Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Now Arriving in Phoenix

I was up early to catch the restaurant when it opened at seven. The only problem was that the guy that was supposed to be working overslept, so they remained closed. The gas station had a few snacks so I had to opt for that instead of what I hoped would be a filling and nutritious breakfast.

I got rolling at 8:15 on freshly paved road. It was a bit chilly; to the point were I went with the jacket. While for some reason I didn’t feel comfortable in the saddle, it was a pleasant morning.

My first stop for the day was in the town of Aquila, a largely Hispanic town. It looked like a rough place as the few business there had big metal shutters or bars on the windows. There was even one house that was completely surrounded by a fence topped by barbed wire. It was a new slant on the American dream and white picket fence for sure. The people in the one shop I patronized though were as nice as could be. It was just another example showing that looks can be deceiving.

Later in the day I came across the town of Wickenburg, AZ. It was a town of historical significance as it was where the Wickenburg Massacre happened back in 1871. I stopped at the information center to see if I could get some, well, information. I was hoping to learn about the area and I was in luck as there was a museum in town that I was told was worth a look. The museum did a good job of portraying early life in the area, but far and away the best display in the museum was of Bola Ties. What was a staple in the male wardrobe in the 80’s in America is Arizona’s official neckwear. There were bola ties in every imaginable shape, size and color. It took me back to the days of parachute pants, fat laces and Members Only jackets.

By late afternoon I hit the suburbs of Phoenix. I was quite entertained by Sun City, AZ. The town had a very wide center median on certain roads to leave room for golf cart paths and hundreds of orange trees. I was told that the oranges were of the sour variety and could only be used for marmalade, so any thoughts I had of reaching up and grabbing a refreshing snack were dashed.

Hitting the suburbs of Phoenix in the late afternoon meant only one thing: that I would be riding through Phoenix at rush-hour. That was some fine planning on my part. My planned riding route went out the window as soon as I hit the city line. I had to get creative to stay out of traffic, but I managed to find some lesser used roads to get me across town. As far as city riding is concerned I didn’t think it was all that bad, but it's not like I would make the “Phoenix Traverse” my usual Sunday ride.

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