14degrees off the beaten track
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March 17th, 2008 | categorizilation: all categories,USA (Arizona)

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Today’s distance / ???????: 48 miles / 77km
Average speed / ????: 7.4mph / 11.9km/h
Time on skateboard / ????: 6h 26m
Total skateboarding distance to date / ????????????: 3541mi plus 280mi (?) / 5700km plus 450km (?)
Ascent / ??: 1120m
Descent / ??: 550m
End-of-day GPS coordinates: N33.21.15.8, W110.58.48.2

Don’t be fooled. In this part of the country, anything over 4,000 feet (1,200m) is really high. Like Top of The World high, as the community on the top of the pass between Globe and Superior call it.

So today I continued through the San Carlos Indian Reservation dodging hail storms. Chilly, t’was. The photo below was the last photo I took today on my Canon G9 camera:

Indian road in the San Carlos Indian Reservation near Peridot, Arizona, USA

Soon after, I dropped the jolly thing. Onto the road. Clunk. Turned it on. By its own accord, the lens zoomed waaaaay out to its full extension, stopped, beeped at me, and shut off, giving the error message Lens error, please restart camera. Hmmm. Lens error. You don’t say. I tried to restart the camera, but the lens just stayed zoomed out. Not pretty. Not a happy chappy, I wasn’t.

No matter what I did, the camera didn’t return to normal. I spent the goo part of 30 minutes trying different things. In the end I gave up, despondent. I really quite like taking photos, as you may have noticed. So I was gutted.

I began skating, and tried to think of what to do. It’s a jolly good camera. At least, it was. And I hope it will be again. I visited the public library in Superior to see if I could find a camera repair outfit in Phoenix that might be able to fix the camera for me. In the end, I ended up shipping the camera ahead of me to C.R.I.S. Camera in Chandler, a city that makes up part of the great seething metropolis that is the Phoenix area. C.R.I.S. Camera was confident they could give me an idea of what will need to be done to make the camera useable again.

So it’s all up in the air until I hear back from the repair place. Until then, I am taking photos on a disposable film camera. That should be a laugh.

By the way, today I skated uphill more than I ever have before. 1120m, or about 4,800 feet, for those who are still fond of overly complex systems of measurement. That’s only 500m or so off the most I ever climbed on the bicycle (Amasra, Turkey). Madness.

I camped at the top of the world, and hoped it wouldn’t get too cold way up there…

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    Permanent Link     Comments (16)

Comment by Aunty Jenny — March 21, 2008 @ 12:32 pm | post a comment

Bad luck about the camera! Nigel and I have been in Queenstown recently and while we were there, I went out and about taking some photos. Unfortunately, I didn’t look where I was going and tripped over a judder bar and fell flat on my face and winded myself for about 30 mins! I had my good camera slung over my shoulder at the time, and it went smack onto the pavement! the amazing thing was that it didn’t even get a scratch! Either on the lens or the camera body.! I guess it was just bad luck for your camera. Probably hit the ground the wrong way. Hope it can be repaired cheaper than having to buy a new one. Those throw away cameras can take reasonably good photos … only trouble is, you have to get the film developed!

Comment by Mum — March 21, 2008 @ 5:54 pm | post a comment

Hmm. Cold? Didn't you get rid of all your 'cold weather' gear?

Comment by Mum — March 21, 2008 @ 5:56 pm | post a comment

By the way, sorry about your camera. You should have kept your old one for emergencies. Good luck with the disposable film.

Comment by Cornell — March 22, 2008 @ 12:14 am | post a comment


Yikes! Too bad about the G9 and hopefully it can be repaired. I recently bought a G9 and love that camera. I use it taking photos on while on my recumbent trike. I have been deathly afraid of dropping it so I have a lanyard on one of the eyelets and then around my neck. It then fits in my side jacket pocket when not in use and can’t stray too far. Works great and is a lot better than the Canon strap that comes with it.

Still following your journey. Take care.

Comment by mahmoud — March 22, 2008 @ 1:52 am | post a comment

so sad. … so sad.

Comment by Bram van Uden — March 22, 2008 @ 4:31 am | post a comment

Hi Rob,

What a pity that your camera dropped. We love your daily pictures, so sincerely hope it can be repaired. Can you write something about your downhills in your next report, I'm interesting to know how steep the downhills are.

