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Into The Desert

Hank – We woke up at 5:00 am to get an early start. But neither of us slept well what with all the traffic noise. (Detecting a pattern here?) So we slept another hour. 

After a light breakfast we stopped by a local market and stocked up on some food and extra water. And since they had fresh pastries I had an apple turnover. I strapped a gallon jug of water to the back of my bike. It was going to be in the 80s and there would be little if any shade on our ride south on US Hwy 95 to Yuma. We’re diverting from the Southern Tier route to visit a friend and former work mate of Kathy’s. 

There was no shoulder on the road and after a couple of close passes Kathy stopped to fashion an orange flag pole sticking out the left side of her bike, an idea we got from Richard Humpreyville. (We stayed at his house in New London, CT and connected with him while riding in the Florida Keys.)  Hopefully vehicle drivers would get the hint to give us a little more room. It seemed to work well.

After 10 miles we got a narrow shoulder, which is better than none. And about five miles later we had good shoulder, which continued until we stopped for the day.

Our route was slightly uphill and we had a light headwind so we took our time. We stopped for lunch around 20 miles in. We used the Tyvek sheet as a seat and sun shield. It was much cooler under that than being out in the open. 

Ten miles later we arrived at the Border Patrol Checkpoint. One of the agents greeted us and allowed us to use the bathroom and fill up on water. He left a few minutes later. We enjoyed the shade for about a half hour and a few other agents arrived. I was watching the agent at the booth as vehicles  pulled up. He had a bored look on his face and waved each one on. Some guy in a pickup truck pulled up and said, “I don’t know if your a Trump fan but I sure am glad you’re here.” The agent had the same bored look on his face as he waved the guy on. I got the impression he wasn’t as glad as the guy in the truck.

I went back inside to top off my water. While I was doing so a high ranking agent–I assume since he had Captain’s bars on his collar–wanted to know who gave me permission to be inside the office. I told him it was one of the other agents who had left. He said he needed to ask me to step outside since this was a controlled area. By the end of the conversation I was done getting water so I stepped outside. He offered to bring water outside for me. I thanked him and told him we were good. 

Everything is cool until the boss shows up, right?

We had one more bit of elevation after leaving the checkpoint. Once over that we did our fastest mile of the day followed by five more. It was sweet. We called it a day after 41 miles and found a nice spot about 100 yards from the road to camp the night. We have plenty of water for dinner, breakfast, and tomorrow’s 36-mile ride to the Fortuna Foothills east of Yuma.

Kathy – It was another night with minimal sleep, maybe 3-4 hours. I was dragging this morning so I’m thankful for my husband making me a hot cup of tea to get me going for the day.

Before we left the campground this morning I stopped to ask a few folks sitting around the common area drinking coffee if there was anything between our current location and the 80 miles to Yuma, Arizona. They laughed at me. Apparently nothing other than the border checkpoint. One of the gals told me to watch out for the rattlesnakes, “They are awake and active this time of the year. But if you stay by the road you should be okay because they can feel the car vibrations and that keeps them away.” I got a serious look on my face when she is talking deadly rattlesnakes. One of the guys says, “What, are you afraid of snakes?” My quick reply, “Why yes I am scared of snakes in Arizona, just like the alligators in Florida and the bears in Montana!” Again, they just all laughed at me.

Our 41 mile ride today was a little on the slow side since the first 31 miles were a gradual uphill and we had a nice headwind to greet us the entire day. Hank was kind enough to let me draft off him for 20 miles. Thank you Hank! 💗 Temps were near 80 degrees, with clear blue skies. The last ten miles of our day were mainly flat or downhill which was pretty nice.

My friend Janet (that we are on our way to see) told us on the way to Yuma to look for Scottie Dog, Dome Rock, and lettuce fields. We found the mountain that looks like the head of a Scottish Terrier. Didn’t see the Dome Rock or the lettuce fields yet (apparently Yuma, Arizona is the lettuce capital of the world). Maybe we will see those two tomorrow as we finish off our ride into Yuma.

With not sleeping well, after 41 miles in the hot sun it was time to call it a day. We found a beautiful location in the Arizona desert not far from the road to protect us from the rattlesnakes that don’t like car vibrations. 🐍 It has spectacular views of all the mountains surrounding us. After our baby wipe baths, we relaxed out of the sun in our tent with the tyvek sheet over the tent to help shade us. It was a little tough riding today, but a positive attitude helped make it a good day. 

A couple of notes… 

If you would like to view older blog entries please click on the months below:

  • May 2018
  • June 2018
  • July 2018
  • August 2018
  • September 2018
  • October 2018
  • November 2018
  • December 2018
  • January 2019
  • If you would like to comment on a blog post, please click on the post title (or header), scroll to the bottom and you will then see the comments section where you can add your thoughts. We look forward to your comment and encouraging words. Thank you!
  • If you would like to see our current location click here:  Current Locationwhere you can see our daily travels.
  • To see all the photos related to a blog post, simply click on one of the photos and it will move over (either to the left or right) to the next photo.
  • If you would like to “follow” our blog, please click here: Home Page  and look in the bottom right corner on your computer where you will see a “+Follow” link (If you are viewing our blog on your cell phone, the location may vary depending on cell phones.  Please look around to find this area).  Once you click on the “+Follow” link, just enter your email address there (only we can see it) and then go to your personal email to accept the ‘follow request email’ that you will receive. Once this is done, anytime we write a new blog post you will automatically get an email letting you know so you can read it at your leisure. Another option is to bookmark our site and view when you like:  www.HankandKathyGreer.com

Quartzite, Arizona

Hank – After breakfast we chatted with Ronald a bit before hitting the road. It turns out he’s an Ironman. He completed Ironman in Hawaii back in 1984. Whoa!

