Home Again and Information on our Route 66 Bicycle Adventure Presentation

Amtrak Station in California

Amtrak Station in California

Milwaukee Amtrak Station

Milwaukee Amtrak Station

Loading the Bicycle in Dad's Van in Milwaukee

Loading the Bicycle in Dad’s Van in Milwaukee

Site for November 17th Presentation

Site for November 17th Presentation

August 16, 2016

We returned home on July 29th after an enjoyable two day train ride on Amtrak.  We arrived in Milwaukee, WI  on July 28th and were greeted by Tracy’s mom and dad at the train station. Unfortunately our bicycle did not make the journey from Chicago, IL  to Milwaukee, WI so we stayed overnight in Milwaukee at mom and dad’s house. The next day we picked up our bicycle at the train station and headed back to Green Bay.

We finally made it home and our daughter Melissa and two cats were waiting for us – it was a nice welcome home!!

We wanted to thank everyone for following our trip on the blog and Facebook.   We also appreciate all the messages and good wishes sent.  They kept the loneliness away and also kept us going.

Special thanks goes out to all our sponsors.  Our trip would not be possible without their support. Please consider them if you are looking for a new partner!!

Badger State Brewing Company –  provider of our favorite cold beverages and a great dose of culture     http://badgerstatebrewing.com/

Woodman Financial Resources – our financial adviser                                             http://woodmenfinancial.org

Bellin Health – our fitness club and trainers                                                             http://www.bellinfitness.com/

J B Cycle & Sport – our bicycle shop who keeps the tandem in great shape          http://www.jbcyclesport.com/

OSGB – Orthodontic Specialists Green Bay – our orthodontist who gave us our smiles  http://www.osgb.com/

Brodhagen Dental Care – our dentist who keeps our teeth healthy  http://www.brodhagendentalcare.com/index.htm

Baycare Clinic, LLP – supporting safety, bicycling and us                                     https://www.baycare.net/

Verizon Wireless – provider of our communication gadgets                                          http://vzwmidwestarea.com/

From the Finish Line – provider of live tracking device   http://www.fromthefinishline.com/en/events/we-bike-etc-route-66-adventure

Finally, we will be doing a presentation on our Route 66 Adventure on Thursday, November 17th at the Badger State Brewing Company – 990 Tony Canadeo Run.  The presentation will start at 6:30 pm in the Barrel Haus (their beautiful new reception hall). Mark your calendar and plan to join us for a fun night of bikes and beer!!  More details to come.

Made it to Santa Monica, CA

Day 49 July 21st Arcadia, CA – Santa Monica, CA Miles 39 Total Miles – 2,603
Weather: 90 degrees, sunny, light wind

We were excited to get going this morning because we knew we would complete our bicycle ride today. Although we only bicycled 39 miles it was all urban riding with lots of traffic to share the road with. The drivers were good but it still was a challenge and you really had to pay attention.

We took a slight side trip to the Walk of Fame and had a chance to see many of the stars along this famous roadway. Unfortunately there were also thousands of others looking at the same stars and it was difficult to get thru with a fully loaded tandem. We didn’t stay long and soon were on the road again.

Unfortunately a couple of miles later Tracy said the back tire feels weird, so we stopped to checks it out. Yes, the sidewall on the tire was failing and we needed to stop and put a new tire on. So about 7 miles from our end point we were fixing our tire, right next to a Starbucks store!!

On the road again and a great ride thru Beverly Hills, amazing homes in this area. We then dropped down to Sunset Boulevard, Broadway and Ocean for our final push to Santa Monica. The ride down Broadway was very nice with a bicycle lane and slower moving traffic.

We finally hit the end at the Santa Monica Pier – YEA!! We were very excited and enjoyed the limited time we had on the pier. Between the traffic and tire repair we got to the end much later than planned and our ride was to arrive between 2:00 and 3:00pm. So we had 45 minutes to explore and get our pictures.

