Monday, June 22, 2009

Northern Arizona pine country - Part 1

Woke up early on Friday morning. Got packed all up. This time I used a checklist to make sure nothing was left or forgotten. I really would have enjoyed a little tunes on the trip. I have not yet gotten my new amp in the mail yet. Packed up the bike and left to gas up. I left just after 6am. No one had woken up yet, which I knew would happen. The ride up to Flagstaff straight up the I-17 is approximately 130 miles. I've seen this so many times that it is much like white noise while looking at the television screen to me. Most of the way is either flat, very little vegetation or unexciting. Even when reaching the pines I'm not very impressed. Oh don't get me wrong...I love the forests & pine trees. I see them all the time, not to mention Flagstaff isn't a stop I usually try to make. This was the quickest most direct route to get to where I was going. The route starts in Flagstaff, so its unavoidable.

The weather was beautiful. When I left Phoenix the temperature was in the mid to high 70's. It had to be in the low 60's. Its over 7k feet there. Figuring that it was still early I really thought nothing of it except the comfort of being away from the valley heat for the next 2 days. About 15 miles from Flag there was a sign that said rough road ahead. I can't remember exactly how many miles it said now. I was then thinking that this was no big deal. About 15 seconds later it was like a washboard. No this isn't dirt or sand or anything like that. This is an asphalt interstate highway. All I can say is WTF?! It was pretty bad for a few miles and let up. Then once again turned into a washboard, not nearly as bad this time. It did not continue the whole way. I finally turned off onto the Lake Mary Road exit. Before I hit the exit I did notice a sign showing there would be fuel. My low fuel light came on a few miles before this exit. Bought a new water, filled up, stretched and enjoyed myself for about 20 minutes. Its time to move on, lots more to see...

The speed limit was 35, which was ok but I knew at this rate it was going to be a very long day.. And although I had no intentions of rushing, I still had to meet my sister Sandy and her best friend Lisa at my parents to let them in. Still 35 couldn't be the speed limit for that long. I've been on this road, just not this far north. Reach a construction zone that had a stop sign that a worker was holding. I was to wait until the lead construction truck was to come back and lead us over. I sat there for about 10 minutes and finally shut my bike off. You ask, how would I know how long? Because I was eyeing the clock on my odometer like a hawk eyes it's prey. Up ahead I finally see the truck leading several vehicles out from the other side (where I was headed). Don't forget this was a constuction area, and no asphalt. I am not very fold of riding on dirt, rocks or gravel. The road was rock covered dirt. The truck came, turned around and started to roll the other direction. Thinking to myself, I have never ever ever seen a construction truck lead traffic from one side to the other. The workers always have a 2 way and talk to the person on the other side. Always timed of course to keep everything moving as smoothly as it possibly could be. I was first in line, however the worker let the 3 vehicles on my left turn and follow the truck first. No big deal, just interesting in many ways (I was there first in line, at least a dozen vehicle lined up behind me were there also before the 3 vehicles on the left). By this time I was running a bit longer then originally expected, and did not really care. I followed the vehicle train out being very careful on the road. I was weaving around the areas that appeared to be solid dirt with no rocks. Backing off from the truck in front of me. Kept thinking to myself that if they slammed on their brakes I wouldn't be able to stop in time. Finally thru all this and back on asphalt the construction went on for several more miles. I stayed at a steady 35-40 mph.

After a bit I see a sign for Lake Mary. YES! Finally! Some photo ops! I pull up and holy crap, there is really a lake. I was on the north side parking lot. There were several other cages, but no one could be seen anywhere near.

It was time to head to the down to the water and relax a bit. There I got several more shots.

Toward the road from the water:

And I see people, only they are in a boat and someone in a tube being dragged behind:

As I headed back up to the parking lot, I did see a couple of fishermen headed back to the truck. From what I've been told this is mainly a dry lake bed and this is the first time its had water for a long time. The road follows the entire lake south. I honestly had no idea that there was really a real Lake Mary. I know, I know! Lake Mary Road. Yes I get it, but no one I know has ever talked about it. Time to go!

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