Day 17 – Down in the Valley

3rd July 2018

I’m up early and on the road to walnut canyon to visit the cave dwellings there.  I am riding via Route 66 and remember it well.  The sun is shining and all is right with the world, even the wind is sort of behaving itself, haha.

And here we are… there is an admission fee, but am happy to pay it because this is something that really interests me.

Apparently it’s approximately a mile of walking, all the way down to the exhibits and then back up again.  To be honest if this was 5 or so years ago it would have been impossible for me to even contemplate such a feat but since my operation I am relatively fit so I think the exercise will definitely do me some good, so off we go!

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The downward section:

I have to take a bit of a rest… am not able to see the valley floor yet.. it must of been an incredibly tough life living on the sides of this very steep valley.

The path loops around and it is a very pleasant walk.  I am now able to see that there are many, many dwellings in the valley, this section has obviously been conserved especially for the visitors but across the valley I can see the ‘caves’ where the people excavated their homes into the rock.

And so it’s time to begin the climb back up to the visitor centre… mmm it’s a long way up!

On the way up I can see the sides of the canyon and the amazing rock formations… it looks like it has flowed into place, I assume as a result of volcanic action.

Well, I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed that… and a real break from the journey too.

However, on the climb up I noticed the wind had picked up significantly.. I do hope that is just in the canyon.  Ha! when I get outside it’s blowing a gale…

Oh for fuck’s sake… give me a fucking break!!  I have no other choice but to climb on the bike and grit my teeth!

I promised myself I wasn’t going to moan about the wind today, but really…. this is just absolutely, definitely and unequivocally the absolute worst I have ever experienced in 40 years of motorcycling… well until the next time!  But at least I feel vindicated in that it obviously isn’t me causing the vortex effect, well not entirely.

I leave Walnut Canyon and join Route 66, well barely because as usual it runs out and becomes the interstate 40… omg this is gonna be bloody!

I am desparate to get off the motorway, the wind is exacerbated by the lorries, (euphemistically called big rigs – they are humungous rigs actually), bombing past me creating a huge bow wave followed by a tornado in their wake.. I kid you not.  I spot a turn off and try that, nope it doesn’t actually go anywhere beyond a small enclave so back on the i40.. sheesh!!  Ah, a turn off to rejoin Route 66, fab….

Two years on and here we go again… it DeJa Vu guys… where the bloody hell has the road gone!!  Back on and off the interstate and eventually I find 66 again, yay!

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So I turn right towards Joseph City… and yep at the end of the ‘city’ the road turns back onto the i40… please stop!

OK, no choice but to stay on the i40.  Due to the long visit to the cave dwellings and the weather I decide to stop at the next big town, Holbrook.

I am riding along and yep back on Route 66, which runs through the centre of Holbrook, there are plenty of motels… mmm which one is bug free though?  I am about to stop and look at booking.com when I spot the world famous Wigwam Motel.. oh yes, I called in here 2 years ago hoping to stay but they were full, I was gutted.  I’m going to stop and ask, I bet they are full again, it’s very popular.

Well, blow me down… oh maybe not, enough blowing already… they have a wigwam available, its $69, much more than my budget but what the hell… yes please.  I am absolutely delighted.

How cool is that!!  This is my one.. and I have a little bench outside to sit this evening.. bliss.

What isn’t bliss is that I mistakenly ride my bike into the parking space, front wheel first. After unpacking I want to go and find somewhere to eat, but can’t get the bike out.  The ground slopes forwards and its gravel so I can’t get enough purchase to pull the bike out safely.  Bugger bum!  There isn’t anyone around to ask for help.. I’ll have to find somewhere nearby to eat then.  The only place I can see is a steakhouse just up the road. I make my way there.  The menu is ok so I order a small steak, medium well done.. it comes medium, I send it back, it comes back a bit better… I have some mashed potatoes and vegetables.. courgette, onion and one slice of carrot!!  Not the most generous portion either, but then that’s ok for me.  The price is very expensive, it is over $30, but I am stuck so have to swallow it, (excuse the pun).  Tonights bed and meal has cost over $100 that is just soooooo much.

But, I sleeping in a bloody wigwam folks, I mean how bloody cool is that!  I stop at a shop and pick up a tiny tub of Hagan Daz coffee ice cream and sit on my bench in the setting sun eating it… I am in heaven.

Then to add to my blissfulness a group of people come out of the next wigwam and are chatting outside, so as soon as I finish my ice cream I go over and ask for a push with the bike.  A man and woman very obligingly agree and the three of us manage to turn the bike around ready for me to ride away tomorrow morning.

All in all, what a wonderful day.  xx

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