Saturday, December 8, 2012

Well, folks...

So, the bike riding part is nearly(perhaps completely) over for the year, and I've just started writing about it.

A few good reasons for that: My ailing laptop is filled with sand and mildew and I really don't want to touch it. I've been picked up by a couple of good friends and I'd rather talk to them then write. It's cold out and my fingers don't want to type..

Most of all, I'm pretty sure this whole ramble isnt really a "bicycle tour" anymore. It hasn't been for a while. Some critical straw tipped that changed me from "bicycle tourist" to... what? Another travelling kid? Getting a bit old in that demographic. Someone called me a rainbow mama a month ago in north california. That was just bloody wierd. Ain't no one's mama. I used to say "I just live on a bike", but I'm not adverse, entirely, to coming back out here with just a backpack. Maybe horseback(muleback?).

Anyway, point being, it felt a bit odd to continue this journal as if I'm still doing the same thing I was when I took off from Minnesota. Really, I'm not. Since leaving Portland in September, I've moved my wheels all the way to... Garberville. Some of that milage was hitchhiking. Most days I never biked more then 20 miles. Most stops I stayed stopped for a few days. I've been selling jewelry and trading along the way, hooked up with some good people and spent about four weeks in Humboldt county. I've a lot of plans for the next few days, but for now I'm heading to Quartzsite for an easy winter.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Plan? What plan?

So much for planning - I'm still in Minnesota, after an unplanned six week visit with my cousins up north. New plan: Leaving for Portland Oregon via Amtrak on the 7th. Tickets are bought. For real, this time.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

What Next?

I'm back in Plymouth, Minnesota again. It's been just long enough so my general feeling is that of boredom mixed with apprehension of going back into the unknown. I only wish I were a person completely above the lure of predictability, loss of responsibility, and safety. I definitely need to get back on the road. Route planning, bike talk, lusting over tech gear, and more route planning are helping me keep in the right mental state, fortunately.

While I was originally hoping to hop up into Canada on the Crowsnest highway in British Columbia, the lack of money is a continual reminder that I lack money. With a passport costing $130, I'd rather wait until I'm closer to Quartzsite and a certain source of income before getting one. Some people can peace out and relax with nothing but a twenty hidden in the left shoe, but I get a bit nervous with less than $500 to my name. I'm well below that, now.

Along with certain other decisions, though, missing a tiny slice of BC isn't such a big deal. I'll get to it eventually. So here is my planned route for the rest of this year:

For the American long distance cyclist, nothing too exotic. With just about all of this route, mile for mile, fitting into the ACA's Northern Tier and Pacific Coast maps, I'm back on the beaten path. Nice and easy. Bet I won't be saying that while climbing up Going-to-the-sun road or riding through days of coastal rain.

Until Portland, I'll be on a schedule, too. I don't know how other people deal with those. Just having one or two commitments in an entire year dictates my travels for months preceding! This time, my mother is coming to visit me in Portland, Oregon. She'll be nearly a year late, since I sorta finished the TransAm last November and that's when everyone else's parents showed up to celebrate. No, but really - it'll be a lot of fun to actually get her out here. Portland is definitely my favorite city thus far.

After Portland, I'll take a slow cruise down the coast, hopefully making some money by way of selling jewelry and trinkets(If I were a bit further along in setting up an Etsy shop, that would be a link), before staying with my cousin in San Diego for a bit. Then it's back to Quartzsite till spring.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


Hanging out at the Lazy Lizard Hostel in Moab for a few more days. Watch the map for updates, which I'm scrambling to catch up on.

Completely unrelated to anything...

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Crochet Crystal Pendants

I went down to the Colorado river to see if I could find a better place to work on jewelry and maybe sell a bit. It turned out to be pretty quiet, but I had a neat idea and ended up making these funky wire and wool pendants:

The yarn is a hand dyed wool and silk blend from the fantastic fabric shop(Desert Threads, I think it was called?) in Moab. I might spring for some merino wool yarn and knitting hemp before I leave.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Nom nom nom

I went out looking for parts today. There are five bike shops in Moab, all but one on main street. Chili Pepper Bikes was first. These guys all do repairs on the spot and charge low for labour, but once my bike was on the stand the mechanic realized he didn't have the right brake pads. He did the rotor true and replaced the back brake cable for $5 + parts then let it down. Moab Cyclery had the neatest building, but still no brake pads that would work for me. Next up, Uranium bicycles - just what I needed, $20 a pair and $10 installation. Sure, I could do it myself, but it's nice not to. Some people get manicures, I get my bike worked on by a professional.

