~Since 2004~
A site about memories, thoughts, photos, and unrepentant opinions about motorcycles and motorcycling after four decades of twisting the throttle.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

The Desert is Green


outside Hickiwan, AZ

I finally made it down around Ajo, AZ to see the wildflowers and they were very nice, even spectacular in places. The desert is green right now, not it's usual desert brown and it's amazing to see. Ok, if you live someplace that isn't a desert, Spring green is interesting but here where the only green is usually cactus and sorta-green scrub brush, a gazillion acres of green grass and wildflowers is pretty impressive. Even the cactus look plumper and more prickly than usual, not unlike me.

After much conflicts of schedules and such I was able to get together with my friend and fellow Caponord owner, Dr. Darin. Several months back he'd been talking about getting a Kawasaki Concours to share the garage with his Harley. I blathered on so much about the joys of the Caponord that when a nearly new one popped up for sale at a local dealer Darin went down, took a peek, and went for it. It's a silver one, very nice, but everyone knows the silver ones are not as fast as the blue ones.

I've been working on getting the vast numbers (6) of Caponord owners in Arizona all together at one time for a ride but thus far silly things like work, wives, new babies, and assorted other non-excuses have kept it from happening. Thus far I've managed to ride with Shane (a red Capo) and now Darin. I remain hopeful for more complete gathering before the year is over.

Despite some gray looking clouds when I left the house we wound up with near perfect weather, 64° - 72° all day long. Darin and I met up in Maricopa and took Highway 238 "Dead Cow Highway" out to Gila Bend and then turned southward on highway 85 to the semi-alive copper mining town of Ajo.


old church, Ajo, AZ town square

The copper mine is pretty much kaput now because of the price of copper so the town is a mixed bag of rag tag buildings and a beautiful downtown area that the city fathers are trying hard to keep attractive and inviting to tourists. I have to say they are doing a find job of it too, the area is great for photographs and the town square is clean, green and very picturesque. It's got the makings of a nice artists colony except that it's quite a ways off the main highways and not known for being picturesque. Hopefully word to the contrary will spread. The old churches on the town square are especially nice and brilliant white. I could have spent hours just shooting pictures in Ajo but settled for a dozen or two and a good sandwich at a deli on the square.

Outside of Ajo we swung north for a bit on BIA 34 (Bureau of Indian Affairs) which runs through the Tohono O'oham Indian Reservation down there. The road is little traveled by tourists as it does not go anywhere but to the little Indian community of Hickiwan which doesn't include so much as a gas pump and general store. The lead picture above was taken about ten miles outside of Hickiwan. The road runs through a land that is vast, remote, utterly western and right now as green as Ireland. The roads are so empty and reasonably smooth that you could be tempted to run extra-legal speeds easily, just remember that it is Indian Reservation and the police out there do not have a sense of humor about speeders from off the "Res."


roadside flowers, Sells, AZ

Between BIA-15 and little town of Sells, along Highway 86 is where the flowers really hit their peak. Yellow ones of some sort are the most common but white ones, purple ones, fiery golden ones and orange ones were all in abundance in different areas. Can you tell I don't know squat about flowers? They are nice to look at and that's enough for me. There was an especially nice area of flowers at one area along the road and I really wanted to get the Capo into the middle of them for a picture but I just couldn't bring myself to trample them just for a picture. There were countless thousands of flowers but I found that I didn't want to squash any of them with the wheels. I must be getting soft in my old age.


no tire tracks, please

By the time we stopped a bunch, took pictures, ran low on gas, and generally noodled away the day we never did get over to Aravaca Road for it's excellent twists and curves. Next time for sure. Darin loved the Remus exhausts on my Capo and pronounced the stock pipes on his Capo "wimpy." The stock ones are not wimpy, just a little too civilized. A 990cc v-twin should sound like more than just a big trail bike. I'm betting Darin weakens and goes for new pipes soon.

So we had a great ride, about 315 miles plus another 80 for Darin since he started out up in Phoenix and we'd have gotten in another hundred or so if we had started out a little earlier. Next time for sure.

If you like old buildings and wildflowers more pictures from the ride are here.

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"When my mood gets too hot and I find myself wandering beyond control I pull out my motor-bike and hurl it top-speed through these unfit roads for hour after hour." - T.E. Lawrence



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