|Dates:||12 Mar 2013 - 26 Mar 2013|
A long day in transit. Emphasis on tran-"SIT"! It's given me ample time to finish my novel. Waiting for the last ferry to the sechelt peninsula. And true to form, it's running 15 minutes late. I ain't complaining though. Comes with the territory. Anyway... I hope the bus waits for all us tardy walk-offs. Next ones an hr later.
I can almost see my house from here.
Mean while in Edmonton... No that's not fine white sand! I had to go through customs then basically go through everything again. As if I was departing from here. Not just connecting. Perhaps because it was international to domestic?
Heading home. Traveling light. might regret it during my Edmonton connection. Really nice not to have to worry at all about my bike.
Cathedral city. 150kms, 592m gain. After Mecca, through a series of lefts and rights, west and north, we avoided busy 86, Thermal, Coachella, and most of Indio, and snuck in the back door . Sped through La Quinta, Indio, Palm Desert, Rancho Mirage, and into Cathedral City. Ken, having spent November here, and April too, knew his way around and made getting to our final destination a piece of cake. Enjoyed a fun evening with Ken, Heather and their kids.
A lazy start from Boreggo. Short climb out of the valley, and a fast descent back to 86. Now a straight run to Mecca Starbucks.
Anza Borrego Springs 124k, 527m gain. When after many long hot dehydrating ride days in a row, and a tummy full of Thai cuisine, you go to bed knowing that the next day is a mere 120kms with very little climbing and no set start time, you can't help but wake up smiling. Throw in a Starbucks minutes from the motel, then a fast exit route from the near non existent Sunday morning El Centro traffic and you've got the beginnings of a perfect ride day. A slight breeze that never became a headwind kept what would've been a sweltering 35 degree day bearable. A stop at the Blu-in for cheese burgers (where our two bacchettas amidst all the dune buggies, dirt bikes, ATVs etc attracted quite a lot of attention) staved off any hunger pangs. And descending into Borrego by 5pm, getting an awesome deal on a duplex unit, ($80cash for a $135plus tax unit) minutes walk from multiple diner choices, was pretty much the icing on the cake.
Exiting 86 north for 78 west. Through more sand dunes and on to Borrego Springs.
El Centro. 200kms, 560m gain. So glad we didn't stubbornly stick to our plan to ride north. The wind was steady and strong all day. Used it to our advantage to get into Yuma, then used it to tack west. Seemed to calm down this evening. Rode a long stretch with no services but we were prepared. Riding through the dunes was fun. The interstate itself wasn't so much. Crappy shoulder.once we got on 98 to calexico, things improved. Rode alongside lots of farmland today. Stopping for strawberries was a treat. So was the date shake in dateland yesterday. Got in before dark. Found mote6.
Yuma. What can I say... First good coffee in days and finally found some wifi. But just passing through.
40mph northerly has us initiating plan B. the toughest 13 miles of the trip. Ditching Quartzite for El Centro.
Planning to head north to Quartzite. This route bypasses Yuma.
Tacna 194k, 526m gain The "MOTEL" sign was sure a welcome beacon this evening. Even more so when we got close enough to see that the "open" and "vacancy" signs were lit up. The local restaurant had prime rib on for their Friday night special and that included the AYCE salad bar. Washed it all down with copious amounts of ice water to try and rehydrate. We had to ride the I-8 for 80k or so into the wind. Not that busy and bikes were allowed on it. The shoulder was mostly good. At Mohawk Pass we got on old highway 80 and rode side by side most of the final 30k to Tacna. A good day but I'm glad we didn't have to ride even one km farther.
Made the first 75k to Gila Bend in great time. The place brought back memories of the San Diego-El Paso ride we did in 06. Ken and I rode the entire distance (about 300k)from Gila Bend to Tucson in one long hot day. We got up at 4:30am, had breakfast at a casino, and got riding by 5:30. Got into Tucson after dark. That was going with the wind. Really glad we didn't attempt the same road in reverse in a day this time. Since last time we rode the Ajo highway, Border Patrol has sure beefed up its presence here. Must've seen 1 BP vehicle for every 5 cars. They had ATVs and horses as well as K-9 units too. Anyway.. Some 120k or so to go yet today. I hope the motel and restaurant that google maps shows in Tacna are still in business. Don't think I have much more fuel in the tank than that!