If I'd failed to find my part at Uranium, Poison Spider Bikes would have been my next stop. Check out the wall mural.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Almost there..

A lovely paved trail 8 miles into Moab. Unfortunately it was rather steep, and by this point my brake pads where nearly gone, by cables about to part, and my rotors warped.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Boulder, Utah

I turned down an offer from Mark, whose campsite I shared, to drive me to the top of the hill visible from the campground. It didn't look all that bad - probably just a short, steep climb. There'd be many, many horrible hills to come, so why wimp out on this one? Silly logic, right? Six miles of walking later, It certainly didn't seem very smart. But it's okay, Utah is beautiful.

After the painful uphill, came the nerve wracking downhill. My front brake is completely stripped, down to the metal, useless now. The back one works, slowly. The cable looks sound), but if it snaps I'll probably fly off the side of a canyon, hit a car, or wrap around a tree. The cable also looked 'Okay' right before snapping in Quartzsite, you know.

These are two different signs, by the way.

Eventually the worst of the up and down was done with, and I reached the town of Boulder, Utah. I didn't have high hopes of finding any food, here. Just too small of a town. I noticed gas station on the way int - wait, what? Beer, Ice, and Natural Foods? Well, that's what the sign on the road said. Sure enough, this place wasn't quite what it looked like. Two young, brightly dressed women ran the store, which was stocked with organic fruit, home made donuts, and kombucha(!). There wasn't a big selection, and it was fairly pricey, but when am I going to see this stuff again? At least not until Moab.

Pastries devoured and Kombucha drained, I headed towards the real challenge of the day: the 9600ft climb up Boulder Mountain(Fun fact: It's actually a plateau. Or half a plateau. Kinda confusing, actually). Getting to the top before dark wasn't going to happen, but I'd like to at least get some of the climbing out of the way.

Six miles later, the temperature was dropping in a big way, the sun was doing down, and I couldn't find a place to camp. I was just barely in the Dixie National Forest, and the highway was still lined with private property. This doesn't happen to me nearly as often in Utah as it does in neighboring states, and if I'd really been desperate I could have just settled for camping on uneven or rocky ground. Instead, I met Julie and Tim, who invited me to their home.

It turned into a bitterly cold night, and I was very grateful to have a heated workshop bedroom to sleep in. Tim and Julie often host the local organized rides, and made me feel very welcome. I learned from them that Boulder is surrounded by organic farms, and gets an influx of WWOOFers and seasonal workers in the summer. Maybe that's reason to come back some time. I gave Julie a bracelet and some earrings, and she sent me off the next day with a big bag of home made fruit leather and dried apple.

Friday, May 4, 2012

14% Grades, and a Real Campground at Calf Creek

Something in my mind rebels again the notion of descending first... then climbing back up. Blazing down a mountain should be the reward for climbing up it. If I reach the top of a pass and camp, that should mean a downhill in the morning! Instead I'm going down, and down, and down today, with a horrible steep climb looming in the morning. In fact, it's too much downhill.

My brake pads have been in rough shape for a while, but now I can barely make them stop. I've been having to stop every half mile to cool them off. Letting off the brakes and flying down isn't a good options, I'm not sure if I'll be able to get the bike to stop if I really get moving. It's often too steep to even walk down without holding the brakes. Really need to get this taken care of, soon.

There was a rest stop at the top of this hill. A group of 40 or so French Motorbikers decided to take a break there, and I literally had to run to my bicycle and pull it out of the way as they parked. God forbid a mere bicycle stand in the way of these men and their perfectly straight line of parked motorcycles! More funny then annoying, really.

After a bit of climbing, this. Oh, Utah, aren't you just something else.

I took a rest at the Kiva Coffeehouse, which was recommended by a couple who stopped to talk me whilst I watched dozens of lizards dart around on slickrock at a scenic overlook. Wonder how they got that real estate - there's no other development here. I imagine it's been there for quite a while. Anyway, it was a nice place, with (rather expensive)baked goods, beautiful architecture, and free WiFi.

