Monday, July 19, 2010

Escaping the Heat

The Arizona Artist Blacksmith Association had a demonstration in Flagstaff on Saturday. I'd been planning to go for a couple of weeks, but the weather forecast was not in my favor. There was an Extreme Heat Advisory for the entire weekend, and a couple of hours in high, humid heat sounded pretty awful. It also sounded risky, since if the bike were to break down, I'd be stuck without shade in the middle of the desert, which is a bad thing.

I know I could have avoided the heat on the way up to Flagstaff by leaving early in the morning, but the only way to avoid it on the way home would be to leave Flagstaff very late in the evening, which wasn't acceptable.* So I didn't go.

Since Flagstaff was out of the question, it was imperative that I find a new destination, perhaps a little closer to home, for a recreational ride. I recently realized my ride to Tortilla Flat on Father's Day this year was the first ride I'd taken in a long time that wasn't commuting. Which is unacceptable.

Payson is approximately seventy miles from my house, and is at a higher elevation, so I decided to head that way. I got up early on Saturday and set off for cooler weather.

The ride was fun, but uneventful. I decided to ride on from Payson to Pine, and try to scope out some new pizza. Unfortunately, the only pizza place in Pine, apparently, is in a gas station. Frankly, I didn't ride all that way to have gas station pizza, so I cruised through town a little bit more and settled on HB's Place.

I suspect I was the only non-local in the joint. Everybody turned to look. Nobody smiled back. I think it was because I was on a Triumph. If I had to describe the restaurant's ambiance, I would call it patriotic.

Explaining to the crowd that the British were our allies in WWII and it is therefore totally OK to ride British iron seemed like a lot of work, so I just ordered my grilled ham & cheese, ate, paid, and left.

After that, I rode home. The weather was pleasant until I was about thirty miles out of town, which is where the heat really kicked in. All told, I got about 200 miles of pure recreational riding in. Woohoo!

*In hindsight, there's a longer route to Flagstaff that I forgot about which would have worked quite well. Oops.