Quartzsite, Ca to Wickenburg, uh make that Salome, AZ
1875 ft of climbing
We had a fairly modest goal Tuesday with Wickenburg as our intended destination (about 93 miles and 3500 ft of climbing). The day began a bit sleep deprived for me because of the traffic noise at the Quartzsite Super 8. We got a bit of a late start and had a nice hot breakfast in town.
As kind as the wind was to us yesterday, it was coming almost straight on at 30 MPH today. While we averaged 16.5 MPH yesterday for just under seven hours, it took us 4 hours to go 46 miles today (closer to 12 MPH).
We came to a town called Salome and rode on through aiming for the next town, 30 miles down the road, for refueling. We figured that if we were going to make it to Wickenburg before dark the wind would have to let up a bit. Either way we were confident we would sleep in Wickenburg tonight.
3 miles out of Salome I heard a faint ping and immediately knew what it was. A broken spoke. On examination it proved to be two adjacent spokes broken. The only thing on my list that didn't make it on the bike were two spare spokes.
The first thing I did was pull the map out to see if there was a motel in Salome. There were two. The International Hotel and Sheffler's Motel. I called the International Hotel first and got an answering machine. A fellow named Jeff picked up the phone at Sheffler's and when I told him what was going on he asked if we needed a ride. All I could imagine was seeing the bikes in the back of a pick-up truck bouncing around. I thought even if it was two or three miles I'd rather walk it back to town. I thanked him for his offer but told him I'd limp it in.
You have to understand that the bikes represent our food supply, wardrobe, transportation, entertainment, and last manner of refuge. As a result, they get the best possible treatment. I thanked Jeff for the offer and after asking him for the motel address (to have spokes shipped) told him we would be there eventually.
The next call I made was to the wheel builder in Petaluma, Ca to see if he had any spokes he could send me. He didn't but felt really bad about it and was able to provide the 'likely' length. I appreciated the sentiment but I needed spokes.
It was time to call in the big guns. It was 4:30 when I contacted Sean at Edge Cyclesports in Laguna Woods, Ca. Edge is a racer's shop that I've done business with in the past and they bend over backwards to keep you on the road (or trail as the case may be). Sean got the hub and rim info from me so he could calculate the correct length. He doesn't trust anyone else to come up with the right spoke length. He got the shipping info and we agreed if he sent Devon, his counter guy, that I'd buy him (Devon) his first pony keg of beer for his 21st in two weeks.
Chris and I both have plenty of reading material. Plus, one of the four channels on the TV is TNT which means we always have the NBA playoffs.
As it happens, Chris's bike came with two spare spokes. Ironically, he threw one away earlier in the morning. It had been bent accidentally and a spoke bent like it was could only be considered for use in an emergency. One spare spoke was in a trash can at our first stop today about eight miles back up the road from where I'd broken down.
I saw we had the same hubs but different rims and thought it a longshot his remaining spare spoke would work for me.
I held it up and it looked very close in length. Beacause the heads had broken off of my two I couldn't really hold his up to an existing example to compare. The length tolerance for a spoke is generally considered in the one or two millimeter range. I pulled the tire and one of the broken spokes and installed Chris's spare. It was certainly within one or two mm of being the right length. Probably good enough to roll back to Salome.
We mounted the tire and filled it with air. Then the wheel went back on the bike and I used the brake pads to judge the trueness of the wheel and tweaked as best I could. It rolled pretty true for still having one broken spoke. One advantage to the heavy equipment built for touring is the overbuilding of parts. For instance, these wheels have 36 spokes while even the heaviest duty mountain bike wheels have 32. Touring wheels are more akin to tandem wheels.
I emptied all of my fluids, about three and a half litres to try to eliminate as much weight as possible.
We rolled easily to Salone and Sheffler's Motel. At the desk we were met by Jeff's mother Nancy. She was very friendly and told us about all the cyclists that had stopped there on their ways to Florida, and points both East and West.
We asked about laundry and she ended up delivering it to us done after we got back from dinner at a decent mexican diner across the highway.
Sheffler's Motel is much quieter than Super 8.
Here's hoping the good old USPS can get an envelope here overnight.