Thursday, March 17, 2011

Mesa Arizona: Day Ride to Salt River Canyon

Happy Saint Patrick's Day. Sandy wore green but I didn't have anything orange to put on to honour my Orangeman grandfather. The morning and evening temperatures here are about as perfect as one could ask for but I now understand why the Mexican tradition of finding a shady spot and taking a siesta when the midday sun hits its peak makes so much sense.

First thing, we walked over the main building and got on-line to check our Email and post yesterday's blog. Back at the RV, Les and Jackie were ready to go so we rushed and got our gear on. The first stop was at the gas station about a mile down the road. I checked my jacket wallet pocket and the wallet wasn't there so I made a mad dash back to Silveridge. Looking in the RV, I couldn't find it either. Then I discovered it in the OTHER jacket pocket. I must be slipping. I rushed back to the gas station and filled up, admitting to all that I wasn't quite at the top of my game today.

The first part of the ride was a replay of the other day. We rode the sixty miles to Globe first across the flats and then through the sweeping turns as US 60 started up into the mountains. One stretch had hoodoos and a couple of needles that looked just like the geology found in the Black Hills.

Formations along US 60 to Globe Arizona (3 pictures)

Arriving in Globe, we opted to stop at McDonalds for a quick bite. We talked to a Nomad rider from Fort Wayne, Indiana who was staying in Mesa and opted to go out for a short morning jaunt. Then we continued on taking xxxx towards Show Low. We climbed gradually across fairly flat high country until we came to our objective, the Salt River Canyon. I had been trying to remember if we had ever been here before, but one look told me we hadn't. I wouldn't forget a place like this. In most canyons, you run along one wall. Here, the road wound down one wall to the bottom, crossed the Salt River, and then climbed back up the other side. Some of the curves are billed at 30 MPH but they weren't twisty as much as winding. It was very easy to get into a rhythm and just flow with the road.

When we reached the scenic overlook on the far side, we stopped and enjoyed the view. We talked to a couple from Oliver BC traveling in their truck. Their fifth wheel was back in the valley and they were on their way to see the Petrified Forest. We decided to turn here and head back to Globe. Les let me lead the way as we went all the way back down and then back up again.

In the photos, note both the scenery and the roads. I could ride back and forth here all day.

Scenes from Salt River Canyon Arizona

Back in Globe, we stopped at a gas station to consider our options. There, we met Jim, a GL1800 rider from North Dakota who Les knew, and his partner, a GL 1500 rider from Vulcan Alberta. They were looking for some ruins around Globe. We decided to ride back on US 60 to Superior and have lunch. Then we would cut south and return to Mesa via Florence and the flatlands.

Lunch in Superior was at the Buckboard City Cafe. They also have what is billed as the world's smallest museum on the grounds, but it was closed. We all had chicken fried steak for lunch, deciding that supper would be a light one. Sorry for the angle of the following photo. I need a better eye or Photoshop.

World's Smallest Museum - Superior Arizona

Leaving Superior, we headed west on US 60 but exited on the highway south towards Tucson. The temperature, which had been 20C in the high country, was now up to 33C. We rode across flat terrain until we got to Florence, where we turned right on Hunt Road. My fuel light came on about then so we stopped at a mall that appeared to be the outer limits of the rapidly expanding residential area. After fueling, we noticed a big red truck emblazoned with the marks of the Budweiser Clydesdales. We went back to check it out and found one horse being displayed at the mall entrance.

Strange hill sticking out of the desert near Florence Arizona

Sandy in front of the Budweiser Clydesdale truck

The Clydesdale on display

Another crooked picture

Les and I check out the dually tire pressure balancing system

From there, we continued back towards Mesa and the RV resort without mishap.

Well irrigated land in Arizona with the Superstition Mountains in the background

Artwork along the highways

Back at Silveridge, Sandy and I went over to the lobby to check our Email. I was a little shaky and found my blood sugar level was down to 3.9 (70 for my American friends). I had some food and then we visited with Les and Jackie, rehashing the day and swapping riding stories. Later, we spent some time visiting with Norm and Leslie-Ann. We hit the hay about 10:30.

Today's Route (242 motorcycle miles):

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