Thursday, October 7, 2010

f*ck the haters


But srsly, fuck em cuz WE MADE IT!!! P.S. like our fonts??? ;D

In all seriousness, though, we did actually "make it," which is to say, "we made it."

We've been here in The Bay (Gay) Area for a while, but we've been so occupied with things that this is the first time we've been able to sit down together at a computer and reflect on the past week or so. Like our workmanlike prose? ;)

At this point, we politely (though forcefully) request that you settle back in your ergonomic loveseat, allow the gentle glow from your computer's screen wash over your pimply faces, prepare your index digit for a heavy dose of linkology, and read the following:

We'll pick up our story in Carson City, town of wonders. After purchasing donuts at the Nugget Casino (which features "The World's Rarest Collection of Gold" -- ??!!%%*?), we wrote a blog post at Eli's homely home. You see, we were couchsurfing with a nice guy named Eli, who happens to be a world-class BMX bike rider (not JK). It was grrrrrrrrrreat! Then we decided to wake up (the next morning, you idiots!) and ride our bikes to meet Pistol Pete, who had ridden beyond Carson City and nighted in the town of Genoa, N(e)V(ada), the Silver State's oldest incorporated town.

Everett talking.

Pete was lucky enough to have found hosts in Genoa to the tune of a father-son duo who turned out to be the biggest couple a stoners we ever laid eyes on! The situation was like this: Todd paints airplanes by night, and by day teaches his 18-year old son Everett the Ways of the Herb. Everett works at the local General Store, and goes to Burning Man whenever he possibly can in order to unite intimately with upwards of "30 chicks a night without even trying, man." These guys were a riot, and provided us with a delicious breakfast frittata. They put Tostitos on top. You should try it sometime.

California's state marker sucks a big one

Soon enough, this recast trio o' bros was on its way into California's Sierra Nevada range, the armpit of the world, if the world were to maintain its armpit hair and odor meticulously, that is. We had a seriously serious climb up into the Sierras via Hwy 88 up and over what is locally and globally known as Kit Carson Pass. We were surrounded, practically engulfed even (omfg), by a smorgasbord of pleasant visualities: trees, rocks, slopes, rivers, streams, clouds, gravel (JK), skies, dingbats, wombats, Louisville Sluggers, X-Men characters, and other examples of God's Bounteous Creation (GBC).

Emelio makes sure to always wear his helmet when doing "the look-back"

Once we heaved our sloppy bags of flesh over the peak--nearly 9,000 feet asl(?)--our bicycle wheels started turning on their own for some completely obscure reason, as if friction ceased to exercise its full influence on our persons and/or bicycles. It was almost like we didn't have to exert as much energy as we'd had to on the way up to the peak! We liked this.

We assume this barn belongs to some rich guy who maintains it for exclusively aesthetic purposes (we don't mind; just saying)

We Three Kings cruised down a good ways until we hit an area called Silver Lake. Alex, who sympathizes with Mussolini's political ideology and shares many characteristics with a troglodyte, described this lake as "basically a mini Lake Tahoe without all the bullshit." Please note: Alex has definitely never been to Lake Tahoe. Also please note: Emelio's little jokes are hurting Alex's feelings. Please refer to a pic for a pic of our nearly-island-like campsite; it certainly was a campsite worthy of raising as our own beloved son. Pete, we should mention, when considering whether park rangers might oust us from this prime piece of not-paid-for real estate, was just about as paranoid as a 13-year old girl smoking her first joint in her parent's basement. In the end, no ranger confronted us and we spent another peaceful, illicit night under the stars.

That's the island where we camped in the background; Alex failed at wearing it as a hat

The next morning might have been possibly and perhaps our most glorious bit of riding in a long while. We basically slid down the Sierras like a slime-covered child on a moist Slip-n-Slide. Which is to say, our descent was fast and furious. Eventually, we pulled off the main road and flew down a magical, forest-shrouded back road that offered numerous views out over Sierra expanses. We even saw snow!

It's just a picture for cryin' out loud

Eventually, however, we got to Placerville, CA. Other names for this town might include 1) Whackerville, 2) Don't-Go-Backerville, 3) Stuff-it-in-a-Sackerville, 4) I'm-gonna-smack-yerville, and 5) The ShitPit of California. Placerville was hot and carfilled and we even made PB&Js at the local McDonald's.

We'll always be thankful that Pete taught us this awesome trick

Our evening ended in Folsom, where we heard a local blues band play a rousing medley of "Folsom Prison Blues" and "On the Road Again." The hot bartender danced with us and even said that we made her night, but held out when it came to any kind of meaningful sexual activity. No biggie; we had a good time anyway!

Folsom Freaks

That evening, some interesting stuff went down that you guys might be interested in reading about. You can read all about it if you simply continue reading our blog, "Just a couple a dudes trying to do something".

We cycled from the bar to the city park and threw down on the only patch of grass that wasn't being pummeled by godforsaken sprinklers. Unfortunately, this minuscule camping area placed us in a highly visible spot, directly adjacent to a large graveyard, I mean parking lot (cars are coffins!). A few hours after dozing off in our sleeping bags (it was so nice out that we abandoned the tent and slept 'neath the 'stars), we were rudely awakened by a local swine moonlighting as a Folsom City Police Officer. This donut-loving oinker asked us what we were doing, to which we replied, "Sleeping, you horrendous fuck." JK! In reality, we let Pete do the talking, and he placated the greasy lardass with the fabricated story that we were riding cross-country to raise money for the American Kidney Association (as Pirate Pete put it to us a day later, "Everyone knows someone on dialysis."). The Donut-Muncher took this information to heart, bid us a good evening, and let us off the hook.


