April 9, 2001 - Wilcox AZ 88.7m*

In case you were wondering, there are still Gideon (or Gideons, if you remember the song on the white album) bibles in hotel rooms.

Im in the Best Western in Willcox, AZ. The region here is famous for Indians (Cochise and Geranimo were both from this area). There are forts and museums. It is also famous for national monument type scenery and other cowboy stuff. The town in particular is home to two famous people, some singing cowboy named Rex ___, who never quite achieved the fame of Roy or Gene, but was of the ilk, and some woman actress whose name also escapes me. I need to bring a pencil and take notes when I talk to the locals.

Willcox (pop. 3,500) is also the home of largest tomato growing operation in the world. Some Dutch company employs over 1,000 people growing tomatoes hydroponically with computers. They dont process them at all. Its one building covering 140 acres, Im told. I have not verified any of this. Back to the trip.

Bryan Lawson (!) one of a few people who said they might join me for a few days, met me at the Ramada Inn on Oracle in Tucson at 8AM to get 3 days of riding in. We stocked up on bike food and rambled through Tucson, coming across a giant military base with thousands (literally) of mothballed military aircraft, some new, some old.

It was 38 miles and after noon before we got to Benson AZ for breakfast, which they would not serve to Bryan. Again, few miles for a lot of time.

Note the altitude (elevation). Benson is in a valley, and we climbed up to around 4,500 feet before a nice 5 mile downhill into town. This was basically the story of the day. After 3 days in flat desert, we were climbing up and down in the mountains. Change of pace scenery.

This photo was taken 10 miles east (after leaving) Benson. The town is at the bottom of the hill, and we came from the mountains in the far distance. We then climbed back over 5000 feet, to the summit just before Texas valley (thats what the call it), where I took some other non-flat-desert-irrigated land photos.

(looking uphill, just before the summit)

This is the view south from the rest stop at the summit. Snow on mountains in the distance. After this, it was a 20 mile downhill – flat ride to Willcox. We got here at 5 and had to stop because the next town with a hotel is Lordsburg NM, 78 miles away.

Thats it for now. Some random notes:

  • As of the evening of day 5, Im holding up fairly well. You feel it, of course, but no major pain that would cause concern that I wont make it.
  • Whats the difference between a Motel 6, a Motel 8, and a Super 8 Motel? There are lots of each.
  • Thanks very very much for your emails and well wishes. I want to, and will respond individually, when I get a chance.
  • Theres a slightly blurry spot in the middle of some of todays pictures. Probably suntan lotion on the lens – noted and corrected.
  • This Sony Vaio computer and Cyber shot camera are excellent.

Tomorrow its Lordsburg at 78 miles, or Deming at 133. Were starting early to keep our options open. Stay tuned.

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