A childhood friend of Tracy’s – Rick was picking us up and taking us to his place to spend a couple of days. Rick lives in Riverside about 90 miles from Santa Monica and was in Santa Monica for work and agreed to pick us up and save us a 90 miles ride back to his house – YEA Rick!!

We are glad to be done with the trip but enjoyed meeting all the people and seeing some amazing sites.  We will take Amtrak back on Tuesday and arrive back in Green Bay the evening of July 28th.

Thanks for following our blog, we hope you enjoyed it.  Plans are to do a presentation on this trip at Badger State Brewery in the next couple of months – watch for more information in the future.

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California (Dreaming) Biking!!

Day 48 July 20th San Bernardino, CA to Arcadia, CA 50 miles Total Miles 2, 564
Weather: Warm 98 degrees, sunny and slight head wind

We woke up today in California – YEA!! Our first task was to return the U Haul to the closest rental agency, so we packed up our bags and put them and the bicycle back in the U Haul for our approximately 3 mile drive to the return site. Once there we pulled everything back out of the truck, checked the truck back in and headed west on our bicycle.

After the first eight miles on the road we arrived at the Pacific Electric Bike Trail and were in for a great 18 mile ride on one of the best trails we have ever been on.  The trail took us thru cities, orange orchards, rose gardens, residential and commercial/industrial areas.  It was very well designed with many intersection crossings, some with priority push button signals across smaller roads and the crossing of major roads with the route taking you to the closest controlled intersection.  It was interesting they even had separate push buttons at the intersections for walkers, bicyclist and even horse back riders( their buttons were up high so they could reach them from horseback).

After we got off the trail we were traveling on city roads with great bicycle accommodations.  Many of the roads had bicycle lanes so we had lots of space to travel along the busier roads.  California does a nice job of building their roads for all users – it is really nice to see.

We have started to see lots of Palm Trees and Joshua Trees, it is fun to see different types of trees and flowers.

Tomorrow we will complete our trip with about thirty miles to go to Santa Monica.   We have enjoyed the trip but it has been a lot of work so we will be glad to get done.

Special thanks to Verizon Wireless for providing devices to us, in many situations we would not have been able to put up our blog posts without the Jet Pack. It also allows us to put up all the videos and pictures for you to view.

Into California

Day 47 July 19th Peach Springs, AZ to Kingman, AZ 59 miles Total Miles – 2,514
Weather: Partly sunny, 65 degrees in morning to 95 late morning, slight headwind

Kingman, AZ – San Bernardino, CA Traveled by U Haul – Total Miles – 277

We got up really early 4:15am, had breakfast and were on the road by 6:00am. Most of our trip was downhill and the wind was a tailwind early. One of our stops along the route was at a fun Route 66 convenience store in Hackberry, AZ. The store had tons of Route 66 memorabilia and it was fun to check it all out. They even had a very friendly cat that Tracy enjoyed playing with. After our stop we cruised right along and got to Kingman by 11:00am.

When we were on the edge of town we saw a touring bicyclists ahead of us and eventually caught up with him. He was from Germany and started his trip in New York and was heading to Las Vegas and then up to San Fransico. He had been on the road since April 1st. He said he was having fun but was getting sick of the constant headwinds. We agreed!! We wished him luck and continued on our way.

We got to the U Haul rental place early and they had the truck all ready for us. So we changed clothes, loaded the bicycle and our bags into the back and took off towards California. As we were crossing the desert we were very glad we were driving thru rather than bicycling. It was 110 degrees in Needles, CA and did not drop below 100 all the way across the desert. The route would have been difficult also – in one section we would have been on a very busy Interstate 15 that was under construction and had made no provisions for bicyclist to get thru safely.

We got into San Bernardino, CA about 5:30pm, we were tried, hungry and grumpy – not a good combination. But after a shower and dinner we felt a whole lot better!! Tomorrow we return the U Haul and then we will once again continue on the bicycle towards Santa Monica.

