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4/12/99 - Day Nine Posting - Wandering in Wickenburg, AZ!

Our stay in the tiny town of Salome was short ... arriving at the motel last night, tired and pooped ... shower, supper and bed were about all we did. However, this morning most of us were up with the roosters and anxious to get on the road again!

Happily, this morning began well and no problems getting underway. My thighs were still sore from yesterday, but thank God, as the day wore on, I was able to "find" my strength again.... not back to what I could push earlier, but I know I will get stronger every day.... I do want to mention to my dear wheel-chair friends, and those few who have no legs to propel them, that much of the battling of the winds today was for you. I rejoice that I have legs to use, and I thought so much of people who are bed ridden, or wheel chair bound, or without legs.... and I prayed over and over in thanksgiving to God for the strength I feel in my legs, and often during the day when the winds blew especially hard, I would call out; "This is for you folks!"

Our route today was easy ... all the way from Salome to Wickenburg we traveled on Rt. 60. Most of the time we had good shoulders and all the cars and trucks that passed us were so nice. They gave us plenty of room!

The terrain as we rode was amazing! Solome is out in the middle of nowhere, cactus and grazing lands on both sides, then we came into another "barren" area, but the wildflowers (desert flowers) were so profuse and varied! As we rode down the route, both sides of the road were lined with orange, white, purple and yellow flowers! It was almost like moving between floral honor guards! Mile after mile we enjoyed the colors! Then, naturally, our friend the head winds and the crosswinds visited us today. These winds might very well have clocked at 30 mph. As we tried to ride just inside the white line, more than once the winds blew us over into the traffic lane. The number of cars that passed us was very small, and none of us was pushed sideward while a car or truck was coming! Tumble weeds blew across our path, and what a sight that was! No doubt we should have stopped to take a picture of this, but the blowing wind only made us want to press on, hoping that it would abate. In a few places, it did and for a minute or two we enjoyed a sort of tailwind. We went through a few sand storms ... we have all learned to keep our mouths shut when the wind gusts the sand across the road!

Then all of a sudden we were passing fields that were green --- neat rows marked the places where some farmer/rancher had planted the seed... and we saw the beginnings of the growth. We prayed that the weather would be good for them and that their harvest would be bountiful.

Our sag wagons have been heaven sent! Sometimes when one was thinking the old legs just couldn't continue, our beautiful white van would pass us and pull over! Happy bikers would suddenly find the energy to sprint forward to the welcoming faces of our sag support! Bananas, cold drinks, fig newtons, rice cakes ... grapes - and more were available to give us a boost and send us on our rock and rolling way! Sometimes I wondered, as we left the sag wagon, satiated, what did the pioneers do on their long cross-country journeys? No sag wagons for those giants!

We stopped for lunch in the town of Aguila. The only store along our route was a delight and there we finally met up with the women from, not Australia, but from New Zealand! Their names are Christine and Madi and they hail from Nelson, New Zealand! I took a picture of them, so you can see what "real" cyclists do ... they biked out of L.A. international and are riding their bikes to New York City! They are laden down with tent, cooking equipment and clothes! No sag wagon for them! They camp each night! They were delightful and so interesting. We all exchanged photos and names ... also look at Bruce Horton's web page (look under "Riders" and Bruce Horton "Young At Heart") He was able to get a great shot of the women! By the way, Bruce's entries are so interesting ... I suggest you check out his site daily! He knows a lot about computers, and when I have a problem he is always ready to help me. Both Bruce and his wife,Yvonne, are as dear and delightful as they can be! They are the only tandem riders on our group. Not a writer by profession, I am sure you will be delighted with his humor and knowledge.

After a good rest and lunch stop we passed ever changing landscapes. As we neared the end of today's journey we could see the beginning of the foothills ... what marvelous landscapes we saw on every side! Far off in the distance we could see mountains (?) and lots and lots of hills of increasing heights and colors.... a sight to behold!

We had head winds and cross winds for most of today, but as we neared the town of Wickenburg, more and more the wind blew at our back, AND we enjoyed a great downhill into the town. The farther down we traveled, I realized that tomorrow morning we would be climbing up on the other side! Ah! The joys of the road!

As we entered Wickenburg we noticed an historical marker which chronicled the massacre of a stage coach in 1871 by some Apache Mojave Indians. All seven of the riders were killed. For my political input of the day I must remark that so far we have not seen any monuments nor historical markers to the Native Americans whose lives were shattered by our quest for western shores....

Yesterday I meant to mention the name of the cactus with the red flower at the top. It is called Ocotillo (thanks, Debbie!) and here's a picture of it

As we rode down the highway we were passed by a fairly large number of antique cars (thought of John and Carolee Morrison) ... I don't think these were as old as the vintages you folks drive! They all were polished and purring along!

Even with the winds, we made good time today - even if we only did 54.5 miles today. It was a very good day, and again I send warm wishes to each of you! Tomorrow I hope to identify some of the beautiful flowers and cactus that made today’s ride so lovely!

I especially appreciate all the nice notes that readers have been sending! Great to hear from so many!


To read about Day Ten click here.
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