We scrupulously followed Google Maps and headed north on a paved road that was said to go for a number of miles. We were doing a constant 1.5 to 2% grade which was really pretty easy, especially since we were taking it very easy in deference to the weather.
The pavement then turned into hardpack which wasn’t comfortable but really wasn’t bad. After a couple of miles we came across a sign that said the pavement was going to end in 600 feet. I was surprised because I thought the pavement had already ended a few miles ago. What it really should have said is, “Road Conditions To Further Deteriorate.” Which they did.
And then we hit sand. First I went down and, not wanting me to feel alone, Nick followed suit. We then got off and started walking to the crest of a hill. Nick said that if we had to continue walking over the crest, we should turn around. Unfortunately, the sand ended at the top – the top of that roller, not the top of the road – and we got on and kept riding. You have probably guessed why it was unfortunate that the sand ended. Because we continued riding down a road that would never get where we wanted to go. We found that out after about 14 miles. Fortunately a truck was going our way and Nick asked him about where we were headed. When he was told he should turn around and go back to where we started, Nick told him that his buddy was up the road and asked him to stop me. So a honking truck came up behind me and pulled me over and told me we were headed in the wrong direction. He then gave me his last bottle of water after having given Nick a couple bottles. Thank you Steve, His canine companion was so hot that he really wasn’t interested in saying hi.
Oh yes, “hot.” Well, at that stage hot was a constant 114.
So, we turned around and headed back to Goffs, which is where we started the day. By the time we got back to Goffs, Nick’s competitiveness won out. As I had mentioned, I had fallen in the sand a couple of times, once on the way to 29 Palms and once today. And Nick had fallen once on the way out. But when I stopped, he mentioned he had fallen a couple more times. But he didn’t get the scrapes that I had. And oh, he also leads in flats, 4-0.
Nick decided that continuing to ride in those temperatures didn’t make sense so we called the SAG for support. Nick, perhaps exercising better judgment than I, got on board.
After loading up on ice and water, much of which I poured over myself to get my body temp down some, I got back on and headed toward Needles. I didn’t intend to ride to Kingman, our original destination because that was another 90+ miles away (the ride had been scheduled at 77 miles).
Now is when it really got hot. 117. 118. Up to 123. Most of the time it wasn”t too bad, but at times there were gusts that felt like they burned my hands and uncovered legs. After about another 15 miles, I called for help. But the drivers had been overly ambitious and were a long way ahead. So I kept riding. It was hot, but my legs really felt pretty good so I was at 17 to 21 mph.
And then, after about another 5 miles I started feeling hot and pulled over and got off. The only shade was the width of a sign post and I stood leaning with my helmeted head on that, waiting for the SAG. Finally I sat, leaning on the post. I guess I looked so spent that Lowell pulled over in his pick up and insisted that he take me and my bike to the closest service station\C-Store. At first I declined, saying that I was going to be picked up. But thanks to his insistence – including stating that I could die in 10 minutes (I was HOT, but not THAT hot) I finally agreed and got into his truck , while he put my bike in the back while giving me a huge bottle of cool water, much of which I poured over myself. His air conditioner had blown, but the ride to the service station was greatly appreciated. For a while I sat on a bench outside. It felt so much cooler, and my thought process was apparently sufficiently impacted, that it took me a while to think to go into the air conditioned store. That delay was pretty dumb because the cooler air helped me get a bit closer to normal.
Unfortunately, my ride with Lowell wasn’t the only unairconditioned ride I was going to have. Because although I had had my air conditioner rebuilt for the trip, it went out yesterday evening. The estimate looks to be north of $900 with no assurance it will be ready tomorrow. We hope so because Nick and I intend to head out to Peach Springs tomorrow on what is supposed to be a 49 mile ride but, as things have gone, who knows?
Today I did 56 miles; 77 had been scheduled, but not many were the miles we rode. According to Google Maps, our ride was not going through Needles, but that was not what any of the locals told us. (After we got back to Goffs, we saw a road that another Google route had suggested and we could see the end of that road; that would have been WAY better than having to ride 14 miles before discovering the error.) Oh well, that, and the 123 degrees, is all part of the adventure.
Keep the comments, and donations coming. We truly appreciate your support.
Endless, no pavement Thanks, Steve & friend Thank you, Lowell!