For those of you out in Facebook land who know me and my identical twin brother, Walt, you are aware that he has passed from stage four prostate cancer. He was on two different kinds of chemo that made him sicker than a dog after the treatments, but someone forgot to tell him that he has cancer that was incurable.
Saturday, April 7, 2012, Walt got up at 1:00 a.m. as usual to do his cleaning gig at the Territorial Bar in Tucson. After work he took his lady to breakfast, and then returned home and jumped on his scooter for the four and a half hour ride to our house in Camp Verde, Arizona, so he could go on a planned ride to the Harley-Davidson dealer in Belmont on Sunday.
Yes, he was bone tired from his trip, but after a few glasses of wine and some fabulous chicken wraps that my wife, Sandy, made, he went to bed and slept twelve hours, which is unusual for him. He woke up Sunday morning sore, but anticipating the ride ahead of us to Belmont. My son Jay rode over from Dewey and met us at the house about nine. We then headed up Highway 260 through Cottonwood and then rode Highway 89A to Sedona so our friend Hoppy could join us.
After a great cup of coffee at Hoppy’s house, we got back on 89A for the journey through uptown Sedona and a fantastic ride through Oak Creek Canyon to the famous switchbacks that led us up the canyon walls to the high country of Flagstaff. It was chilly going up the canyon, but it got downright cold when we reached Flagstaff and headed west on Interstate 40 to Belmont. By the time we reached Grand Canyon Harley we needed hot coffee and lunch. While most of the trip was sunny, there was cloud cover over the San Francisco Peaks and a stiff breeze to boot, but the air smelled of pine trees and it was obvious that spring had sprung in the high country of Arizona.
After lunch we drooled on new Harleys and frustrated the salesman with questions he knew would not lead to a sale. We like to sit on all the bikes in the store while the salesman breaks out in a sweat worrying about a buckles or buttons scratching the beautiful paint on the bikes. That’s part of his job, right? We don’t mean to be facetious, but a guy has to get his fun somewhere.
We reluctantly headed back to Flagstaff and then headed south on Interstate 17 for the ride back to Camp Verde. Hoppy turned off on Highway 89A and the trip down the switchbacks to Sedona while we took the fast way to the house on the freeway. Jay stayed on the interstate heading toward his home while Walt and I turned off on 260 for the short ride to my house.
After getting home, we cleaned up and Walt took Sandy and me to dinner at Denny’s (which was the only place that was open). No problem though, our Denny’s in Camp Verde is the best in the west. The food is good and the service is great! After dinner we went back to the house and after some more wine, Walt headed for the bedroom and some much needed rest.
Walt was up early Monday morning and after some more coffee jumped on his scooter for the long trip home. He doesn’t like riding the Phoenix freeways so he takes the back way through Globe and that is why the trip takes so long; otherwise it takes about three and a half hours. I waited until about 2:00 p.m. to call my brother and he had just gotten home to Tucson when I called. He had stopped at the Strawberry Lodge in Strawberry, Arizona, for the best breakfast on the planet.
He thanked me for the wonderful ride and felt good about being able to make the trip, as well he should. We were already talking about our annual Labor Day ride that lasts at least four days. For a guy who is supposed to be dying of cancer, you would never know what was happening to him. His determination and focus not to let his situation get him down should be a lesson for us all. This blog also should be a warning to all men over 40. Get your prostate checked – it can happen to you!
My hat is off to you, Bro; you were an inspiration to me and the people who knew you. I’m just saying,