Muggins Mtn Wilderness --> Yuma
9 January, 2006
45 miles
8 miles run, 37 biked

No one really wanted to wake up this morning, as it was dark and cold, so we ended up sleeping in until a little after 7am, right before dawn. Corey sprinted up to hug me a happy birthday, and I told him that if he'd been Bill, I would have had a right hook waiting for him (on account of Bill's earlier descriptions of the vicious birthday punches he had waiting for me). After a small breakfast of tortillas and cheese (or nastier still, with just some brown sugar in the middle- very sweet and grainy), Corey set out running.

My right quad had really hurt right where it attaches to the knee yesterday while I was riding the Kokopelli, so I rode cautiously this morning. I ran next, and felt pretty good: 8 miles, a little under 56 minutes. We were on a dirt road rolling up and down through more dirt on all sides, which let out onto another dirt road leading through a bunch of farm fields. Soon, we turned onto a long gradual uphill running next to a canal that came out of the Gila Mountains. David ran this section, but it may have been my favorite so far- just a steady grind into a headwind with flowing water next to us. We got to the top, and bombed down Rt. 95 for about three miles, passing a sign on the way advertising "Texas Steakhouse- 12miles". I had said that I wanted to go to a burger joint where I could order a beer for my 21st birthday, so we agreed to stop there for lunch.

The next ten mles into Yuma were miserable, with a wind speeding across open fields to our right, and pushing us sideways into the road. Once we hit Yuma proper though, we pressed on towards the steakhouse. Stephen was running, and caught Corey and I as we waited to cross a busy road to get to the steakhouse. All three of us sprinted in, only to find that it did not open for another hour and a half. Luckily, there was an all you can eat "Golden Corral" in the same plaza, so we went in there. I tried my best to buy some alcohol there, but had no luck.

We sat for a solid 75 minutes, eating constantly- we think Corey won with something like 7 full plates of food. We had a great waitress named Isis, and kept coming around chatting with us. She learned about our trip, and then asked Corey and Grant if they were married. They thought she meant to eachother, but she actually meant that she wouldn't let her husband go on this trip. There was a guy behind the counter preparing vegetables, who kept chopping for a while, then tossing his knife in the air, as though he was going to catch it real slick, but invariably he would cower in fear as it fell to the floor. We joked with the waitress about him, and Bill and Corey started laughing uncontrollably, possibly from all the food they just ate, and had to excuse themselves from the table.

We ate until it hurt and then split up, half going to the grocery store, half to the bike store in town. I finally bought my alcohol- a six pack of Pacifica, but just as we were about to enjoy them-legally- in the parking lot, Grant biked up and told us that we had to get to the church quick. He and Corey start biking/running, while us four pack up quick, with me stashing the beers in my backpack.

We got to the church, where there is a reporter from the Yuma Sun-Times waiting, as well as our hosts, Jay and Tina Clark, and prominent Anza interpreter Don Garate with his wife. We posed for a picture for the paper and chatted with everyone, then settled into the church courtyard where some of us hosed off (there were no showers there). We enjoyed some of the wine that Tina kept refilling for us as well. Soon Ed and Jon, the Clark's partners, showed up, along with Lyle, who set this contact up through Kevin Chadwick, our host in Chandler. Also there was Bill, who works with Lyle and put him in contact with Tina.

There was a beautiful, hearty banquet we sat down to in a majestic old church that the Clarks own. The table was set up between the altar and the pews, and we all got to meet new people. Happy Birthday was sung twice, stories were told, and it was an amazing, lively time. Don Garate did his Anza impersonation, and it was amazing to speak to such a scholar of the subject.
Notes from talking to the Clarks and Don Garate

If I had 3 wishes (discussed during my run in the morning):
1) $2 billion, in a bank, I would live off interest
2) An "idiot shield", possibly Bill, to keep irritating people away
3) Couldn't come up with another one that wouldn't backfire (like "world peace", might mean everyone in the world dies)

Day 9 Pictures
Day 10 Pictures
Day 10 Journal