I arrived in Cornville, AZ the day after yesterday. It’s absolutely gorgeous here. The verde valley truly is green at this time of year and the daytime high is around 90F. Let me back track a little to one of those days. It was just one of those days.
Nowhere Road – Death Valley Hwy South
The morning I rode through Death Valley, I woke up to frozen toes and 35F in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada – Mammoth Lakes, CA. I decided that morning after halfway thru my run when I started to feel my tootsies again that I would spend the following night soaking in a hot springs under the great desert skies. This was before the ride through Death Valley. On the road south I watched the sign for Tecopa Hot Springs disappear in my side view. I had spent the afternoon soaking in a puddle of my own sweat and the evening dusk was bringing in a cool breeze. The last thing I wanted was hot springs. Instead, I watched my shadow stretch across the road elongating with the dropping sun.
I decided to find a place to snuggle up under the stars in the Mojave Preserve. At least that was the plan. But, after all, it was just one of those days. The road seemingly stretched into nowhere. With a shoulder made of loose sand and fine gravel, stopping became implausible. I tried to pull over at a turnoff and found myself snaking through 1ft of loose dirt. It was fun, but at the end of a long day, I was not interested in dropping my bike down a sandy road.
By the time I reached highway 15 the sun was down. There were no motels in the area, so I decided to travel east. Or was it south? Or perhaps, the road ventured north and then east until I found the turnoff to go south. The first motel I found didn’t take credit cards. I was really venturing down nowhere roads and the time was slowly ticking. The woman at the front desk told me I had a 35 mile ride to Laughlin where I could find a motel. At 9:30 pm I rolled into Laughlin, took one look at the bright lights, sprawling casinos, drunkards, and partiers and decided to keep going to Kingman. After all, it was just one of those days. Right? Of course one road turned into another. And stretched on through suburbs without any indication of Kingman. 60 miles out of my way and 10:30pm (12 1/2 hrs on the road), I came to Needles. The first motel looked like a 5 star resort to my weary eyes. At $28 a night, a complete lack of ventilation, residues of smoke and dust bunnies, a freeway out the back window and all-night trains passing out the front, I managed to sleep the whole night thru. Because, after all, it was just one of those days.
Between 6 pm and 11 pm all I could think of was what it would be like to ride the Dakar, lost somewhere in the sandy dunes with no end in sight. My one day was nothing in comparison.