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The Arizona Trail on Unicycle: Day 16, Found Trash

 April 15, 2017

We did our morning routine and started early, about 7 or so. The day before had proved to be so difficult, and we had no idea what was in store for us. My Vans are really inappropriate hiking shoes, but my get were holding together pretty well, but I feared another 20 mile hike would start to give me blisters. 

We left our river campsite and hiked about three miles away and I spot a plastic Pepsi bottle. Now, up to this point I have seen zero trash on the Arizona Trail so I was astonished to see it left there on the side of the trail with a tiny bit of Pepsi left in it. I wondered if it would fit the Sawyer water filter, and sure enough, it did! We got incredibly lucky; it means we have a backup bottle in case the filter bag broke. 

We sort of crested the mountain top and actually got to ride a bit. It was a welcome change and our feet were happy that the unicycle seat would be mostly supporting our heavy weight. The terrain was up and down, but more or less ridable and we were starting to make some good time. In fact, we passed two through hikers; the couple we had seen in Pine that normally lived in Flagstaff. We even got to do some long flat ridable sections and really pick up the average pace. Our normal hike and ride was averaging about 3 MPH, and hiking alone was something like 2 or less. Good clean terrain would be 4-5 MPH and paved roads where 6-7 MPH depending on the terrain. 

Then something amazing happened. I was riding ahead on the trail and saw an Arizona Trail sign at the trail head by a large paved road. Underneath someone had left a cooler and a note next to it. The note said, “Go AZT racers! Please take one and the cooler will be restocked regularly.” I opened the cooler and it is full of ice cold Gatorade. Now, I’m not doing the Arizona Trail race, but I really hoped the guy who planted it there wouldn’t mind a few unicyclists taking one. So I got to indulge in what was the best and coldest Gatorade that I had ever had in my life. My body really needed the electrolytes, and I could feel some energy returning as I downed the drink. Jamey and Rebekka rolled up and also took one. We were happy, and I give many thanks to this “trail angel.”

The scenery had been changing ever since we got to Pine. The town’s name probably stems from the fact that there are a lot of pine trees around — probably ponderosa pine. We hadn’t been seeing any more cactuses, and there was more grassy vegetation around. The trees were a nice cover from the sun, and allowed us to ride and hike in a bit shadier of an area. Unfortunately, this made it difficult to keep our devices charged, as the solar panels off our backs were also hanging in the shade. 

Finally, we were about two miles from our water destination and I pushed ahead solo. I caught up with two other hikers we had met in Pine — one by the name of Two Liter and another called Top Shelf. I stopped riding (it was rocky anyways) and chatted with them. They were hiking super light; frameless packs, no tent, and no pants, just shorts! We hiked together until the water stop where Jamey and I planned to camp; the hikers wanted to hike more and went a few miles further. 

The water stop was a large pond, with fairly clean looking water. Another backpacker coming south from Flagstaff heading to Pine already had his tent pitched by the pond. He came over and introduced himself as Beaver. He was hiking solo and said he spends a lot of his year living out of a tent; something like 300 plus days a year! He was just doing a short portion of the AZT for fun. 

Once Jamey and Rebekka showed up we all setup our tents and cooked some dinner. Beaver was a no stove type of guy, and let some Ramen soak in water for a while and then he spread it onto some tortillas with a bit of tuna. Jamey and I have been going the more expensive route by purchasing dehydrated dinners and simply adding hot water to them to make them rehydrate and warm up. I had never had one before I started planning for the trip, and I do like them quite a bit but they are pricey at $8-$10 a piece. Luckily the guy at REI gave me a bulk rate discount because I bought so many! Rebekka has been cooking a prepackaged pasta dinner and adding a thing of Ramen for extra substance. It is super cheap and she has been saving the most money on the trip. During the day we eat energy bars, granola bars, gummy snacks, trial mix, and jerky. I also brought a jar of peanut butter and a honey bear; I mix some honey into the peanut butter and it it straight out of the jar. A fresh hole jar weighs a full pound, but I think it is with the calories it contains. The jar lasts me about 5 days, and I had mailed myself a new one at each food resupply. 

That night, much to our neighbor Beaver’s dismay, the frogs came out and croaked to us while we fell asleep. 

