As I had anticipated, this second month was a bit more difficult then the first. I still haven't had a day where I haven't wanted to get on my bike, but have had a few days where the riding has been more routine then pure bliss. I no longer have the illusion I could live this way forever, and am starting to think a year really is a long time. However, I don't want to come across as negative, I still love riding, still love moving every day and seeing new things and am very happy; it's just that the honeymoon phase may be over.
So what's changed in this past month? While the weather for one. I've had more really cold days and really hot days--I 'm not so good with extremes. I had a stretch for a week or so when I was more in the middle of nowhere and didn't meet or talk to that many people. So, while when people asked the first six or so weeks of my trip if I got lonely, I'd always answer "no," but week seven I guess I started to want a little more company/conversation. This has improved in the past week though, especially here in Tucson being able to spend time with Billie. Another change would be that there have been more days where I haven't been constantly blown away by the scenery around me. I know that now that I'll be leaving the west soon and I'm going to have to get used to this, or learn to appreciate the subtleties a little more. I've had many warnings about how terrible Texas is to ride through-I hope to survive by riding long days and breaking it up with leaving for Christmas in the the middle. I would say that the last major change would be camping, I've had some bad nights in this past month. Although nothing has gone wrong, it's much more difficult to camp discretely in the desert and I've had a few nights where I've been right on the roadside in pretty plain sight which has led to a few uncomfortable and sleepless nights. Luckily I still get some great camp spots interspersed which helps a lot. I guess with these changes, this trip is starting to feel more like life then a vacation, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, it's just more realistic now.
I like numbers and statistics, so I've complied some stats on these first two months.
Two Month Inventory:
Miles Ridden: 3387.9
Flats: 8 (only counts the times I've actually taken the tube out, had many more flats from slow leaks)
Jars of Peanut Butter: 9.5
Nights under a roof: 11
National Parks, Monuments, Recreation Areas visited: 13
Warmshowers Hosts: 2
Friends visited: 5
Most days between showers: 19
Falls: 3 (all were tip-overs in sand)
Days fully bike free: 4
Fuel: 1 gal (almost)
Night paid for: 8
Days/Nights harassed by coyotes: 3
100+ mile days: 2
Days of rain: 3
Days riding in the rain: 1
I am looking forward to seeing a bit more of Arizona, exploring New Mexico, and getting to Big Bend. After that, it will likely be a race to Austin. I just bought a plane ticket back to Seattle for Christmas, so for the first time on this trip I have a deadline to meet-scary! I actually am a bit nervous about it as I know it's more a a push then I'd like and I'll have to plan my days more carefully then usual. I'm just hoping that I won't let it get to me too much and that I'll still be able to see and enjoy everything along the way this next month. After hearing about and see pictures of friends and family skiing already I am pumped to take a little break from biking and squeeze a seasons worth of skiing into two weeks.
I'll be taking another quiet day or two here, then it's back on the road!