Friday, March 27, 2009

Final Report

First and foremost, it is time to express my profound gratitude to my most perfect wife, Subagh Kaur. She has been so tolerant of my need for solo travel and so supportive of my efforts. She did all the posting here, mailed my resupply package, drove across the country by herself to meet me, and even did without my delightful company for five whole weeks. Thank you. I love you.

And thank you also to those who have sent along your encouraging words. Knowing you were there was a real boost.

Some facts: The trip took 35 days, two hours. The route covered about 3270 miles. Along the way I had about ten flats, six of them in two days of biking on Interstate 10. I also wore out two tires. I used extra thick tubes to good advantage. I also had to replace the chain which was getting pretty stretched out. There were no other breakdowns.

The route, except for a bit I added in the beginning, was laid out by Adventure Cycling Association. It was a zig zag affair following back roads most of the way. Visit their web site if you have any interest in this sort of thing; they are terrific. Going the other way (most do this route west to east) I met a dozen or so other bike tourers, all of them using the same maps.

I camped most nights but stayed in a motel about six times.

Impressions: In the Southeast, there is an astounding amount of litter, much less in the Southwest. Almost all of it is the containers from fast food joints and quick stops. I needed to "shop" in these quick stops quite often and the selection was awful: all sugar and energy drinks, pastries, etc. I managed to find enough juice, cheese, beans, trail mix, and burritos to survive but it is scary to see what people are putting down these days.

The rural towns along the way were mostly dying.

America is a big, empty place, except for where it isn't, in which case it is crowded, intense, noisy, frantic.

Personally: I probably lost a few pounds, got a bit stronger below the waist, weaker above. I have funny tan lines and baggy skin on my face. There is numbness in all the places that body and bike came together.

My meditation practice is based on mantra repetition and biking is perfect for that: rhythmic breathing, rhythmic motion, not that much else to do with the mind. I'm grateful for the opportunity to have been so engaged and to have found a deeper silence within myself.

What did I get out of this? Who knows. I had expected to do lots of contemplating of the future but that just wasn't happening. Meditating one night I asked, "How should I live my life?" and an instant answer came back: "Simply, very simply." That's about as far as that went, but it could be enough.

Subagh(o), My heartfelt congratulations on your ride--absolutely brilliant!! I look forward to an in depth recount of your adventure when we see you next. Subagh(a), Great job on the backup and technical support that allowed us to follow along. Enjoy a few days together in one place. Love, David


The wind howled all night (usually it would stop by midnight or so) and it was with some reluctance that I dressed and set out at 5:30 or so. But, the wind had veered and was now a tail wind, the first real one of the trip. And, in a few miles I was headed mostly down hill to San Diego. At times, it was too fast; it seemed I was on the verge of loosing control. I was particularly keen to not crash today. Made it to the end and the rendezvous with Ms Subagh by about 1:00, having covered over seventy miles this morning.

The last day!!!

A very good sign.
One of hundreds of such shrines

I'm (Subagha) sitting in a cafe on Mission Beach, opposite the wooden roller coaster - waiting for phone call from Subagh S. about where to meet him. Hope it is soon. It is now 12:30 p.m.

From yesterday, Thursday, March 26
I'm eating first bagel of trip in the first Starbucks in El Centro, CA. This
a.m. I crossed the Imperial Valley: tens of thousands of acres of factory
farms, perfectly flat. Not a tree or house in sight. Much of the
valley is below sea level as much as -200 ft.

Did 120 miles yesterday and feel it today; I may be getting a little
old for this stuff.

Nice desert camp last night, coyotes and all.

Next is the Yuha Desert before the final push up and ├╝ber the coastal range

A few hours later - still yesterday

Killer afternoon. Crossing the Yuha desert on the roughest road of the
trip with high temps and then the strongest head winds yet. Climbing
into the mountains on better road but higher winds, still it took 3
hours to go ten miles then down ten miles pretty fast and now it's
time to start up again. It ain't over til it's over.

Subagha is 30 miles ahead of me and tomorrow we reunite.

I just love you both so much! from Pam

Is this it? The last day? Aren't you a little early? CONGRATULATIONS! We have been following your blog, and as we do our puny little spinning classes, we think of your efforts and we are so proud of you!
Subagha, have you caught up to him yet? What a reunion that must have been! We hope to rendezvous with you in CA to debrief. Or if you need more riding time, we've got some wonderful routes up here in OR.
It was the "Go MANgo" water bottle that made you so fast, wasn't it?
Connie and Roger

It’s hard to believe that Subagh Singh is completing his 40 day journey already – easy for me to say
Well I’m incredibly impressed – mind over body – good for him
As a grand finale he might consider a ride up to Mt Soledad in La Jolla – it’s an amazing view (I showed you pictures) - you can meet him up there.
I hope your ride out west was good –