Texas Hill Country
October 12, 2020
Our first day into Arizona was tough, but that was aided by the fact that I added a 12.5-mile detour to go see Four Corners. It wasn't exactly spectacular, but I wasn't expecting it to be. Worth a 12.5-mile ride in my opinion. It was about an 85-mile day for most people, but when I got into "town," I had 98. I wound up just rolling for two extra miles to become the only person on the team to have back-to-back centuries. I'm also the only person on the Sierras to make it to Colorado, thanks to Four Corners.
The "town" of Mexican Water, where we stayed that night, was a gas station, a diner, a laundromat, and that was the whole friggin’ thing. Hard to believe it was even on the map. We camped in between the gas station and the diner. The diner had good milkshakes though!
That night happened to be Andrew's birthday, so he celebrated by fire spinning, which is where he puts two torches on three-foot strings and swings them all around. It was REALLY cool to watch, but just as Andrew was putting out the flames, the owner of the gas station came outside and had a few words with Andrew. She was concerned about starting a wildfire, even though Andrew was surrounded by sand for 20 feet in all directions.
Putting out the torches turned out to be harder than expected. They were doused in some kind of fuel, and according to Andrew, they're difficult enough to put out that he usually just lets them burn out on their own. This time though, since the owner wanted them out, we attempted to put them out quickly.
We stomped on them. That didn't work.
We held our feet on them. That didn't work.
We buried them in the sand for a minute. When we dug them out, they were still glowing.
We buried them in the sand again and stomped on them. That didn't work either.
We were at a loss as to what to do, staring at these glowing objects in the sand, trying to figure out what else we could try to put them out, when we heard the sound of a zipper.
"Step aside, gentlemen." We got out of the way and Hap proceeded to put out one of the torches with his urine. It hissed and steamed, continually, and finally went out just as Hap's stream was about done. But there was still another torch.
"Huuuunnnhhh!!" Hap turned to the other torch and made a comeback. With both torches out, we went to bed.
The next day into Shonto wasn't bad, but it was the first time I had to sweep. Well, I volunteered, but we basically all have to sweep every now and then. Sweeping is where you're the last rider all day and you're not allowed to pass anyone. This just helps the drivers know if everyone has made it to the aid station yet. Sweeping is second only to driving in how much I don't like it. I have a few personal reasons why I like to push hard and give my all every day, and you can't do that while sweeping. It's also kind of boring.
That day though, we met an old German man who was riding his bike across the country alone with 70-80 pounds of gear on his bike. That included his tent, cooking supplies, food, clothes, and everything else he needed. I have no idea how he makes it up hills with all that weight. He had started in South Dakota, gone south through Yellowstone, was on his way to the Grand Canyon, then was going to turn back north and go to San Francisco. We gave him some water and took some pictures with him. I've got nothing on this old man. I couldn't do this trip alone with all that weight on my bike.
Our last day in Arizona was into Page, and we saw a LOT of red rocks along the way. The ride to Page seemed mostly downhill and we got there very early, so we drove out to nearby Lake Powell and spent the afternoon on the beach. The water was cold and refreshing. Nice lazy afternoon. That evening, we were served three hams by the Page Police Department, where we slept for the night. Even 19 hungry bikers couldn't finish them.
Overall, Arizona had some hills, but not any miserable climbing. The inclines were either not that steep or not that long, and there wasn't nearly as much wind as New Mexico. The scenery was pretty cool as well, at least for the three days we spent there.
from Texas 4,000