Excerpt from chapter 3; Learning:
"I can’t pedal anymore and I’m barely able to walk. My left achilles has become, well, as lame as it is, it’s become my Achilles heel. Swollen, fat, and hot to the touch, it feels like it’s going to snap at any moment. It doesn’t help that the road we’re ambling rubber revolutions down is washboard gravel, rutted deep, flat and slow. This - this right here - is mile after mile on the road from hell.
We’re less than 120 miles from the end of the Arizona Trail when I break it to Ben: I can’t go any further, I’m actually afraid that my achilles will break in half. I can see disappointment cloud his face, and also concern. The gravel road that we’re on is at least 15 miles from the nearest town, and over the last 5 hours of travel we’ve only seen two or three souls out here. For an hour or so I walk when it’s flat and coast when I can. Ben keeps pace. Rounding the next corner, and then the next, leads to a run-in with a biker (read motorcycle, not bicycle) who’s pulled over in a shady pullout. He’s leaning against his bike drinking cans of Budweiser. We’re chatting options with him and he’s offering us beers when we the sound of gravel crunching crescendos from around the corner, just before a white dodge ram comes hurtling around it. This is it, the only option, so we flag it down, ask the question, load my bike in the truck bed, and I hop in the cab and leave Ben peddling in the dust. My new ever-so-kind hosts graciously offer me Gatorade, and for the next 2 hours I embark on a new adventure: I’m now on a date with two 50+ year-old ex-cops from Tucson who love to geocache. Since leaving the Arizona/Utah border, this is the 5th time one of us has stuck out a thumb, and it’s the 5th time we’ve been picked up."