Scottsdale & Holbrook Arizona (7th to 10th March)
It felt a little surreal to be back in the USA, but I certainly enjoyed the feeling, especially spending time with Leigh and Cathy Abel, the most awesome couple in the world. I rode through the Amazon with them and they have ridden all over the world together so they have a plethora of great travel stories to tell. I honestly aspire to be like them. I spent 2 nights with Leigh and Cathy in Scottsdale and got a small insight into life in Arizona. I was surprised at how beautiful the place is. I didn’t think cacti could be so lovely and interesting.
After leaving Scottsdale I headed out to Holbrook through the Tonto national forest. I had such a good day, the ride was quick, easy and the scenery was fantastic I kept stopping to take photos. It was quite cold in the mountains with little bits of snow still on the ground, however not unbearably cold so I didn’t even stop to put another layer on.
In Holbrook I stopped in my first America motel, it was nothing like the Bates model from psycho or any other dingy motel we so often see in the movies. It was cheap, simple but very clean and the water was hot, which is very important to me after a chilly ride.
I like the states but it is different to Latin America so I’m having a little culture shock. After 8 months it’s a breath of fresh air to hear / speak English instead of Spanish, the food the scenery everything is different. Like Latin America though, American people are super friendly. However I don’t think I’d like to live here, visit yes and I really do want to do a big bike trip here but I just like Europe especially Switzerland more than the USA. The main thing I love about the states are the open spaces, it really is like a breath of fresh air. I am not sure where this comes from but when I see open spaces I am just happy. What I don’t like are the politics for one & the waste, I mean all the portions are huge not just in the restaurants but cold drink, coffee, M&Ms etc all twice the size as back home. I find it excessive and unnecessary. I also don’t like how you are assaulted by advertising especially for food. Massive bill boards everywhere adverting food, when you fill up with gas as you fill up you hear a voice coming from the pump adverting stuff that is now 50% off in the shop (this has just happened in a few gas stations but it certainly caught me by surprise). Just constant adverting and it is mostly, food, medicine and insurance. Maybe it’s because I am not used to it but I genuinely found it disturbing this constant bombardment of advertising and over indulgence of food.
However the scenery is AWESOME 🙂
I had my first motel experience in Holbrook and the 2nd in Albuquerque. I thought it would be very much like the motels in the movies and they do look like that from the outside, however the rooms are very nice and they are affordable. 40 usd which I do think is a lot but is the cheapest option, in an ok motel. However the people are a bit hmmmm. The one in Holbrook had this guy 2 doors down screaming at his 2 cute little boys. When I arrived the boys were playing outside with little cars and they were so cute and friendly. Then in the morning all I could hear was ”what the F are you crying about now, you f&^%?ing idiot” etc it was horrible. More horrible than the homeless dogs I saw in on my trip
Then in Albuquerque a couple a few doors down had a massive fight, the door was open and he was standing in it smoking and, let’s just say, he was less than desirable looking. This happened as I was walking past to go to my room. I showered changed etc and on my way out to eat it was still going on. The only thing I heard was the woman say ”fine I’ll do my thing and you do yours or why don’t you just f off for good” She was dressed in leopard print T-shirt and a tiny mini, and I think was about 60 years old, and not nice enough to pull it off. On my way back from dinner there were 2 police cars at the motel outside their room. Not sure what happened but at least all was quiet. It was all quite interesting, a different view on another part of society, interesting but not very nice.
On my way to Amarillo I went off the I-40 interstate and rode on parts of route 66. I stopped in the small town of Tucumcari where the route 66 monument is. This town is great it’s like something out of the 60’s and I felt like I had been transported back in time. It is great that they have left so much of it in the old style and renovated a few buildings. It is however sad that so much of it is derelict as more and more people move to the big cities these little towns get smaller and smaller and eventually just become ghost towns.
After Amarillo on my way to Mustang Oklahoma I again went off the Interstate and stopped at another route 66 town, Shamrock, I really like these little places. I stopped for something to eat and ended up chatting to a lady there about the weather, biking etc and she restored my faith in humanity again after the 2 sad incidence at the motels.
In Mustang I had the pleasure of staying with Marc Bradly and his wife Janine, their two cats and two gorgeous America bulldogs (Willow and Bolder, I thought they were pit bulls at first but Marc explained that they are America bull dogs, a breed I had never heard of and they are gorgeous) I made friends with Marc through the KLR FB group and it was great to meet someone from the group in person. Marc and Janine’s pets are rescue pets which I just love and Bolder is completely deaf. He knows a little sign language and is the friendliest most loving dog. I just fell in love with him. Marc also raises bees and it was interesting to see his hive and learn a bit about them. Marc and Janine own an organic garden supply store. It seems a lot of Americas are looking into a healthier lifestyles and that was interesting to me. As a foreigner you only know about America from what you see on TV, until you go there and meet the people. I’ve been to the states about 5 times over the last 30 years and it is interesting to hear about this organic food movement and see the changes over the years.
Janine is a fantastic cook, so I had a great home cooked meal (organic), good coffee, good conversation and great company. I could not have asked for a better evening. Also slept like a log and with a pregnant pussy cat at my feet (She is a stray who adopted Marc and Janine who found out she was pregnant. I think she wanted a safe home to have her kittens in).