We wake up, I half forget where I am and what I doing. The old man eye phlegm doesn’t help matters. I shake off my slumbers and remember where we are and get excited all over again. I recreate the wretched gruel experience for myself and the drifter and we start breaking down our camp.
Of course on my way back from the bathroom I meet bikers and we regale each other with tales of daring do, once we have exhausted ourselves with lies about amazing motorcycle feats, I return to an exasperated Drifter who has had to break camp pretty much alone. I assure him that this is an important part of the suffering/redemption cycle I rambled on about earlier and it is for his own good. He doesn’t buy my line of B.S. and continues to give me the hairy eye for quite some time.
Pack up, strap up ready to roll. We do a 2 hour hike along the South Rim. It really is beautiful.
The little brown things on that cliffside trail are mule trains
I am really impressed with the National Park Service, the experience was top notch. All of the facilities where clean and well organized and easily handled the huge volume of people that come through there. I am sure the Euros left with a good impression. I am proud to be associated with this country at this exact moment. We walk along the rim away from canyon city toward the west for 2 hours then hop on a convenient shuttle and it whisks us back to the bike.
Roll Vermin Roll,
Southbound and down, loaded up and truckin’,
we gonna do what they say can’t be done.
We got a long way to go, and we don’t know when we’ll get there,
We’re south bound just watch ol’ Vermin run.
My hats off to Jerry Reed and Burt Reynolds for creating a movie that I still sing the theme of today. Smoky and The Bandit, I force my kids to watch this movie. It is one of the sacred triumvirate of film.
In order of importance to Western Civilization.
1) Caddy shack
2) Smoky and the Bandit
3) Any which way but loose
Citizen Kane put up a good fight for 50 years but this 1,2,3 punch of genius brought it to its knees.
I can’t think about the Buford T. Justice line, “boy when I get home I’m gonna punch yo momma in da mouf cause there ain’t no way a boy as stupid as you come from mah loins”, without laughing myself crosseyed.
When the screen writer penned that line of genius Shakespeare gave up writing and started making fishin poles.
We cruise south to Ash Fork, Arizona
This is a town that has jumped on the route 66 bandwagon. Cool song, crappy obsolete road that was replace by a freeway 10 feet away, I don’t get it.
Mini rant warning
I understand the business case for nostalgia, as Americans get old and crabby they cling to the past, I occasionally suffer this malady. Young Americans could be deceived into thinking there were good old days. Harley makes a lot of hay in this grey field, as does the, not as big as they used to be, but still fairly big three automakers. Well I am afraid that while we all are comfortably numb looking into the past through the rear view mirror in this country we are going to rear end the future and get our insurance cancelled.
YES YOU CAN TASTE TERROR,
We cruised south out of Ash Fork aways and I pulled over to the side of the road to put on my helmet and for Drifter to pretend to take a picture of some grand vista. We where about 100 yards behind a cop that had someone pulled over. Just as I set the bike on the kickstand I looked back and saw a truck pulling a large travel trailer coming down the road. So far so good. As it approached I could see that the awning bracket on the side of the trailer had pulled loose and was sweeping the shoulder at 65mph headed right at us about neck height. There was no time to react. I immediately understood the ramifications of my situation but didn’t have enough time to do anything except stain my diaper. Whatever gland kicks out adrenaline figured this was its last big show so it swamped me. A wave of metallic coppery taste came into my mouth. The gomer in the truck was unaware that his rig had turned into a 15,000 lb scythe fixin to harvest my melon. (MOM, come to dammit I’m here typin ain’t I).
At the last minute the guy pulled wide to avoid blasting the cop. I looked at the cop he seemed unfazed by gomers makeshift guillotine and went back to serving and protecting all over his original perpetrator.
I realized that this could have a much worse affect on any future roadside person so I stood the bike up and told drifter to hold on and blasted after the guy. It took me a ways to catch him because (no offense to my bike) my bike sucks and with all this stuff on it is not terribly responsive. Don’t you hate it when birds pass you?
I caught up to the guy and passed him waving wildly trying to get him to look in his right mirror. It was the goofiest high speed game of charades ever seen. The guy was reluctant to pull over in the middle of the desert for an epileptic vagabond with the hi-vis psychodelic Sherwin Williams special. Eventually he realized he had the mechanical advantage and pulled over and cracked his window. He look stricken when I told him what happened.
Just another day at the office.
We cruised on down to Prescott and motored right through town. It has a lovely downtown, gotta remember to tell Sweet Thang that this may be a viable option for habitation should the grocery spigot dry up in Michigan. My family has been in Michigan since 1912 but it might be time to punt. I still hang with the people that I grew up with. I don’t know how difficult loosing those ties would be.
We keep on cruising down a gorgeous twisty highway through the mountains. I have been informed it is the Deals Gap of the west. I don’t remember what the number was I know the fun is in the looking for it anyway. Any way we are cruising and grooving down this sweet black empty ribbon When I came around a corner and saw a cross on the side of the road with a full face helmet on top. A shiver ran up my back when I realized someone had lost their only begotten son, who died for his own sins, on that stretch of road. It creeped me out made me nervous in the service for about 2 or 3 miles when all of a sudden
MOM/Sweet Thang please notice he is smiling The large blurs in the picture are hail this is after the worst of it has died off.
The skies opened up. I was already tense because of the cross and once again I was in a situation where pulling over and seeking refuge under anything was not an option as high voltage random organic vertical electricity was everywhere. I finally found a cliff with a shrub sticking out the side that we huddled under. The shrub only slowed down the marble sized hail.
It is an interesting sensation to have pan fried arms being pelted by 80 mph hail. The intensity of the storm died off and we moved on.
The aforementioned storm. (The Indians call these mountain storms whipalotta which means gods vomit.)
We were in the mountains and then came around a corner and could see out over this huge valley below.
As we came down the hill it was obvious we weren’t in Kansas any more. I had gotten used to 100-105 degree heat over the last few days but this was ridiculous.
Is this hot enough?
We started seeing these bone fide Wile E. Coyote Super Genius shrubs
We cruised across this plain for a fur piece until the afternoon sun made me stupid.
I had to pull over and seek shelter and sustainance while I still had my wits about me. We pulled into Werden AZ. And had our choice of 2 restaurants one was a typical local bar/grill where the odds of doing intricate verbal jousting was high and this other cinder bock joint that looked more family oriented. We chose number 2 and I am glad we did.
The place was the CACK of the restaurant world except way more elegant. It is called "Ingredients" I think.
The food was great and the women were real good company
It was a blast eating here the women clearly took great pride in the food they presented and it showed. The ingredients were fresh and delicious and the conversation was excellent. In the grand scheme of things it wasn’t much but on this particular afternoon it was just the perfect antidote for heat stroke. I wish these women all the luck.
Drifting tech tip:
Even though it looks cool to go helmetless in this kind of heat I pour cool water in my helmet and it slowly evaporates cooling my head while the helmet insulates it from the heat.
Finally pull into Quartzsite AZ and find a not so Super 8 I was a little crazy from the heat looking forward to a cool shower. Well guess what ? The cold water is the same as the air temp. 115deg, no relief so I laid down to sleep.