epilogue

A biketrip like cycling Route 66 needs an epilogue, a reflection. And what better moment to write than on the flight home. Be advised it is a longer read than usual!

My departure was originally planned for October 7. As I finished the trip in 5 instead of the anticipated 7 weeks I rebooked through a single phone call. Went like a breeze! Even with the additional change fee it was the most economical solution, beter than an open ticket would have offered. The already wrapped bike returned with me, without a hitch. 


I said it before: when I started the project I still wondered if it was achievable, in a way it scared me. It felt as being on the edge – though I like edges – but it did not seem so unrealistic that I could not do it. The motivation to see if I could bike that edge made preparation easy. For a long time the question remained whether I would travel West > East, taking advantage of the favourable winds, or East >West, the hard way, following the original idea of the establishment of Route 66. When I booked my flight to Chicago, my decision became irreversible..
However, it took till halfway the trip till I got convinced that I would make Santa Monica via the hard, westerly route.


Once arrived at Santa Monica’s pier I am happy to say that celebrating my age on Route 66 brought me a lot!

downhill run onto the pier of Santa Monica

Route 66, a famed relict, left a huge imprint on American history, on its culture, but is now largely dissolved in the US route system. Unavoidable, as traffic changed over the years and traffic needs more than 9 feet wide roads. The few existing 66 road parts bring back memories, just like the characteristic bridges and the well maintained or revived diners, lining the route. Traditional motels, some of them still operational in their full glory, others closed or even falling to pieces. Proud motel roadsigns which lost all of their beauty without the flashing neon, without the bright paint. But also villages and cities where history is kept alive by returning the shops, motels and restaurants to their fifties’ state. The names of all these places, some 260 in total, defining Route 66, will last forever!


Biking Route 66 could not have brought me closer to the veins of the USA:

closer, when meeting people in their day-to-day business, the kindness and sincere interest of the traditional Missouri family left a lasting impression.

closer, when biking the country or suburban areas where I was semi-lost

closer when riding the mud in Texas, getting completely lost

closer to understanding what distances really mean

closer to the mountains by climbing and descending their never ending slopes

closer by becoming part of the desert heat

closer by getting soaked by the torrential rains

closer fighting the hefty winds, which were (nearly) always against me.

Last but not least, you come closer to yourself and start wondering what the fuzz in the world is all about…

Best of all – this could have been a headline too – I never ever felt unsafe, unsecure or threatened. Well, ok, I make an exception for some mean dogs 🙂 


Americans highly respect – which I admire – personal integrity and they will leave you alone with what you are doing, no questions asked. Everything is possible, or at least they pretend that is.. Checking in late, dirty from your trip, in your motel? They hand you the room key, the wifi code and don’t blink if you take your bike to the room. As a token of human interest some curiosity would not harm I think. But be ready for surprises: it happens, sometimes..


Meeting people in daily life, in their ‘natural environment’ was always a highlight. I won’t recall them all, for that you ‘ll have to go through the blogs yourself.. 

Cyclists – Frank, Gino, Steve, Victor – were great, sharing the same passion as I did. Absolutely current with their biking homeground, on which they gave me hot tips. Or, better, just allowing me to follow their trail when they were guiding.


The bikeshop in St Louis who helped me out just before closing time on a Saturday afternoon, 

the bikeshop in Oklahoma who immediately replaced a broken spoke for free, 

the advice from Bob in Albuquerque to take a spare tyre and more tubes as these items would be hard to find the next 1000 kilometers ( and he was right!)

Randy and TJ, motor bikers in Amarillo who treated me with lunch, beer and a good laugh, 

Stella, the diveshop owner in Santa Rosa who did everything to facilitate a dive for me in the middle of nowhere

the gasstation attendant in Ludlow who welcomed me at 12 o’clock at night after a lonely dark desert ride by saying ‘ hey Edward, we were expecting you! ‘ Priceless, these were just the few words I needed to recover.

