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Old 04-16-2010, 05:09 AM   #121
JDowns OP
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It's Friday morning. Before sunrise. I'm waiting for it to get light out and warm up a bit before hitting the road. So I thought I would post a few pics I took yesterday. The southwest desert has seen a lot of rain this winter and the Saguaro cactus are fat and happy and everything is green and blooming. It is pretty spectacular down here if you like desert scenery. So if you get a chance, this is a good year for desert beauty in the southwest.

Here is a shot of the Superstition Mountains near where I'm at east of Phoenix. Look how green it is. And if you squint you can see the creosote bushes blooming in the foreground. You'll have to imagine how sweet the smell of the little yellow creosote flowers are at sunset since the picture can't convey that.



Even the ocotillo are leafed out and green. Ocotillo is the skinny plant in the middle of the picture. It only leafs out with tiny green leaves when it rains. It normally looks like dead sticks. I don't know if you can see the red tips, but the ocotillo is blooming flaming red.



And the Palo Verde trees are blooming.



I rode around yesterday to see what it would be like riding a Sherpa loaded down with tools. I need my rotary hammer and diamond grinder when I get home. It turns out that the airport administration building where I live had frozen pipes during a blizzard while I was gone and the burst pipes flooded the place and froze and cracked all the tile. So I'll need some of my tools when I get home to rip out all the cracked flooring . My sister will bring all the rest of my tools when she comes to visit me in Nebraska on her way home next month.

So I will look like an okie heading home. With my tools wrapped in garbage bags and strapped to the back of the little bike in a dry bag. The Super Sherpa will be looking like a true Nepalese porter. Only instead of being loaded down with expedition supplies for a Himalayan expedition, My Sherpa will be loaded down with crap. I put a top box on the back of the bike and will be bringing my computer along as well so I can post some pics on the way home.

So it should be a fun trip home. I checked the NOAA weather site, and it is calling for snow in the Rockies today and tomorrow. Yikes! I guess I won't be heading north. I was going to check out Hoven Weep and the back roads to Mesa Verde. But I guess it's too early in the season. Oh well. That leaves east through the rain in New Mexico. So that's the way I'll go.

Have fun, and I'll do my best to keep you entertained.

Your adventure pal,
John Downs

JDowns screwed with this post 04-16-2010 at 09:02 PM
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Old 04-16-2010, 06:30 AM   #122
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Thumb And off into the abyss!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gcontroller
This says it all. A Quote.

Nobody makes these adventures come true for you. You just have to make up your mind and GO. You'll never regret it.

Thanks for the report. Time to get my journey started.

Perfect! Four hours after having made the leap you will be telling yourself that you should have done this years ago!
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Old 04-16-2010, 08:36 PM   #123
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Had a nice day riding in Arizona today. Took off on the Apache Trail, a gravel back road that heads out of Apache Junction, but it was closed. So headed back and took off east towards New Mexico through the Tonto National Forest and a couple Apache Indian reservations. Stopped at an overlook to take a pic of a nice canyon. If you look closely in the bottom left corner you'll see a hiker on the old road. It's a long way down.



And then noticed this nice memorial to a fallen biker. It is on a sharp corner right before a tunnel, so I imagine he went to the bottom of the above canyon. Although I later thought maybe he died elsewhere and they spread his ashes here because it is such a bitchin' road. It was a touching memorial, with mini apehanger bars and a basket with tokens to Deano. Really nice.



I continued down the road and dropped into Salt River Canyon.



Not sure if you can see the tiny car getting ready to go around the hairpin at the middle right of the picture. The road wound all the way down to the bottom, crossed a bridge, and wound all the way back up to the mesa in the distance. It is a huge canyon, but a dwarf compared to the Grand Canyon. Arizona has some big scenery.

This area of big round boulders reminds me of the Catavina Desert in Baja, Mexico. (Minus the boojum trees). There were a lot of Harley riders out. I followed a line of thirty or so before I stopped for this pic. Harley riders don't wave at little thumpers much. Their girlfriends do though.



As I got to the New Mexico border it was still nice out. Overcast and warm. With Land of Enchantment scenery.



