Yesterday (4/9/10), I decided to ride 500 miles and see if I could complete it in under 12 hours. For the full 1000 miles I've been debating on riding secondary roads vs interstate highway. Each has its merit and disadvantages. I had initially only considered secondary roads, feeling that they would be safer. I have since vacillated on this vs interstate, several times. For this 500 mile ride, I selected a route which was mostly secondary roads. Here it is. I chose this route the night before. There was another route that I preferred, but when I check all the individual intervals between gas stations, there is one interval between Lordsburg, NM and Douglas, AZ which about 110 miles between petrol stations. I have a 1 gallon gas can one the scoot, but I wasn't sure if I could make it with a full tank plus the gallon, so I chose the other route.
I got up at 6:00 am and was out the door by 6:20. Unfortunately, it took almost an hour to ride to my start point. So, it was 7:35 am before I pulled out of the station in Catalina, AZ, headed north. Below, you can see my scoots odometer reading of 15,036 miles
I immediately noticed that the morning was still a little on the cool side. The temp at the house when I left was 54 degrees, the forecast called for highs in the 80's so I was wearing my mesh jacket, with liner and my new Corazzo armored, orange, reflective vest (which I won at the Friki Tiki Rally raffle.) I passed Oracle and then had the descent into the San Pedro River Valley. 7% grade for 7 miles, woohooo! 53 miles and my first stop for fuel in Winkleman. Then it was a lot of climbing up to my second fuel stop in Globe. I passed 5000 feet just south of Globe, although there is a nice descent as you approach town. Just before Glode, a large deer walked across the road infront of me and paused, as if to say "A scooter? Don't see many of those around here." A blast of the steibel horn and he was gone.
I took the above pic at my fuel stop in Globe. Globe is very rustic and pretty, but not where I stopped. I was timing myself so I had to set all the photo ops aside. That was probably the hardest thing about the ride. Leaving Globe, I went west on US 60, across more mountains (4500 ft elev) down to Superior and back out into the desert. I continued west on 60 until turning south to Florence. I did this because I didn't want to ride through Phoenix on 8 lane freeways with LOTS of traffic. Gassed up in Phoenix, then it was west toward Maricopa. I had to cross a large Indian reservation. Signage is usually poor across any given AZ reservation and this was no exception. I wound up talking to a Southwest Ambulance crew with a GPS about how to get to Highway 1 where I could get over to Maricopa.
I had 2 McDonald's burgers, some Sweet tea, fueled up and headed southwest for Gila Bend. Gila Bend was the western-most part of my journey, so I took the above pic as photographic evidence that I was there. Apparently, GB and Roswell, NM have space things and UFO's in common.
Just to the right from the other photo is the second one, showing the "Space Age" restaurant and hotel complete. The front of the hotel is what people from the 60's would have considered "futuristic."
Now I was headed toward home. I fueled up and was off. I went across the US Air Force bombing ranges outside of G.B. and down to Ajo, very close to the Mexican border and last jumping off point for party goers headed to Rocky Point, Mexico (Tucson's closest ocean front.)
From Ajo, it was across another reservation (The Tohon-Odoham Nation) to Sells. I took another 15 minute break to stretch my back and legs, then it was back on the scoot for a short jaunt to Tree Points. A quick gas & go, then I turned south to Arivaca. Time was beginning to get short, so I decided to skip my planned fuel stop there and try to get all the way to Green Valley. I made it and realized I had less than an hour to get from Green Valley, across the valley to Vail.
I made it Vail and my watch showed it was 7:15, 11 hours and 40 minutes after leaving that morning. When I arrived home, the odometer showed 15,587 miles. Quite a day's ride. Well, this morning, I checked the official mileage of what I actually rode and the total was 480 miles. I have to have ridden another 20 miles in 20 minutes. Drat!
Where can I save time to know that I can do twice that distance in less than twice the time? I guess I'm back to the Interstate idea. If I have a chase vehicle with extra fuel on board, I can save the time associated with pulling off the road, finding a gas station, etc etc. I also stopped more often than I had to. 10 stops for fuel ate up a lot of time.
I'll keep you posted,