Hal and I drove up to Payson today, hoping to find more mountain biking trails. We drove up the Beeline, which today was an adventure in itself. A big wreck happened in front of us, and we were in the traffic backup. I tried to get this sign as we drove by, but I wasn’t fast enough:
You get the idea. It was an “emergency scene.” As we got almost to the scene, a long black skid of tire rubber led to the side of the road. Here’s the wrecked vehicle:
I was incredulous. How did it even get up there?? The truck looked like a crushed can.
As we drove by, a cop was standing there motioning us to go faster and acting extremely irritated because apparently we weren’t moving fast enough to the open part of the road. Never mind that we were going slow out of courtesy to him and the other officers, and to be safe. It’s the law that drivers are supposed to go slow when there are emergency vehicles at the side of the road. I guess he didn’t know that. I felt like flipping him off, but I didn’t. They are such jerks.
As we traveled toward Payson, I saw this compass rose on the spare tire cover of a Jeep, which I thought was cool:
“Adventures begin here.” That could be my motto!
We drove to Crosswinds for breakfast, as usual, and then, after much convolution, we ended up back at Houston trail and loop. We figured that we could do part of it this time, then turn around and come back. It was getting towards 1 o’clock in the afternoon by the time we made this decision, and I always try to get back to the car (or lodge, as the case may be) by 3 p.m. That’s when the storms start.
At Houston Mesa, we rode out on the rolling part of the trail, and since I had ridden here a few weeks ago, it was much easier. Most of the short steep climbs that I didn’t ride before, I rode today. Once a trail is mapped in my mind, I can remember it – along with all the best lines. I really enjoyed it this time, and best of all, we are training at elevation. Riding down here in the Valley should be a piece of cake in the future.
This photo shows the clouds gathering even as we got out on the trail:
I didn’t even think the downhill part was difficult on the way back. Of course, it was all uphill when I rode it in reverse. A lot of it was sandy, which made it challenging to find the best lines. I did okay on this mile-long climb, too, after last week’s somewhat “epic” ride.
When we got about one mile from the car, it started to rain, softly at first, but then it started to come down harder. I got back to the car first, which was parked under a tree, and I was reasonably dry there. Hal came in a few minutes later and unlocked the car so we could de-gear. As he was loading one of the bikes, lightning flashed and a few seconds later there was a loud crack of thunder! We both jumped, and hurried to get the bikes loaded. It was time to get the hell out of there since we were parked under that tree!
This is what it looked like as we drove back into Payson:
We took a slight detour onto Main St. so we could find one of the art galleries, which is partially owned by a friend of mine, Dan B. He is a friend from way back in the beginning of my mountain biking career, and now, like me, he rides motorcycles as well. I think he has a lot more experience on motorbikes, though! He rides a big KTM, which we saw at the get-together last weekend. Anyway, here is the gallery, it’s very cute on the outside:
Slightly different perspective:
Then we got back on the Beeline and headed down the hill. I thought the sky looked so beautiful on the way home, and I had to get more photos. Here is one:
In the photo below, you can see how the Beeline stretches far into the distance as we descend from Payson. Also notice how the sky is clear farther down, over the Valley. Typical.
We made it home, and unloaded the bikes. At the end of the day, there was a spectacular moon to shoot!
All I can say is thank goodness I don’t have to go to work tomorrow. Not only that, I only have to work two days this week, and then I am on the road. At least I’ll have the Taos trip to write about then!