Monthly Archives: July 2009

Wild, empty land near the Rio Grande


We took a rowboat ‘cross the Rio Grande
Captain Pablo was our guide.
For two dollars in a weathered hand
He rowed us to the other side.

Robert Earl Keen, Gringo Honeymoon, 1994

Santa Elena Canyon in Big Bend National Park, with Mexico at the left and the U.S. at the right

Santa Elena Canyon in Big Bend National Park, with Mexico at the left and the U.S. at the right

Our bicycle journey along the southern tier of the United States will take us through some vast, empty spaces in California and Arizona. But few are likely to be as big and empty as Brewster County in the Big Bend country of Texas.
Some Texans, when they want to indicate how big something is, will say: “As big as Brewster County.” And with good reason: Brewster County is the largest of Texas’ 254 counties with 6,193 square miles — bigger than Connecticut (5,544 square miles) or the combined territory of Delaware (2,489 square miles) and Rhode Island (1,545 square miles). But heck, the King Ranch in south Texas is almost as big as Rhode Island.

Sculpture at Sul Ross University, Alpine

Sculpture at Sul Ross University, Alpine

The largest — and only — city in Brewster County is Alpine, its county seat, with a population of about 6,000. The rest of Brewster County’s 3,000 or so folks are scattered on ranches that stretch down to Big Bend National Park in the southern part of the county.
I’ve lived in Texas for more than two decades, but I hadn’t visited the Big Bend until February 2008. It was a big mistake not to go sooner. It’s wild, spectacular country with breathtaking vistas at every turn.
Our transcontinental bicycle route through the Big Bend area will take us from Fort Davis on Texas 118 to Alpine and then on U.S. 90 to Marathon and points east. If a traveler turned south at Marathon on U.S. 385, he’d end up at an entrance to Big Bend National Park, one of the largest, most remote and least used of U.S. national parks. Only 300,000 to 350,000 people visit the park every year, compared to 9-11 million for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina and Tennessee.
Big Bend National Park embraces 801,163 acres, and its southern boundary is the Rio Grande, the border with Mexico. The park administers the U.S. side of the 118-mile-long portion of the river that borders the park. The only U.S. Border Patrol presence we saw during our visit was at a checkpoint after the park exit.
Robert Earl KeenBut since 2002, because of 9-11, drug smuggling and illegal immigration, the “Captain Pablos” that Robert Earl Keen wrote and sang about in his Texas classic Gringo Honeymoon have disappeared. It’s now illegal — and punishable by a fine up to $5,000 and a year in prison — to cross the river and return where there are no authorized checkpoints, even though it’s quite easy to wade or swim the 30 or 40 yards to the Mexican side.
“Captain Pablos” used to ferry gringo tourists across the river to Boquillas del Carmen for a burro ride up the hill to bars, restaurants and kitschy souvenir joints.

Opening scene of "Dancer, Texas Pop. 81"

Opening scene of "Dancer, Texas Pop. 81"

A delightful 1998 film, Dancer, Texas Pop. 81, captures the flavor of Brewster County and the Big Bend country. The fictional town Dancer was said to be in Brewster County, but Fort
Davis in neighboring Jeff Davis County was used as Dancer’s stand-in, with many local folks appearing in the film as extras. Check out the video trailer below. The film is well worth a look, too.

1 Comment

Filed under Americana, Cycling across America, Texana

Death in the valley of a dying sea


“I think countries have the right to maintain their borders, but on the other hand, think of the thousands or so who have died just trying to get to the United States so they can clean toilets. It seems horrendous that they shouldn’t have a better life, especially if they’re willing to do work we aren’t.”
– Author William T. Vollmann, quoted in The New York Times, July 29, 2009

Imperial sand dunesThe Imperial Valley, in the southeastern corner of California, is a hellish, unforgiving place in high summer, even in the assessment of its fans, with temperatures pushing above 125 degrees. It’s also a place of stark beauty, with vast panoramas of ever-shifting sand dunes.
With most of the valley below sea level, it’s a giant geological sinkhole, containing a shrinking, increasingly toxic inland sea. Paradoxically, thanks to fertilizer and an irrigation canal from the Colorado River, the desert of the Imperial Valley is a place of agricultural bounty. And, hard by the border with Mexico, it’s a deadly corridor for illegal immigration.
Our caravan of 13 cyclists will pass through the Imperial Valley in the second half of September during the early days of our transcontinental journey along the southern tier of the United States from San Diego to St. Augustine, Fla.

