Apache Trail

After the Overland Expo, I headed south to one of the oldest highway in Arizona.  It is officially known as State Route 88 but commonly called the Apache Trail.  It was a Stagecoach trail that runs through the Superstition Mountain.  It was also a major trading route for the Apache indians.

The Trail winds steeply through 40 miles (64 km) of rugged desert mountains, past deep reservoir lakes like Canyon Lake and Apache Lake. The narrow, winding road is unpaved from just east of the town of Tortilla Flat to Roosevelt Dam; there are steep cliff drops and little in the way of safety barriers.

 
At the beginning of the trail on the North side is the Roosevelt Dam, it was first started in September 1906 and completed in 1911.  The building of the dam should have only taken 2 years to build but suffered severe flooding several times over the years which caused the delay of the construction. Even it suffered many blows, it was still considered at the time the largest dam of its day.  Then in 1989, the renovation began on the crumbling dam to expand it from 77 feet (23 m) to 357 feet (107 m) which expanded the capacity of the dam by 20%.  The project also included the development of the Roosevelt Bridge for the realignment of State Route 188.

  
At the end of the trail is Superstition Mountain where the infamous lost mine called “Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine”.  It is named after a German immigrant Jacob Waltz (c. 1810–1891), who purportedly discovered it in the 19th century and kept its location a secret.   To this day according to one estimate, 8,000 people annually made some effort to locate the lost mine.  However, no one has located it since 1892.

  
It was a beautiful ride through the canyon and I wished that I had turned on the GoPro correctly to show you the wonderful imagery I witnessed.  I’ll need a lesson 101 from my son on how to use the GoPro when I meet up with him next month for my husband memorial ride.

  

Lesson Learned on the Road

“There are no mistakes in life,

only lessons. There is no such thing as a negative experience, only

opportunities to grow, learn and advance along the road of self-mastery.

From struggle comes strength. Even pain can be a wonderful teacher”

(Robin Sharma)

Well, I made it through week one without any catastrophic event.  However, I already had some ups and downs on this journey.  This process had allowed me to step back and acknowledge those lessons and to learned from them.

  • As odd as this may sound but I was so excited about finally be able to strip down to nothing when crawling into my sleeping bag on the first night of camping.  After wearing multi-layered riding clothes and being in other people’s company, my body was starting to feel a little bit claustrophobic. However, it was a bit nippy that night but as I was taught, it’s a good thing to be naked in the sleeping bag so your body heat will keep you warm.  All was well until I starting panicking about whether or not I could do this solo.  I felt so lost without Russ.  Then I started to get critical with myself. Reminding myself that I have gone camping so many time solo and this time is not any different from before.   By this time, I tried to compensate my panic attack (my first ever) by trying to be prepared for any worst case scenarios such as a bear, natural disaster or other misdeed. While this was going on in my head, I decided to put on some clothes in case I needed to get out of the tent to walk around.  All of the sudden, I started to relax quite a bit and fell right back to sleep.  I was kind of surprised by this.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate wearing clothes but at first I couldn’t understand how this action brought comfort to me.   The only conclusion I could make from this is that I felt exposed and needed to feel some protection around me.
  • On the second night of camping, I was able to sleep through the night wearing some basic clothes.  However, when I woke up I discovered that it has rained overnight.  I asked a fellow camper when did it rain.  He said it was around 4:30 am and was surprised that I didn’t hear it since it was a quite a downpour.  You may be asking why don’t I wear them during the night, well they’re a bit uncomfortable to wear all the time.  Kind of the same situation as wearing clothes all the time, the ears feel suffocated.  Plus, they’re hard and press into my ears when I lay on my side at night.  By the way, there are advantages and disadvantages of being deaf.  The advantage is that I can turn off my ears anytime I want to.  Russ used to tease about the day we got married is the day that he stopped snoring.  However, the disadvantage is that I miss out some soothing noises such as the sound of rain pattering on top of the tent.
  • Most of the first week has been with wonderful companies of friends and other motorcycle riders.  However, I need to learn to make some alone time for myself to process my thoughts and feelings.  This week had a significance meaning for me since it would have been our fourth wedding anniversary.  At first I thought it would be good to be constantly busy but I feel that I haven’t properly grieved for my loss.

All in all, it has been off to a good start and looking forward to all of the wonderful experiences whether they’re up or down but that parts of life.   Onward to the next lesson in life.

The Journey Begins!

“Tin Man”

Sung by America

Oh, Oz never did give nothing to the Tin Man

That he didn’t, didn’t already have

I can’t believe that the day actually has arrived where I’m starting the journey of a lifetime.  I can remember the days where Russ and I were dreaming and scheming ideas and places to go on our adventure when we retire.

Here I am, my entire life is now sitting in a 10 x 10 storage unit and l am living the life of a vagabond for the next year without him.  If you have asked me several years ago if I could do this on my own, I would have said no way.  Apparently, Russ has alway known that I could do it.  He had more faith in me than I did myself.