But the weather turned as I continued. There was a line of dark thunderstorms with cloud to ground lightning to the south. So I skirted north and rode the convergence zone between the storm and the high pressure to the north. Talk about WIND. Nothing like La Ventosa in Southern Mexico though. It was blowing from the southeast and I finally decided to head north to Santa Fe, New Mexico where I am holed up this evening. With the stiff crosswinds I was riding leaning into the wind for a hundred miles or so.

It should be interesting getting back to Nebraska. Hey, Santa Fe is at 7000 feet and chilly. A hot shower never felt so good.

Catch you later,
John Downs

JDowns screwed with this post 06-17-2010 at 10:18 AM
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Old 04-17-2010, 09:33 AM   #124
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Hey John. Thanks for posting your trip. I lived in Phoenix for 8 years. 16th and Indian School Rd right in Phoenix and I loved it. Your shots remind me I need to get back out there. I have friends that want to build a carport and would put me up for however long it takes.

Hmmmm...What's Central America like in the fall/winter? I could trailer out with my tools and hit Guatemala over the winter.


John
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Old 04-17-2010, 05:20 PM   #125
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Hi John,

I like your thinking. Not only do we have the same first name, but we think alike. I too am heading back down to Arizona next winter to do some work before heading out on another adventure. I won't be trailering down with a beater car though. I learned a valuable lesson this trip. I'll be driving my nice work truck.

And in answer to your question, yes, Guatemala would be great. But I would just head south and ride around and have fun. If you make it to Guatemala fine. The ride is the reason.

And as the famous Chinese philosopher said, "the first step to riding the world is pulling out of your driveway". Or something along those lines.

Best,
John Downs




Quote:
Originally Posted by Sourjon
Hey John. Thanks for posting your trip. I lived in Phoenix for 8 years. 16th and Indian School Rd right in Phoenix and I loved it. Your shots remind me I need to get back out there. I have friends that want to build a carport and would put me up for however long it takes.

Hmmmm...What's Central America like in the fall/winter? I could trailer out with my tools and hit Guatemala over the winter.


John

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Old 04-17-2010, 05:54 PM   #126
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So I took off from Santa Fe this morning and it was cold and drizzling rain. I gassed up in Las Vegas, New Mexico and it showed 39 degrees and drizzle. COLD, when you're riding a little thumper with no heated clothing.

I am developing a love affair with hot air hand driers in men's restrooms. I am thinking of putting one in my bathroom at home so I can relive the ecstasy of warming my hands today every 100 miles or so when I would stop for gas.

This morning I just had to put my head down and ride. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger, and all that. Eventually it warmed up into the 40's. There were dark thunderheads to the north in Colorado, so I angled northeast to avoid them and dropped down out of the foothills of the Rockies. Eventually crossed over into Kansas, where it was milder and dry.

A lot of people get a bit depressed as their adventures come to an end and they are nearing home. Not me. I like to ride. And I like to come home. For me, it is a balance. I ride my brains out. I come home and save up enough money to go back out. I like the balance. I am looking forward to getting home. Lord knows I need to mow my lawn. It's been a few months. And as much as I enjoy going on adventures to far off places, I also enjoy getting home and sleeping in a cozy bed and visiting with friends from home. I don't get homesick on the road. I rarely even think about home until I am a few hundred miles away. And once home, I enjoy thinking about new adventures to far off places.

While I was riding across the vastness of Kansas today, I had plenty of time to think. This is one thing I really enjoy about motorcycling. It is therapeutic. At least it is for me. Focusing on the road as thoughts drift through my head. Having the time to put life in perspective. It is a great thing. But I must warn you. Once you start, it is hard to stop. It is an addiction, and there is no cure. Except more riding. And you tend to become a stranger in a strange land when you have seen so much and experienced so many different ways people live around the world. There is a bit of culture shock when you come back from the land of bustling outdoor markets with pigs hanging from a hook and walk into a Safeway and stroll by the produce section with automatic misters. But even now, although it has only been a few weeks since I was visiting with Kuna Indians in eastern Panama, it is like a dream. Writing this ride report has been a great way to come back to earth. Thanks for following along. I will write up an epilog after I get home. All the things I learned that you may benefit from. I love reading ride reports that are filled with info I can use, and I will try to provide the same for you after I get home tomorrow and have time to think. I am still in a bit of a dreamworld, having ridden so far and so long.

