Monday, March 28, 2011

Crossing Off Arizona

Crossed into New Mexico today, the scenery has been absolutely gorgeous! Im in Glendwood, NM right now at the library trying to stay on top of this blog but its hard to do when internet isnt often available and there is soo much happening. I may have to keep this one brief which is unfortunate because the library im at close in 70 minutes and there is more than 70 minutes of things to write about. Ill try sum the ride up and add some photos too.

I spent 5 days at home in Phoenix, but those days flew along. Monday evening I had a BBQ at my cousins house, hosted by Vic and Mindy Anderson, it was awesome and I appreciate what they did. Tuesday morning I attended an event at the Arizona State Veterans Home and that evening was the Gold Star families dinner which was an experience. I met more families and some more awesome people and caught up with some that I had met before my ride. Wednesday morning was the Sunrise Ceremony at Piestewa Peak and that event turned out very well. I had originally planned on leaving Phoenix Thursday morning but ABC15 scheduled an interview that morning for 10:45 so I had to wait until that was over. I ended up leaving town around 1 and riding out of Phoenix and spending the night along the 60 just east of Apache Junction. ABC15 aired the interview and the story on the 5:00 news and as I was leaving Phoenix, my gps got me lost in a retirement community and it turned out to be good because there were 2 ladies walking around that saw me bike by and they stopped me because they recognized me from the news. It was pretty funny.














Friday, I rode from where I fell asleep, along the 60 through Superior to Globe. On the road I met 2 other bikers from Malaysia, they were riding around the world and been on the road for 8 months, 40+ countries and 21000 kilometers. Just past Superior I had a bit of a climb up to 4500ft and the whole way up the hill, the shoulder was almost non-existent so I had to try hug what was left of the shoulder to accomodate for traffic. I made it to Globe and got a room at one of the hotels and relaxed. I met a few people that live there and got to hang out for a bit, it was nice to socialize with someone longer than a few brief moments and making new friends is always positive!








Saturday, my goal was Fort Thomas. Well, most of the ride was downhill and it was awesome! I reached Fort Thomas and decided to push on the extra 22 miles to Safford because there was no life in Fort Thomas, the town seemed completely dead...well, 5 miles outside of Safford, I rolled through a cluster of Goat head thorns that instantly flattened my rear tire. I pulled off the road and started changing it out when someone pulled up and asked if I had a place to stay for the night. The gentlemans name was Mons Larson, and he had seen me biking earlier and he regularly hosts bikers at his house so they can get a shower and a meal. I accepted and said ill bike to his house, 9 miles down the road once I got the tire changed. He took off and I finished replacing my rear tire and was about to roll out when I saw the front had gone flat as well. Well, that was a problem. I had no spare tubes. I was trying to figure out to do at this point when Mons showed back up and we threw the bike into his truck and rolled to his place. I enjoyed meeting his family and the dinner him and his son Bryce prepared was delish! I showered up, patched my tubes and went to sleep.





Well, I think the time zone changed on me...library is closing...ill have to update you all more when i get another chance!

Ok, I have internet again! And its a day off but ill get to that. Ill start where I left off.

Sunday, March 27th, I woke up early enough and ate some breakfast and hit the road, I was hoping to make it to New Mexico but life had other plans. The tubes I thought I had completely patched the night before started to go flat again on me several miles down the road. I pulled over, and removed the front tire, that was the one that was giving me problems, the back tube was new so it stayed full. Well, I put another tube in that I patched, filled it up and put it back on the forks. I was adjusting the brake cable and noticed the tires was already low on air...ok, well pull the tire off, remove the tube and look at it. I couldnt find an obvious leak in this tube so I pumped the tube up and spit water on it looking for holes. Well, i found a few holes...and more holes. I patched all the ones I could find. I ended up putting on 6 patches, this tube was the one from the rear tire that took a good beating from the thorns the day before and I gave up looking for holes in that tube and inspected the other 2 tubes I had. One was from the front tire that had leaked air and caused me to stop originally and the other was a slime tube that I had before that had gone flat in Phoenix. Well, I couldnt find any source of the leak from the front tube so I tried to patch the slime one. It was a waste. The slime in the tube made it easy to find the holes but patching them was another matter. The patches wouldnt seal because the slime would leak out and ruin the bond. I was running low on patches, I had 1 left so I cut it into smaller peices and used those to fix what other holes I could find in the other 2 tubes. I was still 26 miles from Three Way, and 12 miles from Safford and there is no way I will backtrack, so I put the tube in the tire that was most likely to hold air and limped along. I had to stop every 2 miles or so to pump it up but I had no other option.  There was a bit of a climb followed by an awesome down grade into Three Way. There was 1 store there and I loaded up on supplies, more patches and water and borrowed a bucket and found whatever holes were left in the tubes. Since I had got delayed for 2 hours earlier on the roadside, I decided to make this my stop for the day, only after riding 31 miles. I set up camp in a park behind the store and relaxed for the remainder of the day.





