Well, I made it. The final day of my travels. This was the longest of all the days of riding (possilbly equal to my jaunt over to Vegas in terms of mileage), but it was going to be hot and I didn't want to go over 20 miles out of my way to stay in Lake Havasu City, Arizona. I was ready to be home.
I traveled an insane 421 miles from Palmdale, California, to Scottsdale, Arizona. Not wanting to spend any more time in the heat than necessary - the temps had creeped upwards to the point where I tend to not want to ride during my time away - I had an early day, leaving well before sunrise toward Victorville. The sun was coming up through the clouds hovering over the mountains immediately east, so I had a spectacular view from an open and empty highway.
My first stop was the Spirit River Cafe in Apple Valley, where I had a pleasant surprise. Well, the pleasant surprise came after an unpleasant one in which I discovered highway 18 to Victorville was closed and I had to detour around it. Luckily it wasn't far, but getting into the cafe was well-timed because a random patron bought the breakfast of everyone who was there. So, free breakfast, but I paid it forward with a sizeable tip for my waitress who was working very hard.
From Apple Valley, I headed east, veering onto Highway 247 in Lucerne. I had traveled in this area just a few months back, but I was further north this time and it was definitely different scenery.
The highway was generally straight for long stretches, but the dips in the road and the occasional steep descents in deep desert washes made for a lot of fun - it was almost like riding a roller coaster. I ultimately made it into Yucca Valley on Highway 62, then continued east in what I will forever call The Wasteland. There is a stretch from Twentynine Palms to the Needles Highway where there is, quite literally, nothing for 100 miles. No gas. No cell service. No help. Nothing.
I really enjoy this stretch of highway for some reason. It was, thankfully, a bit cooler this time of day and I stopped and admired the views of the Mojave. At one stop, I recognized the sign for The Heart of the Mojave. I had seen the same sign on Highway 95 en route to Needles when I left three weeks earlier. Looking out over the desert toward a dirt road's apparent destination I could see an odd rock formation. Someday, when I have an adventure sport bike, I'll be making that trip, too.
The rest, they say, is history. I stopped for lunch in Parker and resumed my eastward journey home. By the time I reached my fuel stop in Tonopah, the temps were certainly in the triple-digits. But it didn't matter. An hour, and nearly 4,000 miles of riding, later I was home, greeted by enthusiastic face licks from two large, very happy, puppy dogs.
I'll crunch a few numbers when I write next. This has definitely been a learning experience and one I won't soon forget.