Start – Yuma, AZ 6:30am
End – Page, AZ 6:25pm
Wake up at 5am. Oh yeah, this is vacation. Out the door by 6am, on the road by 6:30am after gas, bathroom, and breakfast snacks. It’s already warm, the reason we are leaving so early. We roll under the still rising sun, Papa Rocket leading, then Too Good, me and Stitches, and Lillypad flying tail gunner. It’s better with her back there. Faster.
The road is empty, clear, and clean. Perfect. We are alone on the road. Soon we notice something new: cyclists and following vans. Every few miles we pass a van with orange flags sticking out the top driving half on the shoulder and directly in front of them is a dude (or dudette) on a bicycle and Lance Armstronged out. All day long, through all different terrain, we were passing these people. Mostly they weren’t a problem, but occasionally they were too much in the road and a pain in the ass. Passed a huge time-checkpoint about an hour and a half into the ride. Turns out they are doing some kind of Ride Across America relay thing. Cool, if you’re into peddling your lycra-covered ass off in the heat of the Arizona summer. Meh. I’m good on my ride, thank you.
At some point we were rolling on Highway 97. Too Good, Papa Rocket, and I may have misread the sign. We saw a minimum speed limit posting. Whoops. (Ed. Note: Of course I’m making this up. Don’t be silly.)
Gas stop and then we launch into some twisties on the way up to Prescott, AZ. Great big sweepers, 50 mph, jst rocking up the side of a mountain. As we go the view gets better and better. Amazing. Can see for miles. Also, the terrain changes. Yuma was empty nothingness. Now, as we go up, we get woods. Suddenly things are green instead of brown. Very cool.
More gas and a snack in Prescott, AZ. The road to Jerome, AZ is famously noted as 215 turns in 15 miles. I’m looking forward to it. Stitches, not so much. But she’ll do it. She’s hardcore like that.
Well, 10 of those 15 miles were excellent. Wide open, fast, scarping pegs through turns, working it. Then…douchbag driver. Dumbass in a Pontiac who doesn’t know what turnouts are for ruins the end of the road. Note to non-riders: If you’re on a 2 lane road and motorcycles are behind you…Fuckin’ Move! We hate you. You are slow. You suck. (Ed. Note: I really tried not to bitch too much about cagers in this journal and only bring it up a few times when they were really bad. So expect one or two more climbs to the top of my soapbox. If people knew how to drive I would stay on the ground…about that. Think of these moments as unasked for, impromptu, constructive driving lessons. Thus endeth the sermon. I also explain part of the reason for my hate later. Stay tuned!)
Followed the moron into Jerome, AZ, muttering into my helmet, where we stopped for lunch. Like Julian, CA, but smaller and more fun to get to, Jerome is a haven for bikers. Tons of bike, parking is at a premium and tricky, but we get it done. Navigating in a small dirt lot, not the greatest thing I’ve ever done. We ate at a place called Wine. Expensive but good. Wandered the town a little, checked out the quaint shops (really, quaint is the best word), then bailed.
The road out of town is as cool as the road in, but easier and shorter. It’s a quick 30 miles to Sedona, AZ. It’s so cool to watch the landscape change. From the green mountains of Jerome we drop into a valley of earth tones.
Red Rocks. The rock formations here are gigantic, deep red at the base, then fading up to pinks and whites. And it’s all in layers. You can see the lines in the rocks, the divisions of time. Makes me think of eons. The time involved boggles the mind. (Ed. Note: Sedona is one of my favorite places. Everyone should visit there at least once. The rocks change colors as the sun travels across the sky and you can’t believe what you’re seeing. The first really mind-blowing sight of the trip for me.)
I love Sedona, but it’s hot and crowded and I’m getting grumpy. We park and hang out for a little but my heart’s not into it. Stitches isn’t feeling it either, I can tell. (Ed. Note: And it’s hot. I try not to complain about heat but it’s hot. Hooooot. Hot. Kills the buzz. Harshes my mellow.) We get tired of wandering with Too Good, playing the part of Sidekick in town, and go hunt down Lillypad and Papa Rocket, who are chilling at a shaded outdoor ice cream diner thing.
Too Good as Sidekick reminds me of something that happened at an earlier gas stop. Before we left he’d bought a camelback or water and after filling it up at the stop he didn’t replace the cap correctly, causing water to spill out all over his back and seat. Luckily it happened while we were still parked. For some reason (Ed. Note: Metalocalypse) ‘douche’ is our insult de jure and so his camelback was instantly dubbed a douche and what he had done was douche himself. (Ed. Note:This was the first o many times someone would be douched during the ride. Insert giggles here.)
The ride out of Sedona, AZ was about 180 miles to Page, AZ, our final destination, with a stop in Flagstaff, AZ to check out a Victory dealership. (Ed. Note: And maybe buy a black t-shirt. Inside joke, don’t worry about it.)
The road from Sedona is beautiful, full of colors and twisties. Unfortunately, the road from Sedona also had cyclists and their vans (annoying) and an asshole in a pickup who didn’t know what turnouts are for (infuriating). I must repeat: I hate those people. Get out of my way. I was talking shit in my helmet for miles. Came up for air in Flagstaff with, “dumbass, asshole, fuckstick,” on my lips. Seriously, I’m feeling amazingly selfish about this ride. It’s my road, my time, my vacation and these slow, rude morons stealing it makes for evil thoughts. I worked hard for this trip. I earned it with stress and pain of mind over a year. It’s my freedom time. They are taking it from me. I feel its ok to be a selfish ass. As the great philosopher once said, “It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to.”
We had specifically gone to Flagstaff to go to the Victory dealership. Turns out the dealership is closed on Sunday. Bummer. Onward!
130 miles to Page, AZ. Full on, full out, hit it. Stop for gas and Too Good and I switch spots, me taking two and him dropping to three. More terrain change too. There was a great invisible line where the shrubs stop and sand starts. We ride the whole length of the state in one day and the end looks like the beginning. We’re in a valley too and the wind is whipping. We’re leaning sideways just to ride straight. Dust curtains sting my bare arms. I’m reenacting a Pantera song (50 metal points if you know which one). Eventually shrubbery grows back and the sand settles down.
We twist the throttle. Two up, in the wind, me and Stitches get the Nomad up to a buck and a nickel. Mostly me. She ain’t all that pleased with it. Long day on the bike does not make for a happy passenger at that speed. Good to know. Guess that won’t be happening again any time soon.
20 miles out of town we stop on a mountain pass scenic overlook. Options were go straight and get there faster or go up this road and get there a little slower. Up. Always up. That’s why we ride. To find the other way. Can see part of the Grand Canyon. Or, as Too Good, so aptly puts it, “The Big Fuckin’ Hole.” Very pretty view. I don’t have words to describe the vistas, colors, beauty we saw on this ride today. And the blue of the sky…pure blue. There were parts where it was so empty jack rabbits need match.com. Towns miles and miles apart, towns so small it’s like, “Hey, here comes a cute little to-there it goes.” We passed a town made only of RVs. Why? What’s wrong with these people? Go ahead, ask me why I live in Hawaii. Other towns, like Sedona, were gorgeous. But much of McCainville is empty desert. I bet the heads of WalMart hate it. All that empty space and no WalMarts. It must be filled or the terrorists will win!
We pull into the Page, AZ Motel 6 at 6:25pm, almost exactly 12 hours after we left Yuma. Long day. Kind of a grumpy day at times, but still a good day. Can’t complain about a 12 hour ride day where you traverse an entire state. Two days in and tomorrow will only get prettier. Can’t wait.
455 miles today
821 miles total