Day Three by Dave Schultheis
Tuesday, May 22, 2001 - Tempe, Arizona
It was warm enough inside the apartment that I used the overhead fan and the air conditioning until about 3:00 a.m. I slept on a big bath towel on top of the bed but just could not get comfortable. I was awake at 3:30 a.m. and decided that I might as well get up and going. After all, I'd had about 6 hours of rest.
I combed, washed, dressed, packed and took the T-Bag out to the Road King in the garage, which was still perceptibly warm. I had never felt anything quite like an 80 degree F. garage at 4:00 o'clock in the morning.
So I started the Road King, locked the apartment and got on the road at 4:20 a.m. I went north, then west, then north, then west on Interstate 10 and then turned north on Interstate 17 and bid the Phoenix area a pleasant farewell.
About seventy miles later I stopped for a photograph at the Yavapai County line. It was getting cooler as I got higher in altitude, so I stopped at a roadside rest stop to change gloves at 5:30 a.m. It got downright chilly as I got near Flagstaff, AZ.
Just after passing through the (under construction) interchange of Interstate 17 and Interstate 40, I stopped at a combination Circle K and Union 76 Station for fuel at 7:05 a.m.
I called my uncle and aunt on my Sprint PCS phone (as they had requested) to tell them I had made it to Flagstaff, then got back on the road at 7:20 a.m. A short distance to the east I stopped at the Walnut Canyon National Monument for a photograph.
About an hour later I got off the freeway in Winslow, AZ and got directions to the post office from the woman at the Chamber of Commerce. She also gave me directions to a good place for breakfast.
There are several reminders around Winslow about the famous song with the line, "standing on the corner in Winslow, Arizona," and I got a few photographs.
I found Sue's Place restaurant and parked across the street where I could see the Road King while I had breakfast. At this point I realized that I wasn't in California any more. I generally believe in "live and let live," but I found it unpleasant that everyone in the restaurant (about five people), including the server, was smoking, which kind of spoiled my meal. Oh, well. The breakfast was good and I got back on the road about 9:10 a.m.
About 50 minutes later, I pulled off the highway in Holbrook, AZ to look for fuel. The first gas station did not have supreme, which the Road King likes. I did find a Chevron Station with 91 octane fuel and took a picture at a nearby city building.
I crossed into New Mexico at 11:09 a.m., noting that I was now in the Mountain Time Zone, and stopped for a photograph at the state line. About a half hour later I stopped for fuel at a Chevron Station in Gallup, NM.
An hour later I took an S.B.S. break at a Petro Stopping Center near Milan, west of Grants, NM. The signs said 85 miles to Albuquerque. It was hot. It was a long, tiring 85 miles.
As in many big cities, there was highway construction in Albuquerque but I dodged the plastic barrels from I-40 to I-25 and headed north. I missed the turnoff the first time but got turned around and pulled into Chick's Harley-Davidson, on Alameda west of I-25, at 3:10 p.m.
Weeks before leaving home, I had written to them about getting an oil and filter change but had not heard back. I walked (creaked?) into the Service Department and Service Writer Sandra W. was able to squeeze me into their busy schedule.
After the oil change (black filter, please) I asked them to check for something that was loose and clinking.
In the Service Department waiting room I got talking to another customer, Denny from Armour Pavement, who had a lot of stories about his riding experiences and never once picked on me for being what I call a "rider," rather than a "biker."
I visited the Sales Floor and Motorclothes boutique but couldn't find the perfect t-shirt or hat. I did find a neat little "thumbscrew lever," a poor-man's cruise control from Gaudin Enterprises in Albuquerque, at the parts counter for about $30, so I bought one.
I was given a progress report on my bike: they had tightened a loose axle nut and the shifter linkage and noted that the spline was damaged and needed replacement in the not-too-distant future. They could not find anything loose or clinking.
A little later, Technician Sean came out and told me about a few more things I needed to keep in mind, including needing a new front tire before long, and gave me some highlighted diagrams he had photocopied from the Service Manual. I was very impressed with his work, his sincerity and his customer service.
After paying the bill (just over $70) I was out of Chick's at 6 p.m.
I called my uncle and aunt in Santa Fé and told them I was on the way, then headed north on Interstate 25.
Albuquerque sits at about 6,500 feet and there's a 500 foot increase as you drive the hour or so north to Santa Fé. Neither the Road King (fuel-injected) nor my lungs had any trouble adjusting to the altitude.
There's not much out there but beautiful country, a few Native American reservations, more beautiful country, and lots of concrete slabs. I watched for idiot drivers, as I always do.
My uncle and aunt live in the southern outskirts of Santa Fé, so it was only 53 miles from Chick's to their driveway. Joining them was my cousin, who came by after work. It was 72 degrees F. with a cool breeze when I arrived, and they treated me to orange juice and conversation on the patio, followed by hamburgers (with Swiss cheese!) and catching up with family news.
I parked the Road King in their garage and secured her for the evening.
They had invited me to stay in their spare bedroom, so after dinner I enjoyed a nice shower, some television, more family conversation and a nice, comfortable bed.
Miles for the day = 576.
Miles for the trip = 1394.
Another long, hot day, but nice to have an oil and filter change and know that all my nuts were tight.
Time spent at dealership = 2 hours and 50 minutes.
Number of t-shirts purchased = none.
Tomorrow: Las Vegas, New Mexico, the Great State of Texas, and more.