So we left Glamis tired, hungover and little depressed. At that point if I heard the sound of a souped up off road vehicle again I was going to bury myself in the sand and give up on life. So It was safe to say we were looking forward to hang with some like minded weirdos at the slabs.

Our ride from glamis took us through miles of huge corporate farms and of course more desert. We stopped 3 miles outside of Slab city in the small town of Niland, CA to pick supplies (beer, food and water!) because we heard that none of those things could be acquired at the slabs. (which by the way is not true, I’m sure you could trade, buy or mooch any of those things from individual slabbers) At the market we ran into two people who were obviously going the same way, so we sparked up a convo and pick us up a couple of guides. They rode with us and filled us in on what was up out in the desert.

Basically Slab City is a camp of squatters, hippies, snow birds and people who want to drop out for a week, a month or even years. This is the last free place on earth. It was once a Military Base in service during WWII and now is home to thousands during the winter (snow birds) and couple hundred hardcore slabbers year round (that shit is hhhhot in the summer, sometimes reaching 120 Fahrenheit!)  The Slabs refer to the concrete foundations claimed by individuals who set up make shift houses, RV’s, tents or what ever feels like home.

SLAB CITY!!

sergggeeeee city!

Skate Park Slab

Our time at the slabs was short because Serge broke a spoke and no one had the tool needed to take the sprocket off the back wheel. I think we had a pretty good taste of what this place was all about, a day and a night was all we needed.  We met people from all over the world and basically smoked a lot of weed and drank a lot beer which seems to be a way of life for many out in the desert.  We met a birthday boy wandering through the desert in a fuzzy blue bath robe looking for something that he couldn’t quite articulate.  We met a lot cool crusty kids who were taking a break from riding the rails.  We met this super cool girl who was on her way to maine…on her BIKE!!!  We stayed on Jason’s slab, which is also the official Slab City skate park complete with a sweet tagged up pool.  We had coffee and shot the shit with a few 20 year plus slabbers at the oasis club.  We ate beans out of the can man!  We drank a lot of miller high life tall boys!!   We slept on a concrete slab!!!!!!

Jesus is for everyone...

mornin'

After coffee we decided that we should try and find a bike shop, the nearest being 40 miles south in El Centro. Before we left we stopped by Salvation Mountain , which is this huge monument to Christ made completely out of hay, tires and thousands of gallons of acrylic paint. It looks like a huge delicious day-glo Birthday cake for God that you can walk on and in, covered in biblical verses. It’s absolutely insane! It was made by this crazy old artist Leonard Knight who is originally from North Hero, Vermont. We didn’t get a chance to talk to him because he was busy preaching the word to a bunch senior citizen jesus freaks. If you ever get a chance to see this in the flesh, do it! It’s really incredible!

Salvation Mountain!!!

Good news...GOD is LOVE!!

Leonard Knight and some tourists!

smell the flowers!

FIRE!!!

really?

UP!

Bible Wagon!

NEVER!!!

So after checking out Leonard Knight’s insanely cool mountain monument to jesus we caught a bus from Niland to El Centro and serge fixed his bike for free at this really cool tiny bike shop.  We ended up getting a really cheap motel room and went to bed early dreaming of san diego! So close! Only 120 miles and over 4000 ft in elevation away…

See you in EL CENTRO SUCKAS!!!

okay guys, i know we haven’t updated this blog in forevvvr. i know! please rest asssured that the reasons for our digital negligence has nothing whatsoever to do with (a) a lack of bloggable stories or (b) being dead. in fact, there is much to tell, and it is only now that we are in torrence california at dale’s grandad’s that we are finally experiencing the relative intransience necessary to complete what has become a more looming task with each sucessive procrastination. the good news for y’all is that, since there have been roughly three weeks since our last post, you’ll probably receive only the most poignant and hilarious events, and not so much of the routine day-to-day existence of the bike touring life.

