Leaving tomorrow morning Tucson to Flagstaff

5:32 p.m. on April 13, 2012 (EDT)
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I am leaving in the morning heading back to Flagstaff from Tucson. I expect i will be on the road about 2 weeks of riding my bike and a week of side trips hiking in different places along the way. I will post trip reports as I make it to new towns/librarys along the way. I am going north thru Catalina, Oracle, Mammoth, Winkelman, Globe, Roosevelt Lake, Payson, Strawberry, Clints Well, Mormon Lake and finally Flagstaff. The entire trip is about 300 miles.

2:25 a.m. on April 14, 2012 (EDT)
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have a safe trip Gary. Looking forward to your reports

2:02 p.m. on April 14, 2012 (EDT)
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Been held up by a rainstorm. Waiting till this afternoon or tomorrow morning now. Don't mind the rian when outdoors but here in the city where they don't have a good gutter sytem I hate getting splashed by motorist's.

Would think a city where monsson rains are heavy would have a better gutter system. Here in Tucson, the streets fill with rain especially at the meeting of two streets like a lake and underpasses become impassable.

8:57 p.m. on April 14, 2012 (EDT)
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We have'nt got much of anything from this storm at my place in Phoenix.

Talked to a friend driving in Flagstaff and he had to put the tire chains on his truck. Said there was about a foot of snow around town. At least ya know there will be good water along the way now.

1:26 p.m. on April 16, 2012 (EDT)
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The following is a letter I sent to my friends and relatives, so I decided to copy and paste in here to save retyping the trip report. I will add some pictures below it.

I left Tucson finally at 12 noon as the weather had cleared and the rain moved SW. I am currently in Winkelman near the Gila River, I camped along it last night.

So Saturday having left Tucson at noon I rode 30  miles to a place near where the road turned south to the Biosphere 2 site and camped in the desert.  It was a long 5 hour ride almost all up a long grade. Sunday I rode to Winkelman and also rode about 30 miles with a big downhill going about halfway the distance I rode, making yesterdays ride much easier, then another 15 miles up the San Pedro River Valley with hardly any grade at all. I made it to Winkelman about 1 pm or 5 hours from my starting point of 8 am. Today after filing my trip report to www.trailspace.com this morning I am planning to ride maybe just 10 miles up towards 4990 foot Pinal Pass on the way to Globe. Here in Winkelman its 1969 feet.

I expect it could take me most of a few days to get to Pinal Pass on Highway 77 NE from Winkelman. Its 34 miles to Globe from here. I may stay along the Gila again this evening 10 miles or so up 77. I only plan to ride about 5 hours or 30 miles a day till my legs get stronger. I will be posting a trip report at Trailspace.

Gary

Saturday morning April 14th:


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Just before I left Tucson all loaded up at my trailer that was my home from October to April.


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My bike loaded and ready to go. The two water bottles are Thermos's. The shinny yellow thing on the back is a reflective vest for more viability. My panniers I made are bright orange and have white and red reflective tape on them also.


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Catalina State Park. I had planned to stay here but it was only 1:30 in the afternoon and it was $27 ( my frugal budget allows me to stay in the wilds only)  to stay in the campground so I decided to go on farther towards the NE.


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The Pusch Ridge mountains in the western Catalina Mountains. I am on the northwest side of the range. Tucson is on the south side.


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Romero Canyon in the north Catalina Mountains.


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The Catalina Mountains getting farther away. I came around from the right side of the range.


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From a tradition in Mexico all along the highways in Arizona are these memorials to those who have died along the way. Some are huge like this one , others are simple crosses with a name on it or a wreath taied to a tree nearby the accident site.


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The natural desert looking southeast from my camp Saturday night.


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A so called Jumping Cholla Cacti. The needles are so hair triggered that a simple touch breaks off a piece and the fallen cacti part well regroow into a new plant.


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Another view of the Desert and mountains near camp.


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67 miles to Globe. Today I expect to get to Winkelman about half that distance. The road is starting to drop again and its a 12 miles co


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A multi-multi armed Saguaro cactus along the highway.


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Entering Mammoth AZ, don't blink of you'll miss it!