Vollman

Vollmann

Those wanting to read up on the Imperial Valley, and perhaps learn more than they wanted to know, can pedal down to the local bookstore and buy a new book out today from Viking Press. The book is Imperial, by William T. Vollmann.
It was featured in the Books section of Wednesday’s New York Times . Costing $55 and 1,300 pages long, it’s so heavy, Vollmann observed, that you’d break a toe if you dropped it. So it would hardly be practical to carry it in a pannier on a cross-country trip.
“The book is a little like the Imperial Valley itself: pathless, fascinating, exhausting,” said the Times story by Charles McGrath. “Its two great themes are illegal immigration — the struggle of countless thousands of Mexicans to sneak into the United States through the Imperial Valley — and water, which has transformed the valley, or parts of it, from desert to seeming paradise but at great environmental cost.”
McGrath wrote that the book’s “more interesting stuff includes chapters on narco-ballads — songs, outlawed in Mexico, celebrating drug lords — on early California history, on the Chinese-dug tunnels in Mexicali and on Mr. Vollmann’s lingering breakup with an old lover.”
PrintEl Centro, the seat of Imperial County and its largest city with a population of more than 40,000, has the distinction of being the largest U.S. city to lie entirely below sea level (minus 50 feet). El Centro hosted a bicycle ride this spring to benefit the Imperial Valley Special Olympics. A poster for the ride, called Le Tour de Manure, said that riders “will enjoy the route while taking in the distinctive smell of the Imperial Valley country.” Now there’s a reason to ride!
From El Centro, our route takes us to Brawley, at the southern end of the Salton Sea, whose surface is about 226 feet below sea level. Check out the video below, The Salton Sea, A Desert Saga, which describes the Imperial Valley around the Salton Sea as “some of the hottest, bleakest terrain on the planet.”
ShrinkingSeaThe video, a mini-documentary, is more than 10 minutes long but it’s a fascinating look at the geological history of the Salton Sea and the danger of it soon becoming devoid of wildlife. Because of decreasing runoff from the Colorado River, its salinity is already 25 percent higher than that of the Pacific Ocean. If this continues, the documentary says, the many species of birds that stop at the Salton Sea along their migratory flyways will all be gone.
A few miles east of El Centro, off our route, is the town of Holtville, where evidence of another tragedy — this one human — is on display at Terrace Park Cemetery. There, according to the New York Times story, “unidentified people who have died crossing the border are buried in a bare, grassless potter’s field.” Each grave is marked with a brick bearing a number and the name John Doe. A few are decorated with homemade wooden crosses that say No indentificado or No olvidado (“not forgotten”).
“You wonder how many are never found and never brought here,” author Vollmann told the Times writer. And then with a sarcastic edge: “At least they won’t be stealing our tax dollars anymore. That’s very important.”

2 Comments

Filed under Americana, Cycling across America, Literary musings

A dubious claim to fame


Rumour spreadin a-round in that Texas town
bout that shack outside La Grange
And you know what Im talkin’ about.
Just let me know if you wanna go
To that home out on the range.
They gotta lotta nice girls.