after a few days recouperating from our first major excursion down to bisbee, a trip which in total encompassed over 250 miles, we finally said goodbye to our friends zach and adam, along with all the rest of the bicas friend crew, who are all awesome, seriously, go there, you’ll fall in love. on the road, we encountered some foul weather and nasty headwinds, as well as our first taste of travel on the open highway, which is scary but also very fast. after a few nights camped out on open blm land in the desert, surrounded by cacti, succulent plants, thorn bushes, and the tire tracks and spent shotgun cartgidges of so many crazy desert rednecks, we arrived in yuma, arizona, the last city before we crossed into that wonderous state about which more songs have been written than probably any other state, california. more precisely, yuma is more of a vast area of suburban sprawl than a city per se, and it took us the better part of an afternoon of asking everyone we could find before we finally found an area that could be considered ‘downtown’, a two-block stretch of admittedly cool old art-deco buildings which is beautiful but whise buisinesses have largly been driven out of busness by the surrounding automobile-friendly corporate hell, as is the fashion these days.

Plane GRAVEYARD!!! on the way out of tucson!! F! YEAH!!

On The Road To YUMA...

HUGH CORPORATE FARMS!

Desert Night!

Desert SERGE!

Desert Dale!

Dork!

SUPER COOOOOOL!

Lunch before a hugh climb and drop into Yuma...

anyway, we had some good times in yuma, but there is one disturbing story that really sticks out. our first night in town we stayed in an ostensibly haunted run-down hotel, but we couldn’t afford to stay there for the duration of our stay, and we were on the lookout for somewhere we could camp out or otherwise post up for free. across the river to california, we spotted a charming little spanish mission, and decided to investigate and snap some requisite touristic photos. on the way there, a boisstrous photographer told us, as if in foreboding, that we should ‘always keep one eye open’ around catholic priests. when we got to the mission, we were invited inside to look around by a man named rusty, who turned out to be the priest. rusty is an older guy, but he engaged us in conversation, relating to our adventurous spirits with his own stories of low-budget travel in europe following his stint in the seminary. he invited us to stay in the church that night, following that honorable civic tradition the church has of helping out vagrants. rusty seemed cool enough, and we did need a place to stay, so we reluctantly agreed. later that day we arrived at the church with our bikes and gear, and were invited into the rectory. rusty told us about his passion for extreme motorcycling, and showed us his bike, which he rides with a gang of united states marines and has apparently taken up to 197 mph. then he invited us to the grocery store to buy some dinner supplies, although we were not hungry, having just eaten large quantities of pie at our favorite local diner. at the store, rusty headed straight for the liquor section and selected a huge ‘handle’ bottle of bourbon and a roasted chicken. as soon as we returned to the rectory, rusty insisted that we ‘all take a shower’. thanks for the offer rusty, we said, but we had just taken showers that morning at the haunted hotel. ‘i don’t want to smell you all night’, he said. uh, ok. getting a little creepy. then rusty said, ‘ok, well, i’m going to take one’, and proceeded to rip off his shirt and strut around, showing off his gym body and tattoos from his old days in the service. at this point we were legitamitely concerned, having heard the rumors about the sexual agressions of ‘celibate’ priests, and when rusty went into the shower, dale and i went outside to disscuss the situation. we concluded that, while certainly unorthodox, rusty probably did not present a threat other than just making things uncomfortable with his sexual advances, and we didn’t have the heart to simply storm out… besides, maybe we had just been mistaken about rusty’s intents. so we sheepishly re-entered the rectory, drank a little bourbon, and then stated that we were going out to party with some friends we’d made, who were in town for an artist’s convention. rusty set out some cots for us in the back hall, a building completely seperate from the rectory, and told us we could get back whenever, that the gate would be unlocked. so, after a late night chatting around a bonfire with the artist crew, we returned to the mission, ready for bed. however, upon returning, we found that the gate was locked, and upon it was a hastily-scrawled note reading ‘if you want your bikes, come to the rectory’. uhh, what rusty? you said the gate would be unlocked. you want us to wake you up at nearly 4am? as we thought it over, we realized that, for rusty even to realize we were gone, he would have had to come across the courtyard in the middle of the night and enter our sleeping hall, hoping to catch us asleep there. for what reason, i don’t know, but it is possible that we dodged a bullet by avoiding that situation. finally we knocked on the door, and rusty came and opened it in his robe. he was very angry, and simply demanded that we ‘get our things and leave’. apparently our unwillingness to accommodate his wishes had enraged him. so, we left in a hurry, and, needless to say, didn’t get much sleep that night. overall, yuma left a bad taste in our mouths.