The Sherpa is running like a dream, and I am only 400 miles from home, staying in a cheap motel in Kansas for the night. The batteries in my camera died, so no pics today. It was a gray, cold rainy morning, and the Rockies were obscured in the clouds, so no great photo opportunities anyway. I am back in the plains and will be riding across the prairies tomorrow. Should be nice.

Kindest regards,
John Downs

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Old 04-17-2010, 06:23 PM   #127
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Fantastic trip! Loving the minimalist touring, thank you kindly for sharing your travels with us :)
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Old 04-18-2010, 02:04 PM   #128
Chip Seal
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Central American Trip

I finally get to Tucson and stop at some friends house. She takes a picture of me with a bad Honduran haircut and a big Guatamalan smile.

[/quote]

You look good, John!
That Mayan haircut fits you to a tee.
Roger P Eugene!!!!
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Old 04-18-2010, 07:12 PM   #129
JDowns OP
Sounds good, let's go!
 
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Hey Roger!

Good to hear from you!

Yeah, I'm a real looker.

Oh, by the way, since you're my insurance agent, I'll be calling your office about taking that Subaru off my policy when I get home.

Cheers,
Johnboy




You look good, John!
That Mayan haircut fits you to a tee.
Roger P Eugene!!!![/QUOTE]

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Old 04-18-2010, 09:40 PM   #130
rawdog
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Hi John,

Thanks for bringing us along, all the way home with you. I really, really enjoyed your report. You are a great writer.

Best,
rawdog
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Old 04-18-2010, 11:19 PM   #131
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I'm not used to Arizona looking that green.
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Old 04-20-2010, 02:24 AM   #132
JDowns OP
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I made it home last night. WHAT A GREAT TRIP! I was hootin' in my helmet as I finally made it home! WOOHOO!!!! 11,000 miles on a 250 Super Sherpa. WOW! What a feeling of exhillaration. If you've ever made it home from a long adventure you know what I'm talking about.

The house was still there after all these months. I had shut off the electricity and drained the plumbing before I left and let the place freeze solid in the subzero weather as an experiment in my continuing quest to lower my overhead. I flipped on the main breaker in the electrical panel and turned on the water in the basement and nothing blew and no water was gushing in the walls.

I spent the day today coming back to earth. I learned that if you tape a couple hundred dollars to the frame of your bike as emergency money, put it in a baggy or something. And don't use gorilla tape. I had to take the gooed up hundred dollar bills stuck to tape down to the bank and trade them in on new ones. The lady at the bank was very kind, but I know she thought I was an idiot. I went down to the post office and got a few months of mail and threw 95 per cent in the trash. But I got a nice letter and a check from the guy I had given 100 dollars to in Guatemala after he got his pocket picked and lost his wallet. He said I had saved his vacation and allowed him to eat while he waited for his friend to wire him some money. So that was nice.

I appreciate all the kind words people have written as I posted this ride report. I certainly appreciate the effort other people make to post up these ride reports a lot more now that I have done one. It takes a fair amount of time to type these up and upload all the photos. And these guys that do it on the road for months at a time are doing us a real service. I have benefitted greatly from all the knowledge I have picked up here. I will try to be better at giving them encouragement.

As I was mowing the lawn this afternoon, I was still thinking to myself, WOW! I made it to Panama and back in one piece! On a freakin" 250 Super Sherpa!

That bike is a keeper!

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Old 04-20-2010, 03:24 AM   #133
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John, I thoroughly enjoyed your ride report, thanks for taking the time to share your adventure.
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Old 04-20-2010, 06:41 AM   #134
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Great ride report,

totally enjoyed it.
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Old 04-20-2010, 07:29 AM   #135
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I really like your report ! Thankyou !
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