At 5 am we were up and out the motel door, bikes loaded, and pedals turning. After yesterday’s experience with frontage roads disappearing in the middle of no-where we decided to hop on Interstate 17 and take it all the way to Camp Verde.
Interstate highways are not as scenic and you don’t get to pass through all sorts of small towns and meet people along the way. This section of highway had long hills to climb and you could hear the semi’s grind gears and rev up engines as they slowing crawled up to the top. I was down to 2.6 mph on the bicycle and some of the semi’s pulling double trailers were not going all that must faster.
The good news with the interstate is there was a good margin to ride on. The bad news was there was constant climbing for much of the day. Another good thing was we began to see signs indicating bicycles were allowed as long as they stayed on the shoulders. I don’t know about you, but I am not about to ride a bicycle on the main roadway of a 75 mph interstate highway.
Early in the morning it was already 73 degrees when we left. It dipped down to 68 degrees in one area but overall the temperature continued to climb all day long, reaching a max of 113 degrees. The weather service temperature is always much lower than the hot asphault radiating heat back up to my temperature sensor.
When leaving Tucson my relatives, Suzanne and David, gave each of us a package of zuccini bread. In my case, I chose to ration it out over three days. Well, today was the third day and the last morsel of bread, including a tongue lick or two off the bag, was thoroughly enjoyed. UM, UM, good!
We were only averaging about 4 mph until reaching the maximum elevation just before a 9 mile 6% grade leading down into Camp Verde. The maximum elevation we reached was 4,688 feet; on the ride up we passed the 3,000 and 4,000 foot elevation markers. The maximum feet climbed was 3,488. This was the most that Tom and I have climbed on any one day during all of our rides.
It was interesting to see the difference in the scenery as we went higher and more north. At the beginning of the day there were different types of cacti, a lot of open rock formations, and very little on the ground but sand and gravel. By the time we reached the top of the climb there were no cacti, there was lots of grasses, and there were some trees. Everyone notices scenery changes but it is seems so much more dramatic on a bicycle.
The scenery on the way down was beautiful, however, about the half way point we began to see lightening strikes in the valley area. The further down clouds and rain began to roll into. About 1 mile before the exit to Camp Verde the rain really began to pelt us.
Soaking wet, we made it into the McDonald’s and ran into Tom’s brother, Tim. Our destination for the night (and weekend) is Cottonwood AZ. Tom’s brother is a pastor at a local church, and we will be staying with Tim and Deb. Cottonwood is about 15 miles of of the interstate.
Tim had seen the weather front coming in, knew we were not far away and generally stopped at McDonald’s, and had driven from his house to pick us up. Sooooo, never one to pass up an opportunity, we took the free ride to Tim & Deb’s house. They put on quite a feed for us we we arrived. Their son one grand-daughter came up from Mesa so we all had a super time over food.
Today we rode 41 miles, climbed 3,488 feet, the temperature ran between 68 and 113 degrees, and we were on the road for 10 hours and 30 minutes.
Talk about a serendipity. Margie and I had some friends from our time in Nye, Montana, that had moved to Arizona, but I did not remember where. Weeeeelllll, it turns out that Joe and Kathy live very close to Camp Verde. They sent we an email notice and we were able to talk and catch up on things. Thanks for contacting me!
Well, Tom and I are talking about some alterations on our route based on Tim’s and Deb’s thoughts and ideas about this area. Sooooo, we will wait and see what comes tomorrow. Until later . . . . . . . God Bless you endeavors.