To learn more about Doug’s Charity Bike Ride Across America, visit www.ChangingGearsAtGSIL.org.
[June 24, 2016] Portsmouth, New Hampshire – I was determined to finish today. It was my highest mileage day ever. Close to 100 miles, and who knew there were so many hills between me and the end of this journey? But finish it I did. Around 8:30 at night I dipped my front tire in the ocean at Portsmouth, New Hampshire as the sky was a glorious pink and the sun was setting. My journey was complete! What an amazing feeling. Thank you all, for your support, your prayers, your emails, your texts, your Facebook posts, and of course your donations to this very worthy cause. I look forward to getting off my bike for a little while and sleeping in my own bed. And now I will have time to plan the next journey, hmmmm, where should I go?
[June 22, 2016] Stoddard, NH – NH at last. I finished the climb over Mt Hogback, in Vermont. The climbs from the NH/ VT border up to Stoddard were incredible! Despite that I clocked in over 80 miles today. Nothing like the thought of getting home! I look forward to celebrating with my co-workers, friends and supporters tomorrow. See you then.
[June 21, 2016] Woodford, Vermont, Greenwood Lodge and Campground – Of course leaving Waterford meant going up, and up, and up, on a long hill, with no shoulders, for a long, long time. Things evened out of a bit until just after Bennington and then Hogback Mountain! Oh my! I made it to Woodford, where I was adopted by Don and Barbara who were cooking in the campsite next to me and they fed me up just fine, so I will have the energy to finish the mountain tomorrow and to slide down into Brattleboro and I will be in New Hampshire on the 22nd. Hooray!
[June 20, 2016] Waterford, New York – Today I wandered in and out of small towns along the canal. It was in the mid 90s and very hot .Tamara stopped occasionally to bring food or cold beverages and at night I had the comfort of a real bed. I have completed the 400 miles of the Erie Canal Trail and now I only have to catch Route 7 to get to Vermont and then home.
[June 19, 2016] Fort Plain, New York – A long day today sometimes along the canal, sometimes I took Route 5 which might have been a mistake, because there were some never-ending hills. It’s in Amish country so occasionally I see buggies pulled by horses and people in plain dress. Tamara has driven in to keep me company for a day or so. My sister in law Anita and her husband Peter drive down from Keene, NY to join us for dinner and celebrate their 34th wedding anniversary. We found a great Italian place with real Italian owners and European paced service.
[June 18, 2016] Canastota, New York – There were no campgrounds nearby but I found a hotel run by a former boxer . It’s simple but it’s got four walls for which I’m grateful. Mostly I’ve been riding on the Erie Canal Trail but it got really rough today so from Weedsport toSyracuse I took Route 5. There was a lot of traffic, but it was a lot quicker than the trail. I stopped to check out a kid who was trying to fix a bike that looked like it was in pretty rough shape. His chain had come off and part of it was stuck on the largest ring. We cleaned it up together , and got it working. He’s been having quite a day but was delighted to have his bike working better than it ever.
[June 17, 2016] Weedsport, New York – Last night I ended up camping beside the Erie Canal in a campground. I was the only tent in a sea of RVs. While I was looking for a place to stay , I stopped and asked directions from a man selling Italian ices. He gave me directions and an Italian ice, how very nice. I rode for a while on Route 31 and had a nice wide shoulder, which I enjoyed.
[June 16, 2016] Perinton New York, East of Rochester – I was lucky to get permission to camp in the town park, it was like a dock area. I asked a lady for directions for campgrounds and there were none but she gave me permission to sleep in the park. If any one questioned me I was to refer them to her. I often have to relax and trust that the right thing will happens when it needs to. Each evening I have to find a place that I can get to and afford, weather it’s camping or a motel. Prices have gone up significantly since I have gotten to NY.
Yesterday I rode with a couple from Edinburg, Pennsylvania, it was nice to have a chance to visit with someone for more than 15 minutes. This is been my roughest week so far I’m still recovering from the food poisoning.
[June 15, 2016] Albion, New York – Saw a great sign today, Washboard Willie’s Laundry, We take a bite out of grime, with a picture of an alligator.
[June 14, 2016] Wheatfield, New York – Still feeling a little weak after being sick yesterday. Ate lightly, but managed to make it to and through Buffalo, New York. I made it to Wakefield which is a suburb. Downtown Buffalo had a lot of interesting architecture. I am now on the Erie Canal Towpath, which runs 400 miles from Buffalo to Albany, New York.