The Virgin at the mission in Yuma...before we met "rusty"

Apparently this doood was killed by the Natives pictured at his feet because he was kind of a d bag...

Welcome to Yuma...

Some of the nice people we met who were attending the Yuma Art Symposium.

Having FUN! in Yuma! Who Knew?!

after traversing the desert for a few more days, camping blissfully and playing the guitar and ukulele we’d aqcuired in tucson to entertain ourselves at night, we decided we would head off the highway, taking a detour to a crazy hippie hangout called slab city, which will be detailed in a later post. on the map, we noted an isolated town in the desert called ‘glamis’, which we figured on making by sunset. we were hoping there would be a little general store there at least, at which we could refill our water bottles and lay in a few supplies. however, instead of any kind of traditional town, what we found was a kind of resort, touted by a billboard as the ‘sand toy capital of the world’. what this means exactly is hard to explain without actually experiencing it, but basically glamis is a mecca for literally thousands of southern california ‘urban hicks’ (my term), who tavel there in gigantic rvs, trailering all manner of motorized sand vehicles; quads, dirt-bikes, rhinos (which are a kind of mini jeep-type-thing), and extreme dune-buggies souped up with 600 horsepower supercharged ten-cylinder engines. this was not exactly our scene, but what could we do? we began trekking across the dune fields into the vast camping area, while pickup trucks and buggies sped past us, throwing sand up into our faces and the gears of our bikes, and probably yelling ‘fags!’ over the roar of their engines. finally, and i have to say most unexpectedly, a pair of souped-up rhinos stopped and engaged us in conversation. i’m sure we were some of the first touring cyclists ever to attempt to camp at glamis, and apparently we’d piqued their interest, so they ended up inviting us to camp with them. when we got to their site, everyone was sitting around a roaring campfire, drinking beer and using cuss words injudicioussly in front of their young-uns. they were really friendly to us, though, and we ended up sharing more in common than we originally thought, such as a passion for camping (if you can call it that) and cheap cans of beer. after everyone was sufficiently lubricated, we all decided it was time for an excursion into the dunes in the sand rhinos. so we packed about 20 cans of beer and strapped ourselves in tightly with the car-racing harnesses they had installed. the father of one of the families sat in the driver’s seat, next to his 8 year old son, and dale and i sat in the rear. then began our dangerous and wildly exciting ride, blasting marilyn manson at max volume and literally flying through the air off the dunes, while quads and sand cars roared by us in the opposite direction, narrowly missing us, their drivers probably also drunk, flying and bouncing along. finally we arrived at an enormous sand dune, towering easily 200 feet above the desert floor, which people continually raced up on their modified, extremely loud quads. a bunch of dudes were standing around a gas fire drinking beers, and then someone used a can of gas to write a giant ‘420’ in the sand, which he then lit on fire. everyone cheered, and then someone poignantly shouted ‘yeeeeeeeeah! this is why we fight wars for oil, because we love to burn it in the desert!’ which honestly struck me as a piece of refreshingly brutal honesty. finally we rode back acrosss the dunes, bouncing insanely through the ‘whoops’ (the term for the large-type washboarding that is usually included as an element in motocross races), and settled in for the night. as we were going to bed, though, our new friends made sure we knew they had a 44 calibur pistol in the trailer with them, in case we were thinking of trying anything. uh, ok. thanks for the measure of trust. well, all in all people at glamis ended up being pretty alright, and we had a crazy, unexpected adventure there while experiencing a sector of society i honestly had no idea existed previously, which is really one of the great things about bike tour. biiiiike tourrrrrr!!!!!!

GLAMIS!

Coffee with our hosts in the dunes

Leaving Glamis...thank god! The Dunes are beautiful though...

