Good Friday April 10, 2009
Well, I finally made it and got to stand on that corner. But not without some effort. I had to make a 60-mile detour, ride across open plains while occasionally battling some fierce headwinds and get pulled over by a cop for going down a one-way street the wrong way. But I got to stand on that famous corner, next to statue they have erected to honour the song that made the town fsmous. In fact, the whole corner is an homage to the song with a red, flat-bed Ford truck parked right there. The sound of the Eagles greatest hits album wafts across the street from a souvenir shop. That corner is about the best thing that I could see in Winslow.
It seems a vaguely ridiculous thing to do in retrospect and something we decided not do four years ago when Karen and I were here on a bike. It snowed then too. Still, at least I did not keep going the extra 260 miles to Albuquerque just because Neil Young wrote a song about that.
Anyway, the policeman was very nice and friendly and shook my hand – or maybe I shook his. He didn’t really give me a warning but I think it was assumed that I would not do the same thing again. I had been looking to find the centre of town and just turned when I saw what looked like some shops. He said that I was the fourth or fifth person he had caught that afternoon. I am certain that the trip would not be worth a traffic ticket.
The open plains look like they might once have carried massive herds of buffalo and there is a location called Buffalo Range on the Navajo land. I thought I saw 5 buffalo on the way to Winslow but on the way back I saw some cattle, so perhaps I was mistaken.
Today, I came across from Sedona, where I stayed the night amongst the towering red rocks. It is very impressive and picturesque but plagued with the usual roadworks that has traffic at a snail’s pace on the single line road through the town. It is also very touristy but so is everything else around here and that is something you have to expect. Just make sure to book ahead for weekends.
Sedona is said to have a number of vortexes – strange concentrations of energy. I don’t know what they do but I do know that I had the best sleep of the whole trip so far. It had been a difficult day. I had not slept well and had got up at 6.20am to record my one hour version of the program and send it back. I had to stop a couple of times for energy drinks and a walk around to freshen up. The La Vista Motel in Sedona was clean and cheap (compared to most other places) and I had my own little bungalow down the back, perhaps near a vortex. It has a great view out the front door and I havemany photos of large red, rocks.
After my detour to Winslow I headed back to Flagstaff and across to Williams, gateway to the Grand Canyon. As the temperature dropped I turned on the heaters for the handgrips and the seat. (Note to BMW engineers: a heated doona would be handy). As I write this it is snowing lightly and the bike is covered in a thin layer. They predicted rain in the late afternoon but it did not come and I could have got to the Canyon and back if I had left early, though when I arrived it was down to 50F and chilly. I have opted to stay two nights and catch the train out tomorrow, something I have never done before and which will avoid being stuck out there if it snows. I met some Germans on Harleys who planned to go out for sunrise and were surprised when I said snow was predicted. I constantly check www.noaa.org.
I had the cheapest steak dinner at a steak house down the road and ev. en managed to log on and listen to a bit of Off The Record beforehand. It sounded good. Brian seems to fit in perfectly. I wonder how many went to Chill City? I feel a bit guilty that I was not really able to do any interviews about it before I left, not that it would need me to ensure its success. I heard Brian talking about the great Booker T and Drive By Truckers gig and am glad I will see them at Jazz Fest.
I am hoping the weather fines up for Sunday because I have booked a room at The Luxor in Las Vegas for the ludicrously cheap rate of $60 including tax!! From there it will be springboard to Zion if the weather is okay and then to Death Valley. Hard to believe I have only 4 more nights with the bike (which is now getting over 22km/l).
Let’s hope I can see the Grand Canyon tomorrow. When we came in 1985 it was snowed in and we had to go back the next day. I’ll tell you all about it tomorrow.