Ave. spd.: 8.3 mph
The night was a mixed bag, my legs sticky from the effort, too warm, my body humming with residual energy from the huge output of the day before. I lingered over chores, knowing I had but 30 miles to go. Most of them would test me just the same. I set out after 8AM, dreading more tightly spaced riding and the sonic dragons blowing by. Suck it up, Buttercup.
The same tedious games of yesterday unfolded soon enough--shoulder surfing, traffic dodging, pedaling hard but this time into the wind, climbing a little, the pavement getting worse and worse, at times a grotesque gatorskin of cracks and fissures one to three inches deep--bounce, lurch, pop. Ugh. I had a target, though, a marker and gateway to salvation. About 20 miles ahead lay the cutoff to Interstate 10, the monster highway that was bleeding off so many trucks and RV’s onto my road. After a couple of hard hours, I could see the sign, and EVERY truck that passed me took the turn, most of the RV’s, too. This was it. My Holy Grail, my Stargate. I cranked through, rode a short while and pulled over to eat, savoring the quiet. About 100 miles of the worst riding I’d ever done, was done. And I never had to ride it again. Even though I’d been breathing hard, suddenly it felt that I could really breath. The ride could only get better after this.
In short order, I was in Hope, hoping to score an orange juice at the mini-mart. Closed as the pyramids of Egypt. On I pedaled, Salome and KOA bound. In four miles, it was over. I had an overpriced patch of dirt on which to throw my tent, but there was a shower. Oh, the shower. After days of such hard work, a shower becomes a religious experience. It is astonishing how much liquid one can take in and pump out through the skin and into one’s clothes. Off came the grime, the sweat and dust, the diesel fumes and sunscreen. Nothing existed but the cleansing baptism of hot water--sorry about that whole severed head thing, John. Salome had a way of getting what she wanted.
So I will relax here amidst the trailers, monster rigs, one or two pathetic little people like me with tents--can you imagine? But there is a beautiful cattle dog to pet. I know there will be some floodlights, there always are, so I did what I could to find some shelter from these midnight suns. I hope for a good night and light winds tomorrow. The enormous climb up to Prescott is drawing near. Just two more days of riding. Tomorrow, Congress.