[June 13, 2016] Angola, New York – Got hit with the flu. Not my best day.
[June 12, 2016] Lake State Park, New York – I met a group of long distance bicycle riders who had come from Bar Harbor Maine, and were heading to Seattle. There were five or six riders and they had a support team helping them along. Sometimes I’m a little envious.
[June 11, 2016] Erie, Pennsylvania – There’s lots of pollen in the air today. But luckily my lungs are less congested. I’m camping on Lake Erie at a campground. It reminds me of Hampton Beach the lake very developed.Lake Erie is like the ocean you can see to the horizon, and it goes on and on.
[June 10, 2016] Ashtabula, Ohio – Everything was better today. The road had a good shoulder and bike signs. The hills were not as bad. I got my music hooked up and my artists playing and I made some good miles. I stopped to buy allergy medications and as I was getting back on my bike the manager of the store ran out and gifted me with a bottle of water. People are so nice. I was so tired after the attack of the raccoons that I almost spent another night at last nights campground, but I got on my got bike and kept going.
[June 9, 2016] Punters on State Park, east of Newbury Ohio. I crossed Cuyahoga National Park. It was endless hills up and down, up and down. This was one of the hardest days I’ve had in weeks and weeks. Luckily it is slightly warmer. This park is located in between Cleveland and Akron. The traffic is very dense and the drivers are the least courteous that I’ve experienced in my entire ride. They honk and they yell as they drive-by, not a lot of fun.
Attack of the raccoons last night, about every hour, at first they were trying to open the bags on my bike, actually ripped a hole in one before I could chase it away. I moved the food in the tent and they were scratching at the tent and actually made a couple of rips. I kept throwing thing at them but they kept coming back. Finally I sprayed the tent entrance and my bags with bug spray and they left. There were armies of them when I shined my flashlight on them. Needless to say I got very little sleep.
[June 8, 2016] Hinckley, Ohio – Another long cold day .Hills are starting to show up. I almost made it to Cuyahoga National Park but not quite. In the end the local Police helped me to find a place to camp at yet another fire station. It was cold! 40° as I headed to bed.
[June 7, 2016] Ashland Ohio – It got cold today I was wearing everything I had.
[June 6, 2016] Mount Gilead, Ohio – It was a good day riding today. A long day, and by days end there was no place to stay in sight. Then a man in a pick up truck pulled over to talk about biking long-distance biking with me. He ended up offering me a place to stay for the night. What a treat! His name was Eric and his wife was Jeanne he was a local firemen who commutes to work 25 miles each way by bike. They made me up a great dinner sausages and broccoli and homemade brownies boy was I full. People are so kind and I feel so very blessed.
[June 5, 2016] London, Ohio – Today was a good day. It was pretty flat. Riding this trail is easier than the Katy Trail because it’s paved. The farms are smaller here, but I’m still seeing fields of beans, wheat and corn . It clouded up today but there was no rain that’s what I call a good day. I’m looking forward to a good dinner and a home made breakfast. I am staying at Andreas B&B, which also has Youth Hostel rooms for a very good price. The place is an amazing Victorian with stained glass and lots of interesting detail.
[June 4, 2016] Morrow, Ohio – There’s been a lot of rain. After I left Cincinnati and just before I got to Morrow it rained so hard that I hung out under a bridge for over an hour. When it lightened up set off again towards Morrow and the campground. All the sites were really, really wet so I set my test up in the picnic pavilion. There was no one there and I got to stay dry. I am currently on the Ohio Erie trail which is a bike trail that goes from Cincinnati to Cleveland, the whole state south to north. This trail is paved unlike the Katy Trail which was crushed stone.
[June 3, 2016] Cincinnati, Ohio – Tonight I got lucky and was the guest of Jean and Bob, who host for Warm Showers, the organization that supports long distance bike riders. They are a retired couple who have done extensive riding around America on their tandem bike and remained married! Good for them! They were wonderful hosts. They fed me up a delicious home cooked dinner my first since( my first since April 30 in Santa Fe).They took me to their bike shop. Even though the owner was very busy with lots of other bikes he fit me in and put on a new chain( the old one had not broken but had over 2,000 miles on it) and gave the bike a tune up. Now my bike is ready to roll again. They were kind enough to give me a tour of Cincinnati and to take me out to the worlds best ice cream shop. Bob told Tamara that I might have to stay another couple days when I tasted that ice cream, it sure was good! When I left the next day Bob and Jean rode with me on their tandem bike and helped meet navigate out of downtown Cincinnati. They rode with me for probably 25 miles. They were really really kind. Thank you Jean and Bob.