300 Miles of Desert Ahead Sign in Hackberry, AZ

300 Miles of Desert Ahead Sign in Hackberry, AZ

Tracy's Kitty Friend

Tracy’s Kitty Friend

Peter packing the U Haul

Peter packing the U Haul

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Downhill to Peach Springs and the Grand Canyon Caverns/RV Park

Day 46 July 18th Williams, AZ to Peach Springs, AZ (Grand Canyon Caverns/RV Park) 69 miles Total Miles – 2,455

Weather: Partly cloudy, cool, 80 degrees, soaking rain late in day

This morning we had a few things to take care of before we took off. Peter went to the post office to mail a package home (yes more beer glasses) and Tracy was working on getting us a car rental from Kingman AZ to San Bernardino, CA. We have decided to drive across the desert after talking with local bicyclists, checking our maps and the local weather forecast.

This time of year the temperatures are well into the 100’s and we will not have services(water and food sources)in sections for over 60 miles – that is just too far in those conditions and we don’t believe we would be safe. So we have been trying to rent a car – not an easy task. We finally had to resort to renting a U Haul Truck – they just do not have any one way rentals from Kingman, AZ.

We finally got on the bike at about 9:00am and started our downhill ride to the Grand Canyon Caverns/RV Park near Peach Springs, AZ. Right outside of Williams we got on I – 40 and started a 13 mile downhill ride to Ash Forks. It was a great ride with beautiful views as we buzzed by. We got to Ash Forks in about 40 minutes – we were averaging about 30 miles per hour on the downhill.

Outside of Ash Forks we got off I – 40 and back on Route 66 – evidently this section of Route 66 is the longest continuous section thru the whole corridor. It was a nice ride with lots to see, including the rain clouds surrounding us. Luckily the rain held off for quite a while but after our break in Seligman it started to rain a bit – which actually felt good it was getting a bit warm again.

Unfortunately about 10 miles down the road the rain came down in buckets – we got soaked. We had seven miles to go to get to the Grand Canyon Caverns and were hanging out at the convenience store warming up and deciding if we should bicycle the mile up to the campground or stay at the Caverns Hotel. We decided on the hotel because we were soaked and Peter was feeling a bit under the weather.  It was a good choice and allowed us to warm up and take care of some other logistical items.

 

 

Flagstaff to Williams, AZ and Another Day Off

Day 43 July 15th Flagstaff, AZ to Flagstaff, AZ    0 Miles. Total Miles – 2,353
Weather: Sunny, 90 degrees, slight wind

Today was a day off in Flagstaff. Our friend Greg picked us up at the hostel at 9:00am and we were off for a day of fun and adventure. Greg took us on a beautiful drive thru the Oak Creek Canyon, beautiful. Also very steep Peter and I were glad we were not on the bicycle. The ride took us thru Sedona, AZ which is a very cool town with lots to see and do.

After driving thru the canyon we stopped at Red Rock Canyon and climbed Cathedral Rock. It was quite the climb with beautiful views along the way and at the top. After the climb we went to the river that flowed thru the canyon and played in the swimming hole and stream. The cold water felt great and we could see the climb we made from the stream.

We then stopped at a local winery for lunch. It was a great day and we enjoyed spending it with Greg. That evening we went out to dinner with Greg and his friends Danielle and Phillip. We met at a local brewery and had dinner there. It was fun to meet some of Greg’s friends and learn more about Flagstaff. We really enjoyed our day off the bike and seeing more of Arizona.

