When I woke yesterday morning I felt the long ride from yesterday. My legs were stiff. Overall it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I was way more sore when I was part of a team on the 24 Hours of Old Pueblo mountain bike race. That I will say kicked my ass. The ride from Temecula, CA to Mesa, AZ was tiring, but not bad at all. Even on a 31 year old bike. Most of my day was uneventful. I called around trying to get new baffles for my exhaust, but nothing was in stock. All special order. I’ll have to find a stop ahead of me and have them order it and hope the parts arrive when I get there. I went to Sportsman’s Warehouse to pickup a fuel canister for my JetBoil stove and look at some tents. I haven’t packed a tent yet, mostly to keep my gear to minimum until I actually need it. Looking ahead there is a store in Albuquerque and I’ll need a tent after that. After the store I had lunch, topped off the bike with gas and went to a coffee shop to write this up before I forget the details. And to plot the next leg of the trip since I leave in the morning. I also went over to my sisters for Barro’s Pizza for dinner.
I packed up and began carrying my stuff out to the bike. While strapping everything down a guy was walking by and came up to me. I can’t remember how we got onto the topic, though he was from India and was educated in Switzerland. He traveled quite a bit and through the events of his live landed him in the Arizona desert. With the temperature rising I quickly packed the bike and hit the road. Following highway 60 out of town I headed for Show Low, AZ. The ride up to Globe, AZ was nothing special. It was early still but was hot most of the ride. That and I’ve driven it numerous times having lived in area. Having skipped breakfast to get a faster start I stopped in Globe to grab some food. While there I rearranged my gear. My backpack was getting heavy to carry and my arms were going numb. I strapped the backpack over the yellow dry sack. I took my time to do this since my laptop, camera and other electronics were inside. I didn’t want them to slide or fall off. Once strapped down securely I make another stop for gas and hit the road.
The temperature started to cool down and rain clouds appeared on the horizon. It was a much needed change from the past couple days driving in the heat. I didn’t rain much on me, though I will say rain drops at 65 mph sting when you’re only wearing regular pants. Probably need to invest in some riding pants soon. Overall the ride was great and not having the extra weight on my back made it much more enjoyable. I stopped for a while at Salt River Canyon to take a break.
Arriving in Show Low, AZ I stopped for a break and for food. My plan was to camp outside of town off highway 260. When I headed that direction I ran into big storm. The temp dropped a ton and I started shivering on the bike. I kept pushing on, though after a heavy rain started, I decided to turn back. I went back into town at stopped at a camping supply store. I hadn’t purchased a tent by now, since I wouldn’t need one until I hit Albuquerque, NM. And I hadn’t planned on a storm rolling through. I bought a small Hi-Tec 1 man tent, aka bivy sack. It was small so I could pack it on the bike without much change. I also got a hydration pack since I wasn’t carrying my backpack on my back anymore and couldn’t use that one.
Temporarily packed up my new gear and headed off to find a camp. This time I only made it to Pinetop-Lakeside where I pulled into a maintained campground within town. The storm was closer and I didn’t feel like testing my luck. I rolled in and found a spot. Then began the fun of learning a new tent with rain right next door. Turned out to not be that bad of a setup. Two hoops/poles and some stakes. Within 5 minutes I had the tent up and started moving my gear inside. I started blowing up my fancy air mattress. The one you buy at wal-mart for a couple bucks. Ok, so its not an “air mattress” but a pool float. What can I say, I cheeped out. Crawling on to my mattress, with integrated pillow, I call it a night. A few minutes after I zip up the tent it begins to rain. Lightning and thunder roll in behind the rain as heavy rain drops pummel my dinky tent. I was warm and dry, so I couldn’t complain. Later on that kind of changed. My ass and back were getting cold. The floor was cold as if it were wet. Thankfully it was just the cold from water sitting underneath the tent and not inside. My brand new air mattress turned out to have failed me. The air cushion was gone and my ass had sank to the ground. I thought I sprung a leak, but either my body weight or my foot popped the valve open. Playing twister with myself and the air mattress I eventually got it turned around within the 1 man tent to put some air back in. It was pitch black and the only light was from the static discharge of the pool raft as I flipped it around. Once I got it all pumped back up I laid back down and started twister again in reverse. Once my game was finished I crawled back on and went to sleep. This time much warmer.