Thursday, September 30, 2010

Day 4 - Gila Bend

Here we are at the end of day 4 and it's been quite a ride already. We're in beautiful Gila Bend, AZ which is about 75 miles south of Phoenix. Let me see if I can catch you up on what we've experienced so far....

Yesterday we started the morning in Brawley, CA. Pastor Jim and his wonderful wife Joy hosted the team and we had a great night. Joy sent us off in the morning and we hit the road for Yuma. Almost immediately into the the ride to Yuma my front derailleur stopped working and I lost the ability to shift into any of my lower gears. I rigged it with the help of Bruce Ford and a nice guy at the Shell station who let us borrow his pliers. With my short term fix in place we were off towards Yuma. We merged onto Highway 8 and started making some headway. Fortunately there weren't any hills so my lack of gears wasn't as critical as it could have been. Had that occured on Monday we might have been in trouble.

Pretty much uneventful till we got a few miles outside of the AZ state line - the California Highway Patrol paid us a visit and informed us it's illegal to ride on Route 8 if there are other options. What he didn't say was that the other option was last repaved in 1946. It was the absolute worst road I've ever been on. It shook us and our bikes for what seemed like an hour or so (although I don't think it really was that long). We made it though and as soon as we passed into AZ we got back on 8 for a smoother ride. Onward to Yuma!

Yuma couldn't come quick enough - it was getting very hot and we were tired. We rolled into Foothills Baptist Church around 3pm and met up with our hosts Pastor James Doyle and Don Kelso (a deacon at the church). What a great bunch of folks! Don took me to his house and I was able to get cleaned up. Each of the other guys had a host family as well. It's really cool to see churches coming together to support us. What a privilege. After I got cleaned up and changed Don and I were off to the local bike shop to get my derailleur fixed. We found ourselves at Mr. B's Bicycles and Fitness in Yuma and Dan Hopkins took me in right away and made quick work of fixing my broken parts. All for $15 nonetheless - what a guy! He finished the job and stated, "Next time buy a Trek....much better bike....". I think Don had a lot of fun watching Dan work on the bike. We both thought Dan was a pretty interesting guy. I'm sure glad he was able to take care of me. We had a mountain climb coming on Thursday and I was going to need the extra gears.

Wednesday night at Foothills Baptist is dinner and Bible study so we were able to join the folks at Foothills for both. Very cool. The men cooked a great dinner and Bruce and I went back for seconds! After that, Pastor James taught about prayer using the Lord's Prayer as a model (you know....Our Father who art in heaven.....). It was cool - he used a lot of video in his lesson and I thought that was a nice touch. The folks at Foothills were really welcoming and it was a pleasure to spend the evening with them. I was especially impressed with their Youth Program - it was youth night and there were kids everywhere!

As I mentioned, Don hosted me at his home and it was great to get to know him. He sells magnetic in-soles so if you're ever in Yuma and your nerve endings are bugging you - look him up. In the morning Don took me back to Foothills so we could start up again - he gave me a protein shake and a set of magnetic in-soles of my own. I am grateful for new friends.

6:33am and we're on the road from Yuma to Gila Bend. We were climbing through the Signal Hill Pass less than 5 miles into the ride and our legs weren't even warmed up! It was a much easier climb than Monday so you weren't going to hear any complaints from our group. Chris Shulze and a photographer/journalist from the Navy (MC1 Adrian) joined us for this leg of the ride. We're always grateful to have Chris along. He's a tough Navy guy and he's always funny. Chris is good people. MC1 Adrian was going to document the day and take photos. It was kinda neat to see him along the highway and at various overpasses snapping photos - we all felt like we had paparazzi! Ha!

After 105 miles and some pretty high temps we rolled into Gila Bend with some sore muscles and big appetites. We got cleaned up and headed over to the finest Italian restaurant in all of Gila Bend - it was yummy.

So here we are - calling it a night from GB, Arizona. We'll saddle up in the morning and head down to Eloy, AZ for our final ride of the week. It should be about 75 miles. I'm actually excited to get back on the road (but my butt isn't).

Dont forget to check out the assorted photos from the past few days on-line. You'll find them in the following places:

- Pedal for Haiti (Facebook and Twitter)
- Phxokie - (Monty's Twitter Account)
- Monty's Blog - (

We appreciate you! Thanks for your kind words, comments and prayers - it means the world to us!

Keep spreading the word and we'll keep pedaling!

See you down the road!

James 2:26

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