Mesa to Pitt 2015

Mesa to Pitt 2015
Mesa to OBX

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Williams to Grand Canyon Village May 19

Sunday, May 19---60.14 in 5:06. I got out of Williams in great weather, a little cool, and a wind out of the west. I was headed north on Arizona 64, so that west wind was in my ear hole the whole way. It really wasn't too much of a factor though. AZ 64 has only a four foot shoulder, and traffic became worse as the day went on. That means that I was paying attention to traffic more than I like, and not so much at the scenery. The first 30 miles was rolling with a descent of 600 ft. The second 30 miles was rolling with an ascent of a little over 1000 ft. By the time I got to the campground, we were right at 7000 ft. Breathing was not difficult and my legs felt pretty good, considering that I really haven't been riding much, and I definitely have not been at 7000 ft. Las Vegas also put a few pounds on me somehow. I got to the campground just in time to shower and watch the Penguins and the Senators play double overtime in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Pam went for a little bike ride while waiting for me and finally got to see a bunch of elk wandering near the road in the park.

This was passing thru Williams AZ while we were leaving town.

Mystery skeleton with little red flowers

Getting close to Grand Canyon

Elks that were feeding off the trees.  They still had velvet on their antlers.

GIANT fireplace in Hermit's Rest

So big it takes 2 pictures!

Some local wild life!

Hermit's Rest building on the South Rim

Entrance to the Hermit's Rest on the South Rim of Grand Canyon

Two big elks were having lunch outside the back country information building!  They ignored us tourists taking pictures!

Check out the velvet on this big boy!

Who me?  There were elk all over the park on the South Rim

Looking at the sunset from the South Rim of Grand Canyon



Sunday, May 19, 2013

Headed back east through Lake Meade Recreation Area May 17

Friday, May 17----31.31 in 3:29. It is time to stop playing in the Vegas area, and head east, back towards the Grand Canyon, for our Colorado River trip. I did not have plans to ride back to the east, but I needed to do some riding, just for conditioning. I really haven't been putting on many miles lately, and even though I knew I would have quite a climb, into the wind to boot, it felt good to pedal. The day dawned cool and cloudy, for the Mojave in May, anyhow. My first 2.5 miles climbed 500 ft, just to get out of the Lake Meade Valley, and onto the main road, US 93. The total climb for the day was about 2700 ft, but the cool conditions and the absolutely beautiful scenery made it a nice ride. I recrossed the Hoover Dam bypass bridge (Pat Tillman Memorial), and climbed out of the river valley on the east side. I was once again watching for the elusive bighorn as I rode through the mountains, and under the three bridges that were built specifically for bighorns crossing the road. There were none. As I went back past Willow Beach, and left the Lake Meade Rec Area, US 93 lost its beautiful shoulder. The shoulder turned to nothing, if not just some loose gravel. I knew about this, but it slipped my mind. I was left with no other alternative but to cross the road, and ride on the one good shoulder, right against traffic. I have no doubt that I would have died on the other side, with two lanes of busy traffic coming out of Vegas on a Friday afternoon. It was weird, riding into traffic, but the motorists didn't seem to mind. I don't think they knew any better, anyhow. The wind from the head on traffic, along with the natural 20 mph gusts made this part of the trip all of the workout that I wanted. I rode about ten miles on the wrong side, then Pam came by. I decided to call it a day after 30 miles, and mounted up into the Rv. We had about a two hour ride back to Williams, Arizona, where we stayed before the Vegas adventure.
We rode on interstate 40 from Kingman to Williams, which I had never seen. I got my kicks on Route 66 for this stretch when we traveled west. Pam had come this way though. I will say that Route 66 was much flatter and more bicycle friendly than I-40. 40 was very hilly and pretty steep in places. There were some bicycle signs on I-40 though, so I know bikers ride it, because its a more direct route. When we got to Williams, we climbed out of the RV and had a shock as the temp was in the 70's, which we haven't seen, even at night, for over a week. Welcome back from the desert!

On the road again!!!
On Saturday we just chilled out and caught up on some housekeeping. I bought a pair of sandals to wear on the Colorado, and then took a little 20 miler south on Fourth Street from Williams , up into some mountains, past a few lakes and near a ski resort. A dirt road turned off for the ski area, so it may have been for cross country skiing only. The scenery was great, in a ponderosa forest with an occasional meadow ( see the above picture), and I saw ten mule deer. I also saw a lot of atv's, and the sheriffs office was busy on the road, checking for dui's. Other than that, there was very little traffic.

Touring the dam and stern wheeling the lake May 16

Thursday May 16. We were off to the dam again this morning, and we finally got to do our tour. We saw everything we were supposed to see, including an opportunity to look out of a grate that was about 2/3s of the way down the dam, looking downstream on the river. As we ascended to the top of the dam in an elevator, our guide was informed by phone that the dam was shutting down again. They couldn't tell us why, but I said 'The toilets are clogged!' before the elevator doors opened, and the cat was out of the bag. Once again the scene was of disarray, as the tour bus crowds kept descending onto the dam, and there was going to be no more tours! We were glad to get our tour done and get out of there before we had to do number one!
We went over to the Lake Meade Marina, and took a stern wheeler with a hundred of our closest Chinese friends, to see the Black Canyon, behind the dam. It was a unique view, and even though the wind was blowing chairs across the top deck, it was a worthwhile trip. Still no bighorn sheep, though. We ended our busy day with another trip to the cool waters of Boulder Beach.

Inside the power plant looking down at the turbines

Compare the truck with the turbine in front and you can see how big they are!

In the turbine room

This is the view from 2/3 of the way down the dam face

This is the tunnel we traveled thru to get to the vent that showed the above view.

Inside the dam

If there is an emergency and the workers need to evacuate the dam, they travel on these very vertical steps!  This is looking up.....

this is looking down!

Many views from the top deck of the boat.....

Entering Black Canyon towards the Hoover Dam

Looking at the dam from Lake Meade

Looking down at the stern wheel

Looking out over Lake Meade at the many colors - unfortunately it was hazy so the colors aren't really sharp

Coming back into the marina

And we finally found a bighorn sheep!!!!