Above: the interesting sign in front of Deer Valley Airport
In was another uneventful weekend from a riding perspective since we did not do any dirt exploring. So, I guess I will write about my short ride yesterday on Pearl, my BMW F800ST, to Deer Valley Airport in Phoenix. It was nothing spectacular, but it was fun to get on the bike, get out early, before the heat set in too much. On the way, it was 95° F. or so at 7:30 a.m., just as an example of how “lovely” it is here in the summer. It is the kind of heat that if you participate in a sport with any exertion involved, you must be done by 9 a.m., or risk heat stroke.
After a nice breakfast at DVA, Hal and I watched planes do touch-and-go maneuvers. No one except us was up on the observation deck because it was too hot, and we could clearly hear the tower conversing with the pilots. The restaurant always has that dialogue coming over the speakers, but when it is cooler there are usually screaming little kids in the vicinity and we can’t hear.
In particular, we watched, and heard, a female Mooney pilot making several passes, then come in, sit on a taxiway between the runways, then go out again. During the time we were there, the air traffic pattern changed. When we first got there, they were taking off to the east, and then it changed to taking off to the west. It was the most fun I’ve had while there, despite the heat, because hearing everything that was going on made it so much more interesting.
The temperature was up around 99° F., about to tip into the 100’s, when I left the airport. Hal’s ride home was only about 15 minutes, but mine was going to be at least 45 min. I soaked myself before I left, and then put the jacket over the wet vest. Once the bike got moving, I cooled down, but on the freeway, the temperature quickly rose to 103°.
On the101 loop toward Scottsdale, the traffic was moving quickly, and I kept up with it. All was going well until a jerk in a SUV came up behind and thought it was fun to tailgate me. I was in the “diamond lane,” which is not a passing lane, and is legal for motorbikes to be in. I guess he thought I should move over into regular traffic, which I would not. The diamond lane is a little “safer” and somewhat insulated from the wild traffic. The front of his vehicle was about two feet off my rear wheel for a few miles, tailgating me. Obviously, an idiot. I have a sticker on the back of my bike that says, “I see dumb people.” At that moment, I was seeing one in my rear-view. Finally, he tired of his game, and passed me. This is the kind of sh*t street motorcyclists put up with all the time, and there are never any cops around to see it, probably because it happens so often.
I decided to take the “long way ‘round” on the 101 loop, back to my end of town. I did not want to ride in the hot canyon formed where the US 60 splits from the 101 south. It is way too hot in the summer, and I’ve also seen too many near-accidents occur there. Plus, it turned out that the temperature on the outer loop was six degrees cooler than the hot freeway I had just left. The temperature went back up, though, as I entered the 60 from the other end, but I was soon on final approach to my exit. I was glad at that point because enough of the heat was more than enough.
But the hottest part of the ride, the last three miles to home, was yet to come. There are too many stoplights near the freeway. As usual, no thought process was involved when the intersections were planned (which they aren’t), so every time somebody wants a stoplight close to their business, it gets put in with no thought to the consequences. You’d think the people in charge of planning and engineering would come up with a way to make traffic flow better. Idling cars waste a lot of gas, and here we have the possibility of cars overheating as well. I am sure the technology exists to make traffic move more efficiently, they just need to use it.
At last I got home, went inside to cool down, and peeled off my still-damp clothing. The moisture lasted all the way home, and I was reasonably comfortable the entire way. After the usual “rider check-in” with Hal, I jumped in the pool.
I can’t wait to get out of this hot town for a few days later this week. I will soon be up in the glory of the cool forest, riding in the dirt, and not having to deal with tailgaters!