The Arizona Trail on Unicycle: Day 14, It’s My Birthday

 April 13, 2017

Camping at the RV park in Payson was nice, but we had to get to our next destination, Pine, by 4PM before the post office closed in order to pick up resupply packages. We were going to have to do some more wilderness bypasses again and wouldn’t be back on the trail until Pine. So, we got up extra early and rolled away from camp by 6:30. 

It was also the start of my last year in my 30’s. Next year will be a new decade for me, so I should make the most out of this current one, and riding the Arizona Trail is definitely a great way to spend my birthday. 

Our first mini destination was a quick stop at Starbucks inside a grocery store. I got a nice double espresso and some lemon pound cake. I had already eaten my normal oatmeal breakfast, but I was still hungry and grabbed a delicious breakfast burrito from the store. 

We quickly left down on a dirt road. At this point we could see other bike tracks in the ground from people who are bike packing the AZT and racing each other. The race happens every year, and we knew at some point the bike guys would start passing us, as they can do the whole trail in less than a week!

The dirt fireroad had some beautiful red rocks in a small canyon, and flanked by some trees. We were starting to get into different scenery; less traditional cactus desert and more high country tree lined desert. We’d pass through some streams running across the road and the riding was nice and fast for the first ten miles or so. It was great to be off the highway and away from all the cars. 

The dirt road also offered some fun close encounters with nature. I hopped off the uni at one point and started pushing up a hill. Jamey started making a commotion about a black snake rattling on the side. I went back and checked it out. Yup, a big fat dark rattlesnake was slowly meandering away in the brush. My first rattlesnake that I saw on the trail; Jamey and Rebekka’s second. Apparently it had started rattling at Jamey at the exact spot I had hopped off my unicycle! 

We had to go on some pavement for a short bit and start a downhill into a deep canyon. That wasn’t a good sign, as it meant we would have to climb back out the other side, and we could see some pretty steep and rocky terrain. The downhill was a dirt road the led to a bunch of small cabins and after we crossed a dry creek we discovered that this bypass was pretty tough. It was overgrown, rocky, hot out, and uphill. We had a time limit, so I kept on pushing through so we could arrive before the post office closed. 

Once we finally climbed out of the bushy canyon we hit the proper Arizona Trail and got to ride a bit before finally hitting Pine. Jamey had realized his package got sent to That Brewery, a local brew pub that would hold packages for hikers. I had my package and some brake pads from Amazon at the post office, so I branched off from them and rushed over. 

I hit the post office at 3:45 – 15 minutes before closing. They had my brake pads, but not my resupply package! I was a bit worried, but I called the brewery and discovered they had picked it up. If you are doing the trail just get your packages sent to That Brewery in Pine, Arizona. 

At the brewery I got my resupply package and we hung out a bit and relaxed. The Strawberry Blond beer was my favorite! The mac and cheese wasn’t so great, but it came with a fresh salad and my body had been craving fresh green food. It was a great birthday dinner, and the gang got me a slice of cake with some ice cream for dessert. 

The place was hopping with hikers. We met Two Liter and Top Shelf, a bearded man named John, a couple from Flagstaff, and one other guy. This also was the point that I realized people took upon pseudonyms for the hike. I don’t really understand the purpose, and I also never was too into the alternative name that people give themselves at Burning Man. Jamey, however, goes by the Unicycling Unicorn — but this is to promote himself as a performer, which makes sense to me. 

So after dinner and two beers we rolled half a mile away to the trailhead. This was the first time we got to see a large heard of elk crossing in front of us in the setting sun. We setup camp right there, and went to bed early, as it was starting to get cold. 

The Arizona Trail on Unicycle: Day 9, The Hang Man

April 8, 2017
We woke up and got an early start and were rolling by about 7AM. We chatted again with our neighbors and gave them some demo riding while Jamey bummed some coffee from them. Erick from Phoenix arrived at our camp spot to join us for the day on his 26 muni. 

So the four of us made a turn off our dirt road and onto a paved road and rolled away. The road was rather boring up and down. I had my short cranks still on the unicycle and I would fly down the downhills. Erick was an amazingly fast rider and zoomed along with us at a decent pace. 

The sun wasn’t too hot out, and a semi overcast was keeping us cool. The area was striking beautiful, with gorgeous red canyons surrounding Canyon Lake and a lot of people passing us with boats in tow.  

