20 November 2015


I really need to keep this more up to date! I'm currently in Albuquerque hoping not to make the wrong turn! I've been in the Enchanted Valley for close to three weeks now. My first few days in Taos, someone mentioned to me that the area was like vortex that sucks people in and that definitely happened to me! As I came down the canyon into Taos, I really became immersed in a whirlpool of emotions and tried my best to keep my senses. I came into town not knowing where I'd stay or what I'd do. It was cold and and rainy.  I got settled into the Taos public library for some local research. After an hour with no real leads on a place to stay a man came and sat near me, an interesting guy whose garb reminded me of a Buddhist monk. I commented to him that I liked his tunic he was wearing and that began a great conversation where he told me he was on a journey to spread his ideas and teach classes on non-violence and communication techniques. He was teaching in prisons. His name was Srinath and he was from California. I queried him to find out if there was a good place to stay. He thought for a minute and then told me about the Neem Karoli Baba ashram in Taos. He said I might be able to stay there as a pilgrim. I was intrigued as I have had at least a passing interest in in Ram Dass' teachings and I felt the spookiness that comes with synchronicity. Srinath said he was goin there later and I should check it out. I swallowed my fear and took the short ride over through the windey back streets of Taos. Upon entering the temple, which was really a few quaint pueblo buildings I was overcome with the wonderful warmth and the smell of hot chai. I wandered into the kitchen where the primary caretaker Jonathan was along with Waylon another caretaker. Both were preparing some kind of very aromatic dish and I hated to interrupt. With my nervous tongue twisting in my mouth I asked If I might stay with them for the night. At first they were inclined to send me to the men's Shelter but after a little conversing Waylon, another bike tourist who happened to settle at the Ashram, decided I might be worth at least a place to pitch my tent. He even went so far as to graciously offer me his tent which he hadn't gotten around to taking down. I came to find a lot of gratitude for this as the next few nights in Taos were in the low 30s and he had a cozy 4 season tent. The next couple days I spent at the ashram were great. I immediately began to kind of earn my keep with chores and by the third day parts of my mind were wanting to stick around to go deeper! I didn't chop any wood or fetch water though. I attended the nightly Aarti prayers and met some very kind people. Though it seemed like there were some politics going on there it was overshadowed by an undercurrent of love. 
My last day I rode down to Ranchos de Taos to experience a 6:45 am mass at the old Taos Mission. When I got out of mass the heavens opened up and I witnessed the splendor of what photographers call the golden hour. The old church was stunning! 

08 November 2015

Raton to Nowhere (about in the middle)

I spent two days in Raton, NM because of rain. Then rode out to Maxwell National Wildlife Refuge. Raton was special and it wasn't. It really felt like a departure from one stage to another. In fact as I hit the pinnacle of the pass to come down into the town I was overcome with emotion and began to cry uncontrollably, still not sure why but it was not from sadness. I just stood there on the side of the interstate crying. Pert near hilarity. Worked up a frightful sweat going up 1000 feet at 4-6 mph then put on my jacket and gloves for the 40-50 mph decent! With a loaded touring bike momentum really builds quick! HOLD ON!
Two friends I made on US64

Another friend I met. HUGE, I had been thinking of frying up some grasshoppers for dinner and I might have if I could have found more of these. This one made a meal of my fingernail crud.

New Mexican sunset at Maxwell National Wildlife Refuge

The wildlife refuge was a beautiful spot, empty and desolate, reminding me very much of the Sandhills. In fact, as I made my way over to the BLM hunting grounds I happened upon Sandhills Cranes cooing in the distance. It was really an amazing place. 

This was at a BLM hunting grounds.

