Kingman, AZ to Mohave Valley, AZ
We finally hit the desert today, and boy was it hot. However, today was once again the best day ever. It still amazes me that they can even get better after some of the awesome days we've had! The day started off slowly. Ella V needed her bike fixed and I wanted to send some things home, so I waited for her with sweep, our friends Jake and Shane. At Starbucks before the bike shop opened, we met an awesome guy named Ron who was excited about what we were doing. On our way to the post office while Ella V dealt with her bike, Ron drove up next to us and asked if we could chat. He wondered if we had had any press coverage in Kingman, which we had not. So Shane, Jake, and I biked down to a cool Arizona Route 66 sign and got our picture taken with our bikes. We also gave a mini presentation about what Bike & Build is while Ron filmed it for the press. He also was super kind and donated 5 new tubes to our group! we've been getting lots of flats recently so they will come in handy I'm sure. Lucky for us, the post office was right across the street so we just walked on over and waited for it to open at 9am. Ella V's bike was fixed around that time as well so she biked over and met us and we went on our way. Ultimately, we left Kingman around 9:30 while everyone else had left close to or before 7am. The rumor of the day was that we were going to be climbing a mountain and then descending it on the other side. As we biked towards the mountain, we brased ourselves for a grueling uphill. The road leading to the mountain was awful and bumpy and made my arms tingle/itch. It was the worst. After a quick shop at the general store at the base of the mountain, we started the switchbacks. They were actually kind of fun! The view was fantastic and the heat had not set in at all yet.
Lunch was just after the peak of the mountain--a very deserving reward. We decided that since we were the only ones there we would have a picnic (most likely everyone else had been gone for about an hour at least). It was an epic picnic.
After a beautiful lunch, we descended through the switchbacks of the other side of the mountain. It was fun but kind of difficult to go down the switchbacks since the turns were so tight. About halfway down, we came upon the tiny town of Oatman, AZ. It used to be a mining town and now it's more just a touris attraction along Route 66. The craziest part of Oatman is that they have wild donkeys called Burros freely roaming the streets. It was insane. They at my cue sheet! We had a lot of fun exploring the town, and we even got an old time western posed photo of the four of us! It was a great pit stop.
The rest of the ride was completely downhill, but the temperature increased substantially! I got a small bloody nose on the way down but decided that it would be better to deal with it on the bike then to stop and absolutely melt in the heat. When we got close to the town, all of us had the same idea--find water! We saw a pool in a gates community but couldn't find anyone to talk to about using it so we headed out and went to a different country club community. They didn't have a pool, but they gave us cold water and told us how to get to the Colorado River where we could swim. Since it was almost 110°, we decided to head there immediately to cool down. It was an amazing decision. The water was a bit cold but perfectly refreshing. It's crazy to think that this water came from the same river we saw when we hiked the Grand Canyon!
We really didn't want to leave but we were already going to be late for dinner so we headed out to find the host site. There, we ate a ton of pizza and went out back to find a slip and slide. Obviously we had to do it for a little bit. Well worth it as well. Afterwards, we took the best hose showers imaginable! It was the first time it was hot enough to actually desire a hose shower over a real one.
The evening ended with two more Olympic events--the thermarest roll and the bag weighing. I thought I was pretty fast at rolling up my thermarest in the morning but oh my gosh did everyone go fast! Jeff did it in just 28 seconds!! It was super exciting. Even with some technical difficulties, my teammate Sean was able to come in 3rd place. The bag weighing involved everyone packing up their bags and getting each groups average bag weight. Since we're at an elementary school, we used the school nurses office which had a scale. Side note, yay Mom for starting her job as the new school nurse at Penn Charter this week!! Anyway, the runnings were close with most people weighing in in the mid-30 range. The heaviest bag was 55 lbs with the lightest being 27.5 lbs. My bag was the second lightest at 28 lbs. Maybe if I wasn't carrying around 40 dice that my mom sent me I would have been the lightest... (just kidding it's a fun game!), but either way my team had the lightest average weight so we won the event! It was really exciting for us since we started out in last on the first night. We're all talking about how excited we are to be almost to California, but at the same time having a hard time imagining life without crazy adventures and 26 other awesome people to do them with. Reunions have already started being planned and we haven't even parted ways yet!