Work dragged on and on. I wasn’t paying attention to anything anymore, just watching the clock. Four hours, two hours to go. One hour to go. The meeting at the end of my day dragged on. Finally, mercifully, the incessant blah-blah-blah-ing stopped, and I was at last free to go. I was out the door so fast it was spinning at a higher rpm than a motorcycle at redline.
Quickly, I drove home, put on my riding clothes, got on my already-packed bike, and fought my way through rush hour traffic to meet my riding partner. Finally, we were on our way to Taos, NM, USA, on our signature trip of the year.
It wasn’t as hot in Phoenix this year as last – I remember going through town last year and seeing 110° F. or more on my dashboard – and this time it was only 104°, much less than it has been the last few weeks. I sort of felt a little bad as I left home behind. It’s okay to feel that at the beginning of a trip, I thought. It always happens on the way out. I was, and still am, I suppose, that torn. But not for long. Those feelings disappeared as soon as I left this ugly hot town behind.
Soon, I was in my rightful place in the universe, 20 feet and slightly to the left behind Hal’s BMW R1100RS. I had dreamed of this moment for a year. I had wanted for a long time to ride the 2009 BMW F650GS that I was on for this trip. I’d seen it in every waking dream, even down to its color (sky blue) before I even bought it, and at last it was a reality.
The sun was dropping toward the mountains along the western horizon as we reached Payson, and the sky was overcast as we turned east toward Heber, AZ, our destination for the night. The temperature dropped to 69° F. when we got up onto the Mogollon Rim. I was happy to feel the cool air, and I didn’t even want another layer of clothing. We reached Heber by 6:46 p.m., while it was still light, and we luckily avoided riding in deer and elk country after dark.
We parked our bikes, unpacked, and happily did our walk to the Red Onion for dinner, a tradition we’d started on our very first trip to Taos in 2007.
Later, as I settled down for the evening, I felt tingly with anticipation. I look forward to this trip every year so much that sometimes I wonder if I look forward to it too much. Would this one be as wonderful as I wanted it to be, or would it disappoint and fall into the growing category of unfulfilled dreams? I would soon find out.
Either way, it would go by too fast, as if falling through a wormhole where five days would feel like five minutes, or the blink of an eye.
Next: Our first full day on the road since July.