I got an early start from my quaint old motel in Congress and turned onto AZ 89 just 2 miles down the road towards Prescott. People I met kept warning me that I would be climbing Yarnell Hill today. I knew that if the locals thought it was a climb, then by my Midwest standards, it was really going to be quite a climb. The first 4 miles were straight. The mountains ahead of me distorted my perspective of uphill and downhill. I thought I might be going downhill, but I had to use low gears, pedal fast, and still barely hold 10 mph. Those factors made me realize that it didn’t matter what I thought I saw, I was going uphill! By the time I was in 4 miles of switchbacks, there was no longer any doubt.
At the end of the 1900 foot climb, I rewarded myself with the best breakfast and maybe the best meal I’ve had on the trip at the Ranch House restaurant in Yarnell.
The cheese omelet was filling and the one monstrous pancake was one of the best, lightest delights I’ve had the pleasure to devour. They filled my water bottles and some of the customers waved as they passed me up the road. It was miles of downhill, tailwind and using the brakes more than the pedals as I left town.
The 1000 foot descent had to be repaid with 10% interest before I could make it to the next stop in Wilhoit. I got something to drink to wash down the jerky and trail mix I carried. As always you must do output before input, so I took advantage of a real rest room.
A local couple on their road bikes shared some conversation and retirement stories.
Then it was another series of climbs, peaking at 6100 feet 5 miles outside of Prescott. It was back to using brakes instead of pedals and I glided into Prescott. I checked in with my warm showers host, Russ Rice. I had started on a shortcut to his house that bypassed downtown. Taking his advice, I went back into town and found a huge gathering of mountain bike enthusiasts. The Whiskey Off Road mountain bike race was going to take place soon and there were several vendor tents and games. Utilizing my corn hole toss skills, I put 3 out of 4 in the hole and won a free burger meal and bandana that I later gave to my host. At the Cliff vendor booth I got lots of samples that I also gave to my host. I also spoke with a former RAAM rider. As I stated in a previous post, my route is based on one of the Race Across America rides. I had left from Congress that morning after 5 days of riding. This former rider told me that’s where he slept for a few hours after his FIRST DAY!
I ran into the local chapter of Big Brothers Big Sisters. They had a booth. I had been working the crowd to try and get more mentors. The rep, Mike, told me that the need was especially strong for males. Boys tend to act out more in class and so BBBS tends to get more requests for male Bigs. Like other chapters across the country, there tend to be more matches with girls than boys. Consequently, BBBS is recruiting couples to act as mentors. The need is big – let’s help them out!
My warm showers host, Russ and his dog Gully were great hosts. We traded some stories and shared a dinner of spaghetti and meat sauce he made while watching “For the Love of The Game”. Russell was not just a great host, but as an experienced rider, he gave me lots of good advice and tips. It was my first warm showers experience and it was comfortable, safe, and I really appreciated Russ’s hospitality.
The Lone Rider