This campsite in the photo was a welcome one. I had just climbed up and out of the desert from Phoenix and into the mountains near Payson, Arizona. The day started in a beautiful ‘cactus forest’ desert at an elevation of 1,140 feet and ended in a much cooler piney mountain landscape at 5000 feet. Located at the base of the Mongolian Rim and well inside the Tonto Natural Bridge State Park. Free Dispersed Camping near Pine, Arizona.
On my last tour I employed a Brunton Explorer foldable compact solar panel charger
and back up battery to keep my smartphone, camera, and hardrive charged. I was able to stay powered up throughout my trip and never once was without power for my media kit. The downfall was that T-Mobile seemingly had no service from Phoenix, AZ until I neared Denver, CO, perhaps the best part of my trip. I was able to capture media but had to rely on wifi to publish in many places throughout my trip.
Perhaps you know what I’m talking about. You spend years dreaming about your next tour and finally a window opens up. You spend hours at the computer accessing the best routes. You identify all of the areas where you will be away from services. You work on the bike nonstop to get it perfect. You are constantly playing with your gear set up, buying new gear, selling old gear, and then adjusting how you place it on the bike. This goes on for months. Once you are all set you dive into making all of the travel arrangements to get to your launch point. You pack everything you will need for the upcoming trek in a cardboard box and ship it or bring it on a plane with you. Finally it’s day one of your tour. Finally after months or years of prep you are on your way, but the bike ride is only a small slice of how a tour comes off.
I have been on three tours and each time I return home with a list of items I will not be taking on my next trip. My last trip was a little over a year ago and I am reviewing in preparation for an upcoming trip. Not unlike my previous preparatory stages I am trying…
In the early ’90’s before aluminum alloys became refined enough to make perfect bicycle frames Specialized introduced the Metal Matrix Composite M2 line with FS geometry. Composite means it is a mixture of different materials bonded together. This is an incredibly lightweight, stiff, and agressive frame that can be quite unforgiving. It handles like a roadbike and will tip the scales at sub-20lbs. when built.
In 1990’s Specialized looked at the work Rock Shox was doing and reached out to them to build a the Specialized Future Shock. This is a ‘Specialized’ branded version of the Mag 21 SL that would eventually be mated to a Metal Matrix compound frame called M2. I can remember staring at this bicycle fork for hours on end in all of the MTB magazines.
Every since I was a young boy I have slept with the covers pulled up and over my head. Completely covered by the blanket. When I am unable to do this I often position a pillow so it covers the top of my head all the way to the tip of my nose so that just my nose and mouth are exposed. I have no explanation for this and have been derided by every single girlfriend who was witness to this behavior. Sleeping in a bivy sack comes quite naturally to me.