Category Archive: TransAmerica Tour 1984

Bike Tour 1984: Day 59 – Through hail and back to Flagstaff

FLAGSTAFF, ARIZ. – We rode through hail and back to get to Flagstaff today. Why we left the Grand Canyon, I have no idea. I guess we're just too accustomed to hitting the road  everyday.

We awoke at dawn this morning, and took all the gear off our bikes for a ride out to the South Rim for more sunrise pictures. We flew along without the panniers,and I found it difficult to steer the bike straight. Returning to camp, we loaded up to our old sluggish selves and left by 9, stopping at the camp store.

Remember that geology lesson of climbing up to the Grand Canyon? It worked in our favor this morning. We zipped along mostly downhill for 28 miles to Valle by 11 a.m. Passing the Flintstone Village amusement park there (with a huge sign of Fred Flintstone) we followed a hillier and more winding road to Flagstaff. …

Continue reading »

Permanent link to this article: http://www.bikingbis.com/2012/07/10/bike-tour-1984-day-59-through-hail-and-back-to-flagstaff/

Day 58 – On foot in the Grand Canyon to Dripping Springs

It's nearly two months into our cross-country bicycle tour, and I finally get off the bicycle for a hike. There's just no way to get into the Grand Canyon on a bike.

Before dawn Bruce and I broke camp and started our ride along the South Rim road to Grand Canyon Village. It was a short ride but it took forever — just too many picture possibilities. Dawn and dusk are the best times to shoot the canyon because the low sun adds shadows that gives depth to the formations.

We reached the campground at 9 a.m. and there already was a line for camping spots. Bruce checked further and learned we didn't have to wait. Because we're bicyclists, they let us right in for $2 and let us camp in one of the two hike-and-bike campsites. The deal was that the campsites had to hold anyone who showed up…

Continue reading »

Permanent link to this article: http://www.bikingbis.com/2012/07/09/day-58-on-foot-in-the-grand-canyon-to-dripping-springs/

1984 Bike Tour: Day 57 – Camping on the edge at the Grand Canyon

Although I had visited the Grand Canyon a couple of times before, I never really appreciated in a personal way how it was formed until I rode there on my bicycle.

All the books (well, the scientific ones) say that eons ago, a plateau rose up in this area while a river cut through the rock. I always understood the erosion part, but I didn't get the rising plateau part until I realized I was climbing a big hill to get to the canyon.

After leaving Tuba City this morning, we passed the edge of the Painted Desert (above), an area whose colors change through the day. Because of the clear air and lack of reference points such as buildings, it's impossible to guess at the distances to the hills and ridges…

Continue reading »

Permanent link to this article: http://www.bikingbis.com/2012/07/08/1984-bike-tour-day-57-camping-on-the-edge-at-the-grand-canyon/

1984 Bike Tour Day 56 – Ritual and conflict in Hopi and Navajo lands

TUBA CITY, ARIZ. – We passed through the Hopi Reservation today, in an area where age-old conflicts and rituals still exist.

The Hopi generally live in settlements on three mesas, that look like three fingers jutting from a high plateau in the north. The road passes south of the First, but climbs over the Second (above) and Third. The Hopi have lived on these mesas for centuries and are believed to be descendants of the Anasazi, who left cliff dwellings scattered throughout the region. Amazingly, they have developed a form of agriculture in a land where water in extremely scarce. …

Continue reading »

Permanent link to this article: http://www.bikingbis.com/2012/07/07/1984-bike-tour-day-56-ritual-and-conflict-in-hopi-and-navajo-lands/

1984 Bike Tour: Day 55 – Our cross-country tribe grows

KEAMS CANYON, ARIZ. – We started riding across the wide expanse of the Navajo Reservation this morning and added to our tribe.

Just a few miles outside of Window Rock, we overtook bicyclist Geraldine Onslow, a spunky Brit from south of London.

