Eleven hours of sleep served us all well. Breakfast at the Ramada was free, which was the meal’s only redeeming feature – otherwise typically blah. I ended up grabbing a hard boiled egg, bland potatoes, bland sausage, coffee, and apple juice.
We again started out in frigid conditions, around 36°F. Tanque Verde road was SUPER congested for bike traffic. Where the heck are all these people going? To work I guess – what a mess.
We headed south on Kolb Road, stopping once at a c-store for snacks. Passage on Kolb was especially rough on our road bikers, not so bad on the Surlys. Dave had even spent time this morning topping up his tires to 100 psi, and now I was wondering how comfortable that was.
My legs, shoulders, and hips all protested for at least the first 20 miles today, chalked up to a simple lack of conditioning. It’s as if, after 20 miles, all the muscles and joints finally say, “Fine, OK, you’ve beaten us into submission” and everything starts feeling good after that.
Our route took us directly past the Davis-Mothan aircraft boneyard, where we stopped for a photo. Gary said we were looking at hundreds of C-130s, a plane he wished he’d had an opportunity to fly.
We turned east onto Valencia and followed a path along E Old Vail Road and E Mary Cleveland Way, then south on Colossal Cave Road in Vail. Jack and I pulled over at the Quik Mart. I was experiencing the unusual feeling of almost falling asleep while riding, something Jack actually understood, and I needed a bottle of iced coffee.
The route continued east on the I-10 frontage road, and then Marsh Station Road, which meanders north away from the freeway into some beautiful desert terrain. Lots of rollers. A picturesque bridge with brilliant yellow cottonwood trees. An old abandoned quarry.
Around the 35 mile mark, the road ran out, forcing us onto I-10 itself for 12 miles. The passage along the interstate was sort of a kick-in-the-pants for me. The west wind picked up, and the entrainment from the constant stream of semis had us motoring along. A few miles from our exit, we additionally got a nice downhill, which soon had us at 30 mph ripping through the western end of Benson.
We all managed to find Reb’s Café, although Jack ripped right past it and then had to double back. We sat for a well deserved lunch, where the saucy server, who might well have been an owner, entertained us. The group was noticeably quiet. No question that everyone was sorta zoned out for one reason or another – fatigue, sore butt, sore legs, sore triceps, sore back, and I think there was a sore lip in there too.
We stopped one last time in Benson at a Safeway for afternoon provisions, then headed out southwest on AZ80, a 24 mile roll to Tombstone. The last 12 miles or so contain some pretty good rollers that are mostly ascents, and I admit it was a helluva way to finish out 2 tough days of riding. Each roller seemed to get steeper as we reached town.
Trailing the group, I bonked lightly about a mile out of town, and just decided to stop. Despite the bonk, I was savoring the ride, and after all, I had Pop-Tarts in one pannier. Can’t quite tell you how much I enjoyed sitting by the side of the road on a pylon, watching the lengthening desert shadows in the late afternoon sun, and savoring an unfrosted strawberry Pop-Tart. It doesn’t get any better.
Soon enough, I regrouped with the guys at the Larian Motel in Tombstone. I met Linda at the desk, who had already called Linda my wife to find out if we were truly going to check-in this evening. We liked her right away. While she was checking us in, another staffer gave her a bag of dill pickle-flavored cashews, and Linda muttered if they were bad as she guessed they would be she was going to give them to us.
Jack and I moved into our room and chatted with Dave and Phil for a few minutes in the adjacent room. A minute later there was a knock on the door, and Jack sarcastically called out, “Wha-a-a-attt!” The door opened and it was Linda. We laughed a lot – she’d come in to set our thermostat.
A minute later, another door knock. Jack: “Wha-a-a-attt!” OMG it was Linda again. She’d brought us the bag of pickle-flavored cashews – says they’re horrible.
Finally a shower for me, and I swear I took 40 minutes. It felt that good.
The Big Nose Kate Saloon for dinner. It’s a totally decked-out touristy old west saloon, compete with cowboy waiters. I started out with a “1554” draft beer, a black lager made by New Belgian Brewery that’s really tasty.
Jack and I ordered a “pretzel basket” for nibbles, and it turned out to be microwaved soft pretzels with cheese sauce. Of course, microwaving bread makes it very tough, and no one ended up wanting any. Our waiter was a witty cowboy with attitude, and so we ended up giving him shit about it (and a few other things), all in good fun of course.
Jack and I ordered a pizza, and our cowboy immediately told us that was a bad idea. It was actually difficult to tell if he was kidding or not, but in this case he was right. We got a frozen pizza with a few “custom” toppings thrown on. Satisfactory – that’s as far as I’ll go.
I hit the sack tonight extremely tired, hoping that future days on this tour would be a little easier.
Finished Cycle: Nov 18, 2015, 6:23:51 PM
Route: New Route
Explorer Link: http://cyclemeter.com/51ced2364be66c17/Cycle-20151118-0715
Ride Time: 6:36:22
Stopped Time: 3:06:27
Distance: 73.99 miles
Average: 11.20 mph
Fastest Speed: 32.82 mph