Resting in: Tuscon, AZ
Miles on Nov 13= 115 km/ 71 miles
Total distanced covered= 171 km/106 mi
The alarm sounded off at 5:45 am on Sunday morning of the 13th. The storms were heavy over Casa Grande, so I killed some time going over all the gear that I needed, leaving some items behind. Janet woke up at 8 am as I was just about to leave after Trevor helped me hook the trailer onto the bike. Janet made sure I had food for the road, and Trevor gave me some farewell words of advice. He said, in his British accent, “Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you cannot do something. If it’s what you want to do, then do it”.
I rode alongside a railroad through farmlands into the sunrise, exiting Casa Grande. All of the unleashed dogs did not chase nor bark- instead watched me roll by. They must have sensed my confidence backed with weapons of defense. My first fall happened as I tried to slow down to ask directions. My left knee was bloody as I continued riding. Then my pedal twisted off from the pedal arm. I dismounted, pulled the shoe off, but I couldn’t separate the pedal from the shoe. The rain started to pour. I kept trying to separate shoe and pedal, resisting the urge to flag anyone down. I tried my best, but could not unlock the shoe. I thought to myself “Ok, just send help now.” within a minute, a woman pulled over. Another vehicle of two men who were working on the road pulled over, too. The men had tools and a first aid kit, so I thanked the woman, knowing that I would be taken care of. Roy had a wrench to put the pedal back on, and Ed handed me water bottles for the road.
I rode 40km/25mi to Picacho Peak from Casa Grade through light showers. When I got to Picacho, a homeless man holding a sign over the road helped me walk my bike over a cattle grate, twice, second time returned to the frontage road. I crossed over under the 10 Interstate, because I saw that there was an ostrich farm on the map.
I took a wrong turn towards the state park,but I had a chance to see the entry of Arizona State Park.
There were various desert flora scattered on the mountains.
At the Rooster Cogburn Ostrich Ranch, the two girls at the admission table, Cristella and Cynthia, greeted me with smiles. They were really excited when I told them that I was touring the Americas. They were so sweet. They allowed me to enter the ranch to take pictures of the ostriches, and handed me a cup of sugar water to feed the rainbow lorikeets.
It was a little sad to see the animals behind cages. But, the interaction I had with them did lift my mood, and the girls were so nice to let me have a free pass.
I continued on with full power towards Tuscon. The frontage road was empty, clean and wonderfully flat. The showers were on and off. It began to pour as I entered Tuscon through the hills. The aroma of Creosote bushes filled the air with desert rain scent. I arrived at my Couchsurfing.org host’s home at 6 pm to find no-one home. The host, Bruce had spent the weekend in Mexico. I assumed that the traffic was holding him up. I walked to the surrounding neighbor’s homes to ask if I could call Bruce, and have a moment to get out of the rain. It’s typical, that in a suburb, not one neighbor knew who Bruce was. Most of them were too timid to open their doors wide. I think one of them though I was street preaching Mormonism because of the helmet. Finally, a 20 something couple let me in to contact Bruce. They fed me pizza and beer- good enough to satisfy my carb refuel. Jonna and Sean were so cool, listening and laughing at my bike road stories and my random life tales. It was 9 pm when Bruce arrived to the door. Understandably, the rain and border traffic held him up. I was already comfortable and welcomed to sleep on Sean and Jonna’s couch. After riding 115 kilometers (71 mi) that day, cheered on by nice people, I slept very well.
This morning, I woke up at 8 and moved my bike and gear back to Bruce’s home. We spent the morning talking about travel. I cleaned up and organized my gear. I love the backyard- it on a hill that overlooks the neighborhood filled with citrus trees and cacti, and the birds flock to the feeders hanging from the Arizona Ash tree.
I will be spending a week in Tuscon, exploring and making final preparations before I exit the country.