Best part of the day: Two of them: Route 66 after Goffs and I-40 leading into Needles
Worst part of the day: US 95 in-between Route 66 and I-40
Distance: 41.3 miles Riding Time: 2hr 57min
Bed count: 1 Sleeping Bag count: 6
Being at a truck stop, there were indeed trucks parked there with their engines running all night long to provide power for their drivers in their cabs. It was a steady humm from them along with the occasional train rolling by at all hours.
With the threat of high winds today, even though it would be behind us, last night we all decided to get underway around 7am. So, arising a little before 6 to a beautiful blue sky and only a breath of wind, we broke down camp, had a quick breakfast of Pop-tarts!
We were on our way pretty much on time. The roadway was real nice with a very slight, easy climb for the first 10 miles. The train tracks paralleled our road and the engineers blew their horns when we waved at them as they passed us. Again, the scenery displayed hills and mountains in the distance and scrub brush all around us.
Upon reaching the tiny hamlet of Goffs and with the nice breeze behind us, we began a fantastic 14-mile, gentle downhill where we were able to coast at over 20mph!! As we were rolling along, we noticed little creatures crawling across the road! They were caterpillars!! (To paraphrase, “why did caterpillar cross the road?…) Did our best to avoid running over them, making it an interesting slolom course on the road weaving left and right!
Eventually we reached the US 95 junction and made the turn towards I-40 (yes, we were going back on it again, and, not for the last time either!). (Just prior to the US 95 junction. We’ve seen these Route 66 stencils all along our route.)
It was a harrowing 6.5-mile stretch of road before hitting I-40. A road grader was pushing dirt onto what little shoulder there was on this 2-lane, 55mph, somewhat curvy road making it even more hazardous for us as trucks and cars galore were screaming up from behind! Most of these vehicles played it fairly nice when passing, but, there were the occasional few that got closer than need be, too impatient!!
With our hearts beating easier after getting past that patch of road, we turned onto I-40 and another fun, 6–mile, wind-aided descent towards Needles. After exiting the interstate, our route brought us past the Needles’ KOA where we had originally thought we’d stay and rock monuments dedicated to the US military branches which were constructed a few years ago. (Wish we’d stopped for pictures, but, here is a link to a story about them: Needles Military-dedicated Rock Momuments)
Ran into a 1/2-mile of really crappy roadway of the Needles Highway (you call this a highway??) just after the KOA and before riding into Needles proper. Our motel, the local Days Inn, was more at the southern end of town, so we had a couple of miles yet to go.
With our early start and the tailwinds, at 10:30 we reached a McDonald’s close to the Days Inn! And check-in wasn’t until 3! So, the four of us “took up residency” there at the McDonald’s ordering breakfast and lunch items over a 4-hour “killing time” span! We also used that time to start planning on what our next few days may entail. Lodging options, resupply needs, distances and amount of climbing ahead, etc., as well as dining options for tonight.
The winds had started to pick up even more as we rolled up to the motel. Got checked in by the manager on duty, Nick, a not too pleasant fellow, got our keys to our ground-floor rooms (as we had requested with our online reservation), and figured out a way to arrange our bikes in the room.
After not being able to shower for two days, getting a hot shower was exuberating!! It felt so wonderful to be clean again!!
It was around 4:30 when the four of us met to figure out what we were going to do for dinner. By now, the winds had to be gusting to at least 30mph!! The palm trees around the motel were really bending in the wind and an umbrella at the motel’s pool had blown into the pool!! Definitely not safe riding conditions! Solution? Domino’s delivery!!
Two delicious pizzas satisfied all of us. Afterwards, made a run to the next door Dollar General to get dessert, a 4-pack of frozen ice cream drumsticks and cookies!!
Next, getting laundry done was the next order of business. With no working clothes dryer at the motel, our room became a clothes line. Real nice to have a comfortable bed in which to sleep tonight.
Until our next post….