Friday, December 7, 2012

Reddit AMA

Jasper-ninjaman and Josh-superua are doing an AMA right now on Reddit!  Check it out

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

A Huge Thank You!

This post goes out to everyone who helped us get through this journey.

For starters, our parents were hugely instrumental in this endeavor.  Between sending us packages, driving us to the airports, late night calls for support, and just generally encouraging us to do this trip they have been amazing!  Our parents really are the best!

Next up, the various "Trail Angels" we met along the way.  People who housed us, fed us, clothed us, gave us beer, and generally were just some of the coolest people on earth.  Special recognition goes out to The Gourmet Group, our friends from NYC, Isaiah and Lonnie from Dubois, The Toaster House and Pie-O-Neer staff, Jai and Lorrie Shaffer who sent us packages, Stephen Kilbert, and Michael Polka (who tried to meet up with us for dinner and bring us beer but due to our changing schedule ended up driving for hours and not getting to meet us).  Meeting and spending time with these people took our trip from being a cool ride to the amazing experience that it was!

Finally, to everyone along the way who asked us questions, gave us words of encouragement, or even just gave a friendly wave or a honk and a thumbs up.  These little gestures really made us feel like we were doing something special and kept us going on some of the hard days.

So to all of you who were there for us, supported us, or even just kept up to date reading our blog, thank you!  You are all awesome!

Monday, July 30, 2012

That's All Folks!

This is the final chapter in what has been the adventure of a lifetime. We want to start out by Thanking you all for following along on our adventure! We hope you've enjoyed keeping up with our tales of triumph and woe.

We also want to encourage you to donate to World Bicycle Relief, even if it's just a buck or two, it makes a difference!

Also in the next week or so we be doing an AMA (ask me anything) on the website Reddit and then a handful of slideshows in our various home towns to hopefully reach our fundraising goal and share our trip and this awesome trail with the world. We'll post more info about those here in the upcoming days.

We last left you in Grants, NM on the 25th of July. The next morning we awoke to find countless goats-head prickers stuck into our tires from rolling through the park to our campsite. After pulling them out we each had a rear flat taking the score to 3-3. We decided to take our first alternate, the El Malpais alternate, shortening the trip to Pie Town by 18 miles and making our morning totally paved in an attempt to both catch up after the misfortunes of the last few days and to avoid becoming Han Soloed in the New Mexican mud-glue. Along the way we saw an awesome arch, "La Ventana" and met Larry from Fairfield who was riding from Pie Town to Jackson, WY and who talked so much that we thought we might have to set up camp there. Luckily we managed to sneak away and soon reached dirt and the end of the alternate. As an aside we found tiny prepackaged pecan pies that make for delicious ride food. Almost like clockwork as we started riding on dirt the New Mexican sky started to open. While it rained around us it never did more than drizzle on us and yet the closer we got to Pie Town (so named for having delicious pie and literally nothing else) the muddier it got and the slower we went. And the mud just got worse. What the map called "a little mucky" was in reality so devastatingly sticky that our wheels literally ceased to turn with all the mud jammed in them and we resorted to dragging/carrying all 120 pounds (60lbs of bike + 60lbs of mud) of them for at least a couple of miles. When we finally reached Pie Town at 8pm, two hours after the 6pm we aimed for we were muddy, exhausted, and mentally crushed. Hoping to get a meal or at least a slice of pie we rode to the cafe in town (essentially all there is in town) and found it had been closed since 4. Hoping against hope we knocked and out popped a lady stating "I hate it when this happens." Turns out Pie Town is not only home to pie, but also to some of the friendliest people in the world. Kathy, the Pie-O-Neer cafe's owner was just closing up and hoping to get home before dark when we showed up. Instead she greeted us as if we were family. We each got a slice of amazing strawberry rhubarb pie and then took pictures with Kathy and her hostess Megan who had arrived with a gorgeous sunset in tow. After enjoying the amazing scene Kathy gave us hugs goodbye while Megan gave us directions to "The Toaster House" a house for travelers of all sorts. Nita, the owner, who was unfortunately out of town, had turned the home where she raised her kids into a house for hikers and bikers complete with frozen food and even pie! We took hot showers, ate dinner, turned on the "hiker mix" CD, read the guest book full of stories of other travelers. Shortly thereafter we each retired to the beds in our own rooms, the furthest we had been apart in over a month and feeling like we had almost found home passed out. We both hope to go back to Pie Town in the near future, hopefully for pie festival!