Roughly three hours later, the corrupt and vile version of that Hog Lieutenant appeared at our side, holding a freaking strobe-flashlight (apparently, such devices are manufactured and distributed to cops) and aiming it into our freaking faces. This Porker was a much harder fight than the former, but ultimately Pete's elan under distress saved the day once again. The Bozo the Cop impersonator eventually got the point that we were just a couple--I mean trio--a dudes who meant no harm to anyone except perhaps he himself, and left us to our slumber.


We hopped on the American River Bike Trail first thing in the morning (we had slept no more than about 50' from its origin) and rode it like a docile Shetland all morning. The trail was quite pleasant indeed and we entertained ourselves by saluting our fellow cyclists with whom we shared the trail that lovely morn. However, we found the hello-saying in short supply along this Californian corridor. It seemed that these Californicators had picked up on our congenial Midwestern sensibility and the nano-chips that had been implanted into their electro-souls at birth (by Steve Jobs himself; who else?!!?) was unable to process our overly-human attempts at communication, thus restricting their ability to respond. Basically, we said hello with increasing enthusiasm, vigor, and volume to all those that we passed (let's say 200 people or so) and received a reciprocal greeting no more than a half dozen times. FREAKS!!!!

Alex and Greg ride the trail. Incidentally, that guy on the left would most likely not give a shit if you said hello to him.

One native Californian, wherefore, broke the mold in a sushi-rific fashion. It was Greg, who was basically a real-life superhero. Greg rode up to us and asked us if he could accompany us for a ways. "Yes," we retorted. He was interested in our story so we gave it to him like a bully giving an atomic wedgie to Dweebus McNerdlington on the first day of third grade. After a good long chat-sesh came the money-shot: Greg proffered a magnifercent lunchbonus down our gullets. "Hurrah," the three amigos dijeron (look it up, jerks!). Refer to our last post for a pic of the goings-on.

You can't tell from how cool he looks in this picture, but Pete actually isn't from California!

After eating some vastly undercooked fish (Zagat apparently knows little to nothing about good food), we proceeded to go somewhere on our bikes. This place happened to be Davis, Californyuh where we were greeted by the CouchSurfing host of a lifetime. IT WAS JASON!!!!!

Jason lives in a pretty remarkable community. It is a block of 20-something 1950s-era homes that share one sprawling, contiguous backyard as well as a central community household. You see, some years back now, after sharing a bong during a group reading of Robert Frost's "Mending Wall," a couple neighbors decided to remove their fences and ended up founding a transformative residential experience on the outskirts of this quaint university town. One by one, the other houses on the block joined in the effort. Today, the backyard wends its way in and out and around a dizzying residential landscape of homes, gardens, bee'shives, chicken coops, murals, orchards, children's playthings, lawn furniture, patios, hammocks, and etc. The community household hosts multiple shared meals each week as well as cultural events and programming. This living situation is the closest thing to Utopia that we've ever seen. Unreal.



& Frida

After freaking our neeks with le grand tour of le grounds, Jason enlisted us to help prepare the evening's meal, in a ritual shared by humans the world over since time immemorial. His particular house is a communal living arrangement of its own and we happened to be staying with Jason on the night he was responsible for cooking for the household of 6. We cooked and then proceeded to EAT yummy food with a very interesting assortment of Davis characters. Alex slept on the couch, Emelio above the laundry, and Pete in the grass. We are such HIPPIES! OMG LOLOLOL!

What a din-din!

Known as "A Session"

We regained consciousness early the next day well before the horrifying star of fire emblazoned itself on the horizon. After getting some coffee from a place where you can purchase coffee, we saddled up (read: got onto our bicycles) and set off for the final riding day of biketour2010.

The day began rather lovelely, with a sojourn through delightful walnut (maybe, or maybe another type of thing) orchards. However, other than the hot air baloons overhead, not much more was really remarkable about this final cycle-day. We wound up fighting against some frustrating wind gusts and battling up a few minor but nonetheless not-fun hills on the way to Vallejo, where our ferry lie in wait like a patient pack-mule.

Anyways, these three doods were sure relieved to get to Vallejo's ferry terminal. Our spirits were high; even the extremely freaky dude who kept talking to himself while hunched dangerously over his laptop didn't bum us out or even scare us. With tickets purchased, we loaded our horses (aka bicycles) onto the deck and boarded the ferry. Soon enough, the motor sprung to life and our watermobile transport-thing was chugging its way 'cross the San Francisco Bay!

When was the last time you saw a windswept beard?

This final leg of our journey, a ferry ride into San Francisco, was a relaxingly cathartic experience. We three guys just basically took it easy on some seats inside, making small talk and letting the peace of our completed journey permeate through our wearied bodies. Eventually, the Golden Gate Bridge appeared on the horizon, and the boat nearly tipped over from the rush of globular tourists who rushed to one side of the cabin to slime their slobbery faces all over the glass.

Our stop was the historic Ferry Building San Francisco. Steve Bingham was waiting excitedly for us at the ferry terminal, and our joyous reunion was immediately preceded by Steve saying, "Holy shit you made it." Steve and Pete met each other, and then our loyal third man made his way out into the city to find his pal. We can't tell you freaks enough how great it was to find Pete and ride with him for the last five or so days of this monumental journey; he sure made it fun and more-than-a-couple-dudes.

Steve, no pictures, please!

After riding a bit around the Embarcardero--one of S.F.'s famous boulevards--us couple dudes and Steve caught another ferry, this one on its way to Marin County. Marin is the landmass directly north of San Francisco, across the Golden Gate Bridge. It plays host to many communities, including San Rafael. Steve bought us each a drink on the boat ride over to celebrate our arrival; we drank to friendship.