Ajo AZ, 220kms, 856m gain, 9:31ride time. We made it to Ajo by 7:25pm. Fairly tough day, but made good time. Definitely the direction to ride this route. even considering the wind. Since I'd reserved our motel ahead of time and knew it was on the way out of town, we stopped at what looked like the only restaurant open. It said best beer and burgers so we kinda had an idea what to expect. Pleasantly surprised at the gourmet menu.
First 100 down...120 to go. The headwinds making it a chore but it could be worse. We could be on loaded upright bikes like the guy we passed about an hr ago. Tried to go slower so he could tuck right in behind me and draft but then I began to loose Ken. And Ken, being the work horse he is, was my draft. So I pulled away and left Carlos tucking onto the wind. Sorry Carlos.
Tucson, 159k, 806m gain, 6:40 ride time. It's been so long I'd forgotten what an easy 160k day felt like. Though we did have a bit of headwind to contend with and we both got rear tire flats. Mine was a slow leak late in the day so just pumped it up a couple times and dealt with it once we got to Tucson. Definitely cactus country. Thorns everywhere. Have to be careful where you pull over.
Knocked off the second 65k by 2:30 or so. Wind picked up a bit and got in our face. But never really got aggressive. Saw another bunch of supported touring cyclists. More great road, great scenery. And of course, nothin but sunshine.
Said adios to Tombstone and knocked off the first 65k before an early lunch on the roadside. Route 83 to Sonoita ... Highly recommended. Very little traffic, roads in great condition, ever changing vistas.
It was approaching high noon when the strangers rode into Tombstone. Another hot, parched, shadeless day. They'd been 6 long days in the saddle and were looking forward to some time off their steeds and free scout out the town. They got a room, did some laundry, had lunch, witnessed a gun fight, visited the cemetery where the clancys are buried, toured the mine site that started it all, enjoyed a couple $2 beer at the Dragoon saloon, hung out on Main Street, patched a tube, ate dinner, went over the map, checked the forecast, set the alarm, and retired for the evening. Yippykiyay.
Benson AZ, 157kms, 1279m. A long day in the saddle considering the relatively short distance. Other than the headwind which steadily grew in force as the hrs rolled by, it was a good day to be riding. A snow capped mtn range to our west(that we would ride 3/4s of the way around by days end) and wide open plains to our east gave way to large boulder strewn vistas later in the day. A cloudy, chilly morning later bloomed into a hot, clear blue sky day. We shouldered our way out onto the i10,(interstate) and intimidated the 18 wheelers into sharing the road:) The shoulder was in pretty bad shape much of the way. We lunched in Wilcox and 55 cyclists from Tuscon on a supported tour rolled in. We talked with some of them a bit and they gave our bikes the skeptical eye. The highway stretched out over long rolling hills that eventually led us to Benson. Nabbed a crazy cheap motel($37) with no wifi and fueled up at a local Mexican restaurant.
Headwinds and hill climbs. Not the most favorable combo but fun nonetheless.
Safford AZ, 178kms, 1645m gain. What a fun days ride it was. Great road and very scenic with lots of small towns to hydrate in. A tailwind picked up early today and helped push us along. May not be so welcome tomorrow but sure was nice today. Safford is as Far East as we go. Turning south tomorrow. That means half the trip is nearly over:(
85k down, 85k to go. So far it's been a real treat. We did a quick tour of superior looking for an open cafe but Sunday in superior is definitely a day of rest. So we grabbed some road food from the Circle K and began our climb out of town. Tough effort but awesome views of the rocky bluffs and surrounding country. Traffic minimal. Rode through "top of the world" and Miami AZ before stopping in Globe for Coffee and a breaky burrito. Another good climb and a great descent on a smooth road (route 70) with a wide clean shoulder and friendly motorists. Taking a break in the shade.
