Arrive at my sister's house! Can you believe that over these past days, the bike and I have traveled 2850 miles? Yes, I can believe it. Yet at times, hundreds of miles just melted away somehow. Lots of sensory input would think the brain would fill up - hope not.
Early start today to get into the valley before it heats to 105ºF. Only an hour and half driving, but it was amazing to run into traffic early in the morning, and so many homes and businesses in the Apache Junction and Mesa area that have been built since I was here last. Thanks goodness for the Native America reservations that have prevented the urban sprawl over the entire valley.
Farming is still being done in many of those reservations.
Loved the fresh smell of citrus blossoms coming from the irrigated trees, the pungent odor of misted water from sprinklers, the remembrance of dry lips from the dehydration effect of very low humidity.
My welcome to Arizona.
Penny's Diner was a reconstruction of the heydays of the Route 66 era. I even found a picture of a diner in my evening stay in Globe later that day.
My motel included this diner for breakfast. I ordered Hot Tea along with other items. The Spanish speaking waitress got the tea correct, but missed the hot part. I was served tea that is used for ice tea, except without the ice. Another waitress added the meaning of Hot Tea to this person's growing daily English vocabulary.
Driving along, with a pretty good windchill, temperature around 46, noticed that the wind is being harvested in many places. This mountain top had many turbines generating electricity.
Trains are still moving a large percentage of goods across America. This is a main east-west line owned by the Burlington Norther-Santa Fe line.
In the western part of NM, near Datil, there is the National Radio Astronomy Observatory. It is the site of the VLA (Very Large Array). Here is a link to more info
Many antelope that seem to blend into the landscape. This particular one seems to be separated from his friends by the fence.
Near the continental divide, there was a large forest fire. At that time it was only 10 % contained and was already NM's largest fire ever. Even 2 weeks after this blog entry, the fire is still only 50% contained.
Alpine, AZ was just perfect. Cool, bright, clear. However, the previous year a major fire in AZ threatened its existence. Scars of the huge fire exist on the mountains surrounding this community. Link to 2011 fire:
It was a warm day once we lost elevation. Driving was a pleasure with the roads well marked, banked appropriately for safe turns. On a bike you can't watch the scenery AND watch the road. Stopped a few times for picts, but the drive was terrific.
Remember the days when you traveled to a motor court or tourist court as they were called. It was great to have covered parking right next to my room. No room scan cards here.
Arizona is getting HOT!
With an early start, it was breakfast time in Liberal Kansas. If you asked me what was special about Liberal, I probably couldn't think of anything but when I was welcomed by Dorothy, Toto and all the gang, I remembered.
Ordered a full stack of pancakes for breakfast. Now I can eat a lot of pancakes, but I met my match. 8 Cakes of about 7 inches across. That'll keep me going the rest of the day.
So much farming country. One forgets where all our food is grown, and going to a grocery store really doesn't help matters. Too bad there aren't videos to watch about how the food we purchase is grown, processed and delivered to us.
Passed through the panhandle of Oklahoma, the country is quickly changing from farming to ranching. Cattle can best roam the hills foraging for food. Definitely less rain in these parts.
Advice: if you ever drive through Dalhart, TX is is best to be prepared for an overwhelming smell sensation. Cattle Feed Lots! On the south side of the town there were to 2 cattle feeding lots, one on each side of the highway 54. Hillside after hillside of cattle in holding pens, making the landscape black with bodies of cows. I couldn't be for sure but there must be hundreds of thousands of cattle.
See this U-tube short from another traveler:
Passed through Texas in its upper left corner into New Mexico. Stopped for a while in Tucumcari and enjoyed the nostalgia of Route 66. When I40 was built, it virtually destroyed the local traffic through so many smaller towns along this route.
Finally came to rest in Vaughn, NM at the crossroads of US54 and US60. What an example of a high desert climate: lots of open space, low growing shrub like cactus and plants, wind swept country.
Leaving I70 and heading south on US54, passed through Jefferson City, the capitol of Missouri. The capitol is quite a structure, large rotunda shape, towers over any other building nearby.
Heading west in the early morning allows the sun to be at one's back and makes for great scenery and photo opportunities.
Really enjoyed the pleasant rolling hills, green surroundings for most of the ride through Missouri.
A continuation of the motorcycle travel on US 50, 54, 60 to Phoenix, AZ. These older, US highways put you up close with the surroundings. Yes, you stop often in small towns, intersections in the middle of farmland, and speed limits are generally 55 MPH. However, you see, smell, touch the areas of the country in which you travel. Small travel inns, or roadside motels let you park your vehicle next to your room. At times there are no cars or traffic behind or in front of you. Early mornings are like a communion with nature. Most of the pictures taken were in the morning since the sun was behind my back. The camera was tucked inside my jacket waiting to capture a precious moment. If I were on a photographic journey, it would take months to get anywhere.
Take a leisurely trip sometime on these roads and escape the high speed corridor of sterile Interstate freeways.