Go West Young Man!

32 Days and 5,536 Miles On My Vintage Motorcycle

[The abridged version of this post: we missed the campground, I got a gun pulled on me and we're lost in the desert]

White Spar campground came and went as we entered Prescott National Forrest. In the darkness we pass our sign, "Wolf Creek - 6". The road began to wind and twist in a way that made me really nervous. The riding was exciting and dramatic changes in temperature alerted me to the fact we were decending in elevation. I got dizzy at one point and short of breath. Almost an hour of wild riding passed before we found ourselves at the base of Prescott. I felt less like I had exited the forrest and more like I had been ejected. Looking back we realize the Wolf Creek sign meant "turn left here and go six miles, stupid".

It becomes clear Jordan and I have made a misjudgement. At the base of the mountains leading out of Prescott is the desert. Not an arid expanse of several miles, but the desert you see people staggering around in in the movies. Bleached bones type stuff. We've plummeted in elevation and our hands are swollen. I somehow feel as though I weigh a thousand pounds, but am also light headed. Outside Congress I spy two sheriffs deputies lingering behind the area's single solitary gas station. I roll up and kill the bike. Cop #1 unholsters his gun and cop #2 orders me to kill my light as he shines his in my face. They do not like me. Like a rambling hillbilly I quickly tell them we are lost and on a motorcycle trip from Arkansas and that we need their help. I also inform them we are considering sleeping in the desert. The guns go back in the holsters and out comes the sage advice.

Turns out sleeping in the desert (which we did actually think about) is a bad idea around here. There are snakes, scorpions and some of the people apparently will kill you and take your stuff if they see you. They tell us about a small state park heading towards California. Jackpot! We get directions and head West on highway 60 towards Wenden and Alamo Lake state park, our oasis in the desert.

Someday I will die. When I die I will either go to heaven or hell. I don't know what heaven looks like, but I have been to hell. Hell is the ride to Alamo Lake state park in southern Arizona. We are blasting through the desert and see exactly one car and, believe it or not, a guy on a chopper during the entire ride from Congress to Wenden. We reach Wenden and see this sign: "Alamo Lake State Park - 38". I'm crushed. In one of the most bizarre moments of my life Jordan looks at me with a wild eye. I'm officially in a bad acid trip. It's about 1 a.m. as we head towards Alamo Lake.

The ride out is 38 miles straight North into the interior desert. We rip through the darkness on a narrow two lane road with cattle tracks every mile and sinkholes that bring your stomach into your mouth. 38 miles doesn't sound like much, but we were rocketing into the pitch black, away from any kind of civilization with total abandon. It really felt like a death march.

We finally made it, pitched the tent in the first campsite we saw (they were all empty) and started a huge ass fire. There was a log obviously left as a chair that we threw on the fire. It burned all night. In the morning we woke to find we were in some abortion of a state park, a monument to epic failure. People of Arizona, your tax dollars are keeping a state park running at the gates of Hell. At 6 a.m. wild quail surrounded the tent making the most annoying call I've ever heard. On four hours sleep we got up, packed our gear and exploded out of the park. I did at least 75 every inch of the way back to the highway. We stopped for a couple pics. Enjoy the sport pants, I didn't give a crap any more.

Having finally made it out of that debacle we stopped for some fruit at a tiny grocer in Wenden. Local youth give us the stink eye. As I'm putting my helmet on I begin to tell Jordan an insanely vulgar joke before I realize an old woman is within earshot. She warns me 'You boys don't want to be broke down around here'. Riding out of town we see a sign for camping just outside the city limits. I yell 'WHAT?' in a high pitched voice into my helmet's face shield. Now this must be what acid is like.


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