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Horror stories.. your worst day on the road.

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Horror stories.. your worst day on the road.

Old 07-02-08, 11:30 PM
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collingsd1
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Horror stories.. your worst day on the road.

Hi, Just wanted to hear some of your trials and tribulations, how you got through them and what you learned.
I'm relatively new to touring, I've done the Oregon coast and the Rockies.
Tunnels and logging trucks on the coast were a fright but my worst day came on an impromptu ride from Breckenridge, CO to Steamboat, CO (about 100 mi.) The weather turned and my go to campground was closed for brush clearing (poor planning) ... I was stuck on Rabbit Ears Pass climbing to elev.'s near 10,000 ft. (closer to the lightning!) At about 20 miles past my prime, I felt sick and decided to Guerilla camp and relieve my volatile stomach as thunder persisted like the needle of a sewing machine.. yikes! Truly a lesson in better preparation both physically and logistically.
Anyway, I've learned that touring is an addictive bug, it gets in you, it hurts you, tortures you, at times you scream and wonder 'Why am I doing this !?!' But there's always that stretch of serenity, freedom, peace and clarity that plants a seed just waiting for the whetting of a new appetite.
I do have a battle cry.... the first pedals on the open road... ADVENTURE!!!
Yeah, so I'm corny, but along with your stories I'd like hear your thoughts on the ethics of Guerilla camping.
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Old 07-03-08, 12:32 AM
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cool. on tour once i arrived in (insert town), virginia. Its home to univeristy of virginia but I forget the name. Im only 20 miles into the day, but the town is beautiful and I see flyers for a AC/DC and led zeppelin cover band at the local venue. Decide to stay. Hit the local bar on a pedestrian mall, listen to street musicians, chat with locals. Great day. I start to head up to the venue when it gets dark when a kid about my age (21) asks if I want to buy some, lets say, humus. well... how much for an eighth? 40?!? never heard of that in nyc. sure. he takes 30 while im looking for a ten and hands me a bag and starts to walk away. score. I open it to check it out and before its open I can smell the lettuce. hes gone. Bummer. Oh well, cool show tonight. Get there, hilarious awesome midlife crisis dc cover band. Exceed my limit a few times over. Zeppelin comes on, and during the set brake I go to get my tobacco from my backpack from the gear stash were the security said it would be fine, and its gone along with the dc bands gear. show over, talking to bouncer, he says he heard the band asking each other about a bag. nothing for me to do tonight, just ride drunk to set up camp in a graveyard. tools, tubes, camera, pump, books, and half of my maps gone. Next day, after finding out the band was from richmond and playing that night, then unsuccessfully trying to find a running car in parking lot to take there and back, I went back to the club to find out the angus equivelent's daughter contacted the club that her dad had a bag from there. The manager also told me there was a greyhound station a block away that went to richmond every 3 hours. Got the bag (minus camera, payment for stupidity I guess), waited out a storm and got back on the road. lesson learned; dont get drunk and try to buy drugs then get more drunk and leave bag with bands gear who is leaving after their set is finished.
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Old 07-03-08, 01:21 AM
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Hi,

the worst: I was robbed in Zimbabwe (7 weeks injured - everything stolen)

the 2nd worst: A car crashed into my bike that was parked on the shoulder (Oman)
some pictures can be seen here

Thomas
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Old 07-03-08, 01:42 AM
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Lou: dude.......... you camped in a graveyard ? ! ... hope that humus helped you sleep like the dead .......(crickets).... ba dum dum dum.
Johny: Damn ! those pics portray one F'd up car and one Solid Bike !!! Really though, the Z-bwe incident sounds horrible... though not bike touring, I hitched through S. America in '95 and heard many stories, each involving busses and "laced" bags of potato chips ... where the tourist would wake up days later, robbed of everything. Can't verify the tale but I'm sure every generation of college aged niavete's has heard something similar along the "gringo" trail.
...... Any thoughts on the guerilla camping ? i.e. just pulling over and squat popping your tent in the brushes, when no camping or lodging facilities are around..... I've often wondered how cross-country/world travelers deal with this.... you can plan, plan, plan but sometimes the road just doesn't obey the 50, 80, 100 mi. conveniences.
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Old 07-03-08, 02:18 AM
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Hi,

