Week 10 (Williams, Arizona to Twentynine Palms, California)

Day 64 – Bike Ride to Williams, Arizona

Today was pretty boring to be honest. If you take a took at our map you will notice in Arizona we kind of take a detour up to hit the Grand Canyon and then come back down again. Well for about half the day today we were backtracking. Not to sound negative but compared to the past few days the scenery was nothing too impressive.

However, the town of Williams was surprisingly very cute. With a population of just 3,000 my expectations were not set too high but to my surprise it was filled with neat little shops and bars. We grabbed a few drinks at night and listened to some live music at a local Route 66 hotspot.

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Day 65 – Build Day – Williams, Arizona

Today was our most interesting build day to say the least. Once again we were painting the exterior of a home. We started earlier than usual, around 7 a.m. At around noon it started to storm. There was a terrenchal downpour and hail for about a half hour. We all ran into the van to take shelter throughout the stormy weather. At the time, we were all pretty much under the assumption that our build day was over because you can’t paint wet wood, obviously.
Our site leader had a different thought in mind, however. In his head, a little rain wasn’t going to stop anyone.

Once the rain had stopped he approached are van an asked of we could continue painting. We all looked at one another wondering if he was being serious or not. Now I don’t know too much about paint but I am smart enough to know that it won’t stick too well when the wood is drenched. We realized that the site leader had already gone back to painting. We all got out of the van and reluctantly went back to work. I was assigned to paint a wood corner beam of the porch that had a few shelves on it. The wood was so wet it felt like I was painting a puddle. The paint would run down the sides with every brush stroke I took. Then, once I was finally finished it started raining again and washed away everything I had just painted. At this point I gave up and sat inside until it was time to leave.

 

Day 66 – Bike Ride to Seligman, Arizona

Today I rode with Chris and for the first time we rode on an interstate. Due to paved roads being very sparse out in the west our only option was to hop on I-40 for the first 24 miles. Surprisingly it was a very a very nice ride: the shoulder was wide and smoothly paved with plenty of room to ride two abreast. Unfortunately, due to tiny derby from cars and big trucks people were getting flat tires left and right. I ended up getting my 10th flat tire of the summer, which isn’t too bad compared to many people.

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Being only a 42 mile day we arrived in Seligman fairly early. We checked out the local scene and quickly learned that this was the town that the movie Cars is based off of.

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We stopped by a local hot spot or some treats. The inside was covered with people’s business cards and employee IDs. I didn’t understand it one bit but still left my card on the wall.

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Later that night after setting up camp at a local KOA campground it was time for Bike & Build Olympics. We alternate chore groups every week and the last week will be one off to make them all even and being that some chores are easier than others the leaders have decided to have Olympics to determine who gets to choose which chore for the last week.
The opening ceremonies consisted of each chore group coming out with their own introduction. Our group decided to switch names and act like each other. I acted as Ellie so I came out intimidating her distance giggling laugh.
Our first completion was to see who could change a tube the fastest. Unfortunately we lost.

 

Day 67 – Bike Ride to Kingman, Arizona

Today I rode sweep with Steve. To say the least today was very boring. The scenery didn’t change too much for the 85 mile ride. We came across a few portions of extremely strong headwinds that felt like we were trying to pedal through a tornado.

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We stopped in a small shop along our route that seemed like a Route 66 tourist trap. It felt like I was in Europe as I sat a booth enjoying my ice cream sandwich and bottle of Sprite. Not one person in the shop was speaking English. Apparently Route 66 attract a lot of European tourists which is surprising because I was getting the impression that all the route was was a road filled with small towns and shops made to look like the 1950s.

Day 2 of the Bike & Build Olympics consisted of who could burrito the laundry tarp the fastest and put it in the van, then remove it from the van and unwrap the laundry. Being that my group has only done laundry once we did not have as much experience. Needless to say we came in dead last. The laundry burrito began to come undone when we trip to pack it in the van and it was a disaster to say the least but still was hilarious.

 

Day 68 – Bike Ride to Mohave Valley, Arizona

Today I rode with David, Emily, Matt and Sean. For the majority of the morning we climbed some steady switchbacks.

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We eventually made it to the top of our climb for the day and gazed upon a beautiful look out.

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Going down the other side of the mountain we noticed some cars that have been pushed off the side. They looked pretty smashed up but being that today was a shorter day we decided to hike down to check then out. They were filled with bullet holes and seemed like they have been rotting there for awhile.

