Heading out of town our percussion farewell fading away we climbed up to the continental divide where we met some jolly cyclists on their way to Florida.
We had good weather most of the morning and an awesome cruise downhill. No flats, no pooey dog, no broken spokes.. it was beautiful! We flew along, Bryce’s speakers blasting out music and I couldn’t keep the grin off my face! Great company, stunning scenery, progress (at last!) and my lovely little blue bike… I love my bike!! it couldn’t have been better!
As the afternoon neared we pulled off the road into an RV park to use the bathrooms and, quite literally, within 4 minutes it was hailing! I can’t for the life of me tell you which cloud the inclement weather came from or how on earth we didn’t see it coming but come it did… with enthusiasm! Taking shelter under the RV park owner’s garage and having covered enough miles we decided to quit whilst we were ahead and set up camp. The bad weather was over as quickly as it started and we saw in a lovely evening, finally well on our way to Phoenix!
The following morning we made our way through town (I say town but please read hamlet) to the “Last Chance’ store. Last chance was no lie, we would not reach any other store for nearly 80 miles. We stopped for breakfast and bought a few essentials for dinner as well as topping up on water.
Now paying for the previous days downhill cruise we had a bit of a climb on our hands. As per usual I was left behind within the first 20 minutes or so catching the boys up when they stopped for a break or to check directions.
Some days you can get motivated and some days you just can’t! We probably hadn’t done quite as much riding as we should have done but it didn’t really seem to matter all that much!
Eventually, with nowhere to camp near our self proclaimed drinking hole we wobbled a further few miles west and found a spot tucked away off the road. Out of fuel for our stoves we cooked dinner over a fire (which needless to say I wasn’t involved in lighting) and settled down for the night. Now I must comment here upon Zach’s choice of camp. In his hammock, floating in the air, the comfort of the ground is not one of his main concerns. For me however, in my tent ON THE GROUND, it’s comfort is of considerable concern. This site, hidden though it may be, also happened to be at a very jaunty angle and covered with rocks and stones. Not the small stones that you don’t notice, oh no, bloody great big boulders (or at least that’s how it felt!) and sharp ones at that! In fact, the ground was so rocky I was too worried to put up my sleeping mat for fear of it puncturing and so instead, at great discomfort, I slept directly on the ground, attempting in vain to manipulate my spine around the largest rocky offenders and get some resemblence of a good nights sleep. As you would suspect it failed and I slept poorly indeed. Oh well, you win some and you loose some… but thanks a bunch Zach!
Having been a bit quiet on the camera front over the previous few days, the next morning I was determined to make up for it. As such, please accept the following photo diary as my account of the next day, as they say, a picture speaks a thousand words (I’ve also just had 2 glasses of red wine and can’t really be bothered to write it all up!):
I’m sure the little blue bike loved it as well – she purred round the bends – but amazing views and high speeds are not always the safest of combinations as we nearly found out towards the bottom of the hill. If the LBB could talk I imagine our conversation would have gone something like this:
Tori: Whoooooo, this is awesome!
LBB: It sure is, but just a heads up, watch out for that cattle guard…
Tori: Whoooooo, this is so fun!
LBB: Yep, I get it, but really, watch out for that cattle guard…
Tori: Wow, the scenery is stunning, this is so amazing!
LBB: Yep, ok, still got it but trust me, watch out for that cattle guard
Tori: Do you think we can go faster…?!
LBB: Perhaps if there wasn’t that cattle guard.
Tori: OH SH*T… A CATTLE GUARD!!!
By this point the boys were way ahead and I was getting more and more distracted by the pretty flowers and desert plants. Taking lots of photos also gave me a good excuse to take a break from the relentless wind!
After much faffing around taking photos of essentially the same thing (as per usual!) I eventually caught up with the boys as they were fixing, yep you’ve guessed it, a flat! Despite the beautiful day and downhill fun we were all tired from the afternoon’s headwind and were ready to find somewhere to sleep. As I pulled alongside Zach who had just re-inflated his tyre I felt my own go. We were so close and I couldn’t face unloading my entire bike to patch the tube so, I wobbled the last few miles into town. Once arrived I set about fixing my bike while Bryce set off to find a camping ground.
It was as I was bent over my front wheel with a pair of tweezers painstakingly removing approximately 3 million thorns from my tyre that Mons pulled up. ‘Do you have anywhere to stay tonight?” he called out through his car window. “Not yet?” I replied. “Well I’m the warm showers host in town” Mons cheerily said.. Amazing! What a stroke of luck! We biked the few miles to his house and spent a lovely, unexpected, evening with Mons and his family!
Although we didn’t know it at the time this was to be the boy’s and my last evening together. Whilst having breakfast the next morning slightly later than we should have been the boys had a last minute change of plan and decided to wait in town for their Dad who was driving over from Florida to meet them for their last weeks cycle.
It had always been known that Zach and Bryce were to head North from Phoenix with their Dad in order to visit the Grand Canyon and then head to the coast through Nevada but separating that day, there and then, was unexpected and it felt weird to suddenly be saying goodbye after 3 weeks together. I had to keep moving west and so with a quick hug and a wave I was off… and that was that!
With such an abrupt change I felt unsettled all day and it was an odd ride. I slept in a town park just down the road which was nice enough and I had lots of encounters with friendly people along the way but it took some time to adjust to being alone again and to realise that my time sharing the road with the boys was over. That might sound silly but it was amazing how quickly they became part of the furniture and for it all to have come to a close within the space of 5 minutes felt a bit anticlimactic.
Anyway, come to a close it did as all things must and off I went… back on the road, just me and my main gal.. my little blue bike…