Day 7 - Up, Up, and Away

Trip Start Jun 02, 2008
Trip End Jun 26, 2008

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Flag of United States  , Arizona
Sunday, June 8, 2008

I would have to say that today was the toughest yet. Payson is only about 90 miles from where I started, but those miles were unbelievably challenging. At home if I was biking, I would cover 18-20 miles per hour. Today, it was like 7. Seemed like I was going straight uphill most of the way. The countryside is as beautiful as it is desolate. I have included a number of pictures, but I doubt you will get the full effect.

I am constantly struck by the amount of distance between anything in some parts of this corner of the country. At about 20 miles in I came upon a gas station and decided to stock up my fluids, since the next town showing on the map was about 30 miles up the road, and guess what, it was over 100 again. Tired of hot gatorade, I had a brainstorm. Bought a 10 lb bag of ice, and two extra quarts. Put the gatorade inside the bag of ice and lashed it to the rack behind my seat. All that on top of the five bottles that I had been carrying. Grand total of about 180 ounces of life saving fluids, plus about 6 lbs of ice remaining in the bag. My 75 lb tank, I mean bike, now is up to about 87 lbs. Was feeling pretty good about my ingenuity, until the road tipped up. Then I was cursing myself as my aching knees struggled to propel this load up into the mountains. Then I was happy again when I got to the town of Sunflower, and saw that it was essentially one building. One closed and locked industrial building. Happy, sad, happy, sad, that's how I roll.

Another thing I find kind of odd is that you will be driving on the shoulder of a divided two lane roadway and up ahead, in the distance, see signs indicating an exit, You can see a long, wide left and right turn lane. Surely, there will be some form of humanity off an exit like this, you tell yourself. You would be wrong. Kind of like driving through 10's of thousands of acres of nothing but sand and cacti, then seeing a sign that "says 10 acres for sale". Really? I'd bet they couldn't give it away.

Met a guy, John, at the edge of town. He seemed concerned about me. It always worries me when somebody asks "You feelin' OK?" My next thought is "I was". Anyway he was pretty cool. Former Army Ranger, he is involved in local search and rescue. He believes that most people that require rescue aren't out of shape novice hikers, but usually fit, experienced people, who are wanting to push their envelope but maybe didn't do their homework properly and are caught unprepared for what they have chosen to attempt on a given day.

I told him that people like that really irritate me.
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