– ZZ Top, La Grange, 1973

best little whorehouse logoIt’s perhaps unfortunate that a town’s best known claim to fame is that it was the site of a notorious house of ill repute. The local chamber of commerce might dispute that assessment, but that’s the case with La Grange, known from TV, stage and film as the longtime home of the Chicken Ranch, “the best little whorehouse in Texas.”
La Grange, a town of nearly 5,000 souls about 60 miles southeast of Austin, is along our transcontinental bicycle route as we travel toward the East Texas Piney Woods and a crossing of the Sabine River into Louisiana.
Moview posterThe town’s history as a place to have a good time predates the Civil War. In 1844, a widow known as Mrs. Swine opened a brothel in a hotel near a saloon featuring three young women from New Orleans. But it closed during the war after Mrs. Swine and one of her prostitutes were accused of being traitorous Yankees and forced to leave town.
In 1905, Jessie Williams, known as “Miss Jessie,” continued the tradition started by Mrs. Swine when she opened a small brothel at La Grange along the Colorado River. But fearing a crusade against the red-light district by local church people, Miss Jessie bought 10 acres of land outside the city limits, close to the main road to Houston and Galveston.
Her new establishment looked like a typical Texas farmhouse with white siding and a few side buildings that housed chickens. For decades, the “Chicken Ranch” flourished as an illegal but tolerated brothel. It was frequented by local law officers, politicians, soldiers and airmen from Texas military bases and students from Texas A&M University at College Station.
Miss Jessie died in 1961, and one of her employees, Edna Milton, bought the property and named it “Edna’s Fashionable Ranch Boarding House.” Milton, like Miss Jessie, enforced strict rules for her prostitutes and customers. At its peak in the 1960s, the ranch reportedly earned more than $500,000 per year and Edna Milton became one of La Grange’s biggest philanthropists.
Marvin_Zindler_KTRK_2005But then in 1973 along came one of Texas’ more colorful characters: Marvin Zindler, a flamboyant Houston television reporter who formerly had been a disc jockey and head of the Consumer Fraud Division with the Harris County District Attorney’s Office in Houston before he joined ABC station KTRK/Channel 13 at age 51. In his first year on the air, he took on the Chicken Ranch and succeeded in getting it closed.
The ensuing brouhaha spawned a story in Playboy magazine, a 1978 Broadway musical, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, based on a story by Texas playwright Larry L. King, a 1982 movie of the same name starring Dolly Parton and Burt Reynolds and a song by ZZ Top called La Grange.
Zindler, known for his on-air antics, platinum wig and blue glasses, delivered his last report — about roaches, rodents and slime in the ice machines of Houston restaurants — from his hospital bed on July 20, 2007. He died of pancreatic cancer nine days later at age 85.

2 Comments

Filed under Americana, Cycling across America, Texana

Who woulda thunk it?


“Seven Days in May meets Baywatch”
The New York Times, July 26, 2009

Remembering Cold WarAlong comes another of those post-Cold War stories that leave a small sense of wonderment with some who lived that period of history up close and personal.
As an American correspondent in Moscow in the early 1970s, during some of the most frigid days of the Cold War, I could hardly imagine such monumental events as the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the reunification of Germany in 1990 and the disintegration of the Soviet Union in 1991.
So a story like the one that appeared in the Travel section of Sunday’s New York Times still is a bit jarring. The story, “Biking the Iron Curtain Trail,” was about a 4,225-mile network of bicycle paths that extends along the former Warsaw Pact-NATO border, from northern Finland to the Black Sea.
“From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the Continent,” Winston Churchill said in a speech in Fulton, Mo., in 1946, when the Soviet Union was consolidating its empire in Eastern Europe.

An old guard tower on the Iron Curtain Trail

An old guard tower on the Iron Curtain Trail

Now, said the Times story, “most traces of the cold war era have vanished,” but “military roads and observation towers still dot the idyllic countryside, imbuing pastoral Western European landscapes with a touch of Dr. Strangelove.”
A brochure with maps in German and English covering the entire route has just been published, the story said. And bicyclists now pedal along the Fulda Gap, admiring the scenery where mighty armies once faced off for Armageddon.
Who woulda thunk it?

1 Comment

Filed under Journeys

An obligatory page for gear geeks


1924 ad for a London bicycle shop

1924 ad for a London bicycle shop

“The truth is that each man in selecting his outfit generally follows the lines of least resistance. With one, the pleasure he derives from his morning bath outweighs the fact that for the rest of the day he must carry a rubber bathtub.”
– Richard Harding Davis, Notes of a War Correspondent, 1897

I’ve posted a new page called “Gear.” It’s an obligatory page for gear geeks who like to know what sort of rig a cyclist might use for a transcontinental journey. Others might find it a monumental bore. So if you’re not very interested in panniers and V-brakes, headsets and derailleurs, just skip that page.
Also, I’ve learned that personal preference plays a large role in the selection of a bike and its accouterments.
Touring cyclist cartoonSome riders, for example, prefer clipless pedals, which attach to the shoe with a cleat in the sole. Others, like me, never learned to use them and fear toppling over at a dead stop because they can’t extract shoes from pedals. I’ve seen that happen, and it can be very embarrassing.
I’ve also seen the cleats for clipless pedals get so clogged with mud from walking around in a wet campgroud that the rider can’t clip in without a thorough cleaning of the cleat.
So I use “toe clips,” the plastic or metal cage-like devices that attach to a pedal for the foot to slide into.
Both systems are designed to provide more leverage with each turn of the crank. And both work just fine, depending, of course, on the rider’s preference.
Some self-contained riders choose to carry their gear in panniers, which are like saddle bags that attach to racks at the front and rear of the bike. Others prefer trailers that attach to the bike’s rear axle. I’ve never used a trailer, so I offer no comparison.
As I was preparing the “Gear” page, I was reminded of a book called Notes of a War Correspondent, by Richard Harding Davis, an American who covered wars around the world in the late 1900s and early 20th century for U.S. and British newspapers.
He wrote in the book’s last chapter, “A War Correspondent’s Kit,” that each person’s kit, or personal equipment for a trip, is a highly subjective matter.

