Friday, January 11, 2013

P4W2 Day 5 Cactus Center Parker-Wickenberg, AZ 112 miles

Day 5 was a tale of two days.  In the morning I wondered where the road magic of Day 4 had gone to.  Subtract one mph for headwinds, one for heavy traffic (where are all those trucks going?), one for a road with no shoulder, and one for a road with chip seal the size of ping pong balls, and there you have it...14 mph on Day 4 becomes 10 mph on Day 5, with little scenery.  The first 50 miles was a rough slog.   No coasting whatsoever.
I thought about two New England boys a couple years ago.  They biked westward across Russia, into thousands of miles of headwind.  If I recall, it was to keep the mosquitoes from biting in Siberia.

In the afternoon I picked up US Highway 60 and made a 90 degree turn from heading SE to NE.  Things changed.  Paradoxically, a road with great
shoulders had a quarter as much traffic.  And the scenery improved dramatically as the flat smooth road wound between two desert mountain ranges.
Saguaro cacti  popped up near the road and phainopepla and western meadowlarks called from
the bushes along the quiet roadside.
Road signs had alerted me game crossing the road.
Later in the day I saw a coyote and what appeared to be a group of collared peccaries in the bushes by the road.  We had startled each other and the group of pigs displayed their strength by crossing through a barbwire fence with impressive ease.  I wasn't sure if bike tourers were on their list of food items, so decided to bike into Wickenberg to stay at an established campground in town.  A good idea to get a hot shower after a cold day of riding and evening temps -  and winds - in the 30s.

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