[June 2, 2016] Versailles, Indiana – It was really humid today! Huge black clouds built up in the sky. I made it to Butlerville and into the Lumberjack Restaurant just before the skies opened up. There was a field of corn across the way and a wind block row of trees, when the rain came in it was in solid sheets so intense that I couldn’t even see the trees on the far side of the field. I was lucky to arrive on taco special day for only a $1.50 for tacos so I got to filled up while the skies opened up. I stayed until the rain lightened up and then went east on Route 50, which had very heavy truck traffic and I kept getting blasted by the spray from the trucks as they drove by. There was just one little mom-and-pop hotel in town and I was really beat from riding in the rain. And delighted when there was room in the Moonlight Path Motel. The frog togs I got work very well against the rain so. It’s only 45-50 miles to Cincinnati!
[June 1, 2016] Seymour, Indiana – What a lot of hills today! Straight up, straight down, very, Very steep, with little to no shoulder for miles and miles. I stopped for lunch in Bedford and ate at a restaurant called the Stone Pig. I was really tired and really hungry. The special was 1/2 pound pork burger. It was massive! And I had a side of beans for only $5.99, what a deal! I never eat hat much. It was slow going for a while after lunch until I had digested some of the food. Sometime later was getting ready to pour, I saw the clouds coming so I put on my rain jacket and pants and started looking for a place for shelter. I found a church camp and one of the buildings had a large poarch. Well I hung out there until the worst of the rain has passed. I saw a true sign of the Midwest today, a giant trailer advertising Bunny Bread, which is their equivalent of Wonder Bread. I’ve gotten hooked up with Warm Showers, which is an organization to support long-distance bicycle riders. A couple has agreed to put me up for the night in Cincinnati where I should be in the next two days. There I may start following the Underground Railroad Trail , onward, ever onward.
[May 31, 2016] Logo Tee, Indiana – It was really hot and humid today. I got so hot I actually stopped at Walmart to cool off, rehydrate and stock up on snacks. It took an hour and a half for my core temperature to get back to normal. The truck drivers continue to be very courteous, they pull over a full lane to give me room when they can and signal before they pull back in. Less courteous are young men in pick up trucks and SUVs. They don’t make room for me at all and it can be disconcerting. There were many more climbs today and the going and was slower.
[May 30, 2016] Red Hill State Park, outside of Sumner, Illinois – I had lunch with my cousin Maryetta today. She had just gotten back from an Alaska cruise.She landed in St. Louis yesterday, packed a lunch and drove in her car and chased me down in Clay City,where we had a lovely lunch. Marietta has been a great supporter of mine and supported me while I was on the Appalachian Trail too. There was one only one other person in the campground last night. Everyone must’ve gone home after the holiday but There were lots of noises birds and raccoons and possums. Very,very hot again.
[May 29, 2016] Salem, Illinois – My hottest day yet and humid! But I made good miles. The road was better today then yesterday. Yesterday there were broken down shoulders where the tractor-trailers had run over them and I had to ride on the road. Luckily there was very light traffic. I got to stay with a high school friend. It was nice to have home cooking and catch up.
[May 28 , 2016] Greenville, Illinois – I crossed the Mississippi today!! I rode the Katy Trail all the way to the end, which very few people do.Then I followed railroad tracks and no one knew where the road was or if I was on the road right road to get to the bridge to Illinois. Finally some nice people, whose backyard I drove by,said that Route 94 will take me to and over the Mississippi River and the bridge has a bike lane. Hooray! I was in awe of the massive joining of the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers joining.
[May 27, 2016] St. Charles, Missouri – Last night it rained so hard it looked like white sheets. I choose the road rather than the trail for a while to avoid mud puddles. Today I get to go to but bike shop.
[May 26, 2016] Marthasville, Illinois – It was really hot and humid I wrote for a while on route 94 for a change from the Katy Trail. The Katy Trail is beautiful. When I’m riding along, the Missouri River is giant and imposing, but in between times, it’s like riding through a green tunnel. So I changed over to Route 94 which which which was very rolling, rolling, rolling hills. Last night I stayed an old general store which ohad been a church and was now hostel. It had a huge open area. I was glad to be inside when the thunderstorms went over last night. I met some girls from England who were riding across America they had written over 7000 miles before they hit our shores. One of them works in human services with at risk kids, amazing. There were several baseball games going on as I arrived at the ballpark. Tomorrow I’m headed for St. Charles.
[May 25, 2016] Tebbetts, Missouri – Road off of the trail and into Jefferson City for food and supplies. Had to buy a new rear tire. It rained last night and I was glad to be under a roof. I took time to dry out my stuff in the car park. Jefferson City is the capital of Missouri. It takes a lot of time to do a trip like that, necessary but I lost several hours of riding time.The night before I was right on the on the bluff on the banks of the Missouri, as I arrived the sun was going down there were a few RVs and people drumming in the circle, very laid-back there. I continue down the long green tunnel.
[May 24, 2016] Columbia, Missouri (Katy Trail on the Missouri River) – Slept on the banks of the Missouri River last night, it’s huge, 1/2 mile across in places. The Katy Trail is only 50 yards away. The mosquitoes are ferocious so I have to keep moving. I’ve covered 100 miles of the trail so far, it’s beautiful and safe so I can turn up the tunes and get into the zone. It’s nice meeting people and swapping stories.
[May 23, 2016] Sedalia, Missouri (Katy Trail) – I’m on the Katy Trail now, what a big change. It reminds me of when I hiked the Appalachian Trail it’s a long green tunnel. I talked with more people doing long-distance touring today than I have in my whole ride. I met a man from North Carolina who had ridden from there and was now going to catch a train in Clinton to go back to North Carolina and another man from Amsterdam who had started in Washington DC and was riding to Seattle. I went over the highest elevation point of the trail today 995 feet! It was a very gradual climb to get to that point. It’s nice that I don’t have to watch for cars and the trail is very flat. I did get my 12 flat tire today it was a piece of wire that I must’ve picked up when I was still on the road but I always have spare tubes and patches. My hotel this morning had an amazing hot breakfast what a surprise and delight! We never got the thunderstorms that were predicted today and I’m not disappointed, I hope I’m as lucky today.
[May 22,2016] Clinton, Missouri – Great day today!I had lunch in El Dorado, MO AND MET A German woman who has ridden alone from Washington, DC and is now doing Route 66 to the west coast. He bike is packed very differently than mine with no front panniers and smallish ones in the back and a big pile of gear over the rear tire. She has never done long distance biking before but she does commute by bike back home. She’s just using Google maps and so fat that’s working for her. Today was warmer and I got to wear shorts for the first time in a long time. On Route 13 I could fly except on 3 miles where the shoulders were really broken up and terrible. I got a giant room for a good price, did 70 miles today and tomorrow I start on the Katy Trail, Americas longest bike trail, almost 250 miles! Life is good.
[May 21, 2016] Nevada, Missouri – I had a long but very productive day today. Over 60 miles. There were a few climbs and many rolling hills. The terrain is very barren and reminded me of going through the desert, except this was green. The little towns were far off the road and I didn’t pass even a convenience store. Yesterday there was a foot race in Joplin it was a memorial for the tornado five years ago that killed 158 people. It wiped out a big section of the city. Downtown was quite the exciting place today, the race, food and a band.
[May 20, 2016] Joplin, Missouri – Another new state!Today I ran errands, mailed stuff home, resupplied, did a thank you video for GSIL, check it out on the GSIL Facebook page. I met a psychiatrist, Dr. Glenn, who had done some touring.
[May 19, 2016] Baxter Springs, Kansas – A new state! I looked away for a second and bailing twine totally tangled up my gears, it took quite a while to cut it out and I had my 11th flat this morning. I had more dogs chasing me.
[May 18, 2016] Vanita Oklahoma – It was cloudy a lot today and there were some big hills. It was pretty barren. I met a man from Spain who is writing from Chicago to LA he was planning on taking two months and 10 days he had virtually no English. I stopped at an Amish bakery in the afternoon and fueled up that was a real treat.
[May 16, 2016] Supplant, Oklahoma – It rained heavily all night and into the morning, of course I was camping! I packed up in the rain and rode to a donut shop run by an Asian family, to fortify for the day.A local guy asked to sit with me and told me about his genealogy search that took him to Maine. It’s nice to finally have some human contact.Today the road was better , it actually had a shoulder, which was good spice I was riding in the driving rain for quite a while.
