March 12 - 18: Arizona

3/13 - Wickenburg (56 miles 356 total)
56 miles from sheffler's motel in salome to the americinn in wickenburg, both in AZ
with the time change, we were packing our sandwiches & snacks while it was still quite dark....around 6:15. shortly michelle put out the cereals & other breakfast items, including her delicious multi-grain hot cereal. when i find out the brand, i'll include the name in a daily report, because it's very good & gives you real stick-to-the-ribs energy to start the day. the first batch went quickly, so michelle had to make a 2nd....which likewise disappeared in a flash.
as the sun rose above the horizon, many of us started east on US60. there wasn't a lot of traffic for quite a while. the road just went on & on in a straight line at a slight incline, which meant constant pedalling with no coasting. we had some headwinds for a while, too; gloria said she'd never had headwinds on this stretch before. but the landscape was beautiful & the temps very at first, & never rising to the baking temps we've experienced the last couple of days.
here are rita (green jacket) & elaine, good friends from freeport, maine, at a sagstop at about 20 mi. that's sue behind them; she's today's sag driver (a very good one; we're sorry she'll be leaving us in a day or 2). rita & elaine taught school for many years at the same grade school in freeport, rita 4th grade & elaine phys ed. notice the oh-so-straight road & the beautiful landscape; the mountains in the distance seemed almost purple in the day's early light.
a bit further along, roma took my picture at this roadside sign. we couldn't figure out what kind of animals we were to watch for (for 60 miles!!), but we didn't see any of any kind. we did, however, notice lots of pretty little flowers along the road...tiny purple ones, small white ones, yellow ones, & some vivid orange ones that reminded me of buttercups (maybe they are buttercups).
at 29 miles we rode into aguila....our first sign of much civilization all morning. & here we experienced, for the first time today, a curve in the road! we happily veered to the left & came upon a convenience store with a little outdoor patio-type area that many bikers were populating. inside i found my favorite ice cream bar, called 'mississippi mud.' delicious. a couple of fellows from iowa chatted with us out in the driveway. after they found out what we were up to, they made quite a few comments about our mental state (who can blame them?).
a bit further along we clumped up again. rarely do more than 2-4 people ride together; one group has 6, but most of us are in twosomes, some solo. we're quite stretched out along the day's route, since a few ride very fast & some much more slowly, with the rest in the middle somewhere. this doesn't make the sag driver's job any easier, but we're encouraged to ride the pace that makes the trip most enjoyable for us, so that's what each of us is doing. when we come upon others stopped along the side of the ride, we usually stop, too.
this is one of those impromptu stops. here are, from left, karen, donna, patty, & caroline. again you get a glimpse of the beautiful landscape all around us.....arid, but pretty.
finally, we came to the top of that steady 47-mile incline & started our descent to wickenburg. a downhill was such a notable event in our day that i took a picture of it. notice there's also a curve in the road! & take note also of the layers of lovely purple hills in the background. rita couldn't resist this photo op, either.
it was 9 miles to wickenburg, a town very different from any we've visited the last couple of days. someone had told rita that it's where the monied folks retire & live. that's obvious in the houses, the businesses, everything about the town. it turned out our motel is on the east edge of town, so we rode probably 4 mi along a busy street before reaching the americinn. since it was a relatively easy cycling day, most of us arrived by midday or early afternoon. there's a pool at this motel, which drew many to the chairs around its edge. others watched TV in their rooms; we have some sports fans, so they tuned in to see how the basketball teams are doing in the national tournament. rita laughed, "we're having our own march madness....menopausal march madness."
catherine, however, was put to work almost immediately, as she is most days. she's a staff person who helps with lots of things, especially with bikes. quite a few riders are having various bike problems....including seatposts (bev's is still not working well) & shifters (roma's are shot).
today michelle drove the van & catherine biked the route, but she hadn't even changed out of her biking clothes before she was working on karen's bike, as you can see in this photo.
roma, who has roomed with me several nights & gets a kick out of what i go thru to keep this web site going (i enjoy every minute of it), thot maybe you would like to see how i'm managing today's computing. with 3 of us in the room, we do lots of creative bag & bike storage, & i end up finding lots of ways to work near the phone jack. i actually do most computer work elsewhere, since i need the phone only for sending & receiving, so it's not all this uncomfortable.
for this evening, kathy grubb, roma, & i decided to go all out & split the $6.50 for that americinn rollaway bed rather than having one of us use an aerobed from the van. (some women on the trip are rooming in doubles, some of us in triples.)
the americinn is a nice place to stay. they have a restaurant on the premises, so we ate there this evening. i was in the 5:30 seating. we had to eat in 3 shifts. at the map meeting, michelle described what she hopes will be an easy-to-follow route into phoenix to our motel, 65 miles from here....but much of it downhill. many will be starting out early & making haste, as they plan to visit the bike store not far from our motel to have work done on their bikes. that bike shop won't know what hit it.
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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