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40 to Phoenix, Pre Trip Preparations

I am going to check off one of my bucket list items later this month by riding Ruby the Gold Wing motorcycle from Wilmington, NC to Phoenix, AZ with about 100 other motorcycles. Here are the details of my preparations for the trip.
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40 to Phoenix Day 1

Today at about 12:00PM I checked off the last thing on my list. There was nothing left to pack or do. I was ready. I had been working on that list and planning for this day since around Christmas. At 2:00PM a fellow GWRRA member showed up and we left for Wilmington.
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40 to Phoenix Day 2, NC to GA

I said goodbye to Laurie this morning. She went home while I headed west with my group. I will see her again in Phoenix in a week while I cross our great country on 2 wheels.
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40 to Phoenix Day 3, I Learned A Few Things

Today was a slow news day. My son Tucker is doing an internship for his NC State degree in Dunwoody just north of Atlanta. So I split off from the group and had lunch with him. His internship just ended so he is headed east to home tomorrow while I continue west. But I learned a few things.
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40 to Phoenix Day 4, I Know What I Want For Christmas

Today was a long day with beautiful weather. This morning was just cool enough to plug in the electric jacket. My wife got it for me as a Christmas gift because she really wanted me to take this trip. But it has made a wimp out of me. Anything below 65° is now electric jacket weather.
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40 to Phoenix Day 5, The Teacher, The Bus Driver, The Cook

It has been a good ride so far with a great bunch of guys. But tomorrow I start riding on sections of old Route 66 and taking photos. I have really been looking forward to this. So check back for the next blog.
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40 to Phoenix Day 6, Route 66 And Bobby Kemp

First I will admit I wimped out on going to Palo Duro Canyon tonight for dinner. I got to the motel late and just did not have enough time to go. But I have had a blast today on Route 66. The overcast skies added a nice mood to my photos.
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40 to Phoenix Day 7, More Route 66 Photos

Today wraps up my Route 66 tour. I plan to go south in the morning and take US 60 into Phoenix. There are some sights I want to see including the VLA (Very Large Array), Pie Town and Salt River Canyon. If I ever do this ride again I will take Route 66 on to Flagstaff, AZ and beyond to get more photos.
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40 to Phoenix Day 8, Final Dash to Phoenix

This was a crazy day. I have never ridden in such strong crosswinds. Several gusts tried to take off my helmet. Then there was the snow, the snow plow and the mud. Then the temperature dropped below 30° and the wind chill got brutal. But my heated jacket and using my rain gear as a wind breaker kept me toasty.
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40 to Phoenix Day 9, GWRRA Home Office

I have one memory from this trip that kind of sums it up for me. I was riding on the original concrete 2 lane Route 66 all by myself about mid afternoon heading west. I had the music cranked up, no other vehicle in sight and I was just enjoying the solitude and scenery. A train track ran parallel to the road. I saw a train heading in my direction and when it got close I gave it a huge crazy wave. He gave me a couple horn blasts as he passed. Just two friendly people saying high to each other on a lonely stretch of desert in the American South West.
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40 to Phoenix Day 10, Old Copper Mining Town of Jerome

Laurie and I headed north west from Phoenix early in the morning. I had read and heard that 89A was a fun ride and it was. It had some nice curves and at the top of a mountain we popped into Jerome. The road makes a few switchbacks through the town as it is built on the side of the mountain.
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40 to Phoenix Day 11, I Am Done With Curvy Roads for a While

Laurie returned home today. We got her bag, and extra bag for stuff we bought while she was here and my usual bag all strapped on Ruby for the ride to the airport. We looked like the Beverly Hillbillies, but it all worked out and we got her on the plane for home. Southwest has a direct flight between Phoenix and Raleigh each day so that made her travel easier.
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40 to Phoenix Day 12, Great Photo and Last Post From the Road

I originally planned to ride another curvy mountain road but I had enough of that yesterday. I decided on fast and straight and left before 6:00AM as I wanted to see the sunrise and needed to get in some miles today. I was rewarded with one of my favorite photos of this trip.
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40 to Phoenix, Wing World Article

The editor of the GWRRA magazine, Wing World, asked me to write a summary of my 40 to Phoenix trip in April of this year. It was printed in the July edition. Below is the text of the article. Following that are scans of the article as it appeared in the magazine.
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