A lot has happened since my last post. The most important highlights are in the video above. One important and unfortunate note: I climbed about 1200 feet to the top of a mountain just west of Miami, AZ, only to get stopped by a state trooper at the top. To make a long story short, the trooper basically told us that we would likely be arrested, if we continued as we were. Even if I had dared to skate down the 6-8% grades with no follow vehicle, there was no shoulder, and we were told that I could be arrested for skating in the road, even without the motor home impeding traffic.
In short, I had to make an executive decision and have us drive down the mountain and start back up 15 miles later. Even though I’ve certainly taken the long way across the country, that didn’t sit to well with me. The only other place I had to do that was for a couple miles crossing the Mississippi River into Louisiana. Another situation that would have most likely resulted in me getting arrested. In both situations, I subtracted the miles from the running total of the tour. Well, we did what we had to; let’s just hope nothing else like that comes up. We should have a lot more options heading through Phoenix tomorrow, and the roads after Phoenix are pretty lightly trafficked, all the way to California. BTW: I expect to break 3000 miles somewhere in or near the Phoenix metropolitan area!
Distance Since last Update: 288 miles
Total Distance for Tour: approx. 2933 miles
SKATE LOCATION: 1 mile east of Gold Canyon, AZ
STATUS: Gearing up to skate into Phoenix and cross the 3000 mile marker somewhere in the metro area!
I was excited about finally crossing the New Mexico border for a couple reasons: First, I knew that it was a huge milestone, since I skated about 800 miles through Texas. Second, my sources told me that the roads in New Mexico are generally smoother and the wind is a little calmer than in Texas. The comment about the wind did not hold true on my third day in the new state.
Yesterday, I skated from Hatch, NM to just outside of Deming, NM. There were some pretty serious hills toward the beginning, as I increased my elevation by about 500 feet in the course of roughly 5 miles. That, however, was not the big challenge of the day. The wind was back in full force, and I essentially skated 39 miles head-on into 20 MPH winds. Anyone who has ridden a bike into heavy winds would have a pretty good idea about just how fun that was. Except carrying a 3â€™x5â€™ American flag is much like dragging a parachute through the wind.
As I was preparing to get back on the road after my first pit-stop, about 13 miles in, I was trying to mentally prepare myself for the next 25 miles of punishment. With wind like that, skating with that flag is comparable to running under normal conditions. I was essentially preparing myself for a marathon effort after having already skated 13 miles.
Just as I stepped out of the RV, I had an interesting thought: â€œWhat if, for each of the next 12 miles before my next pit-stop, I celebrate?â€ I decided that the natural tendency in physically difficult situations like this is to think about how negative and difficult the circumstances are. It was clear to me: I would have to create my own strength and happiness for the next 25 miles. I would start by defying all negative thoughts for the first 12.
For the next 12 miles, I would get myself as hyped and pumped as possible each time I crossed a mile marker. My plan was to get progressively more excited the higher the numbers got. It wasnâ€™t easy, and I even thought about scrapping the idea a few times, but I kept it going. â€œI promised myself 12 celebrations, and I will have them!â€ I told myself with resolve.
Thereâ€™s something remarkable about the human spirit: It is not so important how difficult or painful a given task may be. The real important factors are the motivation, the energy, and the â€œwhyâ€ behind what we do. We can put up with almost any â€œhow,â€ if given the right â€œwhy.â€ I needed immediate inspiration and strength to press on, and I found it by creating positive energy around what I was doing. In case you were wondering, the 12th celebration did in fact bring an incredible sense of accomplishment. I will never forget my â€œ12 Celebrationsâ€ in defiance of the blasting winds on highway 26 between Hatch and Deming, NM. Iâ€™ve never felt so strong in the face of true difficulty.
Distance Since last Update: 122 miles
Total Distance for Tour: approx. 2646 miles
SKATE LOCATION: 8 miles east of Deming, NM
STATUS: Enjoying a much needed day off in Deming, NM
2524 Miles Down, 812 to Go!
FIRST THINGS FIRST: A HUGE “thank you!” to the Super 8 Motel in El Paso for donating a room for two nights while I take my day off here in “the Borderland!” We had a chance to meet the owner today, and on top of being a really cool guy, he gave me a tip to checkout “Chico’s Tacos,” which is a phenomenon that can only be found in El Paso. I’ll be sure to give you guys a full report on that soon.
A lot has happened since my last update after my speech to the high schoolers in Monahans, TX. The basic updates are below, but first: Here’s a news story that we landed in El Paso:
After my day off in Monahans, I picked up where I left off and skated about 45 miles from Pyote to Toyah, TX. We ended up staying the night in Pecos, TX. After some quick research, I realized that continuing to follow my path from I-20 to I-10 would be a disaster. I was looking at about 40 miles of skating on the expressway where the speed limit is 80 MPH… Not good! I made the executive decision to take the motor home down to Marfa, TX and skate 74 miles northwest on US 90 to Van Horn. It’s the first time I’ve had to do a “jump” on the skate, and I didn’t really want to do it, but I had no other option.
Taking the US 90 route actually added about 5 miles on some of the roughest roads I’ve had yet, so I’m feeling more than justified in that decision. Sometimes, you have to be “the boss” and make a difficult decision. Ironically, I still ended up having to do a 10 mile skate on the side of I-10 one day and 21 miles the next day. Thankfully, those portions between Van Horn, TX and McNary, TX included large smooth shoulders.
I took one day off in Van Horn and skated 120 miles into El Paso over the next 3 days. I’ve officially decided to adjust to a 3 days on and 1 day off schedule for the time being, as it only adds about 2-3 days to the total length of the tour. I need to do everything I can to prevent stress fractures.
I arrived in downtown El Paso yesterday and was able to land the NBC 9 news story above. I’m taking a day of rest here in El Paso and working on some details for Motor City Challenge back home. Just 812 miles to go!
Distance Since last Update: 238 miles
Total Distance for Tour: approx. 2524 miles
SKATE LOCATION: El Paso, TX
STATUS: Catching some much needed R&R at the Super 8 Motel in El Paso, TX