Taught Pitch

High country the fast Way

I was so excited getting close to New Mexico. I wanted to take the train to fast forward the season a bit as it's getting closer and closer to winter. Honestly, I was apprehensive as well getting farther away from home and starting to feel some of the loneliness of being on the road by yourself. I'm not a terribly social person and tend to have quite a bit of anxiety when it comes to being around others; it is essential though that I do. The other thing that crops up and it will again and again is my anxiety making decisions and more like making the wrong decision. I can easily get paralyzed by it. Maybe it was too much speed metal in the '80s but I think my frontal cortex is damaged somehow. It was a tough decision for me to go the New Mexico route or to take the train to Northern California and riding down the coast. With some of this cold weather I'm hitting now I might still do that!
Climbing up to Trinidad State Park. BTW...I climbed all the way up to this park only to discover that camping was $30 a night, you know electricity and wifi (shoulda called first). What I've noticed on my last tour and this one is that camping now refers to RVs. State Parks and even National Parks notoriously have forsaken the tent camper. It's understandable but depressing; depressing because people just get farther and farther away from the experience of being in nature. When I'm camping out it puts my position on the food chain more in perspective but also the notion that I'm visiting the home of many other critters, who graciously (most of the time) oblige my bumbling through their territory. I must also mention my hatred for gas guzzling, road hogging RVs.

View of the Colorado Rockies on the way up Raton Pass

Leaving Colorado

Violators will be Persecuted! Believe me, the persecution of that hill was enough!

Entrance to Enchantment!

The Ratbike of Raton, NM

Leaving Kansas to Colorado

It was a long, cold rainy ride into topeka from my campsite in Valley Falls, KS. It was a nice ride though none-the-less. I was filled with anticipation for getting on the train for Colorado. I got to Topeka fairly early around noon and had errands to run. Hung out at the laudrymat for a while, hardware store and the thrift store. The thrift was the most important as I got a tip for taking a BOB trailer on the Amtrak. This includes finding a big ass duffel bag, which as it happened was perfectly perched on a shelf in the Topeka thrift I wandered into. It was actually a car top carrier bag with straps and all, long enough to fit the trailer. So after waiting til about 11 pm, I got down to the station to catch the Southern Chief train and started dissassembly. Amtrak provides a box ($15) and I had to take off my handlebars and pedals and deflate my tires to fit the 29er frame into the box. Pretty easy actually. Took apart the BOB and packed it as compact as possible until I had 4 carryon pieces that were just over the limit but fine for a weary conductor who just wanted to get that train rollin. Worked like a charm.
The train ride was great, mostly night and it was nice to sleep some. As morning came, so did the flat desolation of eastern Colorado and soon it changes to blowouts and mesas. The train was filled with a large party of Amish headed to a wedding in Trinidad, Co which is where I got off too. As we got off in Trinidad the Amish folk were excited to learn of my journey and watched a bit while I reassembled my bike. That process took awhile and finally I got done and went to find my way out of Trinidad. It was not a town I wanted to stay in. Had some bad vibes right when I got off the train, save for the Amish. Once they left though, I wanted to get out of there too. I headed for the hills to camp.

State Capitol Building, Topeka
Packin up at the station

Eastern Colorado Moon

26 October 2015

Kansas; the beginning

I'm back with this blog! I was thinking of starting a new one, and I still may but for now this will suffice. Feel free to check out the other long lost drivelly trash in here. I'm headed for Mexico. The in-betweens are Kansas,Colorado,New Mexico,Arizona and SoCal. I'll try to update more and more as I get my sea-legs. I left last Friday and it's been a whirlwind of emotion as I settle into the loneliness and euphoria of getting from survival mode to thriving on the road on a bicycle. Tears and fears so far but I'm gaining confidence! Big thanks to My parents and family, Tanika, my co-workers at the Sheldon and of course, my friends for the support and encouragement. I'm currently in Topeka  Kansas awaiting an Amtrak to teleport me to Colorado and the second leg of this adventure. I hope to be an inspiration for folks to get on their bikes and also to grow with Mindfulness and Meditation and my relationship with God, the Universe and myself. Oh and to have some fun. I have struggled with anxiety and depression for a long time and I hope to be an example that those things need not hold a person back. I will update when I can but for now, an image dump:

31 August 2012

Tour de fat..A prelude on the Poudre

Hangin with Scott & Ashley in Poudre River Canyon, north of Ft. Collins...bliss! Tour de Fat tomorrow!

This picture message or video message was sent using Multimedia Messaging Service.

To play video messages sent to email, Apple QuickTime 6.5 or higher is required. Visit www.apple.com/quicktime/download to download the free player or upgrade your existing QuickTime Player. Note: During the download process when asked to choose an installation type (Minimum, Recommended or Custom), select Minimum for faster download.