Above: Oh, the sadness of a road trip ending
July 9, 2016 Our last day, for a little while, anyway
Hal and I moved slowly this morning, dragging out our last day on the road. It would be at least a couple of months before we would be able to go again. We had a leisurely breakfast in Alpine, talked to all the locals that we have gotten to know by now from our many trips there.
We walked around town for a little while, then went back to where we were staying and slowly (really slow motion) packed the bikes. After that, we walked back up to the Thrift Store to look around. You never know what you’ll find in a thrift store, especially in a small town. I found a rodeo shirt there once. But this time we didn’t find anything we couldn’t live without, which is good because there was no more room on the bikes anyway.
We had decided that we would really drag our feet coming home so we could avoid the heat of the day in Phoenix. But Hal was getting restless, so we left at 12:00 instead of 2:00, which was what we had originally planned. We rode to Springerville and stopped at Western Drug, one of my favorite stores. I actually bought a couple of patterns to sew, as if I was going to have any free time once work started up again.
It was somehow an ordeal to find a working gas station (out of premium gas at the station at the west end of town, and no sign to warn us), but at last we found one and left Springerville behind. It is always sad to see Alpine, then Springerville, fade in the rear view mirror.
The day was sunny and hot (what else?), no lovely rain and storm clouds like last year. In fact, there were no clouds in the sky at all, even on the Mogollon Rim. I had hoped for cloud cover at least part of the way. Ice falling from the sky in the form of hail would have been nice, too. Our next stop was in Show Low to visit a friend who had moved there from Phoenix via Seattle (kind of a long story).
Next we rode through Heber, looked longingly at our favorite places, then after few miles, stopped at the Woods Canyon Lake road, first at Military Sinkhole overlook so we could gaze over the abrupt edge of the Colorado Plateau, then again in the big parking lot where we first turned off the highway. We ate Clif bars and drank water. I was so tired that I didn’t know how I was going to make it home.
It was the days of not sleeping well, and the depression of returning home that made the fatigue wash over me in waves. We took a break for a while, and I felt a little better.
We stopped in Payson for gas and Douwe Egbert’s coffee (the best in the world, in my opinion) at the Chevron station. I needed some caffeine. We were watching the sun getting lower in the sky. I did not want to return to the furnace of Phoenix with the sun still glaring like an eyeball under a raised eyebrow. We waited for a while, drinking coffee, and I was feeling very downcast.
It was good that we waited, though, because the sun set by the time we got past Rye, a small town about 10 miles south of Payson, and the ride was much more pleasant without the sun ruining it. When I got closer to the city, the temperature never went over 104° F. Bad enough, but better than the 114° F. when I’d left 12 days before.
It was hard to go our separate ways when we reached the split point. Hal and I had been through so many days and miles of amazing riding, and I wondered when I would again get to be behind the windscreen of my F650GS and experience day after day of not having to worry about anything else but the road unraveling toward the horizon in front of me.
On the other hand, I was glad to finally get home when I did. I missed my husband, and my dog. I was beyond tired. But, in a tiny room in the back of my mind, I also missed “the road” already.
Thoughts at the end of the trip:
- Perfect schedule: two weeks on the road, two weeks home. Repeat.
- One of the pleasures of traveling is being in places where we are able to get tap water that is both cold and drinkable.
- Country song title of the day: “The music was good when we couldn’t hear it.”
- Hal and I talked about getting foldable mountain bikes for traveling. This thought was inspired by our riding adventure in Winter Park, and how much we’d enjoyed it. It would be nice to ride mountain bikes in many other places as well. I used to race mountain bikes.
- All my “stuff” and me when I am on the bike still weighs less than most adult humans.
Below: Washing my side cases from the bike (lots of bugs stuck on them) after I got home:
A souvenir from Winter Park (I actually got this when I was there in the 90s, but kept it all this time):
Until next time, as they say …