Salome, AZ to Glendale, AZ
1082 ft of climbing
As nice as the people of Salome were it was time for us to hit the road. I rode down to the Post Office and at 9:01 I went inside to see about the package of spokes . The woman who came to the counter looked a lot like the lady who had helped me the day before but I didn't recognize her right away because of the long haired wig she was wearing. I guess you do what you can for entertainment in a town of 200. I stepped hopefully to the counter and when she saw me I could tell from the look on her face the package had not arrived. She asked what we were going to do and I said we had to get going and couldn't wait another day. She gave me the name of the Postmaster in the next town down the road and told me that if we made it no further than the thirty miles to Aguila I would go to the Post Office there and ask Tina to call Lilly in Salome to have the package forwarded there (assuming it would eventually arrive in Salome).
Lilly wanted to help.
I went back to the motel and told Chris I was prepared to take the chance on the bailing wire repair and get out of town.
As a quick note, bailing wire is probably somewhere in the 12 to 14 guage range. The spokes I was waiting for are 14 guage. One problem with the bailing wire is the greater flexibility than the stainless steel of a proper spoke. Contrary to what you may think intuitively, all spoked wheels (auto, motorcycle, and bicycle) work by bearing the weight they carry hanging the hub from the spokes at the top of the wheel rather than resting the weight on the spokes below the hub. That's how it's possible to use a very flexable material like the bailing wire as a substitute. So I told myself anyway.
In my experience spokes break from a lack of tension rather than too much tension. Any movement of a spoke as the wheel turns and the weight shifts pretty much guarantees failure of the part sooner or later. In my case it took about 350 miles.
Not knowing if the fix would even get us to Aguila, thirty miles down the road, we set sail hoping for the best. I told Chris I would always be looking for the smoothest part of the road and I'd keep a high pedal cadence to try to minimize the torque I applied to the back wheel. I also decided I couldn't risk standing up in the saddle, something you do periodically on long rides to stretch out your back and hamstrings. When you get out of the saddle like that you usually shift to a harder gear and slow your cadence to fifty RPM or so (mine is usually closer to between the mid nineties and low one hundreds). It's a little l like climbing stairs slowly and it feels really good after spinning in the saddle but it causes you to apply much more torque to the cranks and I was afraid to do that.
We rode off from Salome into a fifteen MPH headwind. I usually ride with music in my right ear (opposite the traffic side) but I thought better of it waning to hear every sound the bike made. I expected to hear the snap of the wire breaking any minute where it went through the holes in the hub.
On our way through the next litle town of Wendon we saw a building covered in signs advertising the coolest coffee bar in town staffed by the unforgetable ladies of Wendon. How could we not stop? They wanted to hear all about our journey and offered the back yard for camping if we broke down before we got to Aguila. They were very nice and asked us to sign their guest book. Here's the goofy note I left:
Your coffee is strong
Your attitude great
When I saw you served food
I was sorry I'd already ate
A poet I'm not.
We made it the thirty miles to Aguila and I was very surprised the wheel was still rolling true. We went the next twenty six to our originally planned stop at Wickenburg and felt like we re-entered civilization. Wickenburg is a nice town of 5000 or so but it's obviously a regional shopping center. We ate two lunches each and headed on down the road.
For the next twelve miles or so we got our only break from the wind all day.
The road from Wickenburg to Phoenix is a state highway that becomes larger and busier the closer you get to Phoenix .
We needed water and stopped at the first gas station we came to in Sun City. As we filled bottles a young woman approached me asking us where we were going and where we were coming from. I must say as we get further down the road (about four hundred miles at that point) people's reactions are more animated. At first we were getting a lot of 'good luck, it's a long way'. Now were beginning to get 'holy smokes, that's crazy, good going'.
The young lady in Sun City was particularly interested because her friend had recently been diagnosed with breast cancer and she was familier with Lance Armstrong Foundation. We shared stories for a few minutes and then she asked if we were taking cash contributions. I hadn't thought about that until she asked. I asked her to go to www.livestrong.org and contribute there if she liked. She went right to her car, where she had her laptop and wireless internet card, and made a contribution on the spot.
I should explain that Chris and I wear matching Livestrong jerseys and shorts and to look at us it's obvious we are representing the cause.
When we get to a rest day in a town with a full size computer and internet access I'll post some pictures.
We said goodbye to our newest supporter and hit the road again. Another five miles or so and the highway was getting very busy with suburban Phoenix commuter traffic. As we were about to pass a gas station, a fellow ran out in the street and hollered at us to pull into the gas station saying he had something for us. I didn't know what to think and when I saw his buddy parked with the tailgate of his pick-up truck down I thought they were trying to sell us something. Maybe bike bags or gloves or something. We had ridden 85 high anxiety miles by then (expecting the bailing wire to fail at any minute) and all but a few into a stiff wind and I was in no mood to shop.
I immediately began demanding to know if they were trying to sell us something. Honestly I was a bit rude about it. Boy, was it a lesson for me about goodness surrounding us and our quest.
The two mem were Rich Weis and his partner Kirk from Oakley. They saw us riding and recognized the Livestrong gear. Rich said he saw I had the limited edition Oakley Livestrong Radar sunglasses but Chris didn't and he wanted us to match. He gave Chris a brand new pair and wished us luck. We couldn't believe it. How thoughtful, kind, and generous of these men.
Thank you Rich and Kirk and Oakley!!!
Back on the road we went on quite a high.
We eventually found a hotel in Glendale, on the edge of Phoenix proper, and ate three dominoes pizzas between the two of us.
Tomorrow it's breakfast, bike shop, and riding in t at order.
More to come.