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Hey - we made it to Tucson. It was not as hard as we (as in Tim) thought it would be.
Personally, I am still adjusting to my new life style. I think I will feel better overall once I get into a little better shape. I feel like I've been in boot camp all week. I can't understand how Tim can carry most of the weight and still be out in front. I just stay on his wheel and before I know it we are at the next town.
We will stay in Tucson for a few days and will be leaving on Tuesday April 9th. I mention this because we have a good internet connection while we are here (thanks to Tom my brother) and we will be getting email regularly until then. If you want to write now is a good time and if you have pictures or other file attachments to send this will be one of the last time we can receive them. After Tuesday we have to use a slow connection with a calling card. In other words, please only send text email after Tuesday.
Below is an excerpt from the web page. Our site has recently been updated with photos and more.
Tim and Cindie Travis
The first day down the road was exciting and crazy. It was March, 30, 2002. Despite all of our planning and preparations we still wound up staying up all night the evening before we were to depart. This was compounded by the fact that Cindie had just flew back from Alaska the very day we had to stay up and Tim had very little sleep the previous night because he had to get up at 4 am in order to sell the RV. Needless to say when our big day finally arrived all we wanted to do was sleep. This lack of sleep would play a mean trick on us later in the day. The problem was that we had a lot of trouble getting all of our stuff to fit on two touring bicycles. The biggest culprit was the fact that we simply bought to much food and rather than throw it away we carried it. After all, the way for us to go the furthest is not to ride faster but to spend less money. Our daily mileage dropped but so has our spending.
The send off that our local friends gave us was terrific. We were running late and we had finally resorted to just cramming in our gear into our bags and wobbling up the hill to the restaurant where we were supposed to meet everyone. When we walk up the doors flew open and we pushed our bikes inside. (this restaurant is owned by a couple who have a son that rode with us.) Once inside everyone broke out in a big round of applause. I was not sure why. We had not really done anything yet except pile more on a bicycle than anyone had ever seen before. We set the bikes against the wall. Everyone congregated around them and had a contest to see if anyone could pick up Tim's bike. Few, if any, could. We nervously ate and wondered what the day would bring. Sadly we felt like we were unable to visit with everyone. Some of our friends we had not seen in a while and it would have been nice to have a long conversation with them. We talked to as many friends as we could and saw that it was time to head to the courthouse.
At the courthouse even more people were showing up. We were a bit speechless but we soon climbed on our bikes for what seemed the first time and started down the longest road we will ever ride. A road that will take years to reach the end and bring countless good and bad times to us. No one ever said that thinking "outside the box" would ever be easy.
Once we got rolling the first true test of the feasibility of our grand plan was about to be played out. This test was whether or not we could make it over the mountain passes that separated us from the much flatter Phoenix to Tucson valley areas. We knew that if we could reach the flat land that we would not be seeing another big climb for over a week. By the next mountain climb we would have much less food and our bodies would be in better condition. The big concern was that we both had not ridden much in the past several months and we were facing this physical challenge in an untrained state. Looking back on the pictures from that day it was clear that we both had also gained a fair amount of weight. One more thing to haul over the mountain.
The bikes were packed poorly and therefore handled very badly. Everyone politely kept their distance because we both had only limited control over the heavy bikes and would veer or even swerve from side to side. I could tell that our friends, now riding up the first climb with us, were getting concerned for our safety. It was even suggested that we camp just out of town and have a feast to lighten our load.
We started out riding with about 25 of our cyclist friends but as we got further out of town they turned off to go on other rides. Some had mountain bike plans others went on a long road ride. We knew that all the paths that they were taking led back to the same place and comfortable lives. Our road led somewhere else. Someplace that we had only seen on maps and guide books. We parted with the last of our escort in Wilhoit. And then there were two. We were now going to always be strangers in town and just passing through.
At Peeples Valley Tim finally pushed his bike into the grass and laid down to rest. He quickly fell into a deep sleep. When we were getting ready to go the last few (up hill) miles to Yarnell Tim noticed that he was badly sunburned and there were GOAT HEADS on his jersey. If you are unfamiliar with goat heads they are natures imitation of those metal spike things that the police through under the bad guys car tire to puncture a hole. They tend to grow in the high desert and are feared by all cyclists. We fear them to. Sure enough when we inspected our tires Tim found one pushed in pretty hard. When he pulled it out, we heard the familiar hiss sound indicating our first flat tire just hours after we started.
We were tired from our first real athletic effort in months, the searing sun, the predictable headwinds, but now we have to pull everything off Tim's bike and try to find the necessary items in order to fix his flat.
In the end we made it to camp on BLM land just outside Yarnell for a twelve hour sleep.
I have used several brands of bicycle panniers and
highly recommend Ortlieb.
See Why I switched to Ortlieb waterproof Panniers?
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