In a single day I had crossed half of Arizona and spent most of it above 5000ft. Keeping on hwy.60 and 260 brought me high into the impressive Sitegraves NF and the White Mountains of AZ. So far I've been to three different "White Mountains" ranges in the US. To my west slopes expanses of light tan grasslands stretching to a dry river bed 20 miles beyond. To my left are the 8000 ft peaks. The cedar and pine forest shows much evidence of fire damage in this area, highlighting the delicate balance of moisture and flame in these high western forests. Signs remind the recreational folks to put the fire out and not toss matches.
It is growing late as I wind into the forest on two lane highways with blind turns and a 65mph speed limit. Trucks pass narrowly close and the sun begin to sink below the forest rim in a blinding golden sunset. The highway is awash in light and is impossible to see. I join a column going 20mph behind the shade of a semi and chug higher into the forest past 7000 ft. Up ahead I notice what at first looks like a bicycle but that I cannot seem to catch up to. Finally I reach the screaming two stroke engines and a Trek bicycle moving along at 40mph. The two 80cc engines hum along loudly like weed whackers. The rider kicks wildly with his leg and I cannot tell if that means to pass or to stay away. He quickly sees my scooter and motions to pull over. Kyle is on his way to Slab City for a meetup of some sort. All he has is a sleeping bag rated at 50 and a few bottles of water. Along the way he sleeps in small town post offices which are heated at night. We exchange info in case the other breaks down and take off back on the dangerous and dark road. I take off and soon he is gone from my mirrors. That night I camp on Valentine Ridge and enjoy the stars at 6500ft on the Mogollon Rim.
I point toward the crossing of the Colorado River on its western side of the state at Lake Mead and the Hoover Dam. The high speed routes make it stressful and I'm constantly watching the mirror for trucks and wide loads. For 30 miles I had to take the interstate to make it to Kingman but fortunately that is allowed in AZ. North of Kingman is a boring and straight highway through the arid desert and toward the Lake Mead Rec. Area. The vast relief between the lake and the surrounding rim is stunning. If one were to follow it up, it would form the Grand Canyon some 70 miles from here. I camp above the shoreline and enjoy my first bath since Louisiana. Man that water felt good! I meet a Canadian photographer who is travelling the region for 3 days and he camps nearby, sharing some beer and conversation. Good times for my last day in AZ.
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In May 2014 I quit my job to ride a Honda Ruckus over 69'000 mi and counting. Wild camping most nights and cooking most of my own meals, I keep the costs low and the landscape changing.