Sunday, March 4, 2012

We're Here!

Sorry it took us so long to update the blog!  Drew and I got to San Diego and we were very busy trying to find an apartment and get settled in.  Last time we updated you all, we were in Imperial, CA.  So we left Imperial and knew that we had a tough and long day ahead of us.  There is a huge mountain pass to go through in order to get to San Diego, and you have to ride on I-8 for some parts.  The climb is so steep and so long that there are even giant buckets of water for people to cool off their car radiators!  It wasn't a hot enough day for anyone to need the water though- it was actually really really cold!  Once you get up to the mountain passes, it's nearly freezing and the winds range from 40-60mph gusts every day.  Drew and I were freezing even after all of the climbing, and the wind was terrible.  But we were so motivated to get to San Diego that we just kept on pushing.  We stopped for lunch at this mountaintop little cafe and got massive orders of pancakes and breakfast burritos, which we destroyed.  Our waiter looked shocked until we told her where we came from and where we were heading to.  It's awesome that we're in California now because it makes telling the trip to anyone that much cooler.  So after warming up and re-fueling at the restaurant, we went back out into the cold and wind and kept on climbing.  The scariest part of climbing up a mountain pass in extremely windy weather is knowing that you have to all the way back DOWN the mountain.  Triathlon bikes are horrible when it comes to wind, and getting pushed around while speeding downhill and having the trailer pushing you does not make for an easy ride.  Then we had to get on I-8 for a while, which again does not do anything great for the nerves.  Fortunately we got to Lakeside, CA in one piece (albeit one cold piece).  We stayed with our last warm showers hosts, Dennis and Julie, and they were both very nice and told us right away that we were invited to stay as long as we wanted.  We had a great dinner with them and Dennis told us a better route to get to Ocean Beach for the last leg of our trip the next morning.  We were going to see the Pacific Ocean tomorrow! 
We woke up that next morning to the sound of Dennis' assortment of chickens, goats, turkeys, and roosters, and we were both feeling strange about this being our last day of the bike trip.  It seemed like the trip went by so fast, but at the same time we could remember each day in such vivid detail I felt like I could re-live each day in my mind.  When we were talking and laughing about certain days of the trip, putting them all together made me realize how long we have been on the road and how far we have come.  Heading out and knowing that this was going to be the last day of our trip was really strange.  It was sad to know that it was over, but at the same time I was relieved to know that we did it and finished the trip safe and sound.  No more living by maps; no more living each day having no clue what was in store; no more ending each day knowing that the only way you got there was by the two wheels underneath you.  I was so excited to see the beach and ocean ahead of me, but at the same time I was surprised at how sad I was that this trip was over.  Drew and I had someone at the beach take a picture of Drew and me with our bikes on the shore, and then we headed back to Dennis' house with the weird feeling that only occurs at the end of an amazing journey.
Dennis and Julie were kind enough to let us crash at their house for a few days while we looked in Oceanside for apartments to move into.  We were so close to buying a sailboat that we could live in, but the wait list to get a live-aboard permit was 5 years!  So our dreams of living on a boat were put on hold, but luckily we found a great apartment only 5 blocks from the beach, 5 minutes (on a bike) from a pool, and walking distance from the downtown area.  The apartment has lots of room so anyone who wants to visit is more than welcome! 
I want to thank everyone who kept us in their prayers during our trip.  The fact that Drew and I made it across the country without injury or accident is enough evidence that we had a lot of people thinking about us.  We appreciate all of the love and support we had on the way, and to everyone back home and to all of our new friends we met along the way: we love and miss you all.
Take care,


Saturday, February 18, 2012

Almost done!!!!

