After about a week of cycling there have been many ups and downs, and the word that’s coming to mind is immersive…these adventures just sort of draw me in, what ever is right in front of me, what ever I’m doing in this moment sort of fills space and time until this one hill, this one patch of road, this one tortilla filled with cheese is all there is. This is what’s happening right now.
We’re in Silver City NM for a few days, it’s amazing! Isles of food, friendly people, all the water you can drink, and of course wifi and cell service. We laugh at ourselves, happily living far from the grid, choosing to be in the mountains, and scrambling for wifi once we hit civilization. It could be sad but mostly we embrace it and laugh.
The transition can be rough though…after days of granola, tortillas and cheese, ramen noodles, and cliff bars a small gas station becomes overwhelming…there are so many choices…so many candy bars, chips, sodas…then a grocery store is just silly, there’s so much food! And after days and days of riding a bicycle and minimal food choices it can be hard to figure out what my body even wants…a cookie? Root beer? So far so good though, shortly after I got here I was on a park bench eating an amazing burrito from a food truck and sipping some classy root beer…so good! The burrito might have had egg in it? And very friend refried beans?
Growing up in the woods in Maine I’m never sure what food is when I travel or how to pronounce things, in this case “something vegetarian?” seemed to work, apparently one does not simply order a bean and cheese burrito in New Mexico…then again ordering any burrito in Maine is pretty hard…this is all really just to say I have no idea what it was that I got but it was amazing and I hope I can figure out how to order it again some time…like, maybe two for lunch today?
Back to the trip though…it’s been really good actually. Some parts suck, of course, but I’ve really been enjoying settling into to bike travel. The way the scenery changes, getting into camp early, watching the miles fly by, and waving…waving becomes really fun! People wave at us from cars, and we wave from our bikes, most everyone waves back and everyone else. The people outside are really great too, working in their gardens or walking between their cars and their houses, “hi!” we say and wave, and they give big smiles and wave back.
Maybe they’re glad their not us, maybe they like seeing something different on the road, maybe we just look happy, I don’t know but for whatever reason people seem to like people on bikes…at least if you’re in a rural area and carrying a ton of gear with you. Some how, it feels like Ari’s bike trailer and my panniers get us a better response…maybe it shows we’re traveling? Maybe it shows that we’re choosing the hard route because we like it? Maybe it shows we’re not locals? I’m not sure, and curious what other folks think about this 🙂
The uphills are often down moments for sure, but the down hills are most definitely up moments, it’s my favorite part by far…the twists and turns, trees flying by, pavement blurring beneath me as I speed along…coasting a whole mile without touching the brakes, without peddling…zoooooom! I try and check my mirror so cars don’t sneak up on my, my eyes are streaming, the cold is numbing my hands, I lean side to side curving around corners, dodging pot holes…on rare occasions this goes on too long and my bike picks up more and more speed and I think “this is madness” and hit the brakes a little, but mostly I just milk it for all it’s worth.
Then as often as not the downhill gives way to an uphill and my bike stops in it’s tracks. With all the weight of me, my gear, and whatever physics is doing coasting up the other side has most definitely not been a thing for me this trip.
These ups and downs, physically, emotionally, mentally, continue to shift as the day goes on. Some days we do 30 miles, one day we did 60, hills and headwinds are a big part of this and our bodies draw pretty clear lines. We ride as longs as we can, to a certain extent, and usually around 2pm or 3pm it’s over. Legs complain, butts complain, brains complain, twice we’ve stayed in little forest service campgrounds but more often we just pitch our tent next to the road. We try and stay a little out of site, behind a juniper tree, someplace people might not notice. Mostly everyone just stares at the road any way, some people look over and wave. There’s so much open space here it’s hard to imagine anyone being bothered by us.
Every day is different, and over time a sameness sets in. We wake up to freezing cold mornings and get moving, generally snacking our way to lunch, then another hour or two of riding and we’re done for the day, we find a campsite…stretch and sit and unwind a little, make some food, and call it a day. The nights are long and the days are short, often we are in bed by 7 and stay there for twelve hours, sleeping, reading, backing up cameras onto hard drives, the days are warm or at least comfortably cool but the nights and freezing cold so we curl up in our sleeping bags and recharge, try to stay warm, and get ready to do it all again the next day.
(Note: I’m in a sort of third story loft, surrounded by giant puppets, watching the sun rise. I’m not taking the time to edit much. It is what it is. Again, feel free to comment if you can, and I’m planning to get something up on youtube later today or tomorrow. Cheers! Simon)