Eventually the pavement was supposed to end, so I zipped ahead on my short cranks to the final town of Tortilla Flat (I think) to have some time to change the cranks. I flipped my pedals into the longer 150mm holes in preparation for the climbing and rough road that was probably ahead. The town was an awesome little surprise. It had maybe 3 buildings fashioned like an old time cowboy town. There was a saloon full of dollar bills pasted everywhere the eye could see. Outside was a hang man advertising the general store. They sold ice cream, so I took the opportunity to get a cone and a soda. A little extra sugar never hurts out in the desert! The others arrived and did the same, and after a brief rest we were off Adam. 

Jamey had again stashed some water on the side of the road, so we all topped off again about a mile past the town, but we were rolling in the liquid at this point and ended up dumping a gallon or so out so that we could carry the empty plastic bottles with us. He wasn’t sure how accessible water would be and it is always better to be over prepared than under.  

Not too long after the water stash the paved road turned to dirt. It was a bit tougher going due to a washboard like effect from sand and dirt collecting. Still, we could ride most all of it, and the washboard didn’t slow down people towing boats as they were still dragging them down the dirt road to make it to lakes even deeper into the desert. 

The canyon views never let up. We passed by some more majestic rocks right above Pristine clear rivers. People were pulling over on the side to snap pictures of the area and I was just soaking it in, enjoying some downhill dirt road action. The road was pretty nice and easy to ride without too many bumps. 

All the downhill got me worried about my brake pads. Jamey said he had been going through them really quickly while uni-packing due to the extra weight. I had looked at my pads and they were starting to get low. I was hoping to make it to Flagstaff to get new pads, and decided to just spin my legs faster and brake a little less, or just use my leg power to slow down. I mean, no brakes, no problem, right? 

While on the dirt road we passed Jamey’s second water stash. We ended up pouring a lot out, but the safety net of having good water was nice to know. 

After about 32 miles of riding we were hitting the time to find a campsite. It looked like there was some lake access a bit off the road, so we stopped to evaluate the situation. Should we ride another mile down another dirt road off our main path to go camp by the lake? Would it be nice to hop in the water? Jamey and Erick were excited about getting wet, so we went for it. 

The area down by the lake was chocked full of Saturday lake visitors. We easily found a campsite and hopped in the water to get refreshed and a bit cleaner. It was still relatively early in the afternoon, so Jamey asked a few nearby campers if he could buy a few beers. They obliged by giving him two cans of Coors Light, which we shared while playing bocci ball. Yup! Jamey brought a travel edition of bocci ball, so we busted out a game of fun. Jamey took the win for the day, as he is an old hat at the game. 

Once dusk started approaching Erick headed back up the road to hitch a ride back to his car. He later told us that he almost didn’t get a ride and was going to head back to our camp and crash with us, but at the last minute someone picked him up and gave him a ride. 

Dusk also brought out the load camp music. Some of the local lake visitors were blasting some thumping base from their cars as we were trying to go to sleep. So much for peace and quiet in the wilderness!

The Arizona Trail by Unicycle: Day 8 – Cops Called on Us

April 7, 2017
We left the “hotel” a bit early so we could get to the Superior post office right as they opened. The owner was so kind to let us use her area and shower, so we gave her $40 and a nice note. 

We also added in some time to go by a coffee shop/store that google said would be open 30 minutes before the USPS. Unfortunately google was wrong and it wasn’t open. 

We waited for the post office to open and got our packages that we had premailed a few weeks prior. Then some sorting off stuff out while still in front of the coffee shop waiting and organizing. The shopkeeper got there early to setup and she was the sweetest lady ever. She said she would get us something to drink as soon as she could. And sure enough, she had us some coffee before too long and the store wasn’t due to open until 30 or so more minutes. We also splurged and got some cinnamon rolls. This type of eating is probably why I’ll be heavier after this trip. 

We had to ride back on the busy road for about 4 or 5 miles to the trailhead and kept going down the road. The trail continued into wilderness area and we had to do a bypass, so the plan was to do an established side route on a dirt road. We hit the dirt road and continued at a pretty good pace as it was relatively flat and smooth. 

Then trouble. A road closed sign and large gate saying no trespassing, private property. The gate looked pretty new and we weren’t sure what to do. To ride back on the dirt road and take the main highway would be a huge setback in time and energy. 

