Riding The San Carlos Reservation

27th – 28 Oct 2018

Apache Bush Camp to Safford 75kms

Brrr, a very chilly morning when the Monkeys started going off. I was ready to do my best for Will and get moving. I didn’t want to, but I was going to. Then Will snoozed the alarm, stating too cold. So we didn’t manage our planned get away time. Will is looking a bit fractious, and jiggering around, while I eat my nuts and berries, and I just snigger to myself. I’ve already “gone walkabout” with the morning paper (and a bag to put my paper in afterwards), and I was feeling ready. Will didn’t want to do that, and really thought he could hang on until Bylas, the next Apache Village, 20 something kilometres away. By the time we were both almost packed up, he knew he wasn’t going to make it. Off he went, “walkabout with the paper “. There is nothing like the feeling of relief, knowing you won’t have to stress all the way to your next stop. Lucky too, it was closer to 30 kilometres, and lots more of the roller coaster hills.


We’re packed, and we’re ready! Off to the rollercoaster again, we go?

Bylas was the other end of the reservation, and there was nothing there. We pulled into the only store, and it had nothing. Will came out with a packet of Doritos and some more small bottles of water. While we sat there, eating our Doritos, an Apache lady, PJ, came and chatted to us, telling us the story of her life, which was all a bit sad, then sang us a song for good fortune along our travels. She also tried to sell us some jewellery, they make, but there is no way we are carrying anything extra, that you can’t eat or drink. Anyway, after her very nice singing, we had to keep going. She asked us for some money, and this time we gave her some. We don’t usually, but she had put a lot of effort in, and we’ve been helped so much, it felt like the right thing to do.


Not all the little towns have survived the modern age.

Later on, heading out of town, she drove passed and gave us a wave and a toot. Another ten minutes and there she goes again, back towards home. Another toot, and wave, and then we spotted another store, just out of the reservation. Ah-huh! So no alcohol is allowed to be sold on the reservation, so I guess they just come out here. Well, I hope she enjoys what ever she could afford with her gift. Us, we just trudged on, over the ridiculous cracks in the shoulder, karjunk, karjunk, karjunk. Ugh, it is infuriating! Sometimes we would scoot out onto the white line, which was smooth, until a car or a truck came behind us, then we’d dive back to the stupid dick shoulder. 


How do you ride on a shoulder that is full of rumble strip? Ridiculous!

Today was just dragging on and on. The terrible shoulder, the constant fuel trucks, and these bloody rolling hills. They have settled down gradually, since Bylas, but as they get flatter, we are just steadily heading uphill. About 20 kilometres from Safford, we hit cotton farming, and the first of a couple of small sister towns. Pima is surrounded with cotton, all at different stages. We were passed by a weird piece of large farm machinery, and we saw many enormous bales of cotton. We also saw about a zillion signs for Taylor Freeze! “28 Flavors of Soft Serve Ice Cream”, “The Big T Burger”, “Real Handmade Thickshakes” “Root Beer Floats”. Mmm, after that much advertising, I was pretty bloody sure I needed an ice cream. Yep, there it is, and I go in to get us the necessary energy to get to Safford. I stood at the counter for ten minutes, while the busy staff walked by me. No one acknowledged me, and no one asked if I wanted anything. I cracked the shits, and left. Will was eagerly awaiting his energy boost, and was seriously sad when I said I was over it, and we’re not getting it now. Let’s go! Nope, he wasn’t having that, so went in, and walked out two minutes later with two soft serve cones. Bloody hell, maybe I do need to tidy myself up a bit.

As we came to Fort Thomas, we spotted this memorial to Melvin Jones, the founder of the International Lions club.
It had a shelter from the sun, and we took the opportunity to rest and have lunch.

The rest of the afternoon, was a real struggle. As we got closer to town, there was more traffic, traffic lights, and lots more bumps. Oh my god, can’t you just make a good smooth road? Finally, we located our fleabag hotel, Economy Inn, and found our room. Yep, it’s a fleabag, but it is ground floor, has a big comfy bed, is very clean, and had one of the best hot showers so far, all for $60. Fantastic. I was straight in the shower, then, as they had free washing machines, I decided to do laundry. We had all that sorted, so walked 250 meters to the nearest restaurant, and ate dinner. First time we have been able to get a steak and salad meal. It was just what we needed. We were both knackered. We crashed out early, planning another earlier start in the morning.

The endless bumps and straight road, and cotton. Miles of it growing in the desert. They get the enormous quantities af water from a large aquifer, and three rivers. I wonder how much longer it will last?



Economy Inn was a pretty good fleabag. The Manor House restaurant had steak AND salad. Unusual but appreciated.


I don’t know what went wrong, but not only did we not get away early, we didn’t even get away. I woke up feeling like I’d been hit by a truck. My old mate Fibromyalgia had popped it’s ugly head up, for the first time in ages. I was really starting to think the riding was going to help me get rid of it. But nope, I was really knocked for a six. Will was super supportive, and actually seemed quite happy to stay another day, so got up and sorted that out straight away. He even brought back coffee. We both just layed on the bed, me stretching and trying to get things working, Will just blogging and reading. By lunch time, I thought a walk might help, so we did that, and stocked up on groceries at the same time. I’ve been messaging James, and he was due in town today, so I invited him to drop in for dinner. I thought he might choose to stay at the fleabag hotel too. 

Not too many people walking. Maybe because fuel is so bloody cheap.

He arrived mid afternoon, and had decided he would try camp at the fire station (they are pretty good, apparently, and let cyclists do that), but would come back for dinner and to watch the Baseball playoffs. His team, Boston Redsocks, just needed to win one more game to be the champions. Tonight’s the night, he reckoned. So off he went to sort out somewhere to stay. A minute later, another cyclist, booked into the fleabag. Aram, had ridden from Los Angeles, heading for New Orleans, and he had just ridden from Globe today. Oh youth, we miss you! Seriously amazing amount of riding, given the shoulder and traffic, and hills. He is also a Redsocks fan, and as we were discussing the game, James came back, not having any luck at the Fire Station. He had, however, been flagged down and offered a Warmshowers bed. So he came and had a shower, we all four shared our dinner (chicken, salad, and bread rolls), while watching the Redsocks win the Championship. Woo hoo, I guess we are now Redsocks fans.

James and Aram enjoying the baseball, that’s because their team won.

It was another great night with different people, from different backgrounds, doing different things in life, sharing different experiences. In the end, James stayed with Aram, at the fleabag, and we all retired pretty soon after the game. We ARE leaving earlier tomorrow!!!

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