Monday, I packed up and hit the road. Leaving Three Way, the road began to climb. It was rolling hills at first then evened out to a steady incline all the way to 6,250ft. I crossed into New Mexico after 20 miles or so and continued riding until I reached Mule Creek and stopped at the post office to water up. The rest of the ride was rolling hills and the oh-so-wonderful headwind. No matter how hard you pedal, the wind will always be pushing against you and slowing you down. Its very draining and demoralizing. Once I reached Glenwood, I was hoping to find a restuarant to get some real food, but for some reason everything was closed except the local store. I stocked up and bike 1/4 mile up the road to camp out. I put my sleeping bag on the picnic table and chilled out till it was time to sleep. That night was pretty cold, I slept lightly, waking up every so often because of the cold or from being uncomfortable. The longest I slept that night was from 4:30am till 7:30 that morning.














So, it brings us to Tuesday, so far my most memorable day. Memorable for the absolute misery that this day produced. I knew coming into this ride it wasnt going to be easy and Tuesday, March 29th, was a testament to this. So I woke up that morning with weak legs after getting limited amounts of sleep and eating a light breakfast. From the start, the road climbed for about a mile and then dropped and then climbed, and then dropped again for quite a ways. Eventually it started to steadily climb. I was tracking the elevation on my gps and saw I had passed my record the day before and was at 6300ft. The road climbed till it peaked at Saliz Pass, 6436ft. Riding out of there was almost as much climb as there was downhills and I dropped in elevation to right around 5700ft when I reached Reserve. I stopped to eat some food and buy some more munchies for the next leg of riding, the 68 miles to Datil. Lunch was a light meal, a V8, raisins, an apple and a gatorade. Local intel informed me that I would be climbing the next 30 miles till I reached the summit of the Continental Divide. I was tired of hills and mountains already but just wanted them to be done with all together so I pushed on. Of course, the wind was always in my face and I turned my ipod on and my mind off and rode along. The climb to the summit was a gradual climb with several hills that climbed into sky and then dropped back down again. It felt like wasted climbing when you climb to the top of a hill only to see that it drops down again and you make no gain/loss in elevation. Well the road kept moving up and when I reached the top, I saw the familiar green sign that tells you the elevation you reached. I had a moment of pure joy when I saw it, I was at the top of the Continental Divide. I rested at the top, ate some food, rehydrated and started the next 36 miles to Datil. I was hoping it was going to all be downhill but the elevation stayed above 7000ft the whole way. The mountains flattened out and gave way to wide open plains. Those plains yeilded some serious crosswinds that were pushing me off the road with every gust. With 20 miles left to Datil, my energy began to slowly decline and my reserve strength was depleting. I considered stopping but thought, no way. It was cold, windy and the sun was still shining. No telling how cold the night was going to be at 7k ft and I wasnt prepared to spend a night in those elements. I pushed on, I started to count down the miles with each mile marker that I passed...19..18....17.......16............15........................14........................................13.......................................12............ the miles began to drag by and it felt like it would never end. I reached 10 miles....9 miles...8...7...6...5...more hills in the distance.....at 4 miles I got off the bike and took a rest. The sun was setting, my legs wouldnt carry the bike up any more hills. I ate some raisins and trail mix, walked the bike to the top of the next hill...and off in the distance, another hill....I finished off what was left of my water and coasted down the hill. I had no energy to gain speed and whatever speed I did get coming down the hill was countered by the 30mph winds. I pedaled till I couldnt pedal then I walked and walked up the next hill. By the time I had 2 miles left, I could barely see, my vision had condensed to tunnel vision and was foggy and blurry at best. My mind was numb, I couldnt think. My legs were on autopilot, walking up the hills, just puting one foot in front of the other. Getting to the top of the next hill, I just hopped on the bike and rolled down it. Thankfully the road dropped most of the way down to Datil and the whole way I was hoping there was a hotel there. Sleeping outside would have been horrible. I reached a gas station and smelled food. I parked the bike and asked if the Cafe was still open. They were closed but the lady said she would feed me. I was happy to hear this, I dragged myself inside and collapsed into a chair and ate. I ended up getting a room for 2 nights and getting a pretty good deal on it.












