rfay's blog

Camping in the Sonora Desert

Nancy at camp in Sonora
It took us the better part of three days to ride south from Santa Ana to Hermosillo (arriving today). We camped two nights in fairly raw desert surroundings. Both nights we got to sundown without an established place to camp, so we stopped at a locked gate, unloaded our bikes, lifted everything over, and found a place to camp. Last night (shown in this picture) was a beautiful place among the cows and coyotes and cactus.

Riding along the four-lane divided highway that is Highway 15 I was thinking about some of the things I like about Mexican drivers. Two things I like:

1. The Mexican drivers do their absolute best to give us some space on the road. The truck drivers try to move over as soon as they see us (and there are two lanes in each direction, so it works most of the time).

2. Mexican drivers know how to use their horns to communicate, not just to irritate. They have one honk to say "watch out" and another to say "go for it" and yet another to say "hey -what a beautiful woman!"

Phoenix to Tucson: SHAKEDOWN Brrrrr!

I don't think we expected the cold to follow us from Colorado, but we found out! The first day out from Phoenix was an easy day with an easy desert campsite. But the next day we got caught by the afternoon rain (and hid out in a motel). But the third day was all a gradual climb, with gradually increasing (cold) rain until we finally bailed into the desert beside the road as dusk approached. It was so cold and wet! We just huddled and tried to warm up and never did cook dinner. And in the morning I didn't ever get the courage to get up and fix the coffee like I do every morning. Nancy had to seize her role as Chief Courage Officer and get up and do all that. Finally we dragged out, and the final ride into Tucson wasn't really all that bad. But we sure hope it doesn't rain that much all the time!

To add insult to injury, I had *two* flats on the way from Oracle Junction into Tucson. That's the number of flats I had in the entire 4700 miles we rode from June to October. What's up with that?

We're enjoying a couple of fine rest days with great friends here in Tucson, and catching up on a little bit of work.

Starting off again - it's all strange and new

It's still the middle of a difficult winter in Denver (no bike riding for us in the last few months) but we flew yesterday to Phoenix, Arizona, to start our ride south. We're starting up again!

As you know, we finished up the first segment of the ride in San Diego/Tijuana in late October, and went home to get our affairs in order for the rest of the ride. We sold our house, sold our car, put everything we kept (not much) in storage, and are ready for a ride of at least two more years to Ushuaia, at the southern tip of South America.

We went for a test ride today and it's all strange - the bikes feel different and we feel out of shape. And of course we're threatened by what lies ahead, wondering if we're in good enough shape. As always, we'll try to take it a day at a time.

Our plan is to ride south through Tucson and Patagonia, Arizona, to Nogales, and then enter the Mexican state of Sonora, and head south from there. We hope to go up to Copper Canyon through a new route (coming in from the west) and then we'll down the Mexican heartland toward the Central Valley and Mexico City.

Come along and join us! If you haven't already signed up for the email list, we invite you to sign up at hobobiker.com/subscribe. We're delighted to have you along.

Our house is sold, the car is sold, we're ready to go

Well, we fly to Phoenix on Saturday the 27th to start our adventure anew! Our house sold (accidentally-we were going to rent it out), our stuff is packed. We have our rabies and Hepatitis B shots. Our finances are in order. We have a place to store our household goods. We're ready to head from Mexico to the bottom of South America!

The website is not updated for the next part of the trip, but I'll get to that eventually.

As I said, we sold our house accidentally. We decided to rent it out and hired a rental manager. They came and put up a sign, and a day or so later our neighbors 5 houses up the street came down and said "can we please, please, please buy your house?" We said yes, and the deal has already closed. Pretty amazing way to sell a house.

I've been selling stuff like crazy on Ebay, Craigslist, and Amazon. Almost all of my technical books are gone, along with old electronics, etc. Normally this stuff just eventually gets thrown away, so I'm pretty happy to be getting a little bike touring money off of it. A $50 sale is at least day of bike touring...

USA West Coast Photos

You can see all the current photos anytime at flickr.com/photos/hobobiker and

You can also subscribe to an RSS feed of all our photos...

USA West Coast Route

If you'd rather have a bit more detail, the pdf version is here for the Pacific Coast segment.