On our way to the slabs!

because it was so nice and charming, we ended up staying in bisbee for way longer than originally planned, but after four days it was time to mooooove.  so we mounted up the iron steeds and headed south towards the border.  our plan was to cross through montezuma’s pass, ride along the border region, and finally end the day at parker canyon lake, where we’d heard from a number of sources there was intense beauty and fishing.  i caught a piece of glass in my tire during the beginning of the ride, but after a quick roadside patch job, the remaining 30 miles or so down from bisbee and across the desert flew by in record time, and we entered the coronado national memorial area in good spirits.  after stopping briefly at the visitor’s center, we started climbing.  up, up, uuuuuuup.  we had to climb over 1400 vertical feet on a winding single-lane dirt road, upon which many groups of elderly americans were also driving.  but they wished us good luck, and finally we crested the pass, all sweaty and giving high-fives.  this was our first glimpse of the strange distopian-feeling u.s. border security regime.  they had this weird sci-fi jeep thing up there with rotating cameras and heat-seeking laser-looking things pointed down at the nether-regions along the border, looking for drug-smugglers and more commonly immigrants interested in employment.  we set out down the opposite side of the pass into a creepy stretch of scrubby forest, criss-crossed with off-road trails presumably used by the smugglers and border security trucks.  incidentally, the actual road we were biking on at this point was not in much better condition.  it was basically a mountain-bike track, all rutted and dusty and washboarded out, and it was all we could do to keep control of our loaded bikes.  on a number of occasions we had to get off the bikes to ford rivers, which had flooded the roadway.  not to mention the fact that we were kind of creeped out with all the strange and dangerous cat-and-mouse games going on around us.  a few times we saw suspicious unmarked white pickup trucks, and then later we’d see the souped-up border patrol s.u.v.’s thundering down the trails, presumably pursuing some illegal activity they’d identified with their technology.  it was also in this region that we first spotted the u.f.o., a large white thing floating motionless in the sky above one of the mountains.  we later learned that this is a surveillance blimp (yes, a blimp!) which is outfitted with all kinds of rediculous classified technology, and that in all likelihood it had already photographed us and put our grubby faces into some kind of suspicious activity database at the nearby army fort.  at first i was excited to see a blimp being put to good use, but then i felt bad about all the hurtful implications of u.s.-mexico border security and wished it would fall out of the sky, on fire.  it was beginning to get dark, and we still had 6 miles of this terrible road before parker canyon lake, when suddenly a toyota s.u.v. rolled up on us and two smiling faces inside informed us that their vehicle was equipped with bicycle racks, in case we were interested.  well, ok, we’ll take the ride, we decided.  so for the next six miles we bumped comfortably down the road and didn’t even get our feet wet when we had to cross rivers.  the owners of the car, a retired couple named don and max prickle (prickle!), ended up being the most charming and awesome friends.  on the ride, they told us all about their extensive world-wide adventures, and when we got to the lake, they even offered to let us stay at their house in tucson when we arrived.  pretty much the most friendly people ever.  soo, yep, there we were, at parker canyon lake, which was indeed as beautiful a place as we’ve seen on this trip, which is to say extremely beautiful.  we took some nice hikes, found an incredible abandoned campground, rendezvoused with meaghan and darwin, and met this really nice guy named scott who operates a little store on the lake and, upon finding out we were out of beer, selected four premium ales from his own personal stash (the store was not licensed) and personally delivered them to us in his smart car.  i’m constantly amazed at how incredibly kind people in arizona have been.  we camped at the lake for two nights, then rode back to sonoita, where we had another lunch at our favorite eatery, the ranch house restaurant (go there!), and then continued on to our desert campsite from the first night on the road.  after a final campfire-filled evening, we woke up in the morning and hightailed it back to tucson, making record time, thinking about all the joys of civilization.  mostly we really just wanted to bathe ourselves.  upon reaching town, we celebrated with some sandwiches and huge fresh salads (we’d been eating spam, hot dogs, and bologna), then began riding out to don and max’s house.  suddenly and unexpectedly, though, my left crank arm got loose and just fell right off the bike.  wtf?  luckily i was only six blocks from the incredible bike co-op, where i was able to purchase a new crank bolt for only one dollar, apply loc-tite, and fix my crank for good.  finally we reached don and max’s, where we found all the luxuries we could have asked for, including home-made lasagna, beer, companionship, hot showers, and a QUEEN SIZED MEMORY FOAM BED.  oh good lord.  after a night with our new friends, we returned to the boxing gym and met up with our old friends adam and zach.  we went to a nice dance party one night, and then last night we went to a bar outside town called ‘nevada smith’s saloon’, where they were hosting an all-you-can-eat fish-fry.  the place was filled with local tucsonians, old-timer cowboys, and even a live musician who played a lot of van morrison covers.  after we went to a sweet radical infoshop called dry river, where there was a great folk/punk show featuring a band from olympia called hail seizure.  dale and i kind of got inspired and today we went out and bought a cheap small guitar and a ukulele, so now we have more things to carry, but we think it will be awesome to jam out in the desert, and also on a street corner in your town!  i hope everyone’s doing awesome.  see you sooooon.

