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Day 13: Safford, AZ to Duncan, AZ

41 Miles - Cycling in the Southeast Arizona Desert; Simpson Hotel & Humble Pie Pizzeria in Duncan - February 21, 2017

Mount Graham, AZ I had a late start as a reporter for the Eastern Arizona Courier interviewed me at 8:30 a.m. Ahhhh, to get publicity and interviews more often would be amazing. Does anyone want to be my press secretary for Bike Across America Trip #4 ... assuming I go someday? :)

Mount Graham - Elevation 10,719 Feet

Mount Graham is the massive mountain south of Safford. The town sits at 2917 feet, so this mountain shoots up nearly 1.5 miles when you view it from town.
Southeast Arizona

Arizona Highway 191

I biked east on U.S. Highway 70 through Solomon and then stopped for a break at the junction of Highways 191 and 70.

Second Photo: It was at this point in 2008 (Trip #1) when I turned northeast onto Higwhay 191 where I'd ride to Glenwood, New Mexico. For this trip, I would continue on Highway 70 to Duncan and Lordsburg, just like I did in 2011.

Lordsburg, NM
My bike leaning on a "Lordsburg Safford" sign.
I applied sunblock as it was already warming and the sun was fully out. A driver stopped and asked if I was okay. I was surprised he asked because I didn't think I appeared to be stranded or struggling, but I still appreciated the inquiry and thanked him. I knew from experience there would be other times on this long journey where I wished someone would ask that question.

The desert scenery ...

Desert Highway It's isolated country between Safford and Lordsburg. With the exception of the small town of Duncan, expect to see terrain like this.
Shoat Tank Wash, AZ The cycling continued on Highway 70. I had not been here since 2011, when I had some troubles with flat tires and not carrying enough liquids. I kept thinking of Tom Vossman, whom I met on this road and was a great help to me. For miles, I searched for the place where I encountered him. I still don't know the exact spot, but at least I made a semi-interesting video with nice scenery.

Funny Adopt a Highway Sign Mike Bibb, if you read this, you have a great sense of humor.

My Adopt a Highway sign in Colorado isn't as funny, but I think the mountain view is better. What do you think? :)

Adopt a Highway

Duncan, AZ There was a lot of climbing as I biked from Safford to Duncan, and then finally, the topography gods gave this poor cyclist some grace for about 6-8 miles into Duncan.
Duncan, Arizona

Duncan, Arizona

In Duncan, I faced a dilemma. I had biked 41 miles to reach this town with the tentative intention of riding all the way to Lordsburg. From here, it would be another 37 miles to make it. However, I just wasn't sure if I had it in me to go that far. The sun had already begun to wear me out. Also, I had started later than usual, which shouldn't have been an issue, but it just made me a little uncomfortable. The fact that there are absolutely no services between Duncan and Lordsburg made me nervous too. If I did go for it, I'd need to make it!

I had already researched that Duncan had a motel and at least one bed-and-breakfast, and all the while I thought that if I didn't feel well, Duncan would be my "safety destination."

Simpson Hotel, AZ

Duncan, AZ

In Duncan, I wrestled with what to do. It was then that I recalled I had always been intrigued by this small Southeast Arizona town. When I rode through in 2011, I regretted not seeing more.

I saw the Simpson Hotel on Main Street and wondered how much it cost to stay for the night. I called and inquired about their rate in a voice mail.

Then I biked a few blocks, searching for a place to have lunch, when I met two men sitting and talking outside. One of them shouted, "Hey you, come over here." Initially I thought I was in trouble, but quickly I realized they were friendly and seeking to socialize. Whatever these guys wanted, I figured it would make for a good story.

Adjacent is a photo of me with Bucky and Mike. They were friendly all right and we talked about how I had made it here from San Diego in 13 days. They told me about Duncan -- what it's like and how they ended up living here. Mike told me about experiences in Vietnam and the physical disabilities he deals with everyday. Bucky used to work in the mines and informed me his daughter graduated from Harvard. They were down-to-earth folks willing to talk about life topics that a lot of people tend to avoid. Most importantly, they shared how they look after each other as friends.

As I chatted and laughed with them, I took it as a sign that I should stay in Duncan for the night. When the Simpson Hotel owners got back to me and quoted me a rate (without breakfast) that was reasonable and about what I'd expect to pay at any motel, I stayed with them.

I was happy about my decision, and yet another part of me was uneasy. I had only gone 41 miles. When I'm on a trip of this magnitude, there is pressure to pack on the miles so you feel good about yourself as an athlete. And yet, when the trip is all over, I knew I'd look back and wish I had not gone so fast -- that I had taken my time and explored more on the route. It felt like a big deal to opt to stay in Duncan and I wrote a Facebook post about it. The supportive feedback from my friends was helpful.

Getting to know Mike ...

Simpson Hotel

Simpson Hotel Cozy Bed

I am so glad I stayed in Duncan, an unassuming desert town with friendly people. There are affordable homes and properties where if you are lucky enough to get out of the rat race, you can live a quiet life without the worries and stresses of the city. Also, did you know the late Supreme Court justice Sandra Day O'Connor grew up in Duncan?

The Simpson Hotel is as charming on the inside as it presents on the outside. The historic building was once a hotel when Duncan was a busier place with a railroad coming through. Today, it's a easygoing bed-and-breakfast run by a couple who are artists. The inside is replete with their artwork, and the backyard is endearing with pleasant places to sit and relax. If you love historic western buildings and artistry, I recommend this place.

Their website is www.simpsonhotel.com.

You are welcome to stay connected with me on my author page.

Humble Pie Pizzeria - Duncan, Arizona
Humble Pie Pizzeria
The B&B owners recommended Humble Pie for pizza. It's a business run by one guy (Pete) with an amusing business name and a "no frills" ambiance. It's funny to explain, but I thought this place deserved a section on this page with four large images. I suggest you like Humble Pie on Facebook as I did.
Humble Pie in Duncan, AZ
The owner's name is Pete. You walk up to the counter, order your pizza, and then he makes it. I don't know much about pizza-making, but Pete seemed like an expert. The seating is minimal with just a few tables. There is a vending machine if you want a drink. And the pizza -- oh my gosh, the pizza -- was pretty ding-dang good! It was just me and Pete in there, and we talked about his business, my bike trip, and other things.
The pizza. Mmmmm.

Eating Pizza
Me eating my pizza. :)

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Other Resources: Steve's Book About 2008 Trip - 2011 Trip Journal - Steve's Help & Advice


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