Last day on the road home

Taos 2014, Day 6


The phone beeped on the nightstand next to my head in the hotel where we were staying in Heber. It was still early, and I looked at the sender – from work. The message said “Please be safe this morning.” I thought, wow, my boss really cares about me. He knows I am riding home this morning so he sent me that message. Then I realized it went out to the whole school where I work, and when I read it again, it said something about rain. I turned on the TV to see the Phoenix area news, and discovered that torrential, record-breaking rainfall overnight had caused major flooding, and many places were literally underwater.

At breakfast, Hal and I compared notes and I found out that his phone had started beeping early, too. He had been talking to someone in the Phoenix area, and that person’s roof had caved in due to the storm!

My husband called me, to see if Hal and I would delay coming home for a little while, but Hal and I had already decided to take our time. “Have another cup of coffee before you leave,” my husband said. By the time Hal and I were eating breakfast, the rain that had been in Phoenix was falling where we were. I was glad the motorbikes were covered.

After a prolonged breakfast, and much news-watching, we finally organized our stuff, pulled the covers off the bikes, and packed them as the rain fell around us. The day had turned very dark and gray, and we were going to ride right into the rain. Judging from the radar maps on the news, the storm was traveling straight toward us. That was okay with me, we’d been through far worse before, and it would mean that we’d ride out of it sooner.

The road wasn’t too wet, and we’d put on full rain gear. Visibility was not great, but we were able to ride the speed limit. We left Heber an hour later than we’d planned, but under the circumstances, that was better than we’d hoped for.

By Forest Lakes, about 20 miles west, the rain had tapered to a drizzle, and by the time we got down off the Mogollon Rim, it had stopped completely. We rode in sun and clouds for most of the trip home.

When we rode out of Payson, the clouds were hanging very low to the east, and on the turns south of Payson they were almost low enough to touch. Glancing up, I saw them moving quickly in odd patterns overhead. It was warm, but even with all the layers I’d put on, I wasn’t uncomfortable until I got to Fountain Hills. We’d planned to stop there anyway, and I took all the rain gear and extra layers off. When I’d left Heber it was 58° F., and now it was 78° in the valley. Much better than the 108° when I’d left on the Wednesday night that now seemed so long ago.

It was sad, as always to see our trip coming to an end. The weekend had gone too quickly, and we were back in town. Hal and I parted at Gilbert Rd. and the 202 loop. He went to work, and I made my way home. As usual when I arrived in town, it had that look of an unfamiliar place. It looked like any town that I’d ridden through on my way somewhere else. It didn’t look like any place I’d want to stay, but unfortunately, it is where I live.

I encountered few puddles of water, the biggest one within two miles of my house. A pickup truck going the opposite way made sure he splashed water all over me on purpose, but I was not surprised. These are the type of people that live here.

When I got home, I got the biggest surprise of all – our whole backyard pool area was flooded! The pool itself was even under the standing water, which made all the water in the pool dirty, too.

Here’s what I saw when I got home. Note the diving board on the left:

It would be a while before that would get cleaned up. I spent the rest of the day unpacking the bike and then putting things away or doing laundry. I was especially grateful for the extra day off from work.

Our trip to Taos, 2014, is history, and I can’t believe it’s already over. The total miles were 1341, and now my 2008 BMW F800ST is nearing the 69,000 mile mark. Next month I will have owned it for six years! It’s been and will continue to be an amazing sport-touring bike. The little GS is approaching 47,000 miles, another “milestone” in its career. Both of these bikes have been great touring bikes for me over the years, and I have loved every mile I put on each of them.

Tomorrow: Epilogue




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