Introduction - Indian Country part two, 2018 - CycleBlaze


This is my third attempt to bike my planned Indian Country route.

The first attempt was aborted at the Eugene airport in September 2016 because the bike box was ruined by rain.

The second attempt ended prematurely in Durango, Colorado in September 2017 because I decided it would be better to go the opposite direction.

In May 2018 I finally finished the Indian Country route going northeast to take advantage of the prevailing southwest wind.

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I think it's easier to visualize the interactive route map if you click the button in the upper right of the map and select Terrain view.

Map image with terrain view and more place names.
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Four Mini-Tours

The route can be neatly divided into four segments, each with a distinct personality.

First is 4 days in northwest Arizona on the best-preserved segment of Route 66. In towns the emphasis is mostly on nostalgic car culture. Much of the route is very scenic.

Second is 3 days on the pine forested Coconino plateau in northern Arizona. Much greener and cooler with many views into the Grand Canyon.

Third is 4 days in the Navajo nation in northeast Arizona. Services are scarce and expensive. A truly unique cultural experience. Mostly barren but colorful and unspoiled.

Fourth, with some overlap, is 3 days in the Red Canyonlands of southeast Utah. The highlight was Monument Valley.

Getting There

The bike tour started near the remote mountain town of Oatman, Arizona, population 160. A great place to start bicycling but an inconvenient place to reach by car. To get there I drove a 1-way car rental for 2 monotonous days from Roseburg, Oregon to Bullhead City, Arizona. Bullhead City is in northwest Arizona near the Colorado river and the southern tip of Nevada.

The low valley of the Colorado river is too hot for cycling in May. And too much climbing would be required to get from Bullhead City to Kingman via Oatman.

To solve that problem I hid the bike 2 miles below Oatman, returned the rental car in Bullhead City, then took a taxi back to where I hid the bike. That reduced the day's climbing by 1800 feet.

I arrived during a heat wave. 107F/42C when I drove into Needles, California at 7 PM on May 8. At sunset I went down to have a look at the Colorado river. Tomorrow I will pedal across the Sitgreaves mountains in the distance. It will be hot.

Sunset view of the Colorado river and Sitgreaves mountains from Needles, California.
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