Monumental

Day 43 – Thursday 15th August 2013 – Cortez, CO to Blanding, UT

The ride out of Cortez was much like the ride in. Scrubby desert and lots of low rise buildings, We passed a place selling small wooden cabins as affordable homes. Later in the south, I’d see even smaller, tiny sheds on sale as homes.

We carried on, out of Cortez and into the arid desert, and on to the Navajo Nation indian reservation. The flat desert, with its scattered sagebrush, stretching for mile after mile. Handfuls of trailers and cabins appearing like lonely shanty towns in the bleakness of the desert.

We turned off onto US Route 160, searching for the spot that 4 states come together. The barren desert still seeming to run for miles and miles in all directions without interruption. And then all of a sudden, in the midst of this wilderness, there was the turn off into the National Monument.

Unlike many other National Parks and Monuments, the Four Corners National Monument is run by the Navajo Nation. The admission fees are less than many of the National Parks, but you have to do without the glossy handouts. Four Corners marks the point where the states of Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and Utah meet. It’s the only place in the US where 4 state lines come together like this .

The car park for the monument is gravel, which is never my favourite place to leave the Trooper. I parked well back on a piece that looked like it had concrete underneath. Others got right up close to the monument enclosure.

From Arizona, August 2013

The monument itself is a granite disk marking the spot where the 4 corners of the 4 states join, and of course we had to pose for photos, with Doreen straddling the 4 states at once.

From Arizona, August 2013
From Arizona, August 2013

The monument is surrounded by an enclosure of stalls purveying Native American arts and crafts. This was going to be a common sight in the Navajo Nation, if my memory served correctly, with clusters of stalls every few miles near the major tourist attractions like Grand Canyon. Most of the stalls are wooden, jerry-rigged affairs, whereas these were purpose built from brick.

The American Indian art work is beautiful, but we were 2 people travelling on 1 bike for 4 weeks, so space was at a premium and we didn’t spend long perusing things we could not carry. What we needed was a cold drink, the temperature was reaching the high 90s F (mid 30s C). It had been a 40 mile ride in the Colorado corner from Cortez to the monument, and it would be another 80 miles in the Arizona corner until we reached the next “big” town of Kayenta, and it was only going to get hotter. We found a stall selling indian fry bread, which also had bottled water. We drank one each, and took another for the road.

Riding on through the desert of the reservation, I couldn’t help but think again what a bum deal the indigenous population got all those years ago. Whilst some of the indian reservations may contain sacred sites, so many of them are on poorest of land – the white invaders having taken all the best bits for themselves.

From Arizona, August 2013

We rode for perhaps 50 miles without seeing much in the way of settlement, just a few homesteads here and there, and then out of almost nowhere, we rode past what seemed a fairly large, new build settlement called Red Mesa. It’s location in the desert seeming almost random. There were perhaps 50 or so homes, a health centre and a school, but as far as we could see no businesses and no shops. We wondered what the people here did for a living, where they shopped or ate. We guessed it must be Kayenta, another 25 miles further along the road.

Large parts of the desert are just flat with the scattered sagebrush, and interspersed with ravines, but there’s also parts where red rock seems to erupt from the ground as mesas. The Red Mesa settlement is near one such large mesa. We’d sped past before thinking that a photo might have been in order, but a little further along we came to a smaller mesa, which should give the idea.

From Arizona, August 2013
From Arizona, August 2013

Across the road from this were a line of low pale rocks, formed I guess, from ancient sand dunes. Looking across at these, I was sure I could see a face carved into the rock – was it natural or man-made?

From Arizona, August 2013

Kayenta was smaller than I remembered. The last time had been after a torrential downpour near Monument Valley. The rain had been so bad I hadn’t even attempted to turn off to see the valley. Riding the US-163 past it had been like riding through a river. Both the Trooper and I had been covered in red mud. In Kayenta, I’d tried every motel, but no rooms were free, either taken by people similarly fleeing the monsoon, or else the hotels were put off by the red mud-covered biker seeking shelter, and just said they were full. The story was the same when I reached Tuba City. I had to ride over a hundred miles before finding a free room, after dark, at the Anazasi Inn.

This time, we had a chance to take a better look at Kayenta. Since it was the main town for many miles, it was surprising that it seemed to consist of just a couple of small general stores, and a few motels and fast food joints. But the place did seem to have plenty of churches from numerous denominations. Missionaries, from presumably a begone age, had done their job well and must have converted a lot of the native population to be able to fill these churches, since over 90% of the population of Kayenta is Native American.