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A desert Arroyo, a small canyon cut by heavy rainfalls during the monsoon.


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Its getting closer. The road from Mammoth to Winkelman was fairly flat and easy.


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Saddleback mountain thru a dirty lense.


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Winkelman and the Gila River.


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The Gila River flows from San Carlos Reservior and Coolidge Dam about 30 miles away in the Mescal Mountains.


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Winkelman AZ.


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Monday morning the 16th and my camp along the Gila River.



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Buzzards await the warming sun to warm them so they can fly.


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Saddleback Mountain and Winkelman AZ.


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Winkelman and the Catalina Mountains now far to the south. I came from the western end (right).










 


 


 




 


 











 



 

2:08 p.m. on April 16, 2012 (EDT)
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Love that trailer home, Gary. Looks like a great adventure through some beautiful country.

I cannot believe they charge so much at the SP campsite to someone who is riding a bike with a solo tent - it's outrageous! No wonder people sometimes get there late and leave before the office opens!

Looking forward to more photos, Trailspace Ambassador Dude!

1:10 p.m. on April 17, 2012 (EDT)
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Its going well, 30 miles a day is all I can do anymore. Stayed last night under a drainage culvert on Pinal Pass, also called El Capitain Pass where Kit Carson lead a troop of men over in 1846. I am in Globe now, took me 1:30 minutes to ride down from the pass. On my way to Roosevelt Lake , but will probably be lucky to make it to Pinto Creek just near the east end of the lake . Took me 7 hours to ride/walk up 3020 feet from Winkelman at 1969 feet to 4990 feet at the pass yesterday. Hard to breathe at almost 5000 feet after living at 1200 feet in Tucson for 6 months. And I was stopped and cited yesterday for walking my bike against traffic by a AZ state trooper. I was walking against so I could see the oncoming cars/trucks as the road was very narrow and had guard rails right beside the road which was also very winding with tight curves. Was almost as hard to breathe coming down early this morning in the cold air, had to stop a couple times to catch my breath. I probably won't post a trip report again till Payson about 75 miles north of Globe.

Gary

10:15 p.m. on April 17, 2012 (EDT)
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Great stuff, Gary, thanks for keeping us posted!  

I would be surprised if it is actually illegal to be on the left if you are walking with the bike. The left is where pedestrians are supposed to walk. Anyone with specific knowledge that can confirm one way or the other?

11:30 p.m. on April 17, 2012 (EDT)
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You mentioned visiting me in FL.  You could do 60 or 70 here it's flatter than a pancake compared to that. 

1:11 a.m. on April 18, 2012 (EDT)
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Sometimes AZ's finest just shock me! Dont get me wrong, I thank and respect them for the job they do. I deal with them regularly being a profesional driver and always think they are very fair and decent.  But C'mon....really? Nothing better to do guys?

Glad to hear the trip is going well Gary. I imagine its been getting kinda warm last few days. You got some work ahead of ya getting to Payson but will be much cooler temps from there to Flagstaff.

If you get a chance check out the Tonto National Monument cliff dwellings by Roosevelt Lake.  Have a safe trip and keep us posted.

1:16 p.m. on April 19, 2012 (EDT)
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I got to the Tonto National Monument cliff dwellings  too late after the park had closed. It was downhill to the dam after that and didn't feel like going back up the next day after camping on Roosevelt lake. I am in Payson now, back in the ponderosa forests and going to stop for a day or so along the east fork of the Verde River just a few miles northwest of here. Then on up to the Tonto Natural Bridge, then Strawberry where I climb another 1000 feet onto the Mogollon Rim. Soon after that I will stop at the southeast fork of the West Clear Creek canyon at Clover Springs/Creek and do a multiday backpack. Need to stretch these pedaling muscles. Been on the road 5 days. Its 91 miles to Flagstaff and about 3000 feet higher.

Will do a trip report in Flagstaff with the rest of my pictures from Winkelman to Flagstaff. Have to pay $2 an hour for internet use here in Payson as  guest.

4:05 p.m. on April 19, 2012 (EDT)
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I'm glad you are'nt pushing yourself to hard.

6:55 p.m. on April 20, 2012 (EDT)
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I am in Pine AZ now just south of the last push to the top of the Mogollon Rim. I will stay tonight in the woods near Strawberry AZ.