first flat tire-glass!

rocking across the flat open desert, whoooooeee! but see those mountains up there? they're in our way; we'll have to climb them!

dale is furious! he's a biking machine!

it's officially dangerous to be here

surveillance blimp!

part of the road we had to climb

pan-o-rama!

we triumphed!

the beautiful parker canyon lake. there's catfish in there.

"oh, hey"

we say our goodbyes...with style!

dale armstrong takes the yellow jersey

ours is just one of the possible uses

bye, forest.

hello, enormous hamburgers!

our fave cowgirls at the ranch house restaurant

on our way back to tucson. we got to the top. thank you, yahweh.

tucson has awesome public art projects, like this snake-themed bicycle bridge that gobbled us up.

"it was all a dream..."

"...i used to read word-up magazine"

i hope this never happens again

us with don and max...awww!

the university has this sweet d.i.y. sundial

'uncle louie' is a cowboy we met at the saloon.

dry river punk space/infoshop

hail seizure! i got so much energy hearing them rock.

hail seizure's tiny piano.

we pulled out of tombstone fairly early. a highway sign said 28 clicks to bisbee. bisbee. bisbee as a bee. everyone we’d been meeting along the way seemed to repeat a universal mantra, bisbee is ‘really weird’ and ‘you’ll love it’. we were of course intrigued. we blasted pretty quick through the first 20 miles of the trek, a rolling sprint across the open desert valley, during which we unfortunately had a chance to test our rain equipment. stopping briefly at the foot of the mountains, we ate some power bars and tried to get psyched for the long climb into town; 8 more miles straight up through a mountain pass. it began to rain again, and the icy wind quickly stirred us to action. up up up we went, taking only one real break at the 4 mile marker, panting for breath, muscles burning, rain and sweat dripping everywhere, we felt tough and manly. the hill got steeper, and we stood up on the pedals, defying the topography with each exertion. ha! i wanted to stop at least 4 times, but i willed my bicycle onwards, fearing that starting up again would prove disastrously difficult. finally, cresting a butte, we saw a wond’rous sign, a pictogram truck tilted downward on top of a black tiangle, and underneath were the words ‘next 5 miles’. woo hoo! our bikes clicked into top gear; we really let it fly, bombing two miles downhill, through a sweet mountain tunnel, into the little hamlet of bisbee.

and what a town. nestled into a number of steep hills, the houses pop and jut up from the landscape in a charmingly haphazard fashion. the local high school, we learned, has the distinction of being the only building in north america to open at ground level on four of its floors. seriously, it’s in ripley’s believe it or not. reaching town, we happened quickly upon the bisbee bicycle brothel, a destination we were told certainly not to miss. the brothel is in fact a kind of bike shop/museum filled with the most beautiful and rare old road bicycles, frames, components, accessories, and other cycling-related paraphernalia. the proprietor, a friendly and extremely-knowledgable man named ken wallace who used to be a prominent official for the u.s. cycle-racing circuit, guided us through the collection, relating a string of obscure facts about the machines, their builders, and their riders, which, though largely lost on me, was charming nonetheless. we bought some bike bottles and dale picked up a sweet vintage bike cap with a little bird on the brim, and then we went to eat enormous sandwiches and drink some coffee, which made us feel more alive after our challenging ascent.

