Waking up the next morning it didn’t take long before I was feeling better… every time I feel a bit low on this trip I need simply remember that I am in fact on this trip! Seeing as it is quite frankly totally amazing reminding myself of just how lucky I am usually perks me up pretty quickly!
Making myself breakfast I was looking forward to riding and I felt motivated to get some miles under my belt. Now I was alone again I was up at half 6 and packed, fed and ready to roll by 7:30… I may not ride as fast as the boys but I had a feeling my riding was going to get a lot more productive again!
As I was packing up a friendly dog popped round to see me… he wasn’t as cool as Cisco of course, not only because he was quite a boring sandy colour but also because within a few minutes he had cocked his leg on both my front panniers AND my trainers… not cool. In fact, he transitioned from friendly to extremely annoying in mere seconds. I tried to chase him off but, undeterred, he continued to pee on anything and everything in the vicinity forcing me to abandon my cereal and spend a good 10 minutes on “anti pee duty” shooing him away every time he eyed up one of my belongings.
I was heading that day to a casino Josh (and Shoeless Joe) had told me about. Apparently for 10 bucks you got a campsite, hot showers and a swimming pool/jacuzzi! That was all I needed to know and I pedalled the rolling hills quite happily looking forward to a soak in the tub that evening. Perhaps it was something of a sign that it was also on my first day back as a solo female tourer that I bumped into the first solo female tourer I’d met thus far! Lorraine, from Canada, was heading in the opposite direction to me but we stopped for a chat and swapped information about the road we both had ahead of us and it turned out that she too had stayed at the Casino! Now I really couldn’t wait!
The last 10 miles or so were quite hard work with, yet again, winds in my face but the scenery was pretty impressive and I arrived at the casino in the end.
Popping into the hotel lobby (where I had no intention of staying) I sneakily pinched the free coffee and wifi to check my emails and within a few minutes got chatting to the delightful Cathy and John who were then kind enough to invite me to dinner. We had such a lovely evening together and they were even sweet enough to come and see me off the following morning. What lovely people.
Now it’s funny, throughout this entire trip many people have been aghast that I have been undertaking such a thing by myself… as a women no less. However, in the three weeks that I was riding with the boys my interactions with strangers were fairly infrequent. That’s not to say that people were unfriendly, far from it, and of course people did come up to talk to us and offer us kindness and hospitality, but within 24hrs of being back by myself I had been invited out to dinner by people that I had known for less than 5 minutes. That “free pass” into people’s lives is one of the biggest perks of travelling alone and I feel privileged to have enjoyed so many interactions with people along the way. Really, it’s those moments that make a trip like this so very special, it is in those moments, no matter how small they may be, where the soul of the journey really lies.
Waving Cathy and John goodbye the next morning I had some breakfast and got on my bike but I wasn’t looking forward to the day’s ride. Ahead was a section of road that people had been warning me about for days. Apparently it was narrow, winding, hilly, busy with trucks and with absolutely no hard shoulder. Even the casino gardener waved me over to advise me caution telling me that a cyclist had been badly injured in an accident there just a few weeks earlier. Riding along toward the notorious section of road I found myself getting a bit flustered and as a particularly big truck came rushing past me I promptly decided to avoid the situation altogether and catch a ride to Superior. Within ten minutes I was sat next to the friendly Vic winding through the canyon extremely pleased not to be on my bike. In no way did I regret missing the ride, in fact, I’m pretty sure my decision served only to prolong my life! Furthermore, the ride also afforded me the time to stop at the “World’s Smallest Museum” in Superior; what more could I possibly want… longevity and a small museum!
Unfortunately the museum was a bit of a let down although to give the curators credit, they weren’t lying, it really was very small. However, it was it’s very size that was it’s downfall as there wasn’t really space to actually exhibit much of interest! It was a victim of it’s purpose! Furthermore, most of the artefacts were actually displayed outside around the building rather than inside which I considered to be cheating slightly.
I may be hard to please when it comes to museums but Arizona has one very exciting thing that never failed to excite me… the Saguaro. What on earth is that I hear you say… well take yourself back to around 8 years of age at school and draw a cactus…
It’s not pronounced at all how it seems but rather “sa-wa-roe” (or if you’re google “səˈwɑroʊ“) and it is native to Arizona. Upon first seeing it I was ridiculously excited and braved a busy road to stop and take a very underwhelming photo which I can’t even bring myself to upload as it was so rubbish! Of course, despite my worries, it was not the last saguaro I was to see and before I knew it they were everywhere!
Some individuals seemed to have read the “how to be a cactus” instruction pamphlet more thoroughly than others and the shapes, sizes and variations were quite amusing at times…
It seems that being a cactus is not quite as easy as one would think!