Day 3: Wickenburg, Arizona to Hemet, California
Sorry for the delay; an "unnamed" health issue got in the way...let's get back on the road.
While loading Milledue for the ride into CA, this baby caught my eye:
I remarked to Scott that "it must be easy to work on..." and he told me about some fastener (sorry, forgot exactly what) that was literally impossible
to access. Guess the tractor was built around it...
The morning was gorgeous. I LOVE
the desert (it's so clean!), and the Wickenburg area has some nice hiking in the surrounding area (and good desert riding as well, I'm sure),
Where the Heck is "Bouse" Arizona?...
Leaving Wickenburg for California, the obvious choice is to head west on US 60 to I-10, crossing the Colorado River at Blythe (BLYTHE
...can you think of a more "miserable-sounding" name for a town?). So naturally we can't do that.
Decided to head west on US 60---pretty much can't avoid that---but after the tiny towns of Aguila, Wenden, and Salome (we'll see that on the return trip)---there is the junction of AZ 72 to the WNW which goes up to the Colorado River at Parker, Arizona. And it goes thru this town of Bouse, Arizona.
The name intrigued me...turns out Bouse is pronounced to rhyme with "house"...and is quite a "thriving" community in the sort of "junk desert" way:
The landscape on the way to Bouse was nothing special, but it was country I had not seen before---and that automatically makes it worthwhile:
Approaching "Granite Pass" (elev. 1,925 ft).
When I got to Bouse I spied the legendary "Coachman's Restaurant"...
There were no cars parked out front as I rode up, but what the heck---I hadn't had too much to eat at Scott's---let's get some breakfast!
The food was good, and I had the MOST ATTENTIVE WAITER
I've had in a LONG time. He kept the coffee cup full, didn't "hover" over me, and was most helpful. So I left a good tip. And, uh, it was a good thing I had enough cash, because:
One poor bugger that finished before me (and hadn't seen the sign, which admittedly was kinda tucked down out of sight) had to schlep it "2 blocks" down to the ATM. Whew!
While I was eating, I looked up "Bouse, Arizona" on my iPhone. Turns out that there was some "WW II Desert Training" facility nearby, but I didn't really feel like I had time (or desire) to explore much. Also---not surprisingly---the population of Bouse is pretty seasonal; in fact, the owner of the "Coachman's Restaurant" said he was gonna close for the summer later that week. Man, I just made it in time!
Parker, Arizona to Hemet, California
Once across the Colorado River---tried to get a pic but couldn't get my camera ready in time---one catches CA 62 W. This first section of 62 is called "Blood Alley" since it has about 30 miles of "whoops" that are notorious for causing horrible accidents. Luckily the traffic was minimal. Here's an example of the scenery one sees for miles and miles:
After staying on 62 through the surprisingly heavy traffic of 29 Palms, Yucca Valley, etc.
(won't make that mistake again), I caught my first view of Mt. San Jacinto (elev. 10,831 ft.):
This view is looking south, up Snow Creek Canyon. My hometown of Hemet is basically on the other side of Mt. San Jacinto. Growing up there, during the late 60s/early 70s I backpacked over every mile of trail in the San Jacinto Mts., and climbed Mt. San Jacinto (not using the Tramway) many times. This view brought back a lotta good memories...
Shortly after the Mt. San Jac pic I merged with I-10, and life accelerated a couple notches. On thru Cabazon, Banning, then turn south at Beaumont onto Lamb Canyon Road. Hey, it used to be 2 lanes! Well, now it's 4 lanes and a lotta traffic. Things have changed since 1963...
My Ol' High School Buddy Steve...
Once down into the Hemet/San Jacinto Valley, I rode over to Steve's house. Steve is an old high school buddy whom I've known since 1957. We've done all kinds of crazy stuff together. Steve's wonderful wife Virginia put on a fine dinner for us all. The pic below shows Travis (Steve's son), Kelly (Travis's girlfriend), Steve, and Virginia. Good folks all!
Well, I had made it. Back to Hemet where I was born and grew up.
Tomorrow morning Steve volunteered to drive me around the area so I could take a few pics of the areas I wanted to see, then he had taken it upon himself to organize a "luncheon" of some of our old buddies.
It felt good to be back in my old SoCal hometown, in the company of longtime friends.