Thursday, November 18, 2010
Wednesday 11/17/10 We left this morning to Elvis singing Jailhouse Rock over the loud speakers at a local amusement park. A great way to start the day! By combining stretches on the Arizona canal path, a variety of residential streets, and some main roads, we finally exited the asphalt-covered valley that joins Phoenix with its sister cities. The residential streets had designated bike lanes and we passed tidy lawns, some decorated with orange trees. Many of the streets had speed bumps that yellow signs identified as "speed cushions". Norb thought whoever dreamed up that term must have been a mellow, laid-back type. Someone who did whatever his rice crispies asked him to do. We pedaled past the Del Webb developments of Sun City, Sun City West, and Sun City Grand, all nice developments creating a haven from the cold northern winters for people our age. Thunderbird Boulevard connected us to Hwy 60 where we encountered 8 miles of road construction; however, we were lucky to be able to ride inside the cones which eased our way. Several miles east of Wickenburg, we came upon a totally white bicycle that was anchored in the ground in front of a brown hillside. It was like an apparition in the desert landscape and it aroused our curiosity. Stenciled on the top tube was "Charles Peterson: 10-12-26 to 9-18-07. A lady driving by saw us and stopped. She explained it was a memorial "ghost bike" for the man who was struck and killed at this site while riding his bicycle. Not only was he an avid cyclist, but he also faithfully served as a volunteer at the Hassayampa River Preserve nearby. We entered Wickenburg on Hwy 60 that goes through the central part of this quaint western town where, once upon a time, cattle drives rather than cars, passed through. On the way to our motel, we met fellow bicyclists Ken and Sue Yerex who were also on route from Florida to San Diego. These Canadians are extremely experienced cycling tourists who have logged 30,000+ miles on their bikes over the years. They joined us for dinner that evening and we had a great time sharing our experiences on the road. They too went through the Queen Creek Tunnel on Sunday and described that days ride as being the most dangerous they had ever encountered in all their years of riding. We are hopeful that our paths will cross again before this adventure is complete. Tomorrow will be a rest day in Wickenburg.