Davis, kitted out for the Spanish-American War

Davis, kitted out for the Spanish-American War

“I have seldom met the man who would allow anyone else to select his kit, or who would admit that any other kit was better than the one he himself had packed,” Davis wrote. “The same article that one declares is the most essential to his comfort, is the very first thing that another will throw into the trail.
“A man’s outfit is a matter which seems to touch his private honor. I have heard veterans sitting around a campfire proclaim the superiority of their kits with a jealousy, loyalty, and enthusiasm they would not exhibit for the flesh of their flesh and the bone of their bone.
“On a campaign, you may attack a man’s courage, the flag he serves, the newspaper for which he works, his intelligence or his camp manners and he will ignore you; but if you criticize his patent water bottle he will fall upon you with both fists. So, in recommending any article for an outfit, one needs to be careful.”
On the subject of gear, The New York Times ran today a story on 10 gadgets for the frugal traveler, some of which would probably be of use to a cross-country cyclist.

Leave a comment

Filed under Americana, Cycling across America, Literary musings

Lance rides for the Shack


84331781ES004_TOUR_DOWN_UNDSome interesting news involving a hometown company: Fort Worth-based RadioShack will sponsor a cycling team led by Lance Armstrong to compete in the 2010 Tour de France.
In addition to riding for Team RadioShack, Armstrong, who lives in Austin, will compete in running and triathlon events with sponsorship from the electronics retailer. RadioShack will also sponsor the Armstrong Foundation’s Livestrong Challenge Series, a 5K run/walk and cycling event that raises money to fight cancer.
Lee Applbaum, RadioShack’s chief marketing officer, was quoted by the Star-Telegram as saying: “We are relaunching our brand with a new creative platform in early August.”
radio-shack-logoRadioShack over the years has acquired a reputation as a chain of ubiquitous, stodgy stores in malls and strip shopping centers where ham radio operators and computer geeks would go to buy capacitors, cables and connectors. The partnership with Armstrong appears to be part of an effort to update the retailer’s image.
Younger laptop users might not know that RadioShack, formerly called Tandy Corp., was once a pioneer in portable computing. And introduction of its TRS-80 Model 100 in 1983 revolutionized the working lives of foreign correspondents.
radioshacktrs80On home leave in the early 1980s, I picked up two Model 100s at Associated Press headquarters in New York and took them back to the AP bureau in Nairobi, Kenya. At the time, they were wonderful little machines. They had a maximum memory of only 32KB, but that was enough to store a half-dozen news stories of decent length.
Until the advent of the TRS-80, which became known as the “Trash 80,” correspondents in the field had to write their stories on portable typewriters, find a Telex machine — usually in a hotel — make a perforated tape by typing on the keyboard and then feed the tape into a Siemens tape reader that would send the signal down a cable to London or New York. At the other end, on a teleprinter, the perforations in the tape would be translated into letters, words and sentences.
The Model 100 came with an acoustic coupler — two rubber cups into which you would insert the mouthpiece and earpiece of a telephone. Then, all you had to do was dial up a computer somewhere and send your story down the phone line.
At the time, it seemed like magic.

