Day 6: Hemet, California to Wickenburg, Arizona
After two full days in Hemet, I guess I had had enough. It's a little tough to see some of one's old haunts again, since they usually haven't aged very well.
One thing I hadn't expected: the ENJOYMENT
I took in seeing some of my old friends from the "class of '65"...it was surprisingly satisfying to see (and talk) with those old geezers again. I may have to think about going back out there in two years for my 50th High School Reunion
...we'll see. I'd arrange to take Mrs. Greg for that occasion.
So anyways, it was time to leave. Had a good breakfast---finally got Virginia to start making smaller portions of food for me---packed up Milledue II, and set sail for Beaumont.
Back Through the California Desert: no 29 Palms This Time!
Since I enjoyed staying with Scott & Patti in Wickenburg, Arizona (and they invited me to stop back on my return trip) I was going to take much the same route this first day, with one notable exception...I was gonna continue on I-10 all the way to Desert Center, and bypass the CA 62 mess of Yucca Valley, 29 Palms, etc.
With roughly 300 miles to travel, I didn't leave till almost 0900. Approaching Lamb Canyon, the hills (I think Mt. Rudolph is the summit) north of San Jacinto looked kinda pretty in the morning light:
Once on I-10, I stopped at the REST AREA near Cabazon (I swear it used to be spelled Cabezon when I worked near there for the CA Div. of Hwys. in the summer of 1965...) This was to be my final view of Mt. San Jacinto for a couple years---gotta keep a good memory:
BTW, thank for not ragging on me for having those big 45L panniers. I like to have plenty of space for stuff. I probably could have been OK with the 38L cases, but I didn't know how they were gonna pack. I used the stock Ducati panniers for a couple years (had the larger "lids" for longer trips), but being all "curvy" they're hard to pack. Also don't seal that great, although I did get the auxiliary latches installed. If/when I sell Milledue I'll keep the Touratech cases for the next bike.
I had refueled when I joined I-10, in Beaumont. Good thing, too, because the service station at Desert Center was kinda short on "service"...
...it did, however, provide some nice shade. It was getting toasty warm, and I was glad I hadn't made this trip in, say, July. Although I've done it.
The desert scenery was "typical"---the pic below is taken on CA 177 between Desert Center and CA hwy 62.
There was NOTHING
along that stretch---always makes me wonder about riding a DUCATI out there. But the darn thing has been as reliable as a stone, if a little more complicated...
Y'know, it looks to me like I've got some "bug spots" on my camera lens, I guess it's inevitable from taking photos while riding. I'll clean 'em off before the next trip, I promise.
Very Nice Treatment at the Pizza Hut in Parker, Arizona
I stopped for lunch at Parker, Arizona. Now Virginia (Steve's wife) had packed me a "sack lunch" which I wanted to eat. But it was hot enough I wanted to eat inside. I stopped at the "Pizza Hut" and asked if I bought a drink could I eat inside at a table? The waitress seated me, brought me a big soft drink, then wouldn't charge me for it! Next time thru I'll stop there again and BUY
Virginia (naturally) packed too much food: big sandwich, big bag of grapes, a bag of chips, and about a dozen Oreos! Yikes! Didn't finish everything, but I brought it home with me...
Parker seems like most "border" towns: kinda sleazy. No offense, but...
Much more encouraging than Parker was the town of "Hope" at the junction of AZ 72 and US 60:
Didn't Bill Clinton come from Hope, Arkansas? Well, here's "Hope" Arizona. Stopped for a soft drink and chatted for a while. Didn't want to get to Wickenburg (only about 50 miles east) too early. For some reason these three signs together tickled me, dunno why...
for us all...
Remember "Granite Pass" from a week ago? Well, here it is goin' the other way:
The next little town was "Salome" and there was a historical marker...still not sure I really understand it:
The NIGHTMARE BUG from Hell!
So I was just riding along, mindin' my own business, about 30 miles from Wickenburg, when this ungodly BUG
got wedged in between my windscreen and the Laminar Lip:
And it was ALIVE!!
It slowly writhed around for about 10 miles, then finally "blew out" suddenly (and fortunately the airflow goes just above my helmet). Whew!! I was afraid I was gonna have nightmares
from that thing...but I didn't.
As I neared Wickenburg there was another historical marker:
I asked Scott about the "Wickenburg Massacre" that evening and he said there was some doubt about it, that it might have been the local sheriff impersonating the Indians to drum up resentment. Sigh. Sounds likely...the more you learn about the way the American Indians were treated, the more you understand the problems many of the them have. There's an Indian Reservation (Soboba) a couple miles north of my folks' old "mom-and-pop" store; I grew up with lots of stories to tell. But you'll have to read my memoir to hear 'em...
Finally got to Scott & Patti's place, where they showed me even better hospitality than on the outbound leg---what great folks. Got a better pic of them this time the next morning:
Well, I'm outta California. Feels good in some ways, bad in others...
Scott suggested an alternative route for the next day: around the outskirts of Phoenix (that didn't sound too great, but it was a weekend) then up thru the Salt River Canyon. Hmmm, I think I've heard of the Salt Rive Canyon...I'll give it a go!
So, "BUG" notwithstanding, I slept well. No nightmares. Only two more days to go, and I'll be back in New Mexico with Mrs. Greg. It's only been a week, but I'm ready.
Stay tuned: good ride tomorrow.