I met a couple guys on touring bikes today, they had ridden from Chicago and going to Los Angeles. They were 70 and one was a retired rocket scientist. They had van support which made me a little jealous on this cold, wet day. They had good news about the Katy Trail in Missouri. They had ridden it and loved it, so I look forward to several hundred miles of bike trail where I don’t have to be quite so vigilant about traffic.
Coming into Sapupula I went through a pretty bad neighborhood with lots of dogs, but luckily they were fenced or chained, until 2 came running and barking. Luckily I had some beef jerky to distract them enough to getaway unscathed.
[May 15, 2016] Bristol, Oklahoma, Evergreen RV park – It’s been cooler today and the roller coaster hills continue. I miss those flatlands. I got to talk with a long distance bicyclist who was 80 years old today. He was riding from St. Louis, MO to Amarillo Texas. We didn’t get to talk much because he was on the other side of the road and traffic was heavy but I wish him good luck. I’m looking forward to the Katy Trail in Missouri IT’s a almost 500 mile bike trail across the state. I have to be constantly vigilant with the traffic here, the shoulders of the road are often narrow and sometimes it just drops off. When I stopped off for lunch I ate what was recommended to me by the waitress she must’ve been about 80 but she said that she preferred cheese bacon fries with ranch sauce and a BLT and so that’s what I had and that gave me the energy to go on.
[May 14, 2016] Welston, Oklahoma – I hope to make it further tonight but here I am in a very small town with no camping grounds or motels so when I was having my dinner at the sub shop one of the employees called his mom who called her minister who got me permission to camp in the back of the church grounds.Thank you very much. Now that I’m off the interstate and riding on a smaller road and having more chances to talk with people and they have been very kind and very interested in the cause for my ride. It’s quite cool here, it’s in the low 50s. I miss those 80° days.
[May 13, 2016] Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – I got in at 2:30 and stayed with a pharmacist named Daniel who put me up. He gave me a tour of the city of Oklahoma City including the memorial at the bombing site there’s a beautiful reflecting pool . 140 people died in the bombing. Apparently there’s been lots of change in Oklahoma City since the 90s. It was very nice to get a tour of the city. Yesterday was a very long day.
[May 12, 2016] El Reno, Oklahoma – I stayed on Route 66 all day, it was very meandering and up and down and up and down and up and down., But the road was pretty decent most of the time. Highway 281 went off on a spur and I was wondering where the interstate was, but a lady showed me a road with a very steep climb that saved me three or 4 miles. I left at eight and got a good breakfast and resupplied.
[May 11, 2016] Westford, Oklahoma – This town has seen better days most of the buildings are boarded up. I will camp here tonight by a bar that is only open on Wednesday Thursday and Friday’s. The farmer who owns this land has given me permission. It was an exhausting day starting at noon the winds were coming from the north east and blowing directly against me, it was exhausting. Today several times I had to ride on dirt roads or corduroy roads a very bumpy experience.
[May 10, 2016] Elk City, Oklahoma – There was quite a lot of climbing today and I was a little tired after yesterday’s long miles. I finally found a place that was easy to get to to get new bike tire tubes. I’ve had no flats for five days, knock wood , but better safe than sorry. The landscape is getting greener as I go east there are cottonwoods, maples and some scrub oaks. There are lots of ranches with cattle and wheat. I’m starting to see a little more water, went over a few small creeks. Yesterday there was massive destruction from tornadoes and two people lost their lives just two counties south of here. My weather has been sunny and nice and I hope it stays that way.this is really Bible Belt country, I passed a field with a 30′ cross in it just in front of the wind turbines.
[May 9, 2016] Erick, Oklahoma – The roads are much better today. It was the first day I could feel the heat, which I really like. Now there are a lot more trees, deciduous, probably cottonwoods. I only passed two rest areas across the whole panhandle. Rest areas have been a safe place for me to stop and take a break and have a snack. I did 72 miles today! It was really flat and the winds were not against me. It was nice to get calls from my family in St. Louis . I had hoped to see them as I passed through,but they’re off on an Alaska cruise. Timeing is everything.
