Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Ely, NV

We have made it to Ely, Nevada.. the border is getting closer and closer. We are excited for Utah, although it is rumored not to be much more exciting than NV in terms of scenery, it will feel good to get into another state. Nevada has definetely been a challenge, but it has also been fun. We have met many characters and interesting people, camped alongside the road in ditches and patches of shrubs, have seen some absolutely amazing sunsets, and have spent a night next to our own private hot spring. Hwy 50 is called the loneliest hwy in america, but take it from us there are much lonelier. There is at least one car every 5-10 minutes and that feels like a lot of traffic after we've spent hours on the other smaller highways. We've ridden through towns that don't exist, in fact one of our favorites is Basalt, it is on the map, and when we got there it was nothing but a stop sign. This is not uncommon here in NV, the big towns if we are lucky have a gas station with a mini mart, but most dont even have that. We rode past a town called Marietta which is known for its packs of wild donkeys, and later that day we were very surprised to find a herd of wild horses grazing only 100 yards from the highway. Just past Middlegate there is a tree that is famous for the ridiculous amount of shoes that hang from its branches. The story goes that years ago a newlywed couple were arguing beneath the tree. The wife got so fed up that she threatened to walk back into town on her own, the husband, not wanting the argument to end like that, responded by throwing her shoes in the tree telling her she had to do it barefoot. Since this incident the tree has accumalted hundreds of pairs of footwear, and it is quite a bizarre sight to see in the middle of the desert (let alone a tree at all). The other night we did our first night ride through the desert. We were each equipped with bright headlights, flashing rear lights, and a flashing headlamp. On top of it all we were bumping Daft Punk on the iPod speakers, it was quite a techno rave. With this split riding style (6am-11am and 5pm-9pm) we are able to cover some 60-70 miles a day on average. Once again we are mailing home a lot more stuff. In fact we have ditched our front two bags entirely, and are basically down to one t shirt each, one pair of pants, our riding clothes, and our camping gear, and one pair of boxers. We hope this is our last gear dump. Hopefully our avg. mileage will increase as we figure out how much water we actually need to carry, and after we finish this second bag dump. We are leaving Ely in an hour or two, heading due east. There is strong tailwind right now, we are fully rested, and the sky is overcast which keeps it nice and cool. Our next stop should be Great Basin Natl. Park, which will be the last we see of Nevada. Thanks everyone for the comments and words of encouragement. We do read them, and it does help. After this wed. it will be week three on the road, we will be encroaching on our 1000 mile mark, and we might be able to meet up with some friends on the road (Connor, Paul, Neil & Christie?) Hopefully we will be able to post again soon.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Austin NV

austin . NV ... doing well. we just showered at a community pool. first shower in 8 days.. 5 days of desert camping gets you pretty dirty. we are waiting out the heat .. ready to ride again around 5. havent had much cell service.. let alone anything recently.. looks like eureka will be our next chance to shop at a grocery store.. til then more gas stations. yesterday we were stoked to find a little bar in middlegate that had the best burger we have had yet.. and some of the friendliest people in NV. well weve got some high passes and long stretches ahead but we are feeling good and are excited to be in utah by the end of this week.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Gabbs NV

We're camping out in the middle of the desert by Gabbs, NV. Pretty rough day. Its hard to find towns on the map that arent just abandoned mining towns. We're seeing some interesting stuff and meeting some very different people. Bed time.... we'll report back soon.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

woo hoo...we made it out of cali. ...giving the desert riding a shot.. so far its hot and boring with a serious lack of shade...our speed is slower as well because of all the stupid water we are carrying... just starting to figure out our riding approach.

Lee Vining, CA

Hey Everyone!!!

