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4/13/99 - Day Ten Posting - Scottsdale, AZ


Last night the clouds rolled across the Wickenburg sky and the wind promised to blow in rain during the evening. Even when we all went to dinner, the weather had turned nippy. So we had some concern over what the morning weather would be like.

When I left our room for breakfast, I could see that it had rained during the night. However, the sky had enough blue among the clouds that we all felt better about the 69-mile ride that was before us! Some took rain gear, and others decided to test their luck. (They were rewarded!)

Several of us were nearly the last ones to pull out of the motel parking lot.... but as we rode off into the east, we realized that we were moving! Our odometers registered in double digits! At times yesterday, with the blowing wind, our odometers hovered around 4.5!

The three of us (Jan, Fern, and myself,) unanimously decided that the head winds, which seem to have beaten on us, yesterday, had unceremoniously departed. In their stead, we found a soft, gentle breeze that sometimes even brushed on our backs!

The scenery along our route, especially in the Waddell Dam area was so varied, and so ever changing that words simply fail. As St. Teresa said, "Heart speaks to heart”.... It was like paradise! The three of us were hitting 20 mph at times. We enjoyed a few good hills, but even they were easy to climb.

Each time our sag wagon stopped ahead of us, we spent a longer time snacking and chatting ... and at one such stop we came upon two other of our riders ... James and Beulah. James was having a bump bump sound, or maybe a click click sound, and they were trying to determine the cause of the noise. (Beulah and James knew a little about the workings of the derailer, and were moving this and that to find out the source of the noise.) In a short while, our fearless (but very knowledgeable leader, Al came along - he was riding his bike this glorious day, and had just checked the back of the pack.) A Phillips head was required, and thanks to my good friends at Missing Link, I had been outfitted with a handy little gadget for just such emergencies. It was put into action, and screws were turned, screws were tightened, and I don't know what all ... Beulah, James and Al were the ones with the knowledge, and Jan, Fern and I were the students of the bike. It was a curious problem, regardless of how many twists or turns, the noise continued. I don't know who finally discovered the cause of the noise, but at length and at last the culprit was found --- his tire pump had slid down from its original position and was hitting the chain! Everyone cleaned hands, laughed and one at a time, headed off toward our meeting place for the trip through the busy part of Scottsdale. Al turned around to check on the back of the pack.

By 12:00 noon, we had covered close to 50 miles. Just as we neared the area where we all agreed to "group" we came upon James, who reported that his tube had "exploded". Well, we three women are never too busy to stop and watch a tire being changed .... it is always a learning experience, and besides, I am the only one with the "magic" tool, as James was to find out! Mary Wells, a Valley Spokesmen club introduced this handy little tool to me. Mary, you are responsible for every YAH tour member anxious to secure one of these, too! Thanks from all of us!

So out came the tire changing magic tool, and off came the tire (like magic) - we found the hole in the tube, which was quickly patched, Jan checked the tire and could find nothing that would have caused the "puncture" - the magic tool was put into action to replace the tire, and we were ready to roll. While we were removing the tire, our sag wagon pulled up and joined in the operation. We enjoyed more snacks and drinks and took pictures and visited and had a grand time in the Scottsdale suburb. As we were ready to pull away and catch up with team member Beulah, who was waiting at the "grouping" spot, we heard the familiar "pop" of a back tire. We all knew that somehow James had not "seeded" the tube properly, and we had another flat tire. Out came all the equipment, off came the wheel and we were ready to begin again when Al and one of our riders, Jean rode up. With the expert advice and assistance of Al, we all learned a few "tricks" on how to "seed" our tubes.... again, lots of laughter, joking and more picture taking. We all agreed that this day had been one of the best of the tour so far.... the perfect weather, the terrain, and especially the good fellowship that we were enjoying.

We did have one concern, and that was for Beulah, who was still waiting ahead ... not far ahead, but still waiting. The sag wagon drove off to give nourishment to Beulah, and to tell her we were on our way, and the rest of us formed a "pack" to ride through a busy area of the city. Al and Jan led, and because I had my camelback blinker on, I was the "sweep". We rode along, fairly slowly, so that the pack could stay together. We had not gone far when, in turning around to check on the pack, or for whatever strange phenomenon of luck Al ran his bike into Jan's bike, and the next thing we all knew, our leader was on the ground, under his bike. It appeared he had fallen on the arm that sports the cast, so we were particularly concerned for his hand. His leg, we soon saw, was badly burned (we call it road burn) and his elbow, knee and hand had sizeable gashes. I carry a first aid kit (of sorts) on my bike, so all of us began administering aid to Al as he sat unceremoniously on the curb of the busy street. James, who carries a cell phone, was busy contacting the sag wagon, and also found out where the nearest hospital was. In no time flat, the sag wagon appeared, and it was decided that Jan, Al and Helen would get to a hospital to have his casted hand checked, and to get treated for his cuts and burns. Nadine, who had been riding the sag wagon (recuperating from her bout with bronchitis) remained at the accident site with Audrey, who, with Sharon arrived shortly after Al went down.