We are officially in California! It was so nice to finally cross the border. the computer i am using does not have shift capability so i will be typing in all lower case. i think last time i updated we were still in tucson. so here is what has happened since we left tucson. on monday we did another loop in the cactus forest in saguaro national park. i can't get enough of that thing. natalie and i both loved riding through there and just looking at all the cool desert plants.  i would love to have that route literally in my backyard. spencer and his wife stephanie were awesome to us all week we were there and made sure that we had an awesome time. it was nice to stay in the same place for a while and relax with friends who are more family than they are friends.  although we love staying with strangers it is so nice to be able to see a familiar face in the middle of AZ. on tuesday we hitched a ride with stephanie to go back on our route. she was doing business in phoenix so we were able to ride with her and get back on our original route out to san diego. we rode along the canal in phoenix which was very fun. the bike path on the canal even goes under the roadways so you don't have to cross any traffic. that was about the only thing we liked about phoenix. i had never been before and didn't know much what to expect. i wasn't impressed by what i saw. all of the cool stuff i like about tucson, phoenix lacks. it is a lot of concrete and buildings and very little outdoor space compared with tucson. tucson seems to be built around its natural surroundings and it is a much prettier city in my opinion. phoenix is also just way too big. it sprawls on for what seems like forever. it took us almost two hours to bike through the city. that bike path was huge though because it saved us having to go through traffic. after we left phoenix we went on to wickenberg, az. wickenberg was kind of cool. it was an old mining town that still looks like the old west. had a pretty cool downtown. we ended up staying at an rv park there that was pretty decent. they had a nice rec room where we could make dinner at least. it was warm in there too. pretty cold outside still. temps in the 50s today and it rained on us a little bit coming into town. also a random dust storm happened out of nowhere. i tried to take pictures of it but it was kind of hard to do. we were eating dinner and all of these elderly folk kept pouring in. we were wondering what was going on and then got invited to play bingo. grand prize was a whopping four dollars. we politely declined. the next day we woke up to 25 degree temps. we were wondering what the hell is going on. arizona has been pretty cold so far. from wickenberg we went to on to salome. a good 60 mile ride or so from wickenberg. it was another kind of cold day outside. we opted to stay in a motel that night that had been recommended to us (good call too; it started to rain as soon as we got there. and its only our fourth motel of the whole trip). the owner talked us into it when he told us about the tempurpedic beds and the fireplace in the rooms. he had us sold and we slept so well that night. from salome we rode onto blythe. bylthe is in california!! we were so excited to cross into CA. also, it was a beautiful day out so the riding was excellent. we stayed at a pretty atypical place in blythe. we found wayne on warmshowers. he owned a baitshop and had a spare room in back that he let us stay in. he offered us some beer as soon as we came up on our bikes. they were an awesome crew there. there were about 10 people over the age of 60 all slamming beers at this place and chain-smoking cigs. natalie and i joined them for some beers. they all had some pretty funny stories. some of them were telling us they didn't intend on even coming there and had seven beers crushed under their chairs. i had to laugh. wayne was so awesome though. he offered us any food that he had in the bait store. they also ordered pizza for us later that night. we had a pretty sweet barrel fire as well that kept natalie warm. from blythe we called troy (who we stayed with in globe, az). he told us to call him when we got close to glamis and he would set us up with a dune ride there. i gave him a call and he was happy to set us up with his friend, joe fab, in glamis. i will let natalie tell the rest of the story on to glamis. it gets pretty insane.


how to even begin to explain glamis... so we left blythe and everyone at the bait shop warned us about the horrible road that we had to take into glamis.  there is only one road, and we didn't have a choice of going any other way.  78-west is probably the worst road we have been on this whole trip.  there is no shoulder and it is a very narrow road.  unfortunately our timing was not great either because we were heading into glamis on a friday before a long weekend.  everyone and their brother was going to glamis and bringing their rv, truck trailer, and cars with them.  getting passed on a narrow road (with no shoulder) by an rv pulling a trailer and a car is not fun at all.  so after 65 miles of far too many near death experiences, we got into glamis.  needless to say, we got there in record time.  we were peddling like mad.  we got into glamis and we saw the glamis beach store, which is the only store in glamis.  glamis is not really a town, it's just a store in the middle of the sand dunes.  it was so wild biking into glamis and seeing the huge sand dunes from so far away.  so we get into the store and we see everyone coming into the area with their huge rvs and sand buggies.  its so loud!  unfortunately we had just finished a major ride and what we really wanted was a nice quiet place to de-stress and mentally get back into it.  nope.  got into glamis and there were tens of thousands of people riding all their sand toys around.  obviously drew and i did not fit into the regular crowd there, since we were the only people there who looked healthy and sober.  people were shocked and amazed that we had biked there from florida, and we were shocked and amazed that they were so many beers in and still driving their giant atvs around.  we even saw a couple driving a dune buggy with a baby seat in the back.  whole different world here.  drew and i got a pizza at the glamis store for dinner and we got more of our regular stares and "where are you from?" looks.  some 50 year old drunk guy kept hitting on me.  gross.  the cool thing about this whole cultural lesson was that we got to stay with joe fab, who is basically the king of glamis.   joe fab builds these insane trucks and dune buggies, and he also fixes all the sand toys that people break while driving around drunk all day.  joe fab is this awesome character who has a bleach blonde mullet and a great personality to match.  he told us all of these great stories that had us laughing all night.  he even sells dune buggies to royalty in dubai, india!  joe fab also gave us a test ride in his truck, and it was amazing.  you can look up some of his regular tricks on youtube under "sand limo by joe fab".  after an exhilarating ride on the dunes from joe early in the morning (while everyone else is sleeping off their hangovers), drew and i hit the road.  we were really ready to get out of glamis.  after another stressful day of riding with more bad roads and traffic, we got into imperial, ca.  we were so happy to be with a warmshowers host!  we just chilled in his backyard and enjoyed the sun and the quiet for hours and it flew by.  then we watched a movie and had some dinner and now we're headed off to bed.  we're both still mentally exhausted from glamis, and we're both so happy to be so close to getting to san diego!
love and miss you all,


