Sigh. I've done it again. So close to the century but just short. I'm not exactly sure how far I rode today. At some point my cyclometer reset itself. The last time I looked at it it read 22.something, which is probably pretty close to what it was when it reset. Right now it reads 75.77. I'm guessing it's right around 98 miles total. It's just too bad it had to be this way. Cyclometer, I think we should see other people. It's not me, it's you.
The resetting actually might've, could've possibly been my fault. I had a few clipless related falls today in Phoenix when I could have hit it. Since it's urban I had to stop at lights and stop signs a lot. But my route took me on fairly empty streets, so a lot of times I was able to just track stand for a few seconds and then cross. The first time I fell I actually had one foot out. I had just crossed the street and was crossing the other one to get to a bike path. I turned oddly on the corner of the street while moving slow and all the weight of my gear shifted the bike towards my left side, which did not have the free foot, and I ate it on the sidewalk right in front of about 30 cars. Yeah, pretty embarrassing. I skinned up my knee too. Well, the right knee was jealous of the left knee's battle scars I guess, cause the second time I couldn't get any foot out at all. I went down to the right while I was in the street. Don't worry, it was in a neighborhood, no cars near me when it happened. But one pulled up behind me right after. You know what they say: No pain, no gain, though I don't exactly know what I gained except a wounded sense of pride and a little road rash. They must've been talking about something else.
Anyway, maybe I should back up and start at the beginning of the day. I left the cozy motel 6 at 6:30 and pedaled out into the cool morning. Traffic seemed light for such a large metropolitan area. Then again, I wasn't exactly on I-10 or anything like it. The wind was out of the east as it often starts out here before it shifts to the gnar of headwinds, as if it is deliberately trying to tease me. I was feeling very good and had covered 17 miles in no time. I got to ride on the Arizona canal bike path for about 8 miles after that. It took me right next to a bike cafe, which is a bike shop with a cafe in it, in case you didn't know. I had an egg, bacon, and tomato sandwich and a peanut butter banana smoothie. I also bought another tube. What a brilliant idea.
Time to gooooo! On and on I pedaled, not leaving metropolis until what I am guessing was mile 30 something. I had crossed 65-70 miles of continuous city streets. Wow. And, surprisingly, it wasn't that bad. Phoenix and its surrounding megatropolis is actually super bike friendly. Sometimes I had a bike lane that was bigger than the lane for the cars. But I was still glad to get out of there and back into the real desert.
I stopped for lunch at 50 miles at a gas station just outside of a small town I can't remember the name of right now. There were shaded tables outside and a man was using a pressure washer to clean the parking lot. I found this a disgusting use of water in such a dry place. But I think it's ridiculous no matter where you are.
At this point I counted about 45 miles left to cover. Yeah. Let's do this! The terrain seemed completely flat even though I was slowly climbing. Sometimes I could tell. The wind had been behaving for the most part.
I didn't take very many pictures today. Who wants to see photos of dirty cities anyway? No, you want pristine desert, like this
That's pretty much how it looked the last half of the day. Traffic was light and the shoulder was decent. I didn't really see anything terribly exciting.
I stopped for a Gatorade in Wickenburg, where three people talked to me about the ride. One man was moving his mother down to the area, another Mexican woman was passing through. I got the same questions I always get, "aren't you afraid?" and "why are you doing this?" questions I was happy to answer at the beginning of the trip but now am getting tired of hearing. I think it's time I start making things up. Something like, "yes, I am terrified!! Can I come home with you?" and "a witch doctor told me if I did this my IQ would go up 50 points and my boobs would get bigger," and then show them before and after photos of me and ask if they think it's working.
The last 15 miles were long, as is often the case on these long days. The wind had kicked it up several notches and my iPod had finally died, so the constant and deafening sound of riding in a car with all the windows down pretty much almost drove me crazy a couple of times. I kept motivated by thinking how joyous I would feel when I held my Ida up in the air with both feet in the Pacific. Ahh, what a warm feeling it brings.
I finally rolled into Aguila around 5:30 and tried to figure out where the RV park is. I called but the number is disconnected. I asked a woman on the street but she didn't speak English. The next person I saw was a great grandmother who didn't speak any English and her great granddaughter who was about 10 and was of no help to me at all. Spanish speakers and children were all I could come up with. Finally, jackpot. The gas station attendant pointed me towards the city park where all the cyclists stay. Good thing I didn't ride the 3 miles out of town to find that place. But I would've logged the century for sure!
I bought an ice cream sandwich and a Mexican Sprite and headed to the park. It's right next to the fire station and, apparently, the church, because I can hear the very loud and emphatic Spanish sermon from 300 yards away. El Diablo seems to be up to something cause they are mentioning him a lot. On top of that, someone in the other direction is playing Mexican polka music. If I didn't know any better, I would say I am in Mexico. It's actually pretty cool.
Being so close to the end, I can't help but think of what's next. I have been simultaneously going somewhere and nowhere for the last two months. I have to work now. I can't just play anymore and I'm not liking the sound of that after 5 months of adventuring. I have a short term plan (work in Alaska for the Forest Service until November or later) but as far as where I will be or what I will be doing five years down the road, (when I will be 30! Danger, Will Robinson!) I have no idea. And I'm alright with it for now. Leaving things open is nice.
Anyway, the time for reflection had passed and the time for attempting to sleep is nigh. Five more days!!
With dreams of the ocean,