The next morning Jasper's pesky stomach bug reached a new low. Realizing there was no way we were going to make it to Antelope Wells in the planned 2.5 days with around 300 miles to go Jasper called his parents from the neighbors phone and pushed out finish date back a day to the thirtieth. After a bit of bike TLC we hit the rode and after a few hours realized we were quite probably lost. Naturally we continued riding. Growing ever more frustrated and ever more certain we were lost we finally hit a junction. We turned toward where we thought the trail might be and luck was on our side. We found a cowboy drinkin' a Coors and being driven around by his wife on an offroad golf cart who looked at our map and quickly turned us around putting us back on route in about a mile. We're still not sure where we had been but had probably been off route for around 15 miles. All's well that ends well I suppose. After only making 20 miles of progress in the morning due to a late start, sickness, and misnavigation we hammered out 45 miles after lunch at 3pm. We tried to camp at a small reservoir that we're pretty sure didn't exist this time of year and so due to our frighteningly low water supplies decided to have lunch for dinner and quickly crawled into bed with the distant flashes of an electrical storm illuminating the sky.

The next morning was no better for Jasper's GI system And after 1.5 hours of riding we had made it 9 miles and still had no water. Once again the bike gods smiled upon us and we met Dianne while on her morning walk. She took pity on us and took us into her house giving us bottled water as there's no other drinking water available in the middle of nowhere New Mexico. Upon noticing Jasper looking somewhere between tears and death brought him tums and saltine crackers. We made it to the large Beaverhead Ranger station for lunch of macaroni and cheese and more water as well as making use of the soda machine! Jasper began to feel a bit better but as we started out from lunch into the wooded and hilly Gila Wilderness the trail once again crushed his spirits. With 1000 foot climb after 1000 foot climb each one made him a little more weary. By 7pm we were still 25 miles short of our planned destination. After a long talk we came to the conclusion that Antelope Wells and the Mexican border were no longer a realistic or worthwhile destination and our final destination would probably be Silver City, NM. It would be nearly impossible to make up the miles needed and the trip was no longer fun. Jasper was feeling more miserable on a daily basis while Joshua was growing more stressed about how they would make the miles they needed to. In addition we had accomplished what we had set out to do. We had seen the country, met amazing people, and had an amazing experience! After making what was probably the best decision of the trip, the mood instantly improved. After a day of quiet, sullen, stressed, miserable riding it was as if a cloud had been lifted. The riding was easier, laughter was heard, the sun came out, and I'll be darned if we didn't have a flock of birds following us chirping out a song. We dropped down after another climb to Bear Creek Campsite where Jasper quickly passed out while Joshua went and made friends with the neighbors until the rain started at which point he too retired to his warm dry bivvy sack.

The next morning started off with more Gila Forest climbs. Joshua was waiting for Jasper at the top of the last big climb expecting a dejected rider to crest when Jasper flew by with an exuberant "Onward!" In the excitement Joshua almost rode off without his helmet. Of course now that Jasper was ready to go Joshua's bike decided to give up. His rear wheel began falling off every five feet. After much struggling and a few sketchily placed fender washers Joshua got rolling again and together they dropped into Mimbres on what was possibly the worst washboards of the entire trip. After 2600 miles one would expect us to be immune to any sorts of aches or soreness but by the time we reached pavement we're pretty sure the bones in our hands had turned into a mess of splintered fragments. We rolled into the "town" of Mimbres which had a closed store and a few houses. A friendly lady gave us directions to the small cafe that was really the only thing that gave them the right to call Mimbres a town. Tasty southwestern monte carlo sandwiches were eaten with the obligatory New Mexican green chiles. We slowly rode the last 8 miles of dirt as we approached the Silver City area. After 12 more miles of pavement we reached our destination. We shared a sigh of relief and a high five, had burgers at Blake's Lottaburger, and got a hotel room as the "bike house" we had hoped to stay in was full for the night. After catching up on some Olympics we said goodnight for the last night of our trip and dozed off with dreams of home cooked meals and our sleeping in our own beds, and the promise of Jasper's parents picking us up in the morning.

