Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Lon's First Cross Country

Part 18
The 30 miles before Prescott, Arizona is one of my favorite areas of the route. The road climbs through scrubby pine trees with dozens of hairpin curves. Even when you are going slow it feels like you are moving because the scenery changes every 100 meters with new views of the next corner. On my way west I had ridden this section during the cool morning. Now the sun was high overhead in the early afternoon. The lighting change made the route look different. For the rest of the trip I would always be comparing the road and scenery to when I had traveled this route heading west two weeks earlier. I always tried to remember if the flags were blowing the same tailwinds for me now as when they blew headwinds for me before.

I rode through Prescott to a scenic view area on the north side of town. My motor home was waiting there. I stopped to use the toilet and I could not resist laying down on the bed. I told the crew I needed a 15 minute nap. I am sure I was a sleep in thirty seconds and slept more than half an hour. When I woke up there was a 30 mph tailwind blowing north. My route for the return trip would be to take Rt. 89 north to Ashfork instead of Rt. 89-A over Mingus Mountain through the town of Jerome. We estimated the longer flatter route on Rt. 89 was better than going over the mountains again. Our calculation paid off now with the great tailwinds. I got back on my bike recharged from my nap. I was cruising at a respectable 20-25 mph for the next 55 miles to Ashfork.

In Ashfork I needed to get back on I-40 for the next 500 miles. Although I hated the noise on the interstate I liked the shallower grades. The main problem in Arizona were the rumple strips cut across the ten foot shoulder. In 1981 these bumps were spaced about every ten meters apart and went from the white line to the grass edge. They were deep enough to shake a water bottle loose from it’s cage. Every two pedal strokes (bump) I would hit another one (bump) and that rhythm would (bump) continue for (bump) the next 300 miles (bump) across the state (bump).



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