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… 

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  1. Kathy,

    Don’t forget the Scorpions!


    1. Them, too.


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