Thank you Andy for that last post. I don’t think I have the vocabulary to follow that up but I will try. I want to apologize for the graphic images in the last post, Andy insisted saying they were “funny.”
We started from Benson on Superbowl Sunday with a nice downhill and cool, clear weather. However, before we got started, as we were getting ready at the staging area for that day (some very random offramp), Sergeant Gary Durree found us again and wished us safe travels for the day, what a guy!
Right before we left, we noticed a flat in one of my front tires, this has become a routine, I have had a flat almost every morning...
At mile 20 we ran into some road work that required us to get off the bikes and climb over these concrete barriers.
At about mile 25, our downhill turned into a burly climb for about 5 miles. It feels good to look back and see a huge valley that we just crossed.
We stopped for lunch at the top of the hill and had some chicken salad sandwiches in the Desert Fox. 20 miles to go… We crossed the final ridge and looked upon another huge valley that turned out to be about 30 miles across. The next 20 miles were a blur. We had a smooth shoulder, slightly downhill grade and a slight tailwind to begin our descent. 20 mph minimum for about three miles until we hit another small ridge. On the other side of this small ridge, our tailwind turned into a headwind. The wind does not effect me half as much as the other two because I am so low to the ground. So I traveled at about 18 mph for 5 miles while my partners struggled to stay with me. We took a short rest and finished the last ten miles in about 45 minutes. We finished in time to catch some pre-game and watch the super bowl on the 13 inch TV in the trailer. We also patched tires for the first time, we were rinning out of tubes so I patched 7 that day.
The next day, we started out from our humble RV “resort” in Wilcox, AZ. The three of us did not ride one mile before we had to stop because Andy’s derailer was malfunctioning. It turned out that the dxerailer cable had snapped and there was no way that he was going to fix the problem out there. So Andy turned around and headed back while Dad and I trucked on, we agreed that we would meet for lunch about 25 miles down the road and reassess the situation.
As soon as Andy left we hit an estimated 30 mph headwind. To quote the great Chuck Frey (co-worker and friend): “If it ain’t one thing, it’s another.” We had a wide, smooth shoulder, a slight downhill grade and clear sky but the headwind kept us under 12 mph. There is something about a strong headwind that is very irritating, it’s an invisible force resisting, constantly resisting…I know, deep huh?
Anyways, we rode through the invisible force field for about 15 miles and then we encountered a terribly rough shoulder. The shoulder had been roughed up in preparation for another layer of asphalt, however the asphalt only covered the two traffic lanes and excluded the shoulder leaving us with blurred vision and loosened fillings. The sag vehicle passed us so we pulled over to give them a call and get an update on the situation with Andy’s bike. Andy informed me that not only did he have a broken derailer cable but on the way back to the trailer one of the spokes on his back tire had snapped and he had to wobble back. Check out the broken spoke, can you find it:
So he gave up on the day, the shoulder got better, we stopped for lunch, and then we rode another 15 miles to grab 40 on the day, not bad considering…
We met our support crew (Andy and Mom) at an offramp that was home to a gas station and a tire shop. I rolled up and stopped in front of the Durango anrd from no where I hear (in a truly stereotype German accent, like cartoon stereotype): “What the hell is that?” I looked over to see a mangy, long haired dude with a handlebar mustache and a grin on his face. We talked for a bit and I found out that he was living n Mexico and just passing through. He was fascinated with the trike and he wanted to take a ride. I agreed and he left his rental car running to take a spin through the parking lot. He was wearing a red “poofy shirt” with a large leather jacket on top. His jacket was too large and the leather fringe dragged on the ground when he sat in the trike. Jeans and black cowboy boots completed his get-up. As he took his first few pedal strokes, he let out a couple hoots of excitement. He was truly enjoying himself as he swerved through the gas station nearly running into most of the cars, parked and moving. Finally we had to insist on loading up the trike so we could head back. We never got his name but he was a real character and will not soon be forgotten.
It was only 230pm so we set up shop outside the Desert Fox and performed some maintenance while Andy packed up his bike for the plane trip the next day.
During our bike shop hours that afternoon, we met several fellow RVers who told us that there is a music festival that takes place at this park in the evenings. After a nice shower and some sustenance, we ventured over to a large hall where we could hear a mellow baseline. Upon entry, we saw a tricked out stage with large speakers and about 6 microphones. Behind the instruments were some old timers rocking out to some old time country music. The music sounded great and we soon found out that the musicians included several Country Music Hall of Famers including Judy hall who just released an album at age 79. The jam session continued for a couple hours as Judy ran around demanding her favorite songs from her musician friends and singing when they demanded. We had a great time, enjoyed the music and met some great people at the Sideman Music Festival #21. At different points during the night we each stopped to think to ourselves, “How did we get here? How random is this? We are at an RV park in the middle of nowhere listening to some really great musicians.”
The next day we slept in [(until 730am) we are all kinda on a schedule now and that schedule does not allow us to sleep in even on rest days] and then drove back to Tucson to take Andy back to the airport. It was great to have Andy with us for a few days. He can make my knees buckle with laughter and that is needed every once in a while. One day I was really dragging and hating every moment, Andy was riding right behind me making weird noises and bringing up old inside jokes, I couldn’t help but laugh all day. That’s what friends are for…