[May 8, 2016] Groom, Texas – It was quite an Adventure getting out of the city, I got misdirected getting back on Route 66 and headed south when I was supposed to go east and it took almost an hour to correct that mistake and get going in the right way. Once I got out of Amarillo the side of the highway was the cleanest of debris that I have seen yet I’m not sure why. No flat tires today. I did a combination of Interstate 40 and access road. In the afternoon the wind picked up and was really pushing on the bike. It was very strong and I had to use a bandanna to cover my nose to keep the dust out .There were clouds of dust from the fields that had been plowed but not planted yet . It made me think of what the dustbowl must’ve been like.
[May 7, 2016] Amarillo, Texas – I have now been riding for 4 weeks! The biggest climbs are behind me, at least for a while. Now I am going through miles and miles of nothing. Towns are small and far apart and have few to no services. Until I reached Amarillo with snarls of traffic it has 190,000 people. This brings a new element to the trip, how to navigate safely through a metropolitan area. It’s a big shift from what I’ve had so far. Surrounding the city are wheat fields, cattle and sage brush.
[May 6, 2016] Adrian,Texas – A new state! Adrian is a sleepy little town the only restaurant is closed and there are no hotels or motels. I have a number to call so I can ask permission to camp in the city park. The park itself is abandoned there are weeds growing up the bleachers are collapsed. Today I am tired and stiff and I took a little easy today, I was mostly on old Route 66. Most of the houses in Adrian are falling down and several have goats in the backyard. There are huge wheat fields surrounding the town. I can’t imagine how people who live here make a living.
[May 5, 2016] Tucumcari , New Mexico – I’m transporting my way across the country powered by my legs and today they asked for time to stop and recharge. So I’m resting and repairing my eighth flat tire and hanging out in this tiny, sleepy town. Texas is next and more great open spaces, with few places to get food and water. Wish me warmer temperatures and the wind behind my back.
[May 4, 2016] Tucumcari, New Mexico – I was comfortable enough in the shelter, but the security lights were on all night and giant 18 wheelers were rolling by all night and it was not restful and very very noisy. Towns are few to nonexistent in this region and it’s been hard to resupply.
[May 3, 2016] Newkirk, New Mexico – Cold in the morning, decided to take the suggested cycle route, which took me on a road that sometimes was only a single lane. It was desolate, not more than one car would drive by in an hour. At one point the sheriff drove by and I waved and he stopped and backed up to see if I had flagged him down. But I told him I was just waving and being friendly. I finished my day in Newkirk, New Mexico which has one gas station. And so I’m staying at the rest area there’s a shelter which means I won’t have to set up my tent. Hooray! As the sun is setting rabbits are everywhere, everywhere I look I see rabbits. Tomorrow off to Tucumcari. Hope the winds die down a little bit.
[April 29-30, 2016] Santa Fe, New Mexico – There was hail on my bike and the picnic table where I was camping when I woke up this morning. It’s cold! I gained about 2000 feet to get up to Santa Fe run into winds and rain again just as I’m getting tired at the end of the day. I’m delighted when our former neighbor stopped by to pick me up. She will host me while I take my first day off in three weeks and resupply. I have to buy a new bike tire for my back one has worn out. These roads are rough on tires.
[April 28, 2016] Albuquerque, New Mexico – Albuquerque is sprawling with heavy traffic. To stay on the bike paths to get out of town is a meandering and complex deal, the map is not as clear as I would like. I get to the TurquoiseTrail that connects Albuquerque with Santa Fe.I camp a good ways out of the city for tomorrow will be lots of climb I camp a good ways out of the city for tomorrow will be lots of climbs and lots of miles.
[April 27, 2016] Albuquerque, New Mexico – I make it to Albuquerque! Today was a beautiful day. I was mostly on Route 66. I saw amazing Pueblos and red rocks. One road I took they told me would have light traffic and there was no traffic, but boy was it rough! It was more gravel than pavement and like a washboard. I got my seventh flat just before I 40, another thorn!. There were some really big climbs riding into Albuquerque, on the frontage road I could look down on I 40. There was a sign that said Lost Horizon. But Albuquerque wasn’t lost, it was an oasis in the middle of a desolate landscape. It’s a large city over 500,000 people. It was pretty hairy riding through the city traffic.