in Oman:
frame was wrapped. But I got sufficient money from the insurance company. With this frame I could go another 300 km but at certain speeds (13 km/h) the steering moved 5 cm left and right. That wasn't fun -except on gravel because there was everything bumpy. The fork also had a problem.
It happened in Ramadan I was quite happy that the insurance company gave me a check within 48 hours (they have only 3 business hours in Ramadan and are not used to (high expensive - a new local bike costs 50-60 EUR !) bicycle accidents. )

in Zimbabwe:
had 5 minutes bad luck. But after a press article was published the next day - I was nation wide well known. This opens a lot of doors. The police did a very good job - they found my stuff (except of camera, documents and cash) arrested the robbers. A had a nice experience when I went to court and made my evidence. Finally they were punished to 5 and 7 years working prison (for my case and some other robbings in total).

Thomas

Something you have to "produce" some storries for your grandsons
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Old 07-03-08, 05:50 AM
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This is very lame in comparison to other postings, but my horror story was cycling only 33 miles in one very long day (with hardly any breaks too).

Gale force head wind, almost all uphill in the Czech Republic heading to Germany. The only time in my life where I've started faster fully loaded at the top of a steep hill and actually been slower at the bottom (the wind was that strong).

Toughest days cycling I've ever, ever had in my life. What I learned? Well, when all the literature about a tour from London to Prague has people starting off from London, you should really wonder why you decide to start off from Prague -there's probably a reason why people go the other way.
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Old 07-03-08, 07:10 AM
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Originally Posted by collingsd1 View Post
Hi, Just wanted to hear some of your trials and tribulations, how you got through them and what you learned.
I'm relatively new to touring, I've done the Oregon coast and the Rockies.
Tunnels and logging trucks on the coast were a fright but my worst day came on an impromptu ride from Breckenridge, CO to Steamboat, CO (about 100 mi.) The weather turned and my go to campground was closed for brush clearing (poor planning) ... I was stuck on Rabbit Ears Pass climbing to elev.'s near 10,000 ft. (closer to the lightning!) At about 20 miles past my prime, I felt sick and decided to Guerilla camp and relieve my volatile stomach as thunder persisted like the needle of a sewing machine.. yikes! Truly a lesson in better preparation both physically and logistically.
Anyway, I've learned that touring is an addictive bug, it gets in you, it hurts you, tortures you, at times you scream and wonder 'Why am I doing this !?!' But there's always that stretch of serenity, freedom, peace and clarity that plants a seed just waiting for the whetting of a new appetite.
I do have a battle cry.... the first pedals on the open road... ADVENTURE!!!
Yeah, so I'm corny, but along with your stories I'd like hear your thoughts on the ethics of Guerilla camping.

My worst day on the road was over three days. The first was when I crashed in Cumberland, MD, a month ago. I cracked my helmet, got road rash, damaged my jersey, shorts, jacket, and gloves, and, as I discovered several days later, cracked a rib. After spending the night in Cumberland, I and the person I was riding with rode 45 miles on a bumpy canal towpath. I felt like I was going to die by the end of the day. The climax was the following morning, when the person I was touring with heatedly told me he wanted to finish the tour by himself and I could find my own way home. The threat wasn't followed up on, fortunately, since "home" was 200 miles distant and I was broke.
 
Old 07-03-08, 08:34 AM
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My worst day on the road was getting heat stroke on the first day of cycling in India. I literally couldn't see straight.
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Old 07-03-08, 08:47 AM
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I'm afraid my worst day was actually 4 of them. 4 days in a row of howling headwinds as I was slowly moving north from the Murray River in New South Wales. Strong, dusty northerly winds in my face all day. The wind blew grit into my food, tried to rip my tent apart while I was setting it up and made me feel like I was on a treadmill - going no-where on an infinite plain. At about 5pm on the 4th day I totally lost the plot and had a complete meltdown at the side of the road, cursing the wind and everything else, just as an old man in a ute ( pick-up ) pulled over and asked if I was OK. 5min later I was drinking a coffee from his thermos and tucking into a piece of his wife's carrot cake. After lending a very sympathetic ear to my whinging, he gave me directions to his farm down the road where I camped for the night. Next morning, still air and clear skies. So, my 4 days of hell ended well, and off north I headed again.
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Old 07-03-08, 11:00 AM
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[QUOTE=paul2;6993194] heat stroke QUOTE]

Oh I forget these.

