Finally time for this tour to begin, and I need the break! Seems I have too many balls in the air lately. Jack arrived a couple days ago. Yesterday, we enjoyed a drenching but fun golf experience at Arizona Golf Resort, and we’re anticipating more rains today.
We started from my house in Mesa about 7:00AM. Jack took photos before we rolled out, so I deployed my camera too. Good thing I did because I was about to take my camera with no battery inside.
Exiting my neighborhood had both Jack and me in wonder – wow – on tour again. Almost felt like a continuation of last summer, except, of course, we were probably in better shape even then. South by 56th Street, and then through our old Lemon Tree Terrace neighborhood, where we visited our Capri Avenue house.
By now we were marveling at the great weather -> sun and clouds, no rain, and only light breezes. We reached Ellsworth Road using Superstition Springs Road, Sossaman, and Guadalupe. I think we both were feeling lucky to be on tour, and, as we watched all the car traffic, we felt lucky not to be headed in to work. For the first time this tour, Jack turned to me and said, “Rich, it doesn’t get better than this.”
Chugging south, the wind picked up a lot. It came mostly from the WSW and slowed us to 10 mph in the open sections. We soon reached Queen Creek and our destination: an IHOP. Inside sat Dave, Phil, and Gary drinking coffee and waiting for our arrival. The tour was starting to get real!
The 5 of us “squoze” into a single booth for more coffee and breakfast. And lots of chatter.
When we emerged, the winds were ripping at 20 mph, still from the WSW. That made all the going east great and all the going south a chore. My bike felt unusually heavy, too, undoubtedly due to my lack of training. I made a decision to stay in preservation mode all day. No need in wearing out the knees on day 1.
Dave and Phil rode road bikes, although both had added quite a bit of loading. Phil had mounted a seat-stem trunk with panniers, while Dave carried a trunk bag, a handlebar bag, AND a backpack. Both were markedly faster than Jack (loaded with his and Phil’s stuff – no camping gear) and me (loaded with my and Dave’s stuff – no camping gear). Gary, being half loaded (his own stuff without camping gear), rode in between, switching often between groups.
From Ellsworth, we largely followed the PMBC Casa Grande Century route, using Ocotillo, Gantzel, Bella Vista, Quail Run, Attaway, Arizona Farms, and Felix to eventually reach Hunt Highway. The winds gradually subsided and all of us picked up speed as the day wore on.
We stopped along AZ79 north of Florence at the Poston Butte marker, and took note of the newer “Bear Down” marker there, erected in honor of a U of A quarterback who had died near here back in 1926. “…Tell the team to bear down” were some of his final words.
To the Blue Mist Motel, directly opposite the state penitentiary. We checked in to find quite a nice big room. The bed immediately felt good and Jack decided his had an unusual gravitational pull around it. Both of us were surprised to see that it was only 1:30 in the afternoon – wow!
We cracked up to learn that using the motel’s ice machine would cost a quarter. I even went to the manager and asked him where the secret ice machine was located, you know, the one for people who had PAID for rooms.
The guys all came over, the TV found a golf tournament and then The Golf Fix, and talk soon turned to the sport. We discussed many aspects of the full swing, the chipping motion, putting techniques, course strategies, and ball choices. I’m quite sure that non-golfers Phil and Gary got real tired of the subject but were good sports about it.
A&M delivery pizza was settled as a dinner choice, but we all had to wait until 4PM when they would open up for orders. In the meantime Phil and Dave hiked out for a sixpack of Kiltlifter – which was perfectly what we needed along with chips and popcorn. Two huge 18” pizzas eventually arrived. We discovered the vegetarian order was made incorrectly, and A&M rapidly sent us out a corrected pie. Thumbs up for those guys!
The prospect of an early morning had us in bed by mid-evening. Jack and I finished out the day drifting off to Cincinnati vs. Houston on Monday Night Football. Jack was rooting for the Texans, which affected his beloved Steelers in the standings.
Geek Jack’s got this cool phone app that provides the information shown below. Click the Explorer Link to see a map of our route, which includes elevation and speed information. Jack even set this app up to announce the ride stats every 15 minutes from his phone. Pretty cool.
Finished Cycle: Nov 16, 2015, 1:34:27 PM
Route: New Route
Explorer Link: http://cyclemeter.com/51ced2364be66c17/Cycle-20151116-0709
Ride Time: 4:07:00
Stopped Time: 2:17:31
Distance: 52.80 miles
Average: 12.83 mph
Fastest Speed: 19.92 mph