[April 28, 2016] Cubero, New Mexico – 60+ miles from the Continental Divide to Cubero. It was very cold today in the 30s. I was wearing about everything I owned. I started early around 7:15, the landscape is very very barren, there’s no place to stealth camp, it is very, very exposed. 6 miles before I reached Thoreau, pronounced THROW I got another flat. The interstate is better today, but I discovered I had a slow leak from the thorn that had pierced my tire. It’s about 40 miles to Albuquerque and I’m going to shoot for that tomorrow. The road is in construction and getting through in some places has been a little hairy, at one point I had to walk my bike across a very narrow ledge. Today there were a few gentle rises but nothing too extreme. A nice break from the previous three days.
[April 27, 2016] – Today I made it to the top of the continental divide. I left Gallup late because I needed to get new tire tubes after all those flats. There were lots of railroad bridges and railroad cars carrying containers a few with coal. The wind was so strong that sometimes I had to get off the bike. I was gripping the handles as hard as I could as the wind pushed me around. I alternated riding between Route 66 and when that petered out I would get back onto I 40. There was road construction today and the shoulders were all chopped up so I was trying to be very cautious with my tires, there was a lot of debris. Forecast for tomorrow is rain in the afternoon so I’m going to get an early start. It was a very exhausting day.
[April 26, 2016] Chambers, New Mexico – I made it to New Mexico. No wind today, thank goodness, and stayed in Chambers, NM. Got two flats today. I rode close to 60 miles today with some climbing but not a lot of big climbs.
[April 23, 2016] – Gallup, Arizona – I thought you might like to know what the conditions were like the past couple days here in Arizona, between Winslow and Chambers. Riding from Winslow to Holbrook the winds were at 20 MPH, with 30 MPH gusts. I put in 67 miles today, with winds at 40 MPH and gusts at 50, as reported to me by Park staff in the Petrified Forest National Park. Staff said they could not believe I was riding in those conditions. I talked to a guy riding a Harley and he said he was having difficulty keeping it on the road. Said he couldn’t imagine how I could do it! When I stopped for a break I had to brace myself to keep the bike from blowing over. When I laid the bike on the ground to rest, I could actually see the wind inch it up. I was back on Interstate 40 in the afternoon and the truckers were real good about giving me space. Most would actually pull over into the passing lane and signal. No margin of error there, with them going by at 75 MPH! I crossed into New Mexico and hope to make Gallup by days end.
[April 22, 2016] Winslow, Arizona – Flagstaff Arizona to Winslow Arizona – Over 50 miles! Today was a much easier ride, there were some gentle rises, not like the last few days of endless vertical gain. I was riding on Interstate 40 all day and the shoulder was much better, cleaner and in better repair. I got my third flat today, the tire was pierced from a piece of wire – probably from a tractor trailer tire. Passed a giant railroad yard. Also passed the place where the Eagles song “Standing on the corner” was written about. Last night I stayed at a KOA campground which was very nice. The evening temperatures are in the 30’s, the days get up to the 70’s, so it’s been very pleasant. While camping last night I ran into a man from Maine that knew a friend of a friend, so once again it’s a small world.
[April 21, 2016] Flagstaff, Arizona – I made it to Flagstaff today still climbing but not as extreme as yesterday’s endless 2000 foot climb with no rest in site, just straight up. Stopped at a bike shop to get a few minor adjustments on my bike, the cables and such, and had to replace a pair of gloves and get a new pump. The one I had just wasn’t good enough. The train is going by right now it’s got nine engines on it! I’ve never seen so many before. Yesterday I passed the Arizona divide just past Flagstaff at 7300 feet. The nice thing about the interstate is there’s a wide shoulder, but there are large amounts of truck traffic and yesterday it was very noisy and some of the shoulders were very cratered up, lots of holes. I had to be really careful and keep my eyes open. Today I was riding on Interstate 40 all day.
[April 20, 2016] Paulden, Arizona – The fire chief offered me a place to camp behind the fire station and checked out my bike. People are so kind. Today I passed through Ashfork, AZ and rode on Interstate 40 which follows Route 66. Where Route 66 is still passable I will be riding that as far as St Louis, Missouri. In some places Route 66 has not been maintained and so I will be on interstate 40. Today I rode approximately 30 miles and had 2400 feet of vertical gain. I’ve passed through scrub and am in an area where there are lodge pole pines. It’s getting colder. In the distance I can see mountains with snow on them. At one point a professional photographer stopped to take my picture and he said he would post on the site so keep your eyes peeled!
