40 miles - Biking Alone on I-10 and U.S. Highway 60 Thru Brenda AZ, Hope AZ, Harcuvar AZ - February 14, 2017
The Morning Crew at McDonald's
When I hit the McDonald's in the morning, John had already met these friendly people and introduced them to me.
Soon I was sitting in their booth and doing a lot of laughing. Now that's therapy for the soul!
The guy sitting next to me is Ed Foster, who
was once the mayor of Quartzsite. He told me stories about the town
including when he made it in the
New York Times when town government controversies became big news.
I don't recall the names of the couple to the right. The one thing
I remember was I gave the guy a Bike Ride For Empathy card and encouraged
him to follow my daily updates on Facebook. He said he once had a Facebook account,
but then he located an ex-girlfriend from many years ago and "friended" her. Well, that woman blocked him and that was that. So he's not on Facebook anymore.
His wife was encouraging about my bike trip and was such a dear woman.
It was a nice start to the morning, and honestly, if I lived in Quartzsite, I'd probably hit the McDonald's many mornings
just to hang out with these folks. Here's a shot of all of us.
Good-Bye To John
On this morning of Day 6, John informed me that his destination would be Congress, Arizona -- about 90 miles ahead -- and that his cousin in Prescott
would meet him with his truck. It would be his last riding day. As for me, I was only planning to ride 40 miles to Salome.
Because I wasn't as quick of a cyclist and John would be booking it to Congress, he started an hour ahead of me.
Extra Things To Carry
Maybe this is too much information, but it's my journal and I don't care. I'd like to thank the makers of Desitin, the anti-rash ointment. Holy cow!
This product is not just helpful for babies; cyclists like me can benefit from it too! For days I bummed off of John's supply, but before I left Quartzsite,
I bought my own box of the wonderful stuff.
Also notice I brought a Sausage McMuffin With Egg. They had a 2 for 1 deal at the McDonald's, and this was one instance where the long shelf life of fast food
sandwiches came handy. I carried this in my trunk box throughout the day. :)
Today's route from Quartzsite to Salome would be the same as my
2008 trips, but I didn't mind. In fact,
I can honestly say this is one my favorite regions in Arizona. The cycling was enjoyable on my previous tours, and it would be
the same today.
From Quartzsite, I headed east on the shoulder of Interstate 10. The desert and mountains are pretty, and there's an ascent over Plomosa Pass.
The climb is nothing to be frightened about as it wasn't too difficult, but it was enough to get a workout. Of course,
the descent on the other side is always a thrill.
I saw this highway sign for Gold Nugget Road and was curious. Ahhhh there are so many places to explore in the American West.
A few miles east of Plomosa Pass, there's an exit for U.S. Highway 60 that takes you to Brenda, Vicksburg Junction, Hope, and Salome.
The adjacent photo doesn't show it, but at this exit the desert is teeming with saguaros, ocotillos, cholla cactus, and so much more.
I made a "not too shabby" about it, and in dramatic fashion. :)
So I was biking towards Brenda in routine fashion. Typically I'd stare directly down
with occasional glances up to be sure what's ahead is safe. Then I saw an piece of artwork with the letter "G" that was unmistakably manmade.
At the time, John Wylie was about 10-15 miles ahead and created this for me. John would often refer to me as the "G-Man."
I was so honored by this piece of artwork and texted John. :)
Then I remembered I also saw another thing that didn't register until now. While riding on I-10 out of Quartzsite,
I saw three pieces of tire rubber placed perfectly like arrow. That was John's creation too! :)
So maybe John and I weren't riding today, but his spirit was with me. I was cheering for him to ride his butt off and make it to Congress. I really
would like to see him bike across America someday -- just to cheer for him, see his photos, and track his progress.
I arrived in Brenda, a modest village with a few RV parks, a store, a cafe, and not much else. It seemed buzzing with activity from "snowbirds,"
and stopped at the country store.
My video in the store. See how helpful I was? :)
Past Brenda, there are mountains in the distance and flat desert.
The Dreamer's RV Park appeared to be an interesting place. They have karaoke on Saturday's nights at 7 p.m. :)
Hope is another memorable little town for reasons unknown to me.
In 2008, the gas station was open. In 2011, I was disappointed when I saw it was out of business.
Well, I'm pleased to say it is open once more in 2017.
By the way, I share this for my own memory, but it was right here that I had a phone conversation with A.J. Baime, a high school classmate
who lives in California and writes a weekly column for the Wall Street Journal. We reconnected after 28 years and had a great talk about
traveling, following your dreams, and how we both wisely escaped New Jersey.
He wanted to do a column about the Bike Ride For Empathy,
but his superiors wouldn't allow the topic for his specialized column. It was OK though -- just talking
about life with A.J. was good enough for me.
Leaving Hope, a sign informs you that "You Are Now Beyond Hope." :)
Arizona Desert Beauty
Four photos of the gorgeous scenery as I worked uphill to Granite Wash Pass. Those peaks are part of the Little Harquahala Mountains.
Seven minutes of me riding, stopping for an ocotillo, and showing some of the saguaros and mountains ...
Bicycle Tube Art
John's roadside art surprised me once more.
A bicycle tube and rocks made for a smiley face. :)
In Harcuvar, I noticed the sky with those clouds. It was a pretty day.
Harcuvar wasn't much of a town and many of the buildings were old and dilapidated.
Do you like fixer uppers? This one on the highway is for sale and I betcha it's cheap. :)
It was a successful 40-mile ride to Salome.
For me, this is a special town. Why?
I call this "Stop and Smell the Sagebrush Country." I'll admit it is sentimental on my part,
but in my book,
Chapter 5 covers some of the enchantment I had with the desert and spiritual encouragement I received.
I recall writing Western Arizona seemed like the "honeymoon phase" on my first trip, and it was no different this time.
"Where She Danced" is one of the mottos of Salome, which is related to the founding of the town.
You'll have to ask a local to get the details the next time you're in Salome. :)
I ate at the cafe next to Dan's Cactus Bar and had a green chile cheeseburger with tater tots. It was so good!
I'd return to Dan's in the evening and thought the neon cactus was ...
As I did on Trip #1 and #2, I stayed at the Sheffler's Motel. The rate was low.
The room was far from luxurious, but everything was clean and working.
Most flattering was when the owner recognized me from previous trips while I was checking in.
The Salome Motel is family owned and they have a rooster and some chickens on the grounds. :)
You are welcome to stay connected with me on my author page.
More Photos of Salome, Arizona
The day before Day 1, John, Beth, Tim, and I stopped for a rest break while on our way to San Diego.
It's hard to explain, but there's something special about this town, and I can't quite put my finger on it.
Below are five photos of Salome including Dick Wick Hall's grave.
There are two places where if you happen to be there, I want you to think of me:
Buena Vista, Colorado (where I lived for 9 years and had success); and Salome, Arizona (bike across America country).
Highway 60 runs through Salome.
The grave of Dick Wick Hall, one of the founders of the town.