From Arizona, August 2013

I guess we are so used to living in heavily populated Britain, where apparently the average distance to the nearest supermarket is under 5 miles and 67% of Britons could walk to it, that we struggle to understand what it must be like to live in some areas of the vast USA. There really aren’t many areas of Britain anywhere near as remote, except perhaps up in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, and even there the distances are not on the same scale as remote parts of the US.

After the hot, 80 mile ride from Four Corners to Kayenta, we were both in need of a long, cold drink, and once again McFranchise got my dollars due to the guaranteed wifi. It was surprisingly busy – obviously the place to be in Kayenta at 2pm on a hot Thursday afternoon, as there didn’t seem to be much else to do, except perhaps attend church.

I wanted to take a look at hotel options further ahead, the recollection of struggling to find a room in these parts, made me remember that our intended destination for the day, Mexican Hat, was also scarce on hotel options. I’m glad I did look, as I discovered that not only are there less than a handful of hotels in Mexican Hat, but they are also very expensive for what seemed to be very basic places. Bluff further up the road didn’t look much better, so we decided we would try to head for Blanding, and even booked ourselves a room on-line, after checking that there was a bar within walking distance of the hotel.

It’s only about 30 miles from Kayenta to the turn off for Monument Valley. As we approached, we could see the buttes in the distance. Doreen was apparently getting excited at the prospective of seeing this iconic piece of the American west. As a kid, she had watched a lot of old westerns with her father. John Ford’s movies defined what a lot of Europeans see as the Wild West. Soon she would be standing looking at the backdrop to the movie Stagecoach.

From Arizona, August 2013

As we pulled over to take the picture above, we noticed a crude wooden shelter, with half a dozen or so dogs and sheep tried up beneath it. These were the first sheep I had seen in America – lamb and mutton is all but non-existent on menus, except, oddly, in some of the upmarket big city restaurants. I don’t know why this is. I would have thought that sheep would have thrived in some of America’s rugged terrain, but Americans just don’t seem to have a taste for it.

From Arizona, August 2013

Some French tourists in a rental car had also pulled over at this stop. The kids seemed to think it would be a good idea to climb the fence to go pet the dogs. Until, that is, every single dog there, yapped and growled as the  kids got near the fence. Just doing their job, I guesss, guarding the sheep.

Monument Valley is another national monument that is run by the Navajo Nation. We turned off the US-163, and rode the mile or so to the tribal park entrance. Only after paying our $10 entry, did we notice the small sign telling us that the loop road around Monument Valley is unpaved (i.e. dirt or gravel), and not only that, but heavily pot-holed and rutted, and not suitable for RVs or motorcycles. That was disappointing. They could have informed of this sooner, as I’m pretty sure that the distant views of the valley as just as impressive, but then they wouldn’t have had our money. They really ought to charge a little more and invest that money in upgrading the facilities and paving the road.

We went up to the visitor’s centre and took some photos from there. Doreen wasn’t that disappointed, and felt that seeing the valley in person was everything she had anticipated.

From Arizona, August 2013
From Arizona, August 2013
From Arizona, August 2013
From Arizona, August 2013
From Arizona, August 2013
From Arizona, August 2013

I don’t know if the views are any better driving through the valley. I suspect not as impressive as the vista at a distance.

We also called into the visitor centre to find a drink and had to walk through the gift shop before reaching our goal. I was surprised to see pictures of John Wayne for sale there, even though he had been in Stagecoach, given his white supremacist views and the views he expressed on Native American land rights in an interview:

I believe in white supremacy, until the blacks are educated to a point of responsibility. I don’t believe giving authority and positions of leadership and judgment to irresponsible people … I don’t feel we did wrong in taking this great country away from [the Native Americans] … Our so-called stealing of this country from them was just a matter of survival. There were great numbers of people who needed new land, and the Indians were selfishly trying to keep it for themselves. – John Wayne

As we rode north toward Mexican Hat, Doreen looked back and noticed that the view of the valley when you approach from the north is nearly as impressive as it is from the tribal park, but the shoulder on this road is gravel, so not great to stop on with a bike. And I guess, the $10 you pay to get into the tribal park gets you the visitor’s centre, clean restrooms, refreshments, and of course, a huge gift shop.

Having decided not attempt to stay in Mexican Hat, we only stopped there briefly for more cold refreshment, but we saw a couple of the places where we could have stayed if they hadn’t been so expensive.

From Utah, August 2013
From Utah, August 2013

We also had only a fleeting glimpse of the rock that Mexican Hat is named after.

And since we were travelling further today than originally intended, we were trying to make up time and passed through Bluff pretty quickly, but I had taken photos there last time when I came down this road in the opposite direction.

It took us longer to reach Blanding than we had expected. Both Doreen and I were hot, tired and hungry, and very much in need of a cold beer and some food. We’d booked a room at the Stone Ridge Lizard motel online when we had been in Kayenta. The Stone Ridge Lizard turned out to be a great motel – one of the better ones we stayed at, but unfortunately, it was also in Blanding.

It didn’t take us too long to discover that Blanding was DRY!! I thought I had done my research on this, as when we had been looking at hotels, I had also searched Google maps for bars in Blanding and Google had come back showing the Homestead Steak House as a bar, and it was only a short walk from the motel. The closest thing the Homestead Steak House had to an alcohol beverage was an “apple beer” which contained neither any alcohol nor any apple. Needless to say I was a grumpy boy.

We even tried the gas station on the way back to the motel, and I am sure they were just trying to taunt me, for tucked away on the top shelf of the fridge, like some embarrassing porno mag, was some 6-packs of some kind of Utah non-alcoholic beer. I mean what’s the point!

We went make to the motel and made our own entertainment, but it would have been really good to have had some beer or a bottle of whisky in the saddle bag that day.

And I noticed when I was checking a few facts to write this, that the Homestead Steak House is no longer listed as a bar by Google. I wonder if it had anything to do with the review I left.

On a long, desert highway, cool wind in my hair

My day started at 5am, up early in an effort to beat the heat in the desert. No time for breakfast, I just wanted to get on the road. I had a choice of just hacking along the interstate to LA, or at least out of the desert, or trying to follow the old Route 66. Despite being beaten by the heat yesterday, I choose old Route 66. Heat be damned. There’s much more chance to see things by keeping off the freeways.

Crossing into California, the temperatures stayed bearable. The early start was proving to be the right thing to do. I even stopped a number of times just to photograph the road and scenery without undue concern for racing across the desert.

From California, July 2013
From California, July 2013
From California, July 2013

Seems folks around here like to leave their mark on the desert, and 6 Canucks had passed through not so long ago.

From California, July 2013
From California, July 2013
From California, July 2013

There’s not a great deal on the highway, until you reach Amboy, originally a watering stop for the railway. Now a stopping point for Route 66 travellers and one with the most expensive fuel I’ve seen in the US.

From California, July 2013
From California, July 2013
From California, July 2013

I’m pleased to say I beat the heat and was well on my way out of the desert before the temperature began to rise, and by then I was gaining height and getting up into the mountains, so it was cooler.

From California, July 2013
From California, July 2013
From California, July 2013

As I approached Los Angeles, the traffic began to build. I’d plotted and tried to memorize my route in – Sunset Boulevard then onto Santa Monica Boulevard. Well somehow I missed the turn off for both. The first time because of a no left turn onto Sunset, which required a loop back. The second because I just didn’t see the Santa Monica turn off at all. I only realised I’d gone too far when I spotted recognisable names on Sunset Strip. I carried on a while to see what Beverley Hills looked like – big houses as you might expect – and then cut south to try to re-join Santa Monica. Traffic was heavy and it took what seemed ages before I saw the sea and knew I had reached my destination, at least for this leg of the trip. I stopped off at the pier for a few photos.

From California, July 2013
From California, July 2013
From California, July 2013
From California, July 2013

I had ridden Route 66 – at least most of what I could find of the bits that still exist. The skepticism I had when I started out had well and truly evaporated many days earlier. It isn’t easy finding all the bits of it, nor is it always easy to stick to them once you have found them, but that just adds to the fun in a weird way. Travelling off the freeways is definitely the way to do it, if you want to see small town America or if you just want to be able to stop to take photos of the fantastic scenery, which really starts to kick off on the western half of the route. I’d even overcome my cynicism of the tourist kitsch all along the route. Riding the route and reading it’s history had made me realise the devastating blow that the interstates had done when they bypassed the many small towns along the route and the businesses that had grown up to support the needs of the travellers on the Mother Road. Some of those businesses where now seeing a resurgence through the nostalgia traffic, but many more had closed their doors for good. I could not begrudge them making a living any way they could and there must certainly be a demand for their wares. It also made me think about all the other small towns in other parts of the country that had also been bypassed by interstates, but which didn’t have the good fortune of being along such an iconic road as Route 66.

