9/21/17 – Phoenix to Usery Pass

Goodbye household carnage, hello again, bike touring.  After a completely sleepless night getting things in order to leave my house for another 56 days, my ex-husband, Jerry, gave me and my loaded up bike a ride to the Motel 6 in Tempe, where most of the group stayed during our day off. 

Ed and I hit the road around 9 AM–a preplanned late start, because we had a short day ahead of only 27 riding miles.  The route took us through ASU, then residential areas of Mesa, before plopping us down in the area of Northeast Mesa where I have been doing climbing training for the past few months.

We took a detour to get our 50% Veteran’s discount on Sorbet at Golden Spoon (corner of Power Rd and McDowell Rd).  Were it not a 5 mile ride downhill from our campsite (and thus 5 miles back uphill to get back) to get there, we might have gone back for more later. It was so yummy!

Kudos to Ken for finding such an amazing group campsite for us at Usery Mountain Regional Park.  

We had been worried about how we were going to stay cool for the rest of the afternoon, but when we saw the huge ramada, we knew that wasn’t going to be an issue. Everyone set up their tents in the shade of the ramada and most of us napped for a few hours. Well, I say that, because they were napping when I fell asleep. I’m not sure what everyone else was doing once I went down, because I was in a coma. They were all awake when someone woke me for dinner.  

Dinner, oh dinner.   Let’s just say that it was unbelievable.  A couple of cyclists, Gary and Debra Nine, were our train angels today.  In looking into Adventure Cycling tours, they noticed that the Southern Tier route used to go through Apache Junction where they own and operate Los Gringos Locos, a Mexican food restaurant.  They called Adventure Cycling and offered to provide a free dinner at their restaurant to our group.  When they heard that the route no longer goes through Apache Junction, they offered to bring dinner to us, which they did.  

What a spread!  It started with margaritas, soft drinks, chips, salsa and guacamole, then moved to the main course, which was beef and chicken fajitas.  We’re talking super tender and super delicious fajitas, here.  For desert, they served up homemade churos.  I will never forget the kindness and generosity of this couple and can’t wait to visit their restaurant again when I get home.    

Gary and Debra Nine with the group

As we watched the setting sun, all of us were caught up in how lucky we were to be in this quiet little spot where we could see and enjoy both spectular scenery and the kindness and generosity of strangers.  

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