The temperature in Quartzsite, AZ this morning was 33F or around zero Celsius. WTH? This is where people come to escape winter. Although it does warm some during the day—mid-late 60s—it’s not warm enough to impress the local sunbirds, who come here to bask and, in their sweaters and hats, have commented on the chill of the wind. The nice part is it’s always sunny and if you can find a sun-kissed spot out of the breeze you might be able to remove your down jacket. (Maybe I’m the only one wearing a down jacket.)
On Nov. 21 after visiting my sister for a few fun weeks on the east coast I flew from Halifax, N.S. to Phoenix, AZ where Dave picked me up and drove us 2+ hours west to Quartzsite, AZ where his dad Rick spends the winter. Here I found my G650GS again after being separated from it for close to 2 months. She looked intimidating, like the untamed Black Stallion she is and I asked her if we were going to get along this time. I took her silence to mean yes. We saddled up for a ride into the desert—Dave, Rick and I—to a place called The Desert Bar; an old mine turned into a large restaurant where you can hear live music and party like a howling coyote into the desert night. It’s a pretty cool place. The last four miles into the bar off the highway was a bumpy dirt road. I opted out of riding that part and instead followed the guys on their respective two and four-wheeled toys in Rick’s truck, which he’d used to haul his trailer and quad in for the occasion. After that ride and a few more on pavement over the past week, I went off-road yesterday with Dave and Rick to test the wrist. We had a great ride out in the vast desert near Quartzsite. There was plenty on the road and trail surfaces to keep me alert and nervous—deep, loose gravel, sand, tight corners, dips, rocks and one or two steep ascents and descents—but overall it felt good to be able to ride something more technical than I thought I’d be riding at the beginning of the day.
We’ve been very lucky to have Rick share the space in his fifth wheel with us. It can’t be easy having two extra people in such a tight space. I try to make up for my underwear hanging to dry in his tool shed by making dinner most nights while Dave has been a help with handyman to-do’s and as a travel companion for off-roading. It’s great for them to have this extra, unplanned time to hang out together.
Over the coming week Dave and I plan to take a 3-day trip to Prescott, AZ to test longer distances with my fully loaded bike. The goal is to build the strength back in my wrist so we can get down to where our trip will really start: Mexico! (where it better be warmer than Arizona.)