Southwest Adventure 2015… Day 4

Steve Kinchen, Sr/ May 30, 2015/ BMW R1200RT, General Rants & Raves About Riding, Southwest Adventure 2015, Touring/ 0 comments

Departure Location: Show Low, AZ

Time: 0800

Odometer: 5407

Weather Conditions: 66 at departure with clear skies… soon to be much hotter

Daily High Temperature: 107 logged in Pheonix

Destination: Flagstaff, AZ

Arrival Time: 1945

Daily Miles Logged: 398

Total Trip Miles: 2154 (GPS)

State Visited: Arizona

“…But It’s A Dry Heat…”

Don’t believe that statement if anyone tries to sell it to you… That “dry heat” is like an oven, slowly cooking your insides, dehydrating your body to the point that you simply do not know what has happened to you, until bam… you find yourself sprawled out in the middle of the road, just inches from your salvation.

No mom, this is not me... It is my good pal Matt!

No mom, this is not me… It is my good pal Matt!

Today began with great anticipation as on the route today was the Salt River Canyon in the San Carlos Apache Reservation which at one point was the home of Geronimo!  After the ride down into the canyon, (a descent of roughly 2000 feet as I noted on my GPS) we were able to walk around at the bottom of the river and take a few photos.  The steel arch bridge is beautiful and, if you stand at the right spot, it creates a beautiful frame for the mountain scape in the distance.

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While these photos don’t tell the whole story, the Salt River Canyon is also known as the mini Grand Canyon.

Matt was worn out from the ride down and the walk down into the canyon... Just Kidding!

Matt was worn out from the ride down and the walk down into the canyon… Just Kidding!

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The ride down into the canyon was full of what most motorcyclists crave, twisty roads with lots of turns and some hairpin switchbacks. I am rapidly growing in my level of comfort in riding these technically challenging roads… I only wish there were more time to hone that skill set before a trip like this, but in South Louisiana, the closest thing to a hill is in our back yard and is inhabited by fire ants!

My RT at the top of the canyon before the ride down

My RT at the top of the canyon before the ride down

From the Salt River Canyon (and by the way, it did not appear to be salty and none of us knew why or how it received its name…) we set our sights on Pheonix to pick up two amazing ladies that have adventurer’s hearts, Elizabeth and Annette.  I have only witnessed a similar feat in packing as what these two ladies accomplished with one other lady, my wife Gina for our missions trip to China.  To see them exit the hotel with a small garment bag and a helmet was quite impressive, especially considering that they had to be prepared for all kinds of weather, as well as for nearly a week of motorcycle riding in some of the most remote locations that the U.S. has to offer!  Maybe they should teach a class on the subject?  I could learn a lot from them for sure as, even though I brought much less than I did last year, I still feel like I over packed!

It is worth mentioning that when we went to breakfast this morning, the temperature was 54 degrees.  We all mentioned that we might don our heated liners for the first leg of our trip.  By the time we loaded the bikes it was 64 degrees.  Twenty minutes later after we had all checked out, it was 68 and rising.  We made the right call to stow the heat gear for the day.  By the time we made it to the hotel, it had warmed up to 104.  I felt like the frog placed in the room temperature water that is slowly brought to a boil.  We didn’t realize just how hot it had become until after lunch in a nice air conditioned place.

From Pheonix, we were going to stop for lunch at a local BBQ joint that I believe was recommended, but the line was out of the door and we simply did not have time for a delay like that today.  We pressed on and started to make our way to Route 89.  I was surprised by a few observations:

1. There seemed to be a lot of former/closed adult-type of filth shops.

2. There was almost an equal number of churches and church construction going on.

I hope that my conclusion is correct in that Pheonix is experiencing a spiritual awakening and revival that is causing the need for both of the above!

Lunch would be a quick bite at Applebee’s.  Although Salmon was on the menu, I decided to try one of their mushroom burgers with house-made chips.  It was flavorful and a fine way to escape the heat for a bit.

On our way to Flagstaff, we made a brief stop in Prescott and walked along the Whiskey Row.  A few of the folks had an ice cream from what appeared to be a genuine local vendor while I walked down the street a little further.  There were no real souvenirs for my kiddos, at least none that had a message that would meet momma’s approval…  Our time in Prescott was brief, but due to the fading daylight, our planned stop in Sedona was relegated to a drive by.  I know this was a disappointment to Jon, if for nothing other than what he mentioned in his trip itinerary:

“In addition to the riding excitement and scenery, there are a number of cool little towns along the route. I would like to check out some of these – but I especially want to check out Sedona. We stormed right through Sedona in ’12, and I would really like to check it out a bit. We could stop in Sedona for the night or – my preference – try to push on to Flagstaff. Really, either would be great.”

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We made it to the hotel in Flagstaff just as the sun had said its last good bye for the evening… Tomorrow, we head to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon which I have only seen from 35,000 feet in the air.  I am truly blessed to be a part of an adventure of a lifetime like this.  Maybe one day, I will be on a trip like this with my sons… now that would be something!

-Steve

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