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September 22, 2021

Day 8 for Freeze brings trooper, tunnel and more climbing

Day 8

Beat the day before!

That is one of my personal goals and I also use it for my personal training clients. But so far, this trip seems to be setting the bar higher and higher every day. I started the issue late last night, and you will see what developed.

Last night, I was reading the route maps after I had submitted my story and photos. I read that many cyclists might consider exchanging United States Bicycle Route 90 for the next segment of Adventure Cycling’s map. I decided to do it about 10 p.m., partly because I had already used U.S. Hwy. 60 before.

So, I collected my damage deposit early this morning at the Econolodge and hit the road at first light again, planning to get out of Phoenix before another hot day got started. I looked at the USBR route and jumped on U.S. Hwy. 60 first thing. About 8 miles in, you guessed it, I got my first-ever visit from an Arizona state trooper. He sat behind me in his car and told me to exit the freeway immediately on his loudspeaker, which I was not going to do without talking to him. He came up the bike and said, “So, I’m going to write you a ticket!” I calmly explained what I was doing and that cyclists had used this route numerous times. He didn’t like that and went back to his car telling me to wait. For 15 minutes I stood there, getting hotter in two ways. When he was ready to talk, he pulled the car up beside me and said, “You rode that thing to Alaska?” He had changed completely and told me what he suggested I do, which was to follow a very long city street until the freeway ended and then join U.S. Hwy. 60 again. I did that and was not hassled anymore, but I even had the cycling agency’s number for him to call.

Back on Hwy. 60 and losing time, I didn’t really know what to expect. It was steady climb from the time I left Phoenix and getting hotter. The first town was Superior and I was toasted pretty well by then. After refueling and already at 3,000 feet, up from 1,100 that morning, I climbed for the next four miles to use a tunnel to go through a mountain. Then a rainstorm hit, dropping the temperature at least 20 degrees. Expecting easy riding on the other side of the tunnel, I continued to climb and eventually topped out at 4,600 feet, highest yet.

Very slow with the continued climbing, I had no service to let the motel know that I was still coming, but thankfully he held the room anyway. I am in the Belle Air Motel, very high tech in some ways with the owner in his early 30s.

Towns visited today included Superior, one of few with a stout uphill right through town and beyond. Then Miami, Claypool and Globe, where I am spending the night. All of them run together, with Miami in the process of cleaning up from a Saturday flood.  I saw spectacular mountain scenery this afternoon, including Devil’s Canyon. Today’s mileage totaled 75.

I’m expecting less climbing tomorrow on the way to Safford, which will set me up for a long stretch the following day without supply points. Tomorrow in this area should be less than 100 degrees, first of those in a while. The elevation helps. New Mexico is just a couple days ahead.

Peter Asciutto and Vac and Dash in Albemarle support Rowan running in various ways. He is also a regular sponsor of my rides.

Last thing I did today was stop by a grocery store and cram a bunch in already full bags. I hope to not be as late getting off the road tomorrow night. See you then for what happens on Day 9!

David Freeze is riding from the West Coast to the East Coast along the southern border. Email him at david.freeze@ctc.net.

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