Somewhere in Arizona

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Another day of adventure ! Although mostly technical ones. I left Nevada and entered Arizona. For the first time in the trip, I didn’t have a clear stop planned ahead – and it’s very unusual for me.

After Las Vegas, the next big stop would be Kingman. I thought maybe I would stop at Boulder City, but it’s very close to Las Vegas (25mis/40kms), and that would mean 75mis/120kms left for Kingman. Quite a long stretch, with nothing in between. I could do a camping stop in the wild, but then why stop at Boulder ? I could do the stretch in two days to reach Kingman, stopping… somewhere.

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So I departed with this idea in mind, doing half the way today, and the rest tomorrow. I’m clearly not used to so little organization, but it’s a challenge I have to meet 🙂

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Leaving Nevada was much easier than leaving California. It’s only when I started leaving Las Vegas than I saw some ill-defined bike lanes, and after Boulder it’s a long way down to the bridge that crosses into Arizona. No one to try to retain me a minute longer. I couldn’t see the Hoover Dam from the bridge, but the view on the lake Mead was impressive.

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And then, Arizona ! The Grand Canyon state, with mesas and moutains immediately. A total departure of scenery once more, and a desolate place all along road 93. I walked up a few slopes, the sun was not too aggressive, and I was making good progress. I stopped at a view point to see the Colorado river (which is responsible for the Grand Canyon) in the distance.

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Going back on the road, I noticed a sound from the back of the trailer, like plastic rubbing against the wheel. There was nothing, so I continued. But the sound grew more intense, so I looked closer. Flat wheel again ! On the trailer wheel this time. I really got to get out of the highway shoulders, there is too much crap left around : nails, screws, glass of course, a lot of wheels bits and pieces, cables, bottles… Do people just throw away all that ? Oh and quite a few places where a car burnt – I got used to seeing such traces in the east of Paris. Do they burn cars instead of towing them ?

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So, flat wheel. I had a spare tube for this wheel, that I’d never thought I would use during the trip. But I was close to the point where I would stop, there was no place with a shadow around to do the replacement, and as I’m stupidly stubborn, I thought it could wait.

So I did another 13mis/20kms with the trailer wheel flat. I saw a sign for gas/market and even a RV campground a bit further ! I pressed on.

I finally reached a restaurant / shooting range, where I was told the campground was closed – damn ! I started replacing the wheel tube, when I understood that I should have done that much earlier : the bike rear axle, the one that was going loose a couple weeks ago, had been bent on one side ! It was complicated to simply take the trailer off, tighten it back, and hope it would wait for a bike shop ! It needs to be unbent or replaced, but that’s not a standard part – and neither is the tube itself, being very small. Got to hope there is even a bike shop in Kingman ! If it breaks, I’m in deep trouble.

When I was groaning over all this, a bus with Chinese tourists stopped at the shooting range, and I was the attraction once again 🙂

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With everything back in place, all 4 water bottles refilled, remained only the question of where to stay. There was an abandoned building on the other side of the road, and a guy from the shop told me I could jump the fence, as it belonged to the same guy owning the shooting range, and it had been closed years ago. So I did just that – not totally wild camping, but very close !

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