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A traditional “matanza” starts early in the day with the slaughtering, butchering, and pit cooking of some sort of livestock. Pit cooking requires enough wood burning to surround the meat with a couple of feet of hot coals. On May 5th, a statewide fire restriction made the burning of wood all but impossible.

Ben consults with Nate on an ‘alternative’ plan for pit cooking.
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Considering just how I was going to get to the point where I could ride my bicycle around the country, it quickly became clear that leaving behind a vacated fully furnished home containing all of my worldly possessions was not going to be the right thing to do. I didn’t want the extra burden of a cold, empty, lifeless dwelling on my shoulders for six months. That lead to the next idea of renting out my house and putting all of the remaining stuff into a storage locker somewhere. No thank you. Which lead to selling my house and then putting everything I owned into storage. Nope. Which ultimately lead to the idea of selling my house and selling all of my stuff, thus freeing me up for this little adventure of mine.

Can you just DO that?!? Get rid of EVERYTHING?! Just like that? You don’t really mean ‘everything’ do you?? The answer to that is YES! I sold everything! (well… except for a small storage area of mementos-and-return-to-society-stuff… oh yeah, and a car). ‘Everything’ for me (and maybe you) consisted of decades worth of stuff. Enough stuff to completely fill a big house on a hill and it’s attached three car garage. Clothes, ham radio equipment, shop tools, furniture, guns, boat, TVs, work benches, dumb bells, bicycles, electronic equipment, popup camper, woodworking tools, books, Harley, fly fishing gear, computers, old cell phones, CDs, DVDs, wrapping paper, decorations, beds, spoons, knives, forks…. The whole lot of it.

The hardest part was first overcoming the overwhelming internal pressure that I was doing something insanely shortsighted, rash, and … just wrong! There was a mandatory RE-programming of ‘self’ to be very open to a necessary change from my previously programmed life pattern. This kind of change is pretty big. In order to work, the change had to violate learned behavior supporting the ongoing belief that life is an ever expanding accumulation of wealth and material stuff! I had to change belief systems; abandon the old one which was driven by that most excellent feeling of desiring, then acquiring and then savoring something ‘new’. And then when those feelings subsided (which they always did), I had to replace it with another desire/acquire/savor cycle, all the while, funded by my dwindling bank account.

Let’s face it, getting rid of all your stuff can’t be that easy, right? Easy? No. But simple it certainly is! I just followed these five steps:
Step 1: Give It Away
I found that several of the items reminded me of either a friend or family member, or even the odd Craig’s List stranger that I could entice to drive way out to my house. My uncle got a box of woodworking tools, a load of finish grade trim wood, and my leather motorcycle jacket. My friend with a new home was given my patio furniture (which, by the way, was given to me by my sister… which, by the way, was given to her by my mother). Another friend was given one of my unused bikes. An old, beautiful, but huge and non-digital TV was easily given away to someone from Craig’s List. Finally, many, many items were simply hauled to the local charitable donation center.

Step 2: Throw It Away
Weekly, I tested the patience of my trash guy with heavier and heavier trash bin loads. I was fully expecting to come home some Tuesday evening to find stuff angrily scattered all over the driveway with a nasty note stuck to my front door: “Mr. McCoy, Please cut the crap!! You want this to get ugly?” So I tested further… Dead desktop computers, dusty fake plants, old nasty Tupperware, boxes and boxes of unused nails, an old bicycle frame, a big, huge, piece of lead. It all went into the bin on Tuesday morning and I happily retrieved the empty one each Tuesday night.

Step 3: Sell It
– On Craig’s List
Killer pricing, cash only, coupled with a tightly controlled ad, detailed macro photos, and most importantly, YOU gotta make human contact with ME… by voice… on the phone! Navigate the maze of scrambled encoding of my phone number (FiveOh5-Three4one-Zero0…) launch your phone app, stab at its keypad, clear your voice, and speak… with me! Simple, not easy. But doing this certainly eliminated the majority of potential riff/raff and produced for me a safe (except for one), highly motivated buyer at my doorstep, holding cash!

