Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Day 4 - Looking for Wylie Coyote and Road Runner

Today was the first time it felt like we were really in the desert, there were the classic cacti as portrayed in the the Road Runner cartoon. Several times I'd come around a corner expecting to see Wylie Coyote with one of his Acme contraptions ready to catch the Road Runner. Beep-beep!

I think we are starting to get into a rhythm with our morning departures. The alarm went off at 5:30am local time, we were on the bikes and at a local cafe by 6:30. The only difficulty with breakfast was when Doug tried to pay for his. There was a misunderstanding about how much to charge the credit card. Last night the cashier at the Italian restaurant under charged him by $10 and this morning the cashier over charged him by $10. Globe, Az. needs some help with cashiers I think.

With breakfast completed we were on the road by 7:57am heading north on 188. The air was brisk and the sky clear. It was a great time to be on a bike. Even though it didn't feel like we were in a desert just yet, there was a huge abundance of those large cacti everywhere, up and down the mountain sides.

When we got up to Theodore Roosevelt Lake the road began to snake along the western side of the lake hugging the mountain. This was a very fun road. Definitely a must ride road if you are in the area.

Eventually 188 met up with 87 and we continued north through Payson, Pine and Strawberry. Around Pine we started getting into those wonderful mountainous curves again. How can there be so many fun roads in one state? Traffic seemed to be a little heavier today so we pulled over at a look out to let some congestion move through ahead of us. Then it was back on 87 until we found 260.

260 took us through Camp Verde and on to Cottonwood. Note to self, when riding this route with a Goldwing, STOP in Cottonwood for gas just to be on the safe side (No one ran out of gas). Once in Cottonwood we found a lot of construction going on. It seemed like they were redoing all of the streets we wanted to drive on. And of course, as with any ride I seem to be leading we ended up driving on gravel for short stretches. It's gotta be the GS.

I wanted to take 89-Alt out of Cottonwood heading toward Jerome because it looked really good on the map and we had received a recommendation yesterday for the road while we were on the Devil's HIghway. The climb up 89A into Jerome is neat. You are quickly gaining elevation with a very steep road. When we got to Jerome they had the road closed downed to 1 lane. Taking off from a dead stop on such a steep grade can be a real challenge. Believe it or not I managed to get us turned around in Jerome thanks to the Zumo but we finally got through there. Then it was on up the road and UP is the key word.

89A is a must ride road for the area. Unfortunately the local claim to fame is that the pass is open 365 days a year. That of course means the road was very rough, but the curves made things exciting. This road is just another excuse on why I need new shocks. About half the pass I was able to ride without much traffic in front of me, but eventually I got behind a 90's era Mustang and that guy wasn't moving out of the way. Instead he had that car really running through the corners. It was fun to watch and he kept the pace fast enough to be enjoyable.

We road 89a into Prescot and found gas. Then it was back on 89 south. This was a pleasant road with plenty of twisties.

In the middle of no where we found 96 and turned on to it. Now we were in a real desert type area. The mountains were in the distance and the roads were straigher and flatter. But there were suprises.

Around one corner we found a sheriff who had just cited a driver, most likely for speeding. The speed limit dropped from 50 to 35. Yes 50mph out in the desert and then 35mph. What were they afraid of, someone hitting a cactus? Sure, it probably had to  do with some of the curves. But having the ever presence of that sheriff made things a little discouraging. 96 led to 97 which led to 93. Most of 93 was 4 lanes and 65+ mph.

We decided to stop in Wikieup for a break. While at the Shell station we met an elderly couple who wanted to talk about the bikes and their friend who was killed in a motorcycle accident. It's funny some of the people you meet when on the bike.

With the break completed, we continued on 93 into Kingman. We arrived at the Motel 6 at 3:16pm and checked in. The route today covered 352 miles. Tomorrow we are heading over to the Sequoia National Forrest and check out those big trees.

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