Mesa to Pitt 2015

Mesa to Pitt 2015
Mesa to OBX

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Biking from Gila Bend AZ to Why AZ March 12

61.25 miles in 4:36.....When we woke up at 8 am it was COLD by our standards. No one is going to sympathize because it was 49 degrees or so, but I was real slow moving, and the warm sun got things to 60 by 9:30, when I rolled out. I took a little jaunt to the north, so I could ride through downtown Gila Bend. It was a mix of old and new, mostly old, including the hotel sign that was advertising 'steam heat' and  'refrigerators' on a building that wasn't being used as a hotel any more. AZ 85 headed south, out if town, but I missed the turn the first time because an orange road work sign was in front of the road sign, and I hadn't even bothered turning on my GPS girl, because she was so goofy yesterday. AZ 85 took me 55 miles, through the Barry Goldwater Air Force Range that all branches of the military use for bombing practice and sighting targets. The first 30 miles were a very gradual climb with a very mild wind that swirled in every direction. They were also very boring. No cactus. No animals. Old chip seal road with a gradually decreasing shoulder. Traffic. The traffic surprised me the most, as I was expecting a pretty desolate ride, but that was not the case. There were a few trucks, but it was mostly people that looked like they were packed for camping. I never did figure where they were all going, but I'm assuming they were headed to Organ Pipe National Monument, which is where we will be going tomorrow. I expected the area to be desert like, but there were absolutely no cactus, which was surprising, considering I saw 10,000 saguaro cacti yesterday, and we are heading to a park known for cactus.
At the 30 mile mark on AZ 85, I went through a low pass, and it was absolutely beautiful, with beautiful cactus, fantastic jagged  mountain peaks, and cool colors all around. The road also opened up with a nice, wide, smooth shoulder. All that lasted for about one mile, then it was back to the same creosote filled landscape, until I arrived in the town of Ajo (ah-hoe). The town started out very poor looking and half abandoned, but it got better with every pedal stroke, until it got to the very beautiful historic district, where I cruised around for a while, then as I left town, the old copper mine, and maybe another mine with very white rock walls dominated the scenery. Ten more miles of the same, and then I came to the very small town (a camp ground and a store) of Why. And that was my question. It was just an intersection of AZ 85 and AZ 86, which we will take to Tuscon when we leave. Two miles south of town, Pam had set up in a boondocking area, which we will make home for a short time. We chilled in the late afternoon, took a walk in the desert, where we found a dead horny toad, the first I had ever seen. Burgers on the grill and listening to the coyotes howl rounded out the evening.

Stout's Hotel advertising steam heat and refrigerators

Barrel cactus with fruit

Black Pass - AZ85 goes between these two mountains

Rock formations in the mountains

Creosote bush along the road

AZ 85 south

Target (plane) in the Barry Goldwater Bombing Range

Most scenic part of the trip

Panoramic of mountain pass

Welcome to Ajo sign

When you drive into Mexico, you must buy Mexican auto insurance.  This is one of the places that you can go to and buy insurance before you cross the boarder.  (That's why we walk across)

Bike at a roadside chapel

That's Mike in the mirror

Drive thru Mexican insurance!

Night of the Lepus characters

They're on a wall mural

Is this a famous movie????

Copper mine in Ajo

Historical town square in Ajo

Town square

Copper mine

We haven't seen anything like this yet

That is the was the name of the town, Why, AZ

Our campsite in the desert!

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