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 ;)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

This is our latest Blog Entry!

Hello there you Yodelers and Chodelers! Can you believe it? We're on BikeTour!

Let's get down to BS (business). We've got a lot of animal dung to shovel down your throats, and we want it to be resplendent with linkage and photographic representation, so we're going to attempt to get the last nine days into this post AQAP.

Day 39:

We left Telluride on a frigid morning. It was difficult to depart from such luxurious accommodations, but we did. We had to climb up to Lizard Head Pass (10,222 ft above sea level (asl?)) through some stunning deep wilderness. It seemed like the mountains were engulfing us like friggin Marshmallow Man in Ghostbusters. The rest of the way was down down down into Dolores, CO--passing through some truly spanktacular valleys and et cetera. This was our last major day of riding through the Rockies; Alex was heard (by himself, the pompous braggart that he is) to say, "This is the end of an Era." In Dolores, we were mistaken--for the second time on this trip--for Phish fanatics. What the heck?!?

Alex pretends to read

Remember that story about how we got nailed by sprinklers in the middle of the night in a city park in Colorado? Unbeknownst to us, the producers of this trip had planned a sequel, and it was set in Dolores' city park! What fun!

A platform over the Dolores river; we peed off it.
Day 40:

In spite of its outwardly racist atmosphere, the Ponderosa Restaurant on Dolores' main drag offered a pretty wonderful, stupendous, scrumptious, tasty, yet delicious Breakfast Buffet for a measly-weasley $7. We basically loaded our faces with: WAFFLES! FRENCH TOAST! FRUIT COCKTAIL! HASH B'S! CERE! B's and G! C-ROLLS! M.E.! D! .! and MORE!!!!!!!!!

This food hates Mexican immigrants, but it was actually pretty tasty!

We rode out of the pine forests of Western Colorado, across another state border and into the increasingly desert-like world of Eastern Utah. This was our longest-mileage day since hitting the Rockies; we banged out 83.64 relatively smooth miles between Dolores and the day's landing point: Blanding, UT.

In Blanding, a city that lives up to its name, we hung out in the town square (A&W Restaurant) and purchased groceries (Ramen and beans) from a cashier (of androgynous countenance). We slept underneath a jungle gym in order to avoid a spontaneous outbreak of "Alex and Emelio Become Enraged Due to City Parks in Desert Situations that Massively Utilize Sprinklers Syndrome."

Day 41:

In "The Real Utah" making a "'U' via His Arms"

Alex, in his habitually boisterous and increasingly annoying way, quoth: "This was our first day of riding in 'The Real Utah.'" Emelio grudgingly agrees. Nevertheless, the scenery became much more craggly as we approached what turned out to be our evening's destination, Natural Bridges National Monument. This National Park Service-administered site contains three spectacular natural bridges (which are specific geologic formations; don't get them confused with arches or a Ranger will give you an ATOMIC WEDGIE) in close proximity -- an occurrence not matched elsewhere on this godforsaken planet. Needless to say (or is it??), we went to the park to check them out.

N.B.N.M. itself is relatively small; a one-lane road circumnavigates the rim of the canyons in a 9-mile loop. From this loop, there are multiple overlooks onto the three bridges and the surrounding rock formations. At least three trails down into the canyon depart from this loop; we were basically foaming at the mouth to bury ourselves deep, deep underneath these hard, massive chunks of rock.

Almost to the canyon bottom... Alex is actually physically literally ON the bridge!

We selected the hike down to meet Sipapu, the largest of the three bridges (second largest in the world only to the Golden Gate Bridge of course!). It was sweet and excellent and high-five-slappingly awesome. There was no one else around, and it was basically like a big rocky playground and we reverted into little idiot children and even crapped our pants (honestly!!). The canyon floor was lush and magical; looking up at Sipapu was disorienting and we puked (honestly!! (no, really, we did!!!)). But seriously though, the bridge was huge and it was great.

The preferred way to experience a natural bridge is in silhouetted profile

The best part of this evening, although, came just a bit later as we realized that we were running out of daylight and needed to find a place to camp, quick-like. Serendipitously, a group of thirteen lively geezers from Salt Lake City were on a sick bicycle trip themselves and happened to be camping at one of the Park's fully-booked campsites. We fooled those idiots into letting us couple dudes camp with them, for FREE! What luck! Seriously folks, they were really kind and interested in our trip and our lean young muscles. It was a super night. Thanks again to the Wasatch Mountain Club!

Day 42:

These outdoorsy people were even nerdier than we are!

