Today Jeffrey pedaled 80 miles (130 km), mostly under the usual conditions: rough roads and into headwinds. We started the day at 5100′ (1550 meters) above sea level. We worked our way up to 5700′, then descended to 3400′, at Kingman. We’re a long way from sea level, but Jeffrey can feel the air is richer than it has been since we landed at Albuquerque last week.
I got to come out of my bag, which doesn’t always happen. Jeffrey let me be held by Alessandra, a visitor from Rome. She and Gherardo, who is from Milan, were being escorted on a photography tour. They spotted us on Historic Route 66 northwest of Ash Fork.
After Jeffrey explained the Ride, our visitors noted that Italy takes in many refugees, far more in number and in proportion than the U.S. accepts. Jeffrey praised Italy for doing the right thing, and expressed regret that the U.S. isn’t doing its share. Alessandra said many Italians are unhappy about accepting refugees, yet “there are good people everywhere” who extend a welcome. Alessandra, Gherardo, and Jeffrey compared notes about our current president and Italy’s former prime minister . . . and they all had a good and rueful laugh.
Earlier today, Jeffrey had a nice talk with Mark, owner of the Ash Fork Inn. Mark declined to have his photo taken, but was glad to know that we’d report on the converation. The theme of Mark’s discourse was the prevalance of ignorance. We don’t have space to do justice to the breadth of his philosophy, but we can say that Mark’s ideas apply to America’s immigration politics. Mark understands that Americans’ fear of immigrants, of refugees and of asylees, is rooted in ignorance. Jeffrey said, that’s why we are on the Ride, to tell people that we have more to fear from our fellow Americans than from foreigners trying to escape persecution. Mark wished us well on our project and our journey.
These experienced cyclists are headed for New York and, ultimately, Rhode Island.
Graham said there is a lot of talk in Montana about refugees, and some resistance to accepting them. Lyman said it’s hard to understand how people can attend church, then resist helping those fleeing persecution. They support the goals of Human Rights First and will follow the Ride while they have their own adventure.
Other highlights of the day:
These nostalgic signs, with various rhymes, are popular on Route 66.
Everyone we have met in Arizona has been kind and sympathetic to protecting refugees’ and asylees’ human rights. But of course there are people who don’t know better and haven’t thought things through.
These are some of the unusual (to us) flowers we saw today.
There is so much land here . . .
We had some long descents today, several miles at a time. We earned every one of them by pedaling up from sea level, last year and this year. Too bad the roads often were too rough or gravelly, and/or the headwinds too powerful, for us to fully enjoy the descents.
Mmm, roadkill! George and Jeffrey lunched here. Every entree came with meat. The Roadkillers kindly fed Jeffrey an egg instead.
Tourists like jails. So do private companies that build and rent and profit from “detention facilities” for immigrants, including asylum applicants. But that’s a discussion for another day.
We’re nearing the edge of Arizona. We’ll keep going west until we run out of land.