Monday, January 24, 2011

Taking it Easy

Taking it easy... Taking it easy

Before we got to take it easy for a few days, though, we did have a rough day to get through.

The ride from Brenda to Wickenburg looked littered with little towns along the way with a few spots for camping so we set off thinking 50 miles was an easily do-able flat day. It was eerie how each town we passed was full of closed stores, boarded up windows, and the token way-too skinny, dirty dog running around. Of course, there were ample opportunities for photos.

It looked like we were going to have to set up camp on the side of the road, but the problem was there were sparse trees and not even 40 feet off the side of the road were barbed wire fences that we couldn't get over. In Aguilla, there was a motel and a cafe at the far end of town that were actually open, and we got the word that up the road about five miles was a little turn-around with picnic tables and sometimes people camp there. Well, with the sun waning, five miles comes and goes, six miles, seven miles... Ten miles down we reach a road and go down it looking for maybe a place to camp or someone we could ask. The only guy we see, who easily owns about 10 acres of land, tells us that 2 miles down the road is that turn-about. Thanks, guy. So on we go, the sun has set and the darkness is creeping in and two miles comes and goes, three, four... Finally five more mile down the road we reach this turn about. No picnic tables, no camp area... Nothing. But we had to make do and there was more room off the side of the road to camp further back off the road so we found a few bushes to cover our tent and had a restless night sleep after 68 miles.

The good part of the 68 miles the night before was we only had 18 miles to get to Wickenburg where we found an Albertsons grocery, bought some lunch, then ate it as we washed our smelly clothes. We traded in a few hours of bike riding for the library instead and actually paid for the first time for a place to stay. Living in luxury at Horspitality where we got to play bingo with the crew and bought-in 4 bingo cards for $1. Didn't win any but the experience was well worth the buck.

Our plan was to take it easy for the next day and spend a 2nd night in Horspitality, but we got a Facebook message from Michael in Cave Creek, asking us to come on down and meet up with his mountain biking crew. So glad we made the decision to ride the 50 miles to his place. Michael and his wife, Theresa, hooked us up with a bed to sleep in, a warm shower, and the best pulled pork sandwich in Cave Creek. Yummy. We got to meet the Flat Tire mountain biking crew, were hooked up with a few necessities from their local bike shop, Flat Tire, and even got a little tour of their local coffee roasting shop, Firecreek. Talk about an awesome, spontaneous visit!

And finally the downhill ride all the way to Phoenix. Nice roads, slight downhill grade, a stop by the Apple store to fix a cord, and on our way to Paragon Cycles to get a much-needed tune-up.

The next day and 1/2 was spent with Robert Chacon, founder of We-Cycle-USA, and his wife, Jessy. They spoiled us with a visit to the We-Cycle shop where kids in need were learning bicycle maintenance and building their own bikes...

authentic Mexican food... ever hear of Menudo... the chunks of cow intestine mixed in the soup were actually pretty good!

a tour of the city provided by Copper Square Adventures...

a fundraising event at the TGI Friday's in Chase Stadium...

and just good company.

We were hesitant to leave on Saturday morning, but were happy to reunite with our like-new Cannondale bikes and our newly reinforced tires to prevent too many flats from those Goat-Head Thorns we keep hearing rumors about. Paragon Cycles and We-Cycle-USA really helped us out with all of that and as quickly as we came into Phoenix, we were on our way to the cold, northern AZ mountains with Ben and Gary, members of the Paragon Cycling Team, giving us a little push.

We've been spoiled these past few weeks with beautiful weather, good people, and mostly having the wind at our backs but we're trading in the hot, flat desert for the cold, hilly mountains.

We've had a little taste of the mountains these past few days and went from 1,000 ft elevation in Phoenix to 5,000 here in Payson. Found a deserted park off Old Beeline Highway in between road closure signs to sleep for the night. Very cool place where we cooked up a scrumptious meal of Southwest Con Queso soup and some tortillas, but we were awakened during the night by the gusts of wind that would blow against us on the next day's ride.

It's cold up here in the mountains, especially at night so for those of you on the east coast in the negative degree chill, just be glad you're in a heated house this next week and send warm thoughts our way.


  1. Love looking at the desert and sunny weather - stay warm in the hills!