Steve had brought his bicycle so that he could ride us the last few miles to his home. He led us through downtown San Rafael and up to the house in an area called Terra Linda; it was more than a few miles, up some significant hills and through some traffic, but Steve held his own like a pro! We couple dudes were definitely impressed.

Marin County bike advocates recently celebrated the opening of this bike path that runs along Hwy 101!

When we rolled up to the house, Francoise was waiting for us in the driveway, and she was so happy to finally see our hairy, putrid-smelling selves. We had some nifty photo-ops and lumbered through the door into their spacious and beautiful home. It certainly was an emotional experience to arrive here, at the place where Sylvia spent much of her life. Over the course of the next few days, we spent our time with Steve and Francoise, having long breakfasts that blended into long lunches that blended into long dinners. We just basically relaxed big-time, sitting back with these two wonderful people and talking and laughing and sharing many stories about Sylvia.

It was a very interesting experience for us to be somewhere without the urgent need to move on, but Steve and Francoise insisted on us taking it as freaking easy as possible, and we even watched a movie together one night! On Sunday night, Steve drove us across the Silver Portal Span into the city so that we could attend one of the most far-out free music festivals on this blessed rock we call home, the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival. After Emmylou Harris nearly bored our beards off, we made our way to the funktastic freaksounds pouring out of the Rooster Stage to find Sharon Jones and her band, the Dap-Kings. These guys and Sharon were basically smashing the audience with a bombastic Soul-Hammer till our ears bled joyful streams of Faygo red pop. Steve remarked that it was extremely special to have shared that experience with us; we felt the same way about being there with him.

The rest at this point is history. We rode into San Francisco on Monday morning and met up with Emelio's good friend Jessi, who showed us a great time. We crashed at her pad in Oakland that night, and the next day we ventured out and explored Berkeley for a few hours, checking out music stores and book shops and freaky freakdudes and dudettes on Telegraph Avenue (believe us, they're freaks!). Emelio even chopped off his freaktastic beard! We met up with Iris, another Emelio-friend from Oberlin, who took us to a great diner where we purchased prepared food for consumption. Later that evening, we met up with more friends in the Mission District (a famous neighborhood in S.F. known for its fabulous alley-murals and Mexican-food) and had a delicious dinner party. All was well. For the first time in 66 days, we two dudes slept in different places. Our sleep, naturally, was restless as we simultaneously reached out and found no one beside us to grope.

The dudes with Francoise, dwarfed by our beards

We two dudes are currently at Francoise's high school (she still hasn't graduated, can ya buh-leeve it?!), where we gave a short presentation to a group of students and faculty about our trip. Francoise had been talking to her students about this trip and why we decided to ride out here; the group was very interested in hearing what we had to say and seeing our photographs. We really enjoyed talking to them all and especially hope that we were able to convince some of the students to make similar journeys of their own. One of the faculty members filmed our talk, if you want to check it out you should visit this link.

Our plans, thank you very much for asking (trouser-wearing jerkfaces), are more-or-less as follows:

Emelio will be hanging out in Palo Alto with his enemy Hunter McCurry, and tomorrow they'll be going whale-watching (not JK!!!!!). On Saturday, in a bizarre twist of events, he'll be taking a plane to China where he will visit his girlfriend Becca who is currently studying in Beijing. WTF, right!!!!!!!!! When he gets back, sometime at the end of October, he'll spend a couple nights in San Francisco before catching a train back to the good ole Midwest.

Alex plans to remain in the Bay Area for a while longer (read: about 5 days). He still has family and friends he has yet to visit. Then, he hopes to hitch a ride, along with his bike, up the Pacific Coast to Washington to visit a couple folks up there in that there state there. Amen. Once that's over and done with, his plan is to ride his bike down to Portland, OR to visit a couple people (ESPESH CLAIRE), then proceed by bike to Crescent City and Arcata, CA to see some cuzzies. Can't wait to see all these great people! Yum. When that's over and done with, it'll be back to the Midwest sometime in November. Can't wait to see all those great people back over there in that there place there in the middle of the country but not really (in the middle of the country, that is).

We gotta send major props to ya'll for sticking with us for the entirety of this blogtrip. You might not have picked it up from our frenetic and neurotic writings, but we basically thrived on comments from you guys on this blog.

Some statistics to close out our life (JK our blog):

We left on August 4th from Cleveland, and arrived on October 1st.

That makes 59 days to complete the trip.

We took 7 rest days.

Our longest day of riding covered 105 miles.

Our fastest speed was 43.9 mph; our steepest grade was 14%.

We passed through 10 states, 4 state capitals, 4 time zones, and 2 state fairs.

We crossed water via ferry 5 times.

We traveled over 3500 miles (a more exact figure will come once we learn basic arithmetic).

We have 1 beard each.

Peace out our brothas and sistas and everyone in between.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Our Last Day!!!!!!

You guyyyyys! We're in a disappointing coffee shop this glorious
morning, sending out our last roadside post (don't freak yow neeks;
we'll have a longer post once we land in Frisco!).

Our ride today is 66 miles, from Davis to Vallejo. In V-town, we take
a ferry across the Bay, where we will meet Steve and Francoise and
some of their cycling friends.

The picture is of us couple dudes and our third bro, Pete, who is
still with us! That guy in the background is Greg; he met us on the
trail yesterday and bought us a mega-sushi-lunch in Sacramento! Wowowow!

Okay y'all! Wish us luck!!

Monday, September 27, 2010

We're almost there!!

Hey all you kit-n-caboodle snickerdoodles and frisky-risky coonhunters!

Here we are, a couple a dudes, you know, us, Alex and Emelio, a couple a dudes... you know, us guys? Remember us, the ones who are on biketour? You know? The guys whose blog you've been following for the past eight weeks? Us? HELLOOOOOOO?????!!??? Well, whatever. Not like it even matters anyway to you bunch of phonies......

