Colin's Journal

4 January, 2006
Picacho Peak --> Coolidge
0 miles run, 45 biked

I slept in a tent last night, everyone else slept under the stars. Played harmonica a bit before sleep. Woke at 6:45am, and there was a strong wind outside- it was very comfortable in the tent, very uncomfortable leaving it. We thought we were ready to go, and sent Bill off running, with Corey biking with him, but as we all got ready to go, we realized the kokopelli had a flat. I had the job of checking tires that morning, and because of the way the bikes were arranged, I checked eleven of the twelve tires, but could not get to the kokopelli's rear tire, the one with the flat, so it took us longer to find it.

These tires are the hardest to replace, as they seem to be made for smaller rims. Stephen showed off how badass he was by making his fingers bleed while trying to pull the tire around the rim. It took us a snapped tire lever and about an hour of work to replace the flat. We started riding, and within a mile, Rogo's chain fell off, and my rear derallieur wire somehow worked loose, slowing us down more. Then the nightmare started.

We found Grant waiting for us at the entrance of the campground, and I rode ahead to catch Bill and Corey, to tell them that the rest of us were coming, so they could keep running. I rode very hard for about nine miles, finally getting to the two at the end of the frontage road we were on. We three thought that this was the only road we would be on all day, and in the past, whenever a frontage road stopped, there was another on the other side of the interstate, so I told Corey he should run under the highway and take the frontage road there.

A few minutes later I was riding on to go keep him company, and immediatly realized it was the wrong way, as the road I had sent Corey on bent away from the highway. It took about a mile to catch Corey, and a minute later Rogo showed up too, to tell me that this was the wrong way. But we all still thought that we were following the interstate, so we agreed it would be easiest for Corey to cut across a farmer's field to the interstate we saw about a half mile away, go across it, and look for a frontage road on the other side. We road back to where I had initially caught Bill and Corey only to find that we were supposed to have taken a hard right onto a state highway from that intersection, and that there was no frontage road between us and the next exit that Corey could get on. We raced up to the next exit via the road we sent Corey on, but did not find him there. We sent out two groups of two to comb the roads in the area, both of which covered about fifteen miles and finding no sign. We finally got a message, relayed by Corey's mom, that said Corey awas in Coolidge at a McDonald's, and would wait for us there. We fueled up a little by eating fresh at Subway before saddling up.

The five of us formed a big ol' paceline and got on Eleven Mile Corner Road, which was either eleven or twenty two miles long, we weren't sure. I was feeling very tired and very guilty for having misled Corey, so the paceline felt like more of a deathmarch to me. We finally got to Coolidge and picked up Corey at the McDonald's, where he was taken care of by Stephanie Robles, 815 S 1st, Coolidge AZ, 85228, who requested a copy of the picture we took of her and Corey.

Once we had Corey, we went to the house pretty near there owned by a friend of a relative of Grant's, but only his brother was there. We went into the backyard, and found him vacuuming his car, totally oblivious to us. It took us a while to get his attention, which was pretty awkward- didn't want to surprise him with six ragged bikers standing behind him. We asked where the grocery store was, and he said that it was about two miles away by the road, or we could cut across the desert behind the house and get there in a mile and a half if we cut across the dirt. We spent a while fishing for a ride, slowly unpacking our bikes and talking loudly of how tired we were before he offered to let Grant drive his car.

We went to the supermarket, famished, and bought fourteen donuts to eat right away. For dinner, we bought six pounds of ground beef, sauce and ravioli. Dinner was extremely filling, but we finished it all. The owner of the house, Larry, got home late, and we didn't really get to talk to him much. He is very into the outdoors and nature (his house is decorated with National Parks calendars, he subscribes to "Yoga" magazine) and he biked across the country with his kids a few years ago. Despite this, he has never heard of the Anza Trail before- perhaps indicating its lack of prominence in this area.

Corey's Story, as narrated to Colin in Coolidge:

I went across the farmers field, and saw a Spanish-speaking migrant worker. I asked him if I could pass through, and he said "hola". So I went past him across the field, cut into a road adjacent to the fields, running perpendicular to the interstate, and lookied for a frontage road. I couldn't find one, so I doubled back to the interstate, and started running on there. I saw the Sunset Blvd (the road where we were), but hopped a fence to a dirt road and asked some people if they'd seen bikers. Since they had not, I got back on the interstate, but pretty soon a police officer pulled me over using his flashers and siren. I started walking towards him to explain myself, but he thrust his hand up at me to make me stay back, and explained the dangers of being on the highway. Then he told me to hop the fence to run across a field to the frontage road. So I eventually got to Sunset Blvd, and took a left to keep going. Some mechanics told me to run two and a half miles down the road to get to 87N to go to Coolidge, so I did. Then I ran on 87N for a while, while trying to hitch rides [Ed. note: Corey was wearing very short shorts and a bright yellow Batman shirt]. Some people shook their heads at me, others gave me the finger. A fortyish year old guy said he had not seen any bikers, but gave me a ride. On the way he talked about Indian Casino scandals, and asked "how big a pile of bullshit does there have to be for people to notice?" The guy dropped me off at McDonald's, saying he didn't need any money for the ride. "I figure I'm getting a lot of karma for this."

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