Take care, Bram, Bergschenhoek, Holland

Comment by Rob — March 22, 2008 @ 1:08 pm | post a comment

Gutted… I know how much you have bonded with that camera. Its like losing your eye. I just got my Canon G9 last week, after my last one got pick pocketed……and I love using it. I’m sure it can be fixed. One thing you could get, which is what I’m going to get for mine, is the adaptor for lenses. This will bascially act as a sheath when the lens is fully extended, and would protect it should it fall. The whole setup wont slip in your pocket so easily but still……. or the old camera on a bit of string seems a good option too……

Back to old school film for now. … Nice dasiy shot by the way.

Comment by Aunty Jenny — March 23, 2008 @ 3:43 pm | post a comment

Yes! I thought your daisy photos were great!!! You have turned out some amazing photos during your trip. I'm really looking forward to the book once you publish?!!!

Comment by Shryl — March 23, 2008 @ 10:04 pm | post a comment

Hi Rob,

Your pictures are amazing and your journey to parts unknown is a true inspiration. All the best with the rest of the journey.

Take care,

Shryl Francisco, Richmond Hill, ON, Canada

Comment by Jeremy Wright — March 24, 2008 @ 6:02 pm | post a comment

hey Big daddy we were talking about you tonite thinking about ya ,so we all went to your website and I had to send a missive from us folks here,

yeah mon well done and all that,sorry about camera hope ya get it fixed,my immediate thought was to fedex one to you and then I thought do I have a spare ( we collect them here on the beach,plus towels sunglasses left footed flip flops,go aheads or jangles etc,what happened to the rights I say. Only the lefts seem to float in…

Send a missive to Apple computer and pick up a free itouch in Cupertino on arrival eh ?

Keep in touch.make sure you come back one day dude.

jeremy and all the gals in the kitchen and all the friends and cool perps here.
just had a wicked Full Moon,the previous one was great too with a complete Lunar eclipse on time at 9-10pm,perfect. Also massive swells rocking the beaches,jah lurve,keep the focus, as you will.

I wrote this not long ago cannot remember when take it as you will


We see and enjoy the sights

or what they be

signals of light and sound tell us

subtle differences of life

as we drop and sequence

we suddenly realise what

are we doing here ?

Trying to understand

a period piece,I

know, not then, its now.

haha,such recollection.

makes me young,

such is life I think

as we think

tis fun to try this life

there's more for those

who dare…….

Written by Jeremy some-time, in the BVI.

Suitably spacey poem for you, hope it inspires you,I like the "drop and sequence" line as its you doing your ting.

Comment by Aunty Les — March 25, 2008 @ 3:12 pm | post a comment

So, no more great photos of Arizona? Really sorry about the camera. I trust this mishap is not for first in a line of camera mishaps such as you had on your cycle tour on the Pamir Highway.

Comment by Bill & Gerry Mye — March 26, 2008 @ 3:53 pm | post a comment

Met Rob near Buckeye, AZ. We are on bicycles headed for San Diego, LA, Death Valley, Grand Canyon, and Back to Phoenix. Camped two nights with Rob in Hope, AZ and Quartzite, AZ. We had a great time swoping stories. Last we saw him was in Palo Verde, CA. He was headed for Glamis, CA and then Brawley, CA.

Comment by Bill & Gerry Mye — March 26, 2008 @ 3:54 pm | post a comment

Met Rob near Buckeye, AZ. We are on bicycles headed for San Diego, LA, Death Valley, Grand Canyon, and Back to Phoenix. Camped two nights with Rob in Hope, AZ and Quartzite, AZ. We had a great time swapping stories. Last we saw him was in Palo Verde, CA. He was headed for Glamis, CA and then Brawley, CA.

Comment by Jan — March 27, 2008 @ 8:37 pm | post a comment

I'm in Tucson if you come this way, let me know and I'll buy you a beer! Heard about you from your buddy, Bam, on Wickefire(affiliate marketing forum)

Comment by keith and mary — March 29, 2008 @ 5:09 pm | post a comment

hey rob, wow, sorry about the camera – at least you dropped it after you left here or you wouldn't have those great pics of us – you should see me now – shaved my head,face, and moustache – mary just looks at me and laughs – friends say I look 15 years younger – CAT says hello too – been busy fighting some "hot" fires – one of 500 acres at MM61 by gage gas station

keep on truckin'

mary and keith

Comment by kathy o — March 30, 2008 @ 1:11 pm | post a comment


I'm so sorry about your camera; I hope by now it's fixed and you are back taking more excellent photos. Can I assume that you have by-passed San Diego? I know your time line is

"squeezed" now, but if you need anything in the San Diego area, get in touch.

I wish you continued great adventures and good journeys.

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