Biking distances in America are unimaginable, they are hard to describe. The meaning of 50, 60, or even 90 miles between two beds won’t be understood by the average car driver. In time: 50 miles on a heavy expedition bike in rising terrain means close to 5 hours saddle time.. The rest of the calculation is yours. The USA is not the most ideal biking country – unless you have a back up team or go camping and are absolutely self sufficient – but it adds to the challenge! The larger Los Angeles area is exactly the opposite; an enormous urban area, a quarter of the size of the Netherlands, filled with traffic lights which prevent you from getting in your bike rhytm.


The mountains have their own story. The Missouri (and to a lesser extent Kansas and Oklahoma) Ozarks may not be very high, but they are spread like waves over these states: up, down, up, down,up, down, never, never ending. Beautiful landscape, but it will accompany you on every mile you bike. In New Mexico and Arizona strong biking legs will initially deny the altitude differences, but if you are 700 meters higher by the end of the day, have seen the Continental or Arizona Divide, your muscles will let you know. I learnt quickly: if you wonder why you make so little progress, check your altitude, check the climbs, check the descends.. And stay in your own rhytm!


Some elements you simply can’t fight, like wind and heat. As a diver I take the same approach to these elements as to underwater currents. Go with the flow or don’t go at all. If winds are too strong don’t bike them, if the heat is too high, wait until it is bearable again. Nature won’t give in!

I was able to bike long stretches effortlessly by switching off all my systems, switch into Zen mode and become one with the environment. Hours and miles will fade away whilst you are still making progress. Forget about distance, forget about time. Worked for me, but it is very well possible it only works for solo bikers.


Food, at least the food I thought I needed, was not always easy to get. I don’t bike on power powder, on proteins or on vitamin supplements. I avoided the fast foods as much as possible (and yes, I did have the occasional burger) and got most what I needed at food supermarkets. During the day liters of water – I carried 7, nearly 2 gallons – kept my system going. I was glad I had them, even if it was (luke)warm. Coke was a great and pleasant cool dope if I could get it. With its 10% sugar content,  which I burnt away instanteneously, coke was a great short term power booster.  My top day was 3 liters, hard to imagine now I drank it.


The home support was phenomenal, thanks again to all! Technology was instrumental, through my smartphome I had navigation and all apps within reach. Biking solo, without data on distances and speed, would be unthinkable to me. Actually I was not completely solo as my direct family and some friends could track (and tracked me) me in real time as long as a 4G signal was available. If the 66 diverted too far from the interstate (the Mojave desert was a good example) I disappeared temporarily… Still, it was a comforting thought I was being tracked!


The blog worked wonders: it recorded my progress, it informed family and friends and it gave me moral support with messages from the readers!

Cycling epic Santa Monica Boulevard will be a memory staying with me forever. 


Friend Ron – as private welcoming committee waiting for me – was more than the icing on the cake! He was also the photographer of these arrival pictures and my host at his place in Long Beach. 

The USA I have seen was completely different from the picture we get in the media. Election of a new president is a non issue, the media blow it to enormous proportions, people get both tired and sick of it. Over the last 5 weeks I have seen exactly 1 billboard and one gate with election posters. I never switched on a tv in my room, but in the motel breakfast lounges it was all election tv. Day to day life is governed by normal values, live and let live and not by the election hype. And yes, the west is wild, absolutely, but only its nature…

the line of places I stayed when biking the 66

I went biking Route 66 because I wanted to – period – but got more than expected. 

I found that if you need to restore your faith in people, go bike! 

And though I never meant so, I am extremely pleased to hear ( Randy, Victor, Steve, Ron ) I am and have inspired people! 

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santa monica, end of trail

You will only have one last day in a trip, so you have to cherish it! On one hand a bit sad; 5 weeks is a long time to be on a trip, but I did not regret a single day. And lonesome? You can’t be lonesome with the back up team I had!


