Tuesday, November 16, 2010
BRIGHT LIGHTS BIG CITY
Monday 11/15/10 After breakfast at the 3C's Coffee Shop, we left Superior Az in the chilly mountain air on Hwy 60. Although we expected the climb over Gonzales Pass to be difficult, we were ecstatic that we did not even have to shift into our granny gears. The mountain scenery is breathtaking. Rock chimneys - boulders - and peaks surrounded us. We descended slowly because of loose gravel on the shoulders. Looking down on the valley floor, the sun glinted off moving vehicles like daytime starlight. Our ride flattened out as we approached Apache Junction. Although Hwy 60 is divided, the traffic seemed determined to pass us two abreast rather than one of the vehicles disengaging cruise control for a few seconds. Our goal today was to get as much urban cycling done as possible. From Apache Junction to the west side of Phoenix is approximately 70 miles through a megatropolis that incorporates Mesa, Tempee, Scottsdale, Phoenix, Glendale, and Peoria. There are a lot of street changes and intersections. As we entered this urban sprawl, we were surprised about the bike friendliness of the area. Designated bike lanes were everywhere and the traffic was very considerate of our space. It was an interesting transition from the dusty mining towns, wild desert, and cold mountains to clean streets, tidy homes, and bougainvillea blooming all about. The air was warm, the palm trees tall, and people in clean clothes were walking their bichons on- leash. The vegetation we saw growing wild in the desert was now tamed as lawn ornaments. This urban scenery was so gentile it seemed surreal to us as we rode in covered with grit of the desert. We stopped for the night in Mesa after a 53 mile day. Obviously, we were so awed by our groomed surroundings, we failed to take any city-fied photos. Mesa seems to be a most pleasant town and provided us our first Thai food of the trip.