Well only two pictures tonight, not because I don’t have some better pictures but because I couldn’t get them loaded. Read on to understand why this has been a real exhausting day.
- Solar Farm: This is the first solar farm I have seen with many 100s of solar panels. Seems like there is plenty of space in AZ for more.
- Picture of the Sonora Desert. It just goes on and on.
What would you do answers for last night with the understanding that what I did may or may not be the right thing to do.
- Back Tire: Changed in later that night. I was waffling on whether or not to change it and decided to do it while I was on the phone with my wife. While I was talking to her I looked at the tire and saw that one ply was gone. There are several plies so this isn’t necessarily bad but I would rather change the tire at a place that I can wash up afterwards. Did it work? Nope, early today the tire started to leak and I found that I had hit another wire. Luckily I saved the old tube which has a very slow leak and allowed me to get to Benson.
- Red Rock: Went to the intersection of I-10 and I-8 and talked to some locals. Turns out that if I had gone onto I-8 (which I got very close to doing) I would have had a 73 mile ride to a gas/souvenir shop that probably would have been closed. Never go anywhere in NM or AZ if you don’t know what services are available.
- Service Road: I got on I-10 an rode for about 5 miles when the service road opened. Had I gone to find another way it would have been at least 5 miles.
Summary: Exhausting day . . . I-8 was the road that I dreaded. It had a 63 mile stint across the desert and then a 38 mile run with no services in between. The temperature climbed to 106 which didn’t help. You could feel the heat radiate from the road. The difficulty started this morning. The back tire was low again. I went to the rest room that had a light on and filled the tire again worried about what might happen since I only had the old tube packed and no other spares.
At mile 30 I noted that the back tire was low on tire pressure again. I filled it up and at mile 50 it was again low. This time it wouldn’t pump back up. I put the old tube in and went the final 65 miles (total mileage today was 112.5 miles). Arriving in Benson around 2:00 I got a tent space reserved and sat down at the gas station/Quiznos/Souvenir shop to do today’s post. When I went out to the bike to get my notebook the back tire was low again. I had no other tube and no patches (fatal flaw in my planning. Had I brought patches they would have easily fixed the small wire holes and I would still have two spare tubes). This was troubling since Benson was still a remote area with the next service area 28 miles away and no guarantee that they would have any patches or tubes. Even worse, the internet at Benson kept going up and down which meant I might not be able to get a map for the tomorrow’s ride.
So, what do you think I did? I first filled my tire with air again to see how long it held it while the bike was stationary and then pulled it and myself to the front of the gas station. Any truck that came through received this question from me, “are you going west on I-8. You got it, MG and I started hitch hiking to make up for my planning flaw.
Thirty minutes went by when I asked Henry this question. Turns out that Henry is a professor at ASU. He and his compatriots readily agreed to take me all the way to Yuma 67 miles away. Again the generosity of people is amazing. On the way we discussed the politics around the indigenous (the work “Indian” is a pejorative word which I never knew) people that live in the west and the fact that you need to think different about biking in AZ as even the plants will get your tires. The discussion was very insightful for me on both topics. They dropped me off at a Yuma Walmart, I picked up tubes with stop leak in them and will shortly replace the back tube.
So I did make it to Benson today across some of the hottest, most desolate pieces of earth I have ever crossed and learned a valuable lessons on tires, tubes, and patches. Once again I was very lucky because if the old tube had not held air for 50 miles of riding or refused to fill up I would have been a very unhappy young man (all because I chose not to pack tube patches I have in the garage.
Would also like to take a moment to point out bad behavior. When I had to stop and change my tube a couple of guys on the other side of the rode saw that I had a problem and honked their horn laughing at my dilemma. With all the goodness I find in the world around me I still have a difficult time understanding the few morons that I chance to meet. It takes all kinds I guess.
I am 268 miles from Newport Beach at this point. Will be mapping out the route shortly. Still don’t know where I will be sleeping tonight but that will come after the post, mapping, and tube replacement.
Will do a better job with tomorrow’s post. Hopefully I will have an uneventful day!
Good night and God bless!