I left Tucson, Arizona at 6:30 a.m. on my 2007 ST1300 in a group of eight bikes (2 ST1300s, 1 FJR and 5 Goldwings) and 10 people who were headed to Show Low, AZ for lunch. A fireplug of a retired woman I’ll refer to as ‘Gee,’ who weighs in at 105 lbs and “only” has 95,000 miles on her 2005 S1300T, led the ride.
About a mile before the “Elk Crossing Zone” in Tonto National Forest, a bull elk jumped out in front of us. Very stimulating to say the least. I forgot how big those bad boys can get. Of course being in the back of the pack, it was the 4000 brake lights that got my attention. Along the way, I ran over a rather large rattlesnake and ‘Gee’ had her picture taken with it.
After lunch, we headed into Salt River Canyon. ‘Gee,’ who is an E-Ticket ride in the twisties, took off. I sat stuck behind three Goldwings, frustrated. Although I could have passed, it is frowned upon to do so without a passing zone when pack riding. Once at the bottom, however, there finally was one. ‘Gee’ was sitting on the bridge waiting for us. As we approached, she took off and I heard her already shifting into third gear. The little voice in my head said “get her” so I took off.
It was a long day of riding but after nearly 500 miles it was worth the trip to see all the sights and create some lasting memories.
Headed uphill is always fun and I wasn’t disappointed. A hard sweeping right had me leaned all the way over as I closed in on ‘Gee.’ One of the Wings had started to give chase but quickly gave up. I hit third gear coming out of the sweeper and as I caught up, she decided she did not want to be caught and proceeded to ride away. I was able to stay within 100 yards of her but could get no closer. I had my own line but she kept leaving me, so I used hers. Better, but not good enough. Every time I got close, I could sense her smiling as she pulled away. Several fifth gear sweepers found me with a big grin on my face despite failing in my pursuit. This petite flower can ride! Once out of the canyon, we pulled over to let the pack catch up.
I got home 13 hours and 487 miles after I had left that morning. During the trip, I tried my old Polaroid camera mounted to the handlebars to take photos. Out of 47 pictures taken, only 12 came out. Time for a new camera for sure.