Mesa to Pitt 2015

Mesa to Pitt 2015

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Cameron AZ to Cliff Dwellers Lodge---there are aliens in my skin! June 12

Wednesday, June 12 62.3 miles in 4:54.. If I had a video camera or a go pro mounted on my helmet today, I would have never turned it off. There are no pictures or video that can possibly do justice to the beauty of this area. When we drove thru this area a few weeks ago to begin our rafting trip, I thought it might be the most beautiful place I've seen yet. After riding the bike through the area, I'm pretty convinced that I've found my favorite place yet. I wouldn't want to live here year round, but I could be here for a little while. I rolled out of Cameron by 7:30 am, trying to beat the 105degrees that was forecast. I had been worried about the narrow road and the high traffic volume, but neither were a problem. I stopped at quite a few little stores, and roadside jewelry stands, and talked to the natives. Some were friendly, some were quiet, all sounded quite American. The jewelry stands all had American flags flying, so I think they may be over the harm that the white man did to their ancestors. I could have taken a million pictures of the land, and the pieces of property that the Navajo lived on. They seemed to have a mix of the old, with old, old buildings on their property, right next to the many times new 14X 70 mobile homes. They seemed to have a mobile home, an old abandoned home, a hogan, which is a six sided traditional home, and some had sweat lodges. Sweat lodges are adobe, or rock huts where the natives would go to cleanse themselves by sweating, and could supposedly take a bath and use only one cup of water. I rode past what had to be the toughest free range cattle and horses in the world, living in the intense heat with very limited diet selections.
I guess the name on the map for this area is the Vermillion Cliffs National Monument. The whole trip was relatively boring hills on my left, but to my right were beautiful multicolored cliffs that paralleled the road. These cliffs are part of he Grand Canyon, but they were raised up by geological forces, as opposed to being carved out by the river. Most of the Grand Canyon, as I learned, was created by geological forces, and the river just found a path through the area. I had thought that the Colorado had eroded the canyon to its current depth, but the river really had little to do with the formation. Anyhow, the Vermillion Cliffs area, between the South Rim and the North Rim, is truly the rock garden of the gods. I followed the cliffs all the way to the Marble Canyon Bridge, which is the only way across the river for 600 miles. You almost make a u-turn as you cross the bridge and start following the cliffs on the north side of the canyon. When I made this turn, into the wind, is when all hell broke loose.
I had a pleasant tailwind for the first 50 some miles, the heat had built throughout the day, but I only had about nine miles to go when I hit the bridge, the headwind, and the uphill on the other side if the canyon. I rode uphill, into the wind for about five miles, on a dehydrated, empty gas tank. I really have to learn to see these things coming, but I didn't. As I crested a hill, which I had worked pretty hard because of the eighteen wheeler I had slowed to a crawl was right on my ass. He couldn't go around because of oncoming traffic ( my only traffic jam of the day, by the way). When I got to the top of the hill, I stopped pedaling, expecting to coast a little, and catch my breath, but instead the aliens entered my legs. I don't know if you've ever had a leg cramp, but they come on quickly, hurt like hell, and you usually have to stretch them out to get them to relax . Well, the aliens caused every muscle in both legs to cramp at once: hamstrings, quadriceps, groin, everything but my calves. I could not move to pedal, to unclip my shoes, and I couldn't get the cramps to stop, so I just fell over on the side of the road. I managed to get unclipped and try to stand and stretch, but when I stretched one muscle, the opposite muscle cramped even worse. It might have been worse than having a baby. I called Pam with my new hey tell app on my new phone, and screamed for her to come save my life. I was three #%>€£¥ miles from my destination, and could not make it. She came in the jeep, my cramps had subsided, but as I tried to get in the Jeep, they came back. It took me three attempts to get into the vehicle, before I finally could do it. I spent the next six hours in the RV fighting off cramps that fired in every muscle every fifteen minutes or so. My arms got in on the act, my fingers and toes, all were cramping. My leg muscles cramped into shapes that I have never seen before. Pam just stared in amazement when she wasn't trying to stretch me out. Every time my quad would cramp, I'd bend my leg and then my hamstring would cramp, then I'd straighten my leg, and my quad would cramp. For six hours. The aliens that were trying to escape though my skin, finally left, and I gingerly walked to the shower. There were no cramps for the rest of the night, but I was afraid to roll over, or move, all night long. What started as the most beautiful ride, ended as the ride from a horror movie. Pam said I was making faces that she had not seen me make in our 30 years together. It was the aliens.  We are camping at Cliff Dwellers, in the parking lot of Hatch Rafting, where they store all their boats, equipment, food supplies, etc.  We are dry camping or boondocking in 100+ weather, which means it is 90+ in the motor home!  By the way, I don't agree with Mike about the roads!  We traveled on 89, which wasn't too bad, but then we turned onto 89A, which was a twisty, turning, NARROW 2 lane, with NO SHOULDER,  where everyone wanted to go 70 mph!  What fun in a motor home!

The scenery along the road is just breath taking.....

Not only do you have to worry about traffic and road conditions, now you have to worry about cows wandering about!



Another stand...


This is a panoramic photo, hope it opens up when you click on it!

A hogan.  Check out the picture on the left side of the door!


Vermillion cliffs in the distance

For once the cow didn't run when the bike went by!  Too hot to run!


This was posted in the "yard".  This man was one of the famous Navajo Code Talkers!  How cool is that?!  If you don't know what a Navajo Code Talker is, you have to look it up!

Someone's home....

More artistic talent


89 into Page, AZ is closed because the road caved in!  This forces all of the traffic onto 89A - the narrow, twisty, no shoulder, 2 lane!

Another panoramic to open


Standing on the Navajo Bridge, looking down on the Colorado River.  We rafted here!  We went under this bridge, and saw condors while we were paddling!

That's how bright green the Colorado really is!

Old Navajo Bridge to the left, New Navajo Bridge to the right.  The new bridge (1995) is for traffic, the old is only for pedestrians.  

Bike's last picture before Mike and Bike hit the wall (cramped that is...)

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