I’m walking into a casino, anticipating that the five dollar bill that’s folded up in my pocket will soon be netting me the grandest of jackpots. At the same time, in my mind I’m justifying, that if by chance I should loose, that I’m investing into the lives of those who live here on the reservation. And that’s good. Maybe Ellen Degeneres will help me get lucky? But really, what I’m most excited about is the all you can eat Buffett.
Now I’m slowly stepping through this casino, looking down, trying not to bump into anyone as I write this. There’s some action at the craps table. In the feature, Diamonds Are Forever, the woman in the purple dress is throwing the dye for James Bond. He wins about fifty grand, and gives her five. Nothing like that is happening here. Instead, it looks like a sea of my grandparents have infested the place and are scooting their feet among this tribal community.
I met an Indian when I arrived at this desert oasis, an Apache. His name is Marcos, curious about our journey. And he’s a jokester.
Marcos told me where to register to camp and pointed Stephen toward the hotel lobby entrance. I paid the ten dollars plus tax at the convenience store and proceeded to the corner of the RV park.
Jo hops out of his wagon and greets Glen and Mia, the couple who was having breakfast at the diner this morning. After a few chores and feeding Jo his #TurboPUP bacon bar, I walked over and struck a conversation with Glen. Mia’s reading in their tent, relaxing. Glen and I discuss his failing tear hub, the angle if his bars, bike frames, and the fact that the campground has a jacuzzi and shower!
To find myself here, I rode through what I believe is Salt Creek Canyon. Our host last night said it would be the most challenging section of highway on the entire trip. There’s often no shoulder for the cyclist. One person said that three people per week die on this road. The wooden crosses back that statement up. The road winds through a canyon, increasing elevation by about two thousand feet.
Queen Creek Tunnel is over a quarter mile long. Again there’s no shoulder. It’s very narrow. Shoeless Jo and I enter, hoping that our timing will NOT pair us with a semi-truck.
A road sign I come upon signals me to stop for beef jerky. I see Glen and Mia, Rachel and Olive. Stephen is a few bike lengths behind Jo and I. We all gather around for a break, a few of us buying some dehydrated meat products. Ken owns the land and operates a trinket shop. It’s called Top of The World Trading Company. He made me a fresh cup of coffee as I looked over his fine collection of stones, snacks, hand made jewelry and military surplus.
I blew through the near ghost-towns of Miners and Claypool, hoping to arrive before two o’clock at the post office in Globe. I do, but it’s closed. Fortunately, Karen and Justin were working and kindly under-armed my resupply package from the mail room.
Shoeless Jo is an ambassador for TurboPUP. Kristina, the owner of this fabulous Central Oregon company offered to feed him from coast-to-coast. We receive his meals in the mail weekly. From the impression Jo gives me when I open up one of these K9 meal replacement bars, they’re absolutely delicious. I just might eat one before this trip is over.
After grabbing a cheesy double bacon NerdBerger in town, Stephen and I decided to ride another seven miles to the casino, which is where I’m writing this from. But before we left I had the opportunity to snap a couple of pictures with two of Globe Arizona’s finest; Tiger, and a police officer.