Days Forty-Nine to Fifty-Three
With low morale after yesterday's struggle and more high winds in the forecast, I really needed a break. First thing in the morning, I went to the office and paid for two more nights. At least this time I was staying at altitude to acclimate myself. Besides, the Springerville Super 8 was a pretty good place to stay. The motel building was wrapped around a gas station and mini-mart. It was like  having the ultimate vending machine. There were several restaurants within a block, and it was a short walk to downtown Springerville. I also had  a refrigerator and a microwave in my room. The water was even good.
I went to the Lil' Ranglers Restaurant for breakfast. They offered a 10% discount to motel guests, but I forgot to show my keycard to get it. I remembered it halfway down the block, and all I could think was that if I'm ever flat broke someday, I could have had 60 cents left if I had used that discount. I suppose I could just add it to the pile of money I would have if I had remembered to mail in all those rebate forms over the years.
In the afternoon, I went for a walk through Springerville. I saw a few interesting things, including a Madonna of the Trail statue. There were originally 12 of them across the country, but I don't know how many are left. I've seen three now. At Stuart Books, a new and used bookstore, I found a book called Bicycle Touring Arizona and another called Bicycle Touring In The Western United States. The latter was mostly for future expeditions, but the former would come in handy on this trip. I was amazed to find three bicycle touring books that I'd never seen before in one small-town bookstore. I left the other one behind for someone else. I also bought Arizona 101, a short, humorous guide to the state. The first thing I learned from the book was why the time had changed--Arizona doesn't follow Daylight Saving Time, so for all practical purposes, crossing the line from New Mexico put me in the Pacific time zone.
For dinner, I ate a " big boy burger" and some exceptional  fries at Buzz's Diner while I read my new books. As I finished, a woman brought me  a small cup of butterscotch ice cream. It was tasty, a nice surprise since I didn't know dessert was included.
This was a total hermit day. I didn't leave my room. I worked on the web site all day. My photo pages were stuck halfway through Texas, but I hoped to rectify that before leaving Springerville. For meals,  I microwaved leftover pizza.
By this morning I was well rested and ready to continue my journey. However, there was  a wind advisory issued for the area by the National Weather Service. On my way out to breakfast, I stopped at the office and paid for another night at the Super 8. At least today I remembered to get my 10% discount on breakfast. In addition to working on the web site, I read the books I bought on Tuesday.
There was another wind advisory, so I decided to hang around another day. Besides, I'd been looking all over Springerville for Jerry, and I hadn't found him yet. For lunch, I went to a pizza place on the edge of town for the buffet. As soon as I stepped past the protective cover of windward buildings, I had trouble walking straight. It was a good day not to be riding.  I shouldn't have bothered making the trip, as the buffet was really pathetic. There was never more than one pizza on the buffet table at a time, and they only brought out three pizzas during the 40 minutes I was there. If not for their tasty, doughy  breadsticks (both regular and cinnamon-covered), it would have been a total waste. I staggered like a drunk through the wind back to the Super 8.
Next,  I walked to the post office and mailed another package home, six pounds this time. It was mostly things I had picked up along the way (books, brochures, souvenirs, etc.), plus CD back-ups of my photos in case something happened to my laptop hard drive. While I was out, I went to the Western Drug and General Store, which had a surprising variety of merchandise, everything from liquor to bike tires.
For dinner, I ended up at the Lil' Rangler again. I ate an average meal, except the gravy on my mashed potatoes looked really nasty. The highlight was when the waitress brought out a cup of Jello--another unexpected dessert. What a deal. " Springerville: City of Bonus Desserts."
A customer asked the waitress about the wind. She said, " You know how they call Chicago the Windy City? Well, it's windier here. I saw it on Jeopardy."
There wasn't a wind advisory today, but the forecast called for 30 mph winds with 55 mph gusts. Tomorrow should be much better, and heck, at this point what difference would another day in Springerville make? Tired of the Lil' Ranglers, I tried out the Safire restaurant on the other end of town for breakfast.   If it was good enough for John Wayne (who used to own the 26 Bar Ranch nearby), then it was good enough for me. Well, my meal only served as further evidence that the Duke was a whole lot tougher than I'll ever be. I felt sick before I even got out of the restaurant. On the way back to my new home (as the Super 8 might as well be), I stopped in at the Casa Malpais visitor center. Casa Malpais National Monument was a site of Indian ruins outside of town, and tours left from the visitor center every couple hours. I decided not to take the tour, though. I looked around for awhile in the museum and bookstore, then hurried back to the Super 8 as my breakfast continued to rebel within me.
Later, I walked around town to follow a historic driving tour, but I was disappointed. Half of the sites weren't even marked, and the others just weren't that interesting. Things look good for leaving here tomorrow. I just have to decide whether to take the scenic high road atop the Mogollon Rim  or the easier low road.
Click here to see Springerville photos.
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