I got up at 6 this morning, much earlier than I wanted to. My riding partner had to be at work in a few hours, so there was no choice. I was out of bed and packed in 20 min., on the bike and ready to roll in 40. At first I didn’t believe that I would need long pants and layers, but one trip outside convinced me. I plugged in the Gerbings again; good thing, because it was 47° when we got going, the coldest yet of the trip.
As we came down off the Rim, the temperature didn’t rise. It was a beautiful, crisp morning, and Pearl felt great, purring along, keeping me warm. The trees were the dark green of late summer, the air was crisp and clean, and everything was filled with the white-gold light of September. I would have enjoyed everything more if the trip hadn’t been coming to an end.
We stopped in Payson for a cup of coffee and a granola bar, and to fuel up for one last time. Soon, we were headed down the Beeline, which was wide open and beckoning. I loved sending Pearl charging into the turns, my last hurrah for the trip. After the Sunflower turns, the road went to one lane each way, which apparently it will be until next May. What could they be doing to that road in that length of time, or more accurately, what could they be doing to a road that is already perfect in that length of time??
When we got back to town, Hal had to go home first, then get to work. I wasn’t done riding for the day, so I followed him to his exit at Peoria, then looped around on Loop 101 toward home. I like riding in fast, heavy traffic, it gives me a huge adrenaline rush. Luckily, I had taken all my layers out because the temperature was about 96° down in the hot canyons of the freeway. I had passed through a temperature range of 50° in a couple of hours.
It was a relatively uneventful ride home. I say “relatively” because there was an accident on the ramp leading from the 101 to US 60. It had just happened minutes before and traffic wasn’t too screwed up yet. I managed to slip through without incident, and without putting my feet down.
I rolled in at 1378 miles for the trip. The Taos trip is over. It seems so impossible after I looked forward to it for so long, counted down the days since I got home from San Diego August 1. There are just so many aspects of this trip that I love, and everything was so great this year. I’ve thought about going back there during other times of the year, but somehow it wouldn’t be the same. I just wish it could last longer, that there would be more days to the rally, or more days that we could stay in the area.
I’m already thinking of a “color tour” for the second week of October to view the changing leaves up north. So, really, there will only be a few weeks of temporary suspension of being on the road. That’s how I have to look at it, otherwise I would be too depressed to even think about going back to work.