Day 5: Blythe to Salome

Here are some basic stats:
Distance: 68 miles
Rolling time 5:50
Average speed 11.6 mph
Climb: ~2000 feet

The route was simple: get on I-10 outside of Blythe, get off and ride through Quartzite (nothing there worth slowing down for, as far as I’m concerned), then get back on I-10 to US 60, and take that almost as far as Phoenix (which I’ll hit tomorrow).

So it was another long day in the desert. Whereas the Yuha Desert was forbidding and beautiful, the desert here in Arizona seems ugly and mean. Hard to explain.

I did get to cross one state off my list, and in doing so got my first flat—the pedestrian bridge over the Colorado River is covered in broken glass and puncture vine. Oh well, bound to happen sooner or later.

My second flat of the day came within the next 30 miles. On I-10. This was unpleasant enough for the heavy truck traffic and all the noise it creates, and the lack of anything vaguely resembling a good pullout. But what made it genuinely bad was the minefield of shredded tire carcasses covering the shoulder. The wire cords that spray everywhere easily get embedded in bike tires and poke through. And they’re devilishly hard to find once they’re in there. One of them got me. Being on a recumbent trike has pros and cons in this regard. On the negative side, I’ve got three tracks on the ground, so it’s almost impossible to steer a good line in situations like this. It was stressful. And I’ve got two different tire sizes, neither of which are conventional, so restocking en route would be difficult. The positive is that my front tires, at least, are right at hand, so I can wipe them down frequently. And I do.

The flats, the considerable amount of climbing, the heat, and the fact that I’m not fully recovered from yesterday probably have conspired to give me a less positive attitude about my ride today. But it just felt like a day I had to grind through. I decided to call it quits at 4:00 pm in Salome because the next town I might want to stop in, Aguila, is 27 miles down the road with some serious climbing on the way. I’d probably be getting in around dusk, assuming I could still ride well that extra distance.

8 thoughts on “Day 5: Blythe to Salome

  1. Jenny Nazak

    Thanks for keeping us posted regardless of how tired you are. I am so enjoying the photos and descriptions. Ganbatte ne!

  2. Bill Dennett

    Days like today will only make you stronger! Have a great day tomorrow and keep the updates coming.

  3. adamrice Post author

    Jenny, the place I stayed in Blythe would be like Shangri-La to you. If you ever find yourself in that part of the world, you need to stop be the B&B Bait Shop.

  4. Ilene Grossman

    Good for you Adam. I”m very impressed with your ride. You are an inspiration for us middle aged healthy folks! Woooohoooo! Keep on spinning! We’re cheering for you down here in Tucson. We’ll be in Phoenix on Saturday night if you want to stay there and join us for a sukkot/oktoberfest beer fest with homemade pretzels and brats.
    Let us know if that interests you 520-289-3027
    sending you love and cheers.
    Ilene, Greg and Liana

  5. M1EK

    I had the same reaction to the AZ desert, BTW. Also saw a wild horse that looked like it was envying the dead at one point on US 95, as I was going about 95 back to Yuma one day.

  6. adamrice Post author

    Mike-I’ve got 2 spares for the front wheels, and 2 for the rear. Both my flats were on the front wheels yesterday, so I’m riding on the spares, and patched the flats in my hotel last night. I’ve never been entirely confident in my patch jobs, so I’m not thrilled that I’m already out of virgin spares.

  7. Gwb

    Reading with great interest, watching and hoping to see you soon, safe! Sorry you didn’t have any bubblegum on this trip, I guess you have to stick to kicking ass.

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