Ridedatemiles/km Elev ft/mt
Victoria to Port Angeles, WA2006-08-2415/24459/142
Port Angeles to Hurricane Ridge, WA2006-08-2534/555144/1588
Port Angeles to Lake Crescent, WA2006-08-2641/662017/623
Lake Crescent, WA to Hoh Rainforest, Washington2006-08-2763/1022037/629
Hoh Rainforest to Kalaloch Beach, WA2006-08-2843/69990/306
Kalaloch to Lake Quinault, WA2006-08-2940/651253/387
Lake Quinault to Ocean Shores, WA2006-08-3049/791433/442
Ocean City to South Bend, WA2006-09-0156/90547/169
South Bend, WA to Astoria, OR2006-09-0257/921131/349
Astoria, OR to Cannon Beach, OR2006-09-0334/551433/442
Oswald West CG to Netarts, OR2006-09-0555/892270/701
Cape Lookout State Park to Lincoln City, OR2006-09-0640/652303/711
Lincoln City to Newport, OR2006-09-0724/39951/294
Beverly Beach CG to Washburne Campground, OR2006-09-0847/761486/459
Washburne CG to Winchester Bay, OR2006-09-0947/762020/623
Winchester Bay to Bandon, OR2006-09-1045/732020/623
Sunset Bay CG to Port Orford, OR2006-09-1173/1182657/820
Port Orford to Brookings, OR2006-09-1251/822723/840
Brookings, OR to Crescent City, CA2006-09-1432/52547/169
Crescent City, CA to Orick, CA2006-09-1538/612801/865
Orick to Eureka, CA2006-09-1758/941938/598
Eureka, CA to Weott, CA2006-09-1859/951338/413
Weott, CA to Leggett, CA2006-09-1950/812800/864
Leggett to Fort Bragg, California2006-09-2150/813700/1142
Fort Bragg to Little River, CA2006-09-2113/21534/165
Little River to Gualala, CA2006-09-2248/773064/946
Gualala to Bodega Bay, CA2006-09-2353/853136/968
Bodega Bay to Point Reyes, California2006-09-2445/732000/617
Lagunitas to San Francisco, CA2006-09-2645/731000/309
San Francisco to San Francisco2006-10-0122/351700/525
San Francisco to Half Moon Bay2006-10-0234/551732/535
Half Moon Bay to Pigeon Point2006-10-0332/521256/388
Pigeon Point to Santa Cruz2006-10-0437/601217/376
Santa Cruz to Monterey, CA2006-10-0552/841000/309
Monterey to Big Sur2006-10-0750/812240/691
Big Sur to Kirk Creek CG2006-10-0830/482400/741
Morro Bay to Oceano2006-10-1034/55859/265
San Simeon to Morro Bay, CA2006-10-1131/50700/216
Oceano to Lompoc, CA2006-10-1352/842000/617
Lompoc to Lompoc2006-10-1464/1032007/619
Santa Barbara to Carpenteria, CA2006-10-1519/31688/212
Carpinteria to Oxnard, CA2006-10-1627/44347/107
Oxnard to South Pasadena, CA2006-10-1821/34500/154
Long Beach, CA to Orange County, CA2006-10-1948/771833/566
Rancho Santa Margarita, CA to Encinitas, CA2006-10-2162/100700/216
Encinitas, CA to San Diego, CA2006-10-2235/561700/525
San Diego to Tijuana, Mexico2006-10-2328/45500/154

We're HOME after our trip across the western US

Bryce National Park - Queens Garden
Well, we're home trying to sort everything out after five months on the road. Our trip across the Western U.S. in a rental car took us to Bryce, Zion, and Arches National Parks, and mountain biking in Moab, Utah. I'm afraid we took way too many pictures and hope you'll indulge us in looking at them anyway. These places are among the most beautiful in the world.

We have new pictures of southern California and of our trip across the west on the photos page. Thanks for riding with us!

Fill-er-up, Please!

Randy filling our gas tank
Our stove is the wonderful MSR Whisperlite Internationale, which will burn many things besides the ordinary white gas. Most important, it burns regular unleaded gasoline, which we can get anywhere in exactly the right amount for a pittance. When we pull up to the gas pump, we pay from 25 to 75 cents to get about a 3-day supply. Our friends with white gas-based stoves sometimes have to buy a gallon of white gas for $7.00 or more and then give away (or waste) most of it.

Nancy's loves to pull into a gas station with our bikes and set up to fill the cannister. Sometimes she'll claim that I have a motor on my bike and that's what the gas is for. Other times the station will have a "free donut with fillup" or some such deal. She'll ask if we can have the free donut.
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