February 25, 2016
By meriwether, Feb 26 2016 03:08PM
I’m in Wickenburg, AZ, this eve, after leaving Goodyear (Western Phoenix area) this morning.
On the last Update I mentioned that I was climbing to the Top Of The World - an actual place - out of Globe - which I did indeed do. It was a good climb, and I was happy that I was able to conquer the Southern Rockies, more or less. I prefer these western climbs compared to the eastern climbs I did in the Adirondacks - they are longer but more gradual . . .well, some. You just get yourself into a groove . . . a cadence, and just keep turning those pedals in one of the lowest gears, which is lovingly referred to in bicycle circles as the granny gear. I was happy I got up and over the Pinal Mountains out of Globe - I admit I had my doubts, not having done any real climbing since New England. It was a 6% grade going in my direction, but when I headed down it turned into a 7% grade; so I was glad I was heading west and not east - at least in this instance.
And of course, the scenery was just amazing. I lunched at a favorite rock climbing location, and met a couple who had just descended from the craggy precipices. They were interested in my ride, and asked if I had enough water, which I did.
Proceeding on down the mountain and through the Queen’s Creek Tunnel, I arrived in Superior and stayed with Warm Showers hosts Charles and Mari who have an Airstream trailer in back of their house which has housed many a cyclist. They have rescued quite a few intrepid two wheeled travelers looking for a place to crash before the 7% climb back from where I had come.
Phoenix has to be one of the largest metro areas anywhere in the U.S. of A. It reaches from the base of the mountains which I just exited at least 60 to 70 miles to the westward. It would take an entire day just to cycle across it, but I went just as far as Mesa, a little to the east of Phoenix (right next to Tempe). In Mesa I had the opportunity to volunteer with my 13th Habitat For Humanity affiliate, and I spent Wed morning helping out at the Mesa Restore where I received a warm welcome from all the staff. I was joined by my cousin Gail for the volunteer opportunity. Gail lives about 33 miles south in the small town of Maricopa, and I had not seen her for many years, so it was good to reconnect. This was her first Habitat volunteer experience, and I think she wants to do more.
After working all morning, I still had about 35 miles to cycle to the western suburb of Goodyear where I stayed with Don and Mary Morrison - Don is the brother of Larry who was my first principal when I first started teaching in Sylvania way back in 1973. They have a beautiful home in a golfing community in Goodyear, and a relaxing evening was spent catching up and dining on a London Broil - not my usual fare while on this journey.
Here now in Wickenburg, about 100 miles from the California border, debating which route to take across the Mohave Desert, which I did 30 years ago heading eastward on the last leg of my world bicycle tour.
A couple things to share:
And 12News, the NBC affiliate in Phoenix came out to the Mesa Restore yesterday to do a spot on my ride which aired yesterday. Here is the link to that interview:
Some of you have enjoyed my video clips on the road. Here are a couple from the last week: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ubvbgMZj0A8
Thanks go out to some recent donors who donated to Habitat For Humanity and/or Save The Children in support of my U.S. Perimeter Ride: Charles and Jan Thompson, Bonnie and Dave Dixon, and Gail Bossard
Proceeding on, All . . . California bound!
What a trip. As a long-distance biker myself I can vicariously feel the wind in my face, the wide wide vistas, steady breathing, and rhythmic cadence of my legs. Love your posts!