Rough roads

We've made it 200 miles north of the Phoenix area to a mountain town called Kingman and we're glad to be here intact.  Phew - it's been three challenging days on Arizona roads.  It all started trying to get out of Phoenix after the Tour de Mesa race expo during evening rush hour.  Kaitlynn's new enthusiasm gave us a boost though we were pretty tired from our full day of advocacy efforts at the expo.  On brand new clipless pedals and shoes she bravely headed out with us onto the city roads and was a quick study of clipping and unclipping after the first couple of stoplights!

Kaitlynn's first ride with us and her clipless pedals - lovin' it!
As the evening wore on and it started to get dark our enthusiasm waned.  Google put us on a sandy off-road path for a section and then a couple of long stretches of very dark road still busy with suburban traffic.  We managed to cover the 40 miles out of the Phoenix suburbs to the Cave Creek Recreational Area Campground but not without incident.  After three hours our lights started to dim and Steph hit a rock in the dark and pinch-flatted her tire.  We were glad to finally roll into the campsite about 10pm, get our tents up, scarf some cold pasta, and hit our sleeping pads.  But even as tired as we were it wasn't a restful night.  A storm rolled through and the wind battered our tents all night.  The rain began sometime in the middle of the night and pattered for several hours.

The next day dawned chilly and overcast, especially for Arizona.  We slept in a bit but needed to get on the road with the hopes of making 100 miles until making camp again.  Rolling hills, rough pavement, and a headwind put up a challenge in the morning, with occasional bursts of showers.  We had to layer up all day to stay warm, and found by mid-afternoon that we hadn't covered as many miles as we hoped.  With 25 miles still to go the sun set on us and for the second day in a row we turned our lights into the dark.  Finally we made great time, with the wind dropping and a long downhill section. We pulled a couple of miles off the road in an area called Burro Creek and fumbled around in the dark trying to find a good spot to put up our tents.  With very little sense of the surrounding landscape, we again put up our tents, put down more cold food, and hit the hay.

Kaitlynn's first flat, in sprinkling rain

Snow-capped peaks in northern Arizona

Coffee break to warm up

Sunset with Joshua Trees

Happily, we all slept like babies at Burro Creek.  The night was quiet and cool, and we awoke to the surprise of a beautiful and dramatic landscape around our impromptu camp.  Today we resolved to get an early start and cover more miles before lunch.  We were off just after 8am, with Jane taking the Manatee up to Las Vegas to pick up our sister Katie and brother-in-law Dave who had flown in for a visit. 

Burro Creek roadside camp

Finally, conditions this morning were in our favor.  The wind was low, the sky was clear, and the pavement was smooth.  We did make great time and crossed some very scenic mountainous sections with many great vistas.

Climbing like champs

Not much to see in this town

Sweet bridge over Burro Creek

Rocking the elderly shades

Sadly, those great conditions couldn't last for long.  After our second breakfast stop in Wikieup, we continued to head north on 93 with 40 miles to our destination.  From Wikieup the road narrowed from a divided freshly-paved highway with two lanes each way and a full smooth shoulder to two lanes total with no shoulder.  We squeezed through a 7 mile section under construction and the road seemed to get busier and busier as it got narrower.  The drivers did not seem to notice, especially the drivers of bus-sized RVs, and sped by at full speed without yielding or giving us any berth.  Balanced precariously on a narrow strip of rough pavement between the rumble strip, the white line, and the road drop off into rocky gravel, we feared for our lives during a couple of fast passes by RV monoliths.  All that while climbing some long, gradual climbs with the wind slowly turning back into our faces.  15 miles of this and our nerves were shot.  We made it to I-40 and took a much needed roadside break to recollect.

California is close!

Seeing new people always revives us.  We arrived at a truck stop and met Jane, the Manatee, and Katie and Dave!  It was great to see some friendly faces and their excitement injected some fresh energy into our systems.  We sailed the last 15 miles or so into Kingman to the home of our hosts Mike and Melissa Kitchen with only one minor incident...

Arrival of Katie and Dave

Nailed the tire right to the rim


We're glad to be almost out of Arizona - this state has not treated us particularly kindly.  Luckily our hosts are wonderful.  The spaghetti dinner was ready on arrival and the beds are cozy.  We'll definitely sleep well tonight in preparation for our next leg into Nevada!

1 comment:

  1. Looks like Arizona was the state you needed to help prepare for the end. If everyday was paradise, we'd all be tempted to ride forever! Thanks so much for an awesome job in allowing us to ride vicariously!