– Via eBay
$20 rule: Nothing less than $20
Nothing bigger than the USPS drop-off hopper
PayPal only
No returns.
Many detailed, snazzy, macro photos
Absolute honesty on history, operation and condition of the item
No International shipping
Everything, and I mean everything is auctioned with a 99 cent starting bid.
Shipping is flat fee, then $$ doubled, then weighed, and PayPal purchased for USPS dropoff.
I maintain 100% buyer satisfaction (except for that one guy a few months ago that finally dropped off my six month eBay seller rating horizon)

– The Classifieds
I considered the local newspaper classified ads to be a kind of last resort or when I was looking for a wider audience with more money. My big Dodge diesel truck, the Larson speed boat, my cherished Harley Davidson Dyna Wide Glide, couple of specialty guns… and a highly used hot tub. In each case, I was satisfied with motivated cash buyers and pleasantly surprised with cash money plus hauling service for the hot tub. (I would have given the thing away simply to rid my yard of its presence)

– Moving(Estate) Sale
The entire remaining contents of my home (sale pending), plus several garage shelves worth of stuff piled high with choice flea-market type stuff were readied for the BiggestSingleDayEstateSale ever!! My philosophy with garage sales is no different than when I haul truck loads of stuff to the flea market: It’s ALL getting gone! Whether it’s sold or I haul it to Goodwill, I don’t intend on keeping any of the leftovers.

Step 4: Store It
– Obviously, there will be a few ‘things’ that will need to be kept. For me, these were things like: Photos, personal mementos, return-to-civilization-clothing, favorite tools, a couple of pieces of cherished ham radio equipment, car (maybe), minimal furniture and some household items. I visualized a 10×10′ storage unit that I would rent while I was away. Based on some real world suggestions from a close friend, I didn’t want to end up with clothes, bedding, and furniture that inherited that well known (apparently, but not to me) ‘storage funk’ smell, so the big decision to forfeit years of accumulated furnishings was easier.

Oh, the Places You’ll Go

Velominati: The Rules

You can’t buy happiness but you can buy a bike and that’s pretty close

Every turn of the wheel is a revolution

“When the spirit is low, when the day appears dark, when work becomes monotonous, when hope hardly seems worth having, just mount a bicycle and go out for a spin down the road, without thought on anything but the ride you are thaking.” ~ Sir Conan Doyle

Don’t avoid the hills! In running, in cycling, and in life, strength is found when you tackle the seemingly impossible.

“It never gets easier, you just get faster.” ~ Lemond

“Shut-up legs!” ~ Voigt

Less politics. More pedaling.

If you see me on the ground, could you please brush me off and put me back on my bike? Thanks!

‘Dead last finish’ is greater than ‘Did not finish’ which trumps ‘Did not start’

On a bike, no one ever asks, ‘Are we there yet?’

Your legs are not giving out. Your head is giving up. Keep going.

Hills. We love them. We hate them. They make us strong. They make us weak. Today I chose to embrace hills.

“If it can be ridden,  then I gotta ride it.”

“Get a bicycle. You will not regret it if you live.” ~ Twain

“You never have the wind with you – either it is against you or you’re having a good day” ~ Behrman

“It always rains on tents. Rainstorms will travel thousands of miles, against prevailing winds for the opportunity to rain on a tent” ~ Barry

“There are no road signs to help navigate. And, in fact, no one has yet determied which side of the road we’re supposed to be on”. ~ Case

“During one of my treks through Afghanistan, we lost our corkscrew. We were compelled to live on food and water for several days.” ~ Fields

“Marriage is a wonderful invention; but then again, so is a bicycle repair kit.” ~ Connolly

“Sometimes the road less traveled is less traveled for a reason”. ~ Seinfeld

“One only needs two tools in life: WD-40 to make things go, and duct tape to make them stop”. ~ Weilacher

“Just one more hill to climb, it’s all flat from then on…” ~ Anonymous

“Of the gladdest moments in human life, methinks, is the departure upon a distant journey into unknow lands. The blood flows with the fast circulation of childhood”. ~ Sir Burton

“What we get from this adventure is just sheer joy. And joy is, after all, the end of life. We do not live to eat and make money. We eat and make money to be able to enjoy life. That is what life means and what life is for.” ~ Mallory

