Heber-Overgaard, AZ to Payson, AZ
We have a running joke type thing on this trip that every day is the best day ever because often times you don't think things can get better but then they do! Today might actually have been the true best day ever though. To start, we got to wake up a whole hour later than usual so not only were we more rested, but it also was warmer out when we started biking. There were a few coffee shops that people wanted to stop at, but we had been told that there was another lake to swim in around mile 25. Jeff, Ella V, Sam, and I went right on by both cafe's and got to the lake, and it was the best decision I could have ever made.
Not only was there new lunch foods that we were able to break into, but the lake was absolutely gorgeous! We keep saying things can't get better, but then they do! It's too much. We all made the most amazing lunch yet and went down to a rock ledge next to the lake and enjoyed the sun.
Again, it felt like we were on vacation. During lunch we made a chipmunk friend that we named Chip! People must feed them often because he was not afraid of us at all. None of us cared because he was adorable.
Once other people started to show up, a few of them went swimming. The water was a little too chilly and the air not warm enough for me to go all the way in, but I stuck my feet in. I was just enjoying being by the water and ended up staying there for almost 3 hours!
I set off with Jeff, Casey, and Ella V thinking that we had seen the best part of the day. Before we even got out of the park, we hit the official 3000 mile mark! How is that possible?!
Not even 5 miles down the road though we came across the most amazing view we've had all trip! We immediately pulled over into the viewpoint and took pictures for our sweepstakes--jumping pictures! We were all awestruck by the beauty of the mountains and filled with adrenaline for the 6 miles we were about to go down hill at a 6% downgrade!
Like before, I thought the day couldn't get any better at the lake but then it did! The downhill was one of the most exhilarating things I have ever done and it was completely worth the climbs we had during the morning.
We were all going down the hill with out mouths wide open, probably looking very silly to oncoming drivers, but we didn't care at all. There were working on part of the highway next to us so for our next jumping picture we got off our bikes and walked over to the empty part of the highway and took pictures in the middle of the road.
Biking into Payson was a little more crowded and frightening as a rider, but Ella V and I stopped at the most amazing coffee shop just after our last turn and got delicious and refreshing drinks. It was the best way to end the day, and definitely the best coffee shop to stop at of the day.
Dinner was provided by the Habitat in Payson and the women that are in charge are absolutely amazing! Their energy and excitement were so amazing after two nights in a row without hosts to interact with. The president of the Payson Area Habitat, Kathie, was once the COO of Apple--she's the one responsible for their retail stores! From the brief conversation we had tonight over dinner I can already tell she's an amazing woman and I'm so glad we got to meet her and the rest of her team. That night we went to a really cool bar to wind down and listened to some fun live country music. One of the guys on our trip actually got to go up and play with them! We had a ton of fun trying to learn to line dance of some sort--we still need some practice.