Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Arizona Re-Cap

Check the "snowday post," for the photos with 4 inches of snow on top of palm trees... wild. But let me tell you about our ride into this town of Globe, AZ... riding all day through an Apache Indian reservation in on-and-off rain, then ten miles uphill in heavy rain, then ten miles in snow.  When it starts snowing after you are already soaked, and the sun is setting, let me tell you it is very very cold.  We had met up with other cyclists going the same way (the Indiana boys) so the four of us bunched up, put on our neon vests, blinky lights, and went.  Pedalling down the main highway in Globe, the snow picks up, we are chilled to the bone, and we have 10 miles to go. I am thinking, "it can't get any worse, and this is not even so bad."  Then it starts sleeting and there is so much ice on my glasses that they are useless, except maybe to shield my eyes from the stinging sleet. I swore it was like needles from the sky into my left eye.  So here we are, descending down, virtually blind, and the traffic picks up- heavy 18-wheelers, because Globe is a mining town and copper is in demand. Okay, so it can't indeed get any worse now.  I try to maintain where the edge of the road is, where the street lights are red, and keep pedalling, hoping to make it to the house we are staying in for the night, while singing some songs to keep spirits up....  We finally make it, there is a sauna, and we take off all of our wet stuff. Ahhhh, a sauna!  THEN the power goes out. No sauna for us.  But we are pumped to have a roof over our heads... we play a cold game of pool, crawl into our sleeping bags and crash out.

Frozen, happy, and marvelling at the collected snow on our bikes

chilly sun

Mr. & Mrs. Larsen put up with us for two nghts...

Outside Safford, AZ

Arizona Amazing

The rest of our time in Arizona was filled more or less with snow, sun, and wonderful hospitality.  We stayed with families who stuffed us full of homemade dinners, and then in a posh and beautiful guesthouse.  We were holed up for 2 days in Globe when we finally made a break for it in the afternoon about an hour after the roads were officially opened.  We pedaled fast, pedaled hard, and then realized that the roads were totally fine, and this was one of the most beautiful and breathtaking rides of our lives.  Over a mountain, through a tunnel, and through a canyon, in the setting sun the red rocks literally glowed and encouraged us onward, the mesquite trees waving to us all the while.  It made you want to shout "yeahhhh!" Nothing like that in Tennessee. A chilly descent brought us to the guesthouse which was decorated by the artist-owners who are interior designers and generous hosts. so nice and luxurious! Glad to be enveloped in warmth, we settled in next to the fireplace while the wind howled outside. owwwwww  hhhooowww   hooooowwwwwllllll.    Beat that, Allen Ginsberg. :)

Road from Globe, AZ - Superior, AZ

Keeping an eye on the moon, always

Saguaro!  Cactus!

Road to the Grand Canyon...

We rolled into Phoenix on a Tuesday, via 30 miles of bike lanes and sunshine... I got lost getting into the city and as I was riding through the darkened streets, marvelling at the light rail system and the modern progressive city that is Phoenix, I hear someone call out, "Hollie!" and I look over to see a handsome fella wearing a blazer, brown leather shoes, atop a penny farthing. 

Blaise, a high-wheeler enthusiast

It's our host for the week, Blaise, a guy our age with a love for bike touring and beer... How swell.  The two of us ride to his house, meet up with Emerson, and the three of us become fast friends over delicious food and drinks.  At dinner Emerson and I are discussing the logistics of our plans to rent a car and head up to the Grand Canyon the next day.... when Blaise offers to drive us up there and go with us. How swell round II!  The next day the three of us make our way up through Flagstaff, stopping to refuel on gourmet coffee and check out a few local breweries too.  We finally get to the Grand Canyon Wednesday night, and Grand it is.  I've wanted to see this canyon since I was a little girl, and as the sun set and the almost-full moon came out, I could hardly believe I was finally getting to see it.  Its vastness and its beauty cannot be captured with words or even an image; a photo does this magnificent crevasse no justice.  With 5 inches of snow on the ground, a predicted low of 2 degrees, and an almost-full moon, hiking around the southern rim of the Grand Canyon was quite the surreal and amazing experience.  Thursday we hiked around some more in the day time and  it is strange hiking in a canyon because it is opposite of a mountain.  You go down toward the warmth and then up toward the cold.  It was hard to tear ourselves away from it.  You just want to keep your eyes glued to it, it is so big there is always something different to notice every second you stare at it- the other side, the cracks, the grass, the trail, the river, the rocks, the snow.

Grand Canyon

Bright sun and Grnd Canyon = squinty eyes

See that trail?  That's where wewere headed.... in theory

Hiking down into the Canyon a few miles 

Nature's Santa Claus beard



It was very cold in the areas that never got sunlight

down in the Canyon a mile or so

But we finally made it back to Phoenix, and in the next two days we made the richest, darkest hot chocolate, watched Christmas movies, had fancy coffee, fancy beer, and checked out the Phoenix Art Museum.  It was all lovely, and then we were on the road again....

Canyons, Chocolate, and Carols to you,

Hollie and Emerson

1 comment:

  1. Wow! Sounds like you two have made some great memories. I am (and bet you are too) a little sad to hear your ride is near it's end. But I bet the adventure will continue.... longer even than the ride. Now.... on to the coast and some sunshine!