Day Three by Dave Schultheis
Sunday, May 26, 2002 - Ludlow, California
I had difficulty sleeping. I was awake about 2:30 a.m. and then again at 5:30 a.m. I don't know if it was noisy trucks, a head cold, the uncomfortable bed, the temperature change, or worry about motorcycle security. Probably a little of each.
Light started coming in the window as sunrise approached, so I got up and dressed, packed and loaded, and took a few photographs outside the motel. By this time the parking lot was full; evidently a lot of people pulled off the highway and stayed here.
I moved the Road King away from the building to start the engine and warm up. I had a short conversation with the motel maid, left my key and got on the road at 6:10 a.m.
As soon as I got on Interstate 40, I encountered construction. All traffic was in the eastbound lanes for about ten miles and then all traffic was in the westbound lanes for another ten miles. When all lanes were open again, the speed limit was 70 for cars and 55 for trucks, there was nothing interesting to look at, and it was getting warmer.
At 7:40 a.m. I stopped for gas in Needles CA and got some breakfast at Jack-in-the-Box next door. The orange juice, which clearly said on the label "thawed for your convenience," was not thawed, so I put it under a bungee cord on the bike, so that it would thaw a bit in the sunshine as I rode. I talked to a couple of locals sitting on an outdoor bench. Then another rider showed up on a purple Gold Wing; said he had an H-D at home in Carmel Valley. He had "CYCLBUM" on his license plate, along with an Iron Butt Association plate.
I continued east in I-40, crossed the Colorado River into Arizona at 8:23 a.m., and stopped for pictures. The speed limit for all vehicles was now 75 mph and it was warm.
About a half hour later I stopped at the Halloway Rest Area for a picture, some notes, the juice (now fluid), and to remove the splash guards ("soft lowers").
Another 45 minutes and I was in Kingman AZ, where it was 76 degrees at 9:30 a.m. I stopped at a place where I thought I could get a free Arizona map, but this was a "for profit" organization, so I skipped the map.
East of Kingman the altitude went up and it started to cool. CYCLBUM passed me, moving pretty good, and then it started to get warm again.
Another hour later I was in Seligman, stopped at a Chevron Station - The Route 66 Store, for pictures. While resting, I talked to a group of riders enroute to Williams. One had an H-D, one had an Indian and one had a Gold Wing. I took their picture with their camera and they were on their way. After a few minutes, so was I.
Just west of Williams, I saw a broken-down bike on the other side of the highway. I got into town and circled back, only to be told by the woman that someone had stopped and taken her husband to parts house for a cable, and that she would be fine. So I got back on eastbound and continued my trip.
After a short map check, I continued another 20 miles or so and stopped at Bellemont AZ at Grand Canyon Harley-Davidson. They have a dealership, a cafe, recreational vehicle park and a campground. The dealership was nice, the bathroom was great, they did not have an Fat Boy logo t-shirts, so I continued another 10 miles to Flagstaff, where I stopped for some phone calls and then continued.
At about 2 p.m. I pulled into Winslow AZ for some directions to the "Standing on the Corner" statue. I found it, along with a man willing to take a picture for me.
Close to Holbrook AZ there was a sign for the Petrified Forest National Park, but when I got off the main road the sign said 18 miles. I needed a National Park picture but wasn't willing to make a 36 mile round trip.
I had not checked the map carefully enough to know what I found out a few miles later; that there was another entrance to the park, and it was a few hundred feet from the highway. So I stopped there at about 3:30, took a couple of pictures, and got back on the road with another point.
Just after the Road King turned over 85,000 miles (29,540 of them mine), I stopped to got out of the sun at the Navajo Truck Center, which includes a Texaco Station, a convenience store and a Subway sandwich restaurant inside. It was hot! There was a dog laying in the shade near the gas pumps. I resupplied with cold drinks and kept going.
At 4:25 p.m. Pacific Time, it became 5:25 p.m. Mountain Time as I crossed into New Mexico (picture) and continued another half hour to a Chevron Station in Gallup for fuel. The station looked familiar; I may have stopped there last year.
Continuing eastbound on I-40, I could see dark clouds in the distance and it was windy. It had been a long day and it was going to get longer.
About 7:20 p.m. I pulled into the Acomita Rest Area (exit 102). A worker told me it was another 60 miles to Albuquerque. I had to continue, for there was not much between here and there. It was windy. Quite windy. Very windy. It was a long ride. And I could see some thunder strikes to the east.
About 9:30 p.m. Mountain Time I fought my way through road construction and pulled off I-40 onto what appeared to be "motel row" on the west side of Albuquerque. My first stop was a Red Roof Inn. They offered the AAA discount but had no ground-floor, non-smoking rooms. A room would have been $33 but there was no safe place to park.
I walked to a couple other places but the best I could find was a $62 room at the Holiday Inn Express. They had a ground-floor, non-smoking room and I could park right outside the room. However, the clerk ("Anthony") told me I could also park at the main entrance, under the overhang, where it was extremely well lit. So, after unloading the bike at the room, I did just that; cabled the bike to a pillar and enjoyed the security of it all.
I got some ice, made some notes, turned on CNN, had some juice, took a shower, checked the maps and felt much better than I had for hours. Just before going to bed, I security-checked the bike and it was fine.
Miles for the day = 636. A personal best. So far. Miles for the trip = 1445.
Tomorrow: Cool, windy, my annual visit to the Quay County Jail, and many miles of Texas.