The Arizona Trail on Unicycle: Day 8, Cops Called on Us


April 7, 2017 

We left the “hotel” a bit early so we could get to the Superior post office right as they opened. On the previous day, the hotel owner was so kind to let us use her backyard for camping, and her personal shower, so we gave her $40 and a nice thank you note. 

Not only did we want to get to the post office early, but we also wanted some good coffee. So we added in some time to go by a coffee shop that Google said would be open 30 minutes before the USPS. Unfortunately google was wrong and it wasn’t open. 

We waited for the post office to open. The morning sun wasn’t too hot yet, and it was quite pleasant to relax on some benches. Getting our packages went smooth, and then some sorting stuff out happened while still in front of the coffee shop. The shopkeeper got there early to setup and she was the sweetest lady ever. She said she would get us something to drink as soon as she could. And sure enough, she had us some coffee before too long and the store wasn’t due to open until 30 or so more minutes. We also splurged and got some cinnamon rolls. This type of eating is probably why I’ll be heavier after this trip. 

We had to ride back on the busy road for about 4 or 5 miles to the trailhead and kept going down the road. The trail continued into wilderness area and we had to do a bypass, so the plan was to do an established side route on a dirt road. We hit the dirt road and continued at a pretty good pace as it was relatively flat and smooth. 

Then trouble. A road closed sign and large gate saying no trespassing, private property. The gate looked pretty new and we weren’t sure what to do. To ride back on the dirt road and take the main highway would be a huge setback in time and energy. 

We decided to hop the fence and immediately start moving down the road. The road looked so well used that this had to be the way people have been going for a long time. Luckily the pass was short — like 100 yards or so, and I saw a gate on the other end of the road and gave Jamey the thumbs up thinking we had cleared the area. 

But it wasn’t an all clear. We had just passed a single house and not 30 seconds after we see a truck behind us. Two women were in the truck; one rolled down the window to talk to us while the other filmed. She told us that we were on private property and it was illegal to be trespassing there on her land. We apologized profusely and they opened the gate on the other end so we could get out and be on our way. 

Everything seemed fine. We rolled on the dirt road and hit a water drop that Jamey had stashed in some bushes. While we were relaxing and refilling up on water a Sheriff drives by and pulls over. The cop comes out and talks to us, asking where we came from. We told her, as it would be hard to lie when we were the only unicyclists around for miles and miles. She said it was illegal to hop a fence and go into private property that has no trespassing signs. We could be taken to jail and fined. She said the owner had called to file a complaint and have them catch us, but wasn’t sure if they would press charges or not. She hinted at probably not, and we are hoping so. The cop took all our identification and filed a report, and we left for some more dirt road action. 

The dirt road was a bypass for the main busy highway, but we had to take the highway again. I swapped to my 127mm crank holes and pushed my seat up a bit higher so I could roll a bit easier. Jamey and Rebekka have 137 cranks, while I was using 150s. The longer the crank the more leverage you get on each pedal stroke but the larger arc your leg makes, which is slightly more uncomfortable — particularly when spinning fast on paved roads. Normally the 150s work great with a geared 26 unicycle when in high gear, but…. my geared hub is broken. 

The road was a 4 lane highway with huge semis and a bunch of cars. It had a wide shoulder that was perfect everywhere except one crazy bridge crossing that forced us to ride a tiny bit on the road. That part was a little hairy, but everything else was uneventful. 

The next exciting part was seeing a large gas station off the side of the road. We pulled in to get some ice cream. I woofed down an ice cream cookie sandwich and ice cream snickers bar. They were delicious in the hot sun. Jamey and Rebekka got some cold things from the attached MacDonalds. I, in principle, avoid the fast food chain and it has been at least 20 years since I’ve been in one. I noticed that the station specialized in craft beer, so I snatched a can of SanTan IPA to go with our evening dinner. 

We hit back on the main road and road a short distance to a big grocery store. Jamey wasn’t sure if his next food package arrived, so they bought some extra food to prepare for it possibly be missing. We hit the road again and in a few miles we finally turned off onto yet another dirt road. The highway was just a bit to crazy to be riding on and we were glad to be off of it. 

At about 5:30 we started scoping out camp sites and saw a trailer off the road and figured it might work to sleep in the terrain on some empty property with a for sale sign in front. A woman who was camping in the trailer with her friend was walking her dog and said it seemed like a good inconspicuous spot to camp. She invited us over to her place for some oranges after dinner. 

We setup, ate dinner, drank the one beer I brought, and then headed over to talk to the ladies. They had three awesome dogs to play with as we chatted. One tiny guy, a medium sized one and a golden. They were traveling around from Portland checking out AZ and camping in various spots with their trailer RV. One lived in Santa Cruz for a while and was even in the ’89 Loma Prieta earthquake. I remember that day distinctively as I was playing GameBoy on the couch when it hit. They were super awesome people to chat with and we left with a few oranges for breakfast. 


Today: ~40 miles
Total: 187.9 miles  





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