I planned to be in Santa Monica late afternoon and left at 0730 for the last 130 kilometers. Ron Watkins, underwaterphotographer, who I met a few a years back in Papua New Guinea, offered me his hospitality, but would also be the welcoming commitee at the pier!

I had made a point of visiting the centre of Rialto, one of the famous Route 66 villages, to shoot a few pictures. May be that could clarify the name of the Amsterdam cinema..


Shortly after I turned onto the Pacific Electric trail, once a railwaytrack, now a bikepath running parallel to the 66. Talked to a few fellow bikers, Victor, Frank (and Gio behind the camera) and joined them on their way to Claremont.


Claremont was good for a pasta lunch.. 


.. and then it was on to Santa Monica. Glendora, Azusa, Monrovia, Arcadia, Pasadena all had their fame in the route 66 era, but hardly anything was left. These signs were put up instead.. 


I was still biking a suburban area, that started when I left my motel. The numerous traffic lights did not allow you to come in the right bike rhytm. Only later I realized that all of today’s biking, 130 kilometers/ >80 miles, passed completely through the city of Los Angeles. Welcome to LA!

The day planning was right – for a change, the ETA for the Santa Monica pier became 1730, still within the limits.

I navigated to Santa Monica Boulevard, now the urban backbone, but once the last segment of Route 66. 


Biking the boulevard felt like a great entry to a great end of the trip. And I  learnt that Beverly Hills lies along this boulevard.


I really like the way Sheryl Crow brings it down to the basic needs in life in her ‘All I wanna do’ song

All I wanna do is have some fun

I got a feeling I’m not the only one

All I wanna do is have some fun

Until the sun comes up over

Santa Monica Boulevard

Pier came in sight, did not know the place is so popular with so many visitors. 

Found Ron – well, he found me – he shot some pictures ( actually I think a whole bunch) which I have not see yet. But this one tells it all


Hung around for a while on the pier, enjoyed the sunset, took another duo selfie 


.

loaded the bike in Ron’s jeep and drove off to Long Beach. Dinner around the corner from his house was great, so was the wine and tomorrow morning there will be real coffee on the beach!

And for the blogging? I have to think about an epilogue, but the morning-stories-to-read-with- your-coffee are over 🙁

I had enormous pleasure sharing my stories and pictures. I can’t tell you how much I appreciated all your reactions – they were always so positive and stimulating. That helped me more than you might realize ! Thanks again!

saved by the fire

Can’t deny there is some routine appearing in the get-ready-to-bike procedure. But that’s about it, everyday develops itself always different then expected.. 

Barstow,  the city I left this morning, is very much a route 66 spot and the city makes sure you won’t forget. 
Just before leaving the city limits I noticed this cliche row of letterboxes. I did not show a picture, yet..


I made the mistake – or simply did not know – that the desert would be gone after Barstow, but it needed way more room to dissipate, another 30 miles/50 kilometers.


The green was slowly building up


The first colorful plants appeared


There were more houses, more people, more liquor shops to get the cold cokes.


The local artist was hard to be missed..


He had been working on his garden – the bottle tree ranch –  since 16 years and had just  erected a new totem the evening before. He still had material for the rest of his life, he just had to weld it together, a never ending project.

My  biking took too much time, until I checked the altitude and saw the reason:  not just the strong westerly Pacific wind that slowed me down, but also the climbing. 

I checked the routing again as the Google navigation lady wanted to send me into the green again.  A local told me that most roads were closed due to recent fires and that chances to ride the bike across were remote. I was suggested to wait till next morning at the car pool spot to organize a ride over the 1300 meter pass to San Bernardino via the freeway.  The idea was not very appealing..


