Monday, April 23, 2012

Every which way into Winslow

Day 9. Tired legs all around...sore behinds...smudged sunglasses. 94 miles to Winslow!

We headed north out of Williams in the cool morning and turned immediately toward dirt. Packed dirt, a great surface, almost 30 miles of it. Riding even flat dirt roads is harder than riding on pavement. There's just more resistance and therefore more pushing. The reward is knowing we are experiencing northern Arizona in the same way early motorists did. The other reward is the quiet and scenery (pine forests and prairies). The elevation here is around 7000 feet; the air warms up the minute the sun hits.

It was surprising how many local cars use old dirt Route 66 for short trips. It's become a local alternate to the interstate for people who live in this mountain area. So we did see some cars. It was no problem to see them coming because of dust.

The rest of the day we mostly rode on the highway, except in Flagstaff. Vic was my partner in crime  from late morning on. When we came to our turn in Flagstaff, he suggested that instead we should go straight for a few blocks to a diner. I went along for the adventure and a second breakfast. The food was terrific.

Our waitress was a cyclist!

It really looks like this inside.
Fully fueled, we took the direct route Business 40 through town. It's actually Route 66, but our route detours onto quieter streets. Since the last PAC Tour trip, a shoulder was added to this road, making it more bike-friendly. As a bonus it runs right past the old town. Eventually we connected the dots and met up with the group.

There was a beautiful section of concrete road south of town. It carried us to Walnut Canyon National Monument. Some day when I come back I'd like to visit this place.

Then it was the interstate, on a high plateau with a light blue lid for the sky. It was a straight shot through Winona to Winslow. What was 'every which way'? Wind, of course! For 55 miles we had every kind of wind. Every kind, that is, except light. Crosswinds. Tailwinds. Quartering head winds, from the east and from the west. It was a mental workout, keeping track of its direction and staying on the road.

As the afternoon wore on, about 10 miles outside of Winslow it absolutely started howling and trying to blow us back to Flagstaff. There's really nothing on that plateau to act as a windblock. Dust and tumbleweeds were blowing across the road. It took every bit of energy to keep moving forward, but somehow we did.

Winslow is a sweet little town and we're staying upscale tonight, at La Posada. It's such a beautiful building that I felt ashamed of the grime and soot coating my legs! Perhaps the nicest shower so far.


  1. Love the neon diner sign. :)
    Did you stand on the corner in Winslow, like in the Eaagles song?

    1. We rode in past that corner! The stoplight was red, and I started serenading my riding buddies. A couple of days later one of them said - oh, that's why you were singing there!!! (He thought I just broke into random song...)