After a warm night [with 10 degrees almost too warm, but don't want to complain] at a rest area outside of Globe, I am back on the road. It's my last day before Christmas and with just a few hills left it is going to be an easy ride of 130km to Safford today. While I am having a candy bar in the morning I wonder when the last time was that I had an unfrozen candy bar. Do you? I don't! So no solution at the end of the post today, sorry. The drop of the Colorado Plateau to the left and some nice chats with some Native Americans at my first gas station break the day starts pleasant.

If you are desperately worried about me, consider stop reading here, and come back tomorrow for a Merry Christmas :) I realize that this might not really work but you have to blame yourself then. Sorry to put you through this in that case, but it's my diary and I feel I have to put this day on [virtual] paper how it was.


I was hardly debating with myself for weeks whether I should bring this up here or not. I know that some people reading this are worried about me. After all, I am fine and feel like I am in a country by now [Mexico], where cyclists are well regarded participants in traffic.

Well, let's put it out. Hands down, today was the worst [and more so in the aftermath most terrifying] day I've had so far. I was strong, Klaus was strong, I was in good spirits, was looking forward to Christmas in Safford... All was good.

However, the amount of hostility shown towards me [not me as a person but me as a cyclist] on the road between Globe and Safford was absolutely unprecedented. I mean, throughout the trip I encountered the occasional careless driver that simply passes me a bit too uncomfortably close. I can deal with that. It's not nice but I can mainly trace it back to the fact that most drivers here simply never rode a bicycle on a highway. I never took that personal and also never had a super scary situation.

Today was different, though. Countless cars pass me too uncomfortably close [even when they had enough space to switch lanes] and that's unfortunately not where the story ends.

At least two dozens drivers took it to the next level. Aggressivly honking and screaming at me, people driving aggressively even towards me in the shoulder of the road [a place where they have nothing to do] trying to scare me to death, people coal rolling me [they gear down and leave me in a blast of black toxic smoke, I later learn that people tend to do this with Tesla drivers, too]... Unfortunately it was a clear pattern and not just one or two idiots. I am not making this up.

Well, they didn't really reach their goal. I am not scared but getting more and more aggressive over time. Every 30 minutes I have to pull over and have a cig to calm down. I even develop a serious back pain, that I never had before on the trip. Potentially from being completely cramped up on the bike.

I pull over at the last gas station before Safford and get something to drink. The woman at the cashier presses a wrong button and I have to tap my credit twice. She excuses and says she has a bad day. "Oh no problem, having a pretty bad day, too" I answer. I kind of break loose and tell her what happend to me today. She doesn't seem surprised but is totally understanding and nice. She even tells me that just in the last couple of month 3 cyclist have been killed on that highway [I later only find evidence for one in the internet, but one is already one too much] My jaw drops! My aggressiveness slowly turns to being terrified [so they unfortunately reached their goal].

I truly believe in the good of people and am always eager trying to understand the reasons why people behave how they behave. Usually there is some sort of context that would even explain some of the worst behaviors. The situation of that day still leaves me puzzled almost a month later.

What is even more unfortunate: This highway is part of an established coast to coast cycling route that many, many cyclists take every year. I mean, so far I myself did not even follow any established routes through the whole Lower 48. I always just went, where I wanted to go. But today I did [completely unintentionally, I simply popped out in Globe and had to go to Safford for Christmas]. Never, NEVER something like this happend to me, neither in the US nor Canada. Phew, so much more to say but I will stop here.

Many Americans feel very sorry [sometimes even ashamed], when I tell them what happend. Again, I am fine. With roughly 3 month in the US this still makes for 99% good and careful drivers! But especially in the aftermath this day really got to me...

Pretty knackered, I reach the house of Renadé and Layla in Safford in the evening. They welcome me very warm and I look forward to some calm days for Christmas. While I push the bike in the garage, Renadé tells me to be a bit cautious since there might be some Black Widows in there. I am too exhausted to be bothered by that now. Good night!