The day starts with overpriced coffee ($2.35 medium) and a Frappuccino ($5 medium) at Starbucks and some grocery store donuts :-o. We decided not to make our own coffee and breakfast again in order to get an earlier start. We wanted to get back home before the heat really kicked in and, of course, to avoid rush hour traffic.
The stretch from Kingman on IH-40 and US 93 is the same way we came up on the first day of our trip until we get to the state route 74 cut off towards IH 17. Both the GPS and Google maps routed us this way plus the AAA map had it highlighted with the “scenic dots” so we decided to go that way rather than IH-10 through downtown Phoenix. As with the day before, traffic is heavy with passing opportunities limited to dedicated passing lanes.
It doesn’t get hot and muggy (monsoon season) until we ride into Wickenburg, AZ and stop for gas. Though busy the ride is picturesque and things don’t get hectic until our last hour of riding when we merge on interstate 17 and then take the 101 loop south. Very intense and stressful riding. Despite being mid-morning, traffic is very heavy and fast paced.
Part of the stress comes from trying to keep both bikes together as a group so we don’t get separated. It’s nearly impossible to do because cars just float over and ‘squeeze’ into any free space big enough to fit their car, following distance (and blinkers) be damned. If we were to ride any closer it would be unsafe for us so we have to deal with cars in between us. Way too often cars would jump out of the HOV lane to cross multiple lanes to get to their exit at the last minute. This was even crazier than the 215 beltway in Nevada.
We are both happy to get off the freeway and arrive home safely before noon.