Last night as we planned today’s ride, I said I wanted to go for a long ride so I could have some time for quiet thinking as I rode mile after mile. We decided we’d ride through Globe, then take the 70 north so we could ride the tight turns through Salt River Canyon, and eventually end up in Show Low, AZ. From there, we’d turn west and ride the 260 toward Heber and our favorite restaurant, the Red Onion, and get a burger before heading home.
So, at 9:00 we headed out, got on Hwy. 60 at Gilbert Rd., and headed east. Immediately, I knew I was going to be in trouble when I was freezing right after I got on the freeway. I don’t know why, I was just cold to start with. I turned up my heated jacket liner, and turned on my grips. I was still cold, but not as much. Of course I never considered aborting the ride and going for breakfast locally!
It was overcast when we started, which I thought was kind of weird. I had expected a day of sun and warm temperatures, and here I was, freezing, with thick clumps of clouds overhead. I was shivering already, the temperatures falling from the mid-60s F., down through the 50s. I also wondered why Hal was going so slow, but I was like, whatever. I thought he would ride fast, riding “naked” (without luggage cases on his bike) as he was. Later, I found out his speedometer was messed up and he was relying on his tach to figure out how fast he was going. Needless to say, after I got that information I went up front. After all, I am the one with the radar detector and a working instrument panel!
Just before SRC, a driver coming toward us flashed his headlights, warning us of a cop ahead. I slowed down before he could put radar on me. At least then we knew where he was, and could ride the rest of the canyon without fear. It used to seem like it took forever to ride it, but today it only took about 10 minutes. No one was in front of us, and it was fun! Some idiot in a SUV tried to pass me once, but I thought just wait for the turns. When we got to the tight ones, he dropped back behind me (where he belonged).
We stopped in Carrizo for a break, got some hot coffee, and then continued toward Show Low. The temperature stubbornly stayed in the high 40s F., and when we fueled up in Show Low, the wind really picked up. Or maybe we just became more aware of it since it had been a tailwind as we rode north, and now was a fierce crosswind. It made the wind chill much colder than the ambient temperature, and I really felt it. I had to lean the bike just to make it go straight. My bike is very stable, though, and it hardly moved around because of the wind. I did have to work at it a little by keeping pressure on that left side. By the time I got to Heber, I felt cold and beat up. No matter how much fairing a bike has, or how good a helmet is, a crosswind is always brutal.
Inside the Red Onion, it was warm and cozy, the fireplace was blazing. We ordered hot coffee while we waited for our mushroom burger. We also enjoyed the comfortable chatter of the staff, and the welcoming atmosphere. We took our time, as we were both cold when we came in, and were also in no hurry. Eventually, though, we had to move on.
It was still cold and windy, but at least I knew we were headed toward warmer temperatures back in the Valley. There was little snow on the sides of the road, and the landscape looked like early spring, with running water or pools of water from melting snow everywhere.
Soon we were at the Woods Canyon Lake turnoff where we began our descent from the Rim. We gained five or six degrees in temperature right away, and it was much warmer in Payson when we finally got there. By the time we reached the end of the Sunflower turns on the 87, the temperature had risen to the 70s F. We stopped in Fountain Hills to peel off some layers, but for me, the warmth felt great after shivering all day. I felt it in my shoulders, which were stiff from being tense in the cold. It’s unusual for me to feel any discomfort when I ride.
We ended our day with more coffee at one of our favorite hangouts, and did some planning for the upcoming trip! Today wasn’t the 600 mile day I had originally wanted, but any riding day is a good one for me.