Sunday, November 14, 2010
Saturday 11/13/10 We rode out of Thatcher Az. on Hwy 70 toward the town of Globe, so named because a large round silver nugget resembling a globe was discovered there during the 1870's when it was just a mining camp. For the first 30 miles, we enjoyed a flat section of highway as we passed cotton fields and distant mountain scenery. With no headwind, we cruised at speeds of 15-18 mph. Then the easy stuff ended as we began leaving the desert floor and entered the mountains. We climbed past chalk-white rock formations so ancient you would expect them to crumble into dust at any moment. Suguaro cactus began appearing like sentinels guarding hillsides. Although some of the climbs were challenging, the panoramic views of peaks and canyons they provided were awe inspiring. When Teddy Roosevelt visited this area he described the scenery as "the most sublimely beautiful panorama nature ever created". Our elevation gain ultimately provided a nice descent to the town of Peridot (pop 1200). Peridot seemed to be the prominent trading center on the San Carlos Apache Reservation. After a brief banana/bagel stop, we had a seven mile climb out of Peridot before descending to a big sign announcing the existance of the Apache Gold Casino/Motel. If you were in a car, most likely you would drive on to Globe, 8 miles beyond. Unless of course, you wanted to throw some $$$ at 250 slot machines. The sign Casino/Motel for 2 people on bicycles who had just pedaled 68 miles through desert and mountains was instantly translated to - cheap rooms, lots of food. So, we spent the night at the Apache Gold Casino/Motel. So named Apache Gold because of a legend that Coronado and his Conquistadors buried gold in the nearby mountains, that has been guarded by the Apache for hundreds of years. Much to Ann's delight, the Apache Gold has an outdoor heated pool, and with an hour of sunshine remaining, we headed poolside. There we met a nice Apache lady whose husband and son were competing in a rodeo in Peridot. Accompanying her was another son who was a champion bull rider. We continue meeting a lot of interesting people on our journey.