• Brian Rawson

Gliding, My Niece, and a Girl - U.S. 360 Day 23 from Superior AZ to Tempe AZ

My cycling journey around the American perimeter

48 miles – Total so far: 1151 miles

What a superior day! Another early rise to beat the heat! Left Superior, Arizona around 6:30 am amidst fairly cool weather. I immediately started a single climb out of the small town, which honestly, I thought would be worse than it actually turned out to be. After that climb, I could see for miles ahead what locals call the East Valley, which is home to the suburbs East of Phoenix.

For almost 25 miles, I glided almost elegantly down a slight decline into the valley, just enough of a descent to barely pedal, but not so much that I couldn’t enjoy the scenery. I love the desert landscape, and today I quenched my thirst for it. Saguaro cactuses came into view, and they filled the desert, looking like giant green people standing straight up in the sand. I also came upon quite the sight when a group of about six or seven cowboys, all on horseback, were driving a herd of cattle from Point A to Point B. For a minute, Surly Pearl considered going off-road to join her brethren on the cattle drive, but I kept her steady on the roadway shoulder. Speaking of roadway shoulder, today’s riding conditions (almost) made up for the less than average Arizona road conditions I’ve experienced over the last few days. The U.S. 60 roadbed was excellent, recently repaved, wide, and very smooth.

The last 25 miles were spent cutting through the suburbs of Apache Junction, Mesa, and finally Tempe. I must say that this area knows how to treat traveling cyclists. Bicycle lanes are everywhere, and bicycling infrastructure (rest areas, signs, road markings) is ubiquitous. This part of the ride took me through well-groomed neighborhoods, playgrounds full of kids, and courteous drivers. There were also palm trees and citrus orchards, lots of citrus orchards. Not even a flat tire three miles from the end of the ride could bring me to reality. A great day, from beginning to end.

Later in the day, I got to see and stay with my phenomenal niece, a Neuropsychologist who lives in Chandler. After relaxing for a bit, we went to her favorite local brewpub and drank, ate, and drank the evening away. I am assuming now that I am her favorite uncle, having pedaled 1151 miles to see her! We are all so proud of BriAnne.

OK, whew!!

Today is my final riding day of this section of my journey around the American perimeter. I have most certainly achieved the things I originally set out to achieve, and I have experienced things that I could not heretofore have dreamt. I will be posting my final thoughts on this adventure in a few days, and laying out my plans for the next journey to the West Coast and up along the Pacific Coast, so stay tuned! Until then, my very highest priority awaits in Austin, to celebrate not my return home, but to hold my hand as we celebrate our 28th wedding anniversary next week. Until my next adventure, I will borrow a very fitting line from Will Hunting…

“I have to go see about a girl”.

It’s All Good. It’s all very, very good.

Photo of the Day: I really do like Arizona!

Click Here to read my daily tour journal entry on crazyguyonabike.com

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