Week 2 Bicycle Ride Across America

Day 6, April 8, Wickenburg, AZ to Scottsdale, AZ, 67 Miles

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After breakfast we loaded our car and drove to the spot we stopped riding yesterday, ten miles South of Wickenburg, to begin today’s ride into the Pheonix area. Our route took highway 74 for a mostly downhill ride. This was a very pleasant day with 20 miles of paved bicycle paths after entering the Pheonix suburbs. 

We chose a spot in Scottsdale near the Desert Botanical Gardens to end our day’s trek. Carolyn picked us up and drove us to our hotel in the talking stick area of Northern Scottsdale. 

This was a pleasant ride to end our first week of riding and start our rest day. My body is certainly ready for a rest. 

Day 7, April 9, Rest Day in Scottsdale, AZ

Today we slept in as long as we each wanted and independently made our way to the free breakfast at our hotel, Comfort Suites Scottsdale. 

We stayed off the bike today giving our backside and legs a break. 

After breakfast we all went to play at Bam Kazam. We purchased tickets that gave us a two-hour block to play games solving mystery rooms. There was a total of eight sets of three rooms. After entering the first room we would get a minute or two to solve the puzzle. If we were successful, we were admitted into the second room to do another puzzle. If we failed, we had to start over in room one again. The goal was to complete each of the three rooms successfully. The two hours went by too fast. 

We then went back to the hotel to do laundry and catch up on things. Paul made some adjustments to his seat, while I made a coaching call and finished up the summary of week one. 

Then we went to Organ Stop Pizza for an incredible organ show while we polished off two large pizzas. This is a stop we make every time we come through Pheonix. If you have not been there, add this stop to your next trip through the area. It is a unique experience. When the organ plays the drum sound, there is an actual drum hanging up on the wall that plays. When you hear the accordion sound, you see the accordion playing. It is fun to watch.

We then came back to the hotel and played some card games to complete our rest day.

Day 8, April 10, Scottsdale, AZ to south of Payson, AZ, 58 Miles

Today we began a very tough day of riding with about 6,000 feet of climbing. My legs started the day feeling so good after getting a day of rest. Our path took us North on Highway 87 to the junction of highway 188.

This was our first hot day. We were riding at 85 degrees after a full week in the 60s and 70s. We made more stops at the sag wagon today for water refills. In the flatter sections, Carolyn met us every ten miles. In the climbing sections, she met us every five miles. 

The scenery was nice. It was green for the desert and had lots of saguaro cacti all along the way. The hills had boulders sticking out of the ground and the highway had a very wide shoulder for us to ride on. 

It was amazing how many spots we crossed where the pavement had melted because of a car fire. I guess when cars climb the mountains in the hot desert, a lot of them catch fire. I rarely see burn spots on the road back home. We encountered one semi being towed that had recently burned causing a bit of a traffic jam in the oncoming lanes.

We had lunch today at about 35 miles when Carolyn found a nice trailhead parking lot to use for our break. We did not have any cell service, so I was not able to do a Facebook live video. I recorded a standard video to download later tonight. I suspect this will happen a lot from here forward.

I was very tired by the time we finished the day. The climbing was brutal. 

Our ending spot, where we turned onto highway 188, was a welcome sight. This was in the middle of nowhere, so Carolyn picked us up and we drove 17 miles to the town of Payson where we had hotel reservations at a Comfort Inn. 

We had a Mexican dinner next door and after dinner I hit the hot tub and indoor pool. That was very refreshing. Keith watched a basketball game on TV, Paul made his regular nightly call to his wife back home, and Carolyn did some computer work. 

Thus ended a great first day of riding after our rest day. 

Day 9, April 11, South of Payson, AZ to Globe, AZ, 66 Miles

We drove 17 miles back to where we stopped yesterday to begin a mostly downhill and level ride for the first 40 miles and then we climbed over a mountain to get to Globe.

