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Day 4: Yuma AZ to Gila Bend AZ - 120 mi / 195 km

Well, after having spooked myself yesterday through lack of nutrition and electrolytes,I pack away a massive american-sized breakfast (multiple eggs, sausage, bacon, bread drenched in butter, home fries, two large OJ, a coffee and a delicate slice of tomato to ensure I've covered off all the food groups, or not) plus I go back to the 7/24 gas station and top up all manner of fluid & substance for today's ride. Through eating and shopping, I feel like I've added about 10 pounds to my ride:

I head east on a road parallel to Interstate 8. Earlier in the morning prior to breakfast, I accessed the motel's Internet and looked up the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) edict's around bikes on Interstate highways. There's only one stretch of I-8 that's off-limits for cyclists and that's far to the east, south of Tucson. So I'm good to go.

Mile 10. In the picture below, note the following - I've been cycling through a geography largely covered with uninhabitable desert - today it's mostly overcast, it's raining to the right, and the white line is a massive array of water sprinklers pumping rivers of water into soil that would otherwise be dead and dry:

And here is a common scene that I passed through many times in these heavily irrigated desert valleys - old school buses painted white, pulling a trailer with two Portolets, so that the migrant Mexican farmhands, bent over their hoes, don't have far to go for toilet facilities.

Mile 20. Back onto I-8 and once again heading uphill into the wind:

Then down though a mountain pass that was unique in how the east- and west-bound lanes separated and crossed over each other down the side of the mountain:

Looking back....

Mile 27. And into the future -only (!) 93 miles to go

In the rain, which on one level, wasn't too bad. Yes, I'm wet, but I'm cool and comfortable and the cloud cover is a nice break from yesterday.

Mile 43. The downsides of the rain are large tractor trailers spraying me and my getting flat tires, a problem that is going to plague me for the rest of this trip.

I gotta tell you, today is a real test in perservence - no mountains to look at, constantly scanning the breakdown lane for flat inducing objects, and my constant companion the Headwind. I find myself looking for the next mileage marker, and the miles are crawling by - at 12mph, one every long five minutes.

Mile 73. Change in weather

and now my path the breakdown lane has been ripped up for some future resurfacing - it's next to impossible to ride on, and to my right on the other side of a barbed-wire fence is some kind of aged frontage road. I stop, lift my bike over the fence, manage to climb over without tearing anything, and continue on - much better!

And then it ends after several miles and I climb back over onto the highway side which now has a properly surfaced break-down lane.

Mile 83 - train shot

Mile 93

Mile 100. Yay! Feels like I'm almost there - "just" another thirty miles.

And to the north (left) is the Painted Rocks Petroglyph Site, accessible only by dirt road, and a bit of a challenge given my thin tires, so I opt for the above 360 tour.

Mile 120. I have arrived, and no worse for wear. No cramping, no tiredness - hell, I could keep going!


Today's destination is the Space Age Motel, originally built in the 50's by Al Stoval, a supplier of manganese to the government during World War II, and the owner of copper mines and a plastics factory.  He was responsible for investing in several 50's style "vison of the future", including the Fabulous Space Age Lodge at Disneyland, the Inn of Tomorrow, the Cosmic Inn, and the Galaxy, all in Anaheim.

Here's the updated Gila Bend contribution, with a UFO on the top:

The Lobby, complete with a Sistine Chapel-like dome with painted Space Shuttles, moonscapes, floating astronauts. All the rooms are painted in pastel blues and beiges, with NASA and spaceship logoed bed covers and nicely framed pictures of rocket launches.

I have dinner at the Outer Limits Cafe, which continues the space theme with large murals of StarTreks Enterprise from the original TV show, and has a gift shop with a mind-boggling array of stuff that was space themed.

During the brief walk back to my room I look up at the stars - wonderfully clear sky speckled with tiny white jewels of light. I sleep well.


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