Day Four: No services, next 100 miles…Posted: September 24, 2007
(Click for larger image.)
Twentynine Palms, California to Parker City, Arizona. 112.3 miles.
Today’s ride was a long day winding our way through the Sheep Hole Mountains in the southern part of the Mojave Desert. The most notable highlight of the ride was the sign on the outskirts of Twentynine Palms which said, “No services next 100 miles.” That may have been intimidating but all 21 riders continued on confident they would make it.
Not known for their benevolence, the Mojave Desert “gods” smiled on us. We enjoyed an unusual cold front which held peak temperatures to the high 70s – low 80s, as opposed to the usual 100s. That, plus a light tail wind and a route that descended more than climbed, put us all on the fast track to cross this barren stretch of the US.
With most of us formed into pace lines of various sizes, we cruised toward Arizona at speeds faster than we expected. Traffic was light and, fortunately, no incidents marred our steady progress – with one brief exception. 7 riders were about 20 miles out of Twentynine Palms, in the middle of nowhere, cruising at a comfortable 20 miles an hour when all of the sudden out of the scrub brush leaped an incredibly huge, black, wolf-like dog that seemed to be 4 feet tall and wanted to eat every last one of us. Man, you should have seen the pace line bow out into the roadway! With a solid jolt of adrenaline, we quickly left that canine monster behind us.
As we approached Arizona, our first state crossing was marked by – of all things – rain sprinkles. Not enough to even moisten the road, it was yet another pleasant surprise on a day that we had approached with some trepidation, but wound up calling one of the most enjoyable rides we have ever made.
-Perry Wilbur & Jim Cox, XC Riders