We decided to hop the fence and immediately start moving down the road. The road looked so well used that this had to be the way people have been going for a long time. Luckily the pass was short — like 100 yards or so, and I saw a gate on the other end of the road and gave Jamey the thumbs up thinking we had cleared the area. 

But it wasn’t an all clear. We had just passed a single house and not 30 seconds after we see a truck behind us. Two women were in the truck; one rolled down the window to talk to us while the other filmed. She told us that we were on private property and it was illegal to be trespassing there on her land. We apologized profusely and they opened the gate on the other end so we could get out and be on our way. 

Everything seemed fine. We rolled on the dirt road and hit a water drop that Jamey had stashed in some bushes. While we were relaxing and refilling up on water a Sheriff drives by and pulls over. The cop comes out and talks to us, asking where we came from. We told her, as it would be hard to lie when we were the only unicyclists around for miles and miles. She said it was illegal to hop a fence and go into private property that has no trespassing signs. We could be taken to jail and fined. She said the owner had called to file a complaint and have them catch us, but wasn’t sure if they would press charges or not. She hinted at probably not, and we are hoping so. The cop took all our identification and filed a report, and we left for some more dirt road action. 

The dirt road was a bypass for the main busy highway, but we had to take the highway again. I swapped to my 127mm crank holes and pushed my seat up a bit higher so I could roll a bit easier. Jamey and Rebekka have 137 cranks, while I was using 150s. The longer the crank the more leverage you get on each pedal stroke but the larger arc your leg makes, which is slightly more uncomfortable — particularly when spinning fast on paved roads. Normally the 150s work great with a geared 26 unicycle when in high gear, but…. my geared hub is broken. 

The road was a 4 lane highway with huge semis and a bunch of cars. It had a wide shoulder that was perfect everywhere except one crazy bridge crossing that forced us to ride a tiny bit on the road. That part was a little hairy, but everything else was uneventful. 

The next exciting part was seeing a large gas station off the side of the road. We pulled in to get some ice cream. I woofed down an ice cream cookie sandwich and ice cream snickers bar. They were delicious in the hot sun. Jamey and Rebekka got some cold things from the attached MacDonalds. I, in principle, avoid the fast food chain and it has been at least 20 years since I’ve been in one. I noticed that the station specialized in craft beer, so I snatched a can of SanTan IPA to go with our evening dinner. 

We hit back on the main road and road a short distance to a big grocery store. Jamey wasn’t sure if his next food package arrived, so they bought some extra food to prepare for it possibly be missing. We hit the road again and in a few miles we finally turned off onto yet another dirt road. The highway was just a bit to crazy to be riding on and we were glad to be off of it. 

At about 5:30 we started scoping out camp sites and saw a trailer off the road and figured it might work to sleep in the terrain on some empty property with a for sale sign in front. A woman who was camping in the trailer with her friend was walking her dog and said it seemed like a good inconspicuous spot to camp. She invited us over to her place for some oranges after dinner. 

We setup, ate dinner, drank the one beer I brought, and then headed over to talk to the ladies. They had three awesome dogs to play with as we chatted. One tiny guy, a medium sized one and a golden. They were traveling around from Portland checking out AZ and camping in various spots with their trailer RV. One lived in Santa Cruz for a while and was even in the ’89 Loma Prieta earthquake. I remember that day distinctively as I was playing GameBoy on the couch when it hit. They were super awesome people to chat with and we left with a few oranges for breakfast. 

The Arizona Trail on Unicycle: Day 7: Mexican Food for Dinner

April 6, 2017

As you may recall, we camped in a wash about two miles up from the river. A solid ten mile hike straight up hill awaited us and I it was nice to cut off a few miles in the morning as the previous days hike was pretty grueling in the hot sun. 

Our plan was to get up at about 5am to get an early start at about 6:30. I was out of oatmeal and had some Ramen style noodles for breakfast instead. The salt tasted great and it was nice and filling. 

The plan went dead on the money and Rebekka and I headed out at 6:30. Jamey had camped down the trail a half mile back to get the more amazing views, and he was going to just catch up to us at some point. I drew a little unicycle in the sand with a small arrow to let Jamey know that we headed off. The views on the hike up were amazing. Red and golden cliff edges kissed by the morning sun. 

