Salome to Wickenburg Arizona
Today was without a doubt, the most eventful day of the journey so far. The first ten miles were overcast and cool. Delightful really. One of my traveling companions that keeps an eye on the wether told me that a hurricane in the Gulf of Baja was headed our way with wind and rain. Sure enough, about mile fifteen we entered a squall. I don’t exactly know what a squall is, I know it’s something that sailors don’t like to have to deal with, so based on that, I’m calling what hit us a squall. Actually, there have only been two times in my life when it has rained harder, once in Seattle in the winter of 2018, and once in Hawaii on the Island of Maui. In the latter case, it only rained for 20 minutes, and I was dry in ten minutes following the down pour. Today was a different matter entirely. It rained for fifteen miles, and it rained hard. Really hard. There was lightening, thunder, driving rain, and the dry washes along the road filled up to near capacity in about an hour. At one point I had to get off the bike and just stand, back to the wind and rain and wait until I could see a safe distance ahead again. Needless to say I was drenched, The purpose of rain gear in this situation is not to keep you dry, nothing will, the purpose of rain gear in this situation is to simply keep you warm so you don’t go hypothermic. I now know that hypothermia in the desert is a thing. By the way, this is one of the reasons I’m on this journey, to experience everything nature and the landscape has to off. I put on my rain coat and laughed telling Mother Nature to bring it on. She did not disappoint.
A strangely delightful aspect of traveling through the Sonoran desert in a rain storm is that you can smell the creosote bushes. The fragrance in the air is not at all disagreeable. It reminded me of walking along a railroad track in summer as a kid. On hot days you cold smell the creosote in the ties. This smell was more natural and pervasive. I’m told you don’t smell these bushes when it’s dry.
Five of us ducked into a grocery at the half-way point. We hung out there for a bit and even grabbed some sun, although the sun breaks were weak and didn’t last very long. The Trail Boss found a tiny frog. She is quite the frog and Monarch butterfly expert. This particular frog (name escapes me) was the first one of it’s type she had ever seen. Watching her was fun. She was truly excited about her find. She held the little guy for us to examine, and pointed out the features that made it unique. Her love for nature is infectious, I got a big kick out of watching her. This particular kind of frog only comes out in the desert when there is a big rain. We were extremely lucky to be a part of the sighting.
After the rain parted, the last 25 miles was dry, but it seemed to be up-hill most of the way. I arrived at the RV park in Wickenburg where we were staying to discover the best showers we have had so far on the trip. A delightful surprise.
I did not have a flat today. Thank goodness. It was a long day and a flat would have made me late to camp. After I got cleaned up my dear friends Terry, his wife Cindy, and their daughter Ellie, came out to Wickenburg from Phoenix to take me out to dinner. Terry brought a kick-stand for me and installed it, then we went to dinner. The food was excellent, the Margaritas were excellent, and the company was even better. My friends are the greatest.