Superior. 205kms, 770m gain. We stayed on route 60 east this morning and made good time into Phoenix. Construction diverted us and we got a bit off track but corrected our trajectory and got onto broadway. It traverses the city west to east. Played tag with a transit bus for quite awhile then skipped up to main st and continued east. Phoenix turns into Mesa turns into Apache Junction. About 80 kms wide. But actually a fun city to ride in except for all the lights we had to stop for. Finally we were through it all and back in the Arizona country side. Then some 700m of climbing and voila... Superior. A one motel town that closes up early. Even on a Saturday night. We shared a pizza, did a bit of preparation for tomorrows ride, and.. Well.. Guess I'm callin it a night.
Wickenburg, 189kms, 886m gain. I had a tough time this morning finding my groove. Just got slower and slower. Things improved after Hope AZ. Perhaps it was the quart of chocolate milk i guzzled. The landscape is amazing with all the saguaro cactus everywhere. We pretty much just kept pushin all day. Quick snacks at gas stations. Lots of water etc. got into town round 6:30 to discover a rodeo in town and all hotels full. Seems we got the last room for 50 miles. Right next to Denny's:)
Parker Az. Bout 180kms, 710m gain. A much easier day than yesterday. And a fun road to pedal. Very little traffic the first half of the day. It got busier as we got closer to Parker. Just over the state line, alongside the Colorado river. South of lake Havasu and the Parker Dam. Parker. Not too much to comment on. It ain't pretty but its a place to hunker down for the night. The stardust motel was 10 dollars cheaper than motel6 and the diner next door served up a meal that was cheap and tasty.
On route 62 heading east from 29 palms. A sign warning us of no services for next 100miles. Perhaps the slightest of breezes and a promise of 35 degrees mid day. We are well fed, lathered in sunscreen, and loaded with enough food and water to get us to the junction. This spot (though the photo I took of it is on my camera and unattainable until I get home), is a favorite of mine for a few reasons. For one, it offers the only bit of shade for miles around and so is our lunch time destination. It sits up on a rise in the valley and looking back the way we came you can see the cracked and potted road cutting across the parched valley, climbing up the rocky, barren hill and disappearing some 50 kms away. How often can you look back and see your last 2 hours of ridden effort?
A tough first day for this guy. Haven't been on the recumbent in quite awhile. Amazing how many different muscles it takes to pedal it compared to my upright. It was 30 plus all day. A fine day. We didn't actually get riding until about 9:15am. Took few breaks and finished up around 8pm. Descended into 29 palms after dark. So.. 148k, 5700 ft gain.
Heading into the park.
Loading up with the days fuel. Last chance until 29 palms. Some 100kms and 5000ft gain to go.
Indio. Starbucks. Casual late start.
Landed in Palm Springs around 7pm and stepped out into a 30 degree evening. Id forgotten how awesome that feels.
Ken met me at PSP. We jumped in his truck and headed out to the place they're renting in Cathedral City for the month.
Checked my bike over. All systems go.
Really excited to get rolling in the morning.
SFO with an hr to spare. Pretty speedy and stress free when ones buddy already has bikes and gear waiting at final destination.
Left home at 8:40am, caught the 9:30 bus to the 10:20 ferry, the 11:20 bus to the 12:05 skytrain. made the airport by 12:45. Cutting it close. Missed the cut off but made it through the gauntlet and arrived at gate 78 for uniteds flight 378 to San Francisco with 10 minutes to spare before take off. No sooner did I locate my seat, settle in and begin txting friends than a stewardess approached me and said they had an upgrade for me. First class, seat 1C.
A very typical west coast send off for this time of year. Wet and chilly. Guess I can put up with it for a few more hrs. Destination 29 and sunshine.
|Dates:||12 Mar 2013 - 26 Mar 2013|