Greg and Tracy at Cathedral Rock

Greg and Tracy at Cathedral Rock

New Friends in Flagstaff, AZ

New Friends in Flagstaff, AZ

Peter and Tracy at Top of Cathedral Rock

Peter and Tracy at Top of Cathedral Rock

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Day 44 July 16th Flagstaff, AZ to Williams, AZ. 33 miles Total Miles – 2,386
Weather: Sunny, warm – 90 degrees and slight head wind

Today we had a short ride to our next destination only 33 miles, so we got up a bit later than normal and were on the road by 8:00am. Our ride was also pretty much downhill – YEA!! We traveled on I – 40 for the first part of the trip to the city of Parks, AZ. Parks is a nice little city with lots going on. They have a small campground right across the street from the gas station, post office/convenience store and had a rummage sale going on at the campground. It was a busy place for a town of 1,100 people. They even had a Little Library in the gas station/convenience store. Tracy was excited because she needed a new book and was able to find a good one there.

After leaving Parks we rode on Old Route 66 which had recently been repaved. The road was in great shape and had a nice wide shoulder on it. This part of the ride was thru a heavily wooded area. It was nice to see some trees again, we really enjoyed the shade and wind block!! We followed Route 66 into Williams which is a really cool town with lots to see and do.

We got in early so Tracy had a chance to wander around town and check out all the shops – she really enjoyed that. Peter sat on a bench near the hostel and watched the world go by – each of them enjoyed their afternoon. Around 2:00pm we were able to check into our hostel. It is a really nice place – Grand Canyon Hotel – each room is unique and special. The owners are very nice and willing to help out in any way. We have found we really enjoy the smaller non chain hotels and hostels.

Day 45 July 17th Day off in Williams, AZ 0 miles. Total Miles – 2,386

Weather: Beautiful, 85 degrees, partly cloudy

Today we took the Grand Canyon Railway up to the Grand Canyon. Our train left at 9:30am and arrived at the south rim of the Grand Canyon 2.5 hours later. It was a fun ride in a Pullman Car with real cowboys putting on a show before we got on the train, holding up the train and musicians playing and singing on the train.

The train ride was fun but Grand Canyon was amazing. It is an unbelievable site that everyone has to see, words can not describe the vastness and beauty of this area. We had about three hours to explore the park which was really just enough to get an overview of this amazing place.

We were surprised at how well the park could handle all the people, it did not seem crowded at all and you certainly could do whatever you wanted without having to wait. All to soon we needed to make our way back to the train for the 2.5 hour ride back to Williams. The ride went fast and before we knew it we were back in Williams.

After returning we wondered over to the grocery store to pick up supplies and something for dinner and breakfast the next morning. As we were heading back to our Hostel, Peter said that guy in the cross walk looks just like Randy Johnson. Tracy said that is Randy and Julie and their granddaughter, they are our neighbors from Green Bay. What a small world, it was so great to see them and talk for a while. They are on a two week vacation and were traveling across the United States as well. Peter and I have been feeling kind of lonely lately and it was very nice to see someone from home!!

Tomorrow we head to Grand Canyon Caverns a campground near Peach Springs, AZ. Again we will be heading downhill the whole day – YEA!!

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Ran into neighbors - Randy and Julie Johnson and granddaughter in Williams, AZ

Ran into neighbors – Randy and Julie Johnson and granddaughter in Williams, AZ

 

Up Hill Climb to Flagstaff, AZ

Day 42     July 14th        Winslow, AZ  to Flagstaff,  AZ    63 miles             Total Miles:  2,353

Weather:  Sunny, upper 80’s slight headwind

Sun rise was at 5:09am and breakfast (coffee and tea) was available starting at 5:00am, so we got up way too early got our tea and coffee and supplemented it with our oatmeal and dried fruit.  We were on the bicycle and heading out of Winslow by 6:00am.

Again today the heat and wind was to go up about noon.  We had a climb to Flagstaff of over 2,000 Ft.  Thank goodness the bulk of our ride was on I- 40 so the uphill was pretty gentle and steady.  After 40 miles on I- 40 we got off at the City of Winona and then began the last twenty mile climb to Flagstaff.  The climb was not too bad but definitely steeper than the climb on I-40, we were bicycling on Old Route 60/ Townsend-Winona Rd. Luckily they had just repaved a huge piece of the road and it was a pleasure to ride on. We had a nice wide/clean shoulder to use. Enjoy the video of the newly paved road.

