We began the day around 7:00 am by driving from our motel in Desert Hot Springs back to Hwy 62 where we left off the day before. The four lane road was roomy with a nice wide shoulder. When we took the bike out, we discovered a flat rear tire on the bike! So...Russ changed the tube and he was on his way shortly.
After about an hour of riding through SCARY curves & hills with TOUGH climbs and people zooming around us, we got to Morongo Valley where the road was straighter and people could see us better. We took a break under some nice shade trees. We also saw a church sign in town.
As we headed down the highway once again, a HUGE hill loomed ahead. It made me think how sometimes not knowing the difficulties and "mountains" we face in life and where we are going, (as on the scary, curvy lots of climbing road) helps us to trust in the Lord. When I saw the HUGE hill ahead, it looked overwhelming! Sometimes folks see the challenges coming (like the HUGE hill) but can trust the Lord one day at a time, or one "pedal" at a time in Russ' case.
We took another break an hour & a half later at the Visitor Center in Yucca Valley, we had a nice visit and got LOTS of information from Evelyn. We were nearing the Joshua Tree National Park and there were BEAUTIFUL pictures, we bought one of a Joshua tree in the shape of a cross.
On the road again where 15 miles later, another flat on the bike - same tire! Russ discovered as he changed the tube, the liner was folded a bit in one spot and had punctured the tube. He imagined that is what caused the earlier flat as well! We were back on the road for just 30 minutes and arrived in Twenty Nine Palms just after noon. We check into our unique and enjoyable Sunnyvale Garden Suites Hotel. It was a beautiful and relaxing place to stay! When we opened the door to our room, the first thing we saw was an organ!
I can't say I've ever stayed in a hotel where I could play an organ in my room. We enjoyed a cool water "hot tub", and a lovely patio area.
We relaxed and cooled down a while, then about 2:00 we rode about an hour on the tandem bike to get about 15 miles into the desert. Wow, it was hot! That gave us a jump start for the day to come.
We got back to the hotel, back to the pool again (106 degrees - air temp, not the pool!), then went on a banana run to the grocery store just after 5 pm. Now we had a flat on the trailer!! Russ quickly changed to the spare and we rushed to the town's tire repair shop which was already closed & would open at 8 am on Friday. We had hoped to start in the desert at daylight, but plans change, don't they? We knew it would not be a good plan to cross 100 miles of desert with no spare. We enjoyed the rest of relaxing evening and good night's sleep.
Day Four - June 15, 2012
We left our hotel at 7:30 am, got some gas and headed to the tire shop. Richard, an employee, was already there when we drove up and Richard, the owner showed up shortly thereafter. We had a new tire and were on our way at 8:08 - Thanks, guys!
We drove out the 15 miles on Hwy 62 where we left off yesterday, it was 83 degrees.
The road was sparsely traveled...who wants to drive through the desert, anyway?? There was no shoulder (just sand) and after the flat from yesterday on the shoulder side of the trailer, I was going no where near the edge! Russ shows miraculous strength as he pedals through the hills and heat. Only by the power and grace of God! When we read the encouragement letter this morning, it reminded us of that very thing!
The day continued with breaks when there were turnouts, LOTS of water and gatorade, bananas & peanut butter bread as the temperature continued to climb. The elevation changed tremendously today; about a 3400 foot climb, with many ups & downs along the way. We have made it over the Sierras! Passed through the Mojave desert, the Colorado desert, a headwind and a high of 111 degrees - other than that, it was a pretty typical day!
The traffic increased on Hwy 62 after the Hwy 177 junction. LOTS of speeding vehicles. We stopped just after 3:00 pm at Rice, CA (just a bump in the road - literally) and drove 37 miles to Parker, Arizona where we will spend the night, then drive back to Rice EARLY in the COOL, desert morning. Until then, thank you for the prayers and be blessed!
Russ & Carol