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.

Amy Farrell - Biker's angel

Amy Farrell - bikers angel
Let me introduce you to Amy Farrell. We were on our way back from California to Colorado (in a car, no less, not on the bikes) and she noticed us in the Burger King going over our maps and trying to figure out our route and where we could camp for the night. She was helpful with campsite and local information, and then, deciding that the campsite options weren't good enough, she decided to invite us to sleep in her backyard. She just all four of us home from the Burger King to set up in her back yard!

Amy really made me wonder about the differences in openness and generosity among people. How can a young mother with little ones at home be so open and generous (and unafraid) as to just invite us home? On the other hand, she's gotten through life this way, so why isn't everybody like this? Anyway, kudos to you (and THANKS), Amy for your openness and generosity to us.

Pacific Coast Route Touring Cyclist Report

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Sunset at Big Sur
Sunset at Big Sur (View on flickr)

The US Pacific Coast is one of the most popular tours in the world. Despite our plans, we ended up doing the whole thing (just under 2000 miles), and I wanted to write a few notes about this incredibly beautiful trip and the wonderful resources that are provided for touring cyclists.

You just can't believe how well-set-up the Pacific Coast is for the touring cyclist. There are books on how to do it, there are wonderful state parks all the way with hiker-biker sites at ridiculously cheap prices and with a shower every night. You never have to buy food ahead of time or plan your food carefully or carry any - there's another town with a nice grocery where you can buy it.

One other unique characteristic: It's so nicely set up for touring cyclists that there are an enormous number of them. And since everybody is in the hiker-biker sites, you get to meet all the touring cyclists. Whereas in the north country we might meet the occasional cyclist, and might end up camping with them, on the coast it's every night you're meeting a bunch of people. It was so intense that there was a night in California that I hid in my tent because I just couldn't seek out the stories of all those people and tell them our story. There were too many.  read more here... lee mas aquí... »

We made it to Tijuana!

Well, we rode into Tijuana, turned around, spent the night, rented a car, and we're on our way home. On the way we picked up our friends Stuart and Chris at the border, loaded 4 bikes and 4 people into a Taurus, and are happily motoring across the desert toward Las Vegas. Our plans are: Las Vegas, Zion National Park, Bryce National Park, Moab (Canyonlands, Arches, Slickrock) and to Grand Junction, Colorado to pick up Nancy's car. Amazing changes! It's shocking to get in a car and go 200+ miles in a few hours!

Our plan for the next leg of the trip: We hope to sell or rent our house as soon as possible and set out on the next leg of the trip (through Mexico and Central America) as soon as January. We aren't sure whether we'll start from where we left off (Tijuana) or just leave from Denver, Albuquerque, or El Paso.

Pat and Cat

Pat and Cat
We had the treat in Oxnard of staying with Pat and Cat, who just got back a few months ago from a complete worldwide bicycle adventure. They rode across the US, Canada, Greenland, Europe, down through Africa, and then all the way up from South America. They shared their stories and wisdom with us and encouraged us all the way. We can tell we're going to have a wonderful trip.

Stop everything right now and go to Pat and Cat's website at to savor their adventure. I hope we can do half as well!

Morgan and Gwen at home on the road

Morgan and Gwen at home on the road
The bike tourists on the coast often tend to move at near the same rate and can see each other over and over again. We met Morgan and Gwen clear up in the redwoods in the very north of California, and rode with them again at Monterey, but found them again this day. There we were riding by agricultural fields and Morgan and Gwen are sitting there on the sofa they found on the side of the road. They looked very much at home.

These two are idealogues. They're on the bikes because of an extreme rejection of cars; they're as green as they come and as delightfully idealistic as any young couple could ever be. They refuse to pay for a place to stay, so we never see them at the (very cheap) campgrounds at night, just along the road in the daytime. They're experts in stealth camping and free camping. They're just 19 and 25, and we are amazed to see the great adventure they've undertaken - they're going on to Mexico.

Into Los Angeles

Randy on the Metro in LA
We made it into LA. The original plan was to ride around the city on the beach, but we really had to go visit Nancy's old friends Ildi and Paul in South Pasadena. So we took the bikes right onto the Metrolink and the Metro and made it into the city. The transport is quite friendly to bikes. (As you can see, though, I wasn't really very happy about being on the train instead of riding...)

There are lots of pictures on the Southern California section in the Photos page of Paul's incredible house, garden, and stonework. We were in awe. It was like a magic garden hidden away in the city.

There are new pictures of Southern CA on the photos page.

Fun in Santa Barbara

Randy with snake in Santa Barbara
We spent an extra day in beautiful Santa Barbara, seeing all the street performers, visiting the mission and the Presidio, and checking out the beautiful Dutch touring bikes made by Koga-Miyata and marketed in the US by Commuter Bicycles in Santa Barbara.

But the local snake rescue people were out in force with lots of snakes to show. This brought back memories of when I was a kid and had lots of snakes. I wrapped one around my neck, two around my arms, and put a lizard in each hand, and brought them in to show off to the kind elderly neighbor woman my mom was entertaining. I was not well received.
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