Sunday, February 7, 2010


So, no posting after the wine and steak last night. Should have known
better than to think I was going to.

Sean and Ali were great hosts, they opened their house to us. We met
their neighbor's children, who treated the house like it was their
own, coming in and playing out back and getting snacks in the kitchen.

They fixed us a great meal of steak and potatoes, served us wine, let
us use the shower and washing machine, and gave us each our own queen
size bed.

We slept in late this morning, and then fixed breakfast at Sean and
Ali's house. Sean was there to see us off In the morning, and we
headed out at around 10.

It is hard to express how grateful we are for the hospitality last
night. Not only were they generous, we had a wonderful time sitting
around and talking after dinner. So if you guys are reading, thanks

From Yuma, we headed east through Dateland, where we got date shakes.
They were sweet and chunky. Neat once, I think that will do it for me.

The last ten miles into Dateland was supposed to be on a frontage road
along I-8. It started rough and bumpy, and deteriorated from there. By
the time we were three miles away from Dateland, it had turned into a
strip of crumbled asphalt mixed with soft sand, punctuated by bone
jarring bumps and wheel-destroying holes. Our tent poles shook loose
from my bike, and I can't imagine how my tires survived.

After almost falling over the third time, we jumped the barbed wire
fence, crossed to the other side of I-8, and rode the last three miles
into Dateland on the shoulder of the freeway. After all that, the
shakes were Welcome indeed.

After the break, all signs of the hated frontage road had disappeared,
so all bicycle traffic had to ride on the interstate. We rode the last
(we thought) 30 miles on the interstate.

Traffic was loud, but the shoulder of the road was wide, smooth, and
clear. With the wind at our backs we were averaging around 25 mph, and
with my iPod playing the miles passed quickly. We started seeing our
first wild saguaro cactii on this stretch of road. They dotted the
landscape, sticking up like thin fingers poking from the ground.

Just around sunset we got to our exit, where we expected to find
camping (tables for cooking and benches for sitting! Maybe even
water!) sign read: "camping - 11 miles". We decided to go for it
anyway, as it was better than getting back on the interstate to an
unknown destination after dark.

As we rode through the flat, scrubby plain into the rocky hills of the
park the sun set quickly behind mountains to the west, and the sun
shining through the clouds and the brown rock of the hills made the
horizon look like a smoky fire, framing giant saguaro cactii on the

It was full dark before we reached the campground, and we almost
missed our turn twice before we stopped and got out our lights.

Even with the late start, stiff tail winds drove us to first century
today! Averaging around 20 mph for the day, we got somewhere around
120 miles before we finally stopped and set up camp in Petroglyphs
State Park. Hope this wind stays at our backs!

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