I packed up camp and was on the road by 6:30 this morning. My only visitor in the park last night was one of the neighborhood dogs. A flag in town told me there was a calm east wind, something I never get too excited about because I know it will shift any minute.
I made it about 17 miles in a little over an hour and was feeling awesome when the evil wind made the turnaround. It was as if someone had flipped a switch. It came out of nowhere. Flabbergasted, I had a small moment of panic. This wasn't supposed to happen until almost 11!! I wondered if I would be able to cover the 85 miles today.
At mile 23 I pedaled into Wenden and my failure to eat breakfast was suddenly making itself known in a big way. I found a little cafe and ha an order of biscuits and gravy and bacon, another staple on this trip. Biscuits and gravy and pizza. That's all I ever want. And I had both today. And I saw these two awesome signs in that town:
It's kind of hard to read but says: "ingredients: coffee bar and way cool cafe! Good food-great coffee! Unforgettable women"
And this one I think you can read pretty well.
The next 40 miles to Quartzite were fairly monotonous. I climbed steadily and coasted down a steeper grade. I passed two day riders, one of whom shouted at me, "hey! I saw you yesterday in Wickenburg!" I thought that was pretty cool. And unexpected. Not too long after, I saw another touring cyclist going east. We said hi from across the road but neither one of us wanted to stop. Then i saw a derailed train.
Kind of hard to tell but that is the bottom of a train.
It was a good wildlife day. There was a raven that got chased off and dive bombed repeatedly by two very small brown birds, probably defending a nest. I saw ground squirrels and rabbits every where. I also saw a very cool and large tan lizard that was sunbathing on the shoulder.
I stopped for water and a bathroom break in Brenda at an RV resort, one of about 30 I passed today, most of them displaying 55+ on their signs. I had ne'er seen such a thing. A few miles down the road I had a TDP, and it almost went completely unnoticed because I had my earphones in. I remember hearing the oddest noise over my music, like a clicking noise, and it took a long time for me to realize It was the toenails of a tiny dog on the pavement. It never barked until I made a sudden jerk as this profound realization occurred to me. It gave up very shortly after that.
Then the time had come for me to leave behind the comfort of highway 60, which I had mostly to myself all morning. It ended and I continued onto I-10. The interstate has its advantages and disadvantages. For one, the shoulder is almost always a nicer surface. Highway 60 went in and out of this VERY annoying thing where the shoulder would have raised cracks all the way across, big enough to make riding uncomfortable. They were so evenly spaced you could almost set your watch by them. I was convinced it was bicycle sabotage. So i spent a lot of time riding on the white line, which cars do not like but i do not care. The interstate didn't have that. But on the other hand the shoulder is pretty full of (mostly) small pieces of debris. I felt like I was in that video game Frogger, where you're the little frog and you try to cross the road without getting pasted by a car, only instead of cars I was dodging flat tires. And then there is the traffic. The shoulder is incredibly wide which gets me away from it enough to not be scary but the noise is very annoying. I do like it when the big trucks go by me because they give me a little draft boost, sometimes enough to increase my speed by two miles per hour!! Plus, it breaks up the wind for a second.
Anyway, I spent about the last 20 miles on there. I stopped in Quartzite for pizza and beer and Gatorade, a threesome made in heaven. It was pretty hot then. My cyclometer read 95. Someone had turned on the hair drier again.
Then, finally! The home stretch on the last long day of the trip! All I had to do was climb for a few miles and then descend into Ehrenberg. It was a baby climb. The grade was so gentle I kept it in 14th gear and managed to not go under 8mph even with the wind, which had now become an entity I wanted to fight and then when I had finished with it I wanted to fight its whole family. While I was thinking about that I reached the top. Woo hoo! The descent was real fun. But windy. About half way down there was a tractor trailer that had gone through a guard rail and into a ditch about 15 feet deep. There were two two trucks with cables attached trying to pull it out, rather unsuccessfully it seemed. As much as I wanted to rubber neck some more, the downhill beckoned and I could not resist. I rolled into Ehrenberg around 3.
I'm camping in an rv park by the Colorado next to an older woman who has been VERY eager to help menout in some way. She came over four separate times, each time offering me something different. She kind of creeped me out. Luckily, my neighbors to the left are way cooler, Floyd and Christy, a cute married couple who live in Riverside and come up here on the weekends. I talked with Floyd at great length about my trip and his time in the military and so forth and so on. They gave me a Coors and offered to bring me back a plate from the barbecue they went to a few rv parks down (they are everywhere!) Oh yeah! Christy is the office manager for a surgery clinic in LA where they fix painful things like elbows in baseball players and knees and such. Her clinic is the famous one for this type of surgery and she meets all kinds of celebrities, like Lionel Ritchie and Samuel L. Jackson, and the guy who played Starsky in the original Starsky and Hutch movies. She said Sylvester Stallone is a ridiculous person way too caught up in his celebrity. He wouldn't even talk to her. He had his wife fill out all the paperwork. Really nice folks though, these two. It was great chatting with them.
Welp, I'm about out of observations for the day. Who knew it was Easter tomorrow? Not this girl. Being out of the loop sure is nice. I didn't even know it was Saturday. Alrightio. Good night! Ok, scratch that, Christy just came by with two chorizo, egg and bean burritos for me. So loving these guys. Ok, now good night.