Sunday April 24, 2016 and the (second) start of the 2016 Rocky Mountain Ride. Phil says he wants “mountains and deserts”, well, me too! Phil left Washington, DC yesterday (the first start) and at the last minute figured he might meet me on Thursday in Santa Fe, NM. So I have days to spare. I can wander, meander, explore and prevaricate – and I will.
We were going to meet in Yellowstone, until Google Maps wouldn’t join the dots because “these roads are closed until end-April”. Uh, oh. Snow and ice are not friends to motorcycles. So much for exploring Wyoming and Montana in April.
I took the familiar route to Globe, turned back to Safford, but took a side trip to see the Coolidge dam in the San Carlos Apache reservation, curiously old-fashioned, dilapidated, and not a little odd.
After Safford I finally got to ride the Black Hills national back country scenic byway, a magnificent and well-maintained 21-mile dirt road that cuts a corner between Safford and the vast, huge, I mean big, really big, really ugly, open-cast copper mine at Morenci.
Dark knight, dark canyon. The canyon-carving 1200 cc batmobile.
But I declined to take the devil’s highway, old Route 666 (I rode it a year ago) and took 78 into New Mexico instead (the other half of a popular loop) snaking up out of Arizona into glorious mountains.
I knew about Reserve, NM because of the “just released” New Mexico backcountry discovery route (NMBDR) and it did not disappoint with gas, lodging, a bar, and at least three different places to eat.