4.12.2012

State Numba 11!

Maori warrior faces at state border number 11- ARIZONA!
Starting the morning off from the middle of nowhere leads to great promises for the rest of the day. Other than maybe some of the west Texas days we had this trip, Monday morning was one of the quietest mornings in terms of vehicle traffic of the whole trip. We crisscrossed the open landscape and climbed through the Gila/Apache National Forest for the last time on the trip. Before dropping out of the mountains, we made it to our 11th state border: Arizona! With an open climb out of the national forest and well-paved roads, we were loving our first hours in the new state. After our afternoon ice cream stop, however, feelings about the Arizona vehicle traffic rapidly changed. The final climb and decent into Safford, AZ on busy highway 191, included some of the rudest drivers (we were told it was mostly miners getting off work from their long shift hours) and dirtiest roads (glass bottle-smashing-party style, with bumps and breaks in the pavement every 10-12 yards). Luckily, as we arrived into Safford to stay with an excited warmshowers host Mons Larson, we had a shaded yard waiting for us to relax in and a delicious roasted veggies, risotto, and frittata dinner on the way (don't worry, Mons, we won't forget the wonderful food you served us- thank you!). Mons' parents lived next door, so we slept on their porch and woke up to a bright morning, as the time had changed at the state border since Arizona doesn't observe daylight savings time.
Nice first few miles in Arizona- best decent from the mountains yet! Check out the roadcuts behind Steph.

Mons showed us all the scorpions in his yard under a blacklight, and this is what you get.
One of the many cats spoiled by the Larson family.
The gourmet eggs and waffle breakfast Mons' parents served us helped get the day started off well Tuesday morning. We continued on our way towards Phoenix, headed for Globe that night. The morning was nice and flat with little of the headwind we were expecting for the day, so we made great time through lunch. After lunch we hit rollers, bigger truck traffic, and eventually a seemingly never-ending hill through the San Carlos Apache Reservation. Unfortunately, when we finally summitted the hill (not only was it super long, but Steph got a flat halfway through), the wind that we had expected finally started blowing at our faces. The downhill was less of a recovery time and more of the same, hard, continuous pedaling as we had done on the uphill side. The last few miles of the day seemed to stretch on forever. We eventually made it to the lovely home of Zak Kent, Alyssa, and their pup Amy in Globe. They fed us a wonderful meal of homemade potato tacos, complimented by local Arizona beer! We really enjoyed meeting you both and had a great night sleep so that we could make the final day into Phoenix.

Very friendly host Amy (sadly we didn't get a pic with Zak and Alyssa)
Check out the awesome cactus!
Don't worry, we didn't drive away with him still on there.
We have many events planned for our time in Phoenix, and with each new day the rest of our time on this trip is getting booked up with more places to go and things to do! It is hard to believe we are entering the home-stretch here, with only two and a half weeks left (of the 12 total). I feel a bit like we are re-entering reality as we approach the next major metropolitan area. Down from the mountains, forests, and open roads, and back to our bicycle advocacy work!

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