We had a large hill to hike but it wasn’t too bad in the cooler morning. Eventuallly Jamey caught up and we continued up the hill. 

Our plan was to hike about 7 miles to the top of the mountain and get more water. It took way longer than we expected and it was tricky to locate the dirt water hole used for livestock. We did manage to ride a bit of the downhill but it was touch and go. Becky found the water spot and it was quite a bit brown looking, but we filtered it out. Unfortunately it proved too much for my water pump, and all the cleaning I did wasn’t working to make it better. So, I ended up using Jamey’s squeeze filter to get a little water and tossed my pump in the trash the next day. 

We left the water and did some more riding down. The trail was supposed to be an easy green/blue trail for mountain bikers, but it proved to be slow and tough for us. I started to get quite a bit tired and was lagging behind the others and walking more and more bits that I normally would have ridden. 

We finally hit the trail head and parking lot. The goal was to make it to the town of Superior to get our resupply packages, but the post office closed around 5 and it was probably around 4pm at that point. We pushed/road a track over to the highway and decided we would take the road into town instead of a harder trail. Jamey was set on trying to hitch hike the 4 or 5 miles to town so we started to hang out on this huge two lane road trying to hitch a ride. I doubted that all three of us would be able to get a ride, and after about 10 or 15 minutes I decided to just ride into town. Rebekka came with me but Jamey stayed behind. 

We got about a mile or so from the town of Superior and see Jamey sticking his head out from a car yelling at us that he’ll be at the hotel. As we kept riding I would stick my thumb out. Finally a truck pulled over with two nice ladies and a smaller girl. We tossed our unicycles in their truck and hopped in the back of the cab and were off! The woman said she could take us wherever we needed to go, so I had her drive us to the post office in the off chance it was still open. It wasn’t, so she kindly took us to the hotel Jamey was going to. 

We saw Jamey outside and he said, “Do you want the good news or the bad news?” The bad news: no hotel rooms, which wasn’t too big a deal to me as I hadn’t been on the trail as long as the others. It was also the only hotel in Superior. The good news: the owner said we could camp in her yard and use their personal shower. Awesome! People can be so kind and it gives me faith in humanity to see people like that. 

So, I flipped an old rug upside down to protect my tent from rocks. It turns out the rug was out there because it reeked of dog, but my tent’s footprint kept the stink out. We all took showers: I took a really quick one just to not overstay our welcome. 

We then headed off and got some Mexican food for dinner at a nearby restaurant. It was delicious compared to what I had been regularly eating. The one bad thing: they didn’t serve beer! So Jamey and I walked a little further down and grabbed a few drinks before going back to the tents and snoozing. 

The Arizona Trail by Unicycle: Day 4: Going Commando

April 3, 2017

My upper butt was incredibly sore from the past few days so I started my day a little bit earlier than Jamey and Rebekka so I could take it easy. That meant a little bit more pushing and less riding to let my bottom heal. I also decided to nix the riding shorts for the first hour and just left everything air out a bit. I wished I had brought two pairs of riding shorts so I could swap to a more comfortable pair. So I flipped on my phone and discovered I had descent reception. I hit up Amazon and did some two day shipping of a fresh pair of bike shorts to our next food delivery in Superior. Score one for having cell service in the middle of nowhere! After an hour or so Jamey and Rebekka caught up to me and I went back to normal riding with them. 

Sometimes after breaks I would get a short bit ahead or behind. At one point I turned a corner and saw a huge lizard dead center in the trail. A gila monster! The first time I’ve ever seen one in the wild and it wasn’t too happy about me looking at it. It hissed and hawed as I snapped a few pictures and then it slowly mosied off into the brush. 

We had to do a lot of climbing and climbing and climbing. The day started with a little less water than usual since we had to utilize some of our water for cooking the precious dinner and breakfast (two oatmeals AND coffee!) and water for riding to the last campsite. We knew there was a solid water source not too far ahead — something like 12 miles or so, and I had a bit less than 3 liters and figured it was fine. 

But Arizona is hot. The sky was a clear blue with non clouds to filter the blazing rays. The cold snow was now long gone and left in the higher elevation. I was forced to conserve my drinking and pace myself. Eventually the uphill turned into about 2 miles of downhill with “Cowhead tank” (I think that was the name) down at the bottom in a large wash. 