But enough of dwelling on the past, it was time to think about the next part of my trip, and just as I was returning to the Trooper, I saw the sign for the next road I would take – California Highway 1, or the Pacific Coast Highway.

From California, July 2013

But that was tomorrow’s adventure. Before then there was something I felt I needed to do in LA. Matt, the English guy I had met in Santa Rosa, NM, had given me some suggestions on where to stay in LA, he’d also said to look him up when I arrived, but he would only have been getting into town on the same day as me, and I doubted that he would really want to entertain a stranger when he had just got back from such a long road trip, and I didn’t want to put him in a position where he felt obliged. Besides there was something I really did want to see, however touristy – Sunset Strip at night. If I’d have been staying longer than a night I may well have taken Matt’s suggestions and his kind invitation.

However, I was mildly tempted to check-in to the Hotel California in Santa Monica, but the $200+ rate was off putting, besides they had no vacancies and I certainly needed to leave in the morning. Instead I got back on Santa Monica Boulevard and headed for West Hollywood. Traffic by now was almost at a stand-still, and the Trooper was complaining about his air-cooled engine being kept stationary in the late afternoon heat. I did something that comes naturally back home in the UK, but something I had rarely done in the US. I decided that the only way to appease the Trooper was to filter through the traffic, or lane split as the Americans call it. As far as I am aware, California is the only state in the US that allows filtering – some of the bikers that I spoke to in Oklahoma – bikers that have no qualms of riding without helmets – told me that they thought lane splitting was too dangerous and shouldn’t be allowed – perhaps that is because they don’t wear protective gear. Well, I survived but filtering down Santa Monica Boulevard in rush hour traffic was an interesting experience, although I’m glad to say that roughly the same proportion of drivers pull over to give you extra space in LA as they do in the UK, but by the same token, about the same proportion also pull into your path to try to stop you going through as in the UK. Dumbwits.

Having navigated my way to my low rent motel only a few blocks from the Strip, I ventured out to visit the two places I felt I really ought to see – the Viper Room (previously owned by Johnny Depp and the place outside where River Phoenix died) and Whiskey-A-Go-Go (launching pad for the likes of Motley Crue. The Doors were even the house band for a time).

From California, July 2013
From California, July 2013

Both venues had bands on that night, but I paid the cover charge for both – $15 at the Viper Room and $25 at Whiskey-A-Go-Go – so that I could see inside both. The Viper Room was a lot smaller, darker and run-down than I had imagined. I stopped long enough for a beer and to hear a couple of numbers from the first band of the evening, but felt that Whiskey-A-Go-Go may be more to may taste, since it is still renowned for metal bands.

From California, July 2013

I stayed long enough to catch two of the bands – Cannibal Corpse and Decrepit Birth – both hardcore death metal bands which aren’t really my glass of beer, I prefer more old school rock and metal. By 10pm my early start was catching up with me and I decided to leave before the headline act, Six Feet Under.

Burro town

Day 12: Monday 15th July 2013

The Trooper and I wasted no time today and hit the road as soon as I was up. The ride to Kingman that I didn’t complete yesterday is relatively flat with hills in the distance. There’s not much along the route, but we found a rest stop which, like everywhere else is trading on Route 66 nostalgia, and why not?

From Arizona, July 2013
From Arizona, July 2013
From Arizona, July 2013

Later, the rocks came closer to the road and had me back humming Bon Jovi again.

From Arizona, July 2013

After Kingman, I’d been told by several people that I should ride the old Oatman highway, so I did and I didn’t regret that advice. It is one the best roads I’ve ridden so far this trip. As I started out down the road, it seemed much like the ride between Seligman and Kingham, except now perhaps it was narrower and there were lots of dips with signs warning of the risk of flooding. But the day was hot, and I came across an old gas station now a tiny museum-cum-gift shop-cum-refreshemnt store. I carry a litre of water on the bike but it is really only for emergencies. It gets so hot in the bag that you wouldn’t choose to drink it unless you really had to. It was already a hot day, over 100F, and on day’s like that, I grab cold water wherever I can get it, so I pulled up onto the forecourt.

