Day 49 - Tempe, Arizona

Today was a huge day, 110 miles! It was definitely wind and gravity assisted, and we rode until well after dark. What happened was we had to work the kinks out of Jim's bike. He had numerous flat tires, the rear brakes would not align and they kept rubbing, and just when it couldn't get any worse, his front wheel bearings started to fail. So we had to keep going until we got to a bike shop. Jim's bike is not a bad bike, but this is the first time he's loaded it up and so anything that was in need of attention failed.

We wound up at Tempe Bicycles about 6:30, and they fixed us right up. What a great store. He bought a new front wheel and we are good to go.

We are now in the Motel 6 a couple miles away. Tempe is a big college town, it's home to Arizona State. We rode right through campus. It's very nice.

We had dinner across the street from the 6 at a pizza place/pub. We sat at the bar, and we had a very cute waitress. When she found out Jim was a lawyer, she was full of questions about how to make it so she could get in-state tuition at ASU. I proceeded to torment her (and Jim) with my favorite legal questions that Jim can't answer, which is the following puzzler and variations upon it:

If a two-headed baby grew up to be a two-headed man, how many women can he marry?

Our cute waitress spent the rest of the night hiding from me. Other dining experiences were good but less entertaining. We had breakfast at a cafe in Catalina, and a $6 buffet lunch at a roadhouse catering to guys on Harleys in the town of Cactus Forest. The roadhouse had an impressive leaning tower of adobe out front.

Despite the mechanical fiascos, today was a fabulous day of riding. There was about a 2000 foot elevation drop on very flat terrain, and a roaring 20 mph tailwind. It doesn't get any better than that, except when the scenery is mile after mile of desert wilderness full of bizarre and unusual cacti.

Of course, there are lots of saguaros.

Cacti (148K)

There are also these strange trees, which have no leaves, but have lots and lots of green branches. There is one on either side of the saguaro in this picture.

Cactus (218K)

Then there is this other tree, which has scaly green lumps on the bark, and fuzzy lumps at the end of the branches.

StrangeTree (288K)

And there are lots of other wonders like giant prickly pear bushes, purple prickly pears, barrel cactuses, and a wide variety of thorn trees.

As soon as we got into town, we saw all these things in professional landscaping, which is just a lousy imitation of the real desert.

It was really, really cold last night, probably in the 20s. Our wet clothes froze. This makes motels look pretty appealing, especially since Jim and I can split the cost.

Here is the big, big route for today.

Actual49 (203K)