This is one day on the trip I haven’t been looking forward to – the beginning of the end. It is the day my wife flew home, and it is the first day I started riding home back to Minnesota.
I dropped my wife off in the morning at the airport. The weather in San Diego was cool and cloudy. It seemed to mirror my mood. It looked like it might rain, but it didn’t. I went back to the hotel and packed up the rest of my stuff to leave. The bags are light now that I am solo again. The bike felt empty without my wife behind me holding on.
I ran a quick errand, and then starting riding east. The SV did a good job trying to cheer me up and we cut through the mid-morning traffic. I am really enjoying lane splitting. The further I was from San Diego the bluer the sky became.
As I rode east the road climbed into some small mountains as I crossed the first 4,000 range the temps started to rise. After the third, the road descended into a large valley. I stopped for gas and it said 96F! It was warm! The closer I got to the easy bake oven also known as Arizona the hotter it got. Fortunately, I was very prepared and had all my hot weather gear. I’ve also had some practice riding above 100 degrees. My record temp is 105F in 2010 through Mississippi. Today could have been that hot, but no thermometer to confirm.
My first gas stop in Arizona and it was 103F. It felt like it got hotter after that, but there was literally nothing around to tell me the temp. Mine was buried away in my luggage. Doh.
I enjoyed riding along some of the small farms. Several of them were growing lavender and it smelled great.
Most of the way was very empty once I escaped the interstate. Not many cars and really nothing but desert as far as I could see. The mountains in the distance kept teasing me, they didn’t seem to get any closer.
There was a fun surprise in the form of sand dunes in the Imperial National Dunes area. I stopped to make a short video and take some pictures.
I had no idea I’d be crossing an open desert like that. I expected the brown scrubby stuff I had seen on my 2009 trip to Arizona.
A surprise border check station even though I was hundreds of miles from the Mexican border.
Right… not a rest stop to hang out at
All day I was looking forward to AZ-89. I had toyed with riding all the way to Prescott, and the closer I got the more I wanted to get there. Prescott is situated in the mountains at about 5,500 feet. It was much cooler once I crossed up into the mountains. A welcome relief.
The stretch of AZ89 south of Prescott was new for me, and it did not disappoint. I really enjoyed the 20-30mph corners as the road wound around the mountains and canyons. I didn’t spend much time on the view since I was enjoying the road so much, but when I did it was very nice. I love it when I can look back and see the road I just rode below/behind me across a canyon.
Video: Day 42 – Imperial Sand Dunes
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