I'm back home in Utah and Car Guy is safely ensconced in his palatial villa in California. It was a great trip and we had a lot of fun. It was hot though. Man was it ever hot.
We got started bright and early on Thursday. Car Guy on his brand spankin' new black Suzuki V-Strom 1000 and me on the blue BMW R1100RT. Both bikes rode well and we ended up with almost identical 50 mpg averages. Not too bad at all. My tank holds 5.4 gallons and his 5.9 which gave us a lot more peace of mind on those long runs across deserted highways than the Big Bandido and V-Rod did from last year. We both had plenty of storage space with the saddlebags but I do need to add a trunk for next year.
On the run out to New Mexico we were under a time constraint so we pretty much put our heads down and motored for our destination in Albuquerque. The ride was over roads we both knew well and we limited stops to gas and the occasional leg stretching. We did run into a storm near the Arizona/New Mexico border. The wind was bad enough but it was the rain which sucked. Oh, not the getting wet part but the open faced helmet part. I decided to go with my hot weather open face Shoei. It was fine until the rain started pelting my face at 80 mph. Decidedly painful but fortunately short. There was one more issue with my helmet. I forgot sunscreen and by the time we got home my face was already starting to peel around my nose, cheeks and mouth.
We met with Car Guy's family and especially his beloved granddaughter who is recovering miraculously from her near fatal accident. On Friday we had the day to ourselves and dropped in on Instinct and his lovely bride. Good people both. After some show and tell from his grip workshop (he's working on a set for me) and viewing some paintings from the incredibly talented Mrs. Instinct we headed out for a very nice pizza at Dion's. Unfortunately we had to get back to visit with Car Guy's baby so didn't have the time for an in depth visit. Next time we should have a more flexible schedule. Thanks to Mr. and Mrs. Instinct for a lovely visit.
Whether or not to stay Saturday and leave Sunday or just head out Saturday morning was the prime topic of discussion Friday evening. We had dinner with the whole (almost) Car Guy clan and much frivolity and good times were had by all. Granddaughter is in astonishingly good spirits in spite of the still visible reminders of her harrowing ordeal. She still walks with a walker and has some pretty extensive scarring but she's alive and well on her way to recovery. Lu and I bought her a cross to remind her and everyone just exactly who was riding shotgun with her and worked his miracle on her life (indeed all our lives) by preserving her intact. She swears she'll never take it off and I believe her. She is one committed kid. Lu and I both got a bracelet from her that she's been wearing. Yeah, I'll take that charm. I need all the good vibes I can get.
We decided that we'd accomplished all we'd set out to do and as the mountain road we were considering extending our stay to ride was closed due to wild fires and fears in the area heading home was indicated. Saturday we got up early and hit the road for hearth and home. This time we were under no time issues so we took our time and some roads neither of us had ever seen. We started out taking 550 north out of Albuquerque with full tanks and adventure on our minds. We stopped in Cuba for a belated breakfast at Bobby and Margie's Cuban Cafe. The omelets were fantastic and the waitress admirably tolerant of our nonsense. We didn't get to see Fidel though. I was so disappointed.
This is high country. The road is wonderful and I recommend it to anyone driving through this area. Four lanes, well kept with rolling hills reaching ever up until it tops out at about 7000 feet. It crosses the Continental divide. As you go up it's full of trees and grasses and is cool, green and very pleasant. On the downside the country starts to change into the high desert that marks so much of this part of the country. This is Elk and wild horse country. We saw none of the former and many of the latter. I like it. A lot. There was one humorous note though. On all the uphills we encountered signs warning us that we couldn't see through the mountain. I thought that was kinda obvious but apparently NMDOT disagrees. There's gotta be a lowest common denominator story in there somewhere.
Car Guy posing provocatively at a little gas stop just past the Divide marker. He's so awesome, especially with that untucked shirt peeking out from under his jacket thing going on. Stylish.
Our route took us through Farmington New Mexico. I like the area. Hot without being OMG hot. Pleasant with good roads and plenty to do. As the name suggests it is farming country and we saw many farm supply businesses. Car Guy also spotted this sign and insisted we turn around for the picture. Skating carhops. I love small town USA.
Just a couple of guys on their motorcycles exploring America. I love these rides and I'm going to keep on doing them as long as I can convince Car Guy to put up with me. I can't explain it adequately. If you're into motorcycles but have never just saddled up and headed out for a long ride with a good friend I can't recommend the experience highly enough. Just go do it.
We turned more northwest and skirted the edge of Monument Valley. This is the Shiprock. The nearby town carries the same name.
This is Baby Rocks. Why Baby Rocks? I have no idea but the name tickled me. There is a home nestled in there between the outcrops. Seems like a pretty secure location but it is smack dab in the middle of nowhere. This is also part of the Navajo Reservation.
The road is lonely, high and long. We had one run of 126 miles between gas stations. Arguments in favor of both big tank capacities and frequent fill ups. Montana may be the Big Sky state but it's got nothing on this part of Utah/Arizona. You can see forever.
Church Rock. These sandstone spires are everywhere and are the 'monuments' that give Monument Valley it's name. I'm going to load Lu and Angus into the truck one of these days and do a more in depth visit. They really are very neat.
We ended up on Hwy 89 toward Page, Arizona. By that time my legs and butt hurt and we were both pretty much overheated and parched. It was decided to grab the first fast food joint we saw and sit in the air conditioning for a bit. Yeah, that's foreshadowing right there. I was leading at the time and it's been a long time since I was last in Page and I wasn't really trying to memorize the place way back then. We headed down the road and made a wide right turn and suddenly no more Page, Arizona!! We were on the Glen Canyon Dam bridge and on our way to Kanab, Utah 73 miles away. It was push on or turn back. I unilaterally decided to push on. I think Car Guy will forgive me some day. But not today. We got into Kanab about as fast as I dared to go and hit the McDonalds for a drink and some cool air time.We even found some shade for our trusty steeds.
On Hwy 59, just up the road from home there is this.
Finally we puled into Casa Six, sore, tired but content. 1174.2 miles over three days. Of course Car Guy had a 650 mile ride to get to my house and another 650 mile ride to get back to his but then he is smarter, handsomer and awesomer than I am.
This was a great ride. I always enjoy a chance to get in the wind on my motorcycle and when it's with a man I consider my brother from another mother it's just that much sweeter. I also was elated to get the chance to see his granddaughter who I love almost as much as my own. I've known Car Guy's kids since they were kids and to see them all alive and well made my heart soar with joy. The chance to finally meet up with someone out there in blog land was just icing on the cake.
The BMW rode without a hiccup. I was both happy and impressed, after all it is a 14 year old motorcycle. BMW builds them very well. If I ever update I will take a very long, hard look at the new version of this motorcycle, the R1200RT. Mine is a fabulous motorcycle, the best sport tourer I've ever ridden. It does need an upgraded seat though. I'm looking at Corbin and Sargent even as we speak.
A quick word on carrying on a motorcycle. You have a lot of options, everything from in a tank bag, to on person to saddlebag carry. It all depends. There are a few things to consider. How quickly can you get to it? How quickly to you want to get to it? What happens in an accident? What about weather or even changing conditions? Will you have to switch jackets and if so how and where?
I chose two methods. I started out carrying my Airweight on my left hip in a crossdraw holster. I eventually switched to a....wait for it....fanny pack. I know, I know. Man Purse, right? Well, it has definite advantages on a bike. Mine is large enough to carry all my crap, gun, phone, wallet, reloads, etc. I can carry it either on the front (crotch hold) or in the small of my back. I like crotch hold because it puts the bag where I can see and feel it easily and is more secure plus it has a quick release so I can access the gun pretty quickly (yes, I have practiced with it). In the event of an accident it's built well enough that I think (I don't really want to know) it'll stay relatively put. Most involved in a get off tend to slide on their backs where the holster part of the bag will drag and dig in to your body. Bad things. In a violent accident all bets are going to be off anyway and I don't think anyone has