December 23, 2006

Tucson, Arizona

We have arrived back in Tucson safely. It was great to spend a few days on the beach in San Carlos, but a cold front had been plaguing the area and though it was sunny, it was chilly. Despite that, the wind was up, and we spent an afternoon watching kitesurfers on the bay. Someone even offered me their equipment, but I am still feeling sickly, so I felt compelled to turn it down. Tough to do, but...

We drove north to the border in Nogales, the same spot we crossed several months earlier. The border crossing was no problem. But while we waited in the car lineup for about a half hour, we couldn't help but notice the ominous, cloudy storm front that seemed to be approaching from the north. It had already been a cold ride to that point, and the weather front seemed to indicate it was going to be a wet rest of the day.

By the time we were back in Arizona, we stopped to fuel up, and it started snowing!! We were in disbelief. We bundled up in about everything we had and thank God for heated jackets!! After a few minutes, instead of snow, we had rain, and temps were in the 50s, making for some frigid traveling. Not to mention we were bucking a headwind the entire way back to Tucson. By the time we reached Doug's friends, Ron and Carol in Tucson, we were extremely cold and tired, and glad to be done with a day of riding in the cold, windy, wet weather. And most importantly, the trip was finished as well.

It didn't take long for either of us to get into Ron's hot tub and warm up. THAT felt really, really good. Then Ron prepared us a fantastic dinner to welcome us home. It was good to see some familiar faces and eat real food again, not to mention have a hot shower.

The next morning, Doug was kind enough to do some work on my bike. He adjusted the valves and balanced the throttle bodies, so I should be all set when I decide to get this thing up to Alaska next summer.

Ron was kind enough to let me take his Harley for a spin, and I have to say, having never ridden one before, it was pretty darn cool. Such a different ride than the BMWs. I'm not trading mine in yet, but it was pretty neat.

Doug and I had our goodbyes, and I headed north to my brother Todd's in Phoenix. Once on the highway, it felt weird to be traveling alone on the bike and not have Doug close by. But I guess all good things must come to an end. It was a fantastic trip, and one I would do again in a heartbeat. Now it will be time to head back to Alaska, and get back to work.

In the end, we traveled from Phoenix to the end of the road in Panama and back. We logged 209 hours of ride time and just under 10,000 miles! Doug lost 10 pounds and I lost 15! We had two flat tires and one blown rear shock. And fortunately, no accidents or other problems. I don't think we could have asked for much more of a perfect trip.