Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Day 05 Riding the slab to Coolidge, AZ

According to Google Maps Coolidge, AZ is 415 miles from Kanab, UT. That made for a fairly long ride on the Ninja today; I stayed on the slab and cooked along at warp five most of the time. I’d have made it to Mike’s place in Oracle were it not for this ridiculous habit of mine that causes me to stop, turn around, and go back to see if I missed something. Bottom line is it took way too long to get where I got.

First thing this morning I pulled up at the motel office to turn in my door pass, stepped on something that didn’t allow for much grip, and El Nino decided it was time for one of her brief naps. I tried to hold her but without proper grip down she went, all but very gently and without mishap. The motel handyman was just a few feet away and we hoisted her back up in less time than it takes to read this. Sorry, no photo, I figured if I did that the handyman guy might do a stage left and I’d be stuck hoisting  the fat one up by myself.


So as I said, after the morning commotion it was onto the slab tooling along at the posted speed limits ranging from 65 -75 which is very nice indeed. The weather was overcast but warm most of the day and I rode with my jacket vents open save for one small stretch going through higher elevations. For that part I put on my fleece jacket and zipped up which kept me nice and snug.
Around mid-morning I made a stop at the Cameron Trading Post in Cameron, AZ. I wanted to check out belt buckle prices before getting into Mexico and this looked like the place to do it. By anyone’s definition Cameron’s is a tourist trap bonanza so I cable locked my helmet and jacket together plus put my passport and other docs in the top box before heading inside to shop. 

Amazing that I got this shot without a crowd of tourists

Biker gang arrives on rented Harleys

"Nice looking ride" commented several people as I locked up my stuff

So what are those things sticking out LL?

What? What are those? Keys? Are those your keys?

 When I was done – must have spent all of ten minutes inside – I returned to the bike. Reaching into my pocket I discovered my keys were missing and while I was standing there fishing through my pockets I noticed they were sticking in the lock to the top box. Perfect LL, what a noodle-head I am. Mr. Security here. I guess no one wanted any of my stuff.
I’d also stopped at another place that looked to be a true tourist magnet as they have one of the photo things you stick your head through while you buds take pictures. For me that’s a major draw so I pulled into the place only to find they were closed. Crumb, what a bummer. Now totally disillusioned I realized the entire day was going to be a bust so I forced myself to climb back on board and suffer along riding through the Arizona countryside. Poor me.

I arrived in the Phoenix area just in time to hook up with the afternoon commuter traffic. The last time I did that was when I rode to Key West and for some reason I kept going around in circles until I began to recognize land marks, even parked cars. Today was different though, I only made one wrong turn, identical to one I made last time but this time I realized my mistake and corrected it right away. Once that was over I made good progress and since I wasn’t tired I decided to keep riding for awhile.
“Awhile” turned out to be a helluva long time since once you leave the Phoenix/Chandler area motels cease to exist. Eventually I arrived in the town of Coolidge where I grabbed the first motel I saw, the Grand Vista Motel. I can’t wait till it’s daylight so I can take in the vista. At least the town has a nice little Mexican restaurant where I filled up on beans & rice & mystery meat taco, all of which will probably cause my new pants to shrink a bit.
Life on the road is so damn hard sometimes.

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