THATCHER, Ariz. — Ride a fully loaded touring bicycle nearly 80 miles and then shop and cook for 14 people? No problem. It’s part of the daily routine on a transcontinental bike ride with Adventure Cycling Association.
Our ride on Thursday took us from Globe, Ariz., to Thatcher, a distance of 79.38 miles, counting a few extra miles to a supermarket to shop for dinner and Friday morning’s breakfast.
I and another rider, Nita, were on cooking duty for the day. That meant that we were responsible for buying the groceries and preparing the evening meal for our traveling companions. We decided on a pesto pasta that I frequently make at home and a Waldorf salad.
It was easier than I thought it would be, as everything had to be prepared outdoors with two small camp stoves. But we had plenty of help with the chopping and dicing.
We received compliments on the meal. But the best compliment was that nothing was left over.
Of course, everybody was famished after nearly 80 miles and probably would have been happy with boiled coyote.
Thursday’s ride passed through the 1.86-million-acre San Carlos Apache Reservation, which, of course, had a casino: Apache Gold.
About 23 miles into the ride, we stopped at a grocery store to replenish our water in the small town of Peridot, where shoppers — mostly Apache — seemed to take a keen interest in our journey from San Diego to Florida.
One offered advice on which towns further down the road had convenience stores, and another, a young Apache with a pigtailed daughter in his arms, cautioned: “Watch out for the drunk drivers on the res, man.”
“Even in the daytime?” one of our riders asked. “Even in the daytime, man,” he replied.
The few towns we passed through were sleepy little burgs, such as Geronimo and Fort Thomas, which had a bar that offered karaoke on Friday nights. Too bad it was a Thursday. Karaoke in Fort Thomas, perhaps with the songs in Apache, might have proved interesting.
I amused myself during the ride by reading the messages on adopt-a-highway signs along U.S. 70. Most were commemorations of decesased loved ones, such as: “In loving memory of Grandma Mabel.” But one section of highway was adopted by the “Peyote Way Church of God.”
I was left wondering if the church was on a thoroughfare called Peyote Way or whether the hallucigenic cactus was the way to God.