"What Came Down Must Go Up" -- This was how I found myself explaining my answer to a roadside hot dog vendor's friendly question, "So where are you riding to?" So, there it is: I'll group my ramblings over the next week under the banner of WCDMGU. (Which conveniently saves me a few characters in the title block, in addition to being slightly more interesting than "2017 Return Trip.")
So yes, today marked the start of Badger and I's return journey north, after having successfully avoided the winter blahs by stitching together three southbound ride legs in the fall and January.
I spent about 45 minutes at the storage unit re-merging luggage and getting dressed for the road, then found a gas station, an air hose, and got rolling. I departed Apache Junction north through Usery Pass and then connected the Bush to the Beeline Highway, which took me north through Payson, Strawberry, and Pine. I was funnelled into maybe 10 minutes of interstate riding on I-17, but successfully avoided any more by diverting north and east on the side roads 30 and 78 (courtesy of the excellent Butler Maps) before landing on 179 north into Oak Creek. The last five minutes of riding were awe-inspiring as I caught first glimpses of the red rock canyon formations, but unfortunately there was heavy Friday afternoon traffic and the shoulder had been converted to a bicycle lane, so no roadside photo.
I have a feeling I'll get another chance tomorrow.
Day total: 267 km, 3h20m
Trip total: 4,801 km
Start: Apache Junction, AZ. End: Oak Creek, AZ.
Soundtrack: Soundgarden, Audioslave. RIP CC.