Day 29 Burros, rough roads, and heat 7-13-18
Kingman, AZ to Needles, CA
The morning ride took me to Sitgreaves Pass, which was a 2.4 mile, 5.1% grade 666 ft (seems fitting) never-ending climb. By the time I reached the summit, my legs were a bit tired. A rockslide on the backside (downside) of the mountains caused the road to be closed to vehicles, but I was able to make it down the severe switchbacks by riding the brakes hard. Gravel, dirt, and some decent sized rocks made the ride down treacherous, but I was able to get through it without crashing. The road leading up to the Pass was extremely bumpy, with expansion joints, ruts, and other things which made each mile feel like 1,000 punches into a "sensitive area."
The city of Oatman, AZ was really cool. Wild burros, or donkeys (is there a difference?) roamed the streets, and the entire town looked like it was from a scene in a Western movie. I had some fish and chips (not sure where the restaurant got it from, but it was tasty), and got back on the bike. It was now around 11am, and the heat of the day was starting to kick in. Oatman sits in a pocket on the side of some mountains, and the ride out of town reminded me of what my Dad always calls "The dark side of the moon". There were really interesting rock formations, mountains, and desert scenery all combined. If it had been 30 degrees cooler, I would have thoroughly enjoyed it.
I rode into Golden Shores, and stopped at the first place I saw that looked like it had air conditioning. All of the locals in this bar looked at me like I was crazy (which I probably am), as sweat poured off of me. I sat at this bar for over an hour, drinking water like it was my job. The bartender gave me a pitcher of ice cold water, and a washcloth, and I kept wiping my head, neck, and arms down with the ice cold water. After 30 minutes, I almost felt human again, and decided to keep riding.
The next section was almost due West, and into a strong headwind. The combination of heat, headwind, tired legs, and rough road was simply not enjoyable, and I had a hard time not stopping, and throwing my bike into a garbage can. I eventually made it to the Arizona/California border, and stopped at a Mexican restaurant. I ate a great meal, which consisted of the biggest taco I have ever seen, and sat in the AC again, trying to cool myself off.
It was now late afternoon, and Mack the Silverback was set up at a campground in Needles. I talked to Kelly, and decided to ride a few "extra" miles, in hopes of building up toward 2,000 miles. I rode around Needles for a few miles, and then rode into the campground. As I looked for Mack, I rode into a gravely, sandy area, and (like the idiot I truly am), tried to turn around quickly, rather than stop, get off of the bike, and walk. As you might expect, I "tipped," and landed very awkwardly with my left knee pinned underneath me at a weird angle. Hopefully this "tweak" of the knee won't keep me from finishing the ride!
Miles on the bike today: 77.8
Total miles on the bike: 1,545.7 (over 1,500 wahoo!)