We reached the outskirts of Flagstaff and our maps said Hwy 89 was not fun to ride too much traffic and no bicycle facilities.  We were pleased to find a bicycle lane on the road when we turned the corner and had no problem riding the last 8 miles to the historic downtown area of Flagstaff.  We are staying at a Hostel tonight – Motel Du Beau.  It is a great place right in the middle of the downtown area and within walking distance of just about everything you need.  Imagine this there are even three micro breweries within walking distance of the Hostel – Peter is in heaven!!

We are taking the day off tomorrow and our friend Greg who lives in Phoenix will be picking us up in the morning.  Greg used to work at J B Cycle and Sport in Howard and Peter and him used to bicycle together.  He is an amazing bicyclist and routinely kicked Peter’s butt.  He will be our tour guide for the day.  It sounds like he is taking us hiking and out to lunch.  It will be great to see him again it has been years, we are looking forward to a day off the bicycle and a chance to catch up with an old friend.

Petrified Forest National Park to Winslow, AZ

 

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Wigwam #16 Home for the Night

Wigwam #16 Home for the Night

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Day 40          July 12th   Chambers, AZ    to Holbrook, AZ      72 miles           Total Miles:  2,251

Weather:  Sunny, warm 89 degrees,  nasty headwind 24 mph for last 20 miles

We got up early so we could try to beat the heat and wind a bit.  The first 23 miles of our ride was on I-40 and it was down hill until the last five miles going into Petrified Forest National Park.  Once in the park we traveled 28 miles from the north park entrance to the south entrance.  The road was in great shape and there were very few cars and the ones that were on the road were moving very slowly.

Our first stop was the visitor’s center to get a map and the scoop on what to see.  After a snack we were on our way to explore the park.  We did drive byes of several Painted Desert Overlooks.  Unbelievable beautiful colors weaving thru the rocks.  Our first stop was the Painted Desert Inn, a restored trading post, turned inn,  turned museum and National Historic Landmark.

Puerco Pueblo was our first hiking stop.  We walked the fairly short trail to see some petroglyphs and pueblos.  It was very interesting and something Tracy had never scene before.  We stopped and talked with a volunteer working at one of the building and she got so excited when she saw Peter’s Packer hat – she is a hard core Packer fan from Arizona.

Our next stop was Crystal Forest which was really cool.  It is an area of the park that has thousands of pieces of petrified wood just laying around.  The petrified logs glimmer with quartz crystals along the trail.  Our final stop was the Rainbow Forest Museum and visitor center.  The Giant Logs Trail was also located here – we did not hike it but just looked it over from the visitor’s center.

We took a short break at the Rainbow Forest Museum and were sitting by our bicycle relaxing when two young ladies and a young man from Arizona stopped to ask about our trip.  They were very interested and asked lots of questions, I think we talked with them for about a half hour.  They were very nice and we enjoyed talking with them and learning more about Arizona.  We gave them a business card and suggested they check out our social media and also told them to send us a message, they said they would.

We then wandered over to the visitors center to fill up our water bottles and hit the bathroom before we left. Upon our return to the bicycle there were four women sitting on the bench near the bicycle and we talked with them about our trip.  They were also traveling Route 66 but by car.  They were quite the ladies and were obviously having a great time exploring together.  We had to ask them to get up to get our bicycle out.  They stood right up and said they certainly did not want to hold up our trip.  We talked a bit more and then headed towards Holbrook for the last 20 miles of our ride.

Our ride to Holbrook was tough because again the west wind had kicked up and we had a 24 mph headwind to battle – no fun at all.  At least we were going downhill primarily.  About half way thru the ride we both were “I am so done with this”, when we experienced a much needed random act of kindness.  We had our heads down and were just working on finishing up, when Tracy looked left and saw a van right next to us with a woman holding out two ice cold bottles of water and asking if we wanted them.  Tracy asked Peter and he said absolutely so we stopped and took the water.  It was so great, here was a young couple with two small children teaching them how simple it is to help people out.  We were excited about the cold water and it helped the rest of the trip go much better!!

