Day 4 did not start out as one of our best. First thing off the bat had to do with the alarm not going off so we got up an hour later than expected. Second thing had to o with my rear tire being flat. Third thing had to do with homemade waffles in the motel breakfast room. All in all we left the motel 90 minutes later than expected.
We stayed in Tempe which is on the northern side of the Phoenix area, but we still had to ride 18 miles to get to the outskirts of heavy traffic. The Phoenix area has a lot of nice bicycle lanes, but the further north you go the more places they come and go and the traffic seems to speed up substantially.
Our plan was to jump on I-17 at a town call Anthem, but when we started on the entrance ramp there was a ‘No Bicycle’ sign. I had checked with both the state police and a bicycle Arizona group which indicated that bicycling on interstates was a no-no around cities. Soooooo, I looked at Google Maps and found a frontage road that ran all the way to our stop at Black Canyon City (30 miles away).
One thing nice about the frontage roads is they are less traveled, and you can more easily stop and look at nature.
Several times we ended up stopping under the shad offered by nearby trees. The trees somewhat reminded me of the old Fannie Crosby song . . . . . Blessed the shade tree, that blocketh the sun, oh how I love thee, I was almost done, Blessed the shade tree, that cooleth me off, oh how I love thee, for standing around.
Finally, as Google Maps showed Black Canyon City to be about 10 miles away the frontage road turned into gravel and dirt. and then it up and disappeared on us. The direction we were supposed to go became an overgrown trail filled with rocks. In fact, the area appeared to have become a turn around for cars.
We walked up to a nearby house and talked to the owner, who informed us that the road had not been kept open form quite a few years. Unfortunately, it still showed up on maps and an quite frequently, when there was an accident on the interstate, people would try to use the road as a way around it.
JoE offered to load all of our stuff into her SUV and take us back to the closest entrance to the interstate, and we gratefully accepted the offer. Things were somewhat cramped, the considering the 107 degree termperatures a 5 mile ride in an air conditioned car sounded wonderful. Tom the skinny, as opposed to Rick the large, was able to squeeze in to the back of the car along with the bicycles and away we went. JoE was originally from Chattanooga TN but had lived in California and the Arionza valley for many years. I am not sure how we could have appropriately thanked her for the generosity, but we certainly did appreciate it.
After unloading all of our ‘stuff’ and headed off to the I-17 entrance ramp we passed the remnents of the Jack Ass Rest Stop and Gas Station. It is for sale if anyone is interested. We would have certainly stopped there if it had been open. Anyway, as we started up the entrance ramp we noticed that there were no signs prohibiting bicycles so we must have been far enough north by this point.
The last 10 miles were miserable. The ride should have been somewhere around 55 miles but ended up being 67 due to the frontage road issues, and we climbed about 2180 feet. As we rolled into Black Canyon City after 12 hours on the road the Mountain Breeze Motel never looked so good. The motel is quite nice and Alex was wonderful getting us into a cool room for the night.
We drank plenty of water and soda during the day, but the temperatures seem to drain the energy from you regardless of how hydrated and fed you keep the ol’ body.
Until next time . . . . . . God Bless . . . . . . And stay cool!