Around and Down and Down and Around til You Run Out of Ground at the Edge of Town

My apologies to Tom T. Hall, singer of trucker ballads from the 60s-70s, and his classic “Wolf Creek Pass Way Up On the Great Divide” for borrowing this line for my title. It seemed to fit perfectly today.

Lots of “ups and downs”, with the downs clearly my favorite. Cathy was surprised and tickled to find so much bird life in and around “Butcher Hook” campground. The upshot of which was, I left camp quite a while before she did. The limited number of camping places dictated a relatively long ride today, given the terrain to be covered. But, yet again, the weather continues to be idyllic for riding.

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The rule is, when the road disappears into a canyon, it’s going to be a long way to the top.
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It’s hard to convey what a 7% slope looks like to a bicycle rider. Much different than it does to an automobile driver. 

This was one of the few days that we hadn’t set an “Alamo point” mid route. Mainly because there was no good place to schedule it. The “fall back” plan is that if I don’t show up at the planned camp site by a specific time, start backtracking til our paths meet. More on this later.

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Seeing clear water cascading down these dry arroyos is a beautiful sight and sound. A combination of snow melt in the White Mountains and fairly recent rains creates this life giving resource to this otherwise thirst landscape.

I’ve mentioned before the non-egalitarian attitude of some of the “self-supported” riders I’ve met on this ride. They seem to have the idea that the route is supposed to be some kind of “personal misery” competition. Let me assure you, seeing Cathy pulled off the side of road ahead of me waiting to see if I need anything is all the proof I need that the way we’re doing it is by far the best. At least, it is for us. Back to the earlier comment on “come back and look for me”. Cathy navigates by GPS if she has a signal, and I’m going completely by my ACA map on the handlebars. Today, due to road construction, I missed the route change and continued riding. And riding. And riding. As the agreed upon “no show” time approached, she messaged me (much more likely to be transmitted than a phone call here) for a location update. It was clear I was “off route” and messaged her my location relative to the mile marker signs on the road I was on. Like the 7th Cavalry, she came to my rescue, sans shooting and horses. What’s not to love about that story. 🙂

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How did such huge rocks get to be so rounded? 

 

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Colors and textures and fragrances in abundance.

The scenery continues to mesmerize with the desert plants erupting into bloom. It’s a wonderful distraction from the miles of uphill grinding.

The city lights of greater Phoenix can be seen in the distance from our “over flow” parking area tonight. No electric or water hook up, so we’re hoping for a cool night.

Into the big city tomorrow, and hopefully re-connecting with all those snow birds that flew down here from home.

Cathy’s life-list bird list grew by three more species today; Verdin, Abert Towhee, and a magnificent Harris Hawk, who practically landed in her path at the campground. That’s a “Trifecta” in the bird world, folks.   🙂

A short riding day tomorrow, and then off the bike for probably the rest of the week. I hope the leg muscles will remember why we’re out here.

Thanks for coming along!

 

3 thoughts on “Around and Down and Down and Around til You Run Out of Ground at the Edge of Town”

  1. You snuck in two blogs and I missed this one! What a day you had. Those killer hills! Seriously, I’m so glad you’ve got your Cathy to rescue you! I can’t wait to hear the total list of birds she’s discovered this trip! Great pictures and I can promise you I can only imagine the grades and hills from a bikers’s perspective! You’re a rockstar in my book! Love you two. Prayers and hugs!!!

    Liked by 1 person

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