Day 1/2 – Ride to Mesa, Scottsdale, Flagstaff Arizona

THE PACKING: Everything for a one week ride must fit in my top case. A square box around the size of a hatbox. So far not missing the extra room a set of side cases could’ve afforded.


When we travel in a car the amount of room seems small compared to your home. So, most people when traveling tend to want to recreate their home settings within the confines of their car, minus the kitchen sink.

On a motorcycle the same thing can occur. It’s called spillage. On this ride I don’t want any. Everything needs to be contained in the space provided. Door to door 350 miles and by 11:00 am I arrived safely at my friend Jerry’s beautiful home. Before long we were sipping margaritas and waiting on a dish of chili rellenos and ala carte tacos. After lunch a tour of the local area with the goal of finding at least one wild horse. Success.

US 101. U.S. Route 101 aka the Hollywood Freeway/Ventura Freeway is the longest highway in California and is the major coastal north–south route that links Los Angeles to the Central Coast, the San Francisco Bay Area and the North Coast (Redwood Empire).

But, if you want to travel East then the Transcontinental Interstate 10 is our southern tier freeway with a whopping 2,460 miles of road.

This is one tough hombre extremely long straight road. I-10 is one of three coast-to-coast Interstates, the others being I-80 and I-90.

At o’dark thirty I set off into the morning towards the rising sun towards Phoenix to visit an old time military friend. We were both in Bosnia many years ago.

By the time I hit Palm Springs it occurred to me that America has essentially three kinds of towns: 1) dying towns; 2) medium-sized towns that are holding their own; or 3) big, growing towns that have way too much traffic and sprawl.

I left the former and headed out to cross the Mojave Desert. Yes folks. One thing you want to do when crossing a desert is to move early and move fast. The temperature only got to the low 90s by the time I arrived in Mesa.

There is a big reason cities are not built out in the desert. Water being the principal ingredient.

In August California was besieged with a heat unseen in generations. A surge in air conditioning use broke the state’s electrical grid, leaving a population already ravaged by Covid to work remotely by the dim light of their cellphones.

By mid-month, the state had recorded possibly the hottest temperature ever measured on earth. 130 degrees in Death Valley.

Then a lightning storm hit. From Santa Cruz to Lake Tahoe, thousands of bolts of electricity exploded down onto withered grasslands and forests, some of them already hollowed out by climate-driven infestations of beetles and kiln-dried by the worst five-year drought on record.

Soon, California was on fire. As I now wait in Scottsdale at Go Az Motorcycles for my first oil change I’m still getting asked, how bad are your fires?

Soon I’ll be riding to Scottsdale to meet the rest of my riding group at a restaurant called the Prescott Brewing Company. Then on to Flagstaff.