We tooled around a bit this morning, chatting with the other cyclists and getting our proverbial shit together. No more than an hour into the day's riding, we encountered a really big Australian guy... riding a bike! Matthew (that was his name! (GET IT??? (Alex did that so we could have a double parenthetical; Emelio thinks he is an IDIOT (and now, Gawd, we have a triple parenthetical (ARGHH it's up to five now!!))))) gave us a really slick localtip. It went a little something like this: "Why don't you mates throw a shrimp on the barbie and take a ferry across Lake Powell so that you can meet up with the famed Burr Trail; I want a Foster's: Australian for Beer!" (JK sorry about the racist jokes Matthew, we're just doing it for our racist friends back home! You know we're down with the Aussies and everything that you're doing).

In all seriousness, Matthew was da bomb. Check out that load!

Matthew's tip led us, of course, to Lake Powell--a lake (JK it's a reservoir). When you picture lakes, you probably think of a bucolic tree-filled setting, with fauna galore. L.P. is slightly different, in that it is not like that at all. Our route to Powell was brutally empty, and after some extremely taxing canyon climbs (9% grade for nearly four miles) we stumbled upon some really, really barren desert and a horrible lakeside supply store (square footage: 24. number of people staffing this hole of a shop: 5) where we spent way too much money on paltry comestibles.

We had a hard time convincing the ferry captain that we weren't pirates, but eventually she/he let us on board!

The ferry across the lake, however, was a real delight. We chatted up some megababes (one of them was even Serbian!) aboard the vessel, and they gave us water and applesauce as well as a cucumber. Thanks, Ladies! When we got to the other side, we were hot. Not like that, you guys!! The lake beckoned to us like John Madden beckoning you to buy some Tough Actin' Tinactin. Our swim was both refreshing and in Lake Powell.

This is Emelio on his bicycle in Utah

We knew we would be riding into some truly back-country areas where campsites would be be both abundant and spectacular. Even so, we never expected to find as sublime a sleeping spot as we did that evening. As the sun set golden over the ruby-red canyons, we pedaled over a completely car-free and sand-shrouded Scenic Backway (From this website: A Scenic Backway is back country road or path that offers outstanding scenic beauty along with historical, recreational and cultural qualities. Backways have surfaces that vary from pavement to gravel with vary degrees of travel difficulty. Backways are generally recommended for vehicles with high clearance and four wheel drive. When planning your trip along a backway it’s advisable to bring preparedness items such as food, water, spare tire, & maps. Cell phones often do not work in the back country. Always tell someone your travel plans).

The final switchback before we hit the campsite of our dreams

Things looked great. And then, just in time, we saw her across a crowded room: the campsite of our dreams. In the Land of Many Contrasts, this was just the contrast we needed. Smooth, sculpted white stone mounds billowed up from road. To the west, a range of distant mountains and the blazing, dipping glow-orb. To the east, a radically striated cliff-monster that stood watch like either a massive ancient headless ancestral Puebloan Sphinx or a crumbling fascist temple of terror (see pics for pics).

A boy, a sunrise, and their oatmeal

We made a fire, roasted mallows, and camped out under the open starlit sky (that means we didn't use the tent, doy!).

Note the lack of tent; consider us a couple a Davy Crocketts


"What an ass"

It's beddy-bye time for a couple a beat dudes. We're just simply gonna hafta finish the story when we wake up tomorrow! (...if we wake up!!)

We knew you guys would think this was a cute one!


Monday, September 13, 2010

Utaht we wouldn't make it... Utah. But we did you bunch a naysayers! In fact, we're here
right now, just check the pic for a pic. It's definitely not the
Rockies out here, although we did just hit 41.9 mph going down an 8%
grade into a canyon, yowza! We probably won't have service for the
next few days, so by the time we get to a "com-puter" we better have
23 comments on this post. Make it happen people!


Friday, September 10, 2010

Hot Springs Time Machine

Raingeared-out Alex rides into the Mountain Mist

Okay you jokers. So we had this really excellent surprise to reveal to you--the one that we built up like a couple of Dubai real-estate developers on meth--but then we were totally SCOOPED in 1920s-esque yellow-journalism fashion by none other than our Pueblo couchsurfing host, Jenny K---!! "Can ya buhleeve it?!"

If you read the comments (which you probably didn't (and to which you most certainly did not contribute)), you would have seen that Jenny revealed to the whole "global online community" our plans to sally forth into the wild, wet world (WWW) of the Coloradan hot springs!!!!!!!!!1!!!!11oneone.


Before we could soak in the hot springs, we had to transport our hairy and not-hairy bodies (respectively) to the hot springs. We decided to ride our bikes. It was a pleasure to ride the 30 short miles from Montrose to Ridgway. Over that distance, we executed a gradual climb of about 1,000 feet up to the base of the San Juan Mountains/Mt. Sneffles Wilderness Area. The approach into Ridgway was heart-flutteringly scenic, as the monumental mountains made magnificently magical mirage-like miraclelands M&Ms mmmmm. Mamma Mia!

