Paul Zak's Strava activities

Saturday, September 26, 2015

I will be leaving the tour tomorrow

Over the past few days, I've decided that this tour isn't the way I want to see the country and so tomorrow I will part with the ride. The schedule is, of necessity fixed and there is limited opportunity to see the things I'd want to see. Clearly I can keep up with the riders but I've been forced to ask myself why I'd want to.

It's never been about making the milage on a schedule or about getting to St Augustine, Florida. I naively thought I'd get to see more than in a car or plane.

The path this ride takes is often, of necessity, heavily traveled truck routes. If this were a passion I could justify the risk, but merely being able to say I biked across the country and didn't see much because of the demanding schedule doesn't justify this risk for me.

Adventure Cycling published a perfectly accurate description of the ride. It is exactly as they said it would be; a ride with a fixed schedule for the experienced and self sufficient rider. Any misjudgment is mine alone. The leader is seasoned and conducted all phases of the tour in an appropriate and professional way.

For the great and passionate folks who continue, I will miss them and wish them all the best and above all, a safe ride.

Monday I'll be able to rent a car, I expect to be back in the Bay Area by Wednesday or so.

81 miles and a broken spoke in Fort Thomas, AZ

At the 60 mile mark, we stopped at the Dollar General in Fort Thomas to have something to drink and I heard a ping. A front spoke broke. Better while stopped than while moving. Not really the highpoint of anyone's ride.

A broken spoke can cause a wheel to 'taco' and it is as bad as it sounds. If you're moving, you can go down. So thankfully it happened while sitting in the hot sun not going anywhere.

Then there is the problem of what to do next. Thankfully I carry a kevlar spoke which is a piece of very strong string and a fitting which screws into the spoke. I've never used one before but I'd heard good things.

It got me the 20 miles to town and an open bike shop. The very nice owner replaced the spoke, trued the wheel and sold me a tube of chain lube for $18. A bargain. They are closed on Sunday so I had to cycle like the wind to get there in time. Today is Saturday. I'm exhausted.

At least we're in an air conditioned rec center tonight. Hopefully I will be able to sleep better than last night. While the facility was nice, it got noisy. There were coyotes, drunks, dogs and motorcyclists. The sodium lighting made it as bright as day. I'm not sure anyone slept.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Globe, a thriving little town

Globe is a happening place. It supposedly has a population of 1600 but you couldn't tell from the Walmart, the dance and Marshall arts studios and banks. Road construction is booming here too. I saw a very large Republican headquarters, Democrats, not  brave enough to have a storefront? Or perhaps there just aren't any.

This afternoon we find ourselves in a very nice community center/park. The town has opened up the pool shower room and allows us to camp on a nice, flat grassy area. It's as good as camping can get!

There is a small archeological site here so since I'm all cleaned up, it's time to go exploring.

Tomorrow's ride to Safford, AZ is supposed to be 81 miles, but without most of the climbing we did today. No word yet on the relative safety of this segment, but it's pretty clear that AZ highway 60 is rough in places.

Lunch was a veggie omelet and a gallon of ice tea. The nice waitress says they get a lot of bicyclists. Apparently some part of the economy appreciates having us pass through.

One last thing about today's ride. We passed at least 2 very large open pit copper mines. One seemed to have some ore processing going on. In town, there are the expected urgent care offices along with company hiring, training offices and associated support companies.

Most dangerous part of ride so far

If I'd known what this morning's ride was going to be like, I wouldn't have done it.

Highway 60 out of Superior is largely uphill and under construction. There is a tunnel 2 miles out of town with a passing lane which was closed. This road has heavy truck and support vehicles. They move fast and many of the drivers are impatient and intolerant of bike traffic. At one point, it was so bad that I just leaned into the guard rail and stopped to avoid the tires only a foot or a foot and a half away from me. Some drivers want to make a point. Point taken.

I have never felt more exposed or in jeopardy and hope never to feel that way again. This part of the ride should be bridged by rental vehicle or other means, at least until construction is complete.

One of our group who's been struggling has apparently been told she needs to find alternate transportation out. Her ride is over. She's a very sweet and passionate lady who wanted very badly to complete this ride.

Unfortunately, she came without basic skills or abilities to do the ride. She was initially unable to change a flat or shift competently. She admitted not having trained for the ride and walked the hills. The heat caused even more trouble. She caught rides on many days. The leader worked with her until it became obvious that this just wasn't going to work.

