April 4, 2001 - Gila Bend, AZ 82.9m*

The plan called for me to end up in Gila Bend after a 128 mile ride through largely empty desert. I started 40 miles ahead of plan, but rode only 83 miles. πŸ™ The empty desert thing was right on. All day on, or just next, to Interstate 8. Flat (slightly uphill to 745 feet MSL in Gila Bend), desert, some few irrigated fields. Lets start the day in Tacna (about where the 8 is on the map.)

This picture combines the gas station, hotel and water kiosk (mentioned earlier) which comprise the bulk of commercial Tacna. There is a restaurant/bar, where I had a tough steak dinner, and about 20 other buildings by exit 40 on the 8 – the rest of town. These kiosks were regular features at gas stations from Brawley on. The water you shower in is too salty to taste good to drink. (why?)

Anything that isnt irrigated around here is desert. Riding along, I wondered what would happen if they could no longer irrigate. The answer, a return to undifferentiated desert.

Thats a no longer used irrigation channel. The only other highlights all day were various military activities (convoys, fighter planes, sonic booms, desert exercises) going along in the Barry Goldwater Air Force reserve bordering the 8 on the south all day. This photo was taken 10 miles outside of Tacna. 25 miles out I came to Dateland (the fruit, not relationships) Arizona, where I had breakfast.

This restaurant/gas station/RV park appeared to be the whole town. Note the jeeps (hummers) with rocket launchers in the background. Handy. There was one dilapidated gas station over the next 50 miles, plus the usual desert, but that was about it. I recorded a video of a freight train for a change of pace, which Ill email to you if you want, but even that is fairly boring.

It was 70 and cloudy all day, with a strong wind from the south. OK riding conditions. I averaged 13.5+ while riding. With breaks 10.5. A little slow. Uphill? Then I got to Gila Bend.

Things remained dull. I had a medium Coke float at the local DQ, and talked to Lisa on the phone about accommodations upcoming on the route. We could find nothing for 60+ miles (Casa Grande). There was a potential place 30 miles up the road, but they were not answering their phone and/or did not have a directory listing.

Feeling pretty lucky, at 4PM I started heading out of town, but a reality check (windy-sideways, uphill, storm clouds, dust clouds, little chance of the uncontactable hotel being open, next for sure I wouldnt get to until after 10PM) caused me to pause after 3 miles, and ride back to Gila Bend. Oh well. Tomorrow.

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