I just returned from a short vacation to Phoenix. The contrast is dramatic between the mid 70’s and sunshine found in the Valley of the Sun and the gray rain of my home turf east of Portland, Oregon. I saw many motorcycles out and about in Arizona, with quite a lot of Gold Wings on the back roads, even a couple traversing the somewhat treacherous Apache Trail (188) — 22 miles of steep washboard gravel road.

Apparently Arizona doesn’t require riders to wear helmets. The first indication I had of this legal status was a guy on a black cruiser, running his fingers through his movie star hair at a stop light — with a full-face helmet bungied to his pillion seat. I just shook my head in wonder. After experiencing the crazy cagers on Phoenix freeways my opinion of helmet-less riders migrated to “those people are 100% insane”. Phoenix drivers are fast and seemingly incapable of staying in their own lane.

The weather there is great in the off season, of course, and there are numerous excellent riding roads outside the Phoenix metro area. I wouldn’t want to be on two wheels during the summer, though. I’d rather ride in 40 degree rain than 100+ heat, dry or not.

Besides lots of cruisers and Gold Wings, and two sport bikes, I never saw a single V-Strom. Needless to say, I could hardly wait to get home and ride. I was on two wheels the very next morning after my return, headed to work.