I’ve been chomping at the bit to make a few miles since I moved here 6 months ago, and I finally got my chance. Twist a throttle, see a thing and get out of town.
Wednesday morning at 6 AM I hit the road. The thing about the desert in the summer, is you have to hit the road early; its the coolest time of the day. Heat wears you out on long rides and if you can, avoid it. It’s the secret to riding in Southern Arizona.
My dad always said take twice the money and half the clothes. I loaded up the night before, got the rest in the morning and got the hell out of town. With the morning commute going, it took about an hour to get out of the city. I hit the 17 and headed north. The road opened up and a killer day was ahead. Up to the Mountains of Flagstaff. The weather got cooler, and the ride more focused; It was turning out to be a fucking cool ride.
Life can load you up with insignificant bullshit over time. This ride was to get some of that out, examine it and see it for what it was. It’s funny how a long ride can do that. I’ve always said that you need a 3 day ride; the first day all the bullshit drains out — the second day you are back to being yourself; the 3rd day is pure inspiration. I was on day 1 of a long ride. The bullshit drained out pretty fast. I had time, and there was lots of road ahead.
I got gas in Flagstaff, and up through the best road in Arizona — the Sunset Crater/Waputki Loop. It’s on the edge of the Mountains and the high plains, and you get a little of both.
Up through my old stomping grounds of Northern Arizona and Southern Utah, I finally landed to see an old friend in St George, 500 miles later. It was good to see him. We hung out in his garage and drank beer till 1:30 in the morning. A much needed shot in the arm. Good old friends are a rarity; I’ve had a few, but maybe this was one of the best. We laughed, bitched, and solved the worlds problems all in his garage. It was a killer evening.
I loaded up and rode down to the Harley Dealership to get a new back tire. It took them about 2 hours, and a little bit of bullshit to get it done. I rolled out, and headed south on 1-15.
I hit the Overton Nevada loop to get off the Interstate. Great side route, but its always been full of those tar snakes that in the heat, make your bike get all squirrely: They’d paved that road since I was last on it, and it was pretty nice. it was 2 hours of a great ride. All to the Eagles. I twisted through some desert turns in the 100 degree heat, and milked the hell out of the fact that this was a great ride already on day 2. I decided to ride into Needles California instead of Kingman AZ for the night. Maybe I could see a little more road, and milk it out some that way. My only other option was Barstow, but I didn’t want to ride that much of the Interstate.
I rolled into Needles California and found an old familiar sign:
Needles was hot. 105 degrees. I got a room for the night, cranked up the AC and tried to find the Penguins game on TV. It was the playoffs, but apparently this motel didn’t have that channel. No matter; Mrs Zip kept me in the loop over text as to the score. I was beat, and eventually fell asleep before I’d learned the ending. I woke up to find we’d won the series and was moving on to the Stanley Cup Finals. Hell yes.
I got back on the road and headed East. Toward Oatman. Crossed the mighty Colorado river:
I got a gopro about a year ago, and have been screwing around with it a little bit. I shot some footage that didn’t turn out, but shot a few that did.
There’s a lot of movie history at the Colorado River:
I’d argue that Steppenwolf and Easy rider made Peter Fonda famous here.
I’d also Argue that his father Henry Fonda at a young age also got famous here from the Grapes of Wrath:
Then, I rode into one of my favorite places: Oatman Arizona.
I rolled through Kingman, and north into route 66. I enjoy the hell out of that ride. the weather was cool and my bike purred. I don’t know that I’ll ever get sick of that road. I took as much of the side roads as I could, and by dusk I camped out in Bellemont Arizona on old route 66.
I broke my phone somehow on this trip, and lost a lot of my pictures, or I’d have more. I had some cool shots. Dammit….Shit does happen 🙂
It was nice and cool in Flagstaff. I rode through Winslow, and headed south to home.
Great ride. There’s so much of Arizona I want to explore and will. This was kind a re-connection trip. See an old friend, re-visit some old roads I’ve ridden before and see how things have changed. A lot has. For the better.
I think it’s time to head east now, maybe to Santa Fe, West Texas or even Oklahoma. There’s plenty of road to explore.
4 States, 4 days 1,142 Miles