|Rain gear required.|
|Nope. Not passing. More gear.|
My Facebook account had a message for me that was sad and so unexpected. A friend of a friend had messaged me that our mutual friend, David Houston Brown, had passed on Sept. 10. I was shocked … it wasn't expected … it was heartbreaking. David and I went back a long ways, to grade school in Whittier, Alaska. We had reconnected through FB last summer and had a great friendship. He followed me on FB; I followed him and found him to be amusing, smart and witty. It was more than rain falling today.
|The man and his music.|
Rain makes me ride slower mostly, and that I did. I only had a little over 400 miles to do and I knew the rain wouldn't be for all day. Phoenix would be hotter than hot so whatever got wet would get dry.
I hit Magadalena, New Mexico. It was 59 degrees, and cold. I stopped for a photo. Up ahead I could see the sucker hole, blue sky surrounded by clouds. As I rode on there was more blue sky and I knew I'd be coming out of the rain and clouds. Then the clouds closed in again.
|No sucker hole here.|
Out of New Mexico and into Arizona, I made Springerville. I texted Verlie that I was getting closer. More rain. Good grief. I'm so done with this. But it ended and I continued. I needed to be in Phoenix, so you just go on, rain or not. If it had been a monsoon, then I would have stopped. I've had to do that before and just go in on a Saturday morning, but this was just normal rain.
I got to Globe, about 80 miles out of Phoenix, called Joe and Verlie and gassed up for the last time. Joe said he might come and meet me. That would be nice although I really can find my way to their house.
|Finally a little sun.|
The ride from Globe is one of my favorite rides, out of Globe and down to the flats. The road has the curves and twists that a person on a bike likes, it has the beauty of the desert, red rocks and water, and the traffic usually isn't too bad. The flats are where the hot air greets you and I'm not fond of that.
Today's ride was a bit different. It started out great and I stopped to remove my raingear. I was overheating and the rain was gone although up ahead it didn't look promising. I was riding in my jeans and a denim, sleeveless vest. I didn't know where my long-sleeved shirt was and didn't want to bother looking for it.
|Near Miami, Arizona, this shrine has been there for a long time. People light candles and there are dozens of photos of lost loved ones. Or maybe they've just lost their way.|
At a roadside shrine I stopped to take photos … and in going closer realized I could do something I've not done before … light a candle for my friend, David.
|I've not lit a candle for someone before. A first for you, El David.|
And then it got ugly. I got to ride the Salt River Canyon with its twists and turns in the rain. I pulled over to let other traffic go by as I didn't want to hold up others. I doggedly continued through the canyon. I shot out the bottom, rain coming down hard. I knew that just around the next corner I'd be out of it. Not. Okay, the next corner. No chance. Next one? Nope. I was taking a beating, freezing, rain (perhaps some hail) hitting my bare arms like needles. I was crouched down behind my windshield as my glasses were fogged up and I didn't want to take a raindrop in the eye. When would it end? It didn't for more than 30 miles.
The bottom of the hills and I blew out onto the flats … I was running hard through the rain now as I could see the blue sky ahead. Then out of the black clouds left behind me I saw a streak of silver, then copper and a white shirt. Wow, that must be Joe. Sure enough, he came flying by me. He passed, grinning and waving and I grinned back. Life was good … or would be in another mile or two when we got out of the rain.
|The clouds behind us are best left behind.|
Finally. We pulled over and chatted for a minute. He said he had to do a little dirt biking with his brand spanking new 2014 Ultra Classic Limited. He'd seen me and waved like crazy. I didn't see him. I was crouched down paying attention to the road. He crossed the median, sliding around in the dirt, up and over, throwing up gravel in a spray as he crossed over and ran 95 … he said he couldn't go faster as he was recovering from the dirt biking incident. Haha!!! He did it. He caught me.
|Look ma, no hands. Boy, I sure do hope his mama doesn't see this photo.|
We ran home in sunshine with the temperatures rising to over a hundred. I'm glad I was so cold since it took a little while for the heat to get to me. By that time we were home, and Verlie had cooked spaghetti, my favorite food, and we had some excellent chat time. What a great day.