Saturday, June 26, 2010

Grand Canyon Bicycle Tour, Day 11

Having slept in a ditch, it is no surprise that I didn't sleep late on this morning.  As usual, I woke just before sunrise, but I was not burdened with the normal responsibilities of tearing down my campsite.  Still not wanting to light a fire, I ate a meal replacement bar (I packed a couple for just such an occasion) and got on the road around 6:00.

It turns out I was a mile or so from a convenience store, so I stopped to get some coffee and some extra food and to refill on water.  Shortly thereafter, I crossed into Arizona.

Arizona state line, US-64

It should have been a great morning for riding.  The wind was calmer than usual, and the temperatures were mild.  But my legs felt stiff and sore.  I felt like I wasn't making good progress at all.  But I read somewhere that no matter what you feel like, on a long ride things will always change.  So I tried my best to ignore it and keep my mind occupied with my surroundings.

Red Mesa, AZ

It was somewhere around the Mexican Water Trading Post that I began to notice that the desert had taken on that famous rosy hue which earns it the "painted" moniker.  There were picturesque mesas and interesting formations along the road such as Baby Rocks.

Baby Rocks near Dennehotso, AZ

I was a few miles outside of Kayenta when a group of motorcyclists rode by.  One of them pumped his fist in the air as he passed.  A couple of miles down the road, they were stopped at a pull-off with a nice view of Church Rock.  They were watching me as I approached and waved to me, so I pulled in to chat.  They were from Littlerock, Arkansas, on their way to the north rim of the Grand Canyon, and really a genial group of guys and one lady.  They were quite interested in my bike and gear and were impressed by the journey I was making.  I was told that I would fit right in with the motorcycle crowd, since you have to be crazy to ride one.  As I took my leave and began to ride away, I overheard one of them say, "Now there goes a real man."  That made me feel pretty proud, especially as it had come from a Southern man in reference to someone wearing bicycle shorts.  They passed by once more, waving, and though I kept an eye out for them when I reached Kayenta at around 13:00, I didn't see them again.

Church Rock near Kayenta, AZ

I had seen on a map that Kayenta had a pizza restaurant, so I had my heart set on some pie.  There was a boarded-up building with a pizza sign out front, and I worried at first that I was out of luck.  But just behind that, in a shopping center, was Pizza Edge, fully operational and serving ice cream as well.  There was also a non-roaming phone signal in Kayenta, so I talked to my wife while I ate.  There were hotels in town, and I thought briefly about stopping there for the night.  But I wanted to get a few more miles in before I quit for the day.

I had heard that the Tsegi area, about 11 miles west of Kayenta, was supposed to have a campground, so that was my target.  But the only thing that anyone could tell me about was at the Navajo National Monument, another 19 miles down the road, 9 of which were off course and would have to be undone the next day.  I was tired, so I took a room at the Anasazi Inn.

That place was basically a pay-per-night trailer park, but that worked in my favor.  The room was half of a single-wide trailer and included a full kitchen.  The first order of business was to take a hot shower.  Then I was able to actually cook my ramen noodles and eat them, along with some packaged barbecue chicken, from a plate.  I felt very civilized.  I read for a little while and went to sleep as soon as it got dark.

My room at the Anasazi Inn, which defied photography

I put in over 90 miles that day, and so I was making up some of the lost time from the previous day's navigational mishap.

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