Sandy and I started our Jacques 2008 USA tour January 5th, Saturday at 8:30AM. The community we live in had several people, over a dozen people came out to wish us well and take pictures to send us on our way. I left about 8:30am rode out the strip from Spring Mountain down to Tropicana which is not to crowded too early in the morning. I went out towards Boulder Hwy which wasn't too bad, wind was coming more to my side than in front of me. Made it to Boulder Hwy and the winds were coming toward me but made it up the hwy going out of town. One great thing that happened is that my great friends Gloria and Jack stopped to give me a farewell one more time, I really appreciate them and think very highly of them, that is why I thank them for giving me the encouragement to keep going. I met Sandy at the top of Railroad Pass just before we started on the highway down to Searchlight, the winds started picking up with great gusts coming towards me as I was going down this hill that I've traveled over before at 30 miles an hour, but this time I barely got over 15 miles an hour. Had trouble keeping my heartrate down so ended stopping at the Nelson turn off and only 35 miles into our trip. I was pretty well wiped out so took a couple of hours to just slow myself down and get myself recovered again so we ended up spending the night there. I only had a few sprinkles but it was mostly wind that hit us, the road was pretty wet but the rain on myself wasn't of great quantities. Took off this morning, Sunday, January 6th going toward Searchlight, left around 7am and the wind still threw heavy winds at me, so I had a head wind plus the gus between 25 and 30. So going up some of those hills I did about 5 mph. On the highway section there where the different war areas have signs along the road, I give them thanks and thank them for what they had done for us, told them I was sorry for the loss of lives, I'm a Vietnam Veteran myself, and that really effects me. Finally made it to Searchlight and it took about 5 hrs for my 35 miles, the wind was not too nice to me at that point yet. Met Sandy, and she help me to recover and then decided to keep on going. Once I left Searchlight the winds were more to my side for awhile during a section of the road and then the wind came towards me but no gusts so it was only a regular wind coming at me which wasn't bad at all so ended up making it to Laughlin. Today we are at Davis Camp recovering, so be prepared to see what tomorrow brings.
Today is Tuesday January 8th and we just made it through Lake Havasu coming down hill going into town you can see the mountains, the lake and the city and there was a cloud laying over the lake itself 0's so I was actually above the cloud coming down into town. We have stopped at the London Bridge area to take a look at the area and surrounding shops, we are doing a little site seeing this morning, will see what the afternoon brings we took a walk underneath the bridge on the walkway and the bridge was brought over from London back in the 1960's I believe brought over by McCullough, they assembled here and brought through a channel and during holidays you can't even see the water under the bridge area, but this is January and it is cool and the only thing under the bridge was the ducks and seagulls, there is a nice walkway that takes you to a city park area which opens up where the lake is actually visible after the channel, I can see a couple of boats out there and the mountains surrounding it. In there area of the walkway there is a plaque The Salvation Army, on a bitterly cold night in London in November 1897 William Booth, the founder of The Salvation Army was shocked to see the desitute and poor huddle under this bridge, as a result shelters were soon established to aid those in need, and throughout the world such centers provide emergency, care, and spiritual assistance for all humanity in need. The slogan "blood and fire" The Salvation Army plaque stills sits here in Lake Havasu City. One item around the Golden Shores area they have wetlands and wildlife reserve it looks very natural and very wet to be here in Arizona, also included in that area is catfish paradise, it would be great to buy some catfish and cook them up.
This is Wednesday morning January 9th we just left Lake Havasu about an hour bicycle ride, about 11 miles down the road a scenic view, pull off there and look at the great mountains around here, prior you could always see the mountains but there were always power lines in the way, this is a good spot to see the mountains from a far. I am glad I am riding a bicycle instead of trying to cross the mountains on foot. And I do appreciate all the drivers who give me room on the highway. On my way to Parker Arizona came across the Bill Williams waterway, across the bridge. For those who don't know Bill William's was a mountain man here in the west. Here I am taking a chocolate chip cookie break. This is beautiful country.
Thursday, January 10th coming into Parker Az. Just south of the main 95 hwy took a street named Joshua Street, in Parker, there is nice small community with several businesses like a dowtown section here. Nice little town. Passing on through 95 South going to Quartzsite, the snowbirds are still heading south so I must be going the right direction; just the other side of Quartzside there were all the snowbirds, get me out of here. About five miles down the road we found a spot where you can camp for free and the spot is nice, we can see all the cacti and mountains, it is quiet, away from the road. Camping here tonight, cleaning the bike and getting ready for the next day.
This is Saturday, Jan 12th, starting into our second week of the trip, just turned off Hwy 95 on Dome Valley Road. I actually survived Hwy 95, I think my life expectancy has increased greatly. A couple of things I have noticed on the highway that north american vehicle runs in packs of two 75% of the time, my theory on that is two groups going together or one vehicle trying to pass another one. This morning came across 3 bike riders going in the opposite way, once again, I still think I am going the right direction, I am turning east and going towards the Gulf of Mexico, went through the Yuma proving grounds heard a few explosions and I ducked and covered but all in all we are heading east. Dome Valley is a farming community in the southwest part of Arizona, followed the road which took us to the old Hwy US80. I am riding on 80 with additional farming communities along the way and even found an old farmhouse that looks older than me, and no one is living in it. Making it up to Wellton.