So, that brings us to today, Wednesday, March 30. Im feeling more energetic, more rested and feeling better than last night. Im taking today off to let my legs rest. The next leg of riding is to Socorro, Nm and further. The next day of rest should be somewhere in Texas. Thats when ill most likely be able to update this blog again but in the meantime, enjoy! Thanks to every for the motivation and encouragement. It really helps alot!

21 comments:

  1. Levi, it reminds me of Paul Harvey - we have to wait for the rest of the story! :) great update and SO HAPPY to hear you have accomplished 2 states...GO LEVI! Wish I could reach out and toss you a couple more tire tubes! I love you, Mom

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  2. My, our Levi is FAMOUS! Mr. Larson sounds awesome! Happy trails to you! Love, Auntie Carol

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  3. Your blog is very inspiring. :) Good luck on your travels and can't wait till you post more photos!

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  4. Awesome update!!! Keep up the stellar work Man:) You are doing fantastic and I will call you on Wed!!! :) Make your week a stellar one!
    P

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  5. Awesome! Keep it up!! You are one awesome nephew! We love you !! Aarre and Ellen

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  7. Hi Levi, oh my gosh, my legs ache just thinking about climbing all those hills! And, where, pray tell, did you get the energy to pull yourself sideways on that one sign? Legs gave out, but arms didn't? Rest up today and get that extra burst of energy. It's fun to follow your trip. Mind you, keep your eyes and ears open...you're in UFO country, just in case you didn't know! That's what Roswell is known for. If you're sleeping on the side of the road and you see some red lights dancing around in the sky, consider the source! hhaha Have fun. =)

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  8. ride on Brother. still here for you. prayers are with you. dave

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  9. sherri waaraniemiMarch 30, 2011 at 3:09 PM

    you are one inspiring person levi, your doing an amazing thing and your getting it done!!!!! keep it up!!

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  10. Sounds like such a rough climb, good for you to make it up!! Im proud of you! -Christy

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  11. Thanks for the update! You're an inspiration to so many people!
    Sara J

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  12. Levi- I am riding there beside you man- only the best to you. You're a hero to many out there including myself... keep making things happen and call me when you have a chance!!! I would like that a lot! Great days on the road-

    Best to you always- GP- Petey

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  13. according to yourself doing the human flag on that pole, you could have dragged yourself to the top of the hills by those strong arms you got :P youre very good at describing everything, it makes reading about your trip so interesting, made me feel like i was slowly passing all those mile markers, too! We can feel it ;) I miss you a lot and i love you tons. keep it up, you are moving right along quite well! take care!!

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  14. i suppose i can change my L to say Laona... its meeeee!

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  15. Our prayers and love are going with you. Love your blog!! Stay Safe, Sandy Watson and the rest of the Military Family Support Group in Phoenix.

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  16. awesome blog, levi! thanks for sharing your experiences. super inspiring and also descriptive. i hope you put this all together into some sort of book when you're done! happy trails :) --Astrid

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  17. Thinking about you today, as always Levi! love, mom

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  18. Very interesting! I have enjoyed reading about your journey. You have a way with words that puts the reader right into the scene - minus the sore muscles!! The pictures are awesome but I hope you are really absorbing all that beauty that you see between the endurance tests - we know that pictures don't compare to the live views!! What an awesome view you are getting of our beautiful country!
    Your mom's old neighbor & friend, Laura B

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  19. Watching your trail and keeping you in our thoughts & prayers as you pedal up those hills. Stay safe!

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  20. WOW your pictures do show how the mountains flattened out. climbing and climbing and just think now,this day,good or bad is a memory :) how you found the strength to look like a flag blowing in the wind on that sign, I'd love to know... I wanna reach out and hug you in the last picture. you look wore out. Glad the lady in the town fed you and also happy you got a room for 2 nights :)Glenwood sounds like my town, everything closes at dark lol...Never heard of goat head thorns, I see they did a number on your tire tubes. one of my favorite pictures is up there, its the one in front of the New Mexico State sign. Amazing!

    always luvy

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  21. A lot sure does happen in a year.... I understand the picture's a lot more now. What amazing memories this must be for you now! Even as miserable as you were, you kept on. I'm enjoying reading them as much as I did the first time. You're an awesome man. Thank you for what you did for our fallen hero's. You're awesome. always, luvy

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