Mesa to Pitt 2015

Mesa to Pitt 2015
Mesa to OBX

Saturday, April 9, 2016

April 8 - Tucson to Willcox, az

83.77 miles in about 7:11...ascent...3514 ft..(5161 ft in three days)...213.12 miles in three days....I was awake at 6am for the second day in a row. What's up with that??! I didn't roll until about 9, because I was only planning to do about 50 miles. I figured that my legs, which were pretty tenderized yesterday, would need an easy day, on the third day of travel. The third day is always the hardest day when I begin a workout regimen, so I figured it was gonna be a short, climbing day. Little did I know that my legs would feel great, probably because of the Extreme Endurance tablets that I'm taking. I took them last year on my trip and I swear by them. They supplement nutrients I need to keep from cramping and they prevent the buildup of lactic acid. They work.
The first 12 miles out of Tuscon were on the Julian Wash trail, which I documented on March 21, 2013, the first time I rode it on my way to Tombstone.
The vast expanses of this area allow for some unique sights, that I would like to mention here. Yesterday, north of Tucson, I passed an airplane graveyard, with probably 100 retired jets, 727's and such. Today on the trail, there was another airplane graveyard, this time the majority if the planes were huge transports and transoceanic passenger planes. Then, out in the middle of nowhere on I 10, there was a track that was miles long, with Union Pacific locomotives on it. Probably 3-400 of them. Unique, to say the least.
A few miles after the trail ended, I was routed onto Interstate 10, which is the only road through this rough, mountainous area. The next 28 miles were spent on a nice, clean, newly paved shoulder, with a nice tailwind and a great slipstream from the heavy truck traffic. The mountains were shaded by white puffy clouds, as well as visible rain storms way off in the distance, all around me, even though I was pretty much riding in sunshine all the way to Benson. After climbing 1700 ft on the interstate, to about 4200 ft. as I descended  the 700 ft into the San Pedro river valley, where Benson is, I watched a nasty storm dump a lot of water onto the town. Even though I was still dry, I rode through the runoff all through town. I also decided that things were going so well that I would keep going to the next town, originally scheduled for tomorrow. Continuing onto Willcox would make my ride 83 miles, but could my luck at dodging storms hold up?
The ride out of the valley began with a 12 mile ascent, also on I 10, which climbed 1500 ft to damn near 5000 ft. It started out dry, but about half way up, the rain began...then the hail started as the temperature dropped from 75 in Benson to about 52 on the top of the pass. Thunder and lightning ensued. If this stretch had just been another boring climb on a hot sunny day, it wouldn't have been nearly as memorable. How many people get to see and feel so many storms, not to mention hail, in the desert. Especially since it hasn't rained a drop in nine weeks!
When I got to the top of the pass, the weather did not warm up for the rest of the he ride, but it did pretty much dry out, until I was in my room, when it rained again. On top of the mountain, I visited the well advertised home of the 'Thing'. It's a mummy if some sort, but I found out by word of mouth, as I didn't pay to see it. The last ten miles or so was a decent descent into Willcox, where I found a hit shower and a meal at Pizza Hut.

Hummingbird and a desert flower!

Closer look

Rain on the mountain 

Home of "The Thing"!!

Skies over Wilcox

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