“Only he that has traveled the road knows where the holes are deep.” ~ Chinese Proverb

“The everyday kindness of the back roads more than makes up for the acts of greed in the headlines.” ~ Kuralt

“If bike touring taught us one thing, it taught us passion. When we were on our bikes, we felt truly alive.” ~ Grant

“Nope, never took it out of the box. But, the salesperson said this tent was super easy to set up; even in windy conditions…” ~ Anonymous

“If we all, mountain biker, cyclists, multinational companies, Jo Public, respect the land like old civilizations we wouldn’t get so many punctures. Earth’s revenge.” ~ Burt

“There is no real hope of travleing perfectly light in the moutains. It is good to try as long as you realize that like proving a unified field theory, master Kanji, or routinely brewing the perfect cup of coffee, the game can never be won.” ~ Blanchard

“Duct tape is like The Force. It has a light side, a dark side, and it holds the universe together.” ~ Anonymous

“I’ve never been lost, but I’ve been a mite bewildered for a few days.” ~ Boone

“A road map always tells you everything except how to refold it.” ~ Anonymous

“Things look different from the seat of a bike carrying a sleeping bag with a cold beer tucked inside.” ~ Malusa

“If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.” ~ Anonymous

“Really steep climbs are not my forte, so I always dread that lowest gear because I figure, god, I’m doomed.” ~ Furtado

“If you look like your passport photo, you’re too ill to travel.” ~ Kommen

“How is it that one careless match can start a forest fire, but it takes a whole box to start a campfire?” ~ Anonymous

“When preparing to travel, lay out all your clothes and all your money. Then take half the clothes and twice the money.” ~ Heller

“An adventure is simply a well planned trip gone awry.” ~ Anonymous

“A bicycle ride around the world begins with a single pedal stroke.” ~ Stoll

“One always wonder about roads not taken.” ~ Warren

“A bicycle does get you there and more And there is always the thin edge of danger to keep you alert and comfortably apprehensive. Dogs become dogs again and snap at your raincoat; pothols become personal and getting there is all the fun.” ~ Emerson

“The bicycle has a soul. If you succeed to love it, it will give you emotions that you will never forget.” ~ Cipollini

“On my tenth birthday a bicycle and an atlas coincided as presents and a few days later I decided to cycle to India.” ~ Murphy

“Camping: the art of getting closer to nature while getting farther away from the nearest cold beverage, hot shower and flush toilet.” ~ Anonymous

“Bicycle touring is travel’s live theater.” ~ Hale

“It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” ~ Hemingway

El Tour De Tucson 2013


Even in the pouring rain, the crowds came out to cheer us along the final eight tenths of a mile finish corridor. At this point I already knew that I would attain my goal of finishing in under six hours, but still couldn’t deny the overwhelming urge to surge this stretch across the finish line.

I watched the digital numbers ticking passed 5 hours and 44 minutes on the official time clock while stabilizing the bike over a final series of slippery bumps routing the timing cables in the finish area. I had just made gold!

If you’re interested in the raw numbers then you really don’t need to read any further. If you’re like me and enjoy the ‘ride’, then please read on…

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Accepted a challenge to sign-up for the 2013 El Tour De Tucson.  111 miles at 2000 feet elevation and 2200 feet of vertical climbing.  A nice way to finish out the 2013 riding season and insert a HUGE goal for the remainder of my 2013 training.

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On March 23, 2013, I set a personal record of 17 minutes and 48 seconds on the section of Tramway from the Casino stop light to the La Luz road turnoff.  I don’t know if I was just having a good day at the time, but that record has been long standing and quite ellusive… until today.

Today, a day after doing an 82 mile run with the club, I attempted this segment again, and beat it and not by any small amount.

Coming in 44 seconds faster than my previous best time, I completed the 3.6 mile (4.1% ave grade) segment in 16 minutes and 54 seconds.

My Quest for Sight


I’ve enjoyed 20/20 vision thanks to a set of old reliable gas permeable lenses that I’ve been wearing for many many years.  Recently, however, they have been less and less comfortable especially considering the long bicycle rides I’ve been doing.

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