March 12 - 18: Arizona

3/12 - Salome (65 miles 300 total)
61 miles from the comfort suites in blythe, CA, to sheffler's motel in salome, AZ
michelle had breakfast out for us on the tables by the van in the parking lot by 5:30. everyone converged to eat hot multi-grain cereal, cold cereal, bagels, juice, & lots of other delectable items, & also to make pnut butter sandwiches & to pack other snacks for stops during the day. most folks had left by about 6:15. the sun was again in our eyes & the temps were chilly....but not for long.
after riding about 4 mi eastward, we got off & pushed our bikes up a dirt path to the pedestrian walkway alongside a bridge that spanned the colorado river. once on the other side, we were in arizona & had lost an hour; we're now in mountain standard time.
once in arizona, we pedalled down the onramp onto I-10. & there we pedalled for 12 mi. alas, the shoulders were littered with quite a bit of glass & lots of truck tire parts, including those little wires that fall off the pieces of tire when the tires come apart. hence, there were quite a few flats today.
here's a photo of one flat-fixing session. there are few things higher on a cyclist's wish list of cycling experiences than fixing a flat on the interstate.
we exited the interstate at dome rock rd & rode along a frontage road 'til we arrived in quartzsite. the place is an absolute mecca of RV's & RVers, & all the stuff that goes with the lifestyle. in fact, for the rest of the day, we rode past many settlements of RV's huddled in open places amongst the cactus out in the middle of nowhere.
but back to quartzsite: for us it meant pie at sweet darlene's. like quartzsite, sweet darlene's is an unusual place, as you can see from the photo. but they make everything they serve from scratch, including the hamburger buns, the waitress told me. i had a piece of chocolate pie, but most others had either plain apple or dutch apple. here are, from left, loralee, roma, marilyn, sandy, kathy, & becky.
fortified for the road, we pedalled back onto I-10 for another 11 mi, then got off near brenda on US60. from brenda we rode another 15 mi to the town of hope, arizona. we were on a steady incline & it was pretty hot, & definitely sunny.
shortly after leaving the town of hope, we came to this sign. even tho rita & roma posed for the photo, the sign's message seemed to fit us all.
it was only another 7 mi to salome, some uphill, then a slight downhill into salome. the town-edge sign says: Salome, "where she danced."
our rooms at sheffler's motel are quite roomy & have everything we need (even phones). there's a nice veranda all along the motel's front, where many of us enjoyed relaxing after cleaning up.
loralee (in blue) & i sat on the veranda & went to work on our ibooks. we took this photo for our 2 sons, loralee's son cary & my son mark, who set us up with these ibooks we're using on the trip.
michelle biked all day, helping to fix several flats along the way, then got here & fixed a delicious supper for us all. (later, after supper, she sang a folk song & accompanied herself on the guitar. she's a woman of multitudinous talents.)
after supper, we enjoyed a short bluegrass concert by jim & donna bledsoe. donna plays the autoharp & jim the guitar. jim is cynthia's brother; he & donna were at a bluegrass festival in quartzsite this week & met up with cynthia, knowing she was coming thru on her bike. it was so nice of them to play & sing for us.
then michelle brought out a cake for anne, whose birthday is today, & we all sang the birthday song. here are anne (on the left) & gloria smith (womantours founder & owner).
this is the 3rd year in a row that anne has celebrated her birthday on this ride. her 1st attempt at completing the southern tier tour ended with a dislocated hip in arizona; last year, the hip dislocated in texas. but last summer anne had hip replacement surgery, & she says she's now got a super-duper hip that will enable her to ride all the way to st. augustine. we're all rooting for her.
our map meeting tonight was very short: tomorrow we turn right out of the motel in the morning & stay on US60 'til we get to wickenburg....60 mi down the road. there's some climbing, especially near wickenburg, but none worse than today's. since it'll stay darker longer in the morning, we'll start a bit later. we'll see what adventures those seemingly easy 60 miles will bring.
If you would like copies of the original, full-size photos, feel free to e-mail me with your request. Stay tuned....

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