Days without rain gear - 9
Getting an early start helped a bit. Temperatures were only in the mid 80° range at dawn. We headed through Lake Havasu City on our way to Oatman to get back on track. We would have stopped to see the London Bridge, but it was too early.
The hills rolled and the road curved. At times we could see down the mountain as the pavement was laid out in front of us for miles. For much of this ride, we were the only people out there, again reminding you of its demand for respect.
Arriving in Oatman, the fun began. The wild burros were there to greet us in the old mining town that has reinvented itself into a tourist destination. The donkeys beg for food from the tourists, who can buy "Donkey Chow" in almost any store in town. Everything there looks to be original. The buildings were laid out in the one block town sporting wooden sidewalks and a dirt Main Street, a Post Office, a saloon and a variety of souvenir shops.
The burros were quite feisty today, as two males were fighting over which would be the dominant leader. They bit and kicked each other and ran up and down the street and the wooden sidewalks. The town's folk warned everyone the burros were wild and to stay out of their way to avoid being kicked or knocked over.
|Our ponies at the Oatman Saloon|
We decided to add to the collection. If you ever get to Oatman, look for our bill on the side of one of the napkin dispensers on the table.
It was time to leave and head further east for our next stop, Kingman. Since it was a mere 35 miles away, we knew we would be in the pool before the heat of the day began to blister.
A short stop for a cool drink in a kitschy gas station, that hasn't had gas since 1966, and we were back on the road...that's when it all went bad.
A few miles down 66 we came across what is known here as a "wash". It's a dip in the road that intersects with a ravine coming from the mountains. When it rains, as it had several days ago, that ravine carries the water and it washes across the road. In its path, it leaves gravel, dirt and mostly sand. In this particular wash, there were about six inches of the mix across the road.
As I came over the ridge, I saw the sand and slowed quickly. I signaled Ed and Juju to slow down. I hit the sand and my front wheel wobbled severely but I got through and I looked in my mirror to watch the others. At about 10 mph, Ed's front wheel plowed into the sand and made an immediate and violent turn to the left. His bike tipped to the right and they both went down.
Juju, on three wheels, went to the shoulder of the road to avoid running over Nancy and Ed.
I ran back to the scene and it was obvious that Nancy was hurt. We got the bike up off of her and she described pain in her back on the right side. Some folks driving by stopped to add their assistance and called 911.
These folks helped use Juju's bike cover as a tent to provide shade as Nancy sat in the hot sand where she had landed. Looking over at Ed, we noticed the blood running down his right arm. Checking more closely, we saw that he had some pretty nasty road rash on his back and arm.
It seemed like an eternity, but first the Sheriff's officers arrived, then the Fire Department EMS, then the ambulance. They transported Nancy to the Kingman Regional Medical Center. We followed on the bikes. Ed's bike seemed O.K. except for the fender light and the front brake lever was twisted out of place.
Nancy was taken for X-rays and a CT scan. Ed was scrubbed to remove the sand and dirt from his wounds. Additionally, he was now beginning to limp. Removing his right boot revealed a bruise that needed to be checked out.
Several hours later, both were discharged. It seemed that nothing was broken, but there were still some deep tissue injuries that would limit movement and cause pain for some time to come.
A taxi got Nancy to the hotel where the medications were apparently working, because she said it hurt, but she didn't care.
We booked a second night here in Kingman to figure out what to do next, but it looks like Ed and Nancy won't be able to ride in their condition.
We will keep you posted on our next move.