Day Two by Dave Schultheis
Monday, May 21, 2001 - Ehrenberg, Arizona
Although I had parked the Road King just outside the window at the Best Western, I didn't sleep well because I was concerned that someone would mess with it, so I kept getting up to look. I had locked the ignition and forks but still worried. I should have just slept well and not worried about it.
I got up at 5:36 a.m., washed, combed and packed. As I checked my maps for the day's ride, I realized it was my birthday; I was 52 years old. Big deal.
Although the hotel offered a Continental Breakfast, there was no juice and no milk. There were some breads and cereal and coffee, but I passed.
I checked out of the hotel and left at 6:30 a.m., rode across the freeway and the short distance into Ehrenberg and took a few pictures: the post office, sheriff's office detention facility, and a historic sign.
I rode about 18 miles on Interstate 10 and got off the freeway at Quartzite for a photograph at the post office box facility, then continued east on I-10.
An hour or so later, at Mile 79: cough, sputter, repeat. Outta gas! It was 8:07 a.m. on a warm Arizona morning and I looked at the trip odometer: one hundred ninety-one point five miles. Pretty good range but I guess I shoulda' refueled in Ehrenberg.
What'ya gonna do? I pushed it, walked it, waited, drank some Mountain Dew, tried again, cough, sputter, repeat. About 8:45 I got it started, but I didn't get far, only about a mile. No Sprint PCS cellular coverage, either.
Note to self: make a little sign that says "GAS," to keep in the saddlebag.
At 8:55 a.m., two guys in a white service van stopped to help. They had a plastic hose and we tried to siphon gas into a soft drink bottle, but we just couldn't get past the gasoline fumes. Once you've tasted gasoline you *never* want to taste it again. When you get those fumes in your nasal passages, you want to hurl. We gave up.
Note to self: carry a plastic tube with hand pump for gasoline.
One of the guys had a cel-phone with a different carrier, so we tried to call AAA but it would not work. I dialed 9-1-1 and got the Maricopa County Sheriff, who transferred me to the Arizona Department of Public Safety. The Highway Patrol dispatcher said he would try to send someone, maybe AAA, but he couldn't be sure. I thanked him, thanked the two guys and they went on their way.
In the blazing hot sun with no shelter, I tried to keep cool but still managed to push the bike east as best I could, a little at a time until I tired, then rested a while and tried again.
At 9:20 a.m. a guy from Texas in a red car (with a Harley-Davidson sticker) stopped. He recognized the "Virtual Bar & Grill" patch on my vest and said that he checked into r.m.h from time to time (if you don't know what that means, just skip it). He had tools but no fuel. He gave me a cold Coca Cola, I thanked him for stopping and he continued on his way back to the Lone Star state.
I continued to push the bike down the shoulder as best I could. It was hot!
At 10:05 a.m. an Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) pickup truck stopped and a guy named Norman Moore got out to see what help he could provide. He told me I was about 14 miles west of Tonopah, AZ; and while he was not allowed to carry a gas can in his truck, he would be happy to go into Tonopah and get some gas for me.
I gave him $5 to buy the gas and we agreed that if a tow truck happened to show up, I would continue to a rest stop about 6 miles down the highway and wait for him to return.
I continued to push the bike down the shoulder as best I could. Did I mention it was hot and I was tired?
At 10:15 a.m. a tow truck from Roger's Gulf Station in Tonopah showed up. Roger's is a AAA contract station, so I showed my AAA card and he handed me a funnel and a container with one gallon of gasoline. I poured.
There was no charge for the gasoline, I signed the AAA ticket and got the Road King started again with no trouble.
As planned, I continued east and got to the Burning Wells (Burnt Wells?) Rest Stop about 10:30 a.m. and waited for Norman to return. It didn't take him long to find me since I waited out at the exit sign. He brought one gallon of gas in a bleach bottle, with two to three dollars of change, and a funnel, and some hand cleaner, and a paper towel to wipe off the bike!
Norman's job is "to check the rest stops" and while he didn't have a business card, he gave me his boss' card and reckoned that a letter in his file would be a good thing. I'm sorry to say that as of this writing, I have not yet written a thank-you letter, but I will.
I thanked Norman and pulled into the rest stop for a long drink of cold water. I was greeted by two workers who had heard about "the guy on the blue bike who ran outta gas" on the ADOT radio. They wished me well and I was back on the road at 10:45 a.m., having lost about two and a half hours time and learned a good lesson: get fuel when you can.
Ten minutes later I got into Tonopah and found the post office, where I took a photograph and mailed a package I'd been carrying from home. Nearby was a Chevron Station so I refueled and got back on the road.
I continued for about an hour into the Phoenix area, then eastbound on I-10, southbound on I-10, then eastbound on I-10 then southbound on I-10 and exited in Tempe, where I followed my sister's instructions to her apartment, parked the bike in the garage, then went into the apartment and turned on the cool.
My sister was in San Jose at the time, so I called to tell her I'd arrived, then called my aunt who lives in Phoenix and was making dinner. She suggested I hurry right over, but I needed to clean up a little.
I took a shower (aaaaahhhhh!) and changed clothes, caught up with my notes and checked the map, then rode over to my uncle and aunt's apartment about 2 p.m., parked in their below-grade (and very cool) parking garage and went upstairs to chat.
We had a nice dinner, took some birthday pictures, played on the computer, had some dessert and in general caught up on happenings.
They go to bed early, so I left and went back toward Tempe, took a couple pictures, visited my friend Wendy (for a Frosty) and looked for a gas station.
At 7:10 p.m. I pulled into a Union 76 station where the pump specifically said that there would be a printed receipt. I pumped my gas and the printer beeped at me; it was out of paper. I went inside the convenience store and the female with the piercings said that she could print a receipt. The bone-head male clerk refused to fix the problem, refused to report the problem and said I should have asked ahead of time if the printer was working. He then proceeded to print a receipt for the correct price but the wrong grade of gasoline and the wrong price. What a jerk! Fortunately one of very few jerks that I met on this trip.
I got back to the apartment complex a few minutes later and secured the Road King in the garage, then went into the apartment, watched a little television and went to bed about 9 p.m.
Miles for the day = 210.
Miles for the trip = 818.
Another long, hot day.
Tomorrow: an early start with cool temperatures, then hot temperatures, then some adventures in New Mexico.