The ride is a passion for many of the folks on this trip. For me, it's a lark. Fun to see new things, but not a bucket list item.

This would be a stupid way to die or get hurt.

I'm in Globe now, about 8 miles from the campsite.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

One order of WiFi please, hold the bedbugs

I added a 10 mile loop to today's 65 mile ride for a total of 75. I just missed a turn and would up in Chandler. Then I had to work my way back to the proper course. All in all it probably only added an hour to the day's ride.

It's been particularly hot out here, certainly over 100°F but it's hard to say how much. Once the road heats up you're pretty much in an oven.

The goal has been to get out as early as possible but Adventure Cycling has a rule about not riding in the dark. We are warned daily that this is contrary to the rules, but there is little choice but to ride. I was on the road at 5:08 this morning and pulled in to Superior AZ about 1:30 pm. That's something on the order of 11 miles per hour which is about right for me on this bike, loaded.

The country is beautiful, but we climbed quite a bit in the last 10 miles, at the hottest part of the ride. Those last 3 miles were hard. I drink water continually but when I rolled into town I drank another 3 x 36 oz cold drinks. I am continually amazed by how much water it takes to stay hydrated in the desert.

I was able to get a private room at today's stop. Bunking with 8 other guys is a serious plain in the ass. I've had my fill of the homophobic shit, the farting and what ever else passes for bunkhouse humor. I'd have thought the presence of three women would tone it down a bit but it doesn't seem to be working that way on this trip.

This motel was a last minute replacement because the campground we were to stay in closed. Because this is a high class outfit, the leader sprang for only enough beds for 2 to a queen sized bed. In reality, I expect people chose for the bed and some got the floor. This trip is all about roughing it.  I had no idea how rough it could get. I'd rather be in a tent except for the heat. It doesn't cool off till very late in the evening.

Folks are breaking things and shipping stuff home. Yesterday in Phoenix, a large contingent went on pilgrimage to REI to replace heavy stuff with lite.

I am purging, not purchasing. I can still trim more and it makes sense to do it earlier rather than later.

We do a bit of serious climbing tomorrow from Superior to Globe but thankfully most will be in the cool of the day.

These towns all appear to be hanging on by a thread. This town has a copper mine which reopened recently, but a fluctuating copper price is playing havoc with the local economy.

There is a thing which motels and campgrounds do which is pretty tacky relative to their advertised WiFi access. They provide a password but fully half the time it doesn't connect. Then they shrug their shoulders and say it works for them. I have a phone and a tablet and there must be another 10 - 15 devices throughout the group. We can't all have misbehaving devices. In truth, these places aren't even up to the high standards of a Motel 6. I'm pretty certain that I'll wind up with bedbugs at some point but bedbugs with WiFi is better than bedbugs without, if you see my reasoning.

I'm spoiled. I know this low end mad-dash of southern US won't kill me, but it's a little madder than I'd imagined. I'm wondering if an exit in Austin might be a thing to do. I could spend 2 or 3 days by a pool considering my situation and then proceed along the same route, but at my pace. I don't need to get to St Augustine, ever but I do want to get to Linda's parents in Zepher Hills. If I divert rather than go to S.A. I could save something like 5 days of riding. I could make my way from Austin to Zepher Hills at a slower pace staying in a few towns for a couple of days each. That's the theory at least.

I'm not entirely sure I understand the point of speeding across the country on a bicycle. I'm feeling rushed. Perhaps getting through the west quickly is the best way to do it. But once I'm in the south, it would be nice to see something, eat something other than carbs and maybe hear some music. The breakneck speed of this tour precludes much of this.

It's not going to take much convincing. I just need to work out the dates.

Linda gets to ZH on November 14. It would be nice to get their on or before then. I think I can work it out.

More after I look at a calendar.

WiFi courtesy of the local public library!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Someone is sleeping in my bed. No really.

I must need a karma adjustment. Someone moved my stuff and went to sleep in my bunk. These are the indignities of travel like this. Kind of nervie, huh?

The biking is not all that complicated or difficult. The people part is not easy or intuitive.

The old saw: 'Family stinks like fish after 3 days.'

What's the time period for biking acquaintances sleeping in the same room?

