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Arizona Scapbook Page 4

Besh Ba Gowah Archaeological Park
December 24nd. Did my laundry this morning. One of those necessary chores of traveling that I could live without, except that I love the consequences: that is, putting on clean clothes. This afternoon I walked to the Besh Ba Gowah Archaeological Park, a couple of miles out of Globe. This is an active archaeological site and partially restored pueblo built by the Salado people in the 13th century. Unlike the Tonto ruins, which were built in a cave, these ruins stand on a slight hill. Most of what is left of the original structure are foundation walls. One building has been fully reconstructed as archaeologists imagine it looked. There is also a good video and display of pottery and other artifacts at the adjacent visitors center.

December 25rd. Christmas morning. Which I hate to admit I celebrated by having a McBagel this morning. Unfortunately that was the only place to eat that was open when I left Globe this morning. My real celebration was last night anyway, when I talked to mom and dad and my brother last night. And the night before, talking on the phone with Karen.

The road to Safford
6:15 PM: ALL RIGHT! I cycled 105 km (65 miles) today. Not bad for someone who's been spending far too much time sitting on their ass in an office. Of course the riding was a lot easier than it was on the way to Globe. Lots of up and down, but very gentle grades. Spent most of the day riding through the Apache Reservation. Not much to distinguish it from the rest of the desert, except for the casino near Globe and some cotton fields along the Gila River near Bylas. Bylas has no services, just some houses and a school. I took a long break at the school, the only real break I took all day. The road was good for riding, with wide shoulders and not much traffic (probably not true on days other than Christmas), but there weren't many pull outs, and those that were there were covered in broken glass.
This is something I'm starting to really notice about Arizona, that there is broken glass all along the edges of it's roads, and not just in the reservations, but everywhere. The bigger hazzard for cyclists however, as it turned out for me anyway, is THORNS. Very hard to avoid in the desert. Already I have a slow leak in my front tire - I pumped it up solid this morning. And I will end up dealing with four flats in the next four days.

Cotton fields near Bylas

My tent is set up and dinner is cooking. This is far from an ideal spot, but I ran out of light and needed to stop. I'm tucked in to a somewhat level spot between the railroad tracks and a canal. The highway is just on the other side of the tracks from me and across the highway there is a house. Since this is undoubtedly private property I can't be very obvious about being here. So no fire tonight. Which will make for a long cold evening. Quite cold already.

December 26th. Rode the 24 km to Safford this morning. It's about 9:30 AM, and I'm having tacos at a fast food joint, trying to thaw out. Last night was intensely cold (-10 Celcius in my tent). My sleeping bag, which once was a very warm bag has simply lost too much down over the years to keep me warm enough. My feet felt like blocks of ice this morning, and the rest of me didn't feel much warmer. I don't think I want to camp out anymore, at least not around here, maybe once I'm further west again near Tucson. That means I need to develop a new plan. I had really wanted to go to Chiracahua National Monument and spend a day hiking through the balancing rock formations. But that would mean spending two night camped out at over 5000 feet (I was at 3000 feet last night) - and I don't think it's worth the misery. So I'm planning a new route that will ensure that I get to sleep inside at cheap motels or hostels while I'm in this eastern corner of the state.

3:00 PM. Sitting in the sunshine outside of my room at the Tour Rest Motel. Very decent accommodation for US$26.50 (with tax). Had a shower when I got here around 11:30, after a stop at the tourist info. The guy at the info desk didn't know anything, but fortunately there was a woman in the parking lot who was very helpful and directed me to the motel. After my shower I explored the town, bought some groceries and had lunch (about US$4) in the local diner. Baked chicken special, with a few overcooked vegies, about what you'd expect from a diner. Although I thought it should have included jello for dessert. Oh well.
Just remembered to hang up my tent in the sun. There was still frost on the fly from this morning.

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