I would bike the freeway. Normally not allowed, but I considered this force majeur and I hoped Highway Patrol would agree. No more time for pictures 🙁

I joined the 4 lane road on its shoulder and climbed the last miles to the summit. Then it was finally down to San Bernardino, 4000, 3000, 2000 feet, it never seemed to stop, it went fast. Had to stay very alert to avoid car tyres, boxes, stones, wood and manhole covers on the shoulder. Actually the fire saved me, via the ‘normal’ way it would have taken me ages. It was exhilarating, though I was not completely at ease. Don’t know if I would do it again in these conditions: rush hour, 4 lane traffic, 60 k per hour against a strong, cold , Pacific wind. Legal, illegal, I’ll never know and don’t want to know 😊 

Decided not to push my luck and leave at the next exit where I drove straight on Route 66. When I checked it I had done 20 miles in 45 minutes, fast for today’s standard.

It was a breeze to bike the large, quiet and dark city of San Bernardino. Checked in at the hotel at 2000 and had a good dinner with the Mexican around the corner. 

Concluded that the 90+ miles of today were too much for this terrain, there was something wrong with the research, that mountain ridge was not planned. Tomorrow slightly less and no more mountains! 

Santa Monica, get ready!

mojave, the desert

Did not realize that I did not live up to my promise last Saturday, to bike the desert in 2 days. But once I decided I would leave in the late afternoon, it felt like a different trip..

Left the parking spot at Essex travel stop at 1630..


.. applauded goodbye by many motor bikers. Encouraging! Drove off into the desert over route 66. Still hot, 35+, but it seemed that the sun lost some of its power. With the lower sun the desert was at its best – and dead silent. 


My  bike suffered a flat and shortly after another one. Could not find the leak, replaced the tube and that cured the problem for the rest of the night. That’s what I had  hoped for, I didn’t fancy to fix a flat under nothing but the moonshine. 

The sun took its time to set, the desert kept changing its colours. 


Impressive, but it crossed my mind that being here under heavy rain would be a complete different experience. And it does rain, if you just see all the bridges and gullies, or ‘washes’ as they call them here. Sorry , forgot to make that picture 🙁

I switched on the bikelight which gave me all the light I could wish for – and even more. The iPhone, running the navigation, got power from an extra battery pack. Did not really need navigation, no way you could turn the wrong direction.  There were no turns. 

Passed villages as indicated on the map, Chambless, Bagdad ( famous fot its goldrush around 1900)  Siberia, but they were no more than a sign. Amboy, being the exception, had Roy’s service station still operational, but it just closed as I passed by, shortly after 8. They asked me if I needed a bed, they had one, for cyclists only! (But don’t tell anybody,  you have the number now..)  As I had my reservation for Ludlow and I felt well, I turned down the offer. Had I just known before.. 


Roy’s station had plenty of light to fix some peanutbutter sandwiches on which I lived this day, together with bananas and power bars. And water, liters, I kept a record, this day I drank 10 liters of water plus 3 liters of cold coke.

After Amboy everything died, I still had 30 miles to Ludlow. Flat road, Roy said, I wonder if he really did not know that the Mojave lies in a bowl where you descend in and climb out. I had to climb out and make 12 kilometers max. You figure.. The whole road was mine, the whole desert was mine, the only company came from the 100+ waggon train serpentines, 4, 5, 6 an hour, the US life line between LA and Chicago. I switched to Zen mode, all my systems off as I had some 3 hours to go, my way of dealing with night riding. Enjoyed the silence, the full moon, the posession of the desert. So, no pictures 🙁 Temperature went down to 80F/26C, comfortable enough for short and shirt. 

I called in at the motel at 2330, they were expecting me! Very pleased they kept my reservation on just my first name only, Edward. No credit card guarantees or what. Do people still trust each other in this part of the world?  More cokes and a shower was all I needed. 


Slept till late, 8 am, the previous desert day had left some marks indeed.. Had breakfast at famous Ludlow cafe, with more water, juice and coffee as I was still short on fluids, which I could tell by my headache… 


Had more coke at the gas station, posted to FB and headed for Barslow by 10 only, entry to civilisation. 


