Arizona - Day 3
Should we pray to the wind god?

207 miles

[Sunday - October 21, 2007]

Today promises to be a lighter day.  The overall distance is only 207 miles.  We had even thought of heading back up to Sedona to have a better look.  In the end we decided to just continue the trip as planned with the exception that we're going to cut out Phoenix and the Sonoran Desert National Monument.

Because it's a shorter ride today, we might as well relax, take it easy, and take advantage of this opportunity to fill up our tanks with the continental breakfast provided by the hotel.  We are already done with half of the bike loading already so why not head on over to the lobby and see what they have on hand.  Not half bad.  The other guests are already digging in.  Looking around I decided to make two waffles for us so I hogged the waffle making machine.  Of course, a fellow biker had to step in and give me some grief, "Are you hogging the waffle machine?"  "Why yes I am... the timer isn't counting down."  "Ooh, you broke it." "No I didn't... Sssh... don't tell anybody."  She walked off laughing.  Eventually the hotel clerk walked over and asked if I was OK.  I said, "for some strange reason the waffle maker's timer didn't come on."  He looked at it and I look at it.  We both scratched our heads not knowing why it didn't start up.  I opened the waffle maker anyway.  He said, "Looks like it's done."  With that I take a fork and try to extract the goody.  Jab jab jab.  Eventually it comes loose.  I didn't realize how harder it is to remove the waffle from the waffle iron.  Minh, Kevin and I are the only three brave enough to sit out side on the patio.  I think it has something to do with the motorcycle suit and the fact that it's crowded inside.  It's OK.  The coffee and waffles are helping to keep us warm in the 50 degrees outdoors.

Bullshitting all done, we clean up and head back to my room for one last restroom break and to finish the loading.  Minh has already checked out of his room.  When I got back to the lobby, there is a new set of people getting breakfast.  I know I look odd and everything so some folks were secretly staring.  To some I even look kind of cool.  As I was waiting my turn to return the key, a little girl, probably no bigger than 3 years old, grabbed my dangling video cable and asked, "What is this?"  I bend over to talk to her and said, "It's for the helmet camera."  She seems to be quite happy with the reply.  The funny thing is, I get a collective "Oh..." from the rest of the people within the vicinity.  I'm sure they are curious as to all the gear I have on.  With that I return the room key and head back out.

It was a good decision to continue on the road as it's beautiful.  Unlike last night, this time around we can see where we're going.  As we ride through the southern parts of Prescott, I can't help but notice an occasional smell of burning wood.  It's as if the forest is on fire.  We hit one patch and then another.  Eventually we come upon a clearing and for sure there is some type of forest fire going on.  Not only that, I had also noticed this yesterday when we were on the 40 freeway.  There were sections of the freeway that I can smell burning wood.  We are all on the side of the clearing surveying the situation.  Is it a forest fire or is the forestry service conducting control burns to get rid of dangerous fuel?  After several minutes of assessing the situation, I came to the conclusion the forestry service is conduction controlled burns.  Good for them.  How did I know this?  Only the underlying grass is burned, and none of the tall trees are affected.  OK.  I don't need to call 911 and alert the authorities about a forest fire near Prescott.  BTW, once the trip is over, I never heard anything about a massive forest fires in Arizona.  I was right.

You see charred areas like this but the trees show no signs of being burnt.

A last fidget of the video equipment before continuing on.

Hey, this is as good a time as any to turn both cameras on again.  Once again, rear cam and helmet cam.

Duran Duran - Love Voodoo

The highway road south of Prescott is awesome.  It's winding back and forth coupled with the scenery was marvelous.  Eventually we come out of the mountains but before we hit the valley, we are shown the glory that is Arizona.

It's a hard panorama to piece together.  At least it gives you an idea.

The road below is for the opposite traffic.  I originally thought it was a switch back.

Yup. As with California, nothing escapes the adolescent.  Whoever it was is either a poor shot or he/she
just doesn't like the nose.

Minh is soaking in the view.

What's Kevin pointing at?

Lying down on the job.

Is it a solar farm or is it a traditional brick making farm?  I can't tell.

Blackbird glamor shot.

Where we came down.

Opposite traffic heading up.

As usual nobody is around when we arrive.  By the time we're ready to leave everybody and their mother shows up. 

Down we go.  The beautiful road continues.  Sadly it ends, and we are now on the flats getting blown around.  Again, as with all of yesterday and so far this day, the wind gusts.  Will it ever end?  I get the signal from Minh.  It's fuel time.  Sure enough there is a Texaco ahead of us where the 89 meets up with Congress.  We pull in and encounter the usual credit card fuel up problem.  This is nothing new.  This has been happening on and off for the last two days.  Why should it be any different this day.