From Arizona, July 2013
From Arizona, July 2013
From Arizona, July 2013

First stop was the restrooms, and they must be the cleanest, sweetest smelling porta-loo I’ve ever used. It seemed to be just one big guy running the place, and as I paid for my water I asked if he got a lot of people passing thought. He said I was about the 100th today –  it was about midday by then – and on hearing my accent he asked where I was from. I’m still not entirely certain how to answer that question, with where I live or with where I was born? I answered Scotland, I guess I’m still that English Ambassador For Scotland.

“Oh you’re the fourth today” he said.
“What? Fourth from Scotland?” I said.
“Yeah. 3 others came through about an hour ago. Said they were heading for Vegas. They were on bikes too.”

He asked which way I was heading and when I said west, he said “Oh, you’re in for a treat. The next 8 miles has over a hundred curves and switch-backs”

Then he spotted my Trooper tattoo and said “Shit. That’s Eddie”.
“They’re all Eddie on this arm” I said.

He then proceded to examine both my arms in detail.

“Guess you’re into Iron Maiden, eh?”
“Yup, and Rob Zombie. And I’m getting to see both of them on this trip”

We chatted about music and bands for another 5 minutes or so, before I decided I should put those hairpins to the test.

He hadn’t exaggerated, the road ahead was the most challenging I’d ridden so far this trip, but with no one behind or in front, it was a relaxed fun ride, except there seemed to be an awful lot of horse shit on the road, and that got a bit hairy trying to avoid that on some of the bends.

From Arizona, July 2013
From Arizona, July 2013
From Arizona, July 2013
From Arizona, July 2013

As I pulled into Oatman, the reason for all the horse, or to be more precise, donkey shit, became apparent.

From Arizona, July 2013

Oatman had been a gold mining town, which was largely abandoned in the 1940s, but the miners had left behind their donkeys, which had gone feral and now roamed the town as if they owned it.

From Arizona, July 2013
From Arizona, July 2013
From Arizona, July 2013
From Arizona, July 2013

And with the donkeys comes there natural waste product.

From Arizona, July 2013

I stopped for some lunch in Oatman. And when I got back on the road the temperature was getting higher. It was getting way too warm to be comfortable, even the wind you get riding along is hotter than your blood and doesn’t serve to cool you at all.

As it was only early afternoon when I emerged off the old Oatman highway, I tried to press on and cross the Mojave desert. Only a crazy fool does this on a day which I found out later is 110F/44C, and at 2pm when the sun is at it’s highest with the temperature still rising.

It didn’t take me too long to realise this was too much for an unaccustomed Brit to manage. I tried looping back to find somewhere to stop. That loop brought me up into Nevada, but it was another hour before I found an sanctuary from the sun. But that time, I was feeling weak and dizzy, and seeing black blotches in my field of vision. I pulled into Laughlin and managed to navigate to a gas station and sat in their air-conidtioned environment until I had downed two litres of ice cold water. Only then did I feel able to check out what my options were. Looking at Laughlin, it seemed to be just a strip of Casinos dumped on the Nevada side of the Colorado River to tempt stupid people from Arizona to part with their cash.

Those that remember my brief foray into Las Vegas during my last visit will remember I am no fan of casinos, or the stupid people that plough money into them. But each to there own, I guess. In any case, I had no desire to stay in one of the casino hotels and I rode back over the border into Arizona to stay somewhere more pleasant in Bullhead City.

The third motel I tried had a room for me and as soon as I moved my gear in, I stood under a cool shower for at least 30 minutes. At 8 o’clock in the evening the temperature was still 108F/42C and the forecast was telling me that it wouldn’t drop below 90F/32C during the night. I felt I’d really suffered attempting the desert in the afternoon. I can only imagine what it must’ve been like for fellow blogger Jesse McKay when he rode through the desert in even higher temperatures. I was going to take a leaf out of his book, and I planned to get up early and attempt to ride through early in morning.

 

On to the birthplace of Historic Route 66

Day 11: Sunday 14th July 2013

After my riding day yesterday had been cut short by the rain, I was glad to see the sun out again when I loaded the Trooper. Having only spent one night in Chicago at the start of my Route 66 adventure, I still had a day in hand, so the fact I hadn’t made it into Arizona wasn’t crucial. As long as I made it to San Francisco by Saturday was all that was important.

