#139i Needles, CA

Fleeter Log #139i
Needles, CA

2009 April 30

Day 16 - Thursday
April 30, 2009
231 miles

Flagstaff, Arizona to Needles, California

By the end of the day, this morning's 58 degrees seem like a distant memory.

I get as far as Williams, AZ during the first 10 degree climb in temperature. Williams is an inviting tourist town without too much tacky tourist glitz. I wouldn't mind spending more time exploring what Williams has to offer next time I'm through this way. At least make a lunch stop here, if not an overnight stop. Williams is the terminus for the Grand Canyon Railway (www.TheTrain.com). You can board the Grand Canyon Railway for a scenic round trip ride to the Grand Canyon South Rim. There are also package deals available to include overnight at the Grand Canyon Railway Hotel.

Williams embraces the fact that they are located along old Route 66 and you can see evidence of Route 66 lore throughout town.

Since it was a bit early for me to have lunch in Williams, I asked for a recommendation of a place to eat down the road from the guy washing windshields at the Conoco/Union 76 station. Yes, he was actually offering "full service" to cars fueling up. His suggested Lilo's down the road in Seligman, AZ.

Seligman is another town proud to be along old Route 66.

After eating at Westside Lilo's, I saw this group pull in as I swung back into the saddle. I pulled in next to them as I was ready to head west. They were just getting going on their trip eastward from California to Virginia. The Irony was noted since I left Virginia on my way westward. I gave them my email address, but when I finally heard from them. I scanned past the email thinking I'd return to it later when I was back home from the road. Well, I don't know what happened to the email, but I can't find it. So if you are in this photo, please email me again. Really. I would like to hear from you and I will do better if I get another chance.

By the time I reached Kingman AZ, the temperature was warming up to 83 degrees. But that will feel downright cool compared to what I find down the road.

Mural in Kingman, AZ.

This is where the weather takes a sharp turn up the temperature gauge.

Just like riding into a furnace.

By the time I reach Bullhead City, AZ the mercury was pushing up northward of 98 degrees! The stop and go traffic as I made my way through the city stoplights, took a toll on me. I stopped at a Walgreens and bought two bottles of Gatorade and I didn't save them for later. One was gone by the time I made it back to the GS. I took a couple bottles of water and poured the water over myself as I worked on the second Gatorade while standing next to the GS. Since there was no shade in the parking lot, I didn't dally much. I thought it would be cooler if I could just get out of town to an open roadway where I could get some speed up to help cool me down.

By the time I crossed the Colorado River into Needles, California it was 6pm. I couldn't resist taking a side trip down to the river.

Some neighborhood kids were finding some relief from the heat by taking a swim in the river. I was tempted, but didn't want to shock them by stripping down to my base layer for a dip.

So instead of taking a dip in the Colorado River, I take back to the gravel road to find my way to a motel in Needles.

Home for the night will be the Days Inn in Needles, CA. But before settling in for the evening, I decide to let it cool off a bit (a drop to 90 degrees at 7pm) then head out to find a sit down meal at The Wagon Wheel Restaurant on the north edge of town. I also decide to ride back into Arizona for a fuel fill up. Make note: Gasoline is MUCH MORE EXPENSIVE in California! I'll be in California for awhile and will have to pay the higher prices soon enough, but I think I'll put it off for one more tank. So on my way to supper, I slip back into Arizona to contribute to their economy.
Tomorrow: I go in search of Joshua Trees.

Copyright 2009 Fleeter Logs

#139h Standing on a Corner in Winslow, Arizona

Fleeter Log #139h
Standing on a Corner in Winslow AZ
2009 April 29

Day 15 - Wednesday
April 29, 2009

243 miles

Window Rock to Flagstaff 

Even though I tend to shun most tourist trap type places, who can travel through the Indian Nation without stopping at least one Indian Store? This is my obligatory stop.

Inside were all type rocks for sale, most from this area, but some from across the country. I spotted a petosky stone on a shelf that is native only to the Lake Michigan shores of northern Michigan. (see the end of Fleeter Log #131).

