We rode more than 350 miles today, up and down more than 4,000 feet of elevation and in temperatures ranging from the low 70’s to the mid 40’s. We arose to a cold, windy and cloudy Flagstaff – but it’s good we got out when we did since it’s 35 degrees and snowing there as I write this from Globe, Arizona.
It was in the 40’s as we prepared to leave Flagstaff this morning. Here, Dale is helping his previously-explained invisible friend Herbie put on his helmet. As you can see, Herbie is apparently quite short.
Poor Dale. I told Clive today that Dale has to be lowest-maintenance person you could possibly take on a motorcycle tour. He’s always the first one ready, he doesn’t care where we eat or stay and he has one fantastic Aerostich brand motorcycle outfit he wears no matter the weather. I call it his “magic suit” because while Clive and I stopped repeatedly to add or remove layers, Dale patiently sat on his bike and watched without complaint or correspondent adjustment. He doesn’t even need rain gear since it’s waterproof despite breathing just fine in hot weather.
Come to think of it, the suit is perfect – the lowest-maintenance outfit for the lowest-maintenance rider. Kismet.
We planned our route with the Butler Maps Arizona edition. Butler makes absolutely fantastic maps especially for motorcycle riders. Not only are they waterproof and tear-resistant, but they rate every road in each state in terms of how fun they are to ride on a motorcycle.
I programmed the route into a smartphone app called, “InRoute,” but I have to say that while it’s a great piece of software, there’s no substitute for a real map when planning a ride. I highly recommend the combination of a Butler map and InRoute for your motorcycle touring needs.
We first rode past Prescott, Arizona into Sedona. Sedona is a really cool town but we just stopped long enough for Clive and I to take off some layers since it had warmed up about 20 degrees (Dale watched). Then we went on to Jerome, Arizona, a fascinatingly weird and allegedly haunted mining town way, way up on a mountain. We stopped at the first roadside pullover in town to snap some pictures.
A tour guide explains the history of Jerome to a group of paying customers while we linger nearby pretending not to listen. Note the “J” on the mountain. We speculated about what that meant but came up empty.
We further inconvenienced the tour guide by asking him to take a group photo – greatly enhancing the appearance of Jerome. Note that Dale has his hand in the shoulder of his invisible friend, Herbie. By now, we are certain that Herbie is not real and are wondering how to break the news to Dale.
This is a former asylum in Jerome that is now a restaurant – and I assume has other functions as well unless it’s the largest restaurant in the world. We were going to go to lunch at the asylum, but Clive was leading and “couldn’t find” the entrance. I think he was afraid they wouldn’t let him and Dale leave once they entered.
This cool, old Chevy truck was parked near the entrance to Jerome. I took a picture of it because it’s a cool, old Chevy truck.
This retail store in Jerome coincidentally shares Clive’s biker nickname.
There are almost no “English” restaurants. You can find Italian, Chinese, French, Mexican and even German restaurants by the hundreds before you’ll find a single English restaurant. Of course, there’s a reason for that – the Brits are famously bad at cooking (no offense to my mom, who’s both English and a great cook). If you look closely, you’ll see that the round sign – which looks much newer – advertises “Bobby D’s Bar-B-Q Pit,” which has no doubt helped business quite a bit. After all, what sounds more appetizing to you: a helping of “spotted dick” or a BBQ brisket dinner?
It’s hot in the desert, so many homes in Jerome are extremely well-ventilated.
Even the post office in Jerome is original – and still functioning. When’s the last time your post office offered, “General Delivery Stamps” and “Postal Savings?” The Postal Savings program ended in 1967.
Another well-ventilated structure in Jerome. No idea why there is a ghostly being suspended by chains over a rusty, ancient bunkbed on the right. Perhaps it’s the last asylum patient.
Shot 1 of 2: This apparently exotic home caught our eye when we first parked in Jerome. However, when we walked to a higher elevation and looked down on the home, something appeared to be missing. Among other things, the roof.
Shot 2 of 2: Not only has it no roof, but you can see a pretty large tree in the foreground inside the building…meaning it’s been a long, long time since it had a roof. Also, check out the fancy street light in the back of the place.
A quick internet search lead me to believe that this structure was originally a dormitory for miners called, “The Little Daisy Hotel.” There are cars parked in front and some activity there, so something’s obviously afoot but just what remains a mystery.
We headed southwest out of Jerome on state route 89A past Mingus Mountain on what is simply a blissful motorcycle road.
Like a two-wheel roller-coaster that lasts for miles.
We stopped for lunch in Dewey, AZ at a fantastic diner and then headed east – away from the rain and cold and towards our final stop in Globe, AZ.
Steve & Kathy’s has been around since 1980. We saw at least a half dozen to-go orders picked up while we ate – always a good sign. Great place.
As we descended in elevation, we suddenly came across saguaro cacti. These enormous “Joshua trees” dotted the landscape in all directions. It’s stark but beautiful and for the first time in our three days in Arizona, we were in the desert.
Saguaros often grow to more than 40 feet in height and live 150 years plus – they don’t typically sprout an “arm” until they are between 75-100 years old. The tallest saguaro ever measured was 78’ tall before it was toppled by a windstorm. They also bear ruby red fruit that is edible. Unrelated: Isn’t Wikipedia great?
We rode along deserted mountain roads, through twisty canyons and a barren, rugged landscape that I love. As we neared Globe, we rode for miles past Roosevelt Lake – which is actually a reservoir because it’s man-made but “Lake” sounds cooler, I guess. Fortunately, there was a terrific place to pull over and take pictures between the dam and a very elegant bridge.
Handsome bridge by the Roosevelt Lake dam.
The bridge looks even more handsome in this picture. The difference in lighting between this and the previous photo is a mystery and definitely not due to some editing designed to make us all look better.
One thing I’ve learned from blogging is that panoramic shots don’t show up too well here. But trust me, this composition is simply brilliant – I even have my riding partners in the frame on the left to balance out the beauty of the bridge on the right.
Clive and Dale were getting a little grumpy, so I put them in “time out” in the picnic shelter by the dam.
Finally, we rode through Globe, which is a rugged mining town that looks like it hasn’t changed in years. We even rode past an old motel with a marquee sign probably 60 years old that advertised that the rooms are “refrigerated.” On the other hand, perhaps it doubles as the morgue.
I did make one tiny, little mistake today. When we were at lunch at Steve and Kathy’s, I made room reservations and found a fairly highly-rated establishment near Globe called the Apache Gold “Resort” (defined very loosely, as it turns out). Among its dubious features besides badly needing remodeling – or at least a good carpet cleaning – is a freight train that runs right out front, sounding its horn liberally (safety first!)
This the view from our window. Good news! We can see the bikes. Bad news: TRAIN. More bad news: These bikes may be gone in the morning. I actually took this picture and the next one more for evidence than for blogging.
That’s the news from around the Globe, AZ area. Lots of rain and wind moving in tomorrow, so it should be an interesting day.