Day 5 – Willcox to Tombstone
The winds were very calm so we were able to hold a good pace with minimal effort. Also a relatively flat road until lunch time. First time in a few days we’ve been able to strip off leg and arm warmers and enjoy the sun and heat, After a huge and delicious lunch we took off again, a bit more wind leaving, but eventually we turned and had the wind at our back. That, combined with a slight decline, meant only one thing. Hammer time!!! Ben and I swung around the group and took off down the road, flying!!! After a few minutes of that Scott came tearing up the road and passed us, so we upped the pace and the three of us hammered that road until I couldn’t take anymore and called uncle. Boy, that was fun!! We’d have one more effort like that later in the afternoon.
At one point we saw something going on up the road. It was the PAC tour van and trailer stopped at the side of the road, as well as an ambulance. The group went quiet. As we carefully rode by, Lon let us know someone (Peter) had gone down and hit his head pretty good, but was ok. The story now is that perhaps Peter lost consciousness before he went down, maybe a heart arythmia or something, and fell into another rider, who also went down. Peter was unconscious for a few minutes, but was lucid and able to answer questions after a while. He has no recollection of the crash. He was brought by helicopter to the hospital back in Tucson. The other rider trashed both wheels and broke his thumb. A sobering accident. The road conditions were perfect there, somewhere you would not expect an accident. We found out later he broke his collarbone and scapula, as well as some ribs, and punctured a lung. He will have to stay in Tucson until he is well enough to fly.
Tombstone is a strange place to say the least. Dining is an interesting experience and has been a bit of a challenge for our two vegetarian friends. They are so good natured and patient despite the fact that these small Arizona towns are all about eating cow. As much as I feel sorry for them, I feel sorry for myself because although I do have more options, the food is generally terrible. You’d think that in a place where steak reigns supreme they would have more of a knack for cooking it properly. But prices are good, portions to suit a caveman, and the service is always friendly. The restaurant we ate at tonight (one of about 700 “The Longhorn” restaurants in the area, was no exception. Ben ordered a slab of ribs of comical proportions. Ben is not a large man, but he did an admirable job of the meal, and likely won’t need to consume protein of any kind for a while.
A treat tomorrow, we don’t have to move. We will ride out to Bisbee, a substantial climb I’m told, then do a loop to Sierra Visa and back to Tombstone. It’s nice to not have to worry about where we’re going. Each morning we just hop on our bikes, follow our maps and ride. Life is good.