The day started out with 20 miles of hills, mostly downhill! At our evening map meeting the night before, we were warned that the downhills would be cold, and to wear warm layers. We quickly covered the first part of our 83 mile day. The sag vehicle was there to take the jackets, hats and gloves we were shedding.
We saw several mountains that had snow on them, and we were told by the locals that it is year round. The shoulders were generally good, although the road was smoother. At one point, two of our group (just ahead of us) were pulled over by the AZ State Patrol because there had been some complaints that we were not on the shoulder. Luckily for us we happened to be on the shoulder at the time! The Patrolman was very nice about it. He is a biker himself, so he understood why we preferred the road, but he wanted us to be safer on the two lane road with many 18-wheelers and RV's.
This is an excerpt from Sue Hersman's blog:
So the day was physcially and mentally challenging--it just felt like riding in a vortex. For me, it was also a ride that saddened and shamed me. Our route took us through the San Carlos Apache reservation.
I searched the internet to learn about this reservation, and the pictures and description that I found were not what I observed. Run down, ramshackle homes with littered yards and tarp stapled over windows, broken cars, stray dogs, old tired horses and garbage were the norm.
"The Apache are descendants of the Ancients. Over time, many bands of Apache were relocated to the reservation from their traditional homelands extending from Texas through New Mexico and Arizona into Mexico and California. The San Carlos Apache Reservation was established on November 9, 1871 is the worlds first concentration camp still existing to this day. Our story, is the American History"
We rode through a tiny town of Pima, AZ, and stopped at a well known Foster Freeze. I had a rootbeer float, and it couldn't be more welcome! There we learned from one of the locals that the beautiful green fields were the beginning of cotton plants. Of course! It hit me...Pima cotton!! This little town with miles of cotton plant fields is supplying the world with Pima cotton.
Tomorrow we ride into New Mexico - 75 miles to Lordsburg. We will again be starting another climb from 3,000 ft to 5,000 feet.