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Eric Mitchell's Cycling Blog - Monday, April 4

Sea birds, broccoli and brandied peaches

4/4/2005 9:10:02 AM

   

April 3,

Hey All,

Greetings from Phoenix: We are now 10%+ of the way to St. Augustine–weather is now hot (in 80’s and still not a cloud in the sky)-had another headwind today which made a 40-mile trip which should have taken 3 hours into a 40-mile trip that took 7 hours.

Updates on flora and fauna–have seen and heard coyotes (when they howl, and you are sleeping on the ground, it’s a bit spine tingling); seen skunk, dead donkey, dead parrots; red tailed hawks, turkey buzzards, birds I’ve never seen before, desert kangaroo, rats/mice; rattle snakes, black widow spider.

Human sightings include so many trailers and RVs — I cannot believe that many people live that way–also, Cal. and Az. Are loaded with dilapidated housing (many seem to be junk yards). The group members keep asking, “What do people do out here in the desert?” The answer is farm (where it is irrigated), and “We don’t know,” where it isn’t.

In El Centro, the Imperial Valley Cal., we saw bitterns, cranes, egrets, gulls and terns even though it’s 100+ miles to the ocean – the irrigation system has drawn all these sea birds to the desert.

We saw fields of broccoli 2 miles wide and many miles deep–also carrots, onions, alfalfa, sugar beets-saw several ranches with many thousands of cattle (and of course, the smell of several thousand cattle).

We saw either a California condor or a bald eagle in Cal. (didn’t get enough of a look to see clearly–only the wing span in the distance).

We stayed in Hope, AZ (an RV park essentially) and the kindness continues as one of the locals gave us a large jar of brandied peaches for dessert at the Tamarisk RV park. Several people brought us fresh chilled water, and the owner did not charge us for the site (I may have already mentioned this). Last evening in Wickenburg, Az. (another RV park “horsepitality.”(GROAN).

We are currently at a Best Western Motel on Rt. 60 in Phoenix if you are closely charting us. Tomorrow, we are off to Apache Junction where we shall stay for 2 days.

The ride is going great–several very funny people and good comradeship seems to be the norm.

Hope all is well where you are.



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