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I am in Pine right now in a library using the PC. Strawberry is just up the road ahead of me above. I have a 400 foot climb tomorrow to the edge of the Mogollon Rim and a bit more to get to where I plan to hike into the southeast arm of the West Clear Creek Wilderness near Clint's Well.


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I am entering at near Clover Springs, Fortyfour Canyon. I hope to backpack down at least to where I meet Tom's Creek.


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Tom's Creek meets Clover in the center of the map above. There's couple side canyon's there I would like look at.

I have have a complete trip report with the rest of the pictures after the Gila River and Winkelman when I get to Flagstaff.


9:43 p.m. on April 21, 2012 (EDT)
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WOW I am surprised that the 5,000 feet is troubling you. I didn't realize people could tell the difference in air at 5k feet. There is about 85% O2 at 5k.

2:00 a.m. on April 22, 2012 (EDT)
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Gary you are in my favorite part of Arizona!  I just love the  Mogollon Rim area between Hwy. 87 and Hwy. 260. (Rim Road #300 runs between them)  I have'nt been into the Clover Sprgs. area for years but I know your gonna love it too. 

Once up top of the Rim elevations can get around 8,000 ft depending where your at.

I hope you find some sea shell fossils up there, can be seen in the rocks around Clover Sprgs. and sometimes loose in the creek. Cant wait to see your pics and TR from there.

Have safe travels.

7:32 p.m. on April 26, 2012 (EDT)
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Hello from Flagstaff. Made it in today. It was snowing and raining when I came into town. Will be doing a full trip report in the next week or so. Have a Ranch Caretaking job to get started on ASAP. I hiked the West Clear Creek Wilderness for 5 days a day before getting to town here.

9:11 p.m. on April 26, 2012 (EDT)
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Great going, Gary! Cannot wait for the additional reports!

2:35 p.m. on April 27, 2012 (EDT)
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Okay made it to Flagstaff yesterday morning. It took me 9 days to ride about 300 miles on my Trek mountain bike from Tucson to Flagstaff AZ. Its colder up here than Tucson thats for sure. Its about 50 here now at almost 10:30 am while its already 70 in Tucson.

My above report and pictures ended at Winkelman AZ which was just 3 days/2 nights up from Tucson.




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My bike at the milaeage sign with distances to Globe and US 70. I had a 2000 foot climb up to Pinal Pass before getting down to Globe. Here I am just at the northern edge of Winkleman.


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Tilted/shifted Limestone formations along the Gila River canyon an hours ride (by bicycle) from Winkelman.


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Wild flowers , a lone Saguaro and the Pinal Mountains NE of Winkelman on the way to Pinal Pass.


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I huge fault canyon up near Pinal Pass off highway 77 between Winkelman and Globe AZ.



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Hedgehog cacti in spring bloom along the highway.


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More tilted/uplifted sandstone and limestone along the highway.


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A copper truck passes me going from the smelters in Hayden/Winkelman to the rialroads in the north. About 20 trucks a day passed me on my way.


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"Home sweet culvert" campsite under highway 77 just before Pianl Pass.


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Looking back the way I came. The Catalina Mountains are the furthest away on the horizon. I am 90 miles from there now.


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Copper Corridor East Scenic Road, 162 miles from the US/Mexican border on highway 77N.


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Just below Pinal Pass looking down into the valley around Globe AZ. I am near 4000 feet here.


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Pinal Pass, also called El Capitain Pass where Kit Carson took military troops over in 1846 to bypass the Gila River country. 3990 feet above sea level.


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Down again from the pas entering Globe and the Arizona centenial marker. (1912 to 2012).


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Another pass between Globe and Roosevelt Lake. This one did'nt seem as much of a climb.


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First view of Roosevelt Lake at near sunset.


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My camp at a picnic/camping area along Roosevelt Lake. No need for a tent with a roof over my head!


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My camp lantern. A milk style jug with the top cut off, a candle sat in sand inside and the top back on for wind protection. Spur of the moment idea.


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Cresent moon over southeast Roosevelt Lake after sunset from camp.


