U.S. 360 Tour – Day 19 from Buckhorn NM to Three Way AZ (Beauty in Simplicity)

Latest update on my purpose-driven cycling journey around the American perimeter.

45 miles (72 km) – Total so far: 966 miles (1,555 km)

I will keep my writings short tonight, and let the pictures do most of the talking. The first 15 miles West of Buckhorn were nice and almost relaxing, with sweeping, seemingly endless grasslands and rolling hills. My, how the next 15 miles changed! Moving back into the Gila National Forest and the Apache National Forest, the climbing began. After crossing the New Mexico/ Arizona state line, I began the final four mile ascent to the high point on the ride (elevation 6,295), labeled on the map simply as “Pass”. As I contemplated what the “Pass” would reveal, I was less than enthusiastic, given the somewhat generic label. I could NOT have been more wrong.

My first glimpse of Arizona coming in over the top of the Big Lue Mountains was, in a single word, spectacular. As I dropped nearly 2,500 feet over the next 14 miles, the panoramas, multi-colored rock, winding roads, and mountains in the distance were like cycling in a painting of the Great Southwest. Only the extreme switchbacks and constant braking would bring me back to the reality at hand. My arms felt like Jell-O after all was said and done.

Toured through some classic sounding towns today, like Mule Creek and Three Way, and not much else. Didn’t run into any Eastbound Southern Tier cyclists today, but had I, I would’ve provided my condolences for the mountain they were about to scale. Simply remarkable. Wildlife sightings today included more mule deer than I could count. This place is loaded with them, and they are quite athletic.

It’s all good.

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Just outside of Buckhorn, NM
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Long roads and long shadows heading into Mule Creek, NM
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First national forest of the day
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Beautiful scenery in Gila National Forest
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Second national forest of the day
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Later New Mexico, Hello Arizona!
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Trying to figure out how this little guy got to this elevation
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Interesting rock formations around the “Pass”
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I couldn’t stop taking pictures!
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Spectacular views looking out over the Big Lue Mountains in Arizona
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Amazing, winding descent
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The valley looking toward Three Way Arizona
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Postcard quality view looking toward Three Way Arizona

 

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Another awesome view looking toward Three Way Arizona
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Nirvana
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Looking at Guthrie Peak, which I will climb tomorrow on the way to Safford

Click Here to read my daily tour journal entry on crazyguyonabike.com

 

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