Across Continents

Ken's Blog

Going around in circles

December 22nd, 2011

About fifteen miles off the Interstate I’d said. A smaller diner. It had, I quickly added, character. A certain charm. Drawing in the locals, from where I wasn’t quite sure, rather than reliant on the tourist trade. Couldn’t remember its name but there was nothing else there. Couldn’t miss it. Take a left at the roundabout. Few of these in North America, and this the only one on this stretch of highway.

If you’ve ever driven in the US, you’ll probably be familiar with four-way stops. Idea is simple enough. Four way junction. You must come to a halt when you reach it, even if there’s no other vehicle in sight. Otherwise you risk a citation. You can then proceed in the order you reached at the stop line. If it’s a dead heat, whoever’s to your right goes first.

Great theory. But plenty of scope for confusion, especially if its a close run thing to the line, and one of you is in a bit of a rush. Ballet class usually. And whilst the requirement to come to a halt before proceeding no doubt helps reduce accidents, it also disrupts traffic flow. Fine in the middle of nowhere, but in towns and cities? Must be jolly frustrating, especially when there’s a very simple solution. Pop a circle of concrete in the middle and call it a roundabout. Otherwise it’s a Jammie Dodger without the jam. Or pancakes without maple syrup.

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Three Ways

December 17th, 2011

Three Ways, Arizona. Not a lot there. As Ken discovers..

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Boot tapping

December 17th, 2011

As if you needed a reminder to tap your boots out before putting them on in the desert…

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Nowhereville

December 17th, 2011

Ken discovers a candidate for Nowhereville. Near Safford, Arizona.

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Highway 191

December 17th, 2011

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Highway 191 east towards Three Ways, eastern Arizona. And those mountains in the background are about ten miles away…

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Solomon

December 17th, 2011

Ken makes a brief stop in Solomon for rations. Before heading for the ominously sounding Cold Creek campground.

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Storm brewing

December 17th, 2011

Storm brewing, shortly to sweep across the continental United States. Expectations of snow on high ground, even in the southern States. I’d been watching the evening Weather Channel with Joyce and husband Gene-Robert. Not good news. But at least I knew what was heading my way, able to plan accordingly.

I needed to reach Silver City, roughly 120 miles further east, and the next and final rendezvous with my parents. Between us a mountain pass in excess of 6,000 feet. And short days. Dark soon after four. I explored the options with host Mons, deciding to push for arriving a day earlier than planned, just ahead of the front. Clear the pass the next day.

Bold, but feasible, plan. If progress was slower than I might hope for, I could camp at altitude, a little beyond the pass. Amongst woods just shy of the New Mexico border. Then descent onto open ground. Vulnerable to winds sweeping in uninhibited.

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Sunrise in Safford

December 17th, 2011

Ken awakens after a good night’s rest in a conservatory in Safford, Arizona

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Mormon hospitality

December 17th, 2011

Joyce explained that, as Mormons, they didn’t drink coffee, instead offering me a selection of herbal teas. Curious, I asked why. It was the Word of Wisdom, she said, a religious text that prohibited the consumption of caffeinated drinks, illegal substances, alcohol and encouraged the sparing use of meat.

I admitted I probably drank more coffee than I should, but had never touched narcotics and rarely drank. Adding that I could hardly fault the rationale behind the text. Wondering if decaffeinated drinks were acceptable, but it didn’t seem right to ask.

I’d spent the night with Mons and his family, staying in his parent’s house next door. Welcomed into their respective homes with unconditional generosity. Conscious of the many cyclists that spent the night under their roof, I’d suggested a small contribution. Declined as politely as it’d been offered.

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Bylas blues

December 16th, 2011

Ken stops for a short break in Bylas, in an Apache Indian Reservation. And he’s not that impressed…

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