Refueled and ready to roll we rushed to pack our gear before the 10am check out in Kingman, AZ. In our usual bike maintenance overview I noticed a good amount of plant spines and a few goatheads in my tires. Removing the gruesome spikes rewarded me with my first flat of the journey. Finishing the repair job we hurriedly reorganized our gear and set out.
Our enthusiasm to ride hard after a few low mile days was soon checked by a shoulder quite wide but as rough as a gravel road. A few bumpy miles later, another flat on Laura's back wheel. Our misfortune turned to relaxment as we found a sun-drenched 55" TV box next to an especially friendly shrub. There Laura patched the tube and I sewed up the busted fingertips in my gloves. Feasting commenced. Lazily we wondered if we could even make it to the Hwy 93 turn off, 15 miles, before dark. If we just kept eating and basking in the sun would we even have to try?
At last the calories and radiation had sunk in and we roused ourselves to ride. The 55" palace had done us more good than we realized. The shoulder was not as rough as before.
A slow climb gave way to smooth descent, leading us into the turn off and onto a more maintained shoulder. We flew down the buttery asphalt to Wickiup in no time at all. The landscape had shifted again. Saguaro, ocotillo, and prickly pear poked out from between the rocks and shrubs.
Hunger setting in we rolled up to a place called Dazzo's. After the glaze of the road left my eyes I saw that the building was covered in signatures, messages, and dates. This was the famed yellow sandwich shop Dillion had told us to look out for!
After a quick nutrition stop and the obligatory blog address on the building we rode off into the sunset, headed for the Burro Creek Campground. The hills turned to a pastel painting as the sun dipped behind them. Soon we were covered by a blanket of stars along the winding highway.
Throwing our bikes on the side of a hill and climbing to the top we found our flattest campsite yet. The din of the traffic below was surprisingly heavy for New Years Eve. We watched the lights wind their way up the long, slow rolling hills we would tackle tomorrow. In the moonless sky the stars sparkled bright. We fell asleep early and left 2012 behind.