Today is Sunday, Jan. 13th, left Wellton down old Hwy 80, viewing some cattle along the way and even had a hawk fly by me. Of course I go so slow everything passes me. It is nice going down the old highway even though it is bumpy at times and then it turns into Interstate 8. It is a little smoother than the old highways but not as peaceful. Just talked to my grandson, Dylan, who had his pace maker changed just over a week ago is doing good and he is rooting for the Colts to win. Trailing down Interstate here Sunday afternoon come across the Border Patrol. Some of these people passed me on the old highway 80. Come across one of the officers here and checked if I had to give him any information. He told me my wife passed a couple of hours ago and to look out for a guy riding a bike wearing yellow helmet and jacket. Able to get through with no problem.
It is Monday, Jan. 14th, spent the night at roadside rest on Interstate 8 on our way to Gila Bend. Got off the interstate at Painted Rock took the frontage road on into Gila Bend passing a farming community and they have there own little school. Made it to Gila Bend. In the center of town is the Stout Hotel, jewel of the desert. In its early days it was a combination cafe, drugstore, barbershop, police department, ice cream parlor, commercial laundry and the first water and sewer system for Gila Bend, and bus stop. Did both central air conditioner and steam heat, created its own electricity and ice plant. Also politics and social gatherings, and was a stop for many celebrities on their way to Old Tucson to film their movies.
Tuesday, Jan 15th have left Gila Bend on our way to Ajo. Traveling on a two lane highway we enter in the Barry Goldwater Gunnery Range. This is where the Air Force does their practicing. Just a moment ago I heard an air force jet circling around so therefore I won't be standing too high on my bicycle because they fly pretty low during their testing. On Hwy 85 there is a little rest area that has placques on what is happening here. The Goldwater Range is the nations second largest tactical range provided to train pilots for the U.S. Air Force, Marines, Army, Navy, and Air National Guard, and U.S. Allied since World War II. This range was established in 1941, incorporating an area that goes to the southern part of Yuma. On this Hwy 85 I came across two mountains of volcanic material and the sign says "black gap". The highway has been recently chip sealed, which is a little tar with stones on top and packed down a little bit. For the last 20 miles my body has been shaking from going over these stones. Highway is not the greatest. As I am approaching a new section of the highway that has been paved recently and it feels like I am floating even though it is going up hill. This section is called "Trader Range" which had quite a few traders stop to take a moment to stop and look at the Saguaro's and jagged mountains.
Today is Wednesday, Jan 16th we are in Ajo Arizona leaving the city itself, downtown area there is a town square with shops all around it, and off to one side about a block away it looks like the municiple building. Ajo came about because of the mining in the area here, several years ago the mine shut down, now has less population but still quite a bit of traffic coming through town here so it's still a thriving community. At the end of the day here, we are in the Indian Reservation crossing Arizona and we are now spending evening at the Gui Achi Trading Post, next to a small indian town who has a small church and a school.
Thursday, Jan. 17th just left the trading post called Hui Waci there is an historical marker here with the name Quijotoa which means mountain shape like a carrying basket. Discovering a pocket of gold and silver which became a fabulous booming community. Got to Kitts Peak and ending there for today.
Friday, Jan. 18th my brothers, my dad and uncle made it down last night and we are parked for the night in the parking lot of Casino Del Sol getting ready to take off for this mornings ride. My brother Bob, my brother Paul, my brother Tom and his girlfriend Heidi, my dad and uncle Jim have joined us for the weekend here. We will be starting from Kitts Peak Observatory making it into the Tucson area. My brother Tom and Heidi started off with a tandum bike, then myself and my brother Bob following us. We made it into Tucson and made it out to the San Xavier Mission. The mission here is a place you would want to stop and see. I will check this out while I am waiting for Sandy to call so we can make it back where she is. The San Xavier Mission was constructed between 1783 to 1797 on the Franciscan and Spanish direction. Inside the mission here they held services for the indians in this area. The art work in here is spectacular, a hugh dome above with the alter and two wings on each side, with great colors and reference to this building. The old pews for the services they held. The mission is cathlolic organization here. And up above they have a place for the choir. They hold services on the weekend as well as through the week. Currently they are doing some renovations on the outside. It was founded by Father Kino in 1692.
Saturday Jan 19th. Left mission and traveled south and ended up going in to the area of Shauarita this town has a titan missle museum and my brother Tom had visited in the past and says it is worth while to visit. We traveled east for a few miles downhill and several miles uphill and we traveled several miles where we set up camp. We came across two other cyclists, Brittany and Rick who stayed with is for the evening and went on their way the next morning. They were heading for Mexico and they were hauling everything they needed on their bikes.