The other day, I got a very special message from my sister-in-law.

“I am so proud of you for seeing this through… (have to admit to my tiny bit of jealousy that you are doing what I can only dream of doing)

I know what Russ wanted for you (he spoke incessantly about it) I know how important it was for him to know that you would one day venture out and more importantly that you would trust and believe that you could do anything you put your mind too. He knew how amazing you were… but somehow he didn’t think you knew how amazing you were. I think I was assigned the task of making sure you understood exactly how amazing you were when he was gone. I know how hard it has been this year. I have been in your shoes. You are an amazing woman. He knew it. I know it.  You have to be to get through it and do what you are doing!”

Russ was right, I did not give myself enough credit or had enough faith in myself that I could do it.  Especially about writing, all my life it has been a difficult challenge for me to write due to my hearing impairment.  He has been pushing me for a long time to start blogging about our little bikes and I just always shrug at him.  It wasn’t until last year where Carla King who gave me the final nudge to just do it.  At first, it felt awkward and I was over thinking the process.  Then after talking to several of my friends, they told me just write from the heart and ignore what others think of my writing skills. Next month will be a year since my first blog post and I have had 15,000 views since then.

Then came the final preparation for the trip itself, all of the planning and logistic are starting to come together.  I talked and wrote incessantly about it.  I think a lot of people just listened to me ramble about it but did not really believed that I truly was going to do it.  I actually overheard a conversation between two guys where one of them said that I wasn’t going to last more than a month.  I may and I may not but I have sneaky feelings that I will prove them wrong big time.

As the departure date came closer, I decided to apply to become a Jupiter’s Traveller thinking that I have nothing to lose in trying.  I never considered myself to be qualified to be in such elite group of adventure travelers.  Suddenly, I got an email from the Executive Director stating that he was delighted to see my application come through.  He also stated that they have a lot of applications to review and will let me know in a couple of months.  However, he was pretty confident that I will make the list.  I was pretty stoked, I couldn’t believe that they thought my story would be worthy enough to be in the same class of those other adventure travelers.  The official announcement came a day after my last day of work.  What perfect timing.

Here I am, on the road starting the next chapter of my life.  Just like the song, I guess the OZ never gave me anything that I didn’t already had in me.  I just needed to believe in myself that all.

Death by GPS

Today, I got my custom seat made for the TW200 by Seat Concepts.  The company is about sixty miles from where I live so it mean I had to go down the hill as us local calls it.  I live in the area called the High Desert which has an elevation of 4,000 feet and where most urban dweller lives are down the hill.  Since I wanted to avoid the freeway as much as possible, I took my TomTom Rider that I got for Christmas to show me the way.

Prior to heading down, I decided to review Google Map to get a feel of the route that I generally be taking and wrote it down onto the paper I kept in the map holder just in case.  Geez, the GPS took me on a couple of wrong roads both going down and back up.  Also, it was not user-friendly in trying to change the route.  Especially on the way home, it kept wanting to navigate me up through the mountain range which I knew wasn’t a good idea since the weather man called for a possible snow storm up there and I wasn’t geared for that kind of weather.  So I kept trying to change the route but it kept giving me these crazy route.  Luckily I’m not a typical girl who has no sense of direction.  Every time I felt that it was taking me in the wrong direction, I just steered back North West toward my destination.

Like I said, I actually have a sense of direction and know my North from South and East from West.  However, with more and more drivers relying on the GPS to navigate them to their final destination, there has been an increase of fatalities due to the misinformation that the GPS provide.  As drivers becoming more reliant on the GPS, they’re also more and more losing their common sense about the direction they’re given.

This remind me of an incident we had up here a couple of years ago.  A women driving from Las Vegas to Los Angeles followed her GPS direction to exit on Stoddard Wells Road and make a couple of right hand turns which ultimately had her onto the railroad track.  Now, I would think that common sense would have her to change direction and seek an alternative route to head to her destination.

Since “Death by GPS” is on the rise, many National Parks are now posting warning sign about it.  Here is what Death Valley National Park has posted:

Using GPS Navigation 

GPS Navigation to sites to remote locations like Death Valley are notoriously unreliable. Numerous travelers have been directed to the wrong location or even dead-end or closed roads. Travelers should always carry up-to-date road maps to check the accuracy of GPS directions.  

DO NOT DEPEND ONLY ON YOUR VEHICLE GPS NAVIGATION SYSTEM.

Using the TomTom Rider today has taught me a valuable lesson, do not rely on GPS only.  Actually, I wasn’t planning on it but wanted to have one in case I need to find a gas station quickly.  I will be using maps for my trip because I really want to focus on the old back road of America and I can’t program those road into the GPS.

So my excitement of getting a new seat from Seat Concepts only got mired by my frustration of the GPS sending me in the wrong direction.  However, I quickly cured my mood jumping onto a dirt road I knew to take the back way home.