Quartzite Arizona, in the dry barren desert, it’s home to one of the largest collection of rocks, RV’s and nomadic baby boomers that the world has ever seen. I pedaled 41.68 (s)miles to arrive in this gem of a town.
From the front porch of the Quartzite Yacht Club, here in the bright shining desert sun, I recall yesterdays adventures.
After breaking camp, I set out onto route seventy eight, north and east. The asphalt was flat, a very slight shifting breeze working for me at times. Jo sat in the wagon taking in the views of the farmlands, surveying the crops.
Eleven miles up the road, In the town of Ripley, (there’s only one market) we were lured, stopping in for some authentic carne asada tacos! A kind hispanic grandmother looking woman, with apron, speaking broken English, prepared my meal. I just knew it was going to be good. And it was.
By early afternoon we had rolled into the city of Blythe. It didn’t take long to find the coffee shop and soon I was sipping on an ice cold coffee and eating what could be my fiftieth banana on this trip.
Seated out front in the shade, Jean and her husband stopped to visit with Jo and I. They had questions, curious about our journey. So I told them everything, sharing the inspiration behind Operation Elf Box and the vision I’ve been given. And then we all hugged goodbye. (FYI: I’m riding a bike through the desert, nobody should hug me) But before they left, Jean offered to buy me dinner, her hubby slipping me a crisp twenty. Thanks!
Moments later, Wanda sprung from her automobile. We instantly connected. She asked me what Jo and I were up to, then within seconds she began praying for us. Wanda and I visited for over an hour. I started looking at my clock, knowing I had another twenty four miles of ground to cover before the sun sets. Swapping contact info, Wanda also slipped me a twenty dollar bill, supporting my long bike ride, encouraging me. She’s an angel.
Crossing the Colorado River, we leave California in the dust, and now have the entire state of Arizona to explore.
My map led me on to Interstate 10. I decided to pull into the the weigh station just for kicks. I pedaled up to the scales behind a loaded semi. The attended found it humorous. My total weight, bike, trailer, gear, Jo and I, exactly 300 pounds
The ride from Blythe to Quartzite is about twenty three miles. It was now 3:30 in the afternoon and time to get a move on. I headed up the interstate, a steady climb for about seven miles, Shoeless Jo plodding along beside me. He looks so proud of himself in his #ruffwear pack, carrying his own food and water.
Reaching the summit, we began descending through the desert on an old side road. I heard a snapping, pop sound come from my rear wheel. Looks like I lost a spoke. The wheel now wobbles.
The temperature dropped as the sun dipped below the peaks behind us. Riding through BLM land we see campers speckled about, some in tents, others in huge diesel pushers. One man was BBQing outdoors and watching something on his flat screen TV. Rough life.
It was dark as I road into the town of Quartzite. I found the first bar and grill and ducked inside. It’s karaoke night at the Yacht Club. This is where I met Ramia, Niko, Doug and the two guys at the end of the bar, Kenny and Kenny.
Ramia unloaded a version of Janis Joplins, “Summer Time” that was soul feeding. Niko nudged me to step up and take the mic, a little karaoke. My song choice brought all the Grammys and Gramps out in the dance floor.
Niko and I swapped songs on the guitar he was toting in his van. Then Ramia, Kenny, Doug and I found ourselves in “Rom’s” RV, doing the same, singing and sharing and laughing. Doug handed me a fifty dollar gift card to Target! That’ll come in handy up the road. Thanks, Doug!
It’s was almost two in the morning, I tossed my bed down under the stars, cowboy camping in the trailer park, drifting off to sleep.