Doerte doing the first elevation from the Colorado River on the Boundary Cone Road.. This was an excellent road for riding with very little traffic.
GABA Ride Itinerary (The Plan)
Ride Day 1: Sunday, September 30th
Ride Day 2: Monday, October 1st
Ride Day 3: Tuesday, October 2nd
Day 4 (Rest Day): Wednesday, October 3rd
Ride Day 4: Thursday, October 4th
Ride Day 5: Friday, October 5th
Ride Day 6: Saturday, October 6th
Entire course profile (505 miles, approx. 31,500')
Sunday, October 7th
The Ride! (The Story)
Doerte and I were up early and on the road shortly after 6 am. Being from the Pacific NW we preferred to ride in the cool of very early morning and enjoy the rising sun on the Mohave Desert. There was no traffic riding on the Boundary Cone Road to the Black Mountains. Shortly after Sag 1 we arrived at the old mining town, and now a tourist attraction - Oatman, AZ. There were a bunch of old closed mines and some that were still in some form of operation.
This was the steepest part of the ride.
Oatman, Arizona is a mining town in the Black Mountains of Mohave County, Arizona, United States. Located at an elevation of 2700ft it began as a tent camp soon after two prospectors struck a $10 million gold find in 1915, though the area had been already settled for a number of years. Oatman's population grew to more than 3,500 in the course of a year.
Oatman was named in honor of Olive Oatman, a young girl from Illinois who was kidnapped by the Apache. She was rescued in 1857 near the current site of the town bearing not only the psychological marks of her ordeal, but physical marks as well. Traded to the Mohave tribe who adopted her as a daughter, Olive had her face tattooed to identify her as an honorary Apache and photographs of her clearly show the markings.
We arrived at camp in Kingman early and had time to cool off and enjoy the pool. We had driven through Kingman in the car many times, but it was much more fun to ride through on our bikes. Our KOA Campground was nice, but not really very close to stores and shops.
We were up early Monday morning and broke camp in the dark. Doerte and I went to the truck stop for coffee, and then took off for Hackberry. We had a tailwind (at least for a while) and a big storm bypassing us to the east. As we neared Hackberry the wind turned around, and bothered us the rest of the day.
Hackberry is a fun stop and should never be missed when passing through, and to our delight Sag 1 was also there. There was a nervous excitement in the air among the riders. From Hackberry we continued on old route 66 to the Hualapai capital of Peach Springs. At the community Center we were served delicious Indian Tacos for lunch.
Out next stop was Grand Canyon Caverns. We didn't have any luck going into the caverns as the next tour was 4 pm and it was only 1:30, so we rode on to Sag 3.
With all the energy gathered from Sag 3 the ride into Seligman was easy. The clouds were clearingand the light and scenery was astonishingly beautiful. We cheered as we rode into Seligman. We'd been through Seligman when it was almost of ghost town, but it seems that the Route 66 revival has been good to it. It seemed to be hopping.
We rode by the famous Sno Cap Drive Inn which is usually a must stop.
Our Camp in Seligman was ride in the middle of the hotel grounds so the atmosphere was festive. We had a big salad and pizza buffet for dinner and then turned in by 8 pm. For me, at least 8 something seemed to be normal bedtime. We were always up at 4 something and on our bikes by 6:30 am each morning.
As usual we broke camp before sunrise and headed to the cafe for coffee and oatmeal. Riding east from Seligman in the early dawn was amazing. Riders disappeared into the fog. A runner appears, and it is Steve from Sag 3. This was one of my favorite parts of the ride. Eventually we were forced on to I40 for a few miles.
Sag 1 was waiting for us at Ashfork. They always had hot fresh delicious coffee and oatmeal. Starbucks had nothing on Sag 1! From Ashfork we had to ride I40 again to Williams. Many riders had flat tires due to the amount of glass and other debris on the shoulder. This section was a bit annoying due to the traffic (although the scenery was beautiful) As a reward, we did get a really fun fast downhill to the Williams exit and into town.