Just outside of Ridgway, a wonderful bike trail beckoned us to mount it. "Okay," we implicitly remarked while mounting it. The trail brought us plum into town and to the doorstep of Ridgway's library that appears to be staffed mostly by cougars. No big surprise there--Ouchie Mama!

After blogging away four hours of the afternoon (not JK), we high-tailed it two simple miles outside of Ridgway to the Orvis Hot Springs. Disclaimer: the following narration may include allusions to situations that are appropriate only for mature audiences or nude boy-loving mega-creepers or mature nude boy-loving mega-creepers or boy-loving audiences or audience-loving boy nudes or mature loving boys. We've included this disclaimer because at the Orvis Hot Springs you get naked.

Ladies, one at a time, please!

In all seriousness though, folks, we had an overall soothing and wonderful experience in the springs soaking our naked bodies in the springs. We say "overall" because at the beginning, when it was still light out, we were unnerved by the amount of solo-soakers who were a) male b) over 40 years old and b.1) wearing sunglasses. Fortunately, the sun sets on this godforsaken rock and things got uber-chill once we couldn't discern the amount of creepers hanging out in the springs.

Since we couldn't take any pictures at Orvis (for obvious reasons, duhhhh you pervs!), we wanted to take some time to set the setting. Unlike some of the other spring-locales we've heard tale of in this state, at Orvis the pools are designed to resemble a natural alpine setting (in the better-known springs at Ouray, for example, we hear that the springs flow into standard poured concrete basins). In addition to the natural flagstone construction of the pools and walkways, the organic ethos of the outdoor facility is enhanced by exquisite landscaping, rough-hewn wooden seating/towel-hanging opportunities, and distant views of the area's Rocky horizon. You may even want to take your pre-wedding photos here, if not for the weirdos who might endeavor to insert their genitals into the frame!

Honestly people, we lived the springs up. We soaked for four hours, moving from spring basin to spring basin like a curious robinredbreast seeking out the choicest birdbath in the cul-de-sac. When our time was up at Orvis, we rode back to Ridgway and set up camp in the lovely town park (see previous blogpost).

The morning brought the sun and cereal. We ate a box a cereal. Then we went over to a quaint little Ridgway coffee shop, which turned out to be the #1 freak hangout in this otherwise chill mountain town. Specifically, we're referring to the bizzare barista whose brain was likely addled by the fallout from a weeklong LSD bender at Joshua Tree in 1972, that she shared with her far-out pal Lou who drove an orange Volkswagen. The hallucinations seem to haunt her to this day; we can only assume that beasts unseen to all but this coffee-wretch order her to speak in childish tones and respond to queries as to her state of being with the word "groovy." As we were paying for our beverages, she could not help to giggle maniacally for the duration of the transaction, in all probability remembering a four-hour hula hoop experience at Burning Man back when it used to be about the Burning (weed) and not The Man (corporations). Good-bye Ridgway!

We expected a relatively normy day of mountain bicycling between Ridgway and Telluride. All of our expectations were thrown into a Vita-Mix, however, when this happened. At first, we thought it was really cool because we finally got to use our raingear! The rain even subsided for a moment at the top of Dallas Divide (4,200,205 feet above sea level JK 8,900 f.a.s.l. (asl?)) and revealed Mount Sneffels in all its cloud-shrouded, sun-bathed majesty. On the way down from Dallas, however, the weather morphed from a pleasant drizzle to an obstructive obstruction to our progress and comfort. Sixteen miserable miles later, we landed in Placerville (population: tiny) and hung out in the general store with a weirdo from Shaker Heights for an hour so that we could warm up/dry off.

Emelio tries out his raincoat while Mt. Sneffles hides behind the clouds (scaredy-cat!)

When we hit the road again, Fortune spun her mighty wheel in our favor and the rain held off for the final twenty-mile stretch into Telluride. Our route along Hwy 145 traversed breathtakinger and breathtakinger landscapes: crystalline mountain rivers, fluttering aspens, ruddy canyon walls, looming peaks, and some birds. We hopped on a bike path a few miles outside T-Ride; it was smooth sailing all the way into town.


Two miles out of town, Emelio hit a chunck of glass that instantaneously flattened his rear tube immediately on the spot. What appeared to be a major bummer turned out to be a flavorful stunner! "Why?" you are probably asking. Well, here goes: WE MET A TOTALLY CHILL MAMACITA WHO ENDED UP HOOKING US UP EXTREMELY! Megan was riding home from working the fields (basically landscaping Tom Cruise's house literally probably) and stopped to chat our brains out when she got the vibe that we were on biketour. Turns out, she has also gone on biketour! After engaging in some excellent conversation, she gave us a couple good localtips and left us to flat-fixing. We thought our days with Megan were over...

...but then we ran into her again later! Phone numbers were exchanged, and soon enough she was inviting us to dinner in her chill-ass crib!!!!