Nico and Calen reporting here from Lee Vining, CA. We made it over the Sierras! It took us two days of riding and one day of rest in between. The first day we rode from Yosemite Bug Hostel in Midpines, CA to Yosemite valley. Here we enjoyed a delicious burger and all the classic wonders of the valley, including way too many disneyland tourists. We spent the latter part of the day climbing from the valley (~2000 ft.) to crane flat (~6200 ft.) Surprisingly, we felt great and energetic the whole way up! Once we arrived at crane flat, we were very relieved to find many empty camp spots. We set up our tent, made some delicious pasta (mmmm... carbs) and quickly passed out. The next day, we took a breather and just hung out at camp and in a nearby meadow all day. We enjoyed some delicious brews and snacks from a nearby gas station. We made some more fixes to the bikes and prepared ourselves for the following big day. We woke up early the next morning, and hit the road. The ride started out just as hard as it ended with very steep grades and high elevation. We definitely felt the lack of 02 in the air. We road a total of 60 miles, most of which uphill and finally crossed over the pass at an elevation of 9945 ft. Just before the pass, we stopped at a serene creek looking up at Mt. Dana and took a nice dip in the frigid snow melt (Partially because we haven't taken showers for some time now.) The next twelve miles consisted of a 4-8% downhill grade where we broke our land-speed record at a whopping... 50mph! The Sierras were a blast! We saw marmots, bears, deer, and a few too many mosquitoes. We now sit at an internet info center and plan the next legs through Nevada and into Utah. Our main consideration four our route is WATER stops! The heat does not look to be to bad (70's and 80's) and there are possible thunderstorms which would be great! We'll keep ya updated soon but do not know the next time we will have internet or cell reception. Here are some pictures of our journey through the Sierras:

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Yosemite Bug, Midpines, CA

Hey everyone,

After three days of biking, we are enjoying a day off at Yosemite Bug Hostel in Midpines, CA. We arrived yesterday evening after spending some time Mariposa, 10 miles before. After our first serious climbs, we realized that we were carrying excess clothes, shoes, books, etc. We re-evaluated and sent home a few very heavy packages. We also stopped at a hardware store and made some essential repairs to our busted racks (thanks John for the tips). Now, we are taking it easy and relaxing in preparation for three more days of serious climbs. We sit at ~2,000 ft. and sip back some brews. By tues/wed we'll be chugging water at 10,000 ft! Here are a few better pics of the journey so far:

Touching the rear tire in the Pacific.

View of San Luis Reservoir from our roadside camp spot.

The worlds largest kids point us in the right direction.

We wondered what the gap in the road on the map meant...

Avoiding the highway to the extreme.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Merced County Line

last night we stayed with grandpa.. this old dude who runs some hostel in merced. thanks candice for helpin us out. yesterday was a very hot leg..but we made it. today we are shooting for midpines just past mariposa.. 100 degree heat..so we left at 5.30 ..making good time we are taking a breather in the shade of this sign..its the only shade we've seen in 15 miles.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Gustine, CA

yo! made it up the gnarly grade and over pacheco pass. set up camp at the reservoir and headed out this morning... there was some word of a heat wave and we def feel the effects... chargin to yosemite!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

made it out of santa cruz county. we have a tailwind and only a few problems so far.

here we are... at the pacific! ready for departure!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

this is calen.. reporting from seabbright s.c. here with benny rangell. Nico and I are about to embark to outdoor world to get our last minute stuff. packing sucks i am really ready to get on the road.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Finished Bike!!!

School has just ended. I had my last final this week and had plenty of time to finish up the touring bike! Here are some pictures of it. I completely tore the bike down to the frame, painted it, and reassembled. I replaced most the drivetrain (with the exception of the cluster). Check out the new Sugino XD Crankset!!! nice... I replaced the cables, housing, bar tape, rear brake, and tires. I also threw on some mountain clipless pedals which will be great for touring. All that is left to do is throw on the racks and fill up the bags... We leave in less than one week from now and are pretty much prepared. We have a few last minute items to get but will be on our way soon!!! Heres the pics:

The complete bike!

New Crankset

Rear end/New Brake/New Tire

Me stoked on the first ride on the complete bike (photo props to Candice)

Another shot of me on the bike.