Sailing to Safford – Finally a Flat Run

Westward to Safford today, from Apache Gold Casino
Westward to Safford today, from Apache Gold Casino

Day 11 started out with a quick shower heard on the roof of the RV, but by the time the cyclists left at 4:30, the rain had stopped and no more is predicted until 11:00 AM.

While it was not quite a flat run, it was mostly flat compared to what the cyclists have been experiencing the past few days.

Cotton fields near Safford AZ
Cotton fields near Safford AZ

This will be a short post as internet access has been limited.

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View from our campsite, Roper Lake State Park, Safford AZ

The cyclists arrived in Safford around 11:00 AM and we picked up groceries for our stay at Roper Lake State Park, a gorgeous, quiet oasis. Bill took the time to change the oil on the RV. Karen did some cooking prep, using the crock pot for the first time on this trip to cook up a pork shoulder for BBQ.

Roper Lake State Park has a natural hot spring/ hot tub, faced with local rocks and fed by a natural spring that maintains a 97 degree temperature year-round. There were also nice showers and beautiful lakeside sites. We enjoyed the wildlife that visited including a spider that attached itself to the RV and a quail family that gathered next to our site.

 

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View towards the West of Roper Lake
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Checking out the top of the RV, Roper Lake
Hitching a ride on the Grass RV, don't like Williamsburg
Hitching a ride on the Grass RV, don’t like Williamsburg

 

Tomorrow – headed towards Silver City.

 

Grumbling their way to Globe and beyond – westbound

Day 10 – Due to rolling hills and construction on Route 60 between Superior and Globe, GGJV is not looking forward to the ride today.  While the surrounding countryside is strewn with huge boulders and desert greenery, the road is restricted at points with concrete barriers. Rain is predicted!

Westward to Superior
Westward to Superior

The cycling team braved the elements and rode through the rain, stopping at Top of the Mountain, Arizona where signs proclaim “Save the Top”. Evidently there have been plans for many years to build a bypass around this area for “safety”. Instead, the construction going on right now as the cyclists power through is widening the road, blasting the boulders and creating an additional passing lane. In fact, Tuesday the road is closed for blasting! Good thing they won’t be cycling through on Tuesday.

With the dark clouds apparent in the west, I packed up the RV and headed out to meet them a little earlier than usual.

Rainbow and dark clouds
Rainbow and dark clouds

As I drove through Globe intending to stop at the grocery store, lightning flashed through the sky.  I changed my mind and kept on driving. The team had taken a break at the Top of the World – wet and shivering from the rainy ride. When I arrived we turned the heat on in the RV to warm them up and since the coffee shop wasn’t open (false advertising there, Mr. Disabled Veteran), we made a pot of coffee to heat their innards.

Coffee and heat break, Top of the Mountain, AZ
Coffee and heat break, Top of the Mountain, AZ

The rain stopped, the cyclists were warmed and off they went headed downhill into Superior.

Rainbows on the ride
Rainbows on the ride
Storm clouds and sunrise
Storm clouds and sunrise

The downhill runs are usually pleasant riding but this road leaves much to be desired.  I decided to block traffic from them by riding behind them as they rode through the tunnel and down the mountain into Superior.

Route 60 West, downhill into Superior
Route 60 West, downhill into Superior
Boulders and barriers
Boulders and barriers and non existent shoulders

They ended their ride early to get breakfast at the local saloon and restaurant, Los Hermanos.

Lonesome cowboy enjoying his beer at 9:00 AM, Los Hermanos
Lonesome cowboy enjoying his beer at 9:00 AM, Los Hermanos

On the drive back to our campground at Apache Gold Casino, we stopped for groceries. Kim created a delicious chili for dinner. The mechanics worked on their bikes, fixing flat tires and I even got in another bike ride, 10 laps around the casino parking lot.

Tomorrow looks like a flat run to Safford and the rain doesn’t start til 11:00 AM.

Slackers head to Superior, Arizona

Day 9 -after a late start in Tempe, the party hardy cyclists evidently have been stopping for coffee each morning after they leave me at the hotel! Hotel coffee sucks! SO because they partied so late last night (as did the college tenants above us), no one heard the alarm clock go off which resulted in a later start to their trek.I traveled out with them. Oh, Dunkin Donuts is on the corner, let’s stop here for coffee! Those who know me also know that I am a great fan of Dunkin Donuts. So I got to start my day with my favorite brew, while the cycling team GGJV took their time having their Breakfast of Champions – coffee and donuts.

Slacking off at Dunkin Donuts
Slacking off at Dunkin Donuts

Off they went through the streets of Tempe with a start time of 7:30 this AM with temperatures in the 70’s.