Leave a comment

Filed under Cool stuff

Texas in a bottle


Texas flag wineThe word Texas might evoke images of cowboys, longhorn steers, oil rigs, Mission Control or wacky politicians.
But wine?
So it might surprise some of the participants in our cross-country bike ride — particularly those from such wine-growing countries as Germany and Australia — that Texas produces some pretty decent wine. And our route will take us through three of the state’s wine-growing areas: El Paso, the Davis Mountains and the Hill Country.
Texas in a bottleI certainly don’t fancy myself a wine connoisseur. My tastes tend to run to what the British call “plonk” — cheap wine — in 1.5-liter bottles. So I won’t hazard a pronouncement on how Texas wines fare against competitors from California and overseas. But we should have a chance to sample some of the local product considering that about a third of our ride will be in Texas.
A bit of Texas trivia: In 1659, Franciscan friars Garcia de San Francisco y Zuniga, and Juan de Salazar, along with 10 Indian families who had converted to Christianity, established a settlement near present-day El Paso. Using cuttings brought from Spain, they cultivated grapes to make wine for the celebration of Mass at what became Mission Senora de Guadalupe.
It wasn’t until the late 1760s and early 1770s that Father Junipero Serra began cultivating grapes at missions he founded in Alta California at San Diego and Monterey. So Texas can claim a viticulture more than a century older than California’s.
Texas wine countryAn influx of immigrants into Texas in the 1800s from wine-producing countries in Europe brought a new interest in grape culture and wine-making. German immigrants to south-central Texas and the Hill Country were generally considered the most successful grape growers and wine makers.
Today, according to a Web site on Texas wine, gotexanwine.org, Texas has eight federally approved “Viticultural Areas.” A Viticultural Area,” says the Web site, is a region with defined borders in which 85 percent of the wine produced “must be made from grapes grown within the area’s boundaries.”
The state has 177 wineries, up from 40 less than a decade ago, and ranks No. 5 in U.S. wine production from 3,100 vineyard acres in the eight Viticultural Areas. California is No. 1, accounting for about 90 percent of U.S. wine production, followed by Washington, New York, Oregon and Texas.
Kerrville wine posterThe largest of Texas’ Viticultural Areas is the Hill Country, covering 15,000 square miles in 22 counties. The second-largest is in the Texas High Plains, embracing 12,000 square miles around Lubbock in West Texas.
In the Hill Country, at least two of the towns along our route — Kerrville (home of the Kerrville Folk Festival since 1972 and the Kerrville Wine & Music Festival) and Wimberley — should afford ample opportunity to taste Texas wines.
After the formidable hills between Camp Wood and Leakey along Ranch Road 337, we may be in need of some adult beverages.

Leave a comment

Filed under Americana, Cycling across America, Texana

Getting the show on the road


America postcard“I have found out there ain’t no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them than to travel with them.”
– Mark Twain, Tom Sawyer Abroad, 1894

I can’t back out now. The time for doubt and apprehension is past. I’ve made the final payment to the Adventure Cycling Association for a self-contained bicycle trip across the southern tier of the United States from California to Florida.
The ride — about 3,160 miles — begins Sept. 18 in San Diego and ends, if all goes well, in St. Augustine on Nov. 21, the Saturday before Thanksgiving.
The Adventure Cycling Association has e-mailed the roster of riders. There will be 13 of us, including the guide. The 12 paying participants include seven men and five women, from around the United States and the world.
Of the six from the United States, two are from California, two from Ohio, one from New York and one from Texas (me). The international riders include two from Germany and one each from Canada, Britain, Australia and the Netherlands.
Along with the e-mailed roster came some sobering last-minute advice:
southern tier route“The Southern Tier Expedition requires participants to be prepared for mental and physical challenges. This trip is best suited for experienced cyclists with established camping skills. Riding will include significant climbs and long stretches with no services. Although the Southern Tier is shorter in length than our other cross-country trips, it should not be considered the ‘easy way.’ Please note that the early parts of the trip include high mileage, long hills and few services. Consequently, you’ll need to arrive at the tour start with adequate fitness. It is not feasible to ‘ride into shape’ at the beginning of the trip.”
On the weather:
desert-rain-at-sunset“In the southwestern United States, you should expect weather extremes. We have planned the trip to avoid the hottest season, but it is possible to have very hot weather any time of year. You should be prepared for temperatures in the 100s. You’ll need to remember to keep yourself hydrated. We recommend carrying a minimum of 100 oz. of water (3-4 bottles, or a large personal hydration device [i.e., Camelbak]) with you on the bike. In addition to very hot riding conditions, you will likely encounter cold temperatures at night. Expect temperatures as low as 30 degrees Fahrenheit at the higher elevations. Storms and high winds may arise suddenly along any part of the route.”
As for fitness: I hope I’m there. As of today, I have ridden more than 2,400 training miles since the start of the year and am on pace to reach my goal of 3,000 miles before the start of the transcontinental trip.
Vintage cyclistThe heat, particularly in the Arizona desert, could, indeed, make for some uncomfortable days. But temperatures in the high 90s and low 100s are simply part of summertime cycling in Texas. By design, I’ve been riding in the heat of the day to get ready for the desert.
Now for the last-minute preparations: Mount new tires on the bike, get a thorough tuneup, assemble and check all my gear, rent a small SUV to get to San Diego and purchase travel insurance to recoup my costs if I crash and burn before or during the ride.

