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I get by with a little help from my friends

By | April 1, 2011

Thursday, March 31, 2011
Quartzite to Salome, AZ
40 miles

My campsite in Quartzite on Thursday morning. Good thing I went all the back to the tent area! I might I have been in the way, otherwise. As it was, I wasn’t sure if I was in a site or in the road.

Still no tailwind. I started out on interstate 10 this morning for about ten miles. there was no crosswind, either, so it made riding on the freeway more comfortable. The Wheelers had spent the night in Blythe, about 20 miles behind me, but I figured they’d start passing me by the time I got off the freeway. Ten, fifteen, twenty miles, and still no Wheelers. It was getting really hot and I was feeling tired and crabby.

On the way in to the “town” of Hope, I saw a sign for a section of highway that had been adopted by the Little Church of Hope. I bleakly read it as the “Church of Little Hope.”

This sign leaving town didn’t make me feel any better, either.

The scrappy desert landscape full of decaying RV’s was getting to me, too. All I kept thinking was, “Watch out, Arizona, industrious brown people are coming to disrupt your way of life! They’re coming for your dust!”

As I limped toward my 30th mile, I saw a large sign up ahead. I couldn’t quite make it out, but I just kept repeating, “Please let it be a restaurant that is still in business AND open! Please!” It was! Dos Amigos, a Mexican place. It had a lovely patio area with shade and fountains and pots for sale, but I just wanted to be inside. I drank raspberry tea and ate chips for a good hour, and I finally caught a glimpse of one of the Wheeler’s neon green jerseys passing by.

I left the restaurant, not really feeling refreshed. A few blocks up–imagine the distance, without anything in it–was another cafe. The Wheeler’s truck was in front and a number of bikes were leaned against it. I had to go around a very new and oddly placed roundabout to turn left. Perhaps they are anticipating rapid expansion from nothing to something in the area. I went in to sit down some more and say Hello. They were all pretty tired from the heat, too, and glad there were only 10 miles left. Coach agreed to let me camp with them again, this time in a high school gym.

Feeling beat, I also asked if I could throw my panniers in the truck for the last bit. They’ll get out ahead of me tomorrow, and I won’t see them again, so I figured I should take advantage of the opportunity when it was available. That was a treat! Though even without most of my gear, I still couldn’t keep up with Dan, and two self-supported riders from Germany passed me going uphill!

We couldn’t get in to the gym until after 4:00, so we all relaxed in the Cactus Bar since we rolled in to town about 2:00. It was cool and dark, and it was nice to be part of the group as more and more riders arrived. I had heard that there used to be an ice cream place next door, and I was a little disappointed it wasn’t there any more.

At the school, a few of us set up our tents on the grassy football field, while most put out bedrolls in the gym. I did yoga in the grass, which was delightful after so much prickly sand everywhere. I flew Dan and Betsey, the younger members of the group, and another one of the older riders, and they all loved it! I was happy to be able to give back a little acroyoga to this group that had taken me in for a few days. I taught Dan how to base folded leaf, too. Releasing the lower back is really helpful for cyclists!

The Wandering Wheels have their own cook trailer. Their set up is really great!

I’ll really miss this welcoming and inspiring group!

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