We made it to Holbrook about 45 minutes later and got settled in Wigwam number 16  at the Wigwam Hotel.  The Wigwam Hotel is a Historic Landmark on Route 66 and has antique cars parked outside the wigwams. Very fun to stay in and it had everything we needed.

 

Tracy at Jack Rabbit Trading Post near Winslow, AZ

Tracy at Jack Rabbit Trading Post near Winslow, AZ

La Posada Hotel

La Posada Hotel

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Hotel Room at La Posada

Hotel Room at La Posada

Day 41    July 13th     Holbrook, AZ   to Winslow AZ            39 miles   Total Miles:  2,290

Weather:  Sunny, low 80 early in day, 100 degrees by noon,  slight tailwind early to headwind after noon

We woke up in our wigwam early to get our miles done before the temperature and wind all rise!!  We were on the road by 7:00am.  The first 20 miles were on smaller county roads to Joseph City.  As we were traveling towards Joseph City a car came  up to us as we were taking a break, they were going really slow.   We were wondering what was up and then they pulled along side us and it was the four women we met at the park yesterday.  They were taking a side trip to see a cool bridge they heard about.  It was fun to see them again and they told us they saw us heading out of Holbrook that morning while eating breakfast at a local restaurant.  This time we gave them our card and told them to follow our trip and send us messages – they said they would!!

Joseph City was suppose to have a convenience store and restaurant but not anymore.  They evidently are closing the power plant located near Joseph City and many people in town have lost their jobs and the businesses have also closed up because the people are gone.  Luckily a local volunteer fire fighter had just arrived at the fire station we were bicycling past and was kind enough to fill our water bottles for us.

From Joseph City we traveled on a frontage road to I – 40.  The road was in bad shape and was bouncing us everywhere, but we just slowed down and eventually it got a bit better.  The good thing about being on the frontage road was we got to visit the Jack Rabbit Trading Post.  We had been seeing signs for it for miles and miles.  As we were pulling in a gentleman was standing on the side of the road video taping us as we pedaled up.  He was from Indiana and was in Arizona with a youth church group to do some volunteer work at a local Native American group home.  He also is a bicyclist and had lots of questions for us, which we dutifully answered.  The gentleman explained the children in the group home were up to age 18 and how incredible they are when you hear the terrible situations they have been taken away from.  Hopefully this situation will help them to lead a successful life in the future.

We then got back on I- 40 and followed that into Winslow.  We got in nice and early and were able to get into our hotel room at  La Posada Hotel, Restaurant, Museum and Gardens.  The hotel was designed by Mary Colter who was hired by the Harvey Company. The timing of the opening of this amazing building could not have been worse – 1930 right at the start of the Great Depression, the building never prospered and closed to the public in 1957.  In 1961 the property was gutted and transformed into offices for the Santa Fe Railroad.  (The tracks are right behind the building and it also serves as an Amtrak Depot). In 1993 the railroad was going to dispose of La Posada but luckily in 1994 the National Trust for Historic Preservation put the property on its endangered list.  Then came Allan Affeldt who purchased the property and has renovated it.  It is an amazing property and has several unique hotel rooms.  If you are ever in Winslow, AZ definitely stop and check it out and better yet spend the night.

