Time for a spring holiday
Although this spring has been awesome in Calgary we had an invite to stay at a beautiful place in Mesa Arizona and we couldn't resist. It turned out to be a great opportunity to hit EagleRider in Scottsdale to rent a few Harleys and head out to Sedona.
My brother-in-law Chris and I rented Fat Boys and Jen picked up a Wide Glide. It all sounded cool until we went to pick up the bikes. It seemed that the Fat Boys were merely 96 C.I. models while the Wide Glide was sporting a 103! Wait a minute!!!
While Jen and I took all of our riding kit with us Chris intended to rent from Eagle Rider when he was there. With the forecast calling for temps in the high 80s they talked him out of taking a riding jacket.... Without doing our homework we had decided to ride first up to Flagstaff and enter Sedona through a twisty route from the north. If we had done our homework we would have realized that Flagstaff sits at an elevation of over 7000' vs a lowly 2000' in Scottsdale. Things got very cold very quickly in my vented light-duty summer leather jacket. I cannot imagine how cold Chris could have been!
Needless to say after a full American-experience lunch at Sizzler in Flagstaff our next stop was Wallmart to buy sweaters and winter gloves. Never has an $8 sweatshirt felt so good.
Shortly after leaving Flagstaff we leave the interstate and finally ride some 2-lane where the Harley's are much more in their element - as were we. Sometimes the interstate is a necessary evil if you need to make time but after over 120 miles of it we had our share...... But then it happened: We found scenery unlike anything that I had ridden before, and having never been to this part of the US it was a feast for the eyes.
The weather may have been a little on the cool side of perfect, but the traffic was light, and the low rpm cruise of the Harley made it the perfect ride to take this all in. While everyone knows that I love performance bikes and love to ride them hard, this bike was made for this day and right at this moment there is likely nothing else that could have felt better....except maybe having the 103 from Jen's Wide Glide in my Fat Boy of course
Earlier in the day while droning down the interstate we had the chance to roll-on the bikes to see the difference between the 96 and 103. With the WideGlide sporting a 50 Lbs advantage (Jen vs. I), and the FatBoy lugging a fat boy the 103 easily motored off with authority. Later on we switched and I found out why: There is a serious kick in the pants difference between these two engines. You wouldn't expect much of a difference but the WideGlide was sporting a much more potent mill. To prove out the theory Chris and I (on the Wide Glide) have an impromptu drag race south of Sedona coming off of a light. After taking off with some clutch slippage I fully dumped the clutch 1/2 way through the intersection to have the rear tire squeal in protest. Even with the momentary loss in traction the Wide Glide with the fat boy on board had serious legs on the 96. If you are getting a Harley bigger is better apparently. TotalMike tells me the 110 in the C.V.O. is something else altogether and now I can't wait to try one.
Even when pointing the camera nearly directly in to the sun the WideGlide is a great looking motorcycle. Far cooler than either FatBoy with or without the stoking engine.
For a kid from Canada who hasn't been to this area before the scenery is truly surreal. every old western movie that I had ever seen passed through my head as I was rolling down this road. Awesome stuff and I can't wait to do more.
Sedona itself is a very cool place, if not a little too touristy. Set right in the epicenter of this amazing valley the patios hanging out in to the canyon were calling to us and we had to stop and have a beer. An awesome place and I'll have to spend more time here the next time I am back in Arizona.
After casually wondering the back-roads south of Sedona for a while we realize that it will be getting dark, and therefore cold before long. We then hammer the bikes back down the interstate until I have to make a pit-stop at the Sunset rest-stop conveniently right at sunset. Being too lazy to grab the camera out of Chris's saddlebag I grab this shot on my Blackberry with the sunset to my back. I thought that the picture would be dark as there was very little light but the result was surprising...from a Blackberry!
As we get back late we howl through the city back to our place in Mesa at 80 mph just managing to keep up with traffic. The size of this city takes some adjustment as it felt like we were doing this speed for a full hour! We have until 10:00am to return the bikes so the morning allows us some time to show the kids the bikes and get some pics back at the house.
And finally - one last shot of the polished air cleaner cover on the 103 before our 80 mph rip back to Scottsdale to drop off the bikes. An awesome way for three riding deprived Canadians to spend 24 hours in Arizona!