I’d spoken to some guy in the parking lot, whose young son was enthralled with the bike. He said Highway 117 from 40 down to Quemado, New Mexico, to Highway 60 was a great road. He told me that if I did take it to watch out during about the first ten miles for the dips that are often filled with sand or dirt due to rain.
Highway 117 sounded perfect although I’d have to backtrack four exits. I didn’t know it at the time but the small detour to get to this road was well worth the few extra minutes.
The first ten miles was indeed a bit of a bear. There were dips with some of the red clay sandy stuff. But when you slow down and take it easy, it’s no problem. Up to the point I started hitting mud on the road. That made me a bit more cautious. But, hey, I ride in Alaska and I’ve got experience with mud, so I plowed through it although one section was a bit longer and a bit deeper. There was a road crew working to clean it up and off the road, but I was there before they’d done much. On I went.
Oh, wonderful. Water
across the road. I know that on a bike
you need to be very careful but I could see that most of the water had gathered
on the other side of the road that slanted downward. I could see the white line under the water on
my side, and it didn’t appear deep. On I
went, slowly, cautiously. Ha!!! A piece of cake and on I continued.
|It just made it a great trip riding through mud. Yahoo!!! NOT!!!|
|Of course, I took this after I was safely through.|
|Natural arches are always worth seeing.|
|Closer is even cooler. But no time to walk there.|
|The captivating surroundings make my dirty bike look beautiful.|
Quemado appeared, and one of the prettiest little churches I’ve seen. A photo op was in order here. Then I hit Highway 60 and sped down the road.
|Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Quemado, New Mexico.|
You also go through Globe, Arizona, which is another area I enjoy … with the road having the large sweeping corners, a few tighter ones, and a lot of traffic on this trip due to road construction. Crap. But the good news is that I didn’t have long waits anywhere on the one-lane sections.
As I got closer to my destination, I realized I’d once again gained an hour and was now way ahead of schedule since I’d not been dilly-dallying at all today. Now what. I did not have the combination to the security system at the house although I could get into the garage. And I didn’t want it. But I now had about three hours to kill until Verlie would get home from work.
I needed a haircut. So I started wandering in and out of the little strip malls in Gold Canyon, until I finally found one of the types of places I like … a walk-in salon. My hair got a much-needed cut. Why was there so much white hair on the floor? Whose was it? Mine? Hard to believe. I thought I was a blond. Ha. Oh well. I stuck around in a chair enjoying the air conditioning and making a call or two. I wanted to let Verlie know where I was. She’d get home at about 5:30-6 p.m., so I planned to be at her house then.
The closer I got to the Phoenix area the hotter it started to get. Running the slab adds to the heat of the day, triple-digit temperatures don’t help, and the direct sun on my face as I headed west made me hotter than usual. I was drinking Propel constantly, replenishing the electrolytes in my system. I have found it really helps, and I’ve used a lot of it on this trip.
I determined I’d drop my bags in the garage at the house and seek out a self-car wash for the bike. Harlow had really taken a beating since the last wash. We’d been through an area on Highway 160 where the bugs, BIG ones, were a constant barrage. They covered the bike, the engine guards, the drink holders on the guards, everything, even my boots. She was a sorry-looking girl.
At the house I rolled my bags and other things in and reshut the garage door. I looked on the phone to find a wash place. The closest one I could find was 30 miles away in Scottsdale. I think not, especially with rush hour traffic coming up.
My next idea was to go find a place to sit for a while and enjoy a cold drink. Now, thanks to my Cousin Jim, I intend to frequent more McDonald’s. So I found one, ordered and drank two large glasses of iced tea and caught my mapbook up-to-date. I played on my phone and then at about the right time headed over to Verlie’s. She’d just gotten home a few minutes prior, so it was perfect timing.
Verlie and I spent some time chatting then it was off to enjoy a nice dinner at a Thai place. Yummy curry and spring rolls. And I told her I’d seen a frozen yogurt place. We drove around a while but eventually found it. I still like my Yogurt Lounge in Anchorage best although this place had a great sea salt caramel yogurt.
On Saturday we never left the house. I worked on blogs and we had a lot of talking to catch up on. How is that? I don’t know. I guess when you don’t talk a lot on the phone you have it all to say when you see each other. We’d not had much opportunity to catch up when I’d been there a month earlier and they were getting ready to leave in the bus. Today was the day. We decided we’d do all our chores on Sunday. Verlie baked us a cake and we had popcorn for dinner. That’s my kind of dinner.
On Sunday we needed to take care of business, laundry for one. And I needed to wash the bike, pack and repack the bags I leave there. Verlie told me there was a car wash close by, so I rode down and got Harlow way cleaner than she had been. She still needs some work but at first glance she appears to be pristine white. Verlie and I did our usual … Red Lobster, as the sky opened to drop buckets of heavy rain, there was thunder and lightning, and perfect timing on our part. We avoided all of it and the apparent dust storm by being inside.
Monday morning, August 18, and I was on the plane heading home. I had set this date to get home so I could vote in the August 19 election. Yep, voting matters, and I am a super-voter.
|The trip to California was earlier this year. The Phoenix and everything north and east of it were this latest trip. All-in-all, a good bit of the countryside covered.|
It’s been a great trip, 7,205 miles in a month, a lot of states, a lot of visiting, with weekends off to be with friends. Not a bad trip at all.