Safford, AZ

No birds singing, but woke at 4:57. The good thing about this cheap motel is that there is neither breakfast nor coffee, nothing to hold me over. I started riding at 7:08 am.

this is going to be a cinch
After the initial scare of a small, steep street out of Globe, Hwy 60 turned into Hwy 70, and things became easy. There was a slight headwind, but it was downhill pretty much all the way to Peridot, 24 miles away.  It seemed like there was a little more water in the region.  The Saguaro disappeared in favor of other dry-climate plants.
Apache Burger
I had seen billboards for Apache Burger as far away as 8 miles before Peridot. It was too early for lunch, but I got an orange (no bananas available), and a pack of 2 Hostess Sno-Balls. Yes, I’m eating lots of sugary foods, but think that I’m burning them off as fast as I consume them. Also filled my bottle from the chilled drinking fountain. When I arrived at the store, the air felt cool, but when I was leaving, it felt warm.
am I doing to make it by dark?
The next 1/3 of the ride was brutal. Headwinds of 15 to 20 mph, as I estimated by looking at the grass bending in my direction. It was 23 miles of rolling hills all the way to Bylas. Due to the wind, even the downhills were at 8 mph if I didn’t pedal.  At times like those, I thought of the Lord of the Rings, and the Last March of the Ents.  Could this be Roderick’s last tour?
Mt Turnbull Apache Market
It felt like mid-afternoon when I reached the next store, the Mt Turnbull Apache Market just after Bylas. I was pleasantly surprised to see that it was only 12:30. But that still meant I had been on the road for over 5 hours. And there were 30 miles more ahead.
lunch at Apache Market
The ready to eat foods were deep-fried items in a heated display. I chose 10 chicken nuggets, 3 Jalapeno poppers, and a big Xing iced tea. Less than $5, and it tasted good. Then again, almost anything would after those headwinds. In this selfie, my thumb is pointing to where I am My destination isn’t even on the panel shown, but on the next page.
banned from Reds
Just a few miles down the road, was another store, Red’s C-store. As there was no certainty where the next store would be, I stopped.
coco helados
When my usual is available, I get it. $1.35.
Brian Moses
Good thing I stopped. Outside the store, I met Brian Moses, a Chiricahua Apache descended from Geronimo. He was jovial, and told me a few things about the area and the people.

The next 20 miles were not nearly as hard. There was still a headwind, but it was gentle, and the terrain flattened out. About 5 miles out of Pima, I saw a sign saying, “Taylor Freeze welcomes you to the Gila Valley.” Now I knew who Taylor Swift was, but who was Taylor Freeze? Was it a person, or could it be like Foster Freeze? Multiple signs later, I saw:

taylor freeze sign
After all those signs, the place better not be closed when I get there!
taylor freeze pima arizona
I got a large chocolate malt. If it seems like I’m having a lot of ice cream on this trip, that’s right. This kind of treat provides water, calories, and cooling. Possibly because my body is using it up so quickly, lactose intolerance has never been an issue. Yes, my shirt is inside-out, and has been all day.
2017 cross country visitors to taylor freeze
There were large boards behind me with pictures of cross-country riders from 2015, 2016, and 2017. I didn’t ask about getting my picture on there – who cares? But I took a picture so I could study it later to see if there was anyone I knew on it. (the pic posted here is low-res)

From Pima to Thatcher/Safford was an easy, flat ride of 10 miles. I cruised the boulevard looking for a humble fleabag that might be economical for 2 nights. I came to the Tour-Rest Motel, and had to call, as no one was in the office. The host was a nice fellow, but told me that the wi-fi extender was out, meaning that only room 1 could get a signal. I thought about it for a while, then decided that I really wanted the wi-fi, even if I had to go to a chain and pay $25 more per night. I ended up at Motel 6.

Jerry's Restaurant
My room key got me a 10% discount at Jerry’s restaurant next door. Open since 1966, it was a family-style place that reminded me of the Kaimuki Inn I grew up with in Hawaii.

Miles for today: 82.0, 1/3 very windy.

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