Kathy and I rode into Salome. As we passed by a flea market I saw a huge display of cigar boxes for sale. We talked to Vic for a little while.  There were some boxes I would have liked but I didn’t feel like shipping them home. Besides, I wouldn’t get to work on them for a very long time and I already have quite a few waiting for me.

We passed through several small towns on the way to Quartzsite. Today went much better than yesterday. We took a break in Hope and had lunch in Brenda.

When we left Brenda we ran into two more east bound cyclists. Keith and Michael are from Vermont. They’re doing the southern tier route but started from the Los Angeles area. Keith said we were his new heroes, which I thought was humorous. We told them about the two places we camped, which are ahead of them.

Highway 60 merged with I-10 and we rode the freeway for the last 10 or so miles. Downhill!

The B10 RV camp is another place that likes cyclists. We get a tent site for $10 instead of $20. Whoo-hoo! We showered and did laundry. There was a bit of excitement that I just caught the tail end of. I saw a police car come into the park. I was just going into the main office when it was leaving. The owner and several other people were mad that a woman was being allowed to stay. I don’t know what she was doing but everyone was bad mouthing the cop for not doing his job.

A couple rode in on a tandem arrived later on. Liam and Nicki are from York, England. They quit their jobs and sold their house so they could travel. How  adventurous! They ordered a tandem from Bike Friday and had it shipped to San Diego. They flew to San Diego from Australia where they’d been touring the entire country by car. They have seven days on the bike so far. They’re not sure if they want to stay on the Southern Tier route or jump up to the Trans America route. We recommended the Southern Tier since it’ll be a lot flatter after then get past Austin. Kathy and also I passed on a lot of tips to help them out. They are doing great but have concerns that with pass as they gain more experience.

Tomorrow we ride south towards Yuma. We might be staying at the Army base. And we might be camping in the desert. We shall see.

Kathy – We both slept well last night and today was a good day of riding. We covered 45 miles with 800 feet of elevation. It was a sunny clear blue sky kinda day. Our temps started out in the low 50’s and ended in the low 70’s.

Our ride had some climbing in it but it wasn’t bad at all compared to yesterday. I think it is because we ate and hydrated much better today. Best part of our ride was the super sweet last ten miles of downhill! Our speeds averaged in the 18-22 mph range so it wasn’t too fast, but it was a great ending to a good days ride.

Our meals today were pretty bland but offered us nourishment to keep us going. I filled my water bottle up using the water dispenser on the soda machine station at the place we ate lunch at, and it tasted like mold was in the water. I quickly dumped my water bottle out, rinsed it, and refilled it with bottled water I decided to buy. Can’t get too picky out in the desert with only a few small towns scattered about. In the end all is good, we were fed, watered, and no one got sick.

I absolutely loved seeing the mountains surround us all day. The mountainous landscapes are all so different, and each just as beautiful as the other. It was truly a spectacularly gorgeous day to ride in Arizona!

We met some great cyclists on the road and at the campsite. The guys on the road were fun to talk to. Keith and Michael are pumping out the miles each day. I’m hoping they have time to stop and enjoy some of the towns and people along the way. They might be on a tight schedule trying to get to Florida with taking time off work, not sure. Just hope they take (a lot) of time out to really enjoy their adventure across the U.S. on their bikes.

Nikki and Liam were a cute young couple from England traveling from California to Florida on their tandem bike. They are pretty adventurous to buy a tandem bike, come to the U.S. and start riding. We enjoyed our conversations with them and wish them the best in their travels.

Thankful for good riding days.

A couple of notes… 

If you would like to view older blog entries please click on the months below:

  • May 2018
  • June 2018
  • July 2018
  • August 2018
  • September 2018
  • October 2018
  • November 2018
  • December 2018
  • January 2019
  • If you would like to comment on a blog post, please click on the post title (or header), scroll to the bottom and you will then see the comments section where you can add your thoughts. We look forward to your comment and encouraging words. Thank you!
  • If you would like to see our current location click here:  Current Locationwhere you can see our daily travels.
  • To see all the photos related to a blog post, simply click on one of the photos and it will move over (either to the left or right) to the next photo.
  • If you would like to “follow” our blog, please click here: Home Page  and look in the bottom right corner on your computer where you will see a “+Follow” link (If you are viewing our blog on your cell phone, the location may vary depending on cell phones.  Please look around to find this area).  Once you click on the “+Follow” link, just enter your email address there (only we can see it) and then go to your personal email to accept the ‘follow request email’ that you will receive. Once this is done, anytime we write a new blog post you will automatically get an email letting you know so you can read it at your leisure. Another option is to bookmark our site and view when you like:  www.HankandKathyGreer.com