Mesa to Pitt 2015

Mesa to Pitt 2015
Mesa to OBX

Monday, May 6, 2013

Kingman to Willow Beach May 3

We have plans to stay in Kingman for a few more days because of some classic car activities associated with Route 66, and also to see some sand drag strip racing. My legs are getting itchy, and the wind died down, so I decided to ride towards Las Vegas to the Lake Meade Recreation Area, check out a hidden gem called Willow Beach, and have Pam pick me up and bring me back to Kingman. I rode 65.7 miles in 5:08. The route was a straight shot up US 93, through some high desert, and past a few abandoned and partially abandoned gold and silver mining towns. I didn't expect much in the way of scenery, but I was surprised to find something to hold my attention the entire way. I started with the typical 300-400 ft climb out of the valley that contains Kingman. As I was riding up the hill to Coyote Pass, I saw my first bobcat. It was flattened pretty good on the road, so I had plenty of time to make a positive ID. There was a lot of traffic, so I didn't stop to take a road kill photo, even though I probably should have. US 93 is a four lane highway, heavily traveled, exactly like an interstate highway. The shoulder was wide and for the most part clean, so that made for a safe ride. The wind was a mild headwind, but the constant truck and RV traffic kept the wind broken up and provided me a pretty good draft. The mountains on both sides of me were unique in shape, and the desert was as filled with blooming plants as any I have seen. It was cool to look out over the brown grasses and see deep reds, pinks, and oranges popping up occasionally. The colors looked really out of place actually, like color in a black and white photo. The roadside was lined with tons of varieties of less vibrant yellow flowers, but colorful just the same. There was a stretch where the grasshoppers became abundant, and one even got stuck between my helmet and sunglasses as I rode. As the grasshoppers became thicker, dead ones that had been hit by cars littered the shoulder I was riding on, and hundreds of lizards would lurk at the edge of the road to feast on them. I never ran over one, but they were everywhere, from five to ten inches long, some spotted, some greenish, some brown. I even saw what I think were two horny toads. They were brown like the grass, and a lot fatter than the others. They are also lizards, not toads like the name implies. These are all things that passing motorists were oblivious to, but it was quite a show for me.
At the top of Coyote Pass I was at 3737 ft elevation, and the rest of the trip was pretty much downhill from there. By the time I had ridden 60 miles, I was down to about 2200 ft, so it was a slow and gradual descent, except for a mile on the down side of Coyote Pass, where I hit over 42 mph. Once I arrived in the Lake Meade Recreation Area, the scenery changed to a very mountainous, Grand Canyon looking terrain. I soon saw Willow Beach Road, and made a left and started going downhill FAST. I stopped and texted Pam, because I knew where I was going there would be no phone service. By the time I got to the bottom, I had descended about 1500 ft in five miles, and I was at 600 ft above sea level, surrounded by these huge mountains. There was a lake, a river actually, dammed up and filling the Black Canyon, by name. There were a lot of fishermen, kayakers, and some loud speed boats that really destroyed the quiet beauty of the place. I found a swimming area, and went for a dip in my biking shorts,and spent about an hour laying in the fine pea gravel, working on my tan. The water was so clear, you could see as deep as the floor, maybe even fifty feet, as I looked off the fishing docks. It was also cold. I don't mean just cold, I mean, it's a wonder it wasn't frozen cold. It felt great on my legs, and I was the only person I saw who actually went all the way under, and swam. Invigorating! The Colorado River is all snow melt this time of year, and I can vouch for that! Upstream about ten miles is the Hoover Dam, and I believe the Davis Dam was creating this area. After a while, Pam came in the Jeep and we hung out for a while, checking out the campground, and admiring the beauty of the place.
On the way back to Kingman, I noticed that the shoulder on the southbound side of US 93 was basically nonexistent. After the great shoulder I had going north, there was no shoulder or loose asphalt-gravel all the way back to Kingman. If I was riding the opposite direction, I would have had to be in the lane of traffic the whole way. Probably wouldn't have survived!

Old Route 66 motel - check out the prices!

Thought this was appropriate for the blog!

There is a Santa Fe train park in Kingman and the bike wanted to visit the locomotive.  Never realized they were this big!

Cresting Coyote Pass - no coyotes came trotting after me though.....

Out here there are alot of old mining towns that just disappeared.

Looking down at willow beach - a hidden treasure

The bike getting ready for a swim - just kidding!

                                    Panoramic video of Black Canyon and Willow Beach.

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