While enjoying a cinnamon roll and uploading pictures, I got into a conversation with Mike, a traveling software designer. He offered to share his site at Calf Creek. That would make for only a 12 mile day, but with the inevitable climb coming up, I'd just as soon have an easy day and start fresh tomorrow.

The Calf Creek campground, as it turns out, was wonderful. It's small, maybe 12 sites or so, nestled between sheer rock walls, bisected by the namesake creek. Several of the sites are only accessible by footbridge, or fording the river in a vehicle. It's a $7 BLM campground, with pit toilets and no showers, so I walked down the creek a ways to bathe.

Are you a Scarlet Gilia? I think so, maybe.

Calf Creek Campground from above.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Escalante, UT - Hole in the Wall Road

Days are getting longer, climbs are getting steeper. I tend to wear myself out early, then sit around doing a lot of nothing until the sun goes down. That's okay - I don't feel in any hurry. I climbed and walked and pushed my way out of the canyons and into more agricultural land, then the descent into Escalante.

I've been noticing a very distinct smell in this state. Whenever there water being sprayed in fields, I smell it. Closest thing I can compare it to is spoiled milk and swamp, and it's all over Utah. I've heard there is a lot of organic farming being done in the state, so maybe it's some foul smelling organic fertilizer.

On to the town of Escalante... I stopped at another well appointed GSENM visitor center, did the usual recharge/refill routine, stopped at the market and had lunch in the park. Like quite a few other Utah town parks I've stopped at, this one has a "No Camping" sign. I'm not too bummed out, since with the plentiful public land in Utah. This is a town on the tourist trail through the National Parks, so I'll make that excuse for them.

I'd intended to go a ways past Ecalante, but as I passed the Hole-in-the-Rock road(Historical road, that. Crazy Mormon pioneers.) I saw a sign left by some camper, beckoning the rest of his party to stop here. Well, there must be some nice spot to camp down there, then... There was, so I called it a very early day, set up camp, and went to check out the area a bit.

I'm almost out of the GSENM, and I've barely been in it. Imagine how long a person could spend exploring the interior of the monument...

Hole-in-the-Rock unofficial camping area.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument - Campsite by a River

Another peaceful, restful night in a great place. I woke up well rested and packed up early. There was a strange little Subway(Looked like it used to be a cafe or sit-down restaurant)at the junction with HWY 12, so I got a sammich, filled containers with ice, and plugged in my phone. Despite the advertising of free WIFI, I wasn't able to pick anything up, so I just sorted through photos and copied a huge load of media onto my external HD. Still time well spent. Since I'm just throwing money left and right anyway, I bought a box of 12 cookies for about $5 before leaving.

HWY 12 dips into a panoramic view of the Bryce Amphitheater, and a nice descent. I stopped for a look at Mossy Cave, outside of the park but sharing the characteristics of, and maintained by the national park service. The cave was just okay, but the fast-moving, milky stream and waterfall where beautiful. The stream in question is a long-ago man made irrigation ditch, but at this point it looks more like a natural flowage. I talked to a few people, most memorably a very kind couple whose name and home state I've forgotten(big surprise there. Every heard of taking notes?). We had more of a conversation then the usual "Where are you from? Aren't you scared?" exchange, and even if I forgot their names, I think very well of our meeting. Happy trails, folks.

After the last vestiges of Hoodoo and Amphitheater terrain where passed, I rode through ranch and agricultural land through the small towns of Tropic, Cannon, and Henrieville. Then, it was back into the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument, that incredible expanse of open land. I found a well used camping area, over a river and across from a huge, sheer rock wall. The ground was littered with dried up cow dung, which worked just fine for fuel. The moonlight was bright against the rock wall, and I had the rare sound of running water.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

A day around Bryce Canyon

I decided yesterday evening to stay here a day, Bryce Canyon visit or no. It's not like I've had a real difficult couple of days, but more relaxation never hurts... The decision being made, I walked up to the road and called home for a bit, then came back to write a letter and watch the pronghorn and white tail deer graze at dusk.

Morning was a lazy affair. I felt sort of slow and heavy and it was tempting to just stay put all day, but instead I repacked a bit, left my heavy stuff in camp, and took off down the dirt road the seemed to go in a favorable direction. I'm not sure what natural barriers may exist between me and the actual Park boundary, but it wouldn't hurt to keep an eye out for a back entrance of sorts. A quick cell-phone enabled search also revealed a road to a reservoir down there somewhere, but instead of getting too into exact locations and directions, I just figured "Downhill probably means water".

