Today is how I test my mind. The RV stretch of Arizona. Come to think about it, snowbirds have been the story for the last stretch since Puretecitos. This part just gets ugly though. Up and pedaling before dawn again. Through Quartzite before 8:00 AM. Now 30 miles on I-10 to get off at US-60. The longest, flattest, straightest, most Texas-like stretch of Canadian and Californian RVs in the state of Arizona. I cracked, knowing that 140 miles to Prescott on the Mochilero fully loaded, sore, and tired is just not possible in a day and stuck my thumb out while pedaling down the road. No luck. I stopped along side the road on the way out of some trailer community in the cactus and tried to thumb a ride. I guess pedaling was the way for now. I flatted just after another highway intersected the 60 and stuck my thumb out. The second truck...hey, thanks for the ride..."gotta help your fellow man" in a slow Arizona desert drawl that had spent many years building character in the desert sun. He said he was kind of in a hurry. It just didn't make any sense. He was only able to get me up to the next crossroads four miles up where I changed my tire and bought some donuts. Sugar diet. I tried again to thumb it out of town but no luck. Pedal on. If I don't get a ride at some point this just isn't going to work out. A car with bikes passes as I ride. I'd have to take my whole bike apart. Bikes are not the most convenient baggage when hitchhiking. I reach the turn off for Prescott and I'm within 60 miles...that would mean I've done about 80 today. The thumb. A guy in a monster truck stops and introduces himself as Nick and I shake his slightly mangled hand. He's about my age and it turns out once again that the Forest Service is a small world. We rolled up to elevation @ 5700 ft and I watched all the fun and pretty riding roads go by at warp speed. Oh well. I gave Allie a call when I got into town and I met up with her and Laura to go hike to a waterfall. Its spring in northern Arizona and all the washes are pumping clear cold snowmelt. The waterfall was awesome as was the dunk in one of its lower pools. We went for beer. And for me....meat. Two meals and a pitcher at the Prescott Brewing Co. I was falling asleep at the table. We dropped of the friend and in returning home passed a strange sight and Allie demands her sister to stop so we could help that woman. She was probably 70 and wearing a white hoody zipped up on her chest and a red one wrapped around her waist. Bare legs, no shoes, its cold out. Allie jumps out of the car and before I know it I'm scooted over in the back sitting beside this woman who is terrified and can barely speak from the shortness of breath. Allie has an amazing way with people in general and has worked with people like this. The woman talks slowly but isn't saying anything...and now the police have pulled in behind up. We drive to the nearest parking lot and the police pull in behind us. The man starts immediately with direct questioning but the woman only gets more scared. It was interesting to see the cop mentality at work here in a situation where they were there to help both the woman and now us. Allie requested the cop out of the way when he asked if the woman had been drinking and explained to him that it was us who'd been drinking but not Laura, then she asked to speak with the woman to try her efforts. We got to where she's a good christian woman and there are people who come from a different sect in their christianity but they are TRULY Evil. It sounded like the man who runs her assisted living home was one of this other sect. Hence the fear, panic, and attire. She still couldn't remember her own last name. She wanted to go to Albertson's, or Camp Verde where people could vouch she wasn't crazy. Eventually someone from the home came looking for her and told us where to take her. Not even a block from there. She panicked at the sight of the man she described earlier. The police escorted her inside and made sure we were well today. Allie, you have an enormous heart and endless patience and I'm glad this isn't lost on everybody.
We all got up early this morning after trying to distract ourselves to sleep. I got 5 hours. Laura was flying back to Kentucky and had to turn in the most ghetto rental car ever...plastic mexican hub caps and a red dome light, and plastic dome lights and plastic bits that would fall out when you closed the door. Allie and I went to breakfast and i was rolling towards home by 8:00. After and enormous breakfast and two dinners I was hungry ten miles down the road. I should have done a little more about this. The ride is one I've wanted to do for a few years now...Prescott to Flagstaff with about 30 miles of graded dirt road. The Perkinsville road its called is awesome. Flat to rolling to long downhill followed by rolly follwoed by long 20 mile uphill. I thought I'd make it to Williams by 3:30 and decide to do the 30 mile interstate stretch thta the snow on the ground would mandate. At 4:00 I was still climbing back up the Mogollon Rim...always the task. I was tired, hungry, and impending bonk status. I called for a ride and arranged to meet Cole at the Pie shop in Williams. A fine ending point for the tour I thought. And it was.
I got home and paced at the thought of that idea. Home. My house. It seemed so weird. It had stayed right here all the while I was moving. It was a little discomforting even. So much stuff that I call mine waiting for me here as I'd left it in our little domicile. On the bike things that are extra come at the cost of precious calories and weight. I tend to carry some of these things. This was probably the heaviest tour bike I've ever rolled. The real bummers are those items that started and returned to here without being used (rain pants, some bad snacks, winter gloves, tights, a book that would be better read at home). Some of the unused I will always bring (tools, first aid). Well I'm glad that's over. Baja is beautiful and has lots to do but bike touring is not atop that list. It occupies a lot of your daylight hours. Tomorrow is the second day of spring. River trip!