We last left you in Fabluous Ely, Nevada (parenthetical: Emelio just literally dropped the A-Bomb on Hiroshima AKA on this library's computer area. It smells so eggtastically repugnant that the guy to our left literally is standing up and finishing his session early, which is surprising because he wasn't even halfway through writing that Twilight fan-fic). Ely was the sight of Rest Day 2012 AKA Rest Day in Ely AKA Rest Day in Ely, Nevada. In the morning, we woke to 35-degree weather patterns and went out in frantic search of cover (read: warmth).

Our fireplace of joy manifested itself in the form of the pleasantly kitschy Silver State Restauraunt (read: Diner). Alex basically popped a chubby when, upon perusing the menu, perused a menu item that transplanted him back to his wonderyears in that dark, horrifying country sandwiched between the Fine Portuguese and the Illustrious French (and the Weird Monacoans(?)). It was a Basque Food Item Skillet! More specifically, it was generally a Basque-style chorizo skillet. You may be interested to know, unless you are a rube, that the Basque people have sizeably presented themselves throughout the Silver State such that many eateries currently offer certain original delicacies to tantalize the tastebuds. The Basques are also reputed to be reliable sheepherders.

Transition, we had an excellent breakfast and sure took our time in that there establisment right there, drinking coffee there and writing some postcards in that place.

As we were leaving, we were accosted by some dude (not one of us couple dudes, mind you, simply a different dude). He told us the tallest tale that'd ever snarked our furry ears, lying (through his teeth) that he was a cameraman with a crew of dudes traveling around Nevada filming basically whatever the hell they felt like with the intention of doing god knows what with the footage. We good-naturedly listened to his hellraising fib, bid the gentleman farewell, and spent exactly one hour calming each other down because we were in such a state of infuriation due to the fib-blasting we had just suffered.

But as it turned out, that dude was actually David, a nice and friendly cameraman from Vegas. He and his likewisely nice and friendly accomplice Jonathan bought us a delicious Mexican dinner that night, and boy were our ears red when we found out they had never told a lie in their entire lives! We talked to D&J for like, a good while, and enjoyed the night out on the town with our new friends even though everyone in the entire restaurant was openly laughing at us as we left (not JK).

That night, we fulfilled our destiny of lodging our grubby-ass bodies in the grubbiest-ass motel in town: El Rancho. For those of you looking forward to a smarmy description of the knee-nursing that went down in this $35.00 hotel room, you will be sorely disappointed unless you visit Let's just say that showers were had, awful (really awful) HBO was watched,
and when Alex went to sleep Emelio spooned him.

You could hardly tell, but this place is run by some Fijians on the lam!

The next morning we rendezvoued with D&J, who were interested in capturing our bearded mugs on film! Can ya buh-leeve it! They basically dressed us down with questions about our bikejourneyundertaking, and got a couple sweet closeups of the maggots squirming around in all of our crevices. It was really neat, and we even got into character and started beating them with rolled-up newspapers while hollering, "Back, Paparazzi Scum!" Alex got a little annoyed when Emelio refused to put down the skull he was holding in his left hand for the duration of filming, but he didn't realize that Emelio is a Stanislavsky-trained disciple of the stage.

Oh what a surprise! Alex is talking about himself!

D&J filmed us riding out of Ely, on our way Westward along U.S. Highway 50. We should mention to you, our loyal followers, our pandering audience, our lamentable compatriots in this pathetic charade we call life, that US HWY 50 is commonly referred to, locally and globally, as "America's Loneliest Road." If only it was referred to as "America's Road that is Packed with Free Prostitutes," we would have been in a good place in our opinion!!

As it was, Nevada's Hwy 50 is very truly (seriously) an extremely people-less, yet desloate strip of pavement. There are four towns along this remote 280-mile stretch, and literally no human presence in between. We were surprised when we saw a few houses in the distance until we realized that they were absolutely abandoned and tipping over.

Along Hwy 50, there is a stretch of barren land that is decorated with years' worth of people's names
(and other messages) spelled out from rocks gleaned from the roadside
So we did it too. We're hoping this becomes a meme (check 4chan!)

Our bicycle-experience on this road was as follows: 1) Climb mountain range 2) Descend 3) Cross a gigantic dried basin 4) Repeat. Some of you may be interested to know that Nevada is home to more mountain ranges than any other U.S. state. We felt like we had to ride through just about every single one of them.

Bonus chips! And they said this road was lonely...

Okay this next part is REALLY cool, so you should definitely read it!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :D :D :'(

We got into the-town-after-Ely (locally known as Eureka, but we both had actually found it GREEK JOKE GREEK JOKE!) just after night had oozed its way down the sky. After checking out a couple establishments, Emelio decided that he needed to sate his ravenous appetite for chocolate milkshakes with a chocolate milkshake. It was at this point that Dame Fate intervened. DJ's diner was slowing down for the night, but us couple dudes nevertheless nabbed a cushy booth adjacent to another booth that was occupied by a trio of dudes on huntingtriptour from Vegas. We got to chatting (asl?) with the bros, and they were freakin sweet! When the ringleader noticed that only one of us had decided to purchase consolidated energy, and that it was Emelio and that it was simply a chocolate milkshake, he asked us, "When was the last time you guys ate a decent meal?" We candidly responded, "Some guys in Ely bought us a really nice meal just last night!" He basically didn't care that we'd been well-fed in the past 24 hours, and with all the flair of a huntsman towering over his recently-felled mule deer, he offered to buy us dinner. Wowzachowza! Alex mistakenly ordered a basket of chicken strips and onion rings with a small vanilla shake, and Emelio correctly ordered a 12" cheese pizza to complement his large chocolate shake. Emelio was heard to say (by Alex) that it was the best meal of the entire trip, and Alex was heard to say (by Emelio) that he wished he had ordered a fucking pizza.

