For the ride from Parker to Salome, AZ, we expected heat and a gentle uphill. To minimize the heat issue, I started riding before sunrise, the earliest start yet. The rising sun reflected red off a huge bank of clouds.
In the first moments of sun that shone from my left, my shadows were fun to watch on my right.
Quite unexpectedly, that early cloud cover stayed right over me for 30 miles, keeping temperatures delightfully moderated, and the cycling felt great until I got to Bouse where we took a break.
Soon after leaving Bouse, though, the clouds cleared and an intense headwind came up. The photo is the “windsock” we put on the car back in San Diego as it appeared today.
As I was headed in the same direction for the next 20 miles, there was no avoiding it. Once again, though, with some great teamwork from Susie, we were able to take a bit of an edge off of it. We were on a two-lane highway with excellent visibility. There was considerable large truck traffic. Susie simply took the lane with the Prius and created a lane ahead of her for me where I could safely get into my aerobars, my most effective position for dealing with wind. Even with that, I was going less than 10 mph. We counted down the miles until the only turn for the day that would take us out of that headwind. I took several breaks to rest from the effort.
On a break just four miles before we got to the turn, I must have walked the bike over glass and I got a flat tire. One never expects a flat but they happen. Back in Virginia several months ago, my bike mechanic, Les, had suggested I take two fully ready-to-go wheels with me. Out came one of them and I had only to pump it up, so little time was lost. I guess I look happy because I’m not spending an hour by the side of the road in the desert changing the flat. I get to do that in the motel in air conditioning! After the flat, I kept on thinking, the first flat is a freebie. I told myself not to “find” glass again today.
The turn for the day would occur in Hope, a place we cycled through on last fall’s ride, though coming from a different direction. Hope is home to a significant cell tower. I could now see the tower. At the Shell station across from the tower, I took a short break to recover from the headwind ordeal, then headed briskly up the hill. From last fall’s ride, I knew it was not too hard and was very pretty.
We concluded the day’s ride in Salome about 12:20. Hunting season starts tomorrow and all three motels in town have been completely booked for a year. Without a hotel here, the alternative was to do a 108 mile ride in the heat. When I told the Westward Motel hostess that about a week ago, she wouldn’t hear of it and had the brainstorm to put us up in the owner’s house since he’s away in Idaho.
They tell us it’s doves that are hunted. I hope I don’t look like a dove when I cycle tomorrow.
Start location: Parker, AZ
End location: Salome, AZ
Distance: 56.3 miles
Elevation gain: 1509 feet (very gradual)
Cumulative distance: 348.76 miles
Strava track: https://www.strava.com/activities/695998618