Very nice dirt road.

The road I picked was a good one, it turned out. I rode a few miles through beautiful, airy pine-woods, walked up a loose-gravel incline, then back down into a wide meadow. At a T in the road, I had a strong feeling that one way would lead to the aforementioned reservoir and went for a look. Shortly down a second, nicely compacted dirt trail, was a tiny wooden signpost; "Bryce Canyon", indicating the other arm of the T. Sure enough, after turning around and riding perhaps another mile or so, I came across a gate - the kind passable by hikers and cyclists only. Beyond this, an employee housing area, and the return of pavement. After a few short, steep hills, my road joined up with the main passage through Bryce Canyon National Park. No entry fee for me, thank you very much.

Me, being a sneak.

I've not been in one of the big National Parks since Yellowstone, so I braced myself for a crowd. The roads where quiet enough, but the parking was packed. Busy or not, the view from the tame little fenced off overlook was undeniably amazing. Way down there I'd see a clump of hikers, or a horse and rider. Okay, how do I get down -there-?

I ended up going down the mile-long Navajo trail. Doesn't sound too big, but it's very steep down a twisty snake of switchbacks. When I reached the bottom, I was confronted with a "trail closed, go back the way you came" sign. It was interesting to see the variety of people pumping back up the trail - old and young, everything from classic backpacky looking folks to some middle aged Japanese fellow who didn't understand that it's not cool to play tinny cell-phone music LOUDLY in the midst of a natural wonder.

The crowds, buses, fences, interpretive signs, and the idiot playing music off his cell phone didn't stop this from being special.

Switchbacks on the Navajo Trail.

More switchbacks on the Navajo Trail.

After the toe-bashing trudge down, and the calf-burning one up, I made sure my bike hadn't wandered off, topped up on water, ate some more nutella, and pulled out. During this, I encountered an interesting phenomenon. I came across a line of Asian tourists disgorging from one of those "Asia America" tour buses, and quickly discovered that I could not cross that line. Every time I tried to walk through them, they'd cluster up and prevent it. In the end I just had to wait until every last person had left the bus before I could leave the parking lot. Hmm, that was different. I stopped at the main visitor center on the way out, where I felt oddly compelled to buy a postcard. In my defense, it's a legitimately neat WPA reproduction postcard.

Having seen the essence of Bryce Canyon, I didn't feel I needed to ride way up the road then way back down, so I turned back to camp for some overly complicated soup that didn't turn out well, more deer-watching(Wandering right into my campground while I'm cooking!), a good shit in the woods, and sleep. Pretty awesome day.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Red Canyon on to Bryce Canyon, but not all the way

I woke up from my first uncomfortable Utah campsite. The warm-ish nights in unquestionable locations made me lax, and I curled up on a tarp instead of setting up my tent. After the cold night, my sleeping bag was fairly well covered in frost, with a matching skin of ice in my water.

Because I was camped in a fairly ambiguous spot(It appeared to be a driveway, actually...), I didn't wait around for the sun to come up. Wet gear goes in, gloves go on, and I head back to Hatch, hoping to find some food.

No luck in Hatch. One tiny C-store doesn't open until 10am(It's 7am), and the others look to be shut down for good. Guess I didn't need to eat all that bad... on towards the Red Canyon it is. An easy, pleasant ride, quickly done. There are a few trails going off into the BLM land outside the more developed area(Developed by Utah standards. It has a visitor center.), but I'm dumb so I don't investigate them.

Wonderful bike trail through the Red Canyon area.

I pulled off into a trailhead area to change out of my greasy sweat-in then slept-in clothing. By this point it was sunny and warm again, at least into the mid 70s. Took a rest at the Red Canyon Visitor Center to recharge and refill a few miles later, then onto the bike trail. It's very nice - 5 miles of well maintained trail. For the most part it parallels the road. It looks like they keep people in designated campgrounds here, but I doubt it would be problematic to camp off the bike trail where it diverges from the road. The smell of Juniper and Ponderosa is strong here, green sharp against the red rocks.

