Friday, July 31, 2009

Day Eleven--Flagstaff, AZ to a very cool destination

Howdy! Sorry to disappoint you (mom) by not having our blogs posted last night, but we were out in the middle of nowhere—no phone connection, no wi-fi at the motel. Now, (sadly) we're back in civilization, so here it is, the eagerly anticipated Day 11 Blog!

I’ve gotta tell ya… my feller is brilliant. We left Flagstaff yesterday morning with the intention of either driving through to Barstow for the night, or making a bonsai run all the way home. My feller, however, came up with a much better plan, the perfect way to end our great motorcycle adventure.

But first… a recap of the day.

I didn’t expect the first half of the ride to be so great. For the first hour or so, we remained in the pines, the weather stellar, the road smooth, the smells...well... I tell ya, the most neglected sense in a car is smell. With the windows rolled up and the a/c blasting, the outdoor smells become non-existent. On a motorcycle, you smell everything—the sun on the asphalt, the pine, fresh cut hay, roadkill—and best of all, the port-a-potty truck that pulled in front of us just outside of Ash Fork. Mmmm… so fragrant. Fortunately, he was moving fast. I reckon he had someplace to go.

We passed lots of bikes heading east, probably on their way to Sturgis. Pretty cool to see them on the road and give them a happy little wave hello. Oh wait... that doesn't sound very biker, does it. No, no, I meant to say... give them a knee-level peace sign and a scowl as we roared past one another. Yeah. Or flipped each other the bird. Hell yeah!!

We took a little detour onto historic Route 66 through Ash Fork, everything you want in a Route 66 town: picturesque, charming. But that was nothing compared to Seligman. My feller has been talking about Seligman for the last couple years, after he first went through on his way by motorcycle to Tennessee. It lived up to his raving. Seligman has an interesting history in connection with Route 66. It’s where the whole “Historic Route 66” movement began, by a barber whose business nearly collapsed after Route 40 went in, diverting traffic around his little town. I won’t bore you with the entire story here, but if you’re interested, check out their website. Next May, they're doing a vintage car event in town. I’m hoping my old ’48 Ford truck will be up to the task. I think it would be great fun to participate.

Speaking of old trucks… I’m astounded by the number of old trucks rotting in fields through Utah, Colorado, and Arizona--great old trucks from the 30s, 40s, and 50s. It broke my heart to see them parked that way. In So Cal, they’d actually be worth something.

My truck (above) came from Utah. Considering her condition, she very well could have been a field truck too. Poor old Mae. I’m glad she was one of the lucky rescues.

But back to the ride.

The route from Seligman on was purty darned hot, with long stretches of nothing. Before Ludlow, we got off of the Interstate, and returned to Route 66 through Amboy. Amboy’s one of those places my feller loves to go, even though the only thing there is a defunct motel/gas station. A restauranteur bought the place a while back and promises to bring it back to it’s full glory. Why? Roy’s is a very cool place. Great sign. Interesting architecture on the motel lobby. They do have functioning gas now, which made my feller giddy. He’s been waiting a long time to conduct business at Roy’s.

Now we're at the part of the journey where my feller’s brilliance comes in. From Amboy, it’s about 70 miles to Barstow. It was nearing five o’clock, and the sun was directly in our eyes. My butt had a good burn going, so I didn’t think there was anyway I could make it all the way back to The OC—which would mean a couple more hours in the seat. Plus, I wasn’t ready to say goodbye to our vacation yet. It’s been such an amazing trip. Our option to stay in Barstow didn’t sound particularly interesting (sorry to any Barstow fans—if there are any). Just out of Amboy is the turn-off to Joshua Tree. We love Joshua Tree, go at least once a year. It’s a small town with a very alternative attitude nestled in the Joshua Tree National Forest and on the edge of the National Park (which is a stunning ride, btw). We like to stay in the motel where Graham Parsons accidentally overdosed. My feller is a huge fan of his music. Anyway, so we take the turn, and head sixty miles to Joshua Tree. Feller pulls over, and says, “How ‘bout going to Pioneertown?” BRILLIANT. Pioneertown was a movie set built in 1946. It’s a great ride to get here through a curvy road up into the rocky hills. Because so many people liked the area, Pioneertown gradually became real. Sort of. There’s not a whole lot, other than a very cool motel, and great restaurant, Pappy and Harriets, where we watched a few bands until after eleven. The room is filled with rustic antiques, they have great toiletries, and you can’t beat the old west charm. The price? $58 bucks. Astounding. Truly the perfect punctuation mark to our adventure.

So it’s Friday morning now. I’m sitting outside the room with the sun warming my back, the sounds of birds and my feller quietly playing Graham Parson’s song Wild Horses on his computer, wishing this trip wouldn’t end. But it has to. We have about a hundred miles left to go until we get home, and then it’s back to work. Don’t get me wrong, I actually like my job, but the last two weeks have opened my eyes once again to how great our country is, and how much exists outside of our little bubble we call home. It does a brain good to get out and explore.

And with that… time to hit the road for our final leg.

Until my final wrap-up tomorrow…

Later Gators.

--Eventually my feller will stop snoring, and publish his blog for Day 11 with all of our super-fantastic photos. Keep checkin' Maybe I'll go kick him and wake him up.

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