Mesa to Pitt 2015

Mesa to Pitt 2015

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Yuma to Quartzite Feb 24-25

    Feb24.... We did absolutely nothing on our last day in Yuma. We spent the morning at Audio Einsteins  getting a new woofer in the Jeep. Our old bass speaker was blown out and Pam had heard that Jeep speakers were not of the best quality. We had breakfast at a local joint, Bubbas Breakfast and BBQ, while we waited. Then we hit the grocery store to stock up for boondocking in Quartzsite, then it was to the pool to soak up some rays and enjoy our last pool for a while.

Feb 25..... 83.44 miles in 6:09......I was a little concerned about riding over 80 miles in the Sonoran Desert in 80-85 degree heat, but I had no need to be concerned. I'm really in good shape for some reason, and my legs feel like they are 39 years old. It was also an act of God that I had a tailwind, as light as it was, and a cloud cover. The temperature did not get above 70 until I got very near Quartzsite. I love winter in the desert!  The trip started out on AZ 195, 32nd Street and Fortuna Rd, all places I had ridden several times, and I had ridden 15 miles before I even got out of the Yuma 'metro' area. I made an early stop at 'The Bridge to Nowhere,' a bridge that was about a quarter mile from US 95, and was totally abandoned. I think it went across the Gila River, which also used to be a major river, but now was only about ten feet wide. A few miles up US 95, which was what I would ride north, all the way to Quartzite, I crossed the Gila River, and surprisingly saw some pretty big fish in the narrow, deeper, pool under the bridge. That may explain the fish skeletons that were hanging on the shed in the picture in the last entry of the blog. The next fun thing I did was count 114 cars on the train that rode the tracks parallel to the road. The train tracks then turned away from my road, and a very gradual uphill climb began that wouldn't end for about 30 miles. There were a few climbs that I could actually see, but mostly it was an invisible, very gradual ascent, until I had got from my starting elevation of about 200 ft. above sea level to 1500 ft, at a town called Stone Cabin, that wasn't a town at all, but an old Stone Cabin that used to be a restaurant and store, maybe. It was closed and deserted, but there were about three trailers that may or may not have had occupants, behind a fence. Stone Cabin was on the north boundary of  the Yuma Proving Ground, the US Army  facility that Pam and I visited when we went to the Kofa Wildlife Refuge. I had been riding through that facility since the north end of Yuma, listening to bombs going off  every once in a while, and seeing a few tanks along the road. Then came the General Motor Proving Ground, where GM cars and truck designs are tested. I took a little side trip and snooped around to see what I could see. It was surrounded by an enclosed fence, but I could see some front ends and roofs of vehicles that must have been being tested for aerodynamics. When I came back onto the main road, there was my guardian angel and wife, pulled over on the side of the road with a water refill, lunch and a hug to support the rest of my desert ride. Then came the US Air Force Aerostat facility, with a big white blimp tethered to the ground, just like we saw in the Keys, and in Texas, near the Cuban and Mexican borders, respectively. 
The ascent was noticeable to my legs as I pedaled, but generally not to my eye. The descent of about 500 ft over the last 20-25 miles to Quartzsite was the same way. I couldn't really see that I was going downhill, but my speed went from about 12-13 mph to 18-19 mph with less effort. The second factor that contributed to my speed was the surface of US 95. The first third was pretty bumpy chip seal type surface with cracks in it, but when I got half way through the proving ground, the pavement became new and smooth, and my speed picked up 2-4 mph, just because of a smooth surface! The last third of the trip was nice pavement, but it was beginning to crack pretty badly, so the best place to ride was right on the white line, where the paint was thick and smooth. The shoulder on the long stretch of US 95 between Yuma and Quartzsite was nice and wide in some stretches, and barely sufficient, but ride able in others. Traffic was constant, not heavy, but the eighteen wheeler and motor home traffic made up the majority of it. Everyone was conscious and considerate of the crazy guy on a bike in the middle of the desert, but once an eighteen wheeler and a motor home passed in opposite directions right next to me,  and I swear I was 9 inches from that truck, blowing by at 65 mph. Whew! 
In the meantime, Pam secured a camp sight in the strangest campground we've ever been in. It was in the middle of the desert,  five miles south of town. There was a camp host, but no sites, no hookups, and it is free. It's called boondocking in the BLM land.  She just pulled up to her little piece of desert, and set up shop. It is a huge area, maybe a square mile, with an RV plopped down randomly every 200 yards  or so, usually with a twenty foot tall Seguaro cactus somewhere close by for effect. There were 'roads' where you could tell RVs had beaten a path, and there were stone fire circles placed randomly, but there were mostly cacti, creosote shrubs, and rocks. The floor of the desert right here is gravel-like rock, a lot of it  of the volcanic lava rock variety. And, man does it get dark and quiet out here at night!

Bike taking a break at the bridge to nowhere!

Bridge to nowhere

The road to nowhere

Someone wrote this on the bridge....

Entering the Yuma Proving Ground

Military transport flying over the Proving Ground.  By the way that's dirt on the lens, not a UFO!

Gun at the entrance of the Yuma Proving Grounds

Info about the gun at the entrance


There are  wild burros wandering the desert


USAF Aerostat blimp. There was one blimp flying and one on the ground

The desert is starting to bloom!

Orange flowers are less common

Very small but plentiful

Mistletoe clumps in the mesquite trees

Castle Dome

Buzzard waiting for Mike to get hit by a truck!  That was his idea not mine for this caption!

Military activity

Bad ass army Jeep???

There were many crosses along 95


Bike and Mike's rest stop


Looking out over KOFA Wildlife Refuge

Border patrol checkpoint

The famous Stone Cabin

No cook, no waiter, no service!


Cruising thru the desert!

Our campsite in Road Runner Campground in the Quartzsite  BLM area.  BLM stands for Bureau of Land Management

Our own personal Seguaro cactus!

Mike loves cacti!

Sunset over the mountains

Sunset on the desert

Steaks for supper!

Our cactus has alot of holes from birds and insect

I highly recommend catching a sunset on the Sonoran Desert!

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