This food is seriously making Emelio salivate even now, and making Alex jealous also even now

Let's cut to the chase. We camped in Eureka on a stupid thing, then we rode for a long time the next day, passed a nice town called Austin, camped in the Nevada shrubbery, woke up and rode for a long time again until we got to a town called Fallon.
We heard coyotes yipping and howling nearby!

On the way to Fallon, we both realized at the exact same time (and even screeched it aloud to each other at the exact same time) that it was SUNDAY NIGHT. And on Sunday Night, in the United States of America, when it is Football Season, a Lot of People watch Football on the Television. So we went to a bar and ordered a lot of beer and watched the Miami Jets beat the New York Dolphins! It was fun, and Alex ate a burger that weighed about six and a half pounds. Three people talked to us at the bar: one was from Colombia, one liked the Raiders, and one was an almost entirely incomprihensible drunk/village idiot. The bartenders were hot: one wore a short purple dress, the other was short with an ample chest. Both happened to be female.

Unfortunately we had the rainfly on, so we couldn't catch
any sweet upskirts from the girls playing on the jungle gym

We slept in Fallon's expansive city park on a beautiful patch of woodchips, and missed the sprinklers by a margin of 1.73 feet. God bless America.

In the morning, we talked to a guy who was on house arrest (and had even spent 7 months in prison) because he was caught with shrooms at Burning Man in an explicit example of entrapment. We both marveled at the fellow's tale of woe, and immediately threw away our stash of shrooms, meth, heroin, peyote, cough syrup, and poisonous toads.

Alex claimed Nevada's capitol building in the name of peace

And then he claimed that the capitol grounds could stand for some proper landscaping!

Today we arrived in Nevada's state capital, also known as Irkutsk (JK it's Carson City). Along the way, we met a really cool dude named Pete who is also riding his bicycle to San Francisco! We decided to ride our bicycles with him today, and we hope to repeat the process tomorrow and the following day as we approach the San Francisco Bay. It's a little bit late to be mentioning this, but we are actually truly but four days from the end of this, our epic quest. Tomorrow we even cross into Cali-fornia, a state that we know practically nothing about and has little-to-no mystique about it whatsoever. Unbelievable.

Pete has replaced Emelio as Alex's #2

Now we're going to go gamble the night away. See you in Hell!

Alex always says a finger-prayer over his gold ring before dining at a casino


Couple Dudes, Walex and Welio.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Alex and Emelio Differ When it comes to Certain Music Videos, it Seems

Hey guys, we just found the title out! No biggie! We have time to make such discoveries on a day like today, because to-day is............... REST DAY 2012!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

For real guys, we decided to take a rest day here in fanciful funktastic Ely, Nevada, "Home to more motels than people (it seems)." Now don't freak out everybody, but Alex is currently exeriencing some extreme patellar complications right now at this moment in time. Basically, every time he bends his knee beyond 25 degrees, it feels like a highly-trained, deranged and sadistic dwarf is banging him in the side of the knee with a venom-laced ball-peen hammer. For those of you less up-to-date on certain laws of physics, that means two hammer bangs for every single pedal stroke on the bicycle. Read: this sucks.

Buuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuut: This is a day for miracles. A day for joy. We have committed ourselves to treating ourselves like the kings that we are (JK LOL (not JK (and not LOL))). We shall be loafing in this library for as long as these witchy bookmarms permit, at which point we will head out to find the least-pricey and most-dirty motel room in town (for the record, it will be the first time we spend $$ on an overnight for this whole trip, so ha). Emelio will then commence with the nursing, perhaps swaddling and hopefully at times physically breastfeeding young Alex back to health. Certain details of Emelio's nursing techniques may not be disclosed on this blog due to their exceedingly smarmy nature. Please visit if you would like to know more ;)

Anywayzzz, we left you last time in the depths of the Utah desert along the most supernatural stretch of highway we've been privy to, camping under the crystal night sky. We woke just as dawn peeked its curious little face over the bloodred cliffs to our east. It was September 15, and it was clear that it would be a very special one from its beginning moments. Many of you probably know that September 15 is a very significant date for Alex and Emelio; it was on that date last year that we lost our wonderful friend Sylvia Bingham when she was struck by a truck while riding her bicycle to work in downtown Cleveland.

Sylvia shared a house with Emelio in the Tremont neighborhood and was his first real friend in Cleveland (they were both new in town as Americorps VISTA volunteers). This is Alex writing now: she was my girlfriend and we were just beginning a new life together in Cleveland. She had moved to town only a few weeks before her accident not just for her new job at Hard-Hatted Women, but also to be near me and Jill (her best friend from high school back in California, who also happens to be the girlfriend of my brother David). Jill and I--as well as everybody else in our Cleveland community--were thrilled to have Sylvia in Cleveland. It was almost too good to be true. Her death was unimaginably tragic and all of us are still very much recovering from our loss.

In the wake of Sylvia's death I felt very lost. I found myself looking for some sort of direction, but found very few answers at all in the following months. It was during that time that I realized I needed to do something large and purposeful as a way of remembering her. Riding my bike across the country (from her last home in Cleveland to her first home near San Francisco) in her memory seemed to be a meaningful and appropriate thing to do. Cycling was important to Sylvia and has been important to me for a very long time as well. It is a statement of personal freedom, environmental responsibility, and fun! Some of my most lovely memories of Sylvia are times we spent riding bikes together. She was committed to living a car-free life and Emelio and I feel very strongly the same way.

