I rode from Wickenburg to Phoenix and Scottsdale using the freeways on the outside of this huge city. The scale of this area is huge. Freeways are four to six lanes and the travel time was close to three hours. I popped off the freeway and ventured into Scottsdale to visit the Go AZ Motorcycle Shop. Triumph dealer with hot coffee and bottled water. Huge shop with BMW, Ducati and KTM bikes as well. Chatted with some of the staff for a bit and made my way back to the freeway system.
Decided to head to the hills on highway 60 which is designated the Old West Highway. Nice canyon run through the Tonto National Forest. This National Forest is peculiar in that there is not a tree in sight for 100 miles! The road comes down into the copper mining towns of Miami and Globe. This area has the Freeport McMoran company stamp all over. The town dates back to the 1800s but company signs are everywhere.
Veering off onto highway 70 east and continuing on the Old West Highway, I headed into Apache country. Desolate and foreboding is the only way I can describe this country. The Apache Nation Reserve consists of shacks right along the highway with a government office at the end. Huge gray lamp standards line the highway during this entire stretch of several miles. People milling about the side of the road and signs posted to watch out for pedestrians. Slowing down to watch this was heart wrenching.
Further along you run into the Pima Valley and Safford. Cotton fields! I really didn’t know what I was looking at for a while. Small fields of what looks like a shrub with white fluff. Then big fields. Then huge fields of what I now figured out was cotton. I am a west coast boy and have only read about the cotton fields of the south east. I really did not expect to see them in Arizona.
Leaving the valley and heading for the hills again. Great 34 mile run up into big sweeping turns. I had decided to overnight in Clifton. Really small mining town that has seen much better days. The scenery is beautiful but the town is dying. Checking into the motel I had a discussion about internet access with a grumpy lady of some years. “Yes, there was the internet but I see no use for it! You young people use it I guess, but its nothing but trouble!” OK then what was my room number….