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February 20, 2016

By meriwether, Feb 26 2016 01:18AM

I’m taking a rest day in Globe, AZ, after a very long 80 mile day from Safford. More on that momentarily.


I had a couple of exquisite riding days as I approached and crossed the New Mexico/Arizona border - from Lordsburg, NM, to Duncan, AZ, and from Duncan to Safford. Those riding days reminded my why I do so enjoy traveling by bicycle . . . My God - the rugged beauty of the Western part of our country. As I climbed out of Duncan, majestic 11,000 foot Mt. Graham began to dominate the scene, and I would ride in its shadow for this day and into the next. It’s hard to catch in photos, although I’ve tried. I consider it a privilege to be able to experience the land in this way; to journey across it on two wheels under my own power and dealing with what nature flings my way. It does provide a sense of satisfaction


In Duncan I stayed with WS host Deborah who runs the historic and restored Simpson Hotel, but I didn’t reside in the hotel. Deborah has two trailers in back of the hotel - one large and one small - in which she allows cross country cyclists to stay. I had the large one and it was great with all that I needed for a comfortable night. Also staying there that night were father and son cross country cyclists Barc and Emerson. They left San Diego a couple of weeks ago and are heading eastward on Adventure Cycling’s Southern Tier Route, which I have been on intermittently, as I am now. Barc did this same trip with another son last year. If you would like to find out more about this route, go to the Adventure Cycling website. Ten years ago it was Adventure Cycling’s Lewis and Clark route and maps that I followed from St. Louis to Astoria, Oregon. Their maps are excellent for touring cyclists, and they have mapped over 40,000 miles of routes all over the United States.


In Safford I shared Warm Showers host Jay’s garage with Matt, another perimeter cyclist from Alaska who has been traveling for over a year. We were surrounded by every kind of tool, piece of machinery, and various and sundry parts of cars and dune buggies in no particular order. The garage had a warm shower and a place to throw our sleeping pads and bags - again, all that was needed.


While I was reminded of the good things of bicycle travel on a couple of riding days last week, the ride from Safford to Globe released the elephant in the room of bike touring. The ride itself would have been wonderful with rugged beauty all about, but on that long 80 mile day, I determined that Arizona has more jerk drivers per square mile than any of the 23 states I’ve crossed to date - many of them driving semis and pickup trucks. One small brained individual in a large pickup truck (always a bad combination) literally drove me off the road trying to pass oncoming traffic. It was hard to enjoy the ride with one eye glued to my rear view mirror, and also having to worry about what’s coming at me.


So here in Globe, I declared a rest day was in order. I took the opportunity to visit the archaeological ruins of of Besh Ba Gowah, an ancient, pre-Columbus, pueblo style habitation inhabited by the Salado people between AD 1225 and AD 1400. To the Apaches who migrated into this same area a couple centuries later, the ruins of Besh Ba Gowah were also a mystery. It was not formally excavated until the 1930’s, and during the World War II years the site was abandoned and fell into even more ruin. Fortunately the last few decades have seen great efforts to restore and preserve this archaeological gem, providing a window to the ancient peoples who once inhabited this land.


I am in the Southern Rockies now, and tomorrow I will climb to “Top Of The World” - that place name does sound a bit intimidating.


Many thanks to Phil Koenigseker and Mike Robarge who have made recent donations to Habitat For Humanity and/or Save The Children in support of my ride. I am now well over the $12,000 in donations to my two causes thanks to all the donors who have made that possible!


Proceeding On . . .

2 comments
Mar 2 2016 06:36PM by Lilly Parnell

Hi! I'm a part of a yearbook staff in Palm Harbor University, I am doing a page on Habitat for Humanity and was woedering if you could send the pdf of a picture the high school seniors from PHU who were voulnteering at the build in Siesta Key. We will give you photo credit in the yearbook.
Thank you!

Mar 2 2016 09:38PM by meriwether

Hello Lilly - I did work with a group of seniors on a Habitat For Humanity build, but not on Siesta Key. It was with the Clearwater HFH affiliate I believe. Are we talking about the same group of seniors? Be glad to send a couple of photos of the group. You can cantact me at apt@bex.net.

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