We of course had to stop at the corner in Winslow dedicated to the Eagles top hit “Take It Easy”.  The corner has a bronze statue of a man leaning against a lamp post with a guitar in his hand with the words “Standing on the Corner” on a sign above his head, on a window sill in the background is a stuffed eagle and a picture of a blonde in a red flat bed truck.  If you have not heard the song it is a good one and they say it helped put Winslow, AZ on the map!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Made it to Arizona Today

Day 39      July 11th      Gallup, NM to Chambers,  AZ    52 miles        Total Miles. 2,179

Weather:  Sunny, 85 degrees, 25 mph headwind

Got up a little later than normal today – YEA!!  But also discovered that we missed the cool- historic section of Gallup.  We were not real impressed with the part of the city we saw, it was pretty run down looking.  We had heard some good things about it from others, evidently we turned left(west) on historic Route 66 and should have turned right (east).  Oh well the life of a cross country bicyclist sometimes things are a few miles away or the other direction and you totally miss them.  I guess we will have to go back to Gallup some day and really check it out.

Our trip began on Hwy 118 and we continued on it for 20 miles, crossing over and under I -40 a couple of times.  We were on the side of the road trying to figure out of 118 crossed under in that spot or stayed on the side we were on – of course there were no street signs but the distance traveled to the cross over was correct.  We were standing there trying to figure it out when a large tractor came down the street and Tracy flagged him down to ask him.  He pulled over, shut off the tractor and climbed down to help us out. His name was Oscar and he worked for the McKinley County Road Department.  He was very helpful and got us going in the right direction.  He also told us he saw us earlier in the day when they were hauling some equipment to a new work site by truck, he said to his co worker “look at those two I wonder where they are going and came from.”  Well a few hours later he got the scoop directly from us.  He was a really nice guy and we enjoyed visiting with him.

About five miles after meeting up with Oscar we were in Arizona!!!  We really enjoyed New Mexico but are looking forward to exploring Arizona.  So far in Arizona,  we have been traveling thru the Navaho Indian Reservation and the natural areas are beautiful from the multi colored rock in the mesas to the canyons.  During our ride we have been close to the rocks and above the canyons for some amazing views.

In Arizona there are many Native America Trading Posts to explore.  We stopped at a couple today to check them out, they have some beautiful jewelry, rugs, beads etc.  They also typically have a stand where you can purchase Indian Fry Bread.  We have yet to try some but plan to soon, we heard it is delicious.  One of the trading posts we stopped in – Chief Yellow Horse is half in Arizona and the other half in New Mexico – we were teasing the owner that he had to pay taxes to two states – he just laughed and said “I think I pay taxes to everyone.”. He is the fourth generation of his family to run the trading post. I asked him who plans to take over when he is done and he said he was not sure there was an interest from anyone in the next generation and of course everyone has different ideas of how the property should be used. Time will tell!!

The ride today was tough – I feel like I keep saying  that,  but again we had some strong headwinds to deal with. We heard from a local that the Santa Anna winds are typically strong this time of year and come from the west.  Riding Route 66 from east to west may not have been the best idea due to the prevailing west winds, oh well we are almost done so we will just keep heading west and deal with the winds.

Finally made it to Arizona

Finally made it to Arizona

Navaho Trading Post in Two States

Navaho Trading Post in Two States

Cave located behind Navaho Trading Post

Cave located behind Navaho Trading Post

Oscar - McKinley Road Department Crew Member

Oscar – McKinley Road Department Crew Member

New Mexico Continues to Provide Amazing Views the Last Two Days

Day 37     July 9th.  Grants,  NM to Ramah, NM       47 miles   Total Miles  2,066

Weather:  Sunny, warm 87 degrees, headwind

We went a bit shorter today because we wanted to check out some cool places along the route.  Our ride took us thru two National Parks – El Malpais National Monument and Conservation Area (114,000 federally protected acres)  and El Morro National Monument and Conservation Area encompasses 2 square miles.  Both are amazing pieces of property.  El Malpais  has natural features left behind by the volcano, including lava tubes, lava beds, sink holes etc.  El Morro National Monument and Conservation Area is the site of over 2,000 petroglyphs due to the fact that there is a pool at the base of El Morro and for many years people would camp at the site and leave messages on the walls of Zuni Sandstone.