While browsing the typical wares found in touristy places, I overheard the owner/manager speaking with a salesman. She was browsing a catalog and I overheard her ask if he had any wolf designs on a particular item as she explained to him that her customers think the wolf is very "Indian" and often asks for such. This just struck me as funny that the Indian Store orders their stock to satisfy the tourists' idea of what they think is "Indian stuff."

There were some items specifically marked as "Indian Made" and these were the items from which I made my selections. I wasn't interested in traveling to Arizona to buy something "Made in China" just because it fit my preconception of what "is Indian."

After leaving Chee's Indian Store on the Navajo Nation, I scooted about 40 miles west on I40 to the Petrified Forest National Park. This area has over 13,000 years of human history from prehistoric peoples to the early explorers and even more recent history of Route 66 as it traveled through showing more modern humans the way west from Chicago.

The Painted Desert Inn was first built in 1924 and has served as a restaurant and inn. In 2006 the renovation was complete returning it to its 1949 appearance and it currently serves the Park as a museum and bookstore.

There are many places to pull over for a better look at the Painted Desert.

A remnant of days gone by and a reminder that the original Route 66 passed this way.

Once upon a time, many, many years ago a forest grew here. All that is left are petrified logs. As the earth erodes around them, the logs are left on the surface.

I drove the 20+ mile loop of the park which put me at the park's south side exit onto US180. I then rode the few miles into Holbrook, where I took a quick look around town before jumping onto I40 to continue my way west.

Joe & Aggies Cafe is a very tempting place get a bite to eat, but I want to keep moving. Hopefully another place with such character will pop up later today when I'm hungry. I'll put this on the list for next time.

Every Eagles fan and most anyone else has heard of Winslow, Arizona.

Jackson Browne wrote the song with Glenn Frey and the Eagles sung the 1972 hit. It was on the Eagle's debut album and the first single released by the iconic band. See the eagle in the first window?
(click on an photo to enlarge)

Thought I'd "take it easy" while standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona.

You'll even find the Flat Bed Ford parked near the corner.

I starting getting hungry with all that "standing on the corner" and decided to find a place before leaving town. Just a few blocks over this looked like just the ticket: the Brown Mug Cafe.

I can't stop myself. The tune is stuck in my helmet. I sing it, I whistle it. I hum it. I hear it for the next 70 miles. I call it a night at the Sleep Inn in Flagstaff, Arizona and go to sleep with the Eagles still playing in my head.
It's not just a rumor. Needles, California really can get HOT.

Copyright 2009 Fleeter Logs

#139g Canyon de Chelly

Fleeter Log #139g
Canyon de Chelly
2009 April 28

Day 14 - Tuesday
April 28, 2009
182 miles
Gallup, to Chinle, back to Window Rock
Interactive Spotwalla map

Gallup, New Mexico (via Chinle) to Window Rock, Arizona

Since I haven't had any luck personally making contact with aliens or other world intelligence, today I will go exploring people of the past right here on Earth. I saddle up under sunny skies and a cool 43 degrees -- wonderful riding weather. Only the blowing wind might give me weather issues today.
(click on any photo to enlarge)

I leave New Mexico and ride into Arizona. By crossing this state line, I complete coloring the map of the lower 48 states. In April of 2006, I crossed my first state line by motorcycle. Three years later I achieve my goal of visiting all the lower 48 contiguous states. Maybe someday I will add Alaska to this list, but not this year. After 66,000 miles of wandering around the US over the last 3 years, I have managed to color in this map.

Many people ask me how it is that I can travel across the country on a motorcycle by myself. They are curious of the challenges I face as a solo female rider traveling alone across different geography, climates, etc. Let me take this moment to share with all the Fleeter Log readers what very well may be my biggest challenge: Time. More specifically, what time is it?