somewhere along the line, we learned that a freak snow squall was blowing into town, with a predicted dump of up to eight inches for the night. fearing the weather, we made another semi-luxury accomodation decision and checked into the most charming bed and breakfast ever (also the cheapest in town, though i have no idea why), which we mostly stayed at because dale’s pants were charmed off by the extremely cute proprietor, an elderly lady named joy who was so concerned about us that she packed her two miniature poodles into the pickup truck and actually drove downtown to pick us and our bikes up. she proceeded to take us on a wonderful tour of bisbee before depositing us in a charming library suite decorated with all kinds of hilarious cat-themed decor, including two formerly-alive taxidermied feline specimens posed in playful lifelike positions, the reasonable price of which included a made-to-order breakfast in a fancy dining room with two friendly middle aged couples, one of whom was from vermont. yeah vee tee. because of the expense, though, we opted to depart the b&b and search for alternate, more free accomodation the following day.

at a coffeeshop downtown, within the space of a coffee and muffin, we found ourselves bombarded with friendliness from all sides, making buddies with some locals, another bike tourer and his dog, and an earnest young traveling couple named darwin (really!) and meagan, who also happened to be looking for a new camp site. so all together we began hiking up into the brewery gulch, where we heard there was wilderness. after an extremely beautiful and exhilarating hike up a knoll, from which the views were breathtaking, we selected a campsite next to an abandoned reservoir, which had more recently been used as a sweet graffiti wall. there are lots of cool stencils and paintings in this town, plenty of official art galleries, as well as other foms of expression such as this minivan in the parking lot right now which is covered in a mosiac of old bottlecaps forming an image of palm trees. yeah, bisbee’s weird. we went into the cutest little neighborhood food market where immediately the cool-looking dude at the counter asked ‘which one of you is riding the lugged frame’, and then i thought a second, not generally being asked such an esoteric bicycle-related question at so early a stage in a friendship, before replying ‘oh that’s mine’, and then we were into a typically-friendly bisbee-type conversation where i feel strangely comfortable even though i’ve only been here a day. we met the same guy today at the coffee shop; he was rushing off to do his post-punk show on the local radio station. oh, also at that market, the next time we went in, i conmmented on the beautiful hand-calligraphied signage for all the products, and the lady at the counter got soooo excited, i mean her eyes just lit up and she whipped out a notecard, asked my name, and then scrawled it out on the card for me in a perfect hand, like a way of saying thanks for noticing her work. soooo cute. so yep, that’s bisbee. probably tomorrow we might go up and camp at this lake we heard about where there’s an old cabin and it’s the most beautiful place in the world. you know, ain’t no thing. miss you all, hope everything is great.

The climb to bisbee was rainy!

A sight for sore legs!

Bisbee Bike Brothel!

Resting on a hike with our new friends Darwin and Meghan

Taxidermy in our room at the B + B!!!

Rim Job!!

Bisbee Stencil!

Hugh Open Pit Copper mine

last morning in bisbee with the kids

serge flips a flapjack

everything but the kitchen sink

you wouldn't think so, but this is a mexican restaurant!

paper mache mascot inside the mexican restaurant

world's most charming toy store!

it's called 'the teeny tiny toy store'

its delightful proprietors

mark hundley designs these sweet stuffed toys (bisbeestitches.com)

going gently (obvs)

dale really liked this wall

our favorite local bisbee food market

we hiked up this mountain near town where there's a giant "B" for bisbee and a "bisbee-utiful" view

darwin standing in the "B" overlooking town

We started up the mountain road towards the little highway juction town of Sonoita (hitchhiked to by serge in our desperate situation the night before.) after about 15 mins serge relized that he had forgotten his camera in the desert..ugh! So rather then both of us going back and then trudging back up the hill with all of our shit, serge unloaded his bike and bombed back down while I took in the scenery. serge was back in a jiffy and feeling good about the extra training he had just gotten and with camera in hand. The road to Sonoita was winding and long and opened up at the top to the beautiful vista and then a much anticipated 2 mile long downward sprint, man there is nothing quite like the feeling of soaring down a hill with a fully load bike, sun and wind blasting on your face! Pulled into sonoita in under 2 hours (about 15 miles) We stoped at this greasy spoon called the ranch house and stuffed our faces while being enterained by the extremely hilarious and lude staff. We rested for a while and left Sonoita a little after 2pm only planning on riding another 25 miles to Whetstone where there seemed to be a campsite according to our map.

