People who know me well, know that I loathe the holidays. Without going into too much detail, they were my least favorite time of the year while growing up. I usually spend them either doing something completely unrelated to the holiday itself, or with friends. My focus really isn’t the holiday itself.
I’ve been averaging 55 to 60 hours a week at work for the past couple of months. Thanksgiving meant a couple of extra days off and I was determined to do something besides sit around the apartment and drink too much beer. My motorcycle had been sitting for far too long and was begging to get out.
About a week before Thanksgiving, I received an email from a friend in Phoenix with a motorcycle route he was thinking of taking to San Diego. I wrote him back and told him that I had time off and was thinking of riding to Phoenix. He invited me to crash with him and his wife.
I had the motorcycle all ready to go the night before Thanksgiving, and on Thanksgiving morning, I started the trek to Phoenix. I wanted to explore an alternate route, but I don’t like doing that if people are waiting for me. I took the familiar route on I-8.
It was about 50 degrees that morning, but I knew that I’d be climbing in altitude and am well acquainted with wind chill on the bike. I layered up to make sure I wouldn’t be freezing. I also knew that I’d have to lose layers as the day went on. By the time I had arrived in Yuma, I was stowing both jackets that I wore.
I arrived in Phoenix without issue. My hosts wanted to cook and made a nice Thanksgiving dinner.
The next day (“Black Friday”), my friend and I took a ride from Phoenix to Globe, stopping for breakfast in between. From Globe to Payson, stopping at Roosevelt lake in between. We met some transplants from Michigan, who had gone out to Tortilla Flats, and then continued on the dirt road to where we met them. There was a couple and one of their mothers, who I might have offended. He had mentioned that the dirt road was challenging. I said, “Beats the shit out of being at the mall.” Everyone agreed. We returned to Phoenix via Mesa.
Friday night, we went to the Arcadia Tavern to watch the Arizona State/University of Arizona game. They had a decent beer selection on tap. I was drinking beer from Four Peaks brewery, brewed in Tempe. I had both their IPA and the Kilt Lifter. I was impressed with the service at Arcadia, particularly considering how busy it was. Our waitress was very professional. Living in Boise for as long as I did, I had become used to bad service, even if the place was dead.
When it was time to leave, I decided to try an alternate route back. Accompanied by my friend, we took the I-10 to Blythe, California where we had breakfast. He was heading back into Arizona to visit some other friends. I took the exit that put me onto the CA-78. I went through farm country, that reminded me of Eastern Oregon. My original plan was to take the CA-78 to Brawley, and then cut south to El Centro, where I’d rejoin I-8. CA-78 runs all the way over to Oceanside. At some point I decided, I’d stay on 78 and take it out to Ramona. This is a mistake on the weekend. I went through the Imperial Dunes and quickly found myself in a traffic jam of motorhomes towing dune buggies.
It was much warmer for the ride home than the ride out. I was very relieved to get home and take a shower.
This very much was an impromptu holiday/weekend. I think people put too much emphasis on the crap that doesn’t matter and unnecessarily stress themselves out on holidays. As much as I appreciated the dinner my hosts had prepared, the value of the time spent wouldn’t have been diminished by frozen pizza.
For Christmas, I’m contemplating a trip to Catalina Island.