Sometime in the late fall Emelio and I were having a conversation and realized that we had both been thinking independently about making a long, cross-country trek by bicycle as a way of honoring Sylvia and her dedication to living responsibly and joyously. It made perfect sense for us to do it together. We talked about it often throughout the winter, and in the spring our plans finally came together. Emelio's VISTA term was set to end at the end of July, so we committed to leave in the first week of August. From the beginning, we conceived of San Rafael, CA (and the home of Sylvia's parents) as our ultimate destination. When we get there, we look forward to spending time with Sylvia's parents Steve and Francoise in their home and at some of Sylvia's favorite places around the SF Bay Area.

With this background, it seems somehow fitting that September 15 (Day 43) turned out to be our most challenging day of riding of the entire trip. So you all must remember our Australian mate Matthew who oh-so-highly recommended the Burr Trail detour the day before.... well, we soon found out that he had sent our poor, frail American frames down a veritable TRAIL OF DOOM. A few miles into our day, we reached the end of paved-ville and entered world-of-pain-ville, a loose gravel/sand road that showed little mercy for us and our ill-equipped touring rigs. It was all we could do to keep from skidding out on the unforgiving surface, and this was on the flat stretch leading up to Capitol Reef National Park. At the entrance to the park, we were already a bit worn, but we lifted our spirits with sammies and even had the wherewithal to snap this cute little pic:

We had thought it was "Carnival Beef National Park" -- what a disappointing surprise!

A little background on Capitol Reef: it's claim to fame is a massive 100-mile long mountainous backbone of death called the Waterpocket Ridge. Early pioneer-heroes/white imperialits identified this geologic feature with a oceanic reef because it's a freaking dastardly barrier to pleasure. As soon as we set our watery eyes on that Reef, our knees started a-knockin' and our teeth started a-chatterin' and our penises started a-shrivelin' (even more than usual!) -- we knew we were in for a world of pain.

The Burr Trail boasts a quaint mile-long series of switchbacks creatively known as The Burr Trail Switchbacks. We might suggest a few other names for this loveable section of trail: "Darth Vader's Pleasure Tour"; "Stalin's Favorite Place for an Afternoon Stroll"; "The Darkest Place on Earth"; "Godzilla's Footsteps"; or perhaps, "The 'What The Fuck Were They Thinking?' Highway." This series of eight or so switchbacks basically very nearly transport you up the face of a sheer, freaking, rock, cliff. At times the grade must have been beyond 14%, seriously (seriously (for real)). The steepest section rises over 800 feet in half a mile. Our bikes would often hit a particularly thick layer of sediment, resulting in near disaster each time. Regaining the momentum necessary for continuing our pedaljourney required powers and skills that we very scarecely possess.

Green Day titled one of their recent hit songs after this road

Once past the "Boulevard of Villanous Calamity" (AKA THE BURR TRAIL), things got way easier.


The road surface maintained its gravelly grimace, and relieved of the burden of switchbackery, streched straight off upward infinitely into the distance for miles and miles. Jeepers! We basically had to glaze our brains over in order to continue this impossible climb. Thanks, Matt!

Fortunately, a Jeeping Californian couple, as they passed us for the third time that afternoon, took pity on us couple dudes and presented us with an excessive amount of homegrown watermelon. We gratefully accepted their tribal melon-offering in the most anthropological way as they continued driving their Jeep.

Alex made a point to slurp this watermelon as loudly and defiantly as he could. Emelio sends his condolences to all those who have had the misfortune of dining with this Neanderthal around a dinner table.

With our stomachs sloshing around layer upon pulpy layer of red cucurbitaceate, we groggily continued our climb up Mt. Burr. Not long after, God sent a Prophet from Arizona to our rescue. It was one of the lesser-known prophets, a Mormon prophet in fact (JK!). His name was Kent, and he was Good. Kent pulled over, half drunk and sober, to offer us a ride "to the top of the hill" (Kent, 4:15-16). When we squeezed ourselves beside Kent's animal familiar ("Spot"), the Prophet cracked open a can of Ambrosia (Bud Light) and we sped away up the dusty trail.

Kent let us off on a magnificently magnificent summit in the midst of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, with views of all types of crazy shit that most of you will never get to see in your meager, pathetic existences (JK! We hope! AWKWARD!). The road from this point was actually rideable (aka not rocks or sand), and we cruised through a striking long canyon known locally and world-wide as "Long Canyon." At one particular point, we passed through a gulch, known locally and world-wide as "The Gulch." It would behoove us to mention that this stretch of riding is made available only to those willing to abandon all reason and survive the Burr Trail -- but the Long Canyon really is a sight (a good one, doyyy!).

We found a couple bicycles in the Long Canyon, and totally jacked them! Suckers!

We did encounter some steep climbs out of Grand Staircase-Escalante-Fire Escape, but our destination, the town of Boulder, UT was minutes within our clammy grasp. Upon exiting the Monument, we encountered a sign announcing the steep, winding grades that one finds within. We thought we would stop and take a pic, because we knew you would think it was a cute one:

A "sign" of our "despair"

Unfortunately, the Burr Trail was not about to take any photographic mockery laying down. As he snapped the pic, Alex lost control of his disobedient bicycle which tipped over and whose chainring ripped a malevolent gouge out of his fleshy inner-upper ankle. This was not something that Alex wanted to have happen at that moment in time, but it sure was funny for Emelio (though at the time he had to feign compassion)(JK!). The wound has since healed somewhat but at the moment it really did seem like it might hinder our forward progress.


