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Day 4

Today showed the diversity of experiences you can get on the road. We start out the day in north Las Vegas, NV. Tito wakes up feeling poorly, but once we get on the road he started feeling better and better. We quickly get out of Vegas, heading up Lake Mead boulevard and into the national park. I did not realize it was a fee area, so we drop $20 to just pass through.

We crest a hill and see a stark line between LV and the national park. Apartment buildings and trees and greenery stop instantly and give way to the desert. Exiting a populated area usually happens more gradually.

As we get on the highway headed towards kingman, we hit the less fun part of the day. Keeping up with the movements of traffic and riding in a straight line with a high wind at your side isn’t that enjoyable. We make it 70 or so miles and then stop at a Fresh Jerky stand for a break.

As we exit the shop, we meet a fellow biker. It turns out he just spent the winter in Key West and is heading to San Diego so he can ride up the coast. He’s retired army, and will be staying at the bases along the way on the cheap. We trade stories and tips on roads to ride and we depart ways. He was a friendly dude. If we had left 5 minutes later, or decided not to stop at this random jerky joint we would have never met. I really like that aspect of the travel.

We continue through Kingman (after getting some gas and food) and the terrain starts to change. Things are getting more green. We’re on the historic Route 66 heading to Seligman. We stumble upon (what turn out to be re-creations) of Burma-Shave highway advertisements. We groan at the rhymes but laugh all the same at the randomness.

We stop in Seligman and meet another random character. He’s a cowboy who helps the Hualapai manage their cattle. He’s smoking a hand rolled cigarette and looks just about as stereotypical as you could imagine. We bullshit about the weather (as we are running from the rain, at this point) and he talks about his horses and land. He recommends we take AZ89 south into chino valley; We take his advice.

Down into the Tonto national forest we go. It’s a leisurely ride and pretty soon we end up in Chino valley. It’s fairly populated, but very spread out. Everyone looks to have a lot of room. We pull over and decide to head onto Prescott then cut east along AZ89a. It looks twisty on google maps. We miss the turn at first and upon doubling back we are being followed by a candy red ferrari with a single white racing stripe.

We head up into Mingus mountain and quite randomly happen upon a stretch of beautiful road. Great pavement, twisty, with amazing views of Verde valley. I fight between enjoying the view and enjoying the road. The road continues for a good 20 minutes, we round a corner and find ourselves in ghost town Jerome, AZ. It’s a built into the mountain, and looks like like something on the Amalfi coast because of how vertical the town is built. We wind through the town, busy with tourists and head down into the valley.

We stop to find a place to hang our boots for the night. Days Inn in Camp Verde it is. By the time we check in, Tito is feeling much worse.

This day had it all: Cold crappy highway riding, fantastic twists and views, interesting characters, and in the end almost 320 miles of travel.