I rushed those last few miles like mad because I wanted to indulge in non regulated drinking. Once I saw the big wash I noticed a bunch of cowboys out on their horses. I pushed my unicycle and said a few quick hi’s. One said his wife saw us a few days ago and asked where we all were from. I quickly answered and headed to find the water tank, as I was on a mission! Water. Water. … I wasn’t empty until I hit the wash and knew I could quickly find the tank. 

The tank — it was glorious. A humongous round steel tank at least 12 feet tall and a very large diameter. Think of a deep diving pool, overflowing with water. I climbed a rickety metal latter and tossed my filter in and so I could start pumping out some safe fresh water. It tasted great and I indulged and enjoyed. 

Jamey and Rebekka rolled up shortly after. We all filled up on water and ate some snacks before continuing on. 

The rest of the day was a blur. My legs were tired and I was fatigued. The last few miles were super windy and my motivation was seeing my two friends ahead of me. Becky got a second wind and was dashing forward at a lightening pace. I was slogging behind pushing my uni up the slightest incline. Finally we hit an easy road; that was a blessing and a curse, as flat easy terrain is faster but means more weight in my sore butt. Eventually we did the final few turns of the trail and hit a large parking lot. Jamey had set a water stash here a few weeks earlier. 

It was tricky to pitch the tents as it was super windy at the campsite. A touch of warm, but windy. I use the term campsite loosely as we put our tents under some strange wooden shade structure made with a thorn roof. The wind usually settles down once the sun sets but that night it didn’t stop until sometime early in the morning. 

The Arizona Trail by Unicycle. Day 3: The Unicycle Savior

April 2, 2017 

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. 

Adventures of Corbin: Japan, Starring Lexi

Late last year, Lexi told me that she wanted to go to Japan. I’ve always wanted to go to Japan and I figured this would be an awesome opportunity for me to go check out the country. I imagined I would eventually go with a my friends Nathan and Grace, who have a strong connection to the country and would love to do some type of cycling adventure (particularly, uni!). But that hasn’t panned out, and this was a great time to go. Lexi had images of skiing in super light powder in Hokkaido, and that was her primary goal. She asked me what I wanted to do there, and my response was “I want to see the snow monkeys that sit in the hot springs”. Lexi did all the planning for the trip, and figured out that the snow monkeys are near Nozawa Onsen. Luckily there was some skiing in that town, and we spent a few days there. I think that town was one of my favorite part of the trip. Originally our plan was to just “play it by ear” and book things a few days in advance, but we were going to be there during New Years, and that is a primary travel time in Japan since New Years is a big deal. So we had to pre-book places to stay, or we wouldn’t be able to go anywhere. I’m super grateful for her doing so much planning and work. I created a short video highlighting our favorite parts of the trip.

Chesapeake 16LT Kayak: It hits the water

In October 2016 I got a wooden kayak kit. In February 2017 it finally hit the water! It took a little longer than I expected, but I’m happy with the result!

Here I am taking it in the water for the first time. I worked from home this day and quickly left for the Santa Cruz harbor as soon as I was done. It was a dark and stormy day, but I still wanted to try paddling in it. Lexi gave me a hand getting it in the water, and I took off. The kayak handles awesome. This is the first time I’ve ever sat inside a kayak; all other times I’ve been on cheap plastic kayaks that are a sit on top style. This machine moves fast, and cuts through small waves without any effort. The storm was brewing a little too strong for me to leave the harbor, and I can’t wait to take it out again.


Chesapeake 16LT Kayak: Part 14 – Finished.

Happy days are here! Actually, most all my days are happy days, but the kayak is done!

I installed the seat and hatch straps. The seat is just some foam glued in, and in the picture below you can see a brick holding it down while it dries:

IMG 8404


Later I added some elastic tie downs; I left things a little long so I can later tweak it a bit. The next problem I had was where to keep it. I fabricated some quick brackets out of old 2x4s and screwed them to my wall. I then topped it with an old towel to protect the finish a bit:

IMG 8407

And I just got home after doing a quick paddle around the Santa Cruz harbor. It is fast, and awesome! But a storm is approaching, and it started dumping some rain just minutes after I pulled it out of the water. I need to wait for some better weather to take it out to the ocean. I also could use a proper kayak skirt. 

I’ll soon post a video of the maiden voyage!









(c) 2008-2017 Corbin Dunn

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