Departing a bit later than desired, I ventured roads I’ve experienced many a time towards Queen Creek. The destination was going to be around 50 miles, but if my hopes of touring Penelope are cogent, 50 miles would amount to very little. The training is necessary. The planning, exactly this. So today was a must. Blessed with no warmer than 85, the day started out great. The Phoenix light-rail is a pure asset to bicyclists and the bicycling culture. A dedicated lane, separated by two curbs and two rail tracks keep you from normal traffic. Once arriving in Tempe things went a little south (and literally as well), but the ride was still very smooth. Leaving Mesa was the start of my downfall however. The parks stopped spawning. Grocery and convenience shoppes became a thing of the past. Thus began my demise through my poor planning (you’d think an Eagle Scout would know to be better prepared). Being that it has been so dry, the air seeped to the bone. Dirt covered both myself and Pene by the end of the ride, which came none too soon due to my lack of water. 50 miles at an 11mph average is a long time with no water.
Seeing as I’d never been to the memorial, and Dia de Muertos was in effect, I figured no better time to visit the awful past. Over the summer my great friends and I were passing through Oro Valley, just north of Tucson, AZ, when we came across a ghost bike. We’d seen them across the country, and all of us knew what they were, but my somber state from the night prior’s partying had me feeling overly saddened by the site. I posted a picture of the bike to my Twitter, to which I received some question and response. While many questioned what this was, the pertinent part of the story is through my dad. Dad wondered what this was, so I explained the reason for ghost bikes; a memorial to those who are killed, while bicycling, by drivers. Less than a week later, he was helping create such a memorial to a friend of the family, Russell Jenkins. Our very close family-friend, Wayne, had the hardship of dealing with a drunk driver who killed his son. Considering the day, I came to honor our friend, but to also leave something special.
It isn’t unheard of for ghost bikes to have water bottles, bicycling accessories and the like around the memorial, left by passing cyclists. A 25 link piece of bicycle chain from the bike I rode across the US this summer. 25 links for 25 years here with his friends and family. The first thing my dad said when I was questioning about the whereabouts of the ghost bike was how badly Russell would have insisted on riding the penny – loving to bike as much as he did. Sure enough, Wayne had to ride Pene as well, which would easily speaks for ‘like father, like son’.
We had a fantastic dinner of freshly made pupusas, curtido and salsas. ‘Simple brilliance’ is the best way to label the food we had today. This all made me wish for Central/South America (these were native foods to the El Salvador area). This will be a very busy week, followed by another busy week. Who knows what the future holds besides living and fulfilling dreams.