|Oak Creek canyon lookout|
Week and a half bike tour from Tucson up onto the Mogollon Rim and into the White Mtns a bit! Finish up outside Safford, AZ.
Day 1 – Oct 21 – Tucson to Winkleman
70 miles, 5.5 hrs, Avg 12.9 mph
Rough day, stung by bee in the ear, knee pain. Melting in heat. Camping in city park next to dry Gila River. Mosquitoes and guys cruising park and smoking out. Have quiet corner hopefully. Saw bobcat. Explosions from mine. Camping next to tam plants.
Day 2 – Winkleman to Roosevelt Lake
60 miles, 5:22, 11.2
Another rough day. Climb away from San Pedro river was brutal. Seemed like 10—15 miles, 7%, no rest spots. HOT. El Capitan pass, 5000ft. Kit Carson led the way over this one long ago. Globe: neat old downtown, old man told me about route and dirt road to Apache Junction. “Unbelievable scenery.” Good flat valley out of Globe. Short but steep climb. 9% for 6 miles on other side to the Lake. Good RV park with a shower. Ride in golf cart! Lounge for dinner. Saw javelina cross road today. Road kill: 2 javies, hawk, ringtail cat!
Cont.: Went to Quail’s Nest for burger. Marlins beat Yanks. Anchor Steam on tap. Trailer next to me had HBO on loud all night. No one there, or dead.
|Down to Globe|
Day 3 – Roosevelt Lake to Payson
70 miles, 6:08, 11.3
Good day. Easy rollers until last 10 miles, then climb up to Payson.
Roosevelt Dam – largest masonry structure in the world built 1906—1911. Stung by bee at lunch stop. Camping awesome- Houston Mesa Campground. Juniper/ponderosa pine, no one here and showers! Got lost looking for it. Dark. Asked for directions at radio station KMOG, almost made it on the air! Saw bull elk.
Day 4 – Payson to Dead Horse Ranch St Park
75 miles, 5:57, 12.6
Good day. Chuck made me pay $15! for site. He thought I was crazy. Climb to Pine and Strawberry short but steep. Ladies at the real estate office told me I had many more mountains to go. Climb up to Mog. Rim was easy. Down, down to Camp Verde, 7000 ft to 3300 ft. Nice women at Ranger Station. Hell ride to Cottonwood with people yelling at me on crowded side road. Campground full, but staying with Cub Scouts. Verde River nearby. Saw many praying manti, 2 horned lizards and tons of locust things cannibalizing their buddies on the roads. These things are giant!
|On the Rim|
Day 5- DHRSP to Oak Creek Canyon, Manzanita Campground
29 miles, 2:39, 10.8
Went down to river at sunrise, saw otter. Scouts’ parents thought I was crazy. All uphill to Sedona. Some century ride was going the other way. Many people, not many waves. Last climb to Sedona steep and I feel bad. The city sucks with traffic and too many SUVs/trucks that don’t fit in the lane with me also in it. People in a hurry to get where on Saturday morning? The canyon is no better. Score sweet camp site (walk-in) by creek. Host is nice. Confused about what to do and when to do it.
|Sunrise on the Verde river|
Day 6 – Oak Creek to Flagstaff
25 miles, 2:50, 8.8
Short day, cold and windy. Awesome trip through Oak Creek Canyon early morning. The switchbacks weren’t too bad, only 2 miles long, nice overlook at top. Talked to a few people. Then highway had no shoulders—no fun. Staying at Snowbowl Motel. Kinda dumpy. Walked downtown for lunch and beers at Mogollon Brewery.
Day 7 – Flagstaff to Holbrook
91 miles, 5:36, 16.2
Finally an easy day. Riding on HWY 40 very flat with a tailwind. Good drafting off of semi-trucks and cars. Lunch in Winslow. Flew into Holbrook, mostly good shoulders. “Sleeping in a wigwam” tonight! Staying with Loren in White Mtn Lakes tomorrow.
|Standin' on a corner in Winslow, AZ|
Day 8 – Holbrook to Loren’s house
44 miles, 3:25, 13.0
Pretty short day through the red rocks outside Holbrook. Got weird slow leak in rear tire. Met Loren on road to his house. Drove around meeting some of his friends. Country folk like you would see in the movies—hilarious, car painter with a plate in his head. Went shopping-Loren is very cost-conscious. Made hamburgers and watched PBS news. Discussed GW Bush and other political issues. Loren is very “leave me along, government.” He loves the country compared to cities, likes less rules. Went to the “Sandbagger” at the golf course for breakfast. Met more of his friends. Loren was going south of Flag to deer hunt.
Day 9 – Loren’s to Springerville
49 miles, 4:17, 11.5
Short day became long. Winds out of SW were incredible. Sometimes almost a tail wind but mostly a crosswind that was pushing me into traffic. Wide-open prairies and volcanic cones felt like I was in middle of nowhere. 10 miles out of Springerville tire went flat. Found huge piece of steel-belted radial wire stuck in tire. Not feeling very good—limped into town. Staying in motel. Heading south tomorrow, will winds switch? Watched LeBron James's debut game. Incredible!
Day 10 – Springerville to Glenwood, Bighorn Campground
86 miles, 7:27, 11.5
Grueling day that would not end. Biting cold at first, sun hiding behind clouds and smoke. Wind still howling, to Alpine was the worst. Some gusts had me at a standstill. Without the wind the climb would have been easy. In Alpine chatted with rangers, they thought I was there for a flu shot. Called Catalina State Park, set up interview. Major tailwinid and downhill to Luna. Then a climb rangers forgot to tell me about was no fun, trying to get hard 40 miles in before sundown. Saliz Canyon was beautiful, deep canyon of San Francisco River with big cottonwoods and willows in bottom, rock formations and ponderosa up top. Last 20 miles after pass wasn’t all down, very rolling and hard for end of day. Glenwood is a cozy little town with a few stores.
Day 11 – Last day – Glenwood to Solomon (outside of Safford)
80 miles, 7:14, 11.1
Another grueling day, more uphill than expected. More of the same out of town all the way to turn off for 78. Awesome 11,000 ft mountains to east. Mule Creek was cool, then the climb with 2 short passes. More mountains in there than expected—very nice ponderosa forest, many campgrounds to explore at a later date. Screaming descent into the “3 Way”, good scenery, lots of huge rock outcrops. Then found out there was a climb to go—over the Black Hills. Oops. Looked brutal, very steep first few miles with little shoulder. Dragged on into a headwind. Good descent on the other side, but running out of light. Powered it on the flats with good views of Mt Graham with setting sun behind it. Nothing at intersection with HWY 70, so went on because of good shoulder (it was now dark). Solomon was last chance for something, found La Paloma, Mexican food! Waiting for Elizabeth, 10 miles short of Roper Lake. Happy Halloween! Saw more foxes today, javelina, another grasshopper rode with me for a while.