Yesterday felt like we fully got back into the swing of our travels. The day was tough but not too hot, too windy, too steep – but it felt very remote and we needed mental and physical endurance. No time to ponder on anything else except the scenery and what we were doing. Then in the evening back into the routine of camping, which often takes us to some of the best places to stay. The banks of the Colorado river gave us a wonderful location and magnificent sunrise and sunset.
In this part of the world darkness comes quickly and early. By 6.30 we were in the pitch blackand the fire David had lit in the fire pit had burned down, so we huddled into our tent. Exhausted, we were asleep by 7.30! This morning we were up at 6 – almost 12 hours after we settled into our sleeping bags!
We were now 6 days in and needed a rest. We therefore got up leisurely,watched a beautiful sunrise, read for a bit over coffee and then slowly packed up. A ‘rest’ meant cycling 23 miles but the Colorado River valley was very flat and we pedalled at a very leisurely pace to Blythe. There we found a bakery and coffee shop, and lingered over caffine and delicious apple pastries.
Our destination was Ehrenburg, another 4 miles and just over the bridge over the Colorado River and into Arizona. Whilst the centre of Blythe was pleasant, it’s eastern outskirts were grim and run down. We have seen lots of closed businesses and derelict buildings on our travels so far. No wonder they want to ‘make America great’ again.
I had envisaged Ehrenburg as a pleasant riverside town, which had a number of campsites marked on our route map. Hmm, I was a bit wrong. The town was really only a pit stop off the Freeway I10 with a number of RV parks along the river. Now an RV park is defintely not a campsite but camping was marked on the map so we duly stopped at the ‘Arizona Oasis’ which boasted beaches on the river front; but no they did not do tent camping. We were somewhat dismissively told that we might find some several miles back the way we had come in a county park. They did have ‘rustic cabins’. The woman looked aghast when we asked if we could see one before we decided ‘Well, people just look it up on the internet’ we were told. Our mobile reception was too poor to look it up and they did not have internet; but after briefly considering whether to scrap our rest day and push on or accept the unseen offer, we decided the swimming pool and the fact that the ‘rustic cabin’ had air conditioning meant the gamble was worth it!
Our cabin was pleasant. True, apart from the air conditioning there was little else in it other than a bed and a little porch. ‘Do you have bedding?’ we were asked. ‘We camp’ we replied. There was a tap outside but it was only a step to the communal facilities. The rest of the RV park was full of concrete and varying sizes of trailers from huge to huge-er. My research on Blythe said the population trippled in the winter months as people from the north came down for the southern sunshine. Most will be in these RV parks.
After a refreshing swim we rested in our cabin during the heat of the afternoon. How could I still be tired after 12 hours in my sleeping bag last night!
David went off to ‘Family Dollar’ to find some groceries. We have noticed that food is expensive here. It’s cheaper to have a fast food burger and fries and to fill up with an enormous fizzy drink than to cook a meal using bought ingredients. No wonder there is an obesity problem that dwarfs that in the UK. Family Dollar is a discount store – the women in the office didn’t quite say ‘where the poor people shop’ but they could have done (or maybe I still resent that they wouldn’t let us look at the cabin before handing over our money!). Anyway it was not as bad as predicted and David got food for supper – but only after coming back to the campsite for cash because his credit card was refused – they refuse all foreign cards he was told. C’est la vie.