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A Turkey Vulture awaits the early morning sun on Roosevelt Lake at dawn.


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Just before sunrise on Roosevelt Lake, with a Saguaro too!


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Me and sunrise on the lake.


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Roosevelt Dam Marina looking towards norteast Roosevelt Lake.


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Longest suspended bridge in Arizona arcross the Salt River canyon near Roosevelt Dam.


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Roosevelt Dam on the Salt River canyon off the lake. Supplies water control and electricity for Pheonix.


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Beautiful side inlets on Roosevelt Lake. Waterline is way down, just the top of the arm would be out of the water if the lake was full. Looking east.


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Met this guy at Jake's Corner northeast of Roosevelt Lake. he was on a time tril race from the Mexican border to the AZ/UT border. Said it would take him 5-6 days to do the ride on backcountry forest roads and trails. Had very little gear compared to me.


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Beginning of the pass huge climb towards northern Arizona and the Mogollon Rim country. Payson is just below the rim area.


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The Verde River canyon between Payson and Pine/Strawberry. I stopped here for the night.


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First view of the Mogollon Rim from Verde River area.


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My campsite under a shady midafternoon Alligator Juniper tree.


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The Verde River canyon during an early morning dayhike the next day. The white tree is a Sycamore. The red sandstone of the area is colred by Iron Oxide.


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The river was low now but has seen many floods smoothing and polishing the boulders.


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In other places the rocks were transfered into lovely potholes.


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Scattered along the Verde were many lake like areas too.


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Closer to the Mogollon Rim between Pine and Strawberry AZ.


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First camp along the upper West Clear Creek Wilderness and a clear fresh stream coming from Clover Spring that makes Clear Creek the canyon it is. The fence was to keep the elk and deer from overgrazing a refurbished area of the upper canyon.


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Beginning of the West Clear Creek Wilderness.


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Thought this gopher diggings looked like a cat or puppydogs pose?


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An old roadbed that is being slowly returned to nature along the upper W.C.C.C.


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Plenty of these overhanging rock caves along the creek. Saw some sign of bear activity too. Saw one black bear cub up a tree, figured momma was close so I didn't stay long.


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Someone spent some time maiking this nice campsite along theriver about an hour downstream.


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Wildflowers along the way still opening.

I will have to finish this tomorrow as I get only two hours a day here at the NAU library.




 



 











 

 






 



















 



 




 

5:25 p.m. on April 27, 2012 (EDT)
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Great pics!!! Nice ride, Gary!

4:21 p.m. on April 28, 2012 (EDT)
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I didn't get but a few pictures from West Clear Creek as my camera batteries lost charge before my first morning was over. I have 4 sets of batterys, but had forgotten to charge the dead ones in Payson or Pine before I got to West Clear Creek. The following are from after the 5 day hike...


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Looking back down the highway at the Mogollon Rim about 20 miles behind me.


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From lower Mormon Lake road looking north at Mormon Mountain and the distant San Francisco Peaks.


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Sunset at Upper Lake Mary, 20 miles southeast of Flagstaff.


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My last camp under another picnic pavillion at Upper Lake Mary.


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The cresent Moon and Venus(?) after sunset my last nights camp before Flagstaff.

Guess I won't be doing the ranch job anyway as the owner said it would be up to her roommates that are coming back May 1st whether I could stay in the trailer or not? They didn't like the idea of someone staying there they don't know, guess they aren't willing to meet and make friends. So I will be living off my bike the summer unless I can find someone else who will let me stay in their back yard. Will run a new ad on Craigslist.

The ride was great and I look forward to my next one next fall in September sometime, when I am going to south central Utah to hike the Escalante Country. I plan to ride to and also do Sunset Crater and Wapatki National Monument, the Little Colorado River downstream from Cameron, then cycle up to Lees Ferry on the northern Colorado River and hike the narrow slot canyon of the Paria to the confluence with the Buckskin Gulch, then back up and around to Page and Glen Canyon and up to either the Smokey Mountain Road to Escalante town from Big Water Utah or the Cottonwood Road at the same area to Bryce Utah and then over to Escalante to spend some time hiking the Escalante country till the weather gets cold, then cycling back down thru Monument Valley, the Goosenecks of the San Juan and down into southwestern New Mexico's Gila Wilderness for the Winter/Spring. May also go down to Big Bend in southern Texas. But thats all later in 5 months so I never know what I will really do next.