3 Comments

Filed under Cycling across America, Journeys, Training

Gushing with fun since 1901


Spindletop“Are you crazy? Why, I’ll drink every gallon produced west of the Mississippi.”
John Archbold of Standard Oil, on the prospects of finding oil outside established fields in Pennsylvania and Ohio

My wife and I traveled last weekend to Beaumont, in southeast Texas, for the wedding of a niece. Along the way, we drove through some of the Piney Woods terrain that our small bicycle caravan will pass through this fall on our eastward journey from San Diego to St. Augustine, Fla.
The route will take us through a series of small towns — New Waverly, Coldspring, Romayer, Kountze, Spurger and Kirbyville — and pass about 25 miles north of Beaumont, which once had billboards that read: “Gushing with fun since 1901.”
The motto came from the discovery of oil, the first big find west of the Mississippi River, in 1901 at a low mound called Spindletop Hill, about four miles south of Beaumont.

Higgins

Higgins

The oilfield was located in 1892 by Pattillo Higgins, a one-armed lumberman and Baptist Sunday school teacher from Beaumont. He figured that oil was under the ground after noticing during a picnic on Spindletop that the spring water was pungent and oily.
With the help of an ad in a trade paper, Higgins enlisted the help of Anthony F. Lucas, a Croatian-born engineer, who also became convinced that a salt dome beneath the mound contained a wealth of petroleum.
Lucas

Lucas

Their first drilling attempts were unsuccessful and their money ran out. Lucas sought help from Pittsburgh financiers John H. Galey and Col. J.M. Guffey and signed a new agreement that excluded Higgins. Two drillers from Corsicana, Texas — brothers Al and Curt Hamill — were hired to run the operation.
At 10:30 a.m. on Jan. 10, 1901, the roughnecks at Spindletop heard a roar, then ran in panic as six tons of four-inch drilling pipe hurtled out of the ground — followed by mud, then natural gas and finally a 200-foot geyser of crude, rising from a depth of 1,139 feet.
It took nine days to cap the gusher. By then, Spindletop was hailed as the biggest oil strike the world had seen. Texas was wallowing in black gold and Beaumont became the state’s first oil boom town.
Standard Oil, the company founded by John D. Rockefeller, had been approached early on to invest in the Spindletop venture. But it was so skeptical of finding oil outside the well-established fields in the eastern United States that a Standard Oil executive, John Archbold, offered to “drink every gallon of oil found west of the Mississippi.” The company passed up a chance for a piece of the Spindletop action.
It was a bad decision. More than 153 million barrels of oil came out of the Spindletop fields by 1985. Among the companies that had their origins in the southeast Texas fields were Texaco, Chevron, Mobil and Exxon.

1 Comment

Filed under Americana, Cycling across America, Texana

Savor the simple pleasures


ACA logo“Our mission is to inspire people of all ages to travel by bicycle. We help cyclists explore the landscapes and history of America for fitness, fun, and self-discovery.”
– Adventure Cycling Association

The Adventure Cycling Association, the organizer of my planned trip across the United States this fall, has begun posting on Facebook video vignettes on why people get involved in long-distance bicycle touring.
Granted, it’s not an endeavor with universal appeal, considering that you carry all your needs on your bike, ride through all kinds of weather and terrain and camp out most nights.
But it has its simple pleasures — a beautiful sunrise on a crisp, clear morning, chatting with friendly people along the way, a feeling of utter relaxation at the end of a long, hard ride. There’s the challenge of trying to do something that most Americans, too used to their many comforts, wouldn’t even consider undertaking. And, of course, the sense of accomplishment if you finish.
Here’s the first of the Adventure Cycling Association video vignettes, shot in the Sacred Valley of the Incas in Peru.

Leave a comment

Filed under Cycling across America, Journeys