I decided a little while ago that I would be temporarily ending my bike trip, for a couple of reasons. Originally I was going to be working in Florida for the winter, but that fell through. The company wasn't able to figure out if they could insure me or not, since their insurance company never responded to more than a month of calls and emails.
Ending the trip is a bit more complicated than I had originally thought. I had to figure out where I was going to end it, try to set up a warmshowers host, tear apart and box up the bike, and buy a greyhound ticket. Boxing up the bike was definitely the most complicated part of the process.
I ended up deciding on Roswell NM partly because of the greyhound schedules and partly because of warmshowers. If I had ended the trip in Carlsbad it would have meant an extra day on the bus, since the first bus schedule would have taken me back to El Paso, then a roundabout route from there. Instead, I can go more directly from Roswell, and save myself that extra day.
Then came the dilemma of the bike. I figured that any bike shop would be able to supply a bike box, so I wasn't too worried about that aspect. However, when I got into town there was only one small bike repair shop, and they were closed. It seemed likely that they wouldn't have a box anyways, given the type of shop.
I tried behind a Sears, but all of their cardboard was crushed right away, so I went to the dumpsters next door behind a family dollar. Their cardboard wasn't crushed, but it was smaller boxes than I would have liked, but I would have to make due. I ended up grabbing a couple of bigger boxes and tying them on the back of the bike.
Fortunately when I got to my warmshowers host she had planned ahead a bit, since I had emailed that I was hoping to box up the bike. My host had saved several boxes, including a wheel box left behind by previous bikers when they had ordered a new wheel online. Probably the best part though was that her neighbor was visiting her, and mentioned that she had just gotten a mattress, and still had half of the box left over.
I ended up using the mattress box, plenty of packing tape, and a bit of rope to keep the box together. It wasn't a perfect packing job, but after taking the bike all apart the box fit relatively well. The torn apart bike was all taped together, in hopes of reducing damage from greyhound baggage handlers.
And the next morning was a perfect ending to the trip. I had avoided snow the entire trip, and on the last morning I woke up to a wonderful view: