Sunday morning CG and I got up early. We were both anxious to get on the road. The ride had been fun but hearth and home were calling. After breakfast we pledged everlasting friendship and hit the road. At first I was going to retrace my ride across 375 and then, by side roads, back to I15 just above Cedar City, just 40 miles from home. Then I remembered that whole running on fumes thing and considering I was going to be solo thought it might be better to go south to Las Vegas instead. I jumped on Hwy 95 at 0745 with a full tank and an undiscovered road ahead.
We've all been there. Away from home, at the end of a fairly long and tiring trip. You just want to eat up the miles and get there. That pretty much sums up Day 3. The start of the ride was down another pretty much empty stretch of highway. the landscape went from nice to desert almost immediately. The road skirts Death Valley to the west and the Nevada Test Site on the east.
I made it to Beatty at 96 miles and I was glad it showed up when it did. Those of you with delicate constitutions may want to just skip this next part. See, CG and I had dinner at Mexican place the night before. The food was good but later that night I started feeling a stirring in a certain place below the belt line. If you catch my drift. I tried to relieve the pressure before starting out but no joy. I had premonitions but what you gonna do? Time and the road were calling so, full of self confidence in my ability to overcome any gastrointestinal difficulties I might encounter, I soldiered on. Until I got to about the 50 mile mark. Then the first pangs of discomfort hit me. I ignored it. Surely there would be somewhere to stop and relieve my incipient condition coming up any time now. Yep, any time now. Sigh, there's never a place to go when Pangs of Discomfort become Immediate Need. I started looking for a place on the side of the road where I could do the stop and squat. Soon that became anywhere, anywhere at all. But no luck. The land was flat and open with not so much as a telephone to shield me in my shame. I squirmed and stood on the pegs and prayed for divine intervention. At mile 96 my prayers were answered.
That's the gas station/restaurant/convenience store at Beatty, Nevada. She shore is purty ain't she? Got a very nice restroom too. I spent the better part of half an hour staring at those graffiti stained walls, thanking my lucky stars they even existed. How close was it? I was mentally cataloging all the extra clothes I'd toted along hoping I had enough to get me home because the flood was coming and if I hadn't stumbled across Beatty I was going to be doing a quick change on the side of the road.
Ok, enough of that. After taking care of all my needs I got back on the road and pointed BigBandido's nose toward Las Vegas. I passed Creech AFB along the way. I wanted to stop and take a few pictures but I wasn't certain my 'issues' were completely resolved so I kept the hammer down and thundered into Sin City.
126 miles from Beatty to Vegas. And it was hot. Like 110 degrees hot. I hit the first station I came to, filled up and spent another half hour trying to cool down and chugging a one liter Mountain Dew. It was so hot I briefly considered getting a room in a motel with a pool and taking up the rest of the ride early the next morning. Very briefly. I called Lu and the sound of her sweet voice convinced me to man up and get back to my baby just as quick as I could.
Back onto I15 north and home. By this point I was interested in one thing and one thing only. Miles and getting them under my wheels as expeditiously as possible. I may even have exceeded the speed limit once or twice. But just a couple of times. I swear.
I eschewed any more stops. Even with my somewhat advanced rate of speed I figured I could make the last leg in one non stop run. At 1430 local time on Sunday, after a 139 mile leg that had me on reserve for the last 9 miles (sorry about that Nevada, Arizona and Utah Highway Patrols. I was somewhat in a hurry. I'll slow down next time. I promise), I pulled into Casa Six and home. Three days, two nights and 1224 miles after I'd begun.
Here's proof that I made it without damaging BigBandido. There she is, looking just as good as the day I'd set out.
A few thoughts on traveling long distances by motorcycle.
-Pack carefully. I took way too much stuff. I barely touched all that crap I'd packed into the backpack attached to the rear seat. When I do it again I'll pare it down to just what I can fit into the tank bag and saddlebags.
-Know your mileage, range to reserve (if your bike has a reserve) and maximum range. Tend to fill up when and where you can anytime you're riding in sparsely settled areas.
-Make sure your bike is serviced, has good tires, chain and sprockets and everything is up to date. We were in areas where if we'd had a breakdown help was going to be hours, possibly many hours, away.
-Ride with a friend. I had fun every day but the last when I was riding alone. A good companion makes the miles a lot more pleasant and is a good backstop in case of problems.
-The Throttlemeister worked well within the confines of what it was intended for. I recommend it but keep it's limitations in mind.
-Take a camera and stop for pictures often. The second day we kept to that and got some great shots. The last day I didn't and now I regret not taking just a little more time.
-BigBandido worked flawlessly and was surprisingly comfortable. All in all a creditable sport touring machine. It's proof that you don't have to spend mega bucks to have a competent ride. I paid $2400 bucks for her and she was worth every penny. You can spend more and get more but don't turn away a bike just because it isn't considered a true sport tourer. You may be pleasantly surprised. I was. Sooner or later I'll probably upgrade to a BMW but if I don't I'll be well served with the one I've got.
-Buy saddlebags, even small ones. The ones I bought cost me a measly $72 dollars on sale and were money very well spent.
-Carry. We were in places where I kept expecting to see Burt Gummer drive by. Toting along a handgun just seemed like a good idea. Take a good one with spare ammo because there's just no place to put a rifle on a motorcycle. Carrying on a motorcycle is different from carrying in a car. You have to take into consideration that you may well find yourself sliding across the pavement on the seat of your pants and casual carry may result in a lost or severely damaged heater. My view is that I'm probably not going to be in a situation where immediate access while I'm riding is going to be an issue. I decided that having it in a holster in my tankbag put it in a place I could get to quickly and easily. You may have a better option or different opinion but put some thought into it before you leave. And know the carry laws in any jurisdiction you may find yourself in.
-Sport touring with a buddy on a motorcycle may be the most fun you'll ever have with your clothes on. I highly recommend it. Just get a bike, do your maintenance and preparation and GO! It's a freeing experience. Nothing but wind and sun and sights and new places and miles of adventure.
After the ride I was pooped. I spent the evening getting reacquainted with my wife and being mauled by Angus. He did the Doggy Dance of Joy when I got home and didn't let me out of his sight for a couple of days. I went to bed and he promptly curled up behind me in Daddy's Finally Home bliss. We slept in.
All in all a very good time. My eternal thanks to Car Guy for making the trip and keeping me company on the journey. A better companion doesn't exist. And remember, he started out the trip with a 640 mile ride just to get here bringing his total mileage to right at 1900 over 4 days. What can I say? He's a good man and I'm lucky to have him in my life. I love you brother.
The question of whether or not I'll do it again has arisen. The answer is yes. I think I'll probably limit it to two days at a time though. I thought that was just about right for a nice, relaxing ride. And I want to do the total mileage with someone. Riding distance solo isn't much fun at all.
I hope you enjoyed my travelogue. The time I spent on my motorcycle with CG was some of the best I've ever had on two wheels. If you're considering it all I can say is go for it. And if you're in my neck of the woods give me a holler. Me and BigBandido are always up for a ride. Just remember my traveling credo.