Day 75 – Tacna, AZ to Yuma, AZ – 44 miles

November 11, 2009

I woke up later today, which didn’t bother me because even though I have been warned that I will be headed toward gusty winds from here on out, my miles to cover today were pretty low. As I was packing, I went to my bike, which I had leaned against a nearby tree. I picked up my helmet to walk my bike closer to my gear for packing, and noticed that the straps had two identical slashes in them. The nylon had not been cut through all the way, but it was hanging on my a few threads. Those birds! I thought.

Those crows I had listened to all evening, who woke me up several times by the beak-cracking-open-the-bean-pods-of-the-trees sound. They also, apparently, had a healthy appetite for nylon. I was mad at myself, because I almost always bring my helmet into my tent vestibule overnight. Then I also noticed the birds had snapped one of my bungee cords in half. Then I panicked a bit, because I had woken up a few times and kicked at the side of my tent because they were poking around at it. My guess was that they were trying to get at the bean pod seeds on the ground around my tent, and I had to shoo them away. I get it now, Alfred Hitchcock. Birds are a real threat. No scorpions or rattlers to fear here, only the Dreaded Crow.

I checked my tent and saw no immediate damage. Straps in place, nothing else was affected. I continued to pack up and before I put my bags back on my bike, I saw a thorn in my tire. I pulled it out with closed eyes, knowing I would hear the dreaded hiss. Sure enough, I did. So, this area wants me to suffer. I patched the flat and was happy to find my mini pump filled my tube up to full capacity just fine. I packed everything up and went to the gas station.
After cleaning up, I pushed my bike down off of the curb and felt the front tire not bounce as it should. I looked down – yes, the front was flat again. I sighed and pulled out the patched tube, trying to see where the hole was. Not clear. I put in a new tube and figured I would look at the bad one later.

I got about fifteen miles before I felt the rear tire go flat on me. Here we go. I discovered this flat had been caused by a pinch flat My rim tape was wearing away and it left a hole that the tube had bubbled into enough to cause a hole. I patched the tube and temporarily patched over the rim tape hole with a bike patch. As I was putting my tube back into the wheel, I saw a tiny piece of metal sticking out of the tube in a different spot than the other flat. Of course, why not? I patched that hole as well.

Thankfully, no more flats came into play for the rest of my day. Also, I did not run into any gusty winds, which after fixing four flats (second set of thse on this trip), I would have been running really late. I got into Yuma and followed signs for a visitor’s center, but when I got there it was closed down. Boo. I went to the library and poked around for a hostel or some such thing, but was not successful. I decided to go with a spot I had passed on the way to the library, which seemed more on the outskirts of this larger city. I was happy to find that I was visible from the road where  was unless someone was really, really looking for me. This spot was especially choice because  there was a porta-potty not far that also had a working sink with soap and water on the outside. The water came out with a little rubber button I pushed with my foot. Nice!

Oh, but when I pitched my tent this evening, it was clear that the crows had done some damage to my tent after all. The floor of my tent had two very distinctly crow-like tears, and they were not small. Curses! It’s a good thing I won’t be running into rain, otherwise I’d be one unhappy camper.
As I was getting food prepared and such, I finally talked to the person I was to meet in Yuma the following day. We decided that instead of me waiting for her there, we would meet halfway between where the two of us would be at a Hot Springs area. I would have to get on and off the interstate, it seemed.

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