Today we faced a headwind most of the day. It wasn’t severe, but noticeable. It was funny to ride by a town in the desert that had boats and jet skis for sale. We started seeing a lot of trucks passing us pulling boats. We found out why as we drove past Theodore Rosevelt Lake. This was a beautiful oasis in the desert. The hills seemed greener in this area as well.

We stopped for lunch after riding about 40 miles, at the base of our big climb of the day. After lunch we started up the mountain for about five and a half miles. Then it was rollers until we reached Globe. There was a final climb coming into town. The Days Inn we chose had a horrible uphill driveway that was not appreciated after 66 miles of riding. 

There was a Mexican restaurant across the street we took advantage of for dinner and then showered and called it a day.

Day 10, April 12, Globe, AZ to Safford, AZ, 68 Miles

Today was a mostly downhill and flat day. Unfortunately, that was spoiled by the first half being very bumpy and the second half having a 15-mph headwind. The scenery in this area is not as pleasant as it had been since it is flatter, and we don’t see the mountains surrounding us. 

It is most interesting to ride through the desert in 90-degree temperatures while passing signs warning us there may be ice on the road. Who are they kidding? But, while we were sitting on the side of the road eating lunch in the 90-degree heat, we saw two kids come out of a house and walk past us in long pants and black sweatshirts with their hoods up. They returned shortly with their hoods still up carrying bags of groceries. I guess they are used to the heat.

Near the end of the ride today, as we looked south, we could see the snow-capped Mount Graham. Maybe they do get some ice now and then. It seems strange to ride in 90-degree weather while looking at the snow on a nearby mountain. 

We began our ride a little earlier today in anticipation of meeting Paul’s sister-in-law, Cori, and her friend, Darren, for dinner. The early start gave us time to shower before we ate. They drove 140 miles from Naco, AZ to visit with us as we passed through. She has been following our ride and Safford, AZ, was the closest town on our path to where she lives. It was a pleasant evening visiting with people who were not in our party. 

Day 11, April 13, Safford, AZ to Lordsburg, NM, 68 Miles

Today was a long straight stretch of desert down highway 70 with a healthy sidewind most of the day. We stopped to eat at about 40 miles in the little town of Duncan. While we were eating lunch at a park a lady stopped to wish us well and gave us two packets of lady bugs to release wishing us a happy earth day. (Today is not earth day, earth day is April 22nd.) Another man stopped to ask us about our ride. He said he has a bike but doesn’t ride it anymore.

Just a few miles down the road after lunch, we left Arizona crossing into New Mexico, and lost an hour. It was about ten degrees cooler today, high 70s, which was a welcome change.

When we finished riding and hopped in the car to get to the hotel, we drove past Mark, the cyclist we met a few days ago, who is also on the same trip as us. I suspect we will cross paths with him now and then. He rides slower than us but he rides all day. We only ride 4-5 hours a day. I know he is going over the same mountain pass we will cross in two days. That will be our highest elevation point.

Another Mexican dinner tonight. We made a Facetime call back home tonight to talk with our grandchildren. 

Day 12, April 14, Lordsburg, NM to Silver City, NM, 54 Miles

Today was a very nice ride. The wind was minimal, and the roads were smooth with no rocks or debris on the shoulder. We rode a long straight stretch of highway 90 with minimal traffic and perfect riding weather with a high of 71.

The highlight of the day was crossing the continental divide at an elevation of 6,355 ft. We climbed 5,116 ft and rode 11 miles past Silver City. The car brought us back to our hotel in town. This will give us a jump on tomorrow’s long hill climb to the highest point on our journey.

The next segment of riding has few options for sleeping indoors. We will be staying at a bed and breakfast in a town that has no restaurants open for dinner. We will go to the store tonight and buy something for tomorrow’s dinner before we leave Silver City.  

Dinner tonight was at a 50’s style burger joint. First burger & strawberry shake I have eaten in a long time. This closes out our second week on the road.

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