What a difference a day makes!


GLOBE, Ariz. — Finally, the weather has moderated.
We have been climbing through the Superstition Mountains east of Phoenix the past two days. On Tuesday, the toughest part of a 58-mile ride — Gonzales Pass (2,651 feet) — came near the end of the route when the temperature was more than 100 degrees. I was toast when I finished.
So I dreaded Wednesday’s ride, which included a much harder climb over Signal Mountain Pass at 4,829 feet. But the weather gods smiled on us overnight. Clouds had moved in and morning temperatures had dropped into the mid-70s. A few drops of rain fell as we were breaking camp in Superior, Ariz., for the start of a short day — only 26 miles to Globe.

A roadside shrine near Miami, Ariz.

A roadside shrine near Miami, Ariz.

Wednesday’s climb started right out of the campsite, a steady uphill leading to some very steep sections during the first 11 miles of the ride. But a nice westerly wind followed us up the mountain, bending the stalks of sunflowers that lined the road in our direction. What promised to be very difficult turned out to be fairly easy.
The hardest part of the route was navigating through road construction near the summit. The Arizona Department of Transportation was repaving one side of U.S. 60, so only one lane was available for traffic. Workers with stop signs halted traffic in one direction for 15 to 30 minutes at a time to allow traffic from the opposite direction to pass through. Once our eastbound traffic was allowed through, the trick was to stay on or as close to the shoulder as possible as cars, pickups and 18-wheelers whizzed past.
Arizona highway planners seem fond of rumble strips, those rough ribbons of pavement between the highway and the shoulder. They may save lives by alerting motorists that they're veering off the road. But they're a menace to cyclists. It got a bit hairy at times on the steep descent from Signal Mountain Pass, trying to thread a fully loaded touring bicycle along a path about a foot and a half wide to stay between the rumble strips and the outer edge of the shoulder.
But we all made it into camp, which on Wednesday night is the grounds of the Globe Community Center, a shaded swath of grass with the same westerly breeze that pushed us up the mountains.
Please note the photo of the roadside shrine. There’s an interesting tale about that shrine which I hope to tell in a later blog post.

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11 Comments

Filed under Americana, Cycling across America, Journeys

11 responses to “What a difference a day makes!

  1. Rennae

    We wait daily for the blog and are following your adventure. I’d love to hear more about camp life, shopping, cooking, fellowship, etc.

    • Rennae,
      Thanks for reading the blog. I plan to write a post tonight along the lines you suggest. We rode nearly 80 miles today and then I and another rider had to go shopping and then cook for 14 people. It was a challenge but all worked out well.
      Jim

  2. Ben

    I’m glad there was a change in the weather. Ride safely. Love, Ben

  3. Tom R.

    Jim,

    I’m a big fan of the area East of Phoenix, don’t think I could do it via bicycle though. Sounds like you’re doing well. Good luck…

    Tom R.

    • Tom,
      Thanks for following the blog. Yes, I prefer the area east of Phoenix to the area west of Phoenix, perhaps because the temperature moderates a bit with higher elevation.
      Jim

  4. Glad you are faring well Jim, in a couple three days it will start consistently cooling off —- if you can believe forecasts?

    Soon you have layover in Silver City, N.M. a pretty place with some history/museums and well preserved buildings … I often thought it would be a fine place to buy real estate before it gets discovered and becomes another ‘art colony or resort”.
    Tell me what YOU think…and take care.
    Steve Mc

    • Steve,
      Thanks for following the blog. Had a good ride today of a little more than 79 miles. We’re in Thatcher, Ariz., for the night. Had a great tailwind throughout the day. So the ride passed quickly, even with some moderate climbing. The tailwind was a blessing because I and another rider were on cooking duty t0night. Once we got to camp, we had to go shopping and cook for 14 people. Our meal of pasta and Waldof salad got good reviews.
      Jim

  5. Linda O.

    I am so jealous! Enjoy.

  6. rj

    Welcome to Texas Jim!
    Sorry about the goat heads, I’m all too familiar with them.

    RJ

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