Sunday, November 9, 2014

Nov 9 (Day 313) - Making miles east, plan for Sprague's pipit in 2 days, what's NOT in the blog

The strong east winds finally subsided enough today for me to cover the 75 miles from Wilcox, AZ to Lordsburg, NM. I am actually staying at the Best Western "Western Skies Inn" tonight. This represents my second stay here as I spent the night at May 14 on this same property! I will be riding over much familiar ground these next few weeks, so it's nice to know that there are some friendly Best Western way stations along the route. 

Have to use car mode since Google d/n want to let me bike 
on I-10 even though it's safe and legal.

Tomorrow I should have a strong tailwind to push me the 60 miles to Demming, NM. Tuesday should also bring tailwinds to push the 65 miles to Las Cruces. Some might wonder why I don't put the hammer down and ride the full, relatively flat 125 miles to Las Cruces tomorrow as this would save me a full day. The answer is tires. I have been on these same tires for over 5,000 miles now and they are probably due to be replaced. There is nothing wrong with them at the moment, but I want to sort this out before I enter the bicycle wasteland that is West Texas. I am having tires sent to a host's house in Las Cruces, and these are scheduled to arrive on Tuesday. Thus, even if I raced all the way to Las Cruces tomorrow, I couldn't leave town until Wednesday morning anyway. I would rather have 2 very well balanced days of ~60 easy miles than a tough day of 125 followed by an off day. My body does best when it can get into a consistent groove. The two day approach will also give me the chance to look for Sprague's pipit at a fairly reliable spot along the way on day 2. Yes, this is a species I can see in Texas, but it will be nice to have at least minimal birding to break up what is an incredible long stretch of riding. It will also hopefully help generate bird content for the blog!

This blog has generally functioned as a daily account of my travels and birding. Although the story does change as I move along my route, the format of "this is what happened today" has not. There are several reasons for this. First, and the most superficial, is that I am so tired at the end of the day that I just want to get the account of the day written without too much meditation. Second, I want to keep the blog relatively fluffy so that readers so enjoy it without too much mental exertion on their ends. This is not to say that I think my readers are morons, but I realize that many of you read this blog right when you wake up, or at different points in your day when your busy schedules are fortunate enough to spare you the time. Keeping it quick and simple ensures people can get through it each day. Third, I want to hold some material back for what I hope will be a book when all of this is finally done. For instance, I could write about how I initially discovered birding, and how the interest has ebbed and flowed over my life. However, I think this will be much better dissected and explained in the longer format of a book. I think I have some really good ideas for a book, and few few of them center on looking for birds (although that will certainly be a part of it). 

Quickly, most of what I think about on the bike centers on how the machine that is America continues running despite so much irrational and self-destructive thinking and policy at the individual and governmental levels. If I were to discuss any of my thoughts on any aspect of this, it would surely engender the type of political discussions I am trying to avoid this year. I will say that I often wonder if I could replicate the novelty, success, and enthusiasm for this project at a level far greater than Biking for Birds. Would it be possible to formulate bigger, seemingly more impossible ideas and projects to challenge the ways that we currently do many things?  Would it be possible, for example, to convince people to shun the consumer culture that started in the US and now plagues billions beyond it? Could a project be conceived to dent the single largest problem in this country, campaign financing, from outside the system? I do not have precise answers to these types of questions, but it is on topics such as these that I mentally masticate every day. For the time being though, I'm going to keep most of what's in my head locked safely away. 


  1. Hey Dorian, along those lines, I'd like to see a film review of Idiocracy appear on this blog at some point. -Dave

  2. Hi Dorian. Just wondering if this book will be an e-book or on paper, curious how that fits with the green philosophy talked about on this blog? Keep up the good work and enjoy the rest of the year - Chris.

  3. I too like the sound of the book, having so enjoyed your blog entries these many months. But what makes those compelling is your quest, your effort, and your birding experiences, with the welcome coloring of your own temperament, emotions and interests along the way. The wider critique you seem to have in view of consumer culture and the carbon economy seems a much more familiar subject and far less likely to be distinctive in your treatment of it. (Likewise, there are very many citizens, and pundits too, who denounce the insanity of American campaign financing.) My hope is that you can write a book about your prodigious personal effort here, sometimes ably abetted by those nearest to you, and by further friends and acquaintance met along the way. That's distinctive. The social and political aspects matter. But how to go from private to public questions without just entering into familiar truths -- familiar at least to most of those who will read such a book -- will test your wisdom to the full. Sheer effort may not translate as valuably there.

  4. Agree with anonymous. People will read your book (like this blog) if you keep it about biking for birds, which is the unique thing you're doing. Insert too much meta-rant, and it's going to be a widespread turn-off because people will either already agree with you or already disagree with you, you're certainly not going to change anybody's mind. I think you already understand this with the blog.

  5. Anonymous at 2:02 PM Agree[s] with anonymous... ummm, all 3 Anonymous? Sorry, couldn't resist.

    Anonymous at 4:46 AM (aka Chris) confused me. Forestry products are generally considered a renewable resource so... is it electronics and batteries (the e-book) that is anathema to a "green philosophy"? Everyone knows, I believe, that it takes energy to make bicycles and tires and such so I suppose you could say bicycling isn't all that green... but most people wouldn't. Again, maybe I'm just confused and didn't understand the question.

    Anyway, I'm all for all your musings Dorian. Yes you're biking, and yes you're birding, but you're also doing much more and I think that should be included. It's what you're experiencing and how that is directly impacting you. Why don't Americans embrace conservation? I don't know, makes no sense to me. Although I know that if you do practice conservation you are penalized - from energy and water use to disposal of garbage, you typically pay more for using less. Regardless, write it all up.

    I personally believe the birding community willfully ignores conservation or lack thereof. Whether it is a Big Day or Big Years and the resources expended on such efforts, or Life Listing and ferreting (I was going to say hounding) out rarities at great expense and few willing to go home empty-handed, I think the birds take a backseat and many are not willing to address or face the unsavory side of birding. (I guess I should add the unsavory side of America; I believe most Americans somehow equate consumerism and capitalism with freedom and democracy - it's like if you can't buy energy wasting light bulbs or waste as much water as humanly possible then you are Un-American... how did we ever get to that point?)