have been RV parks. This means great difficulty driving stakes, but essentially private use of the facilities, since everyone else is self-contained. So it balances out.

We are generally averaging 60-ish miles daily. Average MPH is approximately 13, but for one amazing day in record winds - mostly from behind - we had an average MPH of 17.9!!! We both feel fine and energized. Bodies responding well. Bikes getting serviced when needed and a shop is available.

This past week has been a bit easier. We decided to skirt the mountains rather than kill ourselves going over them (a prime example of good self-care, according to C.). So we had some short-ish days, and had to hitch a ride on one stretch of the New Mexico interstate, since there was no frontage road and New Mexico doesn't allow cyclists on the interstate as Arizona does.

As we left Globe, Arizona, I was leading, and I pointed to a massage-therapy sign (the first we'd seen) to bring it to C.'s attention. Then I realized she might think I was pointing out the taxidermist next door. Oh well. That night we spent in Pima at a motel. The manager, a funny, feisty, friendly lady who apparently gets many cyclists doing what we're doing, was surprised when we told her our ages, and said, "You look smarter than that."

New Mexico camping facilities are much better for tent travellers than those in Arizona, where the R.V. is king. But the most astounding thing about N.M. is the sky. Clear, beautiful, and BIG. I can only wonder about Montana, which calls itself "Big Sky Country."

Today we begin 1100 miles of Texas. Ugh.


© 1996 BFZ

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