Well at least it wasn’t like last year’s “Snowverland Expo“. Once again, we were going to ride up together, Penny on her plum colored Suzuki Boulevard S40 650 cc “Thumper” and Rob (this time) on his candy colored BMW R1200GS “Rallye” edition. Last year we drove the truck instead after reviewing the weather forecast. This year three little things got in the way, and Penny stayed behind after reviewing the birth forecast.
Beth and her cohort finished their first semester in Speech Pathology at the University of Arizona last Monday. Beth was so pregnant she had a private preceptor. That ordeal over (meaning a move across the country, moving in together, putting Nick in a new school, getting engaged, getting pregnant, and succeeding in finishing the first year of a graduate program!) Penny lead a “Mother blessing” on the Tuesday night at our house and most of the grad students came, along with a couple of neighbors. It was a splendid “do” with over 20 people and after everyone left, including Alastair and Nick, Beth went into deep breathing through some pre-term contractions. We drove her home. Next day she and Alastair went to the hospital for yet another ultrasound scan but they wound up in Labor & Delivery, Room 9 with more intense contractions. Long story short, she’s been there for four days now and won’t be coming home until the triplets are born one way or another. So Penny stayed with Beth.
I wasn’t at all ready and didn’t leave until after noon on Friday when it was already 95º F (29 C). It got up to 100 F (37.5 C) around Lake Roosevelt which is always the hottest part of the route and later on dropped to 65ºF (18 C) up on the Mogollon (“Mug-ee-OWN”) Rim at seven and a half thousand feet. Which always makes it hard to know what to wear!
But the ride up was glorious, especially after Payson as the road sweeps up through the Tonto National Forest up onto the Rim and the smells are of fresh sap and pine and woodsmoke.
♦ ♦ ♦
The hotel in Flagstaff was nondescript, right by I-40 and a howling wind, but the coffee at Macy’s European Coffee House and Bakery on Beaver Street on Saturday morning was to die for. I left there and rode thirty or so miles back South taking the longer Mormon Road into Mormon Lake village the “back way”. It was windy and dusty at Overland Expo West and the line for day passes was almost an hour long but at least they let me park inside and under a shady tree.
I always fancied myself in a motorcycle and sidecar combination.
There was an area for messing about with bikes.
Some of it was quite colorful.
And there were lots and lots of bikes among the monstrous off-road behemoths.
I got to my AirBnB in Pine, AZ in mid-afternoon. Turns out that Penny was with Beth at the hospital from about 5 am to 8 pm today, Saturday, but no babies yet. If they can hang on in there ’til Wednesday that will be 32 weeks. So next week is likely to involve a lot of baby sitting (me) since Nick finished school last Thursday, and mother sitting (Penny) respectively.
Woke up on Sunday morning, May 21 to learn that our grand-triplets Olivia Belle, Harrison Robert and Jaxon Peter (in that order) were born to Beth and Alastair this morning!