Saturday, February 11, 2012

Loving Tucson (and) Natalie!

We are still currently in Tucson. We are having a blast here and enjoying some awesome weather. It has been in the 70s since we have been here and sunny every day. It was supposed to rain one day but in typical Tucson fashion it didn't. We have been getting some rest in here. And by rest, I mean we are riding up 9,000 foot mountains just without the trailer and gear. Since we have been here we have ridden in Saguaro National Park. We did the cactus forest loop there. It is an eight mile loop that is pretty much like a roller coaster for your bike. It is way too much fun to ride. After each loop, even if you are tired, you want to do another one. There is a pretty good climb on the backside going into the foothills of the Rincon mountains which makes it an workout too! The next day (Thursday) we went to Sabino Canyon. This is a recreation area north of town. Awesome area to run and hike trails. We went on a trail called Blacketts ridge. It was an awesome hiking trail that gains somewhere around 2,000 feet. Its an ass-kicker of a climb. You gain the elevation in only 1.7 miles or so. The trail is pretty gnarly looking too. It is cut into the side of the mountain. There are no handrails or steps. They chose to cut strategic areas out of the rock to make for steps up. This makes the trail look really natural. You can barely tell its there if you didn't know. It's pretty much like doing lunges the entire way up. Our legs were pretty gassed at the top. Then, you also have to go down which we thought was worse. It just killed our legs. All we are used to doing is biking. We ate lunch at the top and fed our chipmunk-buddy who hung out with us for a while. We were joined by some lingerers who stayed a bit too long and made the top not so lonely anymore. There are a ton of trails and routes in this canyon. You could run/hike in here all week and not do the same one. It makes us realize what an awesome city Tucson is. You don't see too many lumpkin-type people around here. Its a very fit city and really there is no excuse not to be fit here. There is just way too much to do and the weather permits you to be outside year round. The next day Spencer and I went up to mile 9 on Mt. Lemmon and then back down. We did not want to go too far because we were going to ride to the top the next day. Natalie stayed back and went on a run. The next day (today (Saturday)) we went to the top of Mt. Lemmon. Very hard climb. Spencer and I have done it before but Natalie was a first-timer. She was a champ! She made it the whole way no problem with minimal complaining. Just kidding. She didn't complain at all. She made it look pretty good. She did not get passed by any girls and only a handful of guys passed us. Not too many cyclists go past mile 17 and we took it all the way to the top at mile 27. Mt. Lemmon tops out somewhere around 9,000 feet and change. That doesn't sound very high for the Colorado people but considering we left from somewhere around 2,500 feet it makes for a pretty good climb. Also makes for a long day. We got to the top and had a huge pizza and bottomless cup coffee. Very cold and windy at the top so this helped a lot. After that, we headed back down the long descent and went back to Spencer's house. The rest of the day was spent by the pool/hot tub relaxing in the sun. Really nice here today with temps somewhere around 75 and very sunny. We are all really tired and unsure of what we are doing tomorrow. We will be here until early next week when we will start heading toward San Diego. Everyone is doing well. Natalie is great and looking great! Getting lots of sun and good food here! I hear it beats the sub-zero weather in the midwest. Only about a week to San Diego once we leave here. We are getting pretty excited and can't wait to be there. We still have semi-homeless status though. Still need to find a place when we get there. Shouldn't be a problem though. Keep you updated.


