Close to giving up

I forgot to check my list of what to avoid pitching near. The sprinklers went off at 7am and I wasn’t amused. In fact I was so bemused that I went back to sleep and didn’t reappear till 11. I had a feeling my body would try and recover from yesterdays century.

Exploring Little America I discovered there wasn’t all too much to do. I still managed my gentleman’s wash and ordered some hot dogs. Naturally they were over priced for a small stop in the middle of nowhere. I got talking to a couple of people and returned to my tent at 1pm.

Then it hit me. I really couldn’t be bothered riding today. For some reason I was feeling more lethargic than usual and really couldn’t get myself motivated to pack up and leave. Maybe it was my body wanted a rest after nearly two months of cycling, or maybe it was because I could feel how strong the winds were today and didn’t want to face my nemesis. Whatever it was I overcame it eventually and set off at 4pm.

Blind hope still made me think I could make the 60 miles to Evanston but it dawned on me rather quickly that I wouldn’t be making that goal. These were the worst winds I’d encountered all trip. They were gusting in my face slowing me down by half, I was doing 8mph on the occasional flats. At a break 10 miles in I asked a trucker how he was feeling the winds. He mentioned it was cutting his MPG from five or six to three. It seemed like it had the same (but not so demoralising) effect on him.

Then, as if to rub salt into my wounds I got a puncture. It was my front wheel and I really was not in the mood. I checked the wheel and a nice, inch long piece of wire was sticking out of the tyre. There really is a lot of debris on the side of the Interstate. I can swerve and weave in and out of all the tyre shred but I can’t avoid everything it seems. Replaced in 20 minutes with a new inner tube I was back on the road. Damn road. Damn wind.

I was on the verge of giving up, on the verge of quietly sobbing to myself. It was quickly becoming a very low point for me on this tour. I began to pull myself together, albeit slowly, put my head down and trundled on as best as I could. Around the 35 mile mark and it was now getting dark too. Ft Bridger was the next exit from the Interstate and I took it. What it failed to mention was it was 3 miles down a hill – I wasn’t going that far out of my way.

Scouting the surrounding area out I couldn’t even find a place the camp. The bridge didn’t have a flat section at the top (presumably to stop bums from sleeping there) and the ground was hard, brittle and impossible to get aluminium tent pegs into. I could see the neon signs of what looked to be a gas station in the very distance. I would make that my goal. It only seemed like another 5 miles away.

Progress was slow but steady. The neon was getting brighter and my morale was lifting ever so slightly. It still begged the question of there being anywhere to set up camp. Those were the longest 5 miles but I finally made it. It was a gigantic truck terminal with hundreds of trucks already settled in for the night.

Walking around the complex I finally found a possible place to pitch the tent. It was still hard ground, but more pliable than the previous possibility. The grass was long and tough but I figured once my weight was on it, it would soon flatten. Only one tent peg became brutally wounded and with the tent erected, it finally signalled the end of a shit-hole of a day.

I had left 108 miles to Salt Lake. At first this made me feel crap but then I was ready to accept the challenge and arrive on Sunday night. Alarm set for early in the morning, thank fuck this day is over.

7 thoughts on “Close to giving up”

  1. Craig,
    sorry to hear you’re having a motivational problem, after 2 months in the saddle it is oh so easy to understand – particularly when facing bland territory with gusting winds.
    If you can find a nice spot to take a couple of days out, recharge your batteries & chill for a bit, you will probably find your will to carry on-o-meter will power up & send you back on your way.
    I know when I have been slapped about by the weather, or picked a poor location for my dinky little canoe expeditions – getting up, packing up & getting back in the boat is one of the hardest things to do.
    Your expedition is a much bigger event than anything I have undertaken & I really feel for you at this moment – it’s been one hell of a trip for you & personally I think you need to give yourself a breather, straighten your determination & strengthen your resolve & go for it again.
    You do something like this once in a lifetime – if you jack it in now, I think you would regret it given time to reflect on it.
    When you’re sat on your veranda in New Zealand wearing fresh incontinence pants at a ripe old age, with grandkids bouncing on your knee – you’ll be able to say “aww gee Craig junior did I ever tells you about my trip across The YooSA when I was young & stoopid??” “Yes Grandad” will come back the weary reply -“a thousand times!”
    On that note did I ever tell you that I paddled loch Ness in a force 7 & that it is the deepest loch in Scotland with more water in it than all the lakes in England & Wales put togethe…………..drone drone….. happy memories………………good times……..
    Get back on your bike buddy & get this thing done.
    Best of luck in finishing the trip – I’ll check in again in a couple of days – take the day off.
    Chill & recharge, you deserve it!

  2. Craig…Jon’s comments are brilliant…what’s so upsetting is that they weren’t said by me…my poor contribution to your life has had one great affect on you…that is to get off your backside and do what you’re doing right now…long may this continue in your life…but for goodness sake don’t take up single handed sailing a round the globe…cos you’ll sink the boat with all your sobbing.
    You and your brothers are always in my heart…and what ever you 3 aspire to…that’s where you’ll always be…and with your inspiration and drive you will finish this your 1st trip of you life…and who knows who will take inspiration from you…Might even be me!!!!
    love as always Dad x

  3. Dear Craig, I felt so bad I wanted to drive over to get you. I do so hope that your trip gets a boost of happiness and good fortune. I’ll keep you in my prayers.
    with much love and encouragement, LB

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