I find it hard enough to deal with time changes as I cross time zones, but when other complications enter the equation, I for most part just give up. Time Zones often confuse me enough that I arrive at visitor centers after they've closed. Seldom do I see a sign telling me when I am entering a different time zone. Signs would be helpful. Even when I know that I am crossing a time zone line, the problem is not automatically solved. Now I have to think about if we are in Daylight Savings Time (DST) or not. Next I have to determine if the State line I just crossed put me in a state that does or doesn't observe DST. So maybe I didn't cross into a different Time Zone . . . yet, but the time still shifted an hour because the state line I just crossed put me into a state that doesn't observe DST. But did time jump forward an hour or behind an hour? Then maybe 50 miles into that same state I cross into a new Time Zone. So did I just jump another hour ahead? Or did I lose the hour that I just gained and hour ago? Or did I just recoup the hour I lost 50 miles ago? Or did I lose another hour on top of the hour I lost when I crossed the state line? Whatever all those answers are to the above questions, now reverse them. When I change directions start meeting the sun as it travels across the sky rather than chase it the answers are different. So you think I'm just a bit slow when it comes to word problems in math? Maybe I am, but can you still do the logical math if you are traveling during those two perplexing mornings a year when we wake up reciting to ourselves a rhyme we learned as kids: Spring spring forward, Fall fallback. Then checking the clocks trying to determine if they need manually changing or are they the new smart clock that knows to adjust itself.

This may not be the kind of challenge that inquiring minds were thinking of when they pose to me the question of my traveling challenges. But this is my answer: Without a doubt, Time. What time is it?

Why do I bring this up now? New Mexico does observe DST, Arizona does not observe DST, The Navajo Nation does observe DST, the Hopi Nation does not observe DST (the Hopi Nation is entirely surrounded by the Navajo Nation. Part of the Navajo Nation is in AZ, NM, and UT.) Today I will be in NM, AZ, NN, HN, back to NM, then back to AZ. I will lose count by mid-afternoon how many times I would have to change my watch . . . if I wore one.

It's easier for me to just ask the motel clerk as I check in, "What time is it?" And if I get the simple answer like "ten til" then I'll just bluntly ask, "til what?" And, I will try to schedule any stops at visitor centers for the middle of the day and hope they don't close for lunch.

The Navajo Nation tries to help those of us that are time-keeper challenged.

My first stop today is in Arizona at the Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site. This trading post was operated by the Hubbell family from 1878 to 1967 when it was sold to the National Park Service. NPS ink stamp collected here.

Leaving the Hubbell Trading Post, I enjoy a nice ride along US191 until the wind whips up a nasty sand storm. That's not so much fun when riding a motorcycle.

Canyon de Chelly visitor center is to the northwest of Chinle.

Another NPS ink stamp collected here.

I parked by an obvious reminder that I was currently in an area observing Daylight Savings Time.

Canyon de Chelly is the home to preserved ruins of the early indigenous Pueblo and Navajo tribes that lived in the area over 800 years ago.

In search of a better view down into the Canyon, I parked the GS and find a scenic trail leading to the rim of the Canyon. On my way from the parking lot to the scenic trail, I passed an area were the locals had blankets spread out on the ground with their items displayed for sale to the tourists. In an attempt to help the local economy, I stop to see what they have that I might need. The answer was obvious.

Among the jewelry and pottery, I found just the thing for the GS: Navajo Ghost Beads. These beads are made of Cedar Berry seeds and strung as necklaces, anklets, and bracelets sometimes being combined with colorful plastic or metal beads. These are traditionally worn by the Navajo children to keep away evil spirits. Some motorcycle riders use a gremlin bell for similar such purposes. The GS has gone native and wears the Navajo Ghost beads with confidence.

I continued around the north rim of the Canyon as I head back east toward New Mexico on BIA12, passing a couple small lakes along the way. This small picnic area near Wheatfields Lake is the perfect place to pull over for a snack and a drink. Some moments are just too good to simply ride by; they need a bit more time to soak it all in for full enjoyment.

I continue south on BIA12 to Window Rock, AZ where I stop for the night at the Quality Inn.

Tomorrow: I find a corner to stand on in Winslow, AZ.

Copyright 2009 Fleeter Logs