As many of you are aware, Athalonz Founder and CEO Tim Markison is riding his bicycle across the United Sates, from San Diego, CA to Jacksonville, FL, to raise funds and awareness to combat child abuse. Learn more about his >3,000 mike ride here.
Day 7: October 5, 2021 (Mesa AZ to Tonto Basin AZ)
Today, we switched support. Jeremiah and Tim took over for Logan. Logan set the bar very high for the support team, so Miah and Tim have their work cut out for them.
We got a late start due to the weather in Mesa. We were hoping to get on the road by 5:30 AM but delayed for a few hours as a thunderstorm passed through. I don’t mind riding in the dark, I don’t mind riding the rain, I don’t like riding in the dark and in the rain. I also have a rule not to ride when it’s lightening out.
With my renewed focus and energy, I felt good. We rode through a few light rain showers in the morning but not too bad. In the early afternoon, Miah was driving the RV and Tim was riding with me. As with Logan, the plan was to take the RV up the road about 5 miles and then find a good place to pull over and wait.
Miah did this and he was on the other side of a small mountain range. On his side, it was partly cloudy and no rain. On our side, a storm built. We saw it coming it. The winds picked up and it started raining heavily. There was no shelter nearby, so we kept riding. Then it started to hail. We were belted with marble sized hail. Several of them hurt and left red marks.
We found a small tree to get under to wait the hail out. When it stopped hailing, we continued riding. It was still raining. We passed over the crest of the small mountain range, the weather changed. It was partly cloudy and no rain.
We had an early dinner at a place in Punkin Center AZ. Great food, great service, and inexpensive.
I made a few notes for my writing and called it a day at 6:30 PM.
Today, was the first day I felt relaxed on this journey.
Day 8: October 6, 2021 (Tonto Basin AZ to Peridot AZ)
I fell asleep at 7 PM and, other than a few trips to the bathroom, I woke up at 3:45 AM. First good night sleep I’ve had in weeks; until last night, I couldn’t get my mind to shut off. I am staying well hydrated as evidenced by the trips to the bathroom over night.
I spent the next few hours writing my story. On this front, I’ve started an outline for the story and a my-memory matrix. For the latter, I have bits and pieces of memories of my childhood that I’m putting into a matrix of school age versus subject matter (e.g., at home, at school, at work, abuse related, baseball, friends, other. This is helping piece my childhood together based on the memories.
We started getting ready to ride at 6 AM. Today, Tim was driving the RV and Miah was riding with me. We started riding a little after 7 AM. We were about 3 miles and 15 minutes into the ride when a pickup hauling a fishing boat coming in the opposite direction stopped by us. The driver said the road ahead was closed and they are turning back all traffic, including bicyclist. Our friend Sergio, who we met on day 1 is doing the same ride and he was a few miles ahead of us
Sergio texted that the road was closed and that he was heading back. We waited for him and when he arrived, he said he talked to the cleanup crew, and it was going to take a day or two to clear the road. They said that the storm that we rode through the day before caused a mud slide up the road in two spots. The first spot wasn’t too bad, and Sergio thought he could walk through it. They wouldn’t let him, and they said the second spot was far worse; it had 7-foot thick of mud blocking the road.
The blocked road is US 188 and its the only road to Globe AZ; which is where we were heading. There were no viable alternatives but to drive back the way we came. So, we did. We traversed the roads back to Mesa AZ, where we started day 7. Then we drove to Globe AZ. We rented a room and have the RV powered from the room. It worked out well last night and we hope it works out well tonight.
The worst part about today was that I left my personal pillows at last night’s motel and didn’t realize it until we were two hours by RV away. I guess I’ll be buying new pillows soon.
Day 9: October 7, 2021 (Peridot AZ to Safford AZ)
We rode 65 miles in just under 5 hours today. It was a beautiful sunrise, temperature was about 65 degrees at 6 AM when we started, and the high was only 85 degrees. Most importantly, no head winds! First day without head winds. Lovely.
All in all, it was a good day. It could have been a great day if the conditions of the shoulder of the roads were in better shape. This goes for the entire ride thus far. Some stretches of road have nice wide well-maintained shoulders, some stretches have no shoulders, and most of the shoulders are not well-maintained. They have gaps, bumps, rough surfaces and there is so much debris. Broken bottles, tire shards, rocks, and garbage.
Putting that aside, I’m feeling good. I woke early to write this journal and to work on my story. On day 10 (October 8), we leave Arizona and enter New Mexico.
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Today was a good bit of climbing. A little over 2,000 feet of elevation gain. Not as much as day 1 or day 2, but not trivial. I am really enjoying traveling through the small towns. The people have been friendly, the service has been good, and the food has been excellent.