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After hiking back up and pedaling for awhile the scenery didn’t seem to change too much. We were really in the dessert now. Which means now was really a perfect time for a naked mile. We all stripped down and took off. Feeling the wind dry the sweat off every place of our bodies. After the first mile or two Emily and Sean dropped off to get dressed. But Matt David and I kept going, we wanted to raise the bar for the naked mile so we went for 5 miles!

It was good timing that we stopped because about a mile later we hit a small town. It was a touristy western town called Oatman. There were wild donkeys roaming throughout the town a I learned the valuable lesson that donkeys eat anything. When I came back to where my bike was parked I was informed by a local that a donkey came along and ate my cue sheet right off my bike.

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We arrived in the town at the right time to witness a staged shoot out that goes down everyday at noon. We all helped block off the street so the corny rendition of a duel could take place.

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Getting closer to Mohave Valley we were hit with a wall of heat. It felt like we were biking through and oven. Luckily our host location at air conditioning so we just hung out inside for the remainder of the evening.

Then around sunset a faculty member f the elementary school we were staying at offered to give us a ride down the road to the Colorado river. The temperature of the water was very cold but felt great in the 108 degree heat.

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It felt so amazing to look across the river to one mountain range at California and then look down the river to Nevada and realize that we all freaking biked here!

 

Day 69 – Bike Ride to Kingman, Arizona

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Today was hot, hot, hot with temperatures reaching over 100. I rode alone or the day which was very relaxing and peaceful. It may sound redundant but much like everyday the scenery was gorgeous. We were biking to a campsite that was right on a river which gave everyone a little extra motivation to get there.

For the past week or so I have been meaning to change my back tire due to having several cuts and tears in it from the 3000+ miles I have already put on, but whenever I get done riding for the day the last thing I want to do is change out a tire. So today, riding on the hit pavement and broken glass that for some reason was all offer the road, my tire gave out. It was completely shredded.

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I called the van to bring me a new tire that I had in the trailer. I say and waited in the 100+ degree heat for it to arrive as I chugged water from my camelbak. In that time a car pulled up, rolled down their window and asked if I needed help. I told them I was fine and just waiting for the van. The woman in the passenger seat then proceeded to hand me a cold bottle of Gatorade and a cold bottle of water. Another example of how awesome people are.

I continued to wait and as I did I decided to play on my phone to help make time go faster. But after having my phone out in the sun for about 10 minutes this displayed on my screen:

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Once I finally got everything fixed I slammed out the last 7 miles of beauty until I got to the host.

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And apparently while we were riding today someone spotted us who almost did Bike & Build a few years back. He was so excited to see us that he bought us all dinner!

 

Day 70 – Bike Ride to Twentynine Palms, California

Longest ride of the summer and probably one of the best rides of the summer. I rode with Julie for 120 miles starting at 5 a.m. We were up well before the sun, around 3:30 the oh so pleasant alarms starting going off throughout our campsite. If felt so cool starting our ride under the stars and riding into the daylight.

Our ride started off on a high note entering California early in the morning.

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I was freaking out once we crossed the state line. I have never been this far west in my life and I freaking biked here. I remember back when I was little and dreamed of going to Cali to see the Hollywood sign and the movie stars I admired. And here I was entering the glorious state on a bicycle.

We saw a whole lot of nothing for the majority of the trip. Just desert land with zero civilization. But the riding was amazing. For long portions of it we were going down hill with a tailwind which is a cyclist dream. We were going 30 miles an hour for miles.

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We did come across a few neat random things. Such as a burned down structure with tons of shoes tied along the fence. Or a giant pole with street signs from all over pointing in different directions.

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We pedaled along more mountains and eventually found ourselves headed directly towards a storm.

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Jut before the storm we met up with an alumni rider along the side of the road who gave us Gatorade and snacks.
Then we set off into the storm. The rain started getting harder and harder ad eventually turned into hail. We ditched our bikes on the side of the road and huddled the best we could under a bush. I never would of thought we could get caught in the storm in the middle of the desert. Once the hail stopped we continued pedaling out of the storm.

We finally hot our host city and saw the wonderful sight of palm trees. A sure sign we are headed for the west coast.

I took a short nap once we arrived then set out for a 5 mile run. A race is going back in Grove City for Meg so since I can’t be there for it I decided to run the race out here in Cali, even if it is after our longest ride day. It felt so good to run again, it made me realize how much I miss pounding pavement. I could see Meg next to me cheering me on every step of the way.

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