[April 19, 2016] Prescott, AZ to Chino Valley, AZ and beyond: Yesterday I was riding high in the mountain passes, switchbacks everywhere and very little traffic, but 7000 feet of elevation gain and 60 miles in a single day. I had to fight winds all day. I was exhausted by the end of the day. Today I went around the corner just after seeing a sign that said “Watch for Animals”, and there was a cow standing out in the road. That’s enough to get your heart racing. Tomorrow I am heading north towards Ash Fork and Williams and will connect with Route 66/ Interstate 40 which I will follow more or less until I get to St. Louis Missouri.
[April 18, 2016] Wickenburg , AZ to Prescott, AZ: Today I have significant vertical gain, perhaps 7000 feet! There’s a 9 mile climb and the wind this morning was from the north and east so not totally blowing against me, but something to impact my ride. I met a policeman today who went to school at Plymouth State College, it’s a small world! It was a long day yesterday, didn’t get in until 9pm. Today is scheduled for bike maintenance, resupply, and lots of good food!
[April 17, 2016] Aguilla, AZ to Wickenburg, AZ: Today is a chance to resupply and rest a little bit before I start some serious elevation gains in the mountains.
[April 16, 2016] Brenda, AZ to Aguilla, AZ: Today there was 1000 foot vertical climb. A long day.
[April 15, 2016] – Blythe, CA to Brenda, AZ: Today I ended up riding four hours through a sandstorm. I put a bandanna over my nose and mouth and peddled until I reached the town of Brenda, Arizona, which had no place to camp and no hotels, but a man was kind enough to offer me a chance to stay in his carport thank you to that fine man.
[April 13, 2016] Glamis, CA to Blythe, CA: I woke up to a beautiful sunrise over the desert, but miles to go before I could get more water or food. My first stop was at Palo Verde and I had hopes, but at the convenient store they carried no water and the local water was not potable. People were drinking beer at noon. I continue up to Blithe to resupply and rest for the night. Tomorrow Arizona here I come!
[April 12, 2016] El Centro, CA to Glamis, CA: What a great start to the day! I went across the street to the donut shop and discovered they had fresh tamales. That’s the food to help me make the miles! Today is more desert and I am on my own, Tamara leaves to go back to San Diego. I am at the lowest point of my ride today at 121 feet below sea level – it’s all up hill from here. Today’s ride is part of a 90 mile crossing of desert with no facilities whatsoever. I camp the night in the sand dunes just past the US Marine Corps Chocolate Mountain Ariel Gunnery Range, where they use live ammunition!
[April 11, 2016] Boulevard, CA to El Centro CA: I continue on route 94 past Jacumba Hot Springs where I do not get to soak in the hot springs, but ride on and up the to Mount Springs Pass where I connect with Interstate 8 and have a wondrous 14 mile downhill ride at a 6% grade! I pass a gigantic gypsum plant in Plaster City, traveling on a road that surely has not been maintained in decades. The gaps in the pavement are 4 or 5 inches deep. Then on to El Centro, where I meet up once again with Tamara. We discover the perfect taco shop which only serves fish and shrimp tacos. A great finish to a long day. Around 3 o’clock a thunder and lightning storm showed up right behind me, and stayed at my back, but I paddled fast and almost stayed dry.
[April 10, 2016] – Barrett Junction to Boulevard CA, Route 94 California: Today I head out to Boulevard, CA. More winding roads and I’m very close to the Mexican border a great deal of the time. I can see the wall that’s been built between Mexico and the US border, patrol vehicles are everywhere. Today is hilly but I do have a total drop of 3000 feet. It’s damp most of the day and just as I’m finishing, the rain begins but today I am met by my wife Tamara who whisks me off to hot food, a hot shower and a dry bed.
[April 9, 2016] – Day One – San Diego, CA to Barrett Junction, CA: I begin my day in San Diego, working my way through the city streets and heavy traffic, continuing out into the countryside along very narrow roads carved from the mountainside with no shoulders. Even though the Southwest has been in a drought, it’s raining. This is a very technical ride and there’s over 1600 feet of vertical gain, it’s very steep. At the end of the day my nephew Nathan Hickey was kind enough to set up a tent and provide dinner. We slept to the sound of the pouring rain. In the morning I discovered I had a flat tire which had to be repaired before I set out for the day.
To learn more about Doug’s Charity Bike Ride Across America, visit www.ChangingGearsAtGSIL.org.