Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Rest Day

First of all, sorry for the formatting on the mobile posts. The formatting from the phone I use gets messed up when it uploads to the blog, and I don't know how to fix it out besides going in and editing the html line by line. I'm way too lazy for that. I'll keep working on it, but sorry till then.

Monday was rough. After checking out the petroglyphs right next to the campgrounds,

we rode back down to the interstate and made our way to the town of Gila Bend. 1700 happy people and five old crabs, according to their sign:

The old crabs are listed by name, though you can't really make it out from this picture.

In my opinion, maps should be interactive. I'm a computer mapping professional (or would be if someone would pay me to do it again), so I expect maps to work a little like mapquest or google earth. If you click on a location, it should tell you what it is. If you click on two locations, you should be able to get an accurate reading of the distance between the two points, along your line of travel.

Paper maps do not work like this. We estimated from the dumb (literally) paper map that we had a 30 mile ride from Gila Pass to Maracopa where we would get supplies, and then camp outside of town. Our estimate was off by about 50%, and we had pedaled 45 miles before pulling into the lot for the grocery store in Maracopa. It was a long, dry, tedious ride into headwinds through the Sonora Desert.

This picture was taken when we still had faith in our original estimate and thought dinner and rest was 10 miles away, not 25.
After our 115 mile day yesterday, we were both looking to take it kind of easy and stop a little early. Instead we found ourselves rushing out of town as the sun went down, hoping to find a good spot to camp before it got too dark. We were worn down, tired, sore, and we were each in a foul mood. Adam joked about getting his aunt to come pick us up from her home in Tucson.

The best camping spot we could find was between the railroad track and and pistachio grove, behind a pile of debris. We heated up dinner quickly, put all our gear under Adam's green tarp, and settled in where we hoped to remain unobserved.

We worried at first, but before long we had come to like our spot. We could see the road and the trains, but we were well protected from discovery. We couldn't risk much light, as we might give away our position, so after dinner we laid around and tried to learn the constellations in the nearly cloudless sky. (We have Orion, Taurus, Perseus, and Cassiopeia's, I think we figured out Gemini last night)

Our only remaining worry was that the farmer who's pistachio trees we were near would drive by around dawn and discover us. So we woke up at 5, shook the frozen dew from our sleeping bags, and packed our gear. It was still pitch dark, so we cooked some oatmeal and made coffee as we waited for dawn. It was still pitch dark. We walked our bikes over the tracks and set up our lights and waited for dawn.

I managed to restrain Adam for about ten more minutes and as the sky was just starting to get light in the east before he dragged me onto the road, headed towards Casa Grande. We had put 15 miles behind us before the sun was up, and we were at our destination in Casa Grande by 8:30.

If we had ridden all the way to Tuscon, we would have spent most of the day on the shoulder of the interstate, all thoughts drowned out by passing semis. Instead, we waited in a Starbucks in Casa Grande for Donna, Adam's aunt, to come pick us up. We loaded our gear into the van, and she drove us to her home in Tuscon.

We spent the rest of the day running errands. We are ditching the tent (haven't used it once) for bivy sacks, I needed new tires, and we both needed a hat to keep the sun off.

Tomorrow is a full rest day! We'll run more errands, we're going to service the bikes and rest up. Hopefully a full day off will allow some of the aches and pains to fade a bit, and hopefully the soreness in my legs will transform into extra strength by Thursday.

We're going to start trying to post our daily and cumulative mileages. The problem is that I have been using a bike computer calibrated for my other bike, so it's readings are off. I'll have done the conversion by tomorrow and post our numbers. For right now, I think we've done around 415 miles this week.

Our first week on the road has been great. It already seems like we live in a different world. Things start to bleed together, and I have trouble remembering what day it is. It's great. I'm looking forward to the rest, and I need it, but I can't wait to get back on the road!

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