Namibia in summer (don't do this) I had 53C in the shade (shade doesn't exist in this country) a had my 2nd heat stroke. The 1st wasn't so bad: I felt so sick that I needed 4 hours to cycle back to campground (10 km) But the 2nd: 5 Km after I start the day I had to vomit (unfortunately for my bike so fast that I couldn't stop before ) Okay the next 100 km to the next house have been a bit painful...

Thailand: I made nice day of and booked a boat tour. During this relaxing trip my knee gets swollen (twice as normal). The next day I went to a hospital - 10 days no cycling but nothing was broken.

But I have non horror days also
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Old 07-03-08, 11:49 AM
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Three days of 60-80 kmh head winds across the Saskatchewan prairie.
And the wind was combined with constant rain. We could not dry out or even set up a tent properly.
And to top it all off it was +16C or so in the day and +5 or so at night. Brutal.
Never would I continue again in those conditions.
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Old 07-03-08, 01:32 PM
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Day 17 – Where Do I Begin? – 125.92 km
Today was by far the worst day of the trip and quite possibly one of the worst days I have ever had the displeasure of living through in my entire life. Disaster struck in the morning and continued throughout the day up until this very instant. Today’s day quite simply kicked my butt, hard.


Yesterday my fuel ran out for my stove. Luckily I was in Dease Lake where I could re-supply. My little stove burns denatured alcohol, which can be found at any paint or hardware store, as well as Wal-Mart. There happened to be a hardware store in Dease Lake, which as my luck would have it was closed. My stove is also advertised to burn other alcohol based fuels such as rubbing alcohol or 150 proof alcohol. Since 150 proof alcohol is kind of expensive and would be a waste to burn, I opted for the rubbing alcohol.


I found out the hard way that my trusty little stove does not burn rubbing alcohol as advertised. Luckily I was able to fall back on my Boy Scout skills and constructed a fire with which I managed to boil my water with ease. I used the rubbing alcohol as a fire starter, at least one thing it’s good for. I made myself a delicious meal of Kraft dinner and of course bread.


Shortly after breakfast is when the fun started. I once again hit a stretch of gravel road, one of which I hope I never have to experience again. This gravel road was not hard packed as was yesterdays, but was rather quite loose. The first section consisted of a 5 km downhill. Since the gravel was loose I nearly lost control countless times. The second section was a nice 7 km uphill grade of 8%. An uphill grade of 8% would be bad enough, but combined with loose gravel, it makes it terrible. To make matters worse, at about 11 AM it began to rain. This meant I had to put on all my rain gear, in which it is very hot when the sun is out at the same time.


But wait, it gets better! It began to rain harder. Then it rained some more, and then it kept raining. By this point I am absolutely drenched, completely filthy, and kind of cold. Keep in mind that my stove doesn’t have fuel, so the only way I’m going to make myself a warm dinner is by making a fire. Well, as you can guess, that didn’t happen. Today’s dinner involved pop tarts, granola bars, bread, and jelly beans for desert. I guess I’ll just have to make do with what I have.


On a funny note, I participated in my first moose chase today. I saw a moose on the road, so I yelled some stuff at it in order to get it to move out of the way. The guy just started running along the road. I cycled after him for about three kilometers before he finally got off. It was actually quite a challenge to keep up with him since he was doing a good 25 km/h!


Right afterwards I hit another stretch of gravel road, once again loose packed and only a downhill of about 2 km this time. However, what made it really interesting is that at this point it was pouring rain. Let me just say that going down that hill was quite scary. I have never been gladder to have disc brakes, as those things can stop me in rain, slush, snow, or mud.


If there is one thing I hate more than anything in this world it’s putting a tent up in the rain. Well, guess what I had to do today? To make it even more fun for me, I had to battle wind at the same time. Could it be worse? Oh yes! Since there is about two feet of snow everywhere here it’s quite a challenge to find a bare patch of ground. Therefore the best I could do was a combination of grass and mud, just great!


It is now 11 PM. It has not stopped raining for even five minutes over the last 12 hours. I am tired, cold, and miserable. I don’t think I have never gotten so drenched in my entire life. I would have gladly stopped at a motel or even at someone’s house to ask to sleep in their garage. Unfortunately for me, I have not seen a single building for the last 70 km. I think that I’m going to sleep in tomorrow…
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