Trip days: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8-9 | 10-12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20
While I finally clawed my way off of my friend Ben's couch and headed east to a family friends place in Las Cruces, New Mexico. I was originally thinking of being dull and boring and ride I-10 south east to Tucson and then east to Las Cruces, but after lots of negative comments about I-10 I decided to search out an alternate route. I was suprised to see that it would be less distance, and more fun to boot, to take highway 60 east to Globe, and then highway 70 to where it met up with I-10 just west of Las Cruces.
Heading east on highway 60 I reflected on my time, though limited, in Phoenix. I covered much of the northern and central sections of the city and have come away much unimpressed. It strikes me as being very much like the sprawl of Tustin, Orange, Long Beach, Anaheim, etc. in southern Los Angeles. Wide four to six lane roads all moving at 40 or 50 miles per hour, no real points of interest, everthing is one story. Just mile after mile of mini-malls in every direction with very little real substance. There aren't even hills or curved roads unlike the Tustin, Orange area, that offer some sort of visual excitement. Wait, I take that back, there is one hill I can think of in northern Phoenix... but nobody lives on it. To some it might seem nice and tropical with it's indefinite sun and palm trees and cactuses, but to me I only see hot... very hot black top in every direction with no real sense of community or purpose.
Heading towards Globe on 60 is fairly unexciting until I escaped the far sprawling reaches of Phoenix. Highway 60 heads up towards globe through a quite nice canyon and zig and zags in a sympathetic manner, sort of saying "I know, I know. Phoenix sucks, now have some fun!" Once up at a higher altitude I rode into Miami. Once a mining town it now is fairly empty. Brightly colored buildings dotted the otherwise barren strip through town. Miami kind of blends right together with Globe which is shown on my map in BIG TEXT, denoting it's importance and size. Though it's noted importance on my map, it only seems to be important for the presence of a Sonic Burger, a bunch of gas stations, a metal globe in the middle of town, and the 3-way intersection that branches off towards Showlow in the north, and highway 70 towards Clifton and eventually I-10 in New Mexico in the east.
Once out of Globe the running was pretty much consistent all the way down to I-10. Slightly rolling hills here and there, but mostly stretches of flat. Highway 666 or 191 as the Devil's Highway is now known T's against highway 70. Three days before I had been merely 15 miles north in Clifton during the sport ride I went on with my new Phoenix BMW friends. Onward into New Mexico and finally to I-10, I chugged along a most barren miserable stretch of interstate to Las Cruces.
I swerved around Las Cruces a couple of times in search of my friends place and could not find there street for the life of me so I finally resorted to stopping and asking directions from a gas station attendant (ouch, that left a mark on my ego for sure!). Pulling into the gas station I noticed two guys on Honda cruisers parked at the pumps, both bikes outfitted with touring and camping gear. They walked over exclaiming "That's a nice bike!" in virtual unison. After a little chatting I found out that they were from Austin and had just left on a 2 or 3 month trip around the U.S. in the opposite direction from which I was travelling. They were heading over to San Diego, up the coast to Washington, across to the east coast and then back home. We bid each other good journeys and I went inside and got directions.
Bill Colville, a friend from waaaayyyy back in my father's childhood in Wilmette, Illinois, and his wife Janet are great, great people. They are more fondly know as the "Whales" or the "Whale" and the "Whalette" by good friends (why I have absolutely no idea). Both Volkswagen Bus fanatics and general Volkswagen enthusiasts, they had recently purchased a new home in Las Cruces that had a 4 car garage to house their Volkswagen collection. Of course the rest of their new home is great too, but as I always say... A big garage, lots of vehicles, and a passion for vehicles makes somebody cool in my book. But in all seriousness, the rest of their home is fantastic. They had purchased the home seven months ago in a state of disrepair and have been hard at work getting it squared away. The real adobe house and garage with its loft guest house and home office space feature exposed log beam ceilings and lots of windows create an extremely nice space to be in. I am lucky enough to get a comfortable bed in the upstairs above my 2-wheeled steed, my own bathroom, TV, internet connection, and second story deck to stow myself and my belongings.
Bill and Janet have toured around the U.S. and much of Mexico in their early 60's Volkswagen Bus over the years. They are an extremely sociable, fun to be around couple that have more character an conversation than you can shake a stick at. Their main travel bus is the ultimate beach bum vehicle, covered with stickers inside and out of places travelled and gidgets, gadgets, widgets, etc. and is in absolutely top condition. Veneered wood ceiling, swing open doors on both sides (step through I think they call it), living quarters, and even a bullwinkle bendy figure wrapped around the gear shift. I believe they call him "Mel-van". They also own a very nice Vanagon, an old Volkswagen Truck (bus with a bed) painted up with Echo Oil Co. graphics form years gone by, and a new Jetta TDi. Quite the mecca of Volkswagen paraphernalia.
After a good nights rest, I was up at a surly 9 am and threw on shorts and my flip flops and flip-flopped my way out to the patio to bask in the sun and fritter the day away. A little later I cooked up a tasty breakfast of scrambled eggs, tea, and jalapeno cheese bread with cream cheese, and we made our way downtown to get tickets for the premiere matinee showing of the new X-Men movie "X2". It was pretty good actually, in case you're wondering if you should shell out the bucks for a barrage of advertising accompanied by a movie. A good lunch of chinese food followed, and a quick tour of Las Cruces and it's surroundings. I'm kind of excited, this weekend will be focused on the Cinco de Mayo celebration and I'm in a southwestern almost border town full of mexicans that will be whooping it up to beat the band. I'm really looking forward to seeing the festivities tomorrow and sunday in Mesilla, a small town that adjoins Las Cruces.
The Whales are taking great care of me and I'm having a great time kicking around in slow motion... I sit in the sun on the patio, then in the shade in the inner courtyard, then in the sun, then in the shade, then drink some water, then talk about politics in the sun, then talk about politics in the shade, then drink some more water. You get the idea. Anyways, all the best to the rest of you less fortunate working folk, and I'll catch you later on down the trail as a friend of mine used to say.
"Sometime you eat the bar, and sometimes, well, the bar eats you."
Total Mileage for Day(s): 479
©2003 John Meloy <firstname.lastname@example.org>