Escape, at last!


October 10, 2015

After a hard week at work, the anticipation of fall break, and then trying to figure out what kind (dirt or street) of ride we wanted to do, Hal and I finally settled on a road ride. With the presence of “work” in our lives, we both find that we can barely think since we are on overload all the time, hence the difficulty with settling on one type of ride. Our time is so limited that we want it all, and want to squeeze everything into an impossibly short time period.

So, a road ride it was. Hal wanted to bring his recently acquired (the week before!) 1993 K75s.

His ’97 R1100RS was in the shop, and even though he’d ridden the K75 only a few miles, he opted to take it on the trip. It is a very clean, beautiful bike, deep periwinkle blue in color.

I am always happy on my 2009 F650GS, “Katarina Maria,” the most comfortable – and competent – bike I have ever owned.

It was easy for me to pack once I knew it was a road trip. I didn’t bring a lot, but brought enough clothing and gear to keep warm if necessary. You never know what the weather has in store for you in the White Mountains.

We left Saturday morning at 8:50. Hal rode to my house to meet up because my husband, Desmond, wanted to see Hal’s new bike.

Our first fuel stop was in Fountain Hills, then we rode to breakfast at Tiny’s in Payson. The waffles and bacon that we had were great!

Before we left the restaurant, I put on another layer. I was feeling cool already, and we weren’t up on the Rim yet. Later, I was glad I had because I had started out wearing only a perforated leather jacket with a thin shirt under it on top, and mesh riding pants over shorts on the bottom.

The day was beautiful when we got up onto the Mogollon Rim – high clouds, temperatures in the mid-60s F., and leaves starting to turn golden. They became more evident the farther we rode, and the higher in elevation we were. Traffic wasn’t too bad, and we could tell the summer traveling season was over. I look forward to the future when I can travel whenever I want, and will be able to avoid the crowds of vacationers and tourists.

Our second fuel stop was in Show Low. The gas station/quick mart that we usually go to is always so crowded and dirty, and we got some horrible coffee there as well. We were feeling a little sleepy and needed a boost, but the coffee was nasty and I could hardly drink it. Soon, we gladly left Show Low behind, and vowed never to return again to that particular place for a fuel stop.

It seems as if I always take this same photo. But, when we’re traveling, this is life on the road:

When we got to the Springerville volcanic field, the glorious feeling of being on the road finally came over me in waves of elation. Sometimes it takes putting some miles between me and work before I start feeling the freedom and joy of being on my bike, wherever I am. It’s October! I thought, fall! colder temperatures! I marveled at the muted colors of dried grass and weeds contrasting with the dark gray clouds that you only see in fall, the natural artwork that creates the look and feel of my favorite season.

We got to Alpine, checked in at our motel, and right after we arrived, a British car club pulled in. We admired the cars for a little while, but then we unpacked and got back on the bikes. We took FR249, formerly unpaved, to Big Lake. When we arrived, the lake was silver, mirror-like, and still. I quickly got my camera out to capture the reflection of the trees and the clouds on the glassy water. Then, I walked around and took more photos of golden and green trees.

I was also delighted to find that most of the boats had been pulled out of the water. They make interesting subjects for both color and IR photography, and I had been hoping to capture some unique images. The sun was sinking fast, and so the day grew colder and darker as it does so quickly in the autumn forest. It was time to head back because we were anticipating a lovely dinner at Foxfire, our favorite dinner restaurant in Alpine.

When we got back to the motel, the car club members invited us over for cheese and wine, and we got to know some of them. They were a fun group. It turned out that we all walked over to Foxfire for dinner, but they had their own room in which to eat, and we didn’t want to intrude on their club get-together. As for us, our dinner didn’t disappoint – it was excellent as usual.

At the end of the day, Hal’s bike had run well on our first day of the trip, and we both agreed it was a good decision to make this a road trip. We had been longing for days on the road like we’d had last July during our vacation, and it felt like the continuation of that adventure. We went to sleep anticipating an epic day of riding the next day.

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