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Globe, AZ to Tucson, AZ

So we left our host family in Safford, AZ after laying over a day to watch the Super Bowl.  It was an interesting cultural experience to watch the Super Bowl with a Mormon family, since they do not drink alcohol or coffee.  We got chastised for asking if anyone drank coffee in the morning, since Drew and I are both coffee addicts on this trip.  We both didn't realize that Mormons didn't drink coffee, so we got an apple cider/Tang concoction in the morning.  Definitely not the same "kick in the glass" as coffee.  The grandmother was cracking me up because during the Super Bowl, there are obviously about 5,000 beer commercials, and after each one she would say, "I just don't see the point in drinking beer and getting drunk!".  I would look at Drew and remember some of the times we have indulged in the heavenly barley pop and just laughed.  We were both glad that we decided not to pick up a 6-pack at the grocery store earlier that day.  Drew tried to defend us lowly beer drinkers and said, "sometimes I just like the taste of beer."  Also, it was funny to fast-forward through the half-time show because Madonna is much too promiscuous.  But our hosts were so incredibly nice and we thoroughly enjoyed staying with them and talking with them.  As is true with this entire trip, Drew and I are amazed with the wide range of people we meet and all the experiences we have.  I love it.
Anyways, we left Safford and knew we had a long biking day ahead of us.  We had about an 85-90 mile day to get to Globe, but luckily we had another host family and a warm place to stay to look forward to.  We started off with the wind at our back, so we soared for the first portion of the trip.  From Safford to Globe, you go through a massive Indian Reservation, and we had heard from a lot of people that we should peddle fast through "The Rez".  Since the reservation is not technically part of the US, we had heard that a regular consequence to rape and murder is an $800 fine.  So if we got hit by a car, we would be lucky to get $25 bucks.  We stopped at a gas station to pick up some chocolate milk for Drew, and it took him about 20 minutes to get through check out.  I was waiting outside and was seriously considering going in and checking on him, but all I heard when Drew finally came back was "it's just a different pace in there."  We got back on our bikes after a quick lunch, and got back on the road.  The bad thing about the roads on the reservation is that the shoulders on the road are terrible and full of broken glass, so you have to choose whether you want a flat tire, or risk your life riding on the road with the cars.  Fun times.  Some giant semi trucks and buses flew past us with only inches to spare.  We could have touched the cars with our elbows.  Needless to say, it was a scary and stressful ride to Globe.  But we finally got to Globe and met our new host family.
In Globe, our host family was super cool and made us an awesome dinner.  We stayed in their pool house, and even though they didn't have a bed it was a warm place to sleep, which is all I need!  Also, they wanted to show us their tandem touring bike in the garage, but the bike was quickly dismissed after Drew saw the family's two dune buggies in the garage.  These dune buggies were amazing and looked like way to much fun to be legal.  Our host told us about where the buggies were built, and even told us that he is good friends with the builder.  He said that the builder's shop is on our route, and that when we get there we should call him and he'd set us up for a free ride!  Drew hasn't been talking about anything else since.  Just kidding, but seriously, how cool is that?  We left Globe after another great stay and set off extremely excited about getting to Tucson.  We had about a 60 mile day, and our host, Spencer, even picked us up before we had to do a massive climb.  We arrived in sunny and beautiful Tucson and within minutes Drew and I were in the hot tub soaking our tired legs.  We are both so happy to be here and we have already had an amazing time visiting and laughing with Spencer and his wife, Stephanie.
New photos are up on facebook... more updates to come!


p.s. Another side note: we had another hilarious encounter on our trip that I HAVE to put on here.  After leaving our Mormon hosts in Safford, Drew and I sinned and went to Starbucks to feed our extreme caffeine addiction.  While sitting outside Starbucks (aka Hell), a man in sweats pushing a running stroller came up to us and asked us if we were biking through the country.  We said we were, and he told us that he was running/walking across the country.  His name was Peace, and he was walking across the country to spread love, art, and (of course) peace.  He was hilarious and we loved talking to him.  After almost everything we said, Peace responded "right on, man!"  Anyways, if anyone wants to follow Peace's blog, his address is
I'm checking that shit out right after I am done writing this.  I love all the characters we get to meet.
Needless to say, Drew has changed his name to "Unity."

