Well...it's been a while so we have a lot of catching up to do.
I believe we left off in Sedona... Here it is
Wednesday March 5th:
We showed up to the group ride at Mountain Bike Heaven ( a local Sedona bike shop) not having any idea what to expect. We were both pretty nervous, it was the closest feeling to race day that I've had in a while. Slowly people started gathering, everyone of them on 50 pound bikes with monster wide tires, with full shin guards downhill gear- we were wondering what we got ourselves into.
The ride ended up being fine- what threw us both off was the technical skill of the group was phenomenal, but they approached everything technical very slooowly, which to me makes it about 100 times harder. Momentum is my friend, so I had to get off my bike a lot. By the end of the ride we got a lot more used to it, and found ourselves being able to get over all sorts of obstacles even at slow speeds. I think it really helped out our technical riding.
There were about 12 or 15 people on the ride- all of which were really nice. There were even 2 other women, which I can't say I was expecting. One of them, Frannie, turned out to be a trail angel. By which I mean she asked us what we were doing in Arizona; found out we were just aimlessly wondering around; and offered us her home. We couldn't believe it, and were not about to refuse. We piled up on all the amenities: showers, oven usage, a washing machine, and sleeping in a bed. It was wonderful, and so is she- obviously very friendly and a great person. Unfortunately she ran off to Australia before we could get a picture with her, but I have a feeling we may see her again.
The next day (March 6th) we hooked up with a couple people from the group ride and went on an all out Sedona, cactus filled, big drop finding adventure. I took one mighty endo over the bars, but it was a surprisingly soft landing, (no cactus or big rocks) so everything was fine. This is the group- we found out that this couple actually lived out of the RV for 8 years driving around the country, so who knows how long we'll last.
Our last day in Sedona (friday march 7th) we decided to do the classic ride to Submarine Rock. We loved it- very scenic, pretty crazy, and lots of fun. The only problem was that as we drove to the trail head the car, once again, started to feel funny. Mike was having trouble getting it to shift, it felt like the clutch wasn't doing anything- not good.
Now usually we could just drive it over to the local vw shop and have them take a look at it BUT vw shops don't like to be open on the weekend, and we had already told Mary we were going to pick her up from the airport in Phoenix the next day. So we hoped the clutch would hold out- spent one more glorious night at Frannie's and headed down to Phoenix.
This turned out to be a really pretty drive, especially around Black Canyon City (? I think that was it) area. Tons of those really big classic cactus- I think they are Saguaro, but I'm not to sure. From my in depth field observations I would say they seem to like the hillsides of lower elevations, and they like to pose for sunset pictures.