That's our trip; and nope, we're still not tired of beautiful.

J out

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Disaster Undisastered

The highlight of our rest day in Cuba other than doing very little was having Steven join us for dinner at El Bruno's. Margaritas, and New Mexican style Mexican food was whites by all. Being the awesome person that he is Steve also picked up a new crank bolt that Joshua had found at a shop in Albuquerque. Unfortunately as with most bike parts there are apparently as many standards of crank bolt sizes as there are Mosquitos trying to bite us as we write this, so despite the bolt's brand matching the cranks the inner bolt was about 1mm to small. The solution, naturally, was duct tape. A couple wraps and the bolt stayed in place with barely a wobble!

The next morning we split a pack of 8 cinnamon rolls, bought supplies for the next day and hit the rode choosing to take the dirt main route instead of the paved alternate that avoids the possibly very muddy New Mexican soil. The first mud puddle we rolled through should have been a good clue that this was a bad idea as us an our bikes came out looking like the mud monsters of our childhood nightmare's. But we pressed on into the desert. A stop at an artesian well provided some deliciously refreshing water. And then it started to sprinkle. It wasn't raining too badly and the mud was only sticking a but so we pressed on. Then disaster struck. Joshua's bike stopped rolling. After a few quick fixes were unsuccessful we stopped to investigate further and found to our horror the drive side rear dropout and derailleur hanger were not just bent sideways but had bent open so the quick release would no longer stay an the wheel would fall out. This was bad news 50ish miles into the deserted desert. But for your favorite divide riders being within spitting distance of the border giving up was not an option. The first part of the solution was to make the bike into a single speed as the derailleur would bend into the wheel on every pedal stroke. That was enough to ride another few miles stopping every few minutes to reset the wheel that had slipped through the super-wide dropout.

The next morning a number of solutions were tried including duct tape but to no avail. After 10 miles of wishing they had some sort of shim or washer they realized right under their noses was the solution. Pulling his headset topcap Was the perfect makeshift washer. So for 50 more flawless miles into Grants the duo rode without problem or hesitation. In town Sonic provided the most refreshing drinks in human history! After a large stockup to make it the few hundred miles to Silver City and Pizza Hut for dindin the duo found a park full of Mosquitos and passed out after a very stressful few days.

Monday, July 23, 2012

All Hail The Great Steven Kilbert!

A huge thank you to Wheelmen alum Steven Kilbert for leaving us a cache filled with all kinds of awesome goodies! You're the best!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


1) We will be getting to Grants on the 24thish not the 27th.

2) We will be in Antelope Wells on the 29th or 30th

3) We will be adding ads to the blog to hopefully raise a little more money to donate to World Bicycle Relief.

See you all soon!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Good food, better friends!

We want to start off by apologizing for not posting more pictures this time. We tried, but despite being assured over the phone that the library was open until 4:45, were foiled by the good people of Cuba, NM having a "safety meeting"

After an awesome afternoon and evening in Breckenridge on July 14th with Mark, Marcus, Nadaleen, and Liz we woke up the next morning, cooked a tasty breakfast, watched the end of the Tour de France and hit the road. The road we hit just happened to lead to Boreas Pass, the highest continental divide crossing of our trip! During the climb we were constantly being passed by people on bikes that looked significantly faster than ours. At the top we found out that they were warming up for the Rocky Mountain Endurance 100 mile race. We also found an aid station there and they gave us a menagerie of tasty treats including some delicious Orange Creamsicle Heed that left us dreaming of ice cream for days. The rest of the day was spent riding through areas filled with named roads leading nowhere, part of planned subdivisions that never were built. We found a nice side of the trail, stopped early and relaxed for the evening.

The next day after a steep climb we dropped into the awesome town of Salida. Naturally our lunch stop included beer! Amica's provided us with not only homemade beer but also some amazing pizza that kept us going for the long day ahead. Before starting up the 4000 foot climb to the top of Marshall Pass we met Tom from Durango riding a section of the divide. After finally getting off the road and back onto dirt the climb, despite taking what felt like a number of weeks wasn't too bad thanks largely to the shady Aspens. 3.5 hours later at the top we found a sweet free cabin, the first since Canada, the Continental Divide Trail, and the Colorado Trail. We descended a long sweet descent to almost the small town of Sargents and slept on the side of the trail.