We also stopped at a privately owned site called Ice Cave – Volcano Land.  It was a fun place to tour but difficult to get to by bicycle.  We had a two mile climb to their property and then had to push our bicycle down the half mile volcanic ash driveway.  There was no way to ride it due to the depth of the ash – our bicycle would sink and come to a stop, we finally gave up and pushed it in. But it was well worth the trouble – we took a half mile walk up to the Bandera Volcano site.  The volcano erupted over 10,000 years ago and is one of the largest volcanos in the region.  From the trail up to the Look Out Point you can see 15 other volcanos in the area.  There are actually 29 in the region. After viewing the volcanos we headed over to the Ice Cave- very cool literally – the temperature in the cave never gets over 31 degrees. As rain and snow melt seep into the cave the ice floor thickens.  The floor of the ice is 20 feet thick and some of the ice dates back 3,400 years.  The ice is tinted green from an Arctic algae that grows on it.  They have no idea how the algae got to New Mexico because it is typically only found in the Arctic.

After our tours we pushed the bicycle back to the highway and rode the last 1/2 mile to the Continental Divide which was 7,882 Ft.  This is the highest we have ever been on the bicycle.

The rest of the ride was pretty much downhill but unfortunately we had a nasty headwind to deal with and had to work to keep the bicycle moving even on the downhill.  Our overnight stay was at the  El Morro RV Park and Cabins.  They had a great little restaurant – Ancient Way Café and even an organic grocery store across the street.  We had an amazing dinner at the Café and even picked up some goodies for breakfast at the grocery store.  The staff that worked at the campground were very nice and welcoming and we enjoyed our stay with them.

As we climbed into our tent we had the pleasure of hearing two owls calling to each other and viewing an amazing sky with stars everywhere.  Being up at almost 8,000 Ft you feel like you can touch the stars, they are so clear.

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Day 38    July 10th   Raman, NM  to Gallup, NM       61 miles    Total Miles   2,127

Weather:  Sunny, warm 87 degrees, headwind early and then tailwind

We woke up early at the campground, ate a delicious breakfast of home made wheat bread, peanut butter and dried fruit from the organic grocery store.  What a good way to start the day.  We even had company for breakfast when two of the neighbors chickens came to our campsite to join us for breakfast.  We were all packed up and on the bicycle by 6:30 am and were pleased to be getting a nice early start to our ride.  We even had our jackets on because it was 60 degrees as we were leaving.  Unfortunately our early start did not last long because about a mile down the road the cable for the rear derailleur snapped- bummer.  So we had to stop to fix it.  Fortunately we carry a replacement cable with us and Peter got to work removing the broken cable and putting in the new one.   Unfortunately neither of us had ever replaced a broken cable and it ended up taking us a hour and a half to complete the repair but we got it done and the bicycle was shifting well – YEA!!

After the repair we headed to our first stop at a convenience store in Raman – about 12 miles down the road.  We stopped and filled up our water bottles and bought a snack.  From there it was downhill, but unfortunately into a nasty headwind – at times it felt like we were going backwards.  Finally we turned north on to  Hwy 602 and had cross and slight tail wind, it was a nice change.  The first 9 miles of 602 were a climb of 1,000 Ft to an elevation of approximately 7,300 Ft.  From that point until we got to Gallup we bounced up and down until the last little climb into Gallop.

Being that it was a Sunday there were a fair amount of drivers on the road, but they were really good about giving us space and a friendly wave as they passed.  One woman passed us, beeped and waved on her way by.  A few minutes later we were stopped along the road for a short break until we made the last push into Gallop and a car stopped near us, it was the woman who passed us earlier.  As she was heading home she saw her uncle walking along the road so she picked him up and took him home.  She then drove by us again and decided to stop and say hello.  She was very interested in our bicycle and where we were from etc.  We talked for a bit and then she wished us luck and got back in her car and headed down the road. It just goes to show you never know who you will meet when you are traveling on your bicycle.

Our Breakfast Guest

Our Breakfast Guest

Fixing the Broken Cable

Fixing the Broken Cable

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