Here's a video I put together to show the drive from Denver to Phoenix. I was absolutely amazed by the mountains. You can probably tell by how I freaked out in this video.
The scenery and weather made for the best road-trip I've ever had. When I was a kid there was a summer trip out west that was hotter than hot and spent in the back seat with a toddler. Winter + Riding Shotgun = Perfect.
Last time on Something Mean...
The last thing you knew was that we had an issue with a wheel and would need a few days in Phoenix before we could leave. Three days turned in to seven days. Woweee! After spending nearly a week in Denver and a week in Phoenix it's nice to be on the road again. Let me bring you up to speed.
This is the part where Cody should tell the story.
Parts of trucks that I've never heard of needed to be replaced. Cody would be able to describe it better than I can but it's not really important. The important thing to know is that the part that was ordered didn't fit and it wasn't really needed and we could have fixed it way sooner and saved money. In the end it worked out well... I think? Cody took control of the situation and dealt with all the stress while I worked relaxed and worked on videos. I felt useless but there really wasn't anything I could do to help.
This is the part where tear up the desert, some dessert and this vacation gets more "vacationy".
It was stressful and disheartening BUT we landed in the PERFECT spot to be broke down. Jon and Deb are the coolest parents any of my friends have. Jon has a lot of stories about riding motorcycles from coast to coast and from his experience as a Marine. Deb knows how to cook, loves to cook, and loves to feed people. We love to eat and to be entertained so that worked out very well. They reassured us that we weren't a burden and that having people around was a good thing. We felt bad but if we were getting to be a pain then they'd let us know and we could go sleep in the desert. That didn't ever need to happen but we did get out of the house to enjoy the weather. The desert is probably the best thing I've ever seen and makes for the best off-road riding I've ever done. My abilities are still newbie level but if I get the chance to ride more trails like that I will get better faster than I would if I was in Iowa on those roads.
Our first stress-relieving ride was up to Squaw Peak just a few miles from the house.
The peak is something you have to hike to and some jail bait was eyeballing us. Our plans didn't include hiking so we drove around looking for roads to the top. We found a nice neighborhood with a great view.
Excellent view, right?
Would you believe I found a Shoshone arrowhead?
Well, you probably shouldn't because it was just a rock with a similar shape. It's just a bad habit of mine to pick up a rock and claim it's an arrowhead. Sorry.
Some nice ladies took photos for us so it didn't always look like we weren't traveling as a pair.
This image is supposed to be animated but I don't know if it's going to work but it still proves we were both up there.
Here's the unedited video of the best riding of the week. There was more from before and after this but this was THE BEST.
At some point during the weekend we ended up at a bar called Chopper John's. We walked in to see a cover band all dressed up as hair rockers . They played some very popular songs but not a single White Snake song. Not a big deal. We sat down for a stress-relieving, good night. There was a very nice IPA on tap that I can't remember the name of or the brewery it was produced in. It was good. That's all you need to know. Wild Turkey was $5.50 for a single-shot. Ehh.. no good. Did I mention one of the bartenders was only wearing a tank top, underwear and shoes? She rides a Harley with a suicide-clutch so I guess that makes her a bad-ass. I wanted to road recommendations from her because we were told she's a nice young lady but she was more of an attention-whoring skank. Someday I'll tell you what I really think of her. I did what any man would do: ignore her after she stopped giving out useful information and then be given her phone number after forgetting she exists. At first I felt like the luckiest guy in the bar but later I realized I was just ANOTHER guy in watering hole were she fishes for attention. I called her the next day to talk more about riding. She wanted to drink and watch the Super Bowl (more like "Stupid Bowl", amirite?). I wanted to ride. We stopped by later after a ride and saw her daily sad display of clothing choice and horde of old men and tatted and pierced biker wannabes fawning over her vulgar behavior. Eh..who would compete to be near that? we left. I missed Iowa and Iowan girls.
A place I marked as "Cactus Mountain" on my GPS.
You can't really tell but we had to ride some switchbacks to get to this place. It was somewhere between 200-300 feet up from the level of the road that brought us to the base. Pretty neat. I have video of that too but I can't find it right now but it will make it into a compilation of riding after the trip is over.
I think we put about 400 miles on the bikes during the week and it really helped out with reaching the goals we had set for the trip. Those goals: Ride motorcycles as much as possible and get to Salem, Oregon.
After full days of riding we had nights of hot meals and sitting back having some laughs. I'm not kidding about hot meals every night. We were told when dinner would be served and that if we wanted warm food we needed to be back on time. We wouldn't miss it for anything so we were never late. Spaghetti with extra sausage, burgers, biscuits and gravy, STEAK, macaroni and cheese and each night we had side dishes and a dessert prepared by a neighbor, Wendy, they feed. I say macaroni and cheese and you instantly think of that Kraft crap. Nope. Not from Deb. She had blocks of cheese that she grated to make the sauce. I'm pretty sure there was more than one kind of cheese.
With dessert we also got a few jokes and on the last night we got a little show by Wendy and her two tiny harmonicas. She has toured with the USO and has been involved with show-business her whole life. She likes to bake and sometimes wants the food to be a different color so we had green cheesecake one night and regular-colored banana creme on another.
I really should have made sure to take a picture of each meal so I wouldn't forget all the deliciousness but the important thing is that not one meal was standard in any way and I learned a new use for bacon fat. Put that all over potatoes before you bake them and you will love it. Baked beans are better when you season them with your own ingredients and throw some bacon on top when baking them, finish the bacon off in a French Oven and add it back in before serving. We ate a meal where not ONE thing could be eaten by a vegetarian. I almost soiled the dinner by talking about vegetarian food but caught my error before making it. A mistake I do regret is that there were leftovers of those beans. I feel I failed you, Deb. I have been taught the magical-bean way so I know I'll get to enjoy that flavor sooner than later. You give a man some beans and you feed him for a day, etc. I wasn't asked to help with cooking but I did get to do some dishes so I didn't feel like a total leech.
Ride, eat, chill, ride, eat, chill. It was a nice cycle but we both wanted to be on the road because nothing feels better than putting as many miles between yourself and Iowa as possible.
This is the part where we left Phoenix and starting missing it.
Everything was ready with the truck so we were off. Within 30 minutes we could see the haziness blocking the view of the mountains. California has always sounded nice but after hearing about it from a California native it began to sound like a soul sucking wasteland. The over-population and unchecked "environmentalism" acting as the characters in nightmares made me want to avoid California at all costs but we soon discovered that there are some very wonderful aspects to being in this state. This story will continue when I feel like it. I hope the next entry I write is less like a shotgun loaded with words shot at the internet and more like the collection of daily log of events, notes and ideas I intended this to be.
For now please enjoy this teaser.