A nice long 300-mile day, with no stress to be home at a certain time. That’s what I wanted, and that’s how we planned what has come to be our annual Memorial Day weekend ride on FR300 on the Rim.
The plan at first was to eat breakfast at Rimside Grill just outside of Pine, but we changed our minds and went to Crosswinds in Payson instead. We really like it there. The food is always good and the people are always nice. Today the place was overrun by HD riders, but at least there were fellow motorcyclists out and about. And, why not? It was a perfect day. In fact, I was actually cold as I rode up the Beeline, unusual for the end of May. I kept my jacket on until I got my first cup of coffee!
We left Payson behind, then rode through Pine where there was the usual holiday weekend arts and crafts fair going on. I looked in vain for the tie-dye shirt lady, but I had to keep my eyes on the road for the most part. The crafts fair is really popular and there were many pedestrians to watch out for.
Next, we went through Strawberry, and soon we were up on the Rim. We usually go in on FR300 up past the 260 intersection, but this time we kept going past Clint’s Well. Eventually, we turned onto FR95, farther north, the first time we’d tried this way. We pulled into a small area on the right to air down my tires. I probably didn’t need to, but it makes me feel more comfortable if I drop the pressure a few pounds. Then we started down 95.
I’d never been on this road before, and at first it looked a lot like FR300. Then, we started curving down some steep grades into a beautiful canyon, Barbershop Canyon. As usual, the paved parking area was nearly full of four wheeled vehicles. I am always amazed how many people are in places that you think are remote. We stopped and took a few photos, but I wanted to keep going so we didn’t stay long.
The next road we got onto was 321. We could have continued on FR95, but we decided to take 321 toward the Rim. It was a narrower road, but still the same “easy-ness” as 95. It was nice, no one seemed to be on this road. Except for one vehicle: a giant RV! Good grief. The things I see out there on fire roads are amazing, and not all of them are good.
Before we knew it, we came out on FR300, up on the exposed part of the Rim. I couldn’t believe we’d made it so far so fast. As we got onto 300, I remembered this day last year when the wind had been roaring, very strong, making it difficult for me to ride. It was actually moving me around on the road that day, and it was kind of scary. Today, as I said, was perfect. Sunny, a light breeze, and cool enough to feel great. We rode east on FR300, enjoying the unusually cool weather, and the forest environment. We didn’t stop to take too many photos, we were too busy enjoying the ride! And really, how many times can I take that same shot of looking out from the top of the Rim? I’ve ridden and enjoyed this road a lot.
We found FR300 super easy, as usual. There was one little grade that was very powdery, the consistency of flour, and I felt the wheel slipping all the way up, but that was okay. I still prefer the stock Tourance tires to anything else. That’s just me.
Before it seemed possible, we were into the last few miles before reaching Woods Canyon Lake. I thought it was going to be dusty, silt-y, impossible, but it wasn’t too bad. There were the usual pickup drivers who had to pass at a high rate of speed so they could kick up gravel and dust on us, but whatever. Hardly any time had seemed to pass since we got on 300, and the next thing I knew we were turning into the parking lot just before the intersection with the 260 between Heber and Payson.
We hung out there for a while, chatting, taking a break, and then we headed toward the next stop on our agenda: Christopher Creek Lodge for pie!
There was only one car in the parking lot when we got there, so we had the place almost to ourselves. To my delight, they had a strawberry-rhubarb cobbler that was heavenly with vanilla ice cream. I sat there for a while in a state of bliss while I savored every mouthful.
When I came out of my dessert-induced stupor, I shot a few photos of a hummingbird that visited the feeders next to the windows.
It was early (for us), but we headed toward Payson because Hal’s taillight was out and he wanted to get a bulb for the trip home. The cops were out like cockroaches (“cop-roaches”?) and we didn’t want to give them a reason to hassle us. However, something that was seemingly simple, like buying a bulb, turned into an ordeal when we went to three stores, yes three, before the O’Reilly auto parts store had one. They promptly closed as Hal left the store, which I find almost as rude as when there are employees who won’t let you come into a store and buy anything because it’s one minute past closing time.
After all that screwing around, it turned out to be a wiring problem (maybe) and not the bulb at all, and un-fixable, at least right then. So, I rode very close to Hal’s wheel all the way down the Beeline so no one would notice. No one did. We got back to town around 7:30 p.m. I love slinking into the garage in the dark after a lovely full day of riding fun.
We both agreed that since there are plenty of great roads up on the Rim to explore, that could be our “project” this summer, an excuse to escape the brutal relentless heat that we know is coming. We’ll go back – soon.