Today we left Alpine behind, it was soon a glance in the rearview mirror. I knew this day would come, the week seemed like shining endless fun in front of me last Monday, but now it’s over. Sad.
We packed up the bikes, had breakfast at Alpine Grill for the last time this trip, and then headed up 191 again for one last run through the turns near Hannagan Meadow. I wondered if the logging crew would miss us waving at them next week? We’ve seen them so many times the last few days they know us by sight.
One purpose of running the 191 again was for me to get a specific photograph that I wanted. I got it, at the same place where I had been apprehensive about the trees crashing down on me, but it was a different scene/perspective that I shot. We stopped a few more times before we left the Alpine area, then we rode toward Springerville, then Show Low, then near Heber. When we got to where we are staying for the night, we unloaded and went out again! This time we went out to ride some dirt roads near here that we have wanted to ride for some time.
First, we went in on FR504 and took that for a while. We’d been on it before during one of our rallies, but we went farther west on it then we had before. It was rockier and narrower the farther west we got, and it went down into Wildcat Canyon, then back up and out. We rode it until we got to the intersection of 170, and that’s when I pulled out the map.
I thought that 504 would intersect with FR237, which I knew came out near Forest lakes on Hwy. 260. But, when I looked at the map, 237 didn’t go very far, and fortunately, 170 went all the way to where 99 intersected with it about five miles north of Hwy. 260. So, we turned south on 170 and enjoyed a very scenic, narrow, little-used road for several miles. There were some fist-sized rocks and I kept hearing some big ones being thrown by the front wheel and hitting the bottom of my bike. Bam! I was beginning to worry if parts of the bike were being damaged, but when I looked, everything seemed fine. We were speeding along (for us), and it was fun.
I stopped one more time to put my earplugs in. The wind was howling up there on the Rim (not unusual), and the sound was driving me crazy. I find it hard to concentrate with a lot of noise in any situation and this was no different. I usually wear earplugs, but for some reason I thought I could get by without them this afternoon. I was wrong. Once I put the earplugs in, it was a much more pleasant experience for me.
Finally, we reached 99 and then about five miles later, we were at paved Hwy. 260. It was a perfect loop, and I hadn’t even realized I’d planned so well. It took the length of time I wanted it to take, and it was about 35 miles. I was done for the day, but I’d had a great time. The bike had done everything well once again.
It is our last evening on the road, and Hal and I had another great dinner. This trip is ending way too soon, and I hate that it’s almost over. In fact, we’re already planning the next one!