Route 66 ran parallel to the interstate but had a pavement like hell, as another biker said, anti pavement. A broken up and rubbled 66. But if you say it is rough, you have solved the problem 😊


At the first occasion I turned onto the interstate, my speed doubled. Then it was on and off; when the 66 was in good condition, you was sent off the interstate again. The desert slowly disappeared, trees were showing up again, a little orchard, temperature went up to 35C/98F. Bearable, or I just get used to it.


Checked in with Ramada, on my perks as a regular user of the Wyndham app (if you ever visit the States (I actually thinks it works worldwide) google for the app, works great, super alternative to Booking.com). Got Ramada for a quarter of the list price, 35 US, but what’s the difference to the others? Luxury, may be bit, but I can’t sleep with my bike in the room. Having said that, I love hottubs! I want one! 


Settled, enjoyed my beer from the liquor shop, which nearly knocked me down. I don’t drink enough. Beer, that’s to say. 

Hard to imagine the trip will be done in 2 days.. Tomorrow at least a regular one with some 125k/80 miles, looking forward, wonder if I ever get enough of it…

beating the heat

I am beating the heat by laying under a tree at Essex, some 40miles/60k west of Needles in the middle of the Mojave desert.


It was a tough climb into the desert; for nearly 30 kilometers it went up from 100 to 800 meters, took me 3 hours. 

Ó

I felt very much like the trucks, which had as much trouble climbing up in their low gears, as I had.

 I was not allowed to bike the interstate any more (law you know, I am in California, different rules), which I ignored (once Dutch, always Dutch 😊) as I wanted to reach the travel center at Essex. I had hoped I could have spend the night here, I can, but there are no facilities. Walked around, made some fun with real nice only-German-speaking-Swiss-tourists and siesta’d.


I laid the heat out, powernapped again and will continue to Ludlow later in the afternoon. The shoplady let me kindly have her phone to confirm my reservation, mine only allows mobile numbers in the US. Didn’t know, surprise.. Temperature will get lower after sunset,( still 35/98)  but I won’t wait for it. Home sent me another suggestion to spend the night, but I am not so sure..


As I expect to arrive late – if I arrive at all in Ludlow, still 110k/70 miles over Route 66 – I won’t blog today any more.


A fair chance that when you’re reading this, I am still nightriding…

steaming california

The weather in Kingman  reminded me much about my Jeddah period, long, long time ago. The temperature, the sun, the wind, even the set-up of the city was so much alike. Good memories though!


Went shopping first as I expected I would not find much of food markets any more. Bread, yoghurt and tomato juice should carry me through today and tomorrow. 

another 3 kilos of groceries on top of 4 waterbottles (one under the saddle) and 2 2 litertanks at the front to which the spare tyre has been attached. Pump and spare tube between crank and saddle, toolbag hanging under the saddle. Loose white cable is to charge the iPhone with navigation- the Ed tracker and speed/distance/altitude app. 4G sends me whatsapp, FB , sms and mail updates in real time.

The city was miles long with some nice 66 relicts, or what they made up for it.. I stopped again and again for pictures.

Leaving the city it looked like desert, but it was not, not yet, still too green. Not long after I turned onto the ramp of the Interstate. The very first version of the 66 was going cross country and I did not want to try that one.. 

The interstate was like a bike race track: sloping down slightly and I even had a light tailwind. The bike developed warpspeed for nearly 3 hours, I never went faster on this trip. But I stopped regularly to record the usual and unusual.

junkyard at the Honolulu club, 26 miles short of the Californian state line


The speed changed the landscape in no time and became real desert. 


And hot, my tomato juice became tomato soup!

When I was about to cross the Arizona/California state line Maps suggested a right turn which would keep me a little longer in Arizona and led me along some lakes,  fed by the Colorado river.


Landscape changed again and became green, like an oasis, they call it locally the Gold Shores. Due to a roadblock I had to take a detour; a few miles more than the original route and passed this desert city 


And a factory, no idea what is is, could not find anything on it, not even on Google Maps. Someone smarter than I am 😕

When I crossed the Colorado river, I entered both Needles and California. I left 7 states behind me now; Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona. Before I could never keep them apart..


