September is still Summer

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The mornings here are finally lower than 90 degrees so I’ve slowly been taking the XC out here and there but on this particular Saturday, the craving to ride bigger miles took over. I’ve made the trip to Prescott before but not on the Victory. This would be a special journey because of the 19 firefighters lost in Yarnell. A classic route for motorcyclist is through Wickenburg then on the 89 through Yarnell Hill on the way to Prescott. Last Summer in a wild fire in the Yarnell area 19 hot shot firefighters were burned to death trying to defend the area homes. It was a national tragedy and a heartbreaking story about true American heroes.

Getting through the Phoenix highways and the Carefree Highway is the cost of making it to one of the best motorcycle rides in Arizona. Cruising through Wickenburg is always fun. They try so hard to become an Old West tourist destination with their statues of cowboys and animals. The downtown has a lot of personality with its turnoff the century architecture.

The problem with Saturday mornings is the traffic. Any other day this road would be much less populated but today there were a bunch of joy riders and drivers on their motorcycles and convertibles. It was about here where I was cruising at a nice decent speed and was passed by a convoy of BMW 2-door sportsters. Can I just say how much I hate when people on a two lane road are cavalier about driving in the opposing lane of traffic in order to pass “slower” traffic. Maybe I’m old. Or maybe I’m just not an asshole. I get it, that sometimes people want to go fast on a twisty road but how many times have we repeatedly heard of the over zealous speedster who sacrifices safety and wrecks. So I’m laid back and suddenly this line of BMWs begin weaving in and out of lanes in order to pass me. It’s not a comfortable feeling when you’re on a motorcycle. And it’s not even worth it. About five minutes after they passed, there was a passing lane. It was difficult for me not to isolate BMW drivers as egotistical prick stereotypes. Did I mention that the lead Beemer’s license plate was “IMPRESIV”. And just like I had predicted, by the time we got to the hill, I had caught up to them. So they basically passed me for nothing.

But enough about those fools. The XC has been a champ handling on the twisties of South mountain so I was confident it would devour the curves on this uphill. I will completely admit I took some personal pride as I rode past a group of Harleys in the passing lane through the curves on the hill. But I will also admit not riding caused a little bit of unfamiliarity with my machine. Shifting was the issue. The relationship between speed and gear was not as effortless as it has been in the past when I ride. So operator error caused me to be in higher gears than I should have been at lower speeds. The bike however was amazing. Had I the chance to ride the bike the right way I can only imagine how even more amazing I would have felt. Yet despite my shortcomings, the bike handled the road better than the few other bikes I’ve ever been on. There were points where the lean of the bike was such that I swore there would be floorboard scraping and the entire time the XC was carved right into the turn and extremely stable. The balance on this Victory is impressive for its size. And the power was solid even though my shifting was off.

Arriving in Prescott is like coming out of an intensely focused sporting event. As I lost myself in the nuances on each curve suddenly you’re out of the twisties and cruising into the town. The familiar feeling of Whiskey Row was a calming feeling. And we stumbled upon a Christian event in the town square which felt like providence. There were Christian riders everywhere and pop up tents through out the quad to the tune of a live Christian band. It was a great vibe to arrive to.

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I’ve gotten figure out a way to take photos of all the things I want to share with you. Obviously safety is paramount so I’m not going to be able to take pics as I ride but it would be cool to mount something. And unless Cris is riding with me, I have to count on some random stranger to take photos of me — that is if I’m in an area that actually has other people.

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After a nice lunch to re-energize us, we headed back down the I-17 towards Phoenix off of the 69 highway. When we left, it was about 88 degrees. As I slowly saw the display thermometer rise the closer we got to the city my morale sank. By the time we were on the outskirts of the town the reading was 110 degrees and the ride was really uncomfortable. Leaving the city on the morning and enjoying the mid day temps of the higher elevations was not without its cost. The ride back to Phoenix was punishing and not fun. It was an unfortunate way to close such a wonderful ride day. It will get better but for now, it’s still hot for Valley riders.

Now it’s time to clean off all the bugs and get ready for next weekend.

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