State 9 – Indiana

July 5, 2019

Corvin and I set off on a long weekend trip to unicycle a few states. Our first state for this trip and our ninth completed state of the trip is Indiana. We drove through a massive thunderstorm with close lightning strikes on the way out. I was worried that we would have to ride in the rain.

Possibly more frustrating for me was that I  forgot the cell phone holder that screws on to the tripod. This was going to make getting photos of us at state signs more interesting. I didn’t fully edit the photo below because I wanted you to see the white at the bottom. I put my cell phone under the windshield wiper arm to hold it in place. Then with my van holding the phone in place, I started the timer and ran back to the sign!

We picked the French Island Trail in Newburgh, IN as our location to unicycle. It was going to be right next to the Ohio river and a lock and dam. Generally trails near rivers are flat and easier to ride. It would be a great warmup for this trip. The trail turned out to be not quite flat, but easy enough for us to ride. Its worth noting that I was using a new unicycle for this trip. After the first 8 states, I decided to upgrade. I find my Coker 36″ (The Big One) unicycle a bit too large. I have issues mounting in and hills are very tough with it.

I follow the Facebook group “Unicycle Chat” and many people spoke highly of the 32″ unicycle as the best of 29″ and 36″ ownership. I went to my favorite unicycle place, Unicycle.com and ordered my UDC Titan 32″ unicycle just for this trip. This isn’t the place for a full review, but I’ve been nothing but satisfied with this unicycle! Its good enough, I wonder if I’ll ever ride my 36″ again!

Here is a shot of Corvin and I doing our best to get quality video shots of our ride. Editing of videos starting from the first state should start in the next month.

While we were out riding, we noticed a father and son with a very nice DSLR camera obviously taking our photo. We don’t mind. On the ride back to the start, we saw them again and stopped. We had a fantastic talk with Evan Ref and his dad. I’m still holding out hope he will email me a photo that he shot. Either way, we got Evan to try a unicycle and he was almost good at it. Definitely an athlete. Here are two photographs from Evan. You can see a huge difference in quality!

Here is another shot on our way back before a long hill so I could still smile.

Corvin’s journal entry

Our Strava entry.

Our map of completed states.

Stats:
Total Trip Miles: 40.07
Total Moving Time: 8h 25m 41s
Total Elevation Change: 1229 feet
Total Hogan UPD: 7
Total Corvin UPD: 2

Hogan Haake

 

State 8 – Colorado

June 11, 2019

Colorado, home of the Rocky Mountains, and our lowest elevation change yet! This was also the last full state we would unicycle on this family vacation, getting the American southwest taken care of.

We wanted to camp near the Great Sand Dunes. National Park & Preserve Colorado. They are the tallest sand dunes in North America. Its hard to state just how vast the sand is. Our plan was simple. We were camped at Sand Dunes Swimming Pool and RV Park. Danelle was going to drive us out on the highway and we would ride back to our campsite. Unfortunately, we learned that one of the roads we were going to ride was gravel. We had enough gravel back in California with Mustard Cannon and decided it was best to re-route.This put us out on Colorado highway 17. It isn’t a huge highway, but it is a 65 mph speed limit and the largest highway around. Add that to the fact that sunset was upon us and Danelle wasn’t excited about our plan.

Fortunately for us, I had a flashing red light in my bag that helped identify us to oncoming traffic. With the light, Danelle reluctantly left us to start our ride. Being out on the larger highway had a benefit, we were near a UFO watchtower. We of course rode over and met Lucas Fox. He got photos and video of us riding on the highway and coming into the watchtower. If you’re into the UFO stuff, its cool, otherwise it all seems silly. I think our 7 feet of elevation change on this ride came strictly from climbing up the tower. Boy was it flat out here!

Even UFOs ride unicycles!

Corvin also comes in peace.

Talking with Lucas on top of the watchtower. We even got him to try the unicycle up there.

An epic sunset shared between father and son!

Corvin’s journal entry

Our Strava entry.

Our map of completed states.

Stats:
Total Trip Miles: 34.6
Total Moving Time: 7h 26m 36s
Total Elevation Change: 1,055 feet
Total Hogan UPD: 7
Total Corvin UPD: 2

Hogan Haake

State 7 – Utah

June 10, 2019

We were going to ride in Arches National Park. You may not have realized this, but if you’ve seen a current Utah license plate, a likeness of Delicate Arch is depicted on the license plate. After some careful planning and reviewing the elevation on Google Earth, we found a reasonable stretch to unicycle. It would provide all the views and be easy enough for me to ride. I’m pretty sure Corvin could ride any of it! I got a picture of the map to ensure that I would only get partially lost.