After such a taxing day, we decided it was time for a little treat. And by "treat" we mean "dinner" and by "dinner" we "mean" "eating at the local eatery"! Our dinner was filling and we had beer. Characters encountered within the establishment include: Our waitress, who, in a winking contest with Sarah Palin would give the Alaskan Governor a run for her money; the rich, snooty New Yorker, who, in a talking-about-himself contest with Osama Bin Laden would give the Militant Islamic Fundamentalist a run for his money; the perky young Taiwanese exchange worker, who, in a having-been-transplanted-to-an-incongruous-locale contest with Elian Gonzalez would give the young Cuban a run for his money; the bombastic ambiguously European heiress from Texas, who, in a what-the-heck-are-you-doing-in-this-realm contest with this guy would give the Angeleno waste-of-space a run for his (lack of) money. On such a hard day it was key for us to give ourselves a taste of comfort. At the end of the day, as as the end of every day on this trip, we were glad for the struggles that we encountered and overcame.

Finding a campsite proved to be a little difficult in the tiny town of Boulder. Public lands were spare, but a we thought we might try our luck asking at a local lodgery marketed to rich hippies (Organic Garden! Zagat-rated Natural Foods Restaurant! Tibetan Peace Flags!) if we might set up camp on their spacious grounds. Emelio, in as polite a way as his smug little ass could figger out, approached the hippie-queen behind the check-in counter and asked whether we might set up camp on their spacious grounds. With a cold, corporate glare, the "alternative" Mother Earth-worshipper revealed herself to be a Capitalist hotel-baroness and issued a stern, almost violent refusal to our admittedly humble query. Emelio wishes he had had the gumption to grip her jaw with one of his suntanned paws and slowly crush her lower mandible into a fine powder which she then could have used to make into some type of stupid lotion or salve and sell for $38 per three-ounce tin. Sorry about this burtal rant, but this lady was a majorly rude hipocrite and it really annoyed the pants off of us!

We eventually made camp on a gravelly patch of earth next to a Dutch-filled Recreational Vehicle. What a day!

We woke early the next morning to pack up before the RV-campsite proprietor could find us illicitly camped on her site and charge us this. Our ride that day would take us through the town of Escalante (Austin, one of our Louisville agents in the field, recommended that we make a scenic waterfall stop between Boulder and Escalante, but Alex's ankle was hurting him such that it would have been an arduous detour. Thanks for the tip anyways, Austin!) The route into Escalante is along Highway 12, which proved to be an immensely spectacular road perched upon what is known as the Hogback, a ridge within Escalante-Grand Staircase (we dipped in and out of this massive park all day) that overlooks some dinosaurly-epic landscapes.

The day was splendid and the day was long, but eventually we rolled into the rather strange town of Tropic, UT (we never found out why it's called that; you can invent your own fun reasons!). It's a town apparently inhabited by equal numbers of German/other weird European tourists on BMW motorcycles and publicly flirtatious Avril Lavigne-wanna-be Mormon teens. We bought snack packs at the town grocer, then ate them (along with other supplements of alimentary nature) under the pa-V in Tropic's town park. That's where we slept, our tent nestled up next to the conveniently located prep table!

Next morn the epic detour continued.... OOOOoooo-EEE! We had a tough one, but our objective was clear and it was legit: Zion National Park. We knew we had over 90 miles to go, but we didn't know just what conditions we would be facing along this stretch (remember, we were "off-route", which means we were floating in a world of certain mystery). The day started with 10 good miles (read: about 2 hours) of climbing up to the area around Bryce Canyon NP. We didn't have time for a visit to Bryce, but the payoff came with about 15 miles of yem-yem-yemmy (!) downhill cruising through Red Canyon along a curvy-swervy dedicated bike path. It was no Bryce, but the hoodoos were still 100% of da hoo(doo)k. Hoo noo?!?!

Boy; Barrel; Hoodoo

That's when things got hairy. Twenty-something miles of wicked uphill riding into an even wickeder headwind left us battered and doubtful that we'd reach Zion before nightfall. But theeeeeennnnn...... we drank some milk! As it has time and again on this trip, it did the trick and we re-mounted our stallions for an all-out attack on the day's remaining mileageage. Once you hit the entrance to Zion you are basically entering into Martian-style alien spaceship-land. Throughout our mindbending 12-mile descent into Zion Valley, we experienced-- up close and personal--an endless array of massive, monumental, mystical mounds of ancient sand. They were pretty much freaking our faces off the entire time.

Two days earlier, while in the rugged depths of the Utah desert, we met a sweet couple from Boulder, CO and their mega-sweet 3-year-old son. At the time, they happened to mention that they'd be spending the weekend (as in when we reached Zion) camped out in the park's south campground. Looking to reunite with the friendly Colorodans, we made our way to the campground to "see what was up." The campground was massive (120+ sites) and completely booked up. We arrived feeling triumphant but then we were kinda like, "Hmmm...." After a few minutes of aimless tooling, however, we heard, like the call of a glorious angel (like from the Bible!) "Hey, you guys made it!" It was Alex, the kind woman from the desert. We'd found them.

The family that Sportsmobiles and Bicycles together, stays together

We were too scared to ask, but before things could even get awkward, they'd invited us to camp with them and join their budding family unit as two (strangely older) adopted twin sons (JK about one part of that last statement; you decide which). Let's just say they fed us, played with us (3-year-old Lake in particular), and talked to us about all sorts of neat-o stuff--especially their super-fun life of traveling the country in their Sportsmobile.

After many nights in the same tent, we finally conceived! The apple didn't fall far from the tree.

Rick (the family's patriarch) happens to be from the Cleveland area and we can't wait to hang out with them next time they make it out to the North Coast.

"I kick the ball!"

We laid our tent down next to their super-hero quality vehicle for a quick visit to old la-la land. Then next day was to be a rest day, and by "rest day" we mean jam-packed with two of the most insanely scenic and thrilling hikes our sloppy bags of bones have ever had the privilege of walking. In the morning it was Angel's Landing, which is basically a hike straight up the face of a 2,000-foot high sandstone monolith. If it sounds daunting and/or dangerous, that's because IT IS! There are signs all throughout the park warning of the danger incurred when attempting such a hike.

