Snakes in the bed!
I tend to have a reoccurring dream that there is a snake somewhere in my bed. I’ll be sleeping and all of a sudden start tearing covers off the bed looking for a snake that I swear is there. I’ll flip on the lights and start a serious snake hunt trying to find the damn thing. It seems so real to me, but of course there really isn’t one around and I just am having an “interactive dream”, as I call them. I do this in some sort of semi dream semi awake state. I kind of know what is happening, my eyes are open, but I’m not really conscious of what is happening and it isn’t at all rational. But a snake in my sleeping bag could be rational in the Arizona desert and 9pm I started screaming an obscenity and madly looking for a snake that I knew was in my sleeping bag or pillow of a jacket. Thankfully it was just a dream, but Jamey heard all the commotion and asked what the hell happened last night. So I warned him and Rebekka that I tend to do strange things in my sleep and to not worry about it.
Well, it was a cold night. The snow from yesterday should have been a precursor to the night, but I figured I would be fine sleeping in my long underwear and my +20F sleeping bag. The precious night I also wore my pants and jacket, but it seemed warmer. I ended up waking up about 2am and putting my jacket on to warm up a bit more. Hopefully the higher elevation in Flagstaff will be a bit warmer.
Once I finally mustered out of the tent, wearing two jackets, my hat, long underwear, pants and a cotton shirt, I took a look around. It was 6AM and the tent had frost on it while Jamey’s uni was also covered in a white crust. I made my usual breakfast of two oatmeals and coffee and relaxed a bit while it started to warm up.
Jamey and Rebekka got up, ate, and we all packed up while the morning sun graciously warmed everything up on a sunny day. Jamey headed off first to try to get cell reception so we could get in touch with Casey and coordinate meeting details to get the wheel for me and tire for him.
At this point we were still doing down a fire road. It wasn’t too rough and would have been awesome geared 26 uni action. I was just enjoying being there and heard a strange but familiar sound: zzzzzzzrrrrrrr. Ah, a zip line course, of course! We cruised past it and hit the pavement for a short bit before finally joining the Arizona Trail.
Finally I was on the AZ trail. Everything up to this point was a bypass due to unridable stuff that would have been a long hike or illegal to ride. The first part I got to experience was very easy. Smooth not too rocky and fast flowing. We pass two bikers; one practicing for the AZ trail race in an upcoming week and another lady doing a joy ride.
Finally we see a Unicyclist in the distance: Casey coming to meet us. He drove at least two hours, including a stop by REI to get me a tent footprint, Jamey a new tire, and road an hour or so to hit some more miles with us. He flipped around and rode back to his car with us and we all set up for repairs.
Casey is the unicycle savior. My hub and wheel was unreliable and he loaned me an ungeared 26 wheel build to use on the trail. I slapped on my tube (which was full of slime to prevent flats) and tire (which I like and has a tire protector in it…. to also help prevent flats) and cranks (which have my brake disc). Jamey put on his new tire and Rebekka swapped out disc brake pads. Everything seemed to work, so Casey headed off back to Tucson for some family events. I’m so great full to have such great unicycle friends! Thanks Casey!!
This isn’t the first time I met Casey. The first time Was last year while I was in Sedona on the trails doing some unicycling at an event. I was riding the same unicycle I had on this trip and I blew out my tube. A huge snakebite pinch flat that couldn’t be patched. I was set to walk 6 or 7 miles back to my car and he saved me by having a spare tube. In fact, I’m still using that same tube on the trail.
We headed into the next section of the AZ trail. Jamey had hidden 3 gallons of water for each of us so we loaded up with 4 liters and started down what was labeled as moderate trail. It was loose but the downhill was mostly rideable. We had already put in quite a few easy miles on fireroad and easy trail so the time was flying by.
But at this point my butt was starting to hurt. Saddle soreness is a problem when you are doing long miles, and I had some chamois cream to help but the top rear of my butt had rarely ever had problems. I realized my one pair of bike shorts sort of have a groove on the top of the buttocks area, and this was irritating me. Particularly after 3 days of riding in row. There wasn’t much I could do but keep going!
We passed several washes; bits of trail that go down to a dry river bed full of sand, forcing you to fall off the unicycle into the deep sand or barely make it past only to succumb to a fall when trying to ride up the other side of the wash. Eventually I gave up and would just walk through them and mount on the other side. At about 5:30 we made the call to ride another mile to the next wash. One thing that was good about the washes is that they would provide a nice flat and soft camping spot. We pitched the tents with some cows mooing in the nearby distance as we tried to go to sleep.