This shrimp is totally dwarfed by the Telluride surroundings. Grow up, jerk!

First, however, we had to find our evening lodgings. Emelio's friend Colin Raffel's family's apartment (please excuse the triple possessive; there's no better way to explain this) was our destination. Only one problem: in the course of arranging these accomodations with the Raffels we never asked what the name of their lodge was. We felt like Mary and Joseph looking for a place to birth the savior of mankind, sheesh!! Eventually we found the spot and checked in like your freaking mom when you're trying to get a smooch or two in the basement, golly Ma ever heard of knocking??

Let's just say that we owe the Raffels a portion of our firstborn for hooking us up with such an amazing place to stay. We can't thank you enough!! So the place we stayed was sort of in Telluride, but sort of not. To be precise, it was in a nearby (as in a few miles up the mountainside) town known as Mountain Village.

Get a load of our view from the Raffels' condo! (hint: they're mountains)

You see, while Telluride itself is a historic mining town with a spectacular nationally-registered core of Victorian-era structures, Mountain Village is a 1990s-era product of Telluride's booming real-estate market and burgeoning wintertime skiing/summertime festival culture. The way we understand it, a bunch of developers took a huge chunk of mountain and turned it into a jaw-dropping mountain village (we think that's where they got the idea for the name) of condominium lodges, detatched luxury homes, and upscale dining/shopping plazas. The Village, along with the town of Telluride, comprise one of America's most glamorous destinations (although we guess there are about 2,000 lucky, lucky year-rounders who call the town home).

After dropping off our bikes (and "stuff") at the lodge, we had to make our way back down into Telluride to meet Megan for supper at her abode. "How'd you get all the way down the mountain (and up to Mt. Village in the first place)?" you are perhaps pondering. Well, it's like this: there's a mega-nasty, freegtastic TOTALLY FREE GONDOLA that transports freaks like us (even our bikes) up and down between the two alpine communities, TOTALLY FREE OF CHARGE from 7:00 AM to 12:00 AM (midnight, you dummies!) seven days per week. Riding in this gondola is really really rilly fun.

While riding the gondola, Alex takes a couple "personal minutes"

At the bottom, we had a short walk to Megan's cute little place that she shares with two other mamacitas. She prepared us a delicious chicken dinner and we both ate it (even Emelio's stupid vegan ass)! We all got along great and had a lovely time, but eventually us couple dudes had to skip out in time to catch the last gondola "home".

Further highlights of our stay in Telluride:

1) An awesome hike to the bottom (and then the top) of Bridal Veil Falls at the eastern end of town.

"Bouldering" "up" "the" "veil"

2) Super-chilling and movie-watching in the condo (PS: DVDs borrowed from T-Ride library, which is tiz-ite).

3) Visiting Travis' radical bike shed for a once-over on Emelio's bike.

In all srsnss, you gotta hit up Travis' shop when you go to Telluride. Thanks for the great hookup, Travis!
Good luck with the new shop!

4) Another dinner with Megan and Hong (Megan's roomie); this time we played hosts.

5) General sense of deep relaxation imbued by the glorious natural and built environment of this special, special town.

Scopin' the views from the top of Bridal Veil. Try not to be jealous, losers!

We could elaborate on our time in Telluride, but we're tired of writing and, frankly, you really don't deserve any more than this.
But in one last call-of-duty, we shall reply to our commenting fans' virtual Inquisition.
Jon -- Our bloggering method goes a little something like this: we spend a lot of time writing things that make us LOL really hard and then have to delete because our families are reading (sorry families!), and then we get serious and try to get through the post, and then we spend a lot more time writing things that make us LOL really hard and then have to delete. Whenever you see a burn on Emelio, know that Alex typed it (and vice-versa DUH!). We basically spend about four to five hours on each post, and it's sort of a waste of time but we mostly enjoy it ^-^
Concerning our route: we actually haven't made too many diversions from our Adventure Cycling maps (if you cared to know, we're currently on the "Western Express" route, having left the "TransAmerica" route back in Pueblo). Telluride was a small detour off the map; the Black Canyon was a longer one only because of the hour-long climb to the top. We'll be traveling through Dolores, CO today and on into Utah tomorrow. Through Utah we're hoping to make some more small trips off the map, simply because of the glut of National Parks near our route. We pass through Cedar City near the border of Nevada; we travel through immense barrenness in the Silver State; we hit civilization once again in California (passing through Sacramento, Davis, and finally into San Fran). If all continues well, we expect to be in the Bay Area before October raises its ugly, horrific head.
Hunter -- whenever any strange formatting shows up in our post (which is happening all over this friggin post), be assured that we are loudly cursing Blogger and punching each other in the face out of fury.
luv yall,
A.E. (American Eagle)