April 18, 2009 GMT
Albuquerque to Sedona

I tell you this damned God of America is throwing all the elements at us, but we're not going to be beaten. Ozzies Rule

Friday 17th April Ė You donít know what cold is (by Paul)

Last night Steve and I went out to get a bite to eat and man it was a mean muther of a wind that was blowing. Really biting cold.... the kind that I got to know when visiting Thredbo and Perisher in the Snowy Mountains back home.

This morning, I flicked on the weather channel and discovered that areas close by us have had big dumps of snow, some as much as 3 feet (1 metre for you youngsters who donít know the conversion).

Hmmm, time to drag out the thermals for today, I suspect. By the time I get in the saddle, Iíve got my Long Johns on, my thermal shirt that I bought from Kathmandu for my winter trip to Europe and the thermal pullover that I bought in New York. All thin layers but very warm. On top of that I have Billís great jacket. Iíve got my gloves and Billís over mitts. I should be ok now. The temperature is in the single figures celcuis.

Iíve failed to mention that Albuquerque is 5000í or nearly 1700 metres above sea level. Let me put this into some kind of perspective for you Aussies. Mt Kosciuszkoís peak is only 2228 metres, so weíre talking 500 metres less than the highest peak in Oz, ok. From this point we continue our journey westwards hoping to get to Sedona in Arizona.

After about 45 minutes of riding, the temperature has noticeably dropped and unbeknown to me, weíve also climber to 6500í. The clouds are really low and dark grey. Hmmm, what was that? It wasnít rain drops... they floated too much.... a couple of minutes later more... shit!!! Snow flakes are floating toward me. I had seen off to my right what looked like rain and I had opened the throttle up to 90mph to try and get through this area before it got to me. However it wasnít to be. The snow continued to fall more heavily and after an hour I was almost frozen solid. Steve is tucked up in his nice warm car with his seat warmer on no doubt.

My visor was continually fogging up which necessitated me opening the visor. This obvious impact of this was a bloody cold nose and one that wouldnít stop running. I had to pull over I had no feeling in my toes, nose or fingers. By the time Steve pulled up behind me, I had been running up and down the side of the highway for about 10 minutes. I dumped myself into the car and sat there in the warmth for a good 15 minutes.

We noticed that now the snow had started to ease, so time to make a run for it again. I climbed back on my trusty stead and ride westwards once more with the aim of doing about 30 minutes and pulling over into a service station somewhere. This we did for the next few hours until we got to Holbrook where we stopped for a great Italian lunch of garlic bread and lasagne.

The afternoon sun broke through and from there on we had a beautiful day. It was still cold but it was great to feel the sun again and have no winds beating me up.

At some stage, we pulled over for fuel and Steve advised that there was the ďworlds largest meteorite craterĒ nearby. Well, wooptydo I thought, a big whole in the ground. I got dragged along kicking and screaming to look into a big hole in the ground. It was pretty impressive but I wonít tell him that.

From here we have about 45 minutes to Sedona (via Flagstaff). Man, I have never seen such beauty!!! Youíve all seen the western movies with the towering cliffs sitting high above them.... my words arenít going to be able to do justice to them, so Iíll just put up a few photos. Donít forget, if you want to see them all, you only have to click on one of them and it will take you into the album.

From Arizona
From Arizona
From Arizona

Iíve just been notified that Colin, my eldest son is in hospital after coming off his bike. Apparently some idiot in a car did a U turn in front of him. He has a punctured lung and a broken wrist. While any injury is not good, I knew a fella in Cooma who had the same thing happen to him only he didnít fair as well as you, Col. He didnít survive. I love you mate and you suck up as much sympathy as you can get. Itís time Nika started to take care of my boy. ;-) Get better quickly mate.

Today, weíre off to Phoenix, Arizona I think.......

Posted by Paul Brealey at April 18, 2009 03:42 PM GMT

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