So our little group, me in the lead, Fern, Helen, Sharon and James began our slow journey toward the motel, which was only ten miles away. We determined that safety would be our motto, and speed our last concern. There were a number of traffic lights through this area, and I stopped half way into the block following each traffic light. Each time we made a turn, we would wait until everyone was together before taking off again. (We had a number of right and left turns to negotiate, and three things were in our minds ... 1. we wanted to catch up with Beulah, (who we were told was still waiting), 2. we didn't want to miss any of the turns and 3. we didn't want anyone to get lost.

We finally arrived at the designated meeting place, but saw no Beulah, Sharon (Jerry's wife) reported that Jerry, who rides one of the sag wagons told her that when last he saw Beulah, he was told that she'd wait until 2:45 and if we had not arrived by then, she would go on alone. Now this message alarmed Fern and myself, who had eaten breakfast with Beulah that morning. A remark Beulah had made came to mind: "One thing I am petrified of, is getting lost in this city." So when Jerry pulled by not long after, I asked him to go on and find Beulah. we were doing fine.

On our little contingent traveled ... making slow progress, but eventually we spotted our "home" for the next two nights. We sang as we pulled into the parking lot, "Hail, hail, the gang's all here." Happily we had all made it safely, and we knew Al and family were together and that Al was getting good care.

Then the bomb hit. When Helen checked in at the front desk, we were told that Beulah had not yet registered. I checked poolside, other rooms, lobby and around the motel. No Beulah. Jerry was unloading the van and as soon as he was told about our "lost sheep" he pulled out of the parking area in hot pursuit. Remembering Beulah's words at breakfast, I just could not go to my room, but walked outside, chatting with other tour members, and finally just waiting in the parking lot. In time Jerry returned, and reported that he had not found Beulah. He went back to the spot where he saw her walking her bike (she found the road a little rough at that spot, and decided to walk awhile).

I know Beulah to be a strong rider, and I wondered if, at that spot she was tiring, and perhaps misread the directions, which shortly after Jerry saw her, would have directed that she would come to a traffic light (TL) at Tatum Road. It was possible, I reasoned, that Beulah, due to fatigue, had turned left on Tatum and may be lost down that road. I hopped into the van, along with Russ (one of the three from Lehigh Acres, Florida - and a Lehigh Acre Bike club member with Beulah and Jean) and off we rode to Tatum Road. We searched both sides of the road, (and I suspect Jerry and Russ were praying as fervently as I that we would see that familiar friend). We rode far past where Beulah would likely have been able to go ... it was now over an hour since Jerry had spoken with her, and at that point, she was about fifteen minutes from the motel. Those of you who have "lost" someone in a crowd, or have been lost yourself, will identify with our fear and concern. We recently lost three women in the Yosemite area, and I must confess that memory was too fresh to not be a concern. I stormed heaven hoping my prayers would be answered. We drove and drove and realized we needed to turn around and head back to the motel. As we neared the motel, still not finding Beulah, Jerry made another call to the motel to make sure she had not checked in yet, and they reported that, no, Beulah had not yet checked in. The folks at the front desk knew Beulah was missing, and were concerned as well.

Our only alternative at this point was to make a police report. We pulled into the parking lot, Russ hopped out to check the front desk again, and Jerry picked up his phone, looked at if as if to say, "Damn it, Beulah, give me a call so I can come and get you." I sat there, praying that Beulah would call, and I suspect that Jerry was about to check out all the lines he has to make sure there was nothing there... just then the phone rang. Al was on the other line to report that 'Beulah had made it to the motel on her own. She did take Tatuum Road, but as she rode along, realized that she had made the error, negotiated several other turns and eventually found Scottsdale Road (where the motel is located) and actually was quite comfortable in getting herself back.') Because she was not "lost" she did not see the need to call the sag wagons, and simply rode back - tired, but okay.

With this news, the dark cloud that hovered over our spirits lifted, and with deep gratitude, and happiness, I headed for my room. I had time to take a great and refreshing shower before dinner.

During our dinner meal, I was able to produce something which drew the appreciation and applause of the tour group. My dear husband, Paul, had federal expressed a package, which contained two LARGE containers of bag balm! Now everyone will have their own supply ... they will put their empty photo canisters to use ... they will carry enough bag balm to last a day, and are small enough to carry in bike bags. We all thank you, Paul! (from the bottom of our buns!)

Something that came out of this experience was the fact that we all realize that there are people out across our country, from many, many states, who are praying for our safe journey. Sometimes, in the heat of the moment, or in the fear of the occasion, we forget this fact. I know that we are enveloped with your prayers, and last night, I believe the entire Young At Heart Tour Group felt the power you have generated.... for the safety of Beulah, and the fact that, bruised though he be, Al is okay and it has been confirmed, his bone was broken, and he must keep the cast on many more weeks. He will be able to get back on his bike in a few days, so undaunted, our great leader will continue to inspire and lead us.

I must say again, how fortunate we all feel in being members of this group. Much like a religious experience some of us share, (Cursillo) - we continue to build this loving and caring community.. once strangers, we become ever more "family" and much of our blessings are due to each of you who read and follow our exploits.... for you arm us each day with power and strength - thank you for sharing this journey with us!


To read about Day Eleven click here.
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