The next day we made some awesome new friends! Just before lunch we met Bunny, Stacy, and Sarah, three friends who have been riding sections of the CO portion of the divide for the past couple years. We leapfrogged for a while and then met up for the climb to the top of the pass. At the top we said goodbye to the girls and rode off to climb another pass.

Lunch the next day was at the Peace of Art Cafe. It was delicious and we also restocked at the attached store filled with various pieces of art and cloth and organic food. We learned an important lesson that night, rice pasta is frankly not good. This was made significantly more disappointing by the fact that we had just climbed up Indiana Pass, the highest point on the GDMBR, and gotten to the top at well after dark. Camping at almost 12000 feet was cold but we got through the night no worse for the wear. Also earlier in the Joshua got his first flat making it almost 2000 miles flat free!

The next day started with a ride through the Summitville Mine cleanup superfund site. We planned on resupplying in Horca. Unfortunately their food supply was quite limited and we ended up with hotdogs and cans of baked beans and chili for the next few dinners. Towards the end of the day we were caught by John from Toronto on a Surly Karate Monkey. John started about 10 days after us in Banff and had finally caught us. After that we had an awesome surprise. Wheelmen alum Steven Kilbert had left us directions to a cache he placed. After a bit of hunting we found it and it made our very limited resupply seem okay. Among other tasty treats we got some Happy Camper IPA, a New Mexico brew. Thanks a ton Steve! Two other exciting things happened today; we passed the 2000 mile mark, and crossed into our last state, New Mexico! Also Jasper got his second flat and put on his new tire.

Other than a second flat for Joshua to even the score not much happened on the 20th. That being said our first day in New Mexico was very pretty. Unlike the NM that we expected, it looked, smelled, and even sounded like we were riding through Tahoe!
The next morning Joshua woke up to find much to his horror that his crank bolt was missing. After searching high and low and traveling a few miles back up the ride we concluded that this bolt had sailed and was not to be found. Luckily there was enough grime in Joshua's cranks that they magically stayed on all day. Lunch was in El Rito which was a ranger station and a restaurant. There used to be a gas station and grocery store but they closed, oh small towns. As we left El Rito we apparently rode from Tahoe to Mexico. The trees stopped, cactuses started, the houses were all of the sudden adobe, even the signs were in Spanish. We made it to the next town, Abiquiu, Georgia O'Keeffe's home town where we bought ice cream, cherries, and other food for the next day. Leaving town meant beginning what was billed as the hardest climb of the trip with 4000 feet vertical over 26 miles. After about two miles the climb reached a screeching standstill as a thunderstorm started. Rain began dumping in bucketfuls from the sky, balls of ice were shot down like tiny bullets with the thunder so loud we were wishing for earplugs. We found a lovely tree to seek shelter under and experienced the power of nature for the next two hours from that spot. Naturally, shows like this are best enjoyed with a brew so we finished the last two happy campers Steven had left us in the cache. The storm ended mostly and we slowly made our way up the hill first walking and then as the roads dried riding until we made camp 8 miles into the climb. After Indian food for dinner we laid down and fell asleep as 180 degrees of thunderstorms around us illuminated the sky.

The next morning we spent the first three and a half hours of our day riding up and up and up and up. Lunch came mercifully at the top of the climb. With hopes of outrunning the ugly looking clouds we started down the trail toward Cuba, NM where we would be having our final rest day. The trail was not in our favor and after 6 miles of some of the roughest, rockiest trail yet that would have made for an excellent chocolate milk commercial we began climbing again. As the trail rolled up and down the rain inevitably came. Luckily after a bit of a downpour and some hail we were on the bikes again. We hit the paved descent into Cuba and like bats out of hell flew down the smooth, fast 2500 feet in ten miles twisting and winding our way into town. We arrived in town with goofily large grins on our faces and got a motel room. Showers brought us back to looking like humans again save for our grizzly beards and we had a delicious dinner at El Bruno's, complete with the area specialty of sopapillas, fried dough with honey. We then ventured back to the motel and settled in for some much needed rest.