Thursday, April 11th – Day 9 – Needles to almost Kingman

Screenshot_20190414-070844_Ride with GPS

Best part of the day: Finding a local fire station for camping

Worst part of the day: Intended lodging site (RV Park) was closed

Distance: 61.4 Riding Time: 7hr 13min

Bed count: 2 Sleeping Bag count: 7

Awoke before 6 to get an early start on the day. Met Peggy and Jerry in the motel breakfast area for our morning meal. Talked about where we’ll stay tonight. Our primary option is the Black Mountain RV Park, about a 52-mile ride.

We’d called RV Park earlier and they said that they really didn’t take tent campers! That’s strange because their place is listed on the ACA map AND their website has a price for tent camping!! Well, we still chose to play dumb when we got there and take our chances.
Checked out and were on our way before 7. The ride out of Needles wasn’t bad, but, once we escaped the town on US 95, it was a windy, very little shoulder, 2-lane road with cars and trucks whizzing by!! Fortunately, we survived that!

A quiet, side road led us back onto I-40 towards Topock, the Colorado River and into Arizona! Farewell to California for now! Hope to see you again in less than a couple of months.20190411_080910_1123

20190411_080529_5632(Welcome to Arizona! – top, a pipeline bridge over the Colorado River. – bottom)

Today, we paid the piper for having those days of nice tail winds. The winds getting into Arizona were with us, but, the moment we turned north to head towards Oatman, in our faces it was. Not to mention the climbing we had today, intially over 4,000’, but, with the added distance more like 4,500’!!!

Rolling hills reigned supreme, but always, it was ever upwards. Some spectacular mountain scenery greeted our eyes as we made 25-mile trek into Oatman. The road just getting into that town hit us with some 8%-9% grades!

20190411_104943_685620190411_10504620190411_105904_481520190411_11355520190411_115300

It’s a quirky little town now set up for tourists. 20190411_121359

20190411_115934_1186(A couple of sights as we entered Oatman!)

Donkeys have free roam of the main street. 20190411_125417_4584

Parking our bikes next to one shop, we stopped in and bought a couple of Cokes. Got our food out and had it right there on the shop’s porch!!

Old West-themed shops, food and beverage vendors and other types lined the main drag. We wandered up the street where we came upon one of their staged gunfights that they have a couple of times a day! We caught the very end of that performance.20190411_125544_248820190411_130145_530220190411_130153_135020190411_125759_8443

When we were back at the motel in Needles, Jerry had discovered that his rear tire had gone flat. Finding truck tire steel wires puncturing through, he wound up patching two tubes. A ways back around the town of Golden Shores, he had another flat tire. We continued on planning to meet in Oatman.

We spent about an hour in Oatman, and, just as we were ready to head back on the bike, Peggy and Jerry rolled/climbed into town. We cheered them in and gave a little lay of the land.

Then it was time for the two of us to tackle the Sitgreave Pass. At almost 4,000’ elevation, we had some fun switchbacks to negotiate!! It was only 4.5 miles to get to the pass, but, it took over an hour and a number of stops along the way before reaching the summit. Some road grades that rivaled Costco Hill in Folsom!

There were some spectacular views of the valley below as we progressed up the roadway to the top of the pass. 20190411_144301

The subsequent 7.5-mile downhill was a bit windy and we had to watch our speed. Passed this old Route 66 “station”, Cool Springs. A gentleman in a top hat had hollered at Fay to stop for a picture, but, she zipped by while Rob made the stop.  He had Rob do a few “poses” for pictures!20190411_151225

Finally, reached the Black Mountain RV Park. Rolled our bikes over to the office only to find the doors locked!! We saw on their window that the office was open only until 1pm today and we have arrived around 3:30! They wouldn’t be open again until Saturday! Fay had called their number and only got an answering machine. A couple in a pickup drove by and we thought that it might be the owners, no such luck. The grumpy driver said that the owners leave town on Thursday afternoons and don’t return until Saturday! Wonderful.

We texted Peggy and Jerry the situation and said that we were looking to press on to the KOA in Kingman, another 20+ miles more! Back on the road at just before 4, it was slow and go, maybe 8mph-9mph, because of the wind and the bumpy road. We started formulating an alternate plan as the miles increased. We’d already gone 52 miles to the RV park and we would have 1,300’ more of climbing to get to the KOA. Ugghhh!!

About 8 miles up the road and with light slowly beginning to fade, we found what we hoped would be a place to camp, a fire station!! Rolling up, Fay pressed the “door bell” and a fireman showed up. Fay used her best charming voice to ask if we might set up our tent behind there station. He said okay, then we asked about using their bathroom. He had to check with the boss for that. He returned saying it was okay. What a huge relief!!

The station had a small gravel area in the back which was perfect. As we were setting up the tent, the firefighter, Jarod Marks, opened up the back door to their kitchen area. 20190411_174200

Whoops! A call came into their station and Jarod had to lock us out!! Oh well, we’ll patiently wait their return, hopefully not too long. And it wasn’t. Within about 15 minutes, the firetruck was back. The shift “boss”, Chris Beckes, brought one of their other vehicles around to the back and then came over to introduced himself. He graciously opened up the station to us allowing us full access to their bathroom, shower and to store our bikes inside the station for the night. We gratefully thanked him for his generosity!

Meanwhile, we had gotten a text from Peggy and Jerry saying that they’d had a major chain jam. We thought it meant that there was a traffic problem only to find out from them when they had arrived at the fire station that Peggy’s bike chain had “jumped off” the rear gears getting wedged between the gears and the spokes causing her to fall off the bike!! Oh no!! Her knee was a bit banged up. It took a bit, but, Jerry managed to free up the chain and they were back on their way.

Fay cooked up dinner on the picnic table there in the back as we continued to wait for P&J’s arrival. It was almost dark when they rolled in with bike lights blazing. That’s when we found out the whole story. We helped them get their tent up so they could get themselves cleaned up.

Later, after Chris and Jarod had finished their dinner, Brat-dogs and salad, we all gathered in the kitchen area to have to wonderful conversation full of stories and lots of laughter. Chris said they would have to lock up the back door when they went to bed, so, we made sure that everything was taken care of by then. Around 9, it was bedtime, again more than grateful for all these firemen had shared with us.

Until our next post…

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6 thoughts on “Thursday, April 11th – Day 9 – Needles to almost Kingman

  1. We were in Oatman on new year’s day when I texted you guys. Sounds like a grueling ride but you’re prepared and probably in the best shape of your lives. Feel bad for Peggy with her mishaps. Hopefully smooth riding from here on out. I’m enjoying your blog.

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  2. Day 9. Faye, Sounds like quite a day but u made it thru another day. Glad u were able to find a place for the nite behind the fire station.you’ve met some nice people, like the nice firmen. Enjoying all your stories.

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