I am officially on Pacific time now, but this time is already used from at least Flagstaff. Don’t understand as all the documents say Arizona is on Mountain time..  

Like all other cities I am passing or visiting the railroad lifeline is passing through the city and Needles likes you to know this is already a long time. Many villages were established in 1882, probably the year the west – east railroad became operational.


Checked in at the motel early, around 1400, the temperature was now a cooking 38C! Normally I would have continued after the110+ kilometers I covered, but I decided not. 

Next to survive is the Mojave desert, a stretch of 170 kilometers. Until today I wanted to do that in  1 go, but now I decided not. With a heavy bike and a hot sun it is unfortunately over the top.  Instead I will head to the travel center at Fenner, some 55 k from Needles. I’ll hang out, get some sleep and continue next day early to Ludlow motel, where I want to arrive around noon, escaping this really unbearable heat. But you never know, plans may change again. 

The US of A is definetely not designed for bikers, let alone solo bikers 🙁

steppin’ down

This was going to be another descending day, leaving the mountains further behind me. And it looked good! Blue sky, wind calm and I was alive and kicking by 7 am to step down to Kingman, some 110k/75 miles. I was called in by Sandy, the owner, I did not drink my coffee yet! 


She explained why so many motels in the US were either run or operated by people from Indian and Sri Lankan descend. It is simply too much work, she said, you make long hours and that’s what most people don’t fancy. Motel Patel was the nickname for all motels operated by Sri Lankans, Patel being a common family name. Sri Lankans are also in education: they run many childcares and primary schools in the LA area.

Shortly after I turned onto the I40, where this sign was put up, characteristic  for the difference in US and European thinking, or attitude…


In the US you buckle up because of the law, Europeans buckle up for their safety 😊 

It was going to be an interstate trip down to Kingman. May sound dull, but the highway is actually great for biking, with manageable gradients. And at times you have the way completely to yourself and is the silence ear deafening.


On the descends ( but also during some stiff climbs) there was plenty of time to realize I was biking in a privileged position under ideal conditions, admiring superb panoramas!

If you want to sell your land – I see many signs put up – you can also paint your car..


 I had the airport of Kingman – once huge and military, but now half asleep –  in sight for miles,  like a white stripe in the distance. The city of Kingman with some 25000 people spreads over a wide area.


When I arrived in the motel – I am a Gold member now with special discounts 😊 – I felt vertigo. Did I leave something out of my food? It is pretty difficult to feed yourself well. In supermarkets you find the bulk of the food with additives, with concentrates, vitamin enhanced, artificially flavoured, gen teched, you name it. But I was just hungry, needed carbs and went for the pasta Alfredo for two – which I finished…

blue arizona

Planning is important in this part of the world, that is, if you are travelling by bike and want to be fed and have a bed. The wind proved me right yesterday to have a layover in Flagstaff but today’s run was still hard work due to the southwesterly wind which powers up around noon.Left at daybreak, 6 am ( and due to the cold at 2100 meter with long pants, fleece cap and jacket plus overshoes) to bike as short as possible in the strong afternoon wind. On leaving Flagstaff I biked straight into the woods, surprise! Did not realize that the whole landscape had changed into pine woods at this altitude, where the climate was so different from the plains. 


Exited the interstate to make a biking  visit to Williams. I Felt absolutely no urge to contine, but turned right again, the Grand Canyon is simply no part of the mission. 


Returned to the shoulder of interstate 40,  biking through an impressive landscape and passed the Arizona divide, 2200 meter, the highest ridge in the state.


Somewhere I had to go down and that came as a surprise too: a gravity assisted descent which felt like a bonus, 10 kilometers downhill!