Hey, we spot a group of sport bikes.  The strange thing is, we give them a wave and they don't wave back.  That's uncommon for sport bikes.  We're done with fueling so we pull off to the curb to free up the pump for anybody else who might want to fuel.  We're all standing there peeling off a layer of clothing because the temperature has gone up ever since we got to the flats.  As I was taking my layer off, the sport bike group pulled in to fuel up.  I see.  That would explain why they're so unfriendly, they're a bunch of squids, but not just any bunch of squids, they're the unfriendly type of squids.  Whatever.  It's pretty apparent these guys don't understand the reasons for riding a motorcycle.  Kevin later told me that one of them made a comment to one of their girls, "I think those guys are checking you out."  He wish.  I've seen a lot of pretty women on this trip but these scrawny little girls don't fall into that category.  It's unfortunate to see people missing the boat when it comes to motorcycling, but obviously they're out there.  I'm done holding up the group.  We start up our bikes and head out.  Back on the 89 south we go.

About 15-20 miles later, we in Wickenburg.  It's a small little town.  I didn't know why Minh wanted to come here but here we are nonetheless.  Here we are, downtown Wickenburg.  Doesn't look like much.  Looks like they're refurbishing the town.  All the shops are closed.  At least there's a cool train engine sitting next to a railroad track.  What the heck, it's a good time for some photo opts, a break, and some possible lunch.

Yup!  It's Wickenburg.

Kevin is trying to learn from the Captain how to negotiate around Wickenburg.
I don't know what kind of success the Captain is getting.

Beautiful and well preserved engine.

Inside the caboose.

Check out the cool building structures behind Minh.

The Captain is ready to stop a train by hand.

This is an alternate definition for the phrase "Single track."

Waiting for the train to come.

Hey!  The fountain does work.

Cool antique sidewalk.

Once we're done horsing around, it's time for some chow.  Thinking we might want to try some authentic Arizona food, I punched up a coffee place called the "Cowboy Cafe".  Hey, that's what happens when the group can't decide where to go for lunch.  They let me do the picking, they have to live with it.  We head back out and back up the highway.  I over shot so we have to turn around.  Once we find it, I think Minh didn't like the idea.  I think it looks too cowboy-ish.  Instead he said, "What about the Denny's up the street?"  "That's fine with me," I said.  So much with trying authentic native food.  As we head out of the sandy parking lot, Minh took a wrong turn and almost jumped the curb.  He stopped himself short but ended up getting stuck because he can't back up the Blackbird uphill.  Seeing this, I hopped off the bike and gave the Captain a little tug.  Direction redirected, we head over to the Denny's.  Hey, I tried to change the menu but I guess it was too drastic of a change.

Punching up a location for lunch on the GPS.

I don't know why it is taking so long for our food, perhaps they are slaughtering the chickens in the backyard.  Several sets of people that came in the same we did have already left.  Just about the time we're ready to pick up forks and spoons to charge the kitchen, the waitress comes out with our food.  Darn, no lunch time skirmish.  As quick as they brought out the food, it all got vacuumed into our bellies.  When lunch is down, about 2:00pm, I give our friend Bob a call to let him know we're on our way to Lake Havasu.  It's been several years since I've spoken to Bob.  It's good to talk to him once more.  "We should be there in a couple of hours," I said.  Boy is it going to be some painful hours.

OK, there's nothing to do now other than get back on the bikes and... "Head west young man!"

From Wickenburg we make a right hand turn off the 93 highway onto the 60 highway.  Man this is going to suck.  It's as obvious as the sun shining in the sky we have to put up with this headwind all the way to Lake Havasu.  I just hope it doesn't get worse.  I should have sacrificed a sacred lamb at the wind god's alter this morning.  Maybe then the wind won't be so bad.  Knowing my luck, it probably wouldn't help.  The speed of the wind isn't too fast but riding into a strong headwind still causes some undesirable results (e.g. buffeting and noisy conditions).  Plus the louder the noise, the easier and more tired I get.  We start off at 65 MPH and the wind just kicks us around like grocery bags flying around in a windy parking lot.  I wave several cars pass our group in the hopes of keeping Kevin sane.  He's the last one in the formation and have to contend with tailgaters.  Fortunately, most Arizona drivers are very nice and will keep a safe distance until it's time to pass.  I get knocked around, crouch for a while, and then pop back up again.  It's not doing a whole lot of good to stay down.  At last I decided, "Screw it, I'm going to speed up anyway.  Go ahead and blow me off."  Remarkably, it gets better at 70 MPG.  I don't know why and I don't care.  So longer as we're not in an unsafe situation, that's fine by me.  This also helps the entire "cars on our tails" scenario.  What can I say, it's boring as hell going in a straight line.  I look at the GPS and count down the miles.  I hope Minh and Kevin are doing alright.  They look like they're doing alright from several glances in the mirror.

At a little more than the hour mark, we pull to the shoulder where the 72 highway meets up with the 60 highway.  At last, I can feel my hand again.  I really enjoy the driving the R12R except in extremely windy conditions.  The reason for this is, the R12R's windshield is attached to the forks/triple-tree.  As a result of this, heavy winds will cause the handlebar to vibrate at a high frequency.  Take away the wind and the handlebar is as smooth as silk.  BTW, the bigger the windshield, the more vibration in the handlebars.  I will put up with the vibration, but it can become a painful experience.

The three amigos.

Yes, this is where we're heading.

Again... I take a picture of Minh and ...

He takes a picture of me.

Does it still suck?  Yes it does.  What use to be a headwind is now a crosswind.  It's all we can do to stay in our lane and avoid big rigs.  They're all over the place on this highway.  The bad deal is, we can't pass them because of the wind and the speed limit.  The 60 highway was posted at 65 MPH.  The 72 is posted at 55.  Stuck.  If we were a grocery bag before, we're a rag doll now.  I'm surprise the state of Arizona doesn't put up wind farms all over the entire state.  They would be making a killing in energy right now if that was the case.  Then again, I don't know how often the wind blows like this.

Through it all, I was glad to see the the city of Parker in front of us and there is at most 3 miles before the left turn off to Lake Havasu.  Once again, the signal for fuel came up.  OK.  We pull into another Texaco.  What would life be without gas purchase problems when using our Visa credit cards.  Minh made mention of the bank or the credit card company blocking the purchase because they think the card has been stolen.  After all we are fueling up in at least three different cities every day for the last several days.  I said, "The gas station is probably blocking the credit transaction."  Not being sure what is happening, I decided to call my bank to see what's going on.  I got a bank operator at the other end of the line.  Mumble mumble mumble.  Nope, my card is not blocked in any way.  The station is probably blocking the automatic transaction.  In the end I fueled up via cash.  It was only about 2.5 gallons anyway.  About $7.

Yes, I keep repeating myself.  Death Valley '06 riding conditions.  Unless you've ridden in 50-60 MPH cross wind with a big rear full of Touratech panniers, you don't know how hair raising that is.  Anyway, the first 3 miles east of Parker is true Death Valley crosswind conditions.  Our bikes are leaned at an angle and there are strong gusts trying to kick us off the road.  Yup, all those fond memories come flooding back.  Fortunately those fond memories also bring with it experience on how to ride such extreme conditions.  Good news is, it only lasted 3 miles and not several hundred miles.

This part of the 95 is beautiful.  I'm so inspired by the mountain scenery that I commit the image to photographic memory.

The sun is setting quickly.

I guess I'm the only one left that's willing to take pictures.
Either that or everybody else is out of batteries.

I push the group forward knowing it's only 5 more miles until we reach Lake Havasu City.  However, the others have different ideas.  The amount of day light left is borderline dark face shield or clear face shield.  For me, it was a pain to switch the face shield because it's not just a matter of snapping it off, I have to unscrew 4 plastic screws to release the shield.  On top of that, I have to dig for the clear face shield from underneath a bunch of souvenir T-shirts.  Bullock's!  I'm just going to stay with the dark face shield and ride with it in the up position.  Blink blink blink.  I see Minh signaling to pull over.  I know he wants to change out his face shield.  Reluctantly, "Alright..."  When I got off the bike I told Minh it's only another 5 miles, but Minh and Kevin wanted to change out their face shield anyway.  So they get themselves ready while I snap some shots of the sunset.

Panorama of us.

Panorama of the sunset.

"Capture me and the sunset," he says...

Kevin can see that I haven't change my face shield so he ask, "You're not going to change?"  "No, it's too much of a hassle."  With that we hop back on and finish off the remaining 5 miles to Lake Havasu City.  Riding with the face shield up sure is noisy, but it does the job especially when laziness settles in.  We get into town.  It's pitch dark.  It was a good idea for Minh and Kevin to change out their face shield after all.  Next I know, here we are.  Our hotel for the night.

Once we're all settled in, I gave our long time friend Bob a call to let him know we are in Lake Havasu City and to get his behind to the hotel so we can go to dinner.  For that fact, we're treating Bob to dinner.  However, the first order of business Kevin and myself are going to jump into the spa.  Man does it feel good after a long day's ride.

Minh sneaks in a picture of Bob because he doesn't like to have his picture taken.

We say our farewells to Bob and plan on heading out at a decent time tomorrow.  However, when I get to my room, I can see that I'm missing one of my two cell phones.  Awe man!  It's either at the restaurant or it's in Bob's truck.  I'm almost sure it's not at the restaurant.  Minh called Bob to have him check his truck.  Yup, he found it.  Looks like we get to visit Bob's house tomorrow so I can pickup my cell phone.

We all crash for the night.

Prep work
Day 1 - The mother road
Day 2 - Is this Yosemite or is it Sedona?
Day 4 - Firestorms at home

Written on: November 4, 2007
Last modified: January 6, 2008