Sunday, April 22, 2012

Fashion, and other pressing matters

Day 7. A 50-mile-ish ride to Williams AZ from Seligman. Cyclists are beginning to show off the quirkier items in their gear bags. We like that...

Angel Delgadillo took the day after his birthday off. So, no autograph from Angel, who cuts hair in Seligman. He's the driving force behind revitalizing Route 66 after the interstate bypassed Seligman. We were disappointed not to meet him in person, though a day off sounds totally reasonable to me. In fact, at this point it sounds kind of appealing!

Our route to Williams was shorter than usual, but featured plenty of off-road excitement. A few examples of road surfaces along the way:

To avoid a long and grueling climb on the interstate, we went native with old Route 66 alignments. Instead of a steady 6% grade our afternoon road dipped and climbed, over and over. We were a group of five in the middle of the Kaibab National Forest, enjoying the road to ourselves.

The road tilted up a few more degrees and conversation stopped. We all started pushing hard on the cranks. The challenge was not only the grade but the surface. It was a bit loose because new gravel had been put down after the rainy season, but not yet packed down by any vehicle. It's a late spring kind of a problem. My rear tire slipped a few times. That was mostly because I was too stubborn to use the little ring.

The gravel road trailed off into some bushes. We could see the interstate at this point but a deep ravine lay between us and it. Hans ventured off into the brush, then waved us over. We all picked up our bikes and ported them over rocks, bushes, and debris for about 30 feet to a guardrail. From there we executed some strategic dashing across four lanes of freeway. We probably surprised some truckers, emerging like ants from this little spot on the shoulder.

Go Thea, go!
 Everyone in our group got across fine...

Near the summit, we found three semis parked in the shoulder, cooling off from the climb. It was hot on our marginally paved road. That kind of constant pushing uphill is usually featured in mountain biking. We heard from other riders that the climb on the interstate was just as hot.

In town, we cooled off at Twisters, with cherry phosphates and a stellar selection of deep-fried items.

Hans and Vic vogue in front of Twisters
It was a triumph to make it Williams, our largest town since Needles and unquestionably uphill from Seligman. Williams has a Safeway!

We heard at dinner that one rider, Doug Uhl, happened to stumble when crossing the second set of lanes on the freeway. Everyone (including the truckers) held their breath while he picked himself up in time and got to safety.

That evening was the fabulous SBI auction at Villa Ragusa. I was able to be there for part of it via video chat, and thanks to Henry everything went off without a hitch. Route 66 goes high tech! Thanks to Christine, Lisa, Henry, and Pilar for enabling me to speak at this gala event. And a thank you from the heart to Danny, and Mary & Eric, my family providing support by attending in person. It meant a whole lot to me to know you were there...

Today I left at about 7:15am with 4 others for a one-way ride to the Grand Canyon. The other riders were fast, but as we don't normally ride together the teamwork part was a challenge. We all arrived at the park at roughly the same time.... And the Grand Canyon itself was of course breathtaking.


  1. Love to you, sweetheart. The Grand Canyon is one of my favorite places on earth. Glad you got to experience it. Also so glad we could be at the SBI auction. It was a lot of fun, and some tears. :) You are so inspiring! Go sis!!! Love from the bottom of my heart. <3

  2. "like ants" made me laugh! :) Glad you made it okay. Those roads look ridiculous. The cherry phosphates and fried food seem well deserved.
    You saw the Grand Canyon! How marvelous. I hope there are pictures in some of the newer entries.

    1. Will post soon. It was a marathon "rest" day.