7:53 p.m. on April 28, 2012 (EDT)
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sorry they reneged on the job/trailer. That sorta sucks.

8:24 p.m. on April 28, 2012 (EDT)
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Gary,

A great (and impressive) trip so far! Thanks for sharing; I loved all the photos and your story that goes along with them.

I will check back in soon to see how you are progressing, hang in there we're rooting for ya Gary!

Mike G.

8:56 p.m. on April 28, 2012 (EDT)
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Makes me want to pull out my touring bike and hit the road.  I sure miss the efficiency, speed and mileage but I don't miss the traffic.  Hate the traffic.  It takes a special breed to endure bicycling in America---you're a road warrior for sure.  I used to wear ear plugs just to endure the 70mph cars roaring past a couple feet away.  You are a hardy soul.

2:38 p.m. on April 29, 2012 (EDT)
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Thanks Gary for the great trip report and all the photos! It looks like you had a very wonderful trip. Now hope it all works out for you there in Flagstaff and am Wishing You the Best! 

7:19 p.m. on April 29, 2012 (EDT)
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Most of the roads I traveled were secondary ones so the traffic was not too bad. I had to walk up one long 22 miles mountain which took me 7 hours from early morning to late afternoon. Walking is easier than pedaling when the lowest gears make me go too slow. But its good to be back in Flagstaff. Think I may only stay till Labor Day then head to Utah, that'll give me four months to save as much as I can working about 20 hours a week and hiking the rest. Worked today at a friends hotel ripping old tar paper off the roof, working again tomorrow.

8:42 p.m. on April 29, 2012 (EDT)
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Great, Gary! Look forward to more chats and hike reports!

1:53 p.m. on April 30, 2012 (EDT)
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Wow Clifford…What an adventure!

7:18 p.m. on April 30, 2012 (EDT)
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Clifford?

1:25 a.m. on May 1, 2012 (EDT)
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I live vicariously through your posts.  Your lifestyle is so different than mine, at the moment, and I deeply admire the differences.  Both are with challenges, for certain.  However, it is really refreshing to look through the window of your camera lens and imagine such a different pace and freedom!

7:37 p.m. on May 1, 2012 (EDT)
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I have always lived to the beat of a different drummer as they used to say in the 60s. I grew up in rural upstate New York on a farm and played in the woods with my friends and started camping when I was very young there. I built frts and leantos in the woods behind our house and during the warm months of the years I often stayed in them instead of my room in the house.

I grew up knowing by experience more about the biology of life than I ever could learn in school. I used to contribute frogs, turtles, fish, crawfisn, snakes, etc in homemade tanks.

In 1977 I started my life long lifestyle by hitchhiking 10,000 miles around the entire USA ending up in Alaska and staying there two years trying to homestead but it didn't work out ( I could not get the land). So I returned to the Lower 48 and began hitching again till I was 26 in 1982 when I took to bicycle touring, riding from Yellowstone WY to Hope, AR. That was 30 years ago this Labor Day I started that. Then every year I would do another tour somewhere. My longest was 7000 miles from Wyoming to New York to Arkansas to Arizona and back to Wyoming over 6 weeks, during a fall and spring. Stopping to work in Arkansas during the winter and staying with my folks there.

At 56 now I see no settling down now untill I lay down for the last time. I hope to die in the wilds somewhere and not be discovered till by body has disintgrated back to Mother Earth.

8:43 p.m. on May 1, 2012 (EDT)
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Gary,

You mentioned coming to Florida. Were you actually thinking about it? 

10:17 p.m. on May 1, 2012 (EDT)
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I am glad you have a happy life that satisfies you, Gary.....most of us try all our lives to achieve that and die with lots of stuff and not so much satisfaction.

11:47 p.m. on May 1, 2012 (EDT)
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+1 on what gift said.

7:34 a.m. on May 2, 2012 (EDT)
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Public apology to Gary Palmer....I misremebered the name he goes by. It's Clay not Cliff! Sorry Clay!

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