The rain has come to Phoenix

It has just started pouring in downtown Phoenix the likes of which I haven't seen in a while. Some of us got to the hostel before noon and went exploring others napped. I'm on foot, downtown looking for dinner but I'm pinned down in the doorway of an office building. The temperature has dropped to a very comfortable level but I'm getting hungrier.

We rode from Wickenburg to Phoenix today. 59 miles, mostly level or downhill but with a slight headwind.

The route took us on a series of bike trails which led us about 20 miles into town. Kudos for an extensive and well maintained bike path system.

The transit system is also quite good. I've bought an all day pass and probably will again tomorrow for the rest day.

Send your suggestions for what to do if you know Phoenix.

Wickenburg was a very pleasant time. I went for a walk and found a hole in the wall Mexican restaurant for dinner. I'm developing a reputation for going it alone. When I include people, they decline so I've stopped offering. Many seem to want to be led. Perhaps they figure they paid for the food so they should never range far from the floating kitchen. 16 bikes can carry an impressive amount of food.

Last night's map meeting was a train wreck. No amount of explanation was sufficient for some. For gods sake, these people are traveling cross country on bikes. They need to do some navigation! The maps we have are outstanding and the specific detail related to the hostel's location were flawless.

Most folks are intelligent and competent. A few, shall we say, are interesting characters.

The rain is still coming down but the grumble in my stomach is drawing attention. Time to weather the storm and find a tavern with an alcoholic beverage or two.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Good ride to Wickenburg, AZ

The rain held off today during the ride. It's threatening now but even this is half hearted. It was enough to scare folks into setting up tents quickly, but it has stopped for the moment. Depending on who you listen to we'll either have 2" and flooding or the storm has been downgraded and is moving east.

The ride was a lot more pleasant today. The overcast kept the temperature down which made a great change from the past few days. I've been carrying my standard 3 water bottles and a 1 gallon plastic jug just strapped on. Didn't need the jug today.

This is a biggish town with a population of about 6000. Compared to the towns we've been in, it's civilization.

People in the small towns we've been passing through are survivors living on minimal resources. Most houses are ramshackle affairs with more in common with sheds than houses.

I picked up another wire from an exploded retread heading into town this afternoon and when I looked for my patch kits, I couldn't find any. This is a serious boneheaded mistake, but luckily, I found a small bike shop in town with patch kits (I bought the last 2) and 3 tubes.

I was the first in to camp today (Horsepetality RV park)and started working with the owner, Jan to organize our stay bathroom code, campsite location, WiFi PW, etc.. She was so helpful and sweet. When the bulk of our folks arrived one guy went to tell her that he was going to sleep in the rec room because he didn't want to get his tent wet. She found me to say that if all hell broke loose, of course we could use the rec room, but short of that she didn't appreciate being told anything by our riders.  By then the leader (Creed) arrived and we applied copious helpings of charm. It might not surprise some of you to learn this bull in a china shop is from Connecticut.

I think I'll sneak a way in a bit for a nice quiet Mexican burrito. There seems to be a Mexican restaurant down the road a piece.

Tomorrow we head into Phoenix and stay in a hostel for 2 nights. Wednesday is a well earned rest day.

Not sure how likely, but I'd love to find a pool to sit by.

My nose is crispy, though I have started applying sunscreen, belatedly. Other than that, all is good.

I spent a couple of hours yesterday educating an Aussie on the finer points of the Kaiser system as opposed to fee for service. If Australia suddenly opens a Kaiser branch, I want a cut.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Salome today, Wickenburg, AZ tomorrow

Major thunderstorms are forecast for tomorrow to include something like an inch and a half of rain. We're riding in very exposed territory so it will be important to try and avoid the lightening and flash flooding. The good news is that while more humid, the temperature should drop a bit. It is 104°F now. When I rolled into town it was already close to 100°.

We're staying in a motel tonight so there was time for a bit of exploring and socialising. One guy's birthday was today so we sang hbty; mostly in key, which was quite surprising.

2 folks got rides today due to the heat. It hasn't been terribly difficult for needy folks to get rides, bikes and bags and all. There are a lot of nice people out there willing to help. People routinely ask where we're going. Most are supportive. Very few tell us we're nuts.

More ice cream today although I did find a very nice salad for lunch here on Salome.

Camping tomorrow and the rain forecast have me thinking about a room in Wickenburg for the night. There seem to be many motels there, so I may choose to avoid camping in the rain if the rain really develops. Complexity of camping goes way up when it rains. I'm not about deprivation and suffering. Others will sneer. I will be dry.