Ready to ride, Tempe, Day 9
Ready to ride, Tempe, Day 9
Off to Superior, AZ
Off to Superior, AZ

Once the rains came down in Tempe, I set out to find them on the road to Superior just in case they needed towels. They were pedaling hard on Route 60 headed uphill towards Gonzales Pass.

After a  brief water/ice stop , the team was ready to roll into Superior.

Water break – on to Superior

The SAG Wagon drove on and waited for them at the Buckboard Cafe, also the site of the World’s Smallest Museum.

World's Smallest Museum, Superior, AZ
World’s Smallest Museum, Superior, AZ

 

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Wheelbarrow waterfall

The team arrived just in time (5 minutes before closing) to enjoy a late lunch of Split Pea and Ham soup and a Spicy Taco salad.  Bikes were loaded for the drive to Globe and a campsite was secured at the Apache Gold Casino and RV park. Maybe we will gamble some quarters and win enough to upgrade the SAG Wagon.

Next – Grumbling out of Globe

Trekkin’ to Tempe

Happy Birthday, Bill!

Spending his 68th birthday cycling 68 miles to Tempe is a great way to celebrate his “youth”. His brother, Jeff, found the perfect birthday present at the hotel this morning.  While checking out, he procured a coffee cup that will bring back memories of this day, this place, these friendships and this trip for many years to come, (if our memories don’t fail us).

Birthday cup
Birthday cup

Day 8 began for the cyclists at 4:30 AM with another gorgeous morning illuminated with so many stars in the sky and  a cool fresh breeze with the odor of skunk to scent their departure.

Crossing the Hassayumpa River
Crossing the Hassayumpa River

Legend has it that if you drink from the Hassayumpa RIver (above) you will never speak the truth again. Kim and I believe that the Grass boys were dunked in this river at birth as Mom Grass made one of her cross country trips as a Navy wife back in the 50’s.

So my daughter, Kristi, asked me what I did in my spare time on this trip and I replied – read, drive, read,  play the violin, write the blog, take photos to document the trip, read, scout out hotels and campsites, do the laundry, and hopefully cycle now that the temperatures have cooled down a bit.

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Practicing while waiting for Team GGJV
Blogging and reading and Dunkin
BIcycle shadow
BIcycle shadow cycling
Documenting the trip with photos
Documenting the trip with photos

Okay, enough about me, back to the cyclists and Day 8. Courtesy of Kia, Jeff’s daughter and my niece, we stayed in a nice apartment complex ( nightly rental available) in Tempe. Kia and Mike (her boyfriend) also arranged for our evening out in downtown Tempe on a Saturday night!Downtown Tempe on a Saturday night is quite a colorful place. We celebrated two birthday’s, (Bill and Kim’s) at Fuzzy’s with drinks and dinner. Our son, Trip, his girlfriend, Nicki, and our grandson, Tate, drove from Tucson to join us for dinner. Trip also was able to procure a Rhubarb pie for his dad through Bentley’s in Tucson. (Thanks, Anthony, for helping us out.) Kia also brought a scrumptious carrot cake with candles to celebrate the dual birthdays.

The cyclists were ready for bed after all the partying but evidently the college kids upstairs were just getting started – beginning of their fall break… oh well. We were all young once too!

Bill did complete his birthday miles plus 5 more. 73 miles ain’t bad for an old man!

Finished 73 miles on his 68th birthday!
Finished 73 miles on his 68th birthday!

Next stop – Superior, Arizona

 

California Done! 7 More States to Go…Part 2

Day 7 – from Wickenburg to Hope (yes it is west, but we are doing this our way).

Water stop in Wenden
Water stop in Wenden

After the 4:30 departure, the GGJV climbed out of Wickenburg and through the small towns of Aguila, Wedden, Salome, and on to Hope.  We got a chuckle from the grammatically incorrect sign in Hope.

You're Beyond Hope now!
You’re Beyond Hope Now!

When the cyclists were loaded for our return trip to Wickenburg, they informed me they had partaken of a great cup of coffee at Woody’s Market in Aguila. I had to partake as well so we made a stop for their delicious coffee. Across the road, the pickers were very busy with the broccoli and spinach crops. Tate, I thought of you.

After quick showers back at the Rancho Grande, (our hotel in Wickenburg), Kim picked out a great lunch spot, a Mediterranean bistro – Bedoiain’s Bakery and Bistro. Excellent choice, Kim. While the fellows returned for naps and bike maintenance, the girls went shopping and sightseeing. The Desert Caballeros Western Museum was quite interesting with galleries of past and current western painters as well as buildings from an old Western town staged in the basement.  My favorite room/house was the kitchen of the mayor’s house containing a two-gallon ice cream freezer, a Hoosier cabinet, a child’s swing, and many other items we seemed to have in our own home including the dining room wallpaper. I now know why they put the legs of the beds in cans (to keep the insects out of the beds) and also what an Arizona room is. (In Virginia, we called them sleeping porches.)  After the museum, we visited the many shops of Wickenburg. Now I need a nap!

