Patrick Colleran
Hometown: Boise, Idaho
Bike: A 1976 Sam Braxton (#23) refurbished for it's second cross country trip
Favorite piece of gear: B17 brooks saddle
Go-to road food:Corndogs
Best touring specific trick: Poppin curbs and riding wheelies
Last employment: Field leader for citizen science backpacking trips for wilderness character monitoring in the HPBH WSA just north of Yellowstone
Most anticipated destination: Austin, Texas
Best bike related experience: Touring the San Juan Islands with Alison E. Riley

Max Horrowitz-Burdick
Hometown: Longmont, CO.
Salsa Vaya
Favorite piece of gear:
Go-to road food:
Best touring specific trick:
on bike sunscreen application
Last employment:
Denali National Park trail crew
Most anticipated destination:
middle of nowhere mississippi
Best bike experience:
first wheely

Vince Roubitchek
Hometown: Mt. Prospect, Illinois
Bike: Surly Long Haul Trucker (Fatties Fit Fine)
Favorite piece of gear: Bear Spray
Go-to road food: Jalapeno Cheddar Cheetos
Best touring specific trick: Limbo under gates of closed campsites....while riding
Last employment: Raft/Backpack Guide in West Glacier, Montana
Most anticipated destination: Beers on the beach in MIAMI!
Best bike experience: Cruisin' Avenue of the Giants in Nor Cal

Kyle Lehman
Hometown: Corbett, Oregon
Bike: Surly Cross Check with a dented rear wheel and noisy brakes.
Favorite piece of gear: Michael Jordan tank top
Go-to road food: Corn doggies
Best touring specific trick: No handed jacket removal
Last employment: Wildland Firefighter for the State of Montana
Most anticipated destination: New Orleans
Best bike experience: Crashing so hard while dirt jumping that I shit my pants.

Danny Thuerer
Hometown: Boise, Idaho
Bike: Surly Long haul Trucker
Favorite piece of gear: GoLite nickers
Go-to road food: Milky way
Best touring specific trick: Riding forward
Last employment: Helena National forest
Most anticipated destination: The South
Best bike experience: Riding down hill

Saturday, November 26, 2011

night ride

We packed up our roadside spaghetti dinner as the last of the sun's red glow faded into night and started our ride toward a picnic area near the McDonald observatory outside Fort Davis, TX.  Low clouds covered the stars and moon.  The topography hid the horizon.  No homes or traffic lights to give scale to the blackened space.  All I can see is the 100ft or so of head lamp illuminated two lane road in front of me.  The ambient eerie noise of Animal Collective adds the perfect soundtrack to our ride through ephemeral emptiness.  The headlamps behind cast giant shadows of the riders in front.  Their unzipped jackets blowing behind them give the shadow riders chaotic black wings.  An hour passes.  It's difficult to gage how far we've travelled or how much farther we have to go.  The riding starts to become more difficult.  Suddenly I'm in my lowest gear having to stand and pump to climb a hill I couldn't see so didn't know existed until it stole all my momentum.  We continue to climb.  The fatigue from the miles begins to take its toll physically and mentally.  That bizarre numbness of body and mind that can only be experienced from exhaustion takes over. A horizon and a few stars appear in the distance then disappearr as we fly downhill and into the empty picnic area.  I roll into what will be camp for the night as depleted as my flat rear tire.  140 miles is a long way.  

Monday, November 21, 2011


Machaca is a traditional meal originating in the northern region of Mexico. It consists of a dried, shredded, and rehydrated beef that is seasoned with green or poblamo chilis. We tried this meal at Lucy's in El Paso, a small diner with about ten barstools and one incredible cook. She prepared our food on a two by two griddle that had been seasoned for probably thirty years. After hand shredding the machaca, eggs, peppers, and onions were combined into the hash like pile. Fresh flour tortillas from an inconspicuous supermarket grocery sack were heated alongside the heap of hispanic spice. Hashbrowns and refried beans accompanied the plate before a blend of chilis and queso smothered the machaca. A thank you is in order to some of El Paso's core bike community members Garcia, Farsh, and Elias for recommending this breakfast to us. I had no idea what was ordering when I asked for machaca but this dish set new standards for both the authentic Mexican and breakfast categories.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

SOD (song of the day)

We had a blast watching Finger Folk play in Santa Barbara during our Halloween festivities. Here is a clip of them warming up before their big show.

Finger Folk from Patrick Colleran on Vimeo.

Piss Bag Symbolism

We must have been some 20 miles east of Pheonix when I saw it. Languishing there on the shoulder of highway 60 under a growing desert sun, a weathered, putrid yellow Ziploc bag full of piss. After the initial panic of avoiding the thing had worn off, I couldn't help but chuckle. After all, how frantic must one be to relive themselves into a device normally reserved for turkey sandwiches and seedless grapes? Now, over six hundred miles into the Southern Tier, I am no closer to finding an answer. Perhaps it's the relative lack of rest areas on these hard-baked desert highways that's forcing over hydrated tourists to such desperate ends, but so far I've spied enough of these improvised urinals to fill a wading pool.

It could be the automobile itself that's to blame, when you can go a mile a minute its hard to justify taking a few off for a trivial matter such as taking a leak. Better off just throwing an empty Pepsi bottle into the back seat and hoping your kids got good enough aim to keep it off the interior. When progress is defined strictly in terms of mileage, the journey takes a back seat to the destination. Gas stations and fast food joints are constructed with this in mind; bland road trip pit stops pumping enough nacho cheese and unleaded gasoline onboard to get travelers on their way in the least possible time.

Our journey so far has run in direct opposition of this mindset. On a bicycle there is more of an interaction with the scenery. With no air conditioning to tame the dry desert air or radio to drown out the bleak stretches of nothingness, there is little choice but to let the landscape in. We have slept amid a crumbling desert foundation, in front of a church and behind a bar; out of the way places chosen as our energy and the day's light fades. When miles are not measured in minutes there is time to scamper across sand dunes, jump in rivers and hunt for scorpions. Should the need to relive oneself arise we merely drift over to the ditch and deliver some hydration to the parched land, all the while hoping the cars and RV's lurching by on the freeway get to their destination on time.
Mission Trails State Park just east of San Diego

Desert shadows

I have no idea where this picture was the middle of the desert somewhere in AZ

A perfect storm

top of the hill

New Mexico chillin'

Photo Shoot

All downhill from here!
At times, besides the persistent roadside litter, there wasn't much to look at on the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation. Then the Sun set in Bylas, Arizona.

This is our first true desert camp. There were no towns for thirty miles in any direction but we stocked up on rations and avoided any reptile encounters.

After eating four doughnuts Max confidently exlaimed, "I'm still starving, I could eat all the glazed doughnuts left in that case." So naturally, we put him up to the challenge. He only ate four.

The Algones dunes in Eastern California. Max got a flat so I walked out into the dunes where some dune buggies stopped to see if I was okay. Turns out, I was just eating some yogurt while exploring the endless sand.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Introducing for your blog viewing pleasure

Danny Thuerer a good friend of mine from Boise Idaho met us in San Diego to join in on the funemployment. Danny worked all summer on the Helena hotshots and decided to come ride the southern tier with us. The crew feels pretty big now that there are five of us.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Sittin' On Top of the World

We left Santa Barbara after an awesome Halloween rest day and headed south to Santa Monica. right on the beach, Santa Monica was a bit more like a concrete jungle than expected. Luckily, Pat chatted it up with John, a UCLA biology professor, who graciously offered his garage for us to safely store our bikes while we went out on the town and met up with MP buddies Charlie Houle and Justin was great seein you guys and thanks for the beers! Not only did John hook it up with bike storage, he let use his patio to crash; and if that wasn't enough the next morning we woke up to an awesome home-cooked breakfast of eggs, veggies, beans, OJ, and coffee! We can't thank you enough, and I hope one day I can pay that favor forward.

From Santa Monica we pretty much followed the beautiful SoCal coast all the way to Dana Point, California. Lukcy for us, Pat's family friend and surfing sensei, Chicago Steve, was in town and took us out for a massive feast at a local burger joint. Steve treated us to burgers, fries, 6 appetizers, beers and great company. Since Steve couldn't join us for breakfast, he took it upod himself to give us a little something so that we could buy some breakfast burritos in the morning...turns out it was enough for some more beers AND burritos in the am...Thanks, Steve, you don't know how much we appreciate it.

From Dana Point it was only a short 60 miles until our final destination on the west coast, San Diego. The sun was shining way too bright and hot for us to just ride the stretch straight through. Just outside of Carlsbad, a beautiful white sand beach with some tasty swells was calling our name. We parked our rigs next to some Cali surfer dudes that happend to have a few extra stand-up paddle boards and some time to show us the ropes. After some epic body surfing and catchin waves on paddle boards (or tried to), we couldn't leave them empty handed so we helped em out with some dollar fish tacos at their local fish taco spot. Thanks, guys. Needless to say we rolled into San Diego a bit later than expected. Thant didnb't matter though, we had a 30 ft. sailboat to sleep on and Pat's high school buddy Danny Thuerer flew down to chill on the boat and join us for the southern tier of our journey(his bio will come soon).

The next three days on the boat in San Diego proved to be exactly what we needed. We were in super Cali chill mode with some Simpler Times(terrible beer), whiskey gingers, hot tubs and sun (with a bit of rain). Pat's Dad, Steve(owner of the Wild Rose...the boat) even drove over from Tucsan, AZ to take us out on the high seas of the Pacific Ocean. Everyone was a sailor this time, and we even got a show from a pod of dolphins. 2 awesome dinners (one at the hotel where the Green Bay Packers were staying to get ready for the big game against the Chargers), breakfast, boat to chill on with a ride included...Thanks, Steve, for hookin it up with an awesome 3 days in San Diego. I even got to meet up with a Cali cousin, Rachael, who I haven't seen in like 7 years. Thanks for an awesome dinner and drinks, Rachael; and thanks, Mitch, for that comfy couch and the good company!...and the JD.