©2019 by Jelle.

The icing on the American cake

27/5/2018

My last part of the US took my much longer than I initially thought, because I decided to replace my wheels and to spend some time in Bisbee, 10 miles from the border. I'm leaving the US in style, that's for sure.

Erick, from the Bicycle Nomad café in Phoenix, had a day off and proposed to cycle together to Florence, Arizona. He joined me for the first 50 miles, before he returned back home. We had some good conversations along the way. He, once again, emphasises how important it is to never leave your bicycle unattended, not even inside a pharmacy. He was cycling from New Orleans to Toronto, along the underground river trail that slaves took to escape to a Northern state or Canada. An hour before he reached his destinations, someone stole his fancy titanium bike in a Walgreens, including all his luggage. What a nightmare! After saying goodbye to each other in Florence, I continued cycling for a little while and ended up before the gate of the St. Anthony’s Greek Orthodox church, where I could pitch up my tent on the side of the road, besides the gate. From a distance, I could see the churches, which looked like majestic temples. What, on earth, is this place? It’s apparently a pretty famous orthodox church, with 24/7 security and daily services in the middle of the night. People came to the gate throughout the night and security guards were walking past my tent while praying.

 

One of the churches

 

On Monday afternoon, I reunited with Seven in the fancy house of his acquaintances, Ken and Linda, in Tucson. The next day, I went to a bike shop to replace my chain, it was about time. They furthermore told me that the brake surface of the rims was extremely thin and drastically needed replacement. The bicycle shop in Amsterdam, before I left to Canda, told me that already. Knowing that the roads will be much rougher in Central-America (and South-America), I decided to replace both wheels. I called around town in search for a place that had the right size rims and furthermore time to build the wheels on a very short notice. Luckily, I found one. I meant that I had to stay another day in Tucson. In the afternoon, a van of the Pedego Electric bike brought us to the top of Mt. Lemmon, and we descended our ways back to Tucson. From pine tree to cactus. Don’t ask me why we used electric bikes for that, as it was only downhill. It’s something that Seven and Ken had already arranged. Later that day, Ken took us to the city hall to vote in favor of the change of a park to commemorate an officer.

 

Views from Mt. Lemmon

 

 

Ken arranged new accommodation for me at his neighbor’s house, Sean, because I had to wait for the bike shop to build my wheels while they left towards LA. I said goodbye to Seven and then went to Sean’s place. I asked him about the hermetically sealed construction at the side of his house. That had to do with an incident of some years ago... He told me that he gave a big party in his house. Apparenty, this was being watched by a 30-year old junk from an hotel room across the street. When they, still hangover, left the house the next morning, the junk saw an opportunity to break into his house via a window that someone forgot to close. The alarm went off and the police was quickly on the spot. The junk was still carrying all the stolen goods, dropped everything and managed to escape on foot. The police put everything in the house again, closed the windows and left again. That same day, the junk, under the influence of hard drugs, returned. Since the window was closed this time, he had to be creative this time. He decided to smash the window with a giant rock and was planning on taking the same stuff he stole earlier that day. The police was warned again and the junk was not quickly enough to leave the house before the officers arrived. In an attempt to distract the officers, he shot a gun from a room, but accidently shot an officer in the head. Officer down! In no-time, Sean’s house changed into a military zone. When Sean unsuspectingly returned to his house, there were hundres of officers and investigators. The junk managed to escape that day, but they arrested him the next day because of another snitching junk. The officer luckily survived the incident, the junk is in jail until 2054.

 

I spent my last afternoon in Tucson at the Pima Air and Space Museum, a must-see for an aviation fanatic. I also saw the famous aircraft boneyard from a distance, but didn’t register myself in advance so I unfortunately couldn’t take the tour. I collected my bike later in the afternoon, fully ready for the worst roads imaginable.

 

Just another day in Tucson

 

In two days, I cycled from Tucson, via Thombstone, towards Bisbee. Thombstone is a touristy place where everything is still decorated in the style of the good old times, with saloons and staged shootings for entertainment.

 

Not the ugliest place to fix a flat, it might be the hottest, though

 

I'm clearly approaching the Mexican border with all those checkpoints

 

Thombstone, Arizona

 

I have heart a lot of crazy stories about Bisbee, it is supposed to be some kind of hippy place. I didn’t have accommodation yet, but people told me that I would find something there. The city is indeed completely different than the other cities in Arizona, it is an old mining city that survived after the mining industry stopped. At 3 PM, in front of a studio with Wi-Fi, I video-called my grandfather in Amsterdam to congratulate him with his 90th birthday. After this conversation, the guy at the studio, Jon, asked me about my trip. Jon and a colleague/friend, Ben, offered me to sleep in the studio. That was indeed quickly arranged! That one night turned into three nights, Bisbee was just too awesome to leave. I’ve had a great time with Jon and Ben. We’ve seen formula 1, checked out some bars, played poker and I could try Jon’s arsenal. That was about the last opportunity before crossing the border.

 

Massage on the farmers market

 Jon and Ben

 

 The Bisbeens N Rice studio in Bisbee

 

Practicing with the AK-47, I'm not very talented

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