Saturday, February 4, 2012

I thought Arizona was warm??

We finally made it into AZ, although I'm not quite sure we really wanted to leave NM. NM has been my favorite state by far. The scenery, weather, and people all combined to make it a wonderful state for us. Our hosts in El Paso were telling us it is one of their favorite states to ride through and I can see why now. We absolutely loved everything about it. It was a little cold at times but that is really the only thing I can find to complain about the state. I wish we could have spent more time in and seen more. Oh well, on to AZ. We crossed the AZ/NM border yesterday on our ride. We started the ride yesterday in Silver City, NM. We slept great that night at the B&B there. We woke up and had several pots of really strong coffee and watched the other guys on TV. It was a very relaxing morning. I always feel that I bike better that day if the morning is nice and calm and if I can start it with some caffeine. The weather was really good that day. It was a pretty steep climb out of Silver City but then most of the rest of the ride was downhill. These areas are really really desolate out here. There are no towns, stores, or cell phone service. You could forget you are in the states. Long, lonely roads surrounded by hills and mountains. We haven't seen that much wildlife, which could be a good thing. There are some things our here that we really don't want to see. The scenery was really awesome yesterday. We rode in the valleys of large mountains all day and had some rolling hills. I can't believe how long the roads here appear. They seem to stretch on forever. You can't even really see where they end. They roll and bend into the distance. We stopped and took a couple of breaks and ate out of the trailer since there were no food stops. We made sure to conserve water since we wouldn't be able to refill until the next day. We ended the day just over the AZ border in a USFS campground. We are entering the Apache wilderness. Wilderness camping last night. We may have been the only people for 20 miles in either direction which was kind of cool I thought. One of the quietest places I have ever been. From the time we set up camp we did not hear a sound. There was no wind, no people, no animals. Almost kind of eery. Natalie had a cold so she did not sleep well which meant I really didn't sleep that well either being in such close proximity to each other. I think this was our coldest night. Got down to 20 or below maybe since we were around 6,000 feet of altitude and we were in a valley (which tend to collect cool air). We were both so cold. I don't normally get that cold but I was freezing last night. Our water bottles were frozen solid when we awoke and they were sitting inside the tent! Tent was completely covered in frost. We started the ride this morning both of us shivering. We had a climb coming out of the valley which warmed us up quite a bit. We went through a pass with awesome views of all the mountain ranges around but it was still so cold. We went downhill for the next 20 miles then uphill for the next 10 and then downhill for the next 22 all the way to Safford. That was pretty nice but a little cold when you're not pedaling so hard. The roads were breathtaking. Winding switchbacks and really steep grades the whole way down. Going about as fast as the cars were. That is always fun! Ended up staying in Safford with a very nice host family. Spent the rest of the day inside just trying to warm up. They back up to Mt. Graham which is a behemoth of a mountain that rises out of the desert to 10,000 feet. Beautiful view right out of their backyard. I am told it is the largest elevation gain in the shortest amount of time in anywhere in the states. I can believe it looking at the mountain. A friend in Tucson recommended we ride it when we're here but looking at it now I just have to laugh. No way! We are exhausted and cold. Hopefully AZ will warm up on us. We are laying over a day here in Safford so we can watch the superbowl and then it will be on to Tucson. We should be there by Tuesday. Traveling to Globe on Monday. Pray for warmer weather. Its too cold here even for us northerners. Still having fun. Keep getting flats on the trailer though. Starting to bother me a bit. San Diego is getting closer though! Can't wait to be there. Internet is not fast enough to post pictures. Will do that later. Also will post pictures on a different website when I have time in Tucson so those w/o FB can view them.


Thursday, February 2, 2012

New Mexico is Awesome!

