And now the trip really begins

This will be a short post cause I’m tired and need to get some sleep.  It was another hot day (hit 93) but I finally got out of the valley around 2:30 and what a difference a few miles makes.  About 20 miles north of Mesa on Hwy. 87 the road gains some elevation and the heat begins to drop.  Another 20 miles and I was in trees with water in the creeks, and another 20 miles I was at 5000 feet and it was almost (but not quite) chilly.  The road twisted and turned, up steep grades then down them, through forests both green and burned, and onto huge valley (Verde??) finally ending in Cottonwood.

The morning started with me trying to get all my stuff in my two bags and onto my bike.  It wasn’t going to happen, so Bud very kindly offered to carry some stuff in his motor home and drop it off at the bike shop on his was out of town (to Rapid City, SD and Minneapolis).  I got the 3rd bag installed and still ended up with stuff left over, so some of it got bungeed to the passenger seat and the rest is being shipped back to Bellingham.  I brought to much clothing…

Sonny, the ex-owner of the bike, took me to breakfast in the side car of his Ural motorcycle.  Now that’s a weird experience, just kinda hanging out there with no controls and this other person sitting next to you but 2 feet higher.  Not sure I’ll do that again.

Then it was off to Bass Pro Shops to get some things for the trip.  All I ending up finding was a good broad-brimmed hat and a fake Leatherman, but in the process ended up losing my brand new, very expensive clip on sunglasses.  I retraced my steps but no luck – they have my name and # if they turn up but I doubt it.  Crap!!!

By the time all this was done, it was 2:30 and the pointed the front wheel north.  With each mile I got a little more comfortable with the bike and started to take the corners at speed and pass the slow pokes.  It’s only the slower hairpins that I still feel awkward, the weight of all the bags and gear make it feel likes it’s going to fall over.  Gotta get used to that.

There was some stunning scenery going through the Tonto National Forest but very little opportunity to stop and get a picture.  And I’m not sure my little camera can do the vistas justice, they’re so wide open.  I eventually made it to Cottonwood with my knees and my butt screaming and close to 6pm, so I called it a day.  One long shower and a mediocre meal later, it’s time for bed.

Tomorrow I’ll be exploring Sedona and the red rocks, then end up in Flagstaff.  Not many miles but some cool towns and one killer road (Arizona 89A)

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