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Blog 167 Blyth to before Buckeye

21st March

After the river crossing the road out to Quartzite turned into a power line track through the scrub. My schedule to meet end of project deadlines was ever tightening and whilst I saw the fun of gravel riding slowly over more days I simply didn’t have the time. Technically there were no paved roads other than the I-10 that connected California to Arizona in this narrow corridor of magnificence that allowed me to travel east. By hugging the inside line of the hard shoulder of the freeway I was only a danger to myself and whilst there was no outlet at Tom Well Road there was a junction further along and at Dome Rock there was a good paved road paralleling the road I’d just exited and it was to run all the way I needed to be, at least for the next hour.

So I stopped beside the pavement and rode over to see someone who was set up as if camping for a season. His tables were piled with cleanly washed pans, a fire pit had been properly extinguished. He was a survivalist with MACE and a gun on his waist belt. Ex-military once stationed at RAF Lakenhall in the UK he said he went crazy after his wife left him for another airman. "I wanted to hurt him," he said, "but I'm now a 7th Advent Baptist and now I pray for him instead," at which he stepped towards me, not to MACE me but to embrace me and he said prayers to keep me safe on the I-10.

He prayed for me to be safe on the I-10

All day I punctured. 10 times in total. This is my personal best and on a busy interstate. At least it wasn't snowing.

74 miles to go, found a place to eat, got fed. Better be ready for any minor crises. Be in control of what you can and prepare as best for what you can't. Each rest area on this interstate has a live in janitor with house provided. That was his world and he was very happy with it. he said to me that he hates neighbours, that even though he gets thousands a day, they only stay for half an hour and then they leave. Just how I like it, he said.

Oh where is my cultural base line. I'm trying to work out who people are and I'm sure it's not where you think it ought to be - Kerouac was a college intellectually icon, the woman in the table next to me was thin to her bone, covered in tattoos and with teeth missing. Would she have heard of Allen Ginsburg the acclaimed poet and a leading figure of the Beat Generation. It was him along with Kerouac whose radical literary works and advocacy for social change left an indelible mark on American counterculture. Was this tatooed woman part of that counter culture or just a woman with lots of tatooes?

It ended up a non scripted day. I punctured ten times. Fine steel filaments from discarded tyres exploded of wheel rims. I snuck under the interstate perimeter fence and put up my tent.

Prelude to a Tent

Map of the Day

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I was wondering Nick if there isn't a rubbery compound that could be used to make solid bicycle tyres and replicate a fully pumped tyre but never go flat. Would weigh a bit more than air but with today's technology must be possible. Think of the huge market if it was!! You heard it here first 🧐

Stay safe in mad America!

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