We topped off our water bag before we left as we expected this to be a hot ride.

We also ensured that our tires had enough pressure. Its hard to see the tiny air pump that I keep in my water bag. It does do a passable job and I’ve even used it on car tires in a pinch!

We were blessed to have Danelle and Sonora following us in the van. They took some fantastic photos and video of us.

We’re like two ducks in a row. Often cars don’t realize we’re on unicycles when riding like this till they are almost past us.

Nope, we’re not off the road. I love this shot cause the road is hidden, but I promise we’re still on it.

If you want a feel of what is like to ride

Possibly even better than the ride was the interaction we had with Brian and his wife Barbara after the ride. They happened to pull into the parking spot next to our van and saw us right as we finished our ride. We had a wonderful discussion about our unicycle project and what Corvin and I were doing. We even got Brian to try out a unicycle!

Brian talked about his retirement and how he and Barbara travel around the country. It sounds like a pretty awesome time and we’re impressed with how active they are!

Corvin’s journal entry

Our Strava entry.

Our map of completed states.

Stats:
Total Trip Miles: 29.05
Total Moving Time: 6h 21m 36s
Total Elevation Change: 1,048 feet
Total Hogan UPD: 7
Total Corvin UPD: 2

Hogan Haake

State 6 – Nevada

June 8, 2019

Our next stop was the state of Nevada and specifically, Sin City (Las Vegas).

Corvin and I wanted to do something iconic, so we settled for the Las Vegas strip. We had a hotel on the strip.  Before we got there, we agreed that we would unicycle first thing in the morning to avoid the crowds. That was a fantastic idea as the crowds were insane in the evening and would have provided little room on the sidewalks or street.

In the morning, there were still an eccentric collection of people out and about. However, we had the sidewalk and a small amount of street riding to ourselves. Mostly city workers cleaning up after an evening’s activities.

On the south end of the strip is the iconic sign for the city. There was a line of people there getting photos early in the morning. They were amused by us riding up and we had plenty of time to get our own photo. The green “grass” in the background is actually artificial turf. It makes sense as it looks good and doesn’t need maintenance.

After our ride, Corvin started working on recording our statistics.

Corvin’s journal entry

Our Strava entry.

Our map of completed states.

Stats:
Total Trip Miles: 24.35
Total Moving Time: 5h 25m 55s
Total Elevation Change: 876 feet
Total Hogan UPD: 7
Total Corvin UPD: 2

Hogan Haake

State 5 – California

June 7, 2019

One day after the Grand Canyon, we came to California.

Or if you want to see it in motion…

We still had more elevation to drop before we started riding.

The plan was to unicycle in Death Valley. We knew it was going to be hot, so we got there as early as we could to avoid the heat. Danelle helped us find a route that didn’t have too many elevation changes. Plus with a name like “Mustard Canyon”, it had to be awesome. She and Sonora dropped us off at the trailhead. We looked around the Harmony Borax Works for a bit and then decided to take off. Its worth noting here that the day before, we were uni-cycling Arizona around 8,700 feet of elevation. Today, we would be riding at -250 feet of elevation. I had no excuses for having enough oxygen if we did come across a hill.

The ride was much harder than we expected. Mustard Canyon Drive is one way and quickly turns from packed gravel to loose gravel. Fortunately for Corvin and I, it isn’t super long. While we walked the road that I wasn’t able to unicycle on, the views were spectacular! Eventually, we got back out to Highway 190. From there, we rode away from the Furnace Valley Visitor’s center to get some video on the rolling hills. After a bit of video, we had to ride into 30 mph headwinds back to the visitor’s center where Danelle and Sonora were waiting for us to finish riding.

Its worth mentioning here for a second that we had two different unicycles with us. For the first 8 states, we had a 24″ unicycle I bought from my brother, and a 29″ that used to be my primary unicycle. The seat on the 24″ wasn’t very good and the wheel wasn’t true, so it was a bit of a challenge to ride. Lucky for me, Corvin spent most of his riding on the 24, but we did trade off.

Unfortunately for me, one of the trades was into the wind headed back to the visitor’s center. Corvin took off, but it was only fair.

Corvin’s journal entry

Our Strava entry.

Our map of completed states.

Stats:
Total Trip Miles: 19.84
Total Moving Time: 4h 31m 01s
Total Elevation Change: 813 feet
Total Hogan UPD: 5
Total Corvin UPD: 1

Hogan Haake