“All good things must come to an end,” as they say, and today this trip did. When I woke up this morning, I actually felt more tired thinking about going back to my real life than I was after all 220 miles of dirt riding. It didn’t help that it was a sweet morning, the air was a cool 61° F., and the clouds were swirling across the sky, only occasionally letting the sun peek through once in a while. I regretted so much having to leave.
Hal and I ate our last breakfast at the lodge, said good-bye to all our friends there, and loaded up the car and bike trailer. We left about the time we normally left for our rides on the bikes, and it made my eyes fill with tears. The stress and fatigue of the next 10 months are going to be indescribable.
Hal was trying to make me feel better by looking in the rear view mirror at the bikes and doing their voices. Their front fenders vibrate in the wind as the car moves making it look like they are talking to each other.
“Where are we going now?” asked Dizzy (Hal’s DRZ).
“I don’t know! It’s cold and it might rain!” remarked Little Beast (my Yamaha).
We drove slowly away, and almost immediately, we saw a herd of deer in a big meadow! I could hardly get my camera out in time, and I almost missed the whole shot.
Luckily, I managed to get the last deer just as she was about to disappear into the forest.
We kept going toward Springerville, past all the familiar places and roads that we love, and it was really hard not to feel completely depressed because I knew I was seeing them for the last time for a while. I wasn’t quite so happy as when we were on the way when I took this photo today of an extinct volcano:
We went through Springerville, then Show Low, then gassed up the car in Heber. Hal drove toward Payson, but first we turned into Willow Springs Lake just before we began our descent off the Mogollon Rim. For me, that’s always the real end of the trip because then the temperatures rise and become unbearable once again. So, we were trying to prolong the trip as much as possible by turning off at the lake. We had another motive, too. Janice at the lodge had packed us a to-go treat: a big piece of chocolate cream pie!! We got out of the car with pie in hand and searched for a picnic table. On the way there, there was more wildlife to photograph. This little guy had some human food in his mouth:
We savored our pie, then got back on the road. As we drove down the Beeline, Hal was making the bikes talk again:
“Wow, we’re going 70 mph!” said Dizzy.
“That’s faster than I can go on my own!” answered Little Beast.
“I guess we’re going home,” said Dizzy.
“That’s good,” Little Beast sighed, “I’ve been out of my garage for two weeks. I had to go to the mechanic, sat outside in the hot sun most of the time. I will be so glad to get in my garage. Plus, the last few nights have been cold and rainy up there at the lodge!”
“I wish I could see a little better,” remarked Dizzy. “I could if my face wasn’t so dirty!”
“Me too!” said Little Beast.
The sky looked ominous as we dropped into the Valley. I was hoping for rain after living with it every afternoon. I absolutely love the cool air and rain in the mountains.
We brought it back with us because when we got close to home, the sky looked very black:
Luckily, we both had enough time to get to our homes and unload, and then it was a small thunderstorm followed by gentle rain and a cool breeze.
Tomorrow, sleeping in for one of the last times, and getting a few things done around the house. The rest of the week will be busy, and soon school will be back in session. I am hoping for a better year this year than last.