Wednesday 28th Dec 04
Thomas is now in his 4th day of travel, and has just phoned in what could be
a slightly demoralised state of mind from somewhere in Phoenix Arizona. A
damp Scotland-style wind has been blowing rain into his face and slowing him
to 7mph, which is not fast enough to escape the fierce dogs that pursue him
on the quieter country roads. On the less quiet country roads, he merely
gets passed at speed by trucks. A disturbing moment was re-passing one of
the same trucks that had gone out of control down the hill and overturned:
the rescuers were cutting out the unfortunate driver as Thomas freewheeled
past. Discouraged by the storm wind, he has taken the Greyhound Bus to
Phoenix. (Or is planning to take the bus from Phoenix? Not sure.)
That said, he has (to my mind, triumphantly) overcome the coastal range,
pedalling all the way up it on Day 1 - a climb that as far as I recall is
from sea level to 4000ft, almost as high as Ben Nevis. He was joined by a
gang of local cyclists going up the hill 'for fun' and camped along with
them at the top.
Day 2 was freewheeling 10 miles at a time down the eastern slopes. The only
campsite was actually a pull-in for monster Winnebagos (US style truck
homes), no little tents and bikes - but the kindly manager lent him an empty
Winnebago (did he put his tent up inside it, I wonder?).
Day 3 was the discouraging one, with storms that are apparently not really
expected in the desert even at Christmas time. Sand blowing in the eyes,
water blowing across the roads. He turned back, and was given a lift by what
must have been a very kindly woman as somehow the wet bike got lifted too.
Overnight in an expensive hotel, presumably in Phoenix?
At the moment he is hopefully gridironing downtown Phoenix. And is already
in his 2nd time zone. The hostel is (according to mapquest.com) near the
intersection of Interstate I-10 with 7th Street; it's 500m southwest of Good
Samaritain Hospital and 2ml northwest of the Sky Harbour International
Airport. Alas, there are no Internet cafes in Phoenix and there is no way to
get this info to T. Will he find the hostel, its welcoming Susan concealed
as she is behind bamboo and green trees?
Dad 30th Dec 04