Day 66 (2016-11-31): ~55 miles from Topock, AZ to Kingman, AZ. Lots of climbing on Route 66 with one flat stretch with terribly bumpy pavement.
Dave saw me off this morning with a wave and a photo to show his wife. I cruise through the tiny town of Topock and immediately start climbing. Nothing too strenuous but I am definitely going up. An my legs are not into it. After about 10 miles I am averaging about 9mph, so I get it in my head to pick up the pace to at least 10. This lasts about 1 minute, then I pull over to top off my tires. It’s been a week, maybe they’re low. That’s why I am slow. I resume riding on my more fully inflated tires at 9mph. Shit.
I climb 2,000+ feet to Oatman, a small, kitchy, tourist trap of a town. I arrive up just in time to watch to guys perform an old-west shootout in the middle of the street with blanks and a lot of scripted chatter. It’s a fun place on the route but I only spend about an hour and a half – just enough time to walk around the old-timey shops, buying nothing but postcards since I do not need a knife, leather accessories, or local art. I also picnic with my own food since the prices are not the best. Oh, and watch burro sex in the middle of the street. More than once.
It is another few miles to Sitgrieves Pass at 3,586 feet. Sure, it is not the highest, steepest, or even hottest climb. But this one is damn difficult. First it is pretty warm. Second, the sun is relentless and there are no trees or shade. Finally, there are a couple very steep switchbacks in the middle – so steep, in fact, that they are almost on top of each other and I picture them as a couple of steps for giants. At the top I meet a family of Aussie’s who offer me water and feed me leftover sandwich. They’re fun, straightforward, a little crude. And very friendly. I love Aussies. Maybe I’ll go tour Australia soon…I’ve also heard that many bars offer cheap & basic sleeping quarters for safety reasons, but I am yet to confirm this.
The eastern descent is fun and fast, but bumpy pavement and switchbacks keep me from getting too much speed. I stop briefly at Cool Springs shop & museum, a small tourist stop with rocks and souvenirs for sale. I chat with the lady there who previously lived in the Seattle area but was tired of it and the rising prices – we bonded over that. I look around and see a collection of interesting memorabilia most of it car-focused. Unfortunately, I cannot get that into this stuff knowing how the auto industry essentially brainwashed the American public to the point that jay-walking, once a slur, become an actual offense. On the bright side I see some artwork by Bob Waldmire, the famed Route 66 artist. I love his map of Arizona – I think I will buy one when I finish this trip. Here is a sample from his website:
The next 15 miles suck. The road is filled with a tremendous amount of crack seals, all of which has been paved over with a thing layer of chip seal. What does this mean? It means the road looks to be in decent shape but it is one hell of a bumpy ride. My ass is really starting to hurt at this point – I have mosquito bites and I think I am developing saddle sores. Maybe they started as a bite…
I finally arrive in Kingman around 4 and ride through the historic downtown where locals are preparing for a fun kid’s trick-or-treat session where the street is closed off and Route 66 roadshow cars line the street with driver’s offering candy to the kids. It’s a cute setup and I like this little main street. At the AT&T store I discover that my bootloop issue is “notorious in some LG phones.” Fuck these damn cell hone companies.
Tonight I stay with Elizabeth, a Warm Showers host working two jobs that keep her quite busy. She offers a second night if I want it – perfect, because I am exhausted!
Day 67 (2016-11-01): Off Day in Kingman & November is here!
Nothing much to say. The museums are pretty lame and I spent a bunch of time dealing with my phone issue. Why does this have to be such a hassle?