With the shopping completed, it was now time for dinner. That’s all we do folks, eat, sleep, cycle. Kim found an Italian restaurant for dinner and the pizza was excellent. We could have done without the wide screen TV broadcasting the Phoenix news, didn’t quite fit in this renovated Western bungalow. Still, the food was great. Cary’s Pizza, Wickenburg.

Next on the agenda was Movie TIme, WIckenburg has a vintage theater similar to our Naro and Kimball in the Tidewater area. Since my son in law, Roger Williams, had highly recommended that I read “The Martian”, I figured I would cheat and see the movie first.  While we stayed up way past our bedtime,  I enjoyed the movie. Talk about problem solving, what a team effort.  NASA’s team is almost as good at problem solving as the GGJV!

"The Martian"
“The Martian”

Next stop Tempe!

 

California Done! 7 More States to Go…

So nice to see comments – thanks guys for reading… 

I took the day off from writing yesterday. I started the blog when they left at 4 in the morning then did not get back to it last night. We had a nice cool pool at this hotel and also we had laundry to do. So this entry is a combination of Day 6 and Day 7

Day 6 – The cyclists started even earlier this morning, leaving at 4:08; however, the temperature was already 81 degrees.

Leaving Blythe, destination Hope, AZ
Leaving Blythe, destination Hope, AZ

The Virginia contingent is communicating with relatives at home to be sure that everything is tied down , namely our sailboat named Sine docked on Back Creek, off the York RIver. Thank you, John. Go away Joaquin.

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Stay safe, Sine! Thank you Brother John.

What is it that has helped these cyclists ride stronger the past few days? First of all, they have acclimated to the much warmer weather or at least adjusted their schedule of riding to take advantage of cooler temperatures when it is still dark. The sun is brutal out here and these desert roads have little shade. Thank you Virginia for your shade from your trees! Hydration is also an important factor and water is a precious resource out here in the desert. So the SAG Wagon provides a water break/fill up about half way through their ride. Endurance builds up after a few days of riding.  Getting enough sleep and being well rested before the start of the next ride also helps.

Today’s highlight was crossing the Colorado River, the source of “life” for much of the Southwest -It was too dark when they crossed with the bikes, but I captured a shot through the RV window as I drove across. I know, bad driver.

The Great Colorado River
The Great Colorado River

Wikipedia – “Known for its dramatic canyons and whitewater rapids, the Colorado is a vital source of water for agricultural and urban areas in the southwestern desert lands of North America.[6] The river and its tributaries are controlled by an extensive system of dams, reservoirs, and aqueducts, which divert 90% of its water in the U.S. alone to furnish irrigation and municipal water supply for almost 40 million people both inside and outside the watershed.[7][8] The Colorado’s large flow and steep gradient are used for generating hydroelectric power, and its major dams regulate peaking power demands in much of the Intermountain West. Intensive water consumption has dried the lower 100 miles (160 km) of the river such that it has not consistently reached the sea since the 1960s.[7][9][10]

The cyclists crossed into Arizona and rode another 50+ miles to Hope, Arizona.

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Yea! Arizona!
Arriving for a water break,start of Route 60 near Brenda, Arizona
Arriving for a water break,start of Route 60 near Brenda, Arizona

Following our 2 day cycle pattern (one day west, one day east, then move to next hotel), we drove to Wickenburg, a quaint, Old West town. After lunch at Anita’s Cocina (great tamales), and waiting on rooms, the pool was available and refreshing. Who needs a shower after a dip in a nice cool pool. Oh sorry, we got bicycle grease on the towels. Our bad. Laundry was next on the agenda, then back to the hotel to make dinner decisions. Kim found a homemade ice cream parlor near the hotel that also sold sandwiches and salads. Sign in the parlor says, “You can’t have your dinner til you finish your ice cream.” Those of you who know us and our fondness for ice cream will understand this was our kind of place. If you are ever in Wickenburg, check out Chaparral Homemade Ice Cream -http://www.chaparral-icecream.com/

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After banana splits and huge waffle bowls of butter pecan, it was early to bed for early rising on the morrow.

Day 7

The cyclists departed this morning a little later (4:30) but with much cooler temperatures and a destination of Hope, Arizona.

Standing on the corner of Wickenburg, Arizona, (not Winslow)
Standing on the corner of Wickenburg, Arizona, (not Winslow)

Part 2 of Day 7 next.