Wickenburg, AZ. It was a 55-mile ride from Brenda, Arizona to Aguila, my target for the day.
On the map that stretches from Palm Springs to Phoenix, Brenda isn’t shown but is a tiny village 17-miles west of Hope. Aside from desert and collections of RV campers there is very little along this route.
Stopping for lunch after two hours riding, I phoned ahead to the motel in Aguila. To my chagrin the manager reported that all his rooms were occupied by farm laborers. He suggested that I enquire at the RV village at the edge of town as they might have a camper that could be rented for the night.
As the lonely ride dragged on, I realized my options were limited. There was no way that I wanted to go on to Wickenburg, 24-miles past Aguila. Pulling into the lot of the RV village, the noise from flock of grackles in the lone tall tree may have been sending a message.
The sign on the office door said ‘Closed’ and the man who pulled out from the camp in his pickup truck said the owners were in Phoenix and wouldn’t be back for some days. The man in the truck was a large man called Willy. He asked what I was going to do and I replied I wasn’t sure. Perhaps, I said, the motel would give me a blanket and allow me stretch out in the office overnight. At that Willy said he would take me to Wickenburg for $100. We agreed on $20. Minutes later the bike was in the back and I was in Willy’s Dodge Ram on the road to Wickenburg.
Willy is a team roper, a cowboy who competes in a two-man team to determine who is most skilled in roping steers. Wickenburg, he assured me, is a center for the sport and Willy comes down for the season from his home in Elko, Nevada. Willy, a Shoshone Indian, is 78 and says he is not the oldest of the several hundred ropers in the region.
Wickenburg’s weekly newspaper announces that the $100,000 National Team Roping Finals are this weekend. Willy didn’t say whether he is competing.
For the day I rode 58-miles, bringing the total since Long Beach to 272-miles.