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

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

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'

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