The ride eastwards is a gradual climb. Even with a steady headwind, it's fairly undemanding. Still, it goes on a for quite a while and as the land flattens out at the end of the trail, I saw what I was expecting: An elevation marker, indicating the top of a climb. Few of these seems to actually be marked on my Utah state map. No complaints here. The rock formations quickly vanished and turned to ranchland while I rode along reading about Edward Abbey's funeral on my cellphone.

I've still got that nasty, slick-under-the-clothes feeling from marinading in my chilled sweat last night, so I treat myself to some hostess cupcakes and a $2 shower at a C-store RV park on the way to Bryce Canyon. I had to wait while the showers were cleaned, by there was a friendly cat to keep me company and cupcakes to eat, so no problem.

This last bit of road, two miles or so to the tourist zone outside of Bryce Canyon, I'll have to backtrack tomorrow. I'm not sure if I even want to go into the park(No shuttle running yet, no hiker biker sites, $12 entry, only one way in and out...), but there is free camping in the Dixie National Forest right outside the entrance. Every time I go into the Dixie National Forest, I'm enchanted. The patchwork of land encompassed by it is beautiful conifer forest.

After a stop into the inevitable overpriced tourist grocery giftstore(I'm really treating myself, today..) for a can of corn, a top off of water, and a half hour of battery charging by the shuttle stop, I find my forest service road. There is so much evidence of camping it feels a bit like a very spacious, clean campground back there. The roads are very rideable hard-packed black dirt. Maybe I'll just explore them a bit, tomorrow, instead of going into the Park.

German serious-business vehicle parked in tourist-land.

To those of you reading, I hope you take my cynical tourist comments with a grain of salt. I'm pretty much okay with most of the stuff done in the name of tourist revenue. Everything humanity does is pretty destructive these days, and tourism is less so then most. And as with everything else, the people involved are just people, most of them pretty decent.

Once I'd set up my camp down a forest service road a ways, one of the hotel employees came cruising through on a golf-cart(Goes to show just how nice these roads are) and chatted for a bit. I can't remember her name, but I believe she was from the east coast. She offered to give me a ride to some property owned by the hotel(They have a lot of it) where there is a wonderful view of some Hoodoos and a waterfall. Now I have a few shots of the iconic Utah Hoodoos, just in case I don't go into Bryce tomorrow.

This'll probably be the view from a hotel window someday, but, hey - it's not yet!

A very comfortable free campsite, on the doorstep of Bryce Canyon National Park.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Long ride to Hatch, UT

Out of the canyons and desert for most of today. I've mostly been riding by small farms and pasture, bordered by mountains and canyon terrain. The procession of tiny towns, Mt. Carmel, Mt. Carmel Junction, Orderville and Glendale was nice to ride through. So far, these southern Utah towns are much more welcoming then anything I saw in Arizona.

Orderville had several rock shops - I stopped in the most eye catching of the lot and ended up buying half a pound of Quartz/Amethyst/Tourmaline pieces, to be made into something interesting down the road. Not sure when I'll get around to using them, but they where only $5/pound and half a pound more weight isn't really worth mentioning.

For the first time in this state, I had a bit of trouble finding a good spot to camp. If I'd been less picky, there where a few places I could have stopped, but instead I kept going. I ended up in more agricultural land, and on top of that there were steep slopes on both sides of the road. I was picking up elevation and as the sun went down it actually got pretty cold.

The cold makes me crave a snack, but when I finally arrive in Hatch, everything is closed. Everything, of course, means a selection of two tiny C-stores. After straining my eyes in the dark for a few miles, I found what may have been a BLM road of some sort. Very cold, by this point, but I don't want to set up my tent or cook on the uneven, exposed ground so I just eat some Nutella and roll up in my bag.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Kanab, Hwy 89, Peekaboo Campsite

I'm getting used to waking up early, again. The sun comes up, it's warm, I'm on my way. It's only 15 miles to Kanab, and a nice easy ride. The GSENM Visitor Centers seem to all be elaborate affairs, and I stop at the one in Kanab.

I meet another cyclist in Kanab, who warns me against Hwy 89. He's planning a route through 80 miles of rough dirt track and mud, to avoid it. He also warns me to stay well away from all offroaders, who are a destructive and untrustworthy bunch. In part I tend to agree, having seen some of the damage they do the desert, but near this tourist town I'm just as likely to run into families and kids on ATVs, on guided tours or staying on trails. As far as the warning about the road... After running the gauntlet every day among some of the worst drivers I've ever experienced in Quartzsite, I'll take the risk.