Yesterday was the best riding day of my entire life! We stayed overnight at a B&B in Kingston that cuts cyclists a deal. It was totally worth it. We debated staying outside but it got down to 26 degrees that night and they fed us very very well at the B&B. The breakfast was some of the best I have ever had and I can't remember ever eating that much either. Yesterday's ride included a 2,000 plus foot vertical climb in under eight miles. Very intense but also very fun. Awesome scenery and snow to check out the entire way up. Natalie pulled half way and I pulled the other half. There was an amazing lookout vista at the top (somewhere around 8200 feet). We had a snack up there and just were both in awe of the view. My pictures do not do it any sort of justice. We didn't want to leave but we knew we still had 40 miles to go until Silver City. We began our descent and tried to slow down our bikes on the way down because of all the tight switchbacks. We flew down the mountain and quickly cooled off. There were some rolling hills into Silver City which shattered our legs. A lot of climbing around here. We stayed with Carl last night in Pinos Altos. The street he lives on IS THE CONTINENTAL DIVIDE. So cool! Somewhere around 7100 feet of elevation and beautiful scenery. It is crazy around here. He is one of the organizers for the tour of the Gila. It is a very large, high quality race that is held right around silver city and pinos altos. Over the 5 day stage race they do close to 20,000 feet of climbing. It sounds very intense. Such names as Levi Leipheimer and Lance Armstrong show up to this race and it also boasts a pretty good international field as well. He was awesome to talk to about racing and riding in the area. He told us about a race called "Ride the Divide". This is a mountain bike race that follows the Continental Divide from Canada to Mexico. There is over 200,000 feet of climbing and the best guys finish in somewhere around 17 days. This is just insane. I have heard of hard races but absolutely nothing like this. This makes badwater, Ironman, Tour de France, etc. look easy in all seriousness. We watched the documentary with him and were just blown away. This guys are the gnarliest dudes on the planet in my opinion. Also, its unsupported, meaning they don't have anyone following them or providing them with water and food. They are all alone on this. Crazy! We went to an old western saloon last night for a beer that was built in 1865. The bar was really neat. He had an awesome dog that was a husky/chow mix and looked like a miniature bear. I didn't realize how much wildlife is in the area. He told us he sees black bears quite often and deer are everywhere. Just recently, one of his neighbors was killed by a mountain lion. Pretty scary stuff. He told us not to wander around at night. We definitely took his advice. Today we are taking a rest day. It was just a short ride to Silver City from Pinos Altos and it was all downhill. We are staying at another B&B that lets cyclists stay there for FREE! It is awesome how many cool places and people we have met on this ride. We are going to spend the day walking around and exploring this historic village. There is a really cool bike shop here and we need to stock up on groceries. It seems like a cool town. Its the largest establishment we have seen in a while. New Mexico is pretty small. Las Cruces is the second largest city at only around 90,000 people. I love this state so far. Weather has been good to us. Windy at times but not bad. Will be in AZ in two days probably. I will try and add pictures today too!


Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Getting High

We are pretty high up in the mountains of the black range here in NM. We had a pretty good climb today. A little over 2,000 feet in 30 miles. Tomorrow we will be climbing this same distance in only 8 miles. Ahhhhh! Pretty steep climbing tomorrow and lots of it. Hopefully will be ending in Silver City, NM. We are currently in Kingston, NM staying at a lodge here. It is extremely beautiful here with lots of mountains and snow. I think we are currently at around 6,500 feet. Natalie and I are both starting to feel the altitude. Someone from Colorado would probably make fun of us but we are coming from almost sea level in the midwest. I love the scenery here. The weather has been cooperating for us too. We left Las Cruces and traveled to Arrey that day. Stopped in Hatch (which I'm told is the chili capitol of the world) and got a green chili burger which was awesome. Also got chocolate milkshakes at this place. That day was relatively flat and we had a tailwind which allowed us to fly to Arrey in great time. We left Arrey this morning and headed toward Kingston. Pretty much a slow uphill climb the entire way there which was frustrating at times. Sometimes I prefer the steeper climbs to just get them out of the way. We are starting to see snow here which is pretty cool. I took lots of pictures but don't know if I can upload them here or not because the Internet is kind of slow. Last night was very cold and the coyotes kept us up most of the night. They were so loud! I could hear them through earplugs even. A little unnerving to hear that always. We have hiked some trails around this Kingston area too which are really beautiful.  Its funny though; we get out of breath just walking around here on the hills. Need to acclimatize a bit still. Tomorrow we will be passing over 8500 feet and going into Silver City. From there we are staying with a host in Pinos Altos. Then, we will make our way to Tucson. We are both excited to be getting further west. I love the topography and scenery that the southwest has to offer. Some people don't like how dry everything is but I think that Natalie and I both love it. I will try and update in Pinos Altos tomorrow if I can.