My morning started with a brief call of duty (teleconference), after which I started loading out, where in the motel parking lot the soundscape was coincidentally Call of Duty, with the Marines already up and at 'em, blowing up simulated stuff across the valley floor with the concussive booms serving as the local rooster crows.
I skipped breakfast out of respect for my broken stomach and headed straight into Joshua Tree National Park via the north entrance from Twentynine Palms. It was another cool morning, mid-single digits Celsius but sunny, and traffic was sparse.
From the south park exit, I rode my first 100 miles of interstate of the trip. (Hey, it's OK. "Interstate happens.") Roadside attractions included the Genesis Solar Energy Project (280 MW capacity from over half a million parabolic trough mirrors focusing the sun's heat into heat exchangers) on the north side of I-10, and the sufficiently remote Chuckawalla Valley and Ironwood State Prisons (sign in ditch: "STATE PRISON: NEXT EXIT. DO NOT PICK UP HITCHHIKERS"). I gassed up in Blythe, and scarfed down some 'normal food' at the state line in Ehrenberg (which I would later regret).
A bit after Quartzsite, I exited to the north on AZ-60, and tracked it through Aguila to Wickenburg, as the snowbird RV Parks started to spring up. I thought of the morning Marines as I saw signs for Allah, CA, then shot west on the 74 across to I-17 on the north end of Phoenix, where met up with my Dad and his smart-looking Honda CB500X. He guided me across the outskirts of Scottsdale, out to the Bush Highway, and ultimately into Apache Junction, on a route that was longer than necessary by just the perfect amount. We rode through the Saguaro Lake area as a pink sunset was going off, and the scene was spectacular, with the cacti and mountain ridges silhouetted against the dusk sky back to the east. We were working to beat darkness, so no pics, but you'll have to take my word that it felt like riding through a classic Arizona sunset postcard. Thanks for the memorable arrival, Dad!
28 months ago, I departed Yellowknife on a KLR, through forest fire carnage under the banner of "To Phoenix from the Ashes," and with a slight kink in my plans having transpired in the elapsed time, it felt satisfying to finally arrive on my own terms.
Badger now sleeps in storage, perhaps dreaming of that road out of Joshua Tree, and awaiting our next unknown adventure.
That's it for now. Thanks for the company out there.
Day total: 589 km, 8h25m
Trip total: 7,174 km
Start: Twentynine Palms, CA. End: Apache Junction, AZ.
Soundtrack: Cash in the park, and shuffle on the interstate.