I did a small ride today, still along Route 66, but a very slow one. That was the slowest day since the start, actually. The main excuse would be the headwind on most of the way.
I started at about 8am, leaving the Hualapai lodge, the only and quite expensive motel in Peach Springs, but one of very good quality. I was even offered my dinner yesterday evening – I had a simple meal of a soup and a milkshake.
The first part of the trip was a climb up the plateau that would be the rest of the journey. As I learned in Lompoc, starting with a difficulty is not very good and breaks the spirit.
The plateau itself is really nice with a lot of small trees, and, in the distance on the left, the first hints of the great canyon gorges. The road goes almost straight to them, so that I was getting slowly, oh so slowly, ever closer to them.
Slowly as, after about the first half, a relatively strong headwind countered my progress. The wind is really the most depressing force when riding a bike. You lose a lot of speed, and even so to the cost of a lot of efforts. In a straight line no apparent progress is made. Heat is easy to circumvent, by leaving earlier, but wind is too erratic to take into account. I downloaded an app with detailed wind forecast, but it’s mostly aimed at seafarers, of course. Being forced to stop to rest every couple of miles was bringing me down.
Along this disheartening part of the trip, where once again I was feeling my resolve melting, I came across the first cyclist since Los Angeles (although I saw one going the other way by Boulder City). Steven had been on the road for a couple of years now, after he had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and given 18 months to live. He has been touring the country ever since, working to get money to push further. He didn’t carry a lot of water but it was ice cold in an isotherm bottle.
After a while I arrived at Seligman, which in all appearance, save for the 10 motels along the road, seems to be just as small as Peach Springs. I won’t get to see much bigger cities for some time, though Cedar City should be quite large with more than 20k people.
Oh a bit of trivia on Seligman : the town is the basis for Pixar’s Cars, as the traffic almost disappeared when the interstate was opened. The pictures I take from streets and such don’t give a good view of a place, be it Seligman or elsewhere. Many shops are closed, many houses abandoned, there isn’t much left and cats roam the streets. But under my powerful gaze they are forced to drop to the floor.