Looks like about 1500' of climbing tomorrow and 54 miles.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Quartzite, out of season

Quartzite exists for the freeway. All the business's cater to truckers and people passing through.

There is apparently a 'season' here and it doesn't start till October. Much of this town is closed.

It was not possible to find any business to ship my stuff; that will have to wait for Monday at the earliest, and possibly Phoenix. Mailbox USA is really Mailbox big town USA! No FedEx or UPS or Staples. We are so spoiled and lucky.

I have done the town and there is no more to do.

Tomorrow, Salome, AZ. Should also be a short ride; in the 35 mile range. I've stopped looking at elevation data. If it's steep, why worry, and if it's not, it'll be a pleasant surprise.

You can see elevation data in Google maps if interested. Just make sure you use the bicycle routing and it appears automatically.

My health is good. Sore tuchus, but knees and feet good, no cramping despite the heat, no chest pain no matter how hard I push.

Drinking an unbelievable amount of water and anything else I can find. I have had 2x 44 oz drinks in an hour on two separate days. Getting enough fluids is no joke and our leader is working with some who aren't figuring this out.

Today is a lot more relaxed, not least because we got in around noon and are in a motel.

I need to break away a bit and espeially when it rains next week, and stay in more motel's. My disposition will certainly improve. Some of these people thrive a little to much on pain and misery.

What's with all the pee bottles by the side of the road?

This is a phenomena I only recently became aware of. Apparently men, (I hope only men) pee in empty water bottles and toss them out the window of moving vehicles on interstate highways. There are an incredible number to be seen. Someone could study the health of the motoring public by urinalyses. If the color is any indication there are some very sick people out there. The sheer volume suggest getting hit in the head with one isn't completely out of the realm of possibility.

Exploded retreads and black shock cords are also all over the place. I've already destroyed one inner tube on this ride from retread wire.

Today's ride was a bit easier. I'm now in Quartzite, AZ and in a McDonald's for the second time in three days. God help me.

Occasionally, it's necessary for us to ride on the interstate highways, but only when there is no alternative. It's not as bad as it sounds since the shoulders are pretty wide so far. It's far more unnerving for the dual hay trucks to pass on two lane roads. They don't seem to like to share.

Off to look for the hostel and a UPS store to ship more stuff. Although I've been shipping things back, the bags are still very full. Go figure.

Last night in Palo Verde

Very tough ride yesterday. 64 miles and 97° temps. Keeping enough salt, sucrose, water in you is the trick.

Unfortunately, I'm beginning to understand the true nature of this ride and it's concerning.

This trip is largely about packing, unpacking, sugar, beef, and the more or less continual search for potable water.

I have sent a few things back and more will head out later today when I find a post office. The computer I had hoped of writing the blog on and the hiking boots must go. While I'm taking photos, I will need to publish them at the end of the ride. There just isn't time for more.

The farmland and water devoted to silage down here is unimaginable. They even still grow some cotton. So this is where the Colorado river water goes.

Today we cross into Arizona. I'm hoping that the tenting will become more of a routine and less hunting for things in the dark. Because of the heat, we've been getting up at 4:30 to begin packing. Just keeping track and not losing things in the dark is an undertaking. I'm fine with being up at that hour, nothing to be gained by waiting.

Everyone is cheerful. Some seem to take naturally to the camping. Food is pretty much chaos. Not a lot of logic to what's bought. Some creative sole bought 5 cucumbers yesterday. I carried 4 to the next campsite. We have more peanut butter and preserves than we'll use in a month, but we carry it all.

Just by way of technical details. The solar panel I brought works well and I can generally charge the Garmin GPS. Unfortunately, there aren't enough hours of sunlight from the time I get into camp, to fully charge the cellphone. This means I'm operating on a deficit. If you don't see a blog entry, it could be because power is down or, like yesterday, the campsite WiFi did not work.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Tonight in Live Oak Springs

We're slowing a bit through the mountains to accommodate some folks who are having some mechanical issues and are struggling a bit with the climbs so we won't make Ocotillo till tomorrow. No problem, we'll get there eventually. So far, I'm running with the strong riders. No mechanical problems. I won't be left behind today at least. Tomorrow is a big downhill into the desert.

The sun has come out and other than the occasional impatient driver, all is right with the world.

