C – After a relaxed pace pack up, we had to say our goodbye to Eva and the beautiful Piewhacket. We have had such an amazing week with Eva, who kindly let us crash her week of leave from work and hang out. We cannot thank you enough Eva for your kindness, hospitality and fascinating conversations!
We headed to the coffee roasters where we had arranged to meet Stephen, and in true Todd and Chantelle style, neither of us had looked at the street number. So, we arrived very late after having to ask a stranger to access the internet on his phone!
All too soon it was time to hit the road though. We said goodbye to Stephen and turned out onto the road. We spied a gas station within a few minutes and pulled in to give the girls a nice drink. After paying, I noticed that Mabel had liquid dripping off the tank and onto the engine. We soon discovered it was fuel and Todd soon found a larger-than-you-want hole in his fuel tank. He rubbed some soap around the area and we planned to head to an auto store to purchase a tank repair kit. Alas, it was not meant to be. Within a few minutes, the soap trick was no longer working and Mabel sat at the traffic lights dripping fuel onto her rapidly warming engine. Oh dear!!! As soon as we got around the lights we pulled into a car park and ripped her tank off. We soon discovered nothing we had was enough to temporarily block the leak and unfortunately had to sacrifice most of the tank of fuel. I had a funny feeling Mabel wanted to return to Eva’s to play with Eva’s Zero Whisper some more!
T – Mabel was feeling a bit neglected after Rosie got fitted up with nice shiny new spokes. She was acting out like the little rat bag she is! I was a bit unhappy watching some 6 litres of fuel gush from her broken tank onto the ground. Seems like such a waste, and more than that, the environmental side of things. Still at least I didn’t do it on purpose I guess.
It was great to catch up with Stephen again and I wished we had a bit more time to have spent getting to know him and his other half, Katrina, a little better. Hopefully though we will cross paths down in Mexico in the not too distant future!
C – We finally got out of Tucson after purchasing a fuel tank repair kit. We slogged out some highway before the GPS told us we could take a route through a National Forest. Perfect! We had been avoiding dirt since the great Spoke Incident of 2016, but it was now time to try some gravel and test out that rear wheel. The road was stunning and really not far from the highway. After about 10km, the GPS suddenly lost the trail and couldn’t find a way through, telling us to make a u-turn.
We decided to go another kilometre and see if it re-routed. Which it did. Beautiful! And we were only 3kms from the town of Superior, which we knew we had to go through. However, this 3km started with a massive washout and looked much more like a riverbed. Oh well Rosie, time to test that wheel!!! We got some momentum and bounced and bumped our way up about 1km of the track in no time. But then…… the road deteriorated further and further, becoming just wide enough to drive a small 4wd along it. The drop offs were massive and I was hugging the other side of the track as much as I could. It was rough, rocky and slippery and lined with cacti. I came around a bend and glancing at the GPS missed seeing a big rock, which promptly deposited Rosie on her left side, leaving me standing above her. Oooppssss.
As we rounded a bend, the track became even narrower with a sharp right bend. The track had been washed out and was on a sharp angle straight into the gully below. Nope, not for me. Todd isn’t afraid of heights, so he happily road both bikes through whilst I carefully walked, hugging the cliff!!!
Then it was time to come done. It was an 800mtr descent and it was steep, slippery, rocky and seriously tough. I was getting tired by this time and really struggled with this. I dropped Rosie again and that was it, confidence gone. I felt I couldn’t possibly do it. I was too tired to concentrate properly and after dropping her twice, my confidence had taken a massive dive. I then began to feel anxious about it and well you know, by then, it was basically over. Todd went in front so I could follow his path exactly and we ended up paddling the girls down the descent. It was not a pleasant experience. We could see the road smooth out to a proper gravel road when we got halfway down and this kept me going.
T – What a track. This was pretty fun, although we were maybe tackling something that was bigger than our bikes could handle. With rocks the size of our heads rolling around under our wheels it made for some sphincter clenching fun! I was pretty glad to get to the bottom though. I could see Chantelle was struggling as the last of her strength sapped away. Still, once we were on the flat and graded road we only had about 600 meters to the town. I could see it.
C – But, again, it was not meant to be. We reached the corner and there was a big, barbed wire fence stating ‘Private Property, Keep Out; Trepassers Will Be Criminally Prosecuted’. I wont repeat the exchange between Todd and I at this point. I had no clue how on earth we would get back up that hill – I was so exhausted and felt there was no way I could face it. So I sat down, had a little cry, drank an awful lot of water and bucked up. I rode her up as far as I was comfortable, about 100mtrs and then stopped at the tough bit. Todd kindly stopped Mabel and walked back down to help me get Rosie over the really tough bits. We got up quite quickly considering and were treated to a magnificent desert sunset. It was beautiful and daunting all the same time. I have decided that the GPS can no longer be trusted!!!
After backtracking, we were suddenly and very quickly, deposited at the highway. But this was a completely different way to the way we had come in. Neither of us could figure it out. We hadn’t passed the nearby factory at all on the way in before, yet the GPS ‘bread crumbs’ feature showed our track as the same, but then the one we came on in suddenly stopped. It was super weird.
T – It was quite strange. There was no other track in or out. But we must have been on a different road right? We both felt a bit spooked out by the whole thing as there definitely was no other track!
C – We got to a gas station and filled up the girls and had a big drink and a sit down whilst we decided whether we could face 70km in the dark to the camp we had picked. After some kindness from the attendant and then a random stranger approaching us and giving us a dollar, we felt alert enough to continue on.
The ride on the highway to camp was simply amazing. We never ride at night, and the desert is really beautiful then. It was a full moon, the air was warm and the night was calm. Sensational! We reached camp at 10pm and were too exhausted by then to do anything but set up the new tent and crawl in. We were both super impressed when we had it up in less than 2 minutes (without the rain fly) and within 5 minutes, we were both crashed on our mats, looking up through the mesh at the stars and the moon.
There was two RV’s there also, who obviously needed to run their AC all night, so we were also treated to the sound of generators all night long. Perfect….
T – What a day. What a ride! Even if we only managed 250kms for the whole day. Tomorrow we shall make up some miles and try to get with striking distance of Utah!