The best way to experience Zion Canyon also happens to be in silhouetted profile.

At pretty much all moments during the 90-minute (for us; 3-hour for mere mortals) ascent to the landing, you are walking within inches of a sheer drop to the canyon bottom. Parents, don't be worried, we made it. Otherwise we couldn't be writing this blog, sillies! At the apex, the hiker is granted the equivalent of two stone tablets to bring down to the several tribes of Israel: a veritable G-dGift freakfest canyon viewpoint of wackadoobular proportions.

"I tried to chuck him right over the edge, but he has surprisingly good balance", Emelio and Alex simultaneously remarked.

Our eyes nearly jumped out of their sockets and did a 360-kickflip McTwist-to-fakie on this greatest halfpipe of all God's creation.

Totally radical stuff. Neek freekin.

The afternoon's bipedal excursion (read: hike) was wet. And Wild. And it was The Narrows. We unfortunately don't have any pictures of this walk, but we have an excuse. For the better part of the hike (this one took us nearly 4 hours) you are actually penetrating with your body the wet depths of the Virgin River. At it's northern end, Zion Canyon squeezes down to no more than 20 or 30 feet across, hence the name of the hike. At the same time, 600-foot high cliffs rise up vertiginously on either side of you, creating a sense of almost cave-like enclosure. You could basically consider us two spermatozoa fighting our way up the East-bound fallopian tube toward our Egg (read: the end of the hike). Upon fertilizing the egg (you know what we mean, guys) we turned around and made our way back downriver. The river flowed at a quite lively pace and the riverbottom was littered with stones of unpredictable size and nature. Good thing we remembered to bring along our handy-schmandy walking sticks or we would have ended up a couple a soggy dudes. Basically this hike was tiggity and we liked it very much. Amen.

The next day we had to get out of Dodge (read: Zion National Park). We had CouchSurfing arrangements for that evening in Cedar City, about 70 miles due North of the Park. It was mainly uphill but the wind was finally at our backs so we made good time. Interesting to note: this day marked the first time we rode on an interstate, specifically I-15. Scary as that may sound, we found interstate riding to feel much safer and more comfortable than riding on other seemingly benign stretches of pavement. Check that one off the old list!

In Cedar City we ate Frostys. Furthermore, we proceeded to the gracious home of our gracious hosts, the Dalton family. This family basically kicks major butt. A run-down of the get-down: Lynn is the father. He is a self-taught rockhound and he is very nice. He served us a delicious zucchini soup that had been prepared by his lovely wife Celine (nice name, eh?). Celine is the mother. She made us eggs in the morning. Iain is the son. He went on bike tour earlier this summer and showed us his awesome homemade panniers. Natasha is one of the daughters. She is a very diligent high school student and also very kind. Adrienne is the 6.5-year old daughter. She is immensely creative and playful and we had a lot of fun exploring her little special world (not JK). We played animals, she showed us the garden, and Alex played with her for like 2.5 hours straight (not JK; it was more exhausting than biking the Rockies). We showered up, did laundry, and had a restful sleep. Alex slept on the trampoline like a freak, but he really did enjoy it.

After running some AM errands in Cedar City, we booked it out of there on our way to Milford. We were cycling out of Utah's trademark landscape, leaving behind the cliffs, arches, bridges, mesas, buttes, gulches, gizzards, belches, bears ears, and hiccups. Nearing Nevada, the riding went even smoother than we could've expected, and we got to Milford in no time flat. After a very early supper, we made the uncharacteristic decision to keep on riding into the night. This seemed like a good idea for a couple reasons: we had plenty of leftover energy to spend, the next town (which would be our destination the following day) was 84 miles on down the road and we thought it best to knock out some of those miles before making camp, and we knew the road would be relatively empty and that the moon would be mooning us with its gloriously shiny derriere. Lo and behold, we cranked out 24 bonus miles before pulling off and making camp in the middle of freaking nowhere. Quite lovely, actually.

The next day, not much to report from a couple dudes on biketour from Cleveland to San Francisco, California, USA, North America, the Western Hemisphere, the World, the Solar System, the Milky Way, the Ziltra-Nova (2.*) MetaPlex, the Universe, the Cosmos, BABY JESUS. We rode up, we rode down. Some wind and sunshine just to spice things up. PS: We crossed into Nevada, the Silver State, the 36th state, the 7th largest (in area) state, and the most prostitute- and gambling-addicted state. Allahu Akbar.

That Emelio sure is a real old-fashioned Wild West gunslinger (and by that I mean "idiot").

Our evening's campsite was Baker, a eety beety leettle town. It's smallness, however, was offset by its pizza parlor where we ate some delicious pizza from that there parlor joint. We considered "pulling a Milford" and continuing on after supper, but Alex was feeling kinda wiped out and basically went to bed at 6 PM. End of day. ASL?

All I can think about is the "Honey I Shrunk the Kids" installation at DisneyWorld.

The final leg we'll cover here today, class, brought us from Baker to Ely. We were strangely drawn to this town by the blinding glow of neon lights from the overwhelming number of motels in this wacked-out, yet wackily fun locality. Example of wacked out and wacky fun: last night two pickup trucks drove around for hours with approximately 15 high school-age girls in each truckbed. The girls shouted out indiscernible messages and things and generally hooted and hollered all round town while the sheriff escorted them. With so many dang motels, this town hardly has room for a public park (our preferred small-town campground, you may have noticed). We were at a loss as to where we'd sleep until we found the high school football stadium. After making out for hours under the bleachers (JK you guys, EEEEEWWWWWW!) we found a dark spot and it was lights out.

Peace and blessings to all our people and non-people. We luv y'all very much ;)