Tuesday, April 24, 2012

No hurry to Hollbrook

Day 10. A luxurious sleep-in and breakfast at La Posada. Most of today is on unpaved roads. But it's a short day, 35 miles. We leave Winslow at the late, already very warm hour of 9 am.

I keep waking up at 5:30 or 6 every morning, no matter our start time. Today it's a little awkward standing around waiting to leave. Finally people just do. They head off east down Route 66. There's a ton of broken glass on the shoulder, as if locals come out here to park and drink. Then they smash the bottles for good measure.

There's a group ahead of me and Vic. After 3 or so miles they stay straight on Route 66, past a sign that says Dead End. According to my logic we need to turn and cross over the interstate to the other side. But they are too far in front to hear anything. Then Susan passes, heading that same way in a hurry. She's done the ride before, so I really have to hunker down with the instinct to turn. We are pack animals. The instinct to follow someone is very strong.

Later, after explaining to Vic why he should go this way and not that way, after crossing over to the frontage road on the north side of the highway, after entering the un-paved old Route 66, we look back. Sure enough, a few hundred yards back there's a moving pack of bicycles glittering in the morning sun! Veronica is waiting up ahead. It's always more fun to explore in a group. After a mistake the route-finding tends to improve, too.

Old Route 66.
We spend the morning on quiet old alignments on abandoned pavement. No maintenance has been done here in a long time. The late morning segment is loose sand that is deep in places. My rear wheel is fishtailing like mad; I should not have filled the tires with air this morning. A couple of riders go down but no one really complains.

Even though we can see the interstate clearly on the left, it still feels like we're in the middle of nowhere. Lon explains how you can tell we're on Route 66. Arizona has a law that every structure for crossing over water has to have a benchmark showing the elevation.

These benchmarks are unfortunately being stolen, probably to appear somewhere on eBay. Removing these markers could mean that some day no one will ever be able to know they're on Route 66.

For the morning's effort, we are rewarded with a stop at the iconic Jack Rabbit Trading Post.

Sand roses, the state flower of Arizona. 
Insulator art.
 After monitoring his tires all morning, Vic finally has to change a tube. Yesterday's 30 miles on the interstate did not come cheap, in terms of flat tires. There were at least 3 in the group, along with a couple of close calls. The last 8 miles into Hollbrook are on the interstate as well. The last 4 miles the pavement in the shoulder has been ground down. It's almost unrideable. A bumpy welcome to the Wigwam Motel!

And we will...

Fun VW shop in Hollbrook.

Now the teepee is calling... Tomorrow, another 100 miles.

1 comment :

  1. Barite roses are the state rock in Oklahoma! Or state mineral. I can't remember.