As soon as I crossed the state line into Arizona, I began to feel as if I were riding through the back drop of an old western movie, and for some reason Bon Jovi’s Wanted Dead or Alive kept going through my head. You know the line “I’m a cowboy, on a steel horse I ride”. Cheesy, I know.

From Arizona, July 2013
From Arizona, July 2013
From Arizona, July 2013
From Arizona, July 2013
From Arizona, July 2013

I didn’t stop for the Petrified Forest or the Painted Desert, as I had visited both in 2011. But if you’ve not seen them and you are riding Route 66 then I certainly recommend you pay a visit.

From Arizona
From Arizona

Nor did I head north from Flagstaff to visit the Grand Canyon, whilst I had visited it in 2011, it had been shrouded in fog, so I didn’t see too much and I would have welcomed another visit. The reason I didn’t go north this time, is that I would be re-visiting this area again after Doreen arrives, and I planned to see it with her.

From Arizona

I carried on through Flagstaff still humming Bon Jovi to myself. I had to stop in Williams due to more rain. It caught me on an interstate section, and I had no time to pull my waterproofs on, so I pulled into Williams with soaked jeans and t-shirt. The rain passed after about an hour, and one of the benefits of being in Arizona is that as soon as the rain has gone, it is hot and sunny again so wet clothes dry out quickly, especially with the help of the wind as you cruise along on a bike. And it has been very windy, I’ve been riding through most of Arizona with the Trooper leant over to counter that wind.

I’d read a bit about the quirky town of Seligman but hadn’t seen any pictures before I rode in, but it lived up to my expectations. Probably the famous store in Seligman is Seligman Sundries with it’s display of old cars outside, as the photos below show.

From Arizona, July 2013
From Arizona, July 2013
From Arizona, July 2013

Seligman proclaims itself the birthplace of Historic Route 66, not the original Route 66, for it has here, in 1987, that residents of Seligman founded the Historic Route 66 Association of Arizona, along with other enthusiasts in Kingman, and through their efforts the State of Arizona dedicated US 66 from Seligman to Kingham as “Historic Route 66”. Since that initial dedication, all the other states along Route 66 have pretty much followed suit.

On my ride into Seligman I had managed to break my sunglasses. With the rain in Williams, I had taken them off, but on rounding a corner I had ridden into glaring sunshine from the West ahead of me. In trying to pull the sunglasses from my jacket pocket, I had broken off one of the arms. Bolts, which proclaimed itself to be a biker shop, looked as if it should be just the place to get a replacement.

From Arizona, July 2013

Emerging from Bolts with new “biker” sunglasses (they have padding around the inner frames to stop the wind or anything else getting in), I wandered up Seligman main street and took a few more photos.

From Arizona, July 2013
From Arizona, July 2013
From Arizona, July 2013

It was now around 5pm but after my ride had been cut short by the rain yesterday, I thought I’d go the extra 60 odd miles to Kingman. As I rode along the road out of Seligman, I saw the Grand Canyon Caverns, a tourist attraction, to my left. If it had been earlier in the day I may well and stopped by for a visit.

About 20 miles out of Seligman, I could see those pesky rain clouds closing in again. I was beginning to see a pattern here, after very hot and sunny mornings, the rain clouds seem to form in the mid-to-late afternoon. I carried on for another mile or two, but I could see no break in the cloud, Did I really want another soaking today, possibly without a chance to ride myself dry afterwards? I decided not and turned the Trooper around and headed back to Seligman seeking shelter for the night.

I’d noticed several motels which looked the kind of motel that would be in my preferred budget range. The first one I tried was the Romney Motel, principally because it was next door to the Black Cat Bar. It had rooms for the right price – $40 cash. The rooms, as I’d expected, were basic, but it was clean and the bed comfortable. I decided to give the Trooper a clean after the earlier rain, and the guy running the motel offered me a fresh bundle of rags for my cleaning stash. You don’t get that service from the big chains.

From Arizona, July 2013

I had to ride down the road to eat, but that was OK. It’s beer and bikes that don’t play well together, not bikes and the fish and chips I had for dinner. I rode back to Romney’s, said goodnight to the Trooper and visited the Black Cat.

From Arizona, July 2013

I was the only customer in the bar when I went in, but a couple of French Canadians came in after a while, and had good taste in music if their juke box selections where anything to go by. They had also been seduced by the allure of driving along Route 66.

By around 10pm, a few locals also started to drift in, but by then it was time for my to leave. Some nights a couple of beers is just enough, and to have more would spoil it.