Homeward bound


All the places this little bike has gone with me …

…  like Mogollon, NM, for example.

**

10-1-14

(continued from yesterday’s post)

Hal and I stopped for fuel on the outskirts of Flagstaff, at a Chevron station that we like. I noticed that we’d gone 160 miles since Fountain Hills where we’d fueled up that morning, which by now seemed forever ago. That made the Chevron station 180 miles from my house. We took a short break, but I was thinking about how I was so “not” tired, and didn’t even mind that I’d just spent almost two hours sitting on the bike. I must be getting used to riding long distances again.

We left the gas station, and Hal shouted something to me at the next stoplight about Sedona, and “fudge.” There is a place in Sedona that we love that has heavenly, fresh-made fudge. I didn’t know if we’d have time to get that in, too, but was willing to try. However, at the intersection where we had to choose between 89A south or to get on the interstate, Hal turned onto I-17. That was a disappointment, and I did signal a few times to get him to exit and maybe turn around, but he didn’t see it. So, we kept going down the mountain, and at one point, I got to be in front for a little while. We went all the way to the Sunset Point rest stop, and when we got there, Hal said we had passed the exit that we’d wanted. It was no longer marked “Cordes Junction,” and not marked anything at all when you are traveling south. No worries, it was only about nine miles back, and we had plenty of time.

We got back on the interstate and rode to the proper exit, now marked “Cordes Lakes.” Whatever. The interchange had been under construction for a few years, and now it was complete. As usual, it had been turned into something much more confusing than it needed to be, plus now it had one of those stupid roundabouts that I hate. No worries, we got to the McDonald’s, the meet-up place, in a very short amount of time. We were about 45 minutes early, but we’d planned that. We got some coffee and a snack, and had some time to chit-chat for a little while. At almost exactly 5 p.m., the guy with the DR, Bob, rolled in.

It was a nice bike, and had a lot of extras on it. In fact, it had everything I wanted. Yes, the bike was going to be for me if it was good, and so far, it was! The only problem was the usual one: I couldn’t ride it because it was too tall. That meant that Hal rode it, and then he took me two-up on it. I asked him if it felt like his DR, and he said, “it feels even better than mine.” It was a done deal. I said I would take it, and we made arrangements for Bob to bring the bike down to north Phoenix so we could pick it up with Hal’s trailer. We left feeling good about it; it was a great deal.

The sun was already almost down since by the time we’d ridden the bike, talked a lot, and done the deal, it had taken over an hour. Bob left for his home near Prescott, and we got on our bikes to head back down to Phoenix. It was 6:18 p.m. by the time we left the McDonald’s parking lot and got back on I-17. I was a little worried that I wouldn’t be able to see well, especially since I had only my dark visor (remember, I’d left the clear one home that morning for some unknown reason). I did have my clear-lens glasses, though, and when I flipped the visor up as I rode, it worked fine because I was sitting behind that big windscreen.

As we went through the turns on the descent after Sunset Point, the traffic was heavy. We were following a couple of big trucks, and the air was acrid with the stench of burning brakes. When I passed the first truck, the odor was so strong that I looked over at the wheels of the truck to see if they were on fire! I rode by that one quickly, and put some distance between it and me in case it couldn’t stop! Abruptly, the smell disappeared. The FedEx truck in front of the burning brakes truck was fine. Soon we were down, and at the edge of the first communities that are part of the Phoenix area.

I had been able to see just fine as we went down the grade, and when I got to the streetlights, I knew I would have no trouble seeing for the rest of the trip. Hal and I parted at the exit ramp to the 101 Loop east, and I took it to southbound 51. As I wove through the different freeways, the lights of the city shimmered around me and it almost looked beautiful. I was so content as I rode Jewel on the last leg home that I realized how much I had missed riding her. Jewel was the first bike that I’d toured on back in 2007, and I used to love going on those trips so much. It had been a magical summer, and the magic never went away. Now, on the way home on Sunday night, I felt safe and happy, and I had that good on-the-road feeling of just passing through.

Hal had given me a tip to get into the diamond lane on 51, legal for motorcycles, and just stay there. 51 turns into I-10, and then the diamond lane has its own exit ramp onto the U.S. 60. I stayed in the diamond lane almost to my exit, and then was able to get over in the correct lane very easily. The route that Hal told me to take had saved me about 15 minutes!

I got home about 7:50, not too bad considering the distance from Prescott to home. I had ridden 375 miles total. I didn’t even mind that my whole day was gone, and I hadn’t gotten a lot of things done that I’d wanted to. It was worth it to be out on the bike all day.

However, there is one last update to this story. Monday, while at work, a text from Hal popped up on my phone: “Bad news. Bob decided not to sell the bike.” I thought, really? Are you kidding me? We had a deal! Not to mention that I’d used up my whole day on Sunday thinking it was going to be worth it in the end. I knew it was too good to be true.

I guess there is no end to “flakes” in this world, no matter how “nice” they seem in person. Needless to say, after all that, I didn’t get the DR.

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