Tempe, AZ—Salome, AZ

The dudes at the AZ state border.

The dudes at the AZ state border.

Taylor and I were feeling quite refreshed after our two day stay in Tempe, Arizona. Our first night in Tempe, Graeme took us out for Mexican food. The three of us actually ended up ordering the exact same carnitas dish. Shredded pork, rice, beans, flour tortilla, some salsa and guacamole… It was delicious! We came home at a very reasonable hour and shared war stories from the road with our mate Graeme. Graeme went to bed on the earlier side and Taylor and I stayed up a bit watching tv. I remember waking up and walking over to Taylor who was soundly sleeping on the couch. I rose with intentions on taking the day off and I was hoping that Taylor felt the same way. We had a long and hot ride from Superior, Arizona which was a bit taxing on us. More than anything I think it was the heat that wiped us out.  Well, I poked Taylor and asked how he was feeling and if he really wanted to ride. He didn’t have to say much, but the look on his face said it all. So, we would be taking an off day. To be honest, the night before I had envisioned that this would actually happen. Upon arriving at Graeme’s house, Taylor actually looked like he had a bit a heat stroke after we had finished. Graeme had prepared a simple, yet delicious breakfast consisting of two loaves of French bread, butter and strawberry jam. After inhaling breakfast numero uno I was quick to prepare a couple of bacon, egg and cheese sandwiches for Taylor and myself.  Graeme opted to skip our second course but did continue sipping on his morning coffee with us while I polished off the rest of mango juice that he prepared the day before.

The dudes with Graeme at his place in Tempe, AZ.

The dudes with Graeme at his place in Tempe, AZ.

We didn’t leave the house until around 5:00pm. We went to the supermarket, grabbed a few supplies for our next couple of days and picked up something for dinner. Over dinner our new mate warned us of the dangers of city biking and asked if we could consider a ride out of the Phoenix area to avoid heavy traffic tomorrow morning. Personally, I enjoy riding in the city. Taylor doesn’t get any pleasure out of city riding and Graeme absolutely despises city riding (but not as much as he detests hills). We told Graeme we’d consider it and give him an answer in the morning. The remainder of our evening was spent relaxing outside and talking for hours on end. There was never a dull moment. Graeme was great fun! We had such an awesome time that Graeme had thrown out the idea of meeting up with us 4-5 days later in Ocotillo, California. He warned us that a very large mountain climb would be awaiting me and Taylor just after Ocotillo. He said, “Hey mate, I got an idea! How about I meet you two lads in Ocotillo, we camp out for a day, you two can ride up the mountain without your gear and save your knees and then, we can camp out in Pine Valley. Then, you two can ride down into San Diego with your gear and finish like champions! How does that sound?”

Thor trying on Graeme's hat that he got in China.

Thor trying on Graeme’s hat that he got in China.

Tay roughin' it at Graeme's place in Tempe, AZ.

Tay roughin’ it at Graeme’s place in Tempe, AZ.

AWESOME! Graeme wasn’t a 100% positive that he would be able to swing it because of some volunteer commitments he already had set up. I went to bed a happy camper with thoughts of hanging out with our new mate and riding up the mountain without any gear. Sweet dreams for me!

Taylor's blood pressure in Phoenix. Normal, right?

Taylor’s blood pressure in Phoenix. Normal, right?

We woke up early and Taylor and I both agreed that maybe getting out of the city wasn’t the worst idea. Besides, Graeme said it is especially hectic during the morning hours and insisted that he drive us just outside of the Phoenix city limits. “Don’t feel guilty,” Graeme said. We took him up on his offer, threw our bikes in the back of his truck and he took us to Surprise, Arizona. We still had a long trek ahead of us to Salome, Arizona but at least we would be free of stop signs and constant traffic lights. They really throw you out of your rhythm. Our goodbye with Graeme was very sad. We didn’t want to leave our new mate but our journey had to continue. We all were hoping that Graeme would be able to make it to Ocotillo and he told us to be expecting a call from him in the next day or two confirming whether or not he would be able to meet up with us or not.

The guys leaving Graeme in Tempe, AZ

The guys leaving Graeme in Tempe, AZ

Our ride to Salome was dry and hot. We were still very much in the desert area but fortunately there were towns every 25-30 miles so water was never an issue for us. We were able to refill at every stop. We made it to our motel in Salome around maybe 4:30pm or so.

We were greeted by the owner who was from Ecuador. She was a great! We spent close to 30 minutes inside speaking with her. She even showed Taylor her collection of different currencies from all over the world. Taylor noticed that she didn’t have any Paraguayan bills on the wall so he gave her one. She smiled, and gave Taylor a bill from Iraq which had the face of the ex dictator, Saddam Hussein.

Some old Iraqi money that an Equadorian motel owner showed us in Salome, AZ. Saddam!

Some old Iraqi money that an Equadorian motel owner showed us in Salome, AZ. Saddam!

Eventually we made our way to the motel room. Taylor took a little nap, I walked around, made a few phone calls and then picked up dinner at the local bar. We were off to bed early in order to get ready for our big ride to Blythe, California the next day.

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