A good friend of the shop Michael Lane did an epic trip across the Southern United States coast to coast, starting in LA and finishing in Florida. After following his adventure on Instagram we asked if you could do a post about. Below is a short but sweet account of his time State side. This text was taken from his post on the LFGSS forum, which he updated along the way.
I finished the first section of San Diego to phoenix and I am staying with a lively couple from Warm Showers. First section from San Diego is a bit of shock fully loaded with long drags uphill before it gets to flat flat desert. Everyone I've met has been absolutely lovely and really tried anyway to help out, giving advice or contacting friends further along the route that I might be able to stay with. Campground owners are so much friendlier than Europe and seem super interested in what you're doing (guess it's gets boring talking to old people in RVs) I definitely underestimated how much water I need in the desert sections and have had to be inventive in strapping extra bottles anywhere I can also I have had an absolute tonne of punctures and might have to buy marathon pluses, the tyre wire that comes of trucks is no joke.
Oh yeah, as ever I am terrible at doing any write ups of my trips. Here's section two.
Phoenix, AZ to Austin, TX
After Phoenix I finally got to cactus country, travelling through Tonto national forest with what felt like a million saguaros (as well a loads of cacti I didn't know the name of. Still as empty as earlier desert but some green things to look at does help.
Didn't get much of a feeling for New Mexico as I passed through in less than two days along just north of the Mexican border. Lots of signs talking about intense dust storms, but luckily all I got was one day where I had 25 mile an hour tailwind, that allowed me to do 120 miles at 18mph, which isn’t bad on a tour laden fixed gear.
After New Mexico, I entered Texas by way of El Paso (I'm told by the local its called Texas armpit), which was the worst city to enter of the trip, with the route taking me on an 8-lane road with rolling hills and no shoulder. I was going to just pass through El Paso and camp outside, but got drinking with some guys at the local bike shop, and ended up sticking around for Halloween Critical Mass and being introduced to lots of Lone Star beer.
Waking up with an atrocious hangover, I headed out of El Paso into Texas, which was to be the biggest state of the whole trip, with over 1000 miles of riding. Encompassing desert, hills, ranches and a surprising amount of green later on.
West Texas was one of my absolute favourite parts of the trip. People seemed to come to the small towns here to get away and let their freak flag fly, helped by the lax building codes and giant amount of space meaning people have built some weird homes.
The town of Marfa known for it's art, Alpine for it's jaded hipsters and the massive decade long junk building project of La Loma del Chivo in Marathon we are all amazing and unique.
After these sections it started to get all kinds of empty again, though now with hills. No place to get fresh food, and sometimes 80+ miles between gas stations, meant I had a few hairy moments running out of food and water, but lovely Texans helped me out or offered water and I managed not to die despite my setup not really having enough space for the food and water I really needed to carry for this kind of tour.
After Del Rio TX the landscape started to suddenly get all kinds of green and I came to Texas Hill Country (supposedly the Swiss Alps of Texas though this is a bit of an exaggeration). The temperature dropped dramatically at this point, and with headwind and light rain with the sudden steep hills made this section harder than expected, but was nice to be on curving roads after so long on the perfectly straight desert roads I had travelled so far.
All of the hill country is covered with giant Ranches and hunting so I saw a tonne of deer as I rode along, as well as even some ibex looking animals which I guess are the exotic hunters choice. It's a shame it seemed all natural space was closed off with giant No Trespassing signs, as it would have nice to have explored some of this beautiful area away from the road.
Yeah all the Texans I met were lovely (to be fair pretty much everyone I met on the whole trip was super nice, go southern hospitality!
Here are some cool links you might like to check out.
North London Thunder Cats Black Metal Cycle Club