In Kanab, it's unmistakeably spring. The entire town smells like lilacs. There's a beautiful memorial garden, where I spend some time experimenting with my new camera. There's a nice grocery store, too, but I don't need much after stocking up in Page. With some trepidation, I leave town on Hwy 89.

Memorial Garden with a pond and fountain in Kanab.

Now, I'm sure the other cyclist has valid reasons for his opinion, but experience vary greatly. To my eyes, Hwy 89 was pleasant bordering on wonderful. The first mile or two out of town was narrow, with offroaders often riding next to the road, throwing dust and gravel around. Most looked to be ordinary enough people - some were riding with kids. None where speeding or being intentional obnoxious. After that, the ATV trail went elsewhere and the road widened out. Most of it had a decent shoulder. It was pretty steep, but that's to be expected. Climbing the staircase, and all.

Hwy 89 just north of Kanab.

Further along Hwy 89.

Part of a big piece of property along Hwy 89. Inside was a building constructed into the mouth a huge cave, a private pond(small lake, depending on how you look at it) with a dock, and a tall spiral staircase leading up into a high rock wall. The whole place had a kids club-house like feel, as if various people went to work building fun stuff. A sign on the wrought iron fence implied that it used to be open to the public, but is no longer on account of vandalism. I never was able to find out more about it.

The highway passes the Best Friends Animal Shelter, which is apparently the largest no-kill shelter in the country, or something like that. If I'd known just how far off the road it was, I might have gone down for a tour. My life has been lacking in cats, lately. I'd like to visit some. I was more driven to find a place to camp, though, as this had been a somewhat longer day then my last two - a whopping 30 miles, but most it had some pretty good climbs, and I'm still getting used to being on the bike.

Around 5pm I found a nice staging area for ATVers(Do I -ever- listen to advice? Seriously.) with picnic tables and fire rings. Another group was camped in a tight cluster of rvs, but I didn't see much of them. Had myself a tuna-corn-hashbrown sandwhich, then read for a few hours before bed. No need for a tent, again. It's in pretty rough shape after the wind in Quartzsite, so I'm going to try to avoid using it any more then I need to.

One of many roadside flowering cactii.

Peekaboo Staging Area campsite.

Friday, April 27, 2012

In the General Direction of Kanab, UT

No reason to hurry for a while. While I am on a schedule to get into Minnesota by June 18, I'm not going to start rushing yet. I'm not really looking all that forward to Colorado. Better to prolong my time in Utah.

The Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument is massive, containing some of the last places to be mapped in the United States. I'll be riding in and out of it often over the next several days, as my route on Hwy 89 and Hwy 12(National Parks Byway) sort of wraps around the monument. There are no paved roads in the interior of the monument.

After a mostly flat ride, with a few brakes at trail crossing, I decided to call it a night at the western edge of the Monument heading towards Kanab. Tomorrow I go north instead of west, then eventually east again, a few steps up on the 'Grand Staircase'.

Making use of some found cattle bones to keep my grill stable.

It's warm and dry into the night. No need for a tent, here.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Journey Resumes - Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument

There is a very nice visitor center near Big Water, Utah. I'll consider this the beginning of my day. From here on in, I can look forward instead of riding along wondering what the hell I'm doing. And, oh, Utah is making it easier - just keep your head up and see how beautiful it is. Anyway - the visitor center. Very helpful, water, electricity, a ranger on hand to tell me 'Ignore all the restrictions on the map. You can camp anywhere' and sign a free permit.

Stormclouds skirted the bit of road and desert I was riding on. The wind felt full of rain, but nothing fell on me. I stopped at a trailhead(Toadstools) for lunch, descended into a canyon and started climbing out. It was a very short day riding day. I saw a short track curving away from the highway, behind some smooth red rocks, and found a place to camp back there. Broken glass, highway noise and all, it was one of the prettiest campsites I've found yet. There is a steep-sided wash, or a narrow canyon below, with shallow caves on the other side. It finally rained, briefly, and I climbed down into one of the caves and read until dark.

First nights campsite, at Catstair Canyon.