We made really good time both of feeling stronger and more capable then the first day and pulled into whetstone a little after 4pm stopping for beer and food at a gas station before heading to the campsite 5 miles away. when we arrived at the seemingly luxourious RV Park we were informed that they had no tent sites and the only tent camping near the area was in tombstone about 15 miles away. we had about an hour of daylight left so rode like lightning through some of the most beautiful areas I have ever seen in my life regretting we didn’t have time to stop and explore. At dusk we excitedly arrived in Tombstone AZ “The Town To Tough To Die.” We were proud at the nearly 60 miles we breezed through compared to the previous 30 miles the day before.

We stayed at the extremely expensive Stampede RV park which is located in central Tombstone. It cost us about $22 for one night, but we wanted a shower so we bit the bullet wishing we had camped in the desert for free. While Tombstone does have some important history we are very fond of, it is now a big wild west tourist trap. We set up camp and then went into town to check out the nightlife of this wild town said to be famous for its booze, gambling, loose women and gunfights…we rambled into the six gun saloon and ordered up a couple of whiskeys striking up a conversation with two delightful locals joey and k. We ended up having an awesome time in tombstone although the hangover the next morning was far from awesome. We woke up tired but excited for the last leg to Bisbee, the fabled mining town in the mountains.

(i read a funny story about the name: this guy was prospecting and he pointed up into the hills, telling an old miner friend that he believed there was gold up there. the old-timer replied, ‘you ain’t gonna find nothin up there but your tombstone, son’. thus the name).

They Care!

We took the job!

The desert is amazing!!!!

Power SERGE!!

we began riding out toward the hills and snow-capped mountains which encirle tucson in this way where if you’re up in them, you can’t help but look down and think ‘right THERE is the place to build a city’, right where tucson actually lies. incidentally we were told by someone that the tucson area has been continuously occupied since well before colonialism, which is cool and adds to that mystical southwest feeling. gradually the strip malls and housing developments petered out until suddenly we found ourselves surrounded by millions of cactuses. pressing onward away from civilization, i realized suddenly that we had indeed begun, we were officially on a long-ass crazy journey, no longer in the comfortable confines of the world’s friendliest city, but exposed radically to desert sun, raw wind, screaming freightliners, and other hazards.

pressing on, i soon began to feel the pains of basically not training at all for heavy duty cycling, most notably the world’s sorest buttocks. focusing on these corporeal ills, hazy with the mild delirium of serious physical exertion, and assuming that the arizona desert, like the crowded northeast, would have reasonably periodic service stations, we made a near-fatal error in judgement. we neglected to fill our water bottles before entering an epic 40 mile stretch of mountainous desert, and as a result about two hours later we found ourselves 20 miles from anything without water facing the bone-numbing chill of a desert twilight. it hit dale and i at about the same time, the primal and mildly-panicked notion that if we did not act, we may not survive, or at least things would seriously suck. we stopped and a roadside pullout and immediately dale was delegated to select and establish a campsite, while i set about hitchhiking to town for the crucial fluid we so craved. there was an arizona state lawman on the road where i was hitching, so, wishing to avoid trouble, i asked whether we were permitted to (a) camp there and (b) hitchhike on this road. the officer replied on both counts that he was not aware of the technical letter of the law, but that he ‘did not reckon anybody’d give us trouble’. he was maybe the most relaxed officer i’ve ever met. i had a ride to town within about 15 minutes, at which point i purchased water and spirits, and then stood out on the corner trying to thumb down a ride, regretting that i did not bring a jacket of any kind, another mistake i now chock up to delirium and dehydration. i shivered out there for almost an hour until finally the lady from the liquor store, a rodeo horse breeder, took pity on me and drove 30 miles out of her way to deliver me finally to the salvation of the excellent campsite dale had selected and to all my warm clothes. we immediately made a nice fire from the easy-burning desert mesquite, cooked up some hot grub, and suddenly all was well. we passed a beautiful, cold, starry night in the mddle of the desert, and woke up in the morning to a thick layer of frost covering our equipment. we hit the road in high spirits, glad we had survived, and pumped about the day to come.

