On the Road Again (Feb 26-28)

I’d like to say that my bags were packed the night before and claim to be the pinnacle of efficiency, but to be completely honest I repacked the bike several times.  Up until my room was completely cleared out, I was still finding things I’d forgotten.

We left in the late afternoon as a result. Whoops. But hey, at least we were on the road! FINALLY! There was an emotional goodbye (there always is), and we made our way to the freeway.

I had one last errand before leaving town, so I visited my friend to return the splint I no longer needed. We spent some time catching up, and this delay meant that we had barely left city limits before it got dark. But that was okay! We were out of Phoenix! A blood-red moon peeked over the mountains at us as we made our way east.

I’d spotted a patch of public land on the map, a few miles west of Superior. This was Oz’s first dirt road on his new bike. He did well, though it was very easy, well-graded smooth dirt.

We found a good spot a bit away from a cattle watering hole, set up the tent, and ate leftover curry. The night was peaceful.

The new day revealed this awesome view! Spring rains had given the desert a light carpet of green.

Without much potable water, I tried to wash the curry pan in a muddy puddle, which seemed to make things worse. I did what I could. We had woken up late and lacked motivation to hurry along, so we didn’t break camp until early afternoon.

Superior didn’t seem to have much worth stopping for, just boarded-up old buildings. On our way to Globe, we passed some snow alongside the road (sadly, nowhere to pull off to take a photo), and once there, stopped for some fairly mediocre Mexican food.

Most of the view this day was simply desert, or shrinking small towns that had seen better days. I did enjoy these mountains in the distance. Look! Snow! I don’t know why it surprised me to see snow this far south.

While taking this picture the lump under the bush stirred and started shouting at me. I’d accidentally woken up somebody trying to get some roadside shuteye without even noticing they were there. I sped off.

We picked up a few groceries in Safford and aimed for a spot about eight miles east of town. By this point it was dark. I didn’t see any good spots along the main dirt road, so we doubled back, exploring a side road that was a bit steep and rocky. I felt bad for dragging Oz down it, as a complete newbie, at night. He found it somewhat scary. I would later joke about my “nighttime riding clinics”.

We followed some ATV tracks and made camp out of the way. It was REALLY COLD this night. So cold that our water froze. Even layered up, I was still chilly and did not sleep well.

We got up early for once! The mountains not too far away were blanketed in snow… no wonder it was so cold! We must have been at a higher elevation than I’d anticipated.

Oz heated up some clam chowder with the rest of the leftover mashed potatoes for breakfast. I wasn’t really hungry. We left around noon.

Last night’s hill did not challenge Oz nearly as badly in the daytime. I had told him to keep on the gas and just throttle through it.

Before long, we were stuck in construction on our way into New Mexico. A Harley rider struck up a conversation, and related that he was on his way to Daytona. Long way to go!

We passed through Lordsburg and continued on the 10 for a while. At a rest area, a guy in an RV randomly invited me to drag race. Uhhh. No thanks?

Near sunset, I tried to find a spot to camp online, but came up empty-handed. We simply continued on into the night. We stopped briefly in Las Crusces, and Oz mentioned that when he was here a few weeks ago, the student union building was a good place to warm up. We were both freezing, so indulged in an hour-long break. Afterwards, we aimed for the Organ Mountain National Recreation Area.

This Recreation Area was closed at night, with a spike strip and barricades. We took a different dirt road and found a steep, loose, rocky pullout. This was too close to the road, sharply angled, rocky, and dangerous to make for a comfortable night’s sleep. Oz had an exciting time getting back out of it.

Eventually we found a smaller, rocky trail that wound up into the hills. There was a primitive fire ring and a flat spot, so we called it home for the night. The lights of the city sparkled in the distance, and the moon danced over the mountaintops. It was beautiful.

The amount of traffic on the main dirt road surprised us.  At nearly midnight on a Thursday, there were cars passing every 10 minutes. Where were they all going?!  This made us nervous, we were almost certain that camping was not allowed here, but we had no better options, and bundled up for another cold night.

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