Most riders stopped for delicious pie in Williams. We tried to hook with our friends Dale and Natalie who are residents. We missed Dale, but did get to chat with him on the phone a little. Sag 2 was in the Kaibab Forest just north of Williams on Highway 64. This was one of my favorite stops- in the Ponderosa Pines, and perfect weather. It reminded me of why I like Northern Arizona so much. It is truly a special place. From here it was a straight 50 mile shot on big rollers to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon!
The Desert Tarantula grows 2 to 3 inches long and is colored gray to dark brown. It is common to the Sonoran, Chihuahuan and Mojave deserts of Arizona, New Mexico and Southern California.
The most common North American tarantula is found in California, Texas, and Arizona. A 30-year life span has been recorded for one individual of this species. Certain South American tarantulas, which have a body length of up to almost 3 in., build large webs and eat small birds.
The tarantula prefers to live in dry, well-drained soil. If the soil is suitable, the female digs a deep burrow which she lines with silk webbing. This helps prevent sand and dirt from trickling in. Otherwise, she hides in cracks in logs and under any loose-lying debris.
The tarantula is a nocturnal hunter. It does not spin a web to capture its prey, but catches food it by speed It will take virtually anything of the right size that moves within range, but feeds primarily on small insects like grasshoppers, beetles, sow bugs, other small spiders and sometimes small lizards.
From Valle it was more big rollers all the way to Tuysayan and the Grand Canyon. For most of us this was a hard long day. We blew through Tuysayan. Although I lived there for 6 years, I have no lasting connection.
We rode into Mather Campground and celebrated by going immediately to the shower! That night we had a group dinner at Yavapai. As a former Canyon resident, I am still amazed at the poor food quality of Yavapai. Some things never ever change.
We really enjoyed the Grand Canyon. We saw elk, Bighorn Sheep, tarantulas, and the famous Kaibab Squirrel. We visited with our friend Mike Quinn, had breakfast at the El Tovar, and dinner at the Arizona Steakhouse.
Thursday morning we left at first light for Flagstaff. Nearing the San Francisco Peaks we encountered lightening, thunder, rain, and even reports of hail. Most of us bagged it and were sagged in by Stuart. We can come back and ride the missing 27 miles anytime, but a sag ride with Stuart is an experience not to be missed. There were 8 of us in his truck on this trip. We easily could of gotten two more in.
In Flagstaff, as the storm cleared, Doerte
and I went downtown to have a late lunch at Cafe Express. Unfortunately, the
staff didn't show up and the owner had to close. Good thing, as we found a new
place. We also went by to see the Trader, and as usual, left with a new
Navajo rug, and bolo tie. We ran into Tom and Jerry, and then Kurt came
riding up, dry as a bone. He managed to avoid the storm.
Charlie Bongo got us off to a great start in
and we continued riding to Lake Mary and Mormon Lake. The day began cool, and stayed windy.
At Payson, we had a very luxurious camp in the grassy area of the Best Western and had a home cooked dinner at the Elks Lodge. Interacting with the communities are some of the best parts of these organized rides.
Saturday, our last day, went very fast. Everyone was now in top condition and had ridden over 400 miles and climbed over 20,000' feet of elevation gain. So 95 miles and 8,000' feet of climbing was no big deal. We rode through forests of saguaros, and along Roosevelt Lake, and then up the big climb to Globe, and then the very fast 6 miles finish to San Carlos.
Back home in Seattle I would see another rider and expect it to be someone I knew. It was quite the experience to shrink our lives to a bicycle, road, and small group of people who become friends.
Thanks to GABA for putting this ride all together and making sure every one had a good time, learned some stuff, and stayed safe!
Greater Arizona Bicycling Association, Tucson Chapter http://www.bikegaba.org/
More Ride Photos!
Mike and Doerte from W Seattle, WA http://www.flickr.com/photos/84805602@N00/sets/72157602792480321/detail/
Jim from Bellingham, WA photos
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