 I think I was entitled to it, after all the climbing I endured last week. The wind hit me right on the nose which limited my speed to 50 k, actually still fast enough for my expedition bike.. The green mile markers count down to the Arizona/California state border.


Left the I40 at Ash Fork to continue the original 66 highway.


Lunched on real bread next to the flagstone factory where I changed into T-shirt and shorts, I was back at 25C/80F. 

Continued on the 66 for another 30 miles/50 k in the blue…


I only seem to meet nice Americans, but these gates make you think.


Some very old 66 remnants were a nice surprise too; the original bridge with the passing BNSF ( Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway ) freight train, at a frequency of 4 to 6 per hour, more than 100 per day! 

Plus the very original route 66 itself, abandoned since the sixties.


Progressed extremely slow against the wind to Seligman,  where many Route 66 travellers gather. Walked around, had a little photoshoot, shopped breakfast, had a drink and dinner. 



Still have to plan for tomorrow: motel and route. It is a hard life, biker 😊

blown out

I post merely to continue the chain of everyday blogging as not much happened today, I did not travel.  The very strong southwesterly winds blew me out and grounded me another day  in Flagstaff – though I’d rather gone biking..

Continued reading Grapes of Wrath from John Steinbeck, the epic novel on an American family relocating from Central Oklahoma to California in the early thirties, when Route 66 just opened. 

Steinbeck, Noble Prize winner 1962 – the first print of this book is on offer for us 8500

The part on the actual travel over the 66 is – unfortunately – quite short but I could visualize all the villages, states, mountains and plains which Steinbeck mentioned.

Will leave at daybreak – or earlier – when the winds are still asleep, they will pick up during the day. Destination is Seligman -115 k/74 miles- another place along the railroad and named after one of its financers.


Flagstaff is turning autumn, it is a nice (student) city, full of nature, though I don’t feel at ease 🙁 Time to go!

flagstaff

A day ‘off’ passes as quickly as a day on the bike. Could finally make the few phonecalls that I planned, as our timezones are way off. My morning is a good time to call, but then I am normally biking. I am spending  time in just another motel, they all seem to be built with the same blueprint..

Flagstaff extends at 2100 meters over a fairly large area but is small by US standards with 70000 inhabitants. That’s what you look up when you don’t bike.. And you go and visit downtown.


And visit one of the local bikeshops to buy more tyres and a new stand which I both fixed myself on the spot. And eating delicious frozen yoghurt and do more shopping.


And found real bread! A first in 4 weeks USA! So if they know how to bake it, why don’t I see these loafs?

Then it was on to routeplanning for the next few days. The wind is really a problem and I had promised myself to pay more attention. That made me decide to delay my trip just one  day, stay longer in Flagstaff as the wind forecast for tomorrow afternoon is a steady 25/ 30 knots. As I am travelling west, we are not talking about a tailwind! The day after the wind is still not ideal, but I can handle that one. And then it only gets better, tells windguru!

I will travel partly interstate I40 ( which is nowadays 66) but will try to bike frontage roads and surviving 66 parts as much as possible. Motels in this area are available but widely separated, you have to plan! Not like Flagstaff where you find 10 motels together and where I found mine at night without a hitch! 


 The 500km/ 300 mile route will be from Flagstaff to Seligman, Kingman, then Needles (where I reach California and will smell the Pacific! ) before the long stretch through the Mojave desert to Ludlow. Let the wind be with me!

I just read an item on mental approach, not in relation to biking, but  valid in my case. It explains pretty much why I am doing what I am doing. I hesitated if I should share as it as it comes pretty close to me, but as it might put my trip in another perspective…


When I came up with the plan to bike and celebrate my age on Route 66 it was – at that time – actually unachievable. In some respect I found it even intimidating, a bit scary. It felt on the edge but not so unrealistic that it was unimaginable. The feeling that I could do it though, pushed me through the hours of training. Dedication and motivation were already burnt in my mindset, that was the easy part for me. 

I am glad I am in Flagstaff now!