Oh hey! This is Dale speaking, Serge and I are going to switch on and off on blog posts and I’m sure you’ll be able to tell the difference in styles so ‘sup fooooooooooool! also sorry we haven’t really done any blogging, we have just been adjusting to this beautiful adventure and will now post regularly………….//……………//………….//…………….//…………….//…………..//…………

Tuck!!! Son!!!! Serge met me at the airport (he had arrrived the night before from MEXICO!) the first thing I noticed was the beautiful rolling desert mountain and the reasonably comfortable temperture of about 65 degrees (F! U! NE Winter!) I was pumped to see serge and even more pumped that this abstract thing we kind of planned was actually happening//\\Super COOOL! We took a bus downtown and traveled through vast urban sprawl which was way more spread out and not as cramped as what I am used too and filled with chain stores I have never seen so it was kind of weird and interesting. We got downtown and I instantly noticed the laidbackness of the city and its quirky southwest asthetic. We ate some delish burritos and went to Ordinary Bikes to put our rides together. It’s a really cool bike shop with some nice people including Nick Jett who help ed us with some tools and made us feel comfortable. We then went to the roadrunner hostel where we had a free dutch pancake dinner(not sure what made them dutch but they were effin HUGE!) and talked to some intersting folks from around the world who were all in Tucson for the Largest Gem tradeshow in the world! Look it up it’s CRAZY!!! We woke up early the next day to organize our supplies and then headed over to Bicas Bicycle co-op to fine tune our bikes (as we put them together in a parking lot without a bike stand) Bicas in my estimation might be the coolest bike shop on earth!! This place has everything you would need to build a sweet bike (super cheap!) including awesome employees/mechanics who are willing to help with anything. They have an incredible work trade system that allows you to work for bike parts or tool time like you work for an hour and you get 2 hrs of tool/shop use or credit towards a bike or part. We met our new tucson friends Zach, Adam and Ignacio who all work at bicas and offered up a place to crash/pitch a tent! People in AZ are really amazing and nice!

We ended up staying with Zach and Adam who both live in a old boxing gym converted into a living/studio space. They already had traveling friends staying with them! Laura who was driving from New Jersey to Seattle, Wash. Laura went to Bard! Mid Hudson Valley Rep! Rep!

Tiana and Edoardo who were driving from The Bay Area to the Catskills. Tiana is going to work on a friends farm near hudson, NY and Edoardo was visiting from Italy to see Tiana and the states. We all became instant friends and feasted on an amazing rissoto dinner courtesy of Edoardo. We were palnning on leaving the next day but decided to stay and watch the super bowl with our new friends! We went to this insane sports bar called maloney’s that had at least 150 flat screen televions (even in the fucking bathroooms!) it was a disturbing and strange place but a perfect place to watch a ridiculous spectacle that none of us really cared about. WHO DAT!!!!! It was really nice to be with interesting people in anew city. We ended the night with TRON (Jeff Bridges!!) Everyone was planning on leaving early the next morning, oh the joy of just passing through!

We all had a super yummy breakfast and headed our seperate ways…I LOVE NEW FRIENDS!!!!!!!! Serge and I headed towards Bisbee, AZ but first we had to find a wal mart which took like two hours. This caused us to have a late start so we didn’t leave the city limits until well after 1pm.

Bicas Bike Co-op!

Breakfast with our traveling tucson friends Tiana, Eduardo and Laura!

Getting Organized!

Superbowl!! with Adam, Eduardo, Tiana and Laura.