Update to the update

The rain only got worse after the burrito so I checked in to the first motel I could find. I don't do camping in the rain if I can avoid it. The complexity goes up exponentially.

I did have group cooking utensils so I got dry and warm and headed up to the campsite to deliver them.

Though I offered up my floor to all. I had no takers.

Today should have been called the shakedown ride. One guy had multiple flats and didn't bring sufficient spare tubes for his very unusually sized tires. Another had a crank fall off and a rear wheel loosten due to a broken or improperly installed trailer.

The leader lives in this area so he had friends near with a truck to help with the crank and trailer problems. After today it gets more interesting. There are few options for support till Phoenix.

It rained an inch and a half yesterday. Just a fine mist with a 20% chance of rain this morning which should clear by 11:00am. Forecast is for 70s and, as we get closer to Ocotillo, it will get dryer.

I have raingear and covers for most bags. I also have one small drybag for warm clothes if everything else gets soaked.

We are all conscious of the power of flash floods and won't be taking any risks there. After today, I expect the risk to diminish greatly.

For unknown reasons, the drivers seem fairly considerate of bicyclists up here. Hopefully that continues.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Quick update from Alpine roadside

It's pouring. I have water where water shouldn't be. My feet are floating.

Day one. Auspicious. The ride wouldn't be bad otherwise. Only got lost once in a park where the trail turned un-ridable and I wound up pushing the fully loaded bike uphill on a very narrow path.

I have stopped to refuel in a great little dive taco shop and had a veggie burrito of course. I've been living on sugar lately. Bad, very bad.

The group ranges from 51 to 70, every one a character. Creed, our leader has met his match. The map meeting last night almost turned ugly. One guy from New Zealand,  needs more transliteration than the one from Holland. What, exactly is luncheon meet anyway? Our New Zealander won't eat it.

They aren't all that happy about the one vegetarian in the group and no one has any dietary issues except for tree nuts, dairy, uncooked apples, pears, or peaches and, apparently lunchen meat. Two guys with c-pap machines want to sleep near power when possible. Those darn vegetarians.

So far charming and amusing.  We're already sharing washing machine loads. You have to watch 3 guys doing laundry to believe it. Cold or warm? Color or permanent press? Dryer? Hell no, Spandex will only fit a barbie doll if you do that.

Then it's done and we get to claim the bits and pieces. Pick up the clean underwear by the edge.  Euwww. Mine, mine, not mine, mine, no ones, one sock, mine, next sock, yours, and so on.

Photos in the rain at the taco stand is more than I can manage so unless the sun comes out all of a sudden there won't be any today. I'm about 4 miles from the campsite so I should be in a hot shower within the hour if all goes to plan. Hopefully it isn't going to rain all night. That just sucks in a tent.

More to come.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Pre-ride Coronado trip

Linda left this morning and has made it safely back to San Jose in record time.

I can't believe Linda left me here all alone.
I got myself to the SD/Coronado ferry and took the ride. Coronado is a favorite. I was first to the Hotel del Coronado when I was about 16 and went with family friends. I've been back 2 or three times since and it a great place to stay if you haven't yet been. It's where a Some Like it Hot was filmed here if you're a film buff.

Hotel del Coronado

Once through Coronado, I headed down the Silver Strand Highway winding up at Imperial Beach, The farthest south you can go in California, on the beach. I wended my way around this area, and found the Customs and Border Patrol horse stables, a Navy airbase and a bunch of farms.

This guy is guarding a restaurant in Coronado.

Silver Strand has a great bike path. The trip back up on the San Diego side is broken up with some good and some dodgy paths.

A little warm today but a great day in any case. I'm already looking forward to coming back to Coronado. We're supposed to get some rain for a couple of days. That ought to be interesting.

Tomorrow is the shakedown ride. Tuesday we hit to road.

Good pizza in SD? Who knew? Bronx Pizza is pretty damn good! It passed Linda's test.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

I should be collapsing on a beach instead of starting an expedition.

On Monday, we discovered significant termite damage along the south wall. I was able to lift and replace the damaged pieces, but it took the whole day. It had to be done, because the stucco crew was coming today, Tuesday. It's much easier to replace this before the stucco goes up so there wasn't much choice.

James did a rough grading of the site yesterday so no more holes to fall into. I'm reasonably confident that the worst is over but there is work which will continue in my absence.

Ground treatment for termites will come on Friday. The final 'color coat' of stucco comes on Tuesday and James will frame the perimeter concrete walkway on Wednesday. After that, James will pour the walkway, repair the patio concrete he needed to remove for two of the piers and will build a gate. Danny will paint the stucco and in the following month, when Linda meets me in Florida, the termite folks will tent the house for three days to get rid of a different kind of termites, because, of course, we have two different types who each respond to different poisons. 

We'll fix and paint the interior after I return from the trip. There are cracks, but at least I've adjusted doors and windows and everything works as it should.

There is a light coating of dust over pretty much everything in every room. Linda has been very patient about all this. Someone will help Linda with the cleaning, but it's not going to be easy to get it all. She'll be prepping for the termite tenting without me and that alone is a project. All food and meds that aren't in sealed glass or metal containers must be removed. Plants need trimming, decorative rock needs moving, all cabinets and hatches opened and the list goes on. 

Unless I've missed something I think I get Thursday off. I haven't been on the bike in weeks and I'm pooped. This isn't an auspicious start to a 2 month trip. It's pretty sad when you have to go on a coast to coast bike ride to get a little R&R after a major construction project. Never start a project like this with a hard stop. All the major work which I absolutely needed to participate in, is done. The rest is up to Linda, James, and for the exterior painting, Danny.

For those who have a perverse interest in the numbers. As it sits today, including repair of hidden damage, termite treatment, permits, engineering, excavation, lifting, tools, concrete, supplies and necessary trades, we're into the project for about $27k. A rough estimate of an alternate solution (Ramjack) started at $40k and didn't include site work, repair of hidden damage, patio concrete restoration or termite treatment. It would have been considerably more than this base estimate. On the whole, not a bad deal. A good project but not for the faint of heart. Most or all of our neighbors have or will confront this problem of shifting ground. It's just the way it is on this hillside.

This will turn into a blog about the ride. I promise. Linda and I are planning on breaking up the drive down with a night in Santa Barbara before heading to San Diego on Saturday. Linda will head back up on Sunday morning and I have a group meeting that evening. Monday is a shakedown ride and Tuesday we actually head to Alpine, California which is about 38 miles and 2700' of elevation gain.

Wednesday, we head to Ocotillo, passing through the town of Jacumba where resides a great naturist resort.
Alas, I don't think this group would be up for it, but a few days there would surely even out the tan.

Termite damage in sill plate 4x6 spacer along south wall.
Replaced 4x6 and treated with wood preservative.
Stucco crew placing vapor barrier and stucco wire.
Scratch coat being applied.
Art makes this look simple but it isn't.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Friday we head to San Diego

The last of the concrete for the San Jose foundation was poured on Wednesday. That part of the of the house is now supported by 10 additional cubic yards of concrete in addition to a dozen screw jacks and a mess of rebar. Danny Hall is helping me to finish up some last details related to stucco and a misaligned window caused by the lift. James is finishing up site work and fence repair.

I can't say enough good things about James and his guys. He is always there when he says he will be and the work has moved as quickly as it possibly could. In hindsight, next time I decide to raise a house an inch and a half, I'll try to avoid a schedule with a hard stop.

The trip has an e-mail distribution list which has been buzzing for weeks. Everything is a send-all. People are excited which is good. Not every note has been of high value, shall we say. I couldn't quite tune it out because there was always the possibility of something important coming from the leader. Because misery likes company, here is a short list of the topics.
  • Is anyone bringing spare tubes? (Yes, of course everyone should.)
  • How much pannier space to devote to group equipment and supplies. (Important, 25%)
  • La Nina's impact on weather in the next two months. (Unresolved other than the certainty of rain.)
  • Should one member move their tour date to next year to avoid La Nina weather phenomena.
  • All manner of 'what if' disaster scenarios. (Drowning on a bicycle or even in a campsite is rare.)
  • A question about whether to bring bug spray. (Yes, there are bugs in the south.)

This has been going on for 6 weeks. The ride will be almost as long.

The ride is just under 2100 miles and notwithstanding the e-mail send-alls, I am looking forward to it. The camping, not so much. I will learn to love camping. Right?

Having the house sorted is a very good thing.

More later in the week.

Dig the holes.

Place the re-bar.
Pour the piers.
Jack with the hydraulic jack and support with the screw jack.
Remove hydraulic jack, place forms, and pour concrete.