January 12, 2016 – Sun, 55 degrees
Miles Today: 38
Miles to Date: 10,180
States to Date: 26
Back on the road again…
Getting back on my bike required a slew of transportation modes. Seems like I used everything except automobiles. During the eight weeks I was home visiting family, doing construction projects, and gaining ten pounds eating my housemate’s incredible cooking, Landry’s Cycles in Tempe refurbished Surly. When they called to confirm the repairs they explained the kind lady from the airport did, indeed, deliver the bike lock that TSA rejected when I flew home in November. Therefore, first thing I did upon landing at Sky Harbor Airport was to check information. Sure enough, Glenda was working. I had the pleasure of thanking her in person and feeling that my trip’s good mojo was intact after my hiatus.
Glenda explained that the Metro Valley bus drivers were on strike. Light rail was running as usual and managers were operating buses on half schedule. My motel was near the trolley, but I rose early the next morning (jet lag and all) so had plenty of time to make slow bus connections. There was no sight of the Sixteenth Street bus and I am too impatient to sit on a cold bench in the dark (sun rise is very late in Phoenix this time of year). I decided to walk between stops and keep an eye out for the bus.
The neighborhood proved fascinating, full of cool murals. My walk became a hike. No buses ever came. Ultimately I walked full eight miles to Southern Blvd. But the morning was crisp and bright. I had all kinds of time, and just one pannier on my shoulder. Still, I was glad the eastbound 61 came along Southern Blvd and transported me ten miles to Landry’s. Distances in Phoenix are crazy long. Eighteen miles in Boston would get me near the I-495 outer loop. In Phoenix, eighteen mile is just a portion of the seemingly endless gird of wide roads.
Surly! It was so great to be reunited with my bike. She’s practically new: new wheels, tires, bearings, derailleur, chain, sprocket, you name it. Thank goodness bike repairs run about 10% of car repairs. We didn’t have time to dawdle because I had a 2:00 p.m. presentation at a charter school in Goodyear – a mere 34 miles.
Beside being immense, Phoenix is also pancake flat and easy to navigate. The sprits gave me a tailwind. I was so pleased to be back on the bike I covered the distance without a break. I arrived at BASIS Goodyear in time for a tour before a raucous hour talking about my trip and my question to some of the most engaging ten year olds I’ve ever met. I answered every lingering question (my favorite: Do you carry soap?) and talked with faculty. By the time I realized I forgot to eat lunch, it was already four.
No problem. I took my short ride to my hosts, Becca and Mike Beaulieu. I’m pretty good at logistics, but their coordination skills dazzled me. Mike is the Operations Manager at the brand new BASIS Goodyear, Becca teaches kindergarten there. Daughter Elena attends BASIS. Son, Nolan, is just three months old, in his second day of home day care since Becca returned to work. And, they just moved to a new house. Nonplussed by anything, they invited me to stay with them. Becca made a delicious dinner, while supporting baby Nolan on her hip. Afterwards Mike and I played with Candy Land with Elena. It seemed appropriate that I came in last. After all, I am colorblind.