Her's is a tale of tragedy and determination. She and her sister collected pledges for a cross-USA trip back home to raise money for cancer research after their father died of the disease. Geraldine, her sister Jane, and a cousin, James, who drove the support van, set out from New York City.

In West Virginia, an 80-year-old motorist ran into the back of Jane's bike. Both legs were broken in the collision…

Continue reading »

Permanent link to this article: http://www.bikingbis.com/2012/07/06/1984-bike-tour-day-55-our-cross-country-tribe-grows/

1984 Bike Tour: Day 54 – We learn about Navajo code talkers

WINDOW ROCK, ARIZ. – Travelling cross-country by bicycle has put us in contact with many interesting folks we wouldn't have met ordinarily. Tonight we staying at the home of a World War II veteran; a member of a group of unsung heroes whose stories couldn't be told until recently.

Roy Hawthorne was a member of the cadre of Navajos who joined the Marines and became “codetalkers.”

They fashioned a code based on Navajo words that represented military information. The Japanese never broke the code, and the codetalkers couldn't talk about their exploits until the government declassified the code in the late 1960s. ….

Continue reading »

Permanent link to this article: http://www.bikingbis.com/2012/07/05/1984-bike-tour-day-54-we-learn-about-navajo-code-talkers/

Day 53 – Celebrating the Fourth in Navajo Nation

GALLUP, NM – I've seen fireworks shows at golf courses, football stadiums and along lakefronts. Never have I seen one at a rodeo grounds, where the announcer translated everything into English from Navajo, and where an errant flare set off a series of explosions that lit the scrubby undergrowth on a hillside.

We had read about the fireworks display at Gallup, so we got an early start at El Morro. We passed by the huge Inscription Rock and headed downhill into the Zuni Pueblo Reservation. A sign posted the rules: No pictures. No alcohol. We turned onto Route 32 and missed the Zuni Pueblo itself, one of the 7 Cities of Cibola sought by gold hungry Spanish conquistadors. …

Continue reading »

Permanent link to this article: http://www.bikingbis.com/2012/07/04/day-53-celebrating-the-fourth-in-navajo-nation/

Day 52 – Bicycling through reservation lands

EL MORRO NATIONAL MONUMENT, N.M. – We passed through several nations today; those of the Isleta, Laguna, Acoma, and Canoncita. They're all pueblo tribes that thrived here before the Spanish Conquistadors and missionaries enslaved them. English is spoken here, but it's not the native tongue.

None of that mattered to us this morning. We awoke out in the desert while there were still a couple of stars in the sky and the sun was brightening the East. We walked back to our bicycles hidden under the railroad trestle and Bruce removed that crudely carved horse's head, given to him in Missouri, from his handlebar pack and set it on the trestle support. I imagine it will startle whoever finds it. …

Continue reading »

Permanent link to this article: http://www.bikingbis.com/2012/07/03/day-52-bicycling-through-reservation-lands/

Day 51 – We run out of options and camp in the desert

SOMEWHERE IN ISLETA INDIAN RESERVATION, N.M. – When things are going well, I tend to leave things too much to chance … at least until I'm brought up short by lack of planning and bad decisions.

That's why Bruce and I spent the night in our sleeping bags on a dry wash under the stars next to a railroad trestle. Except for the occasional freight train, the only sound was a soft breeze and the startling yelps of coyotes. …

Continue reading »

Permanent link to this article: http://www.bikingbis.com/2012/07/02/day-51-we-run-out-of-options-and-camp-in-the-desert/

Day 50 – Bicycling the Turquoise highway

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – We spent much of today riding on the Turquoise Highway. It looked like plain old blacktop to me.

We left Santa Fe in a light drizzle, which quickly burned off. It was such a mellow Sunday morning that Bruce wore his headphones as he pedalled along. He was spacing out near the center of the road when a car came up from behind and couldn't pass. I expect the driver was afraid of honking and scaring Bruce to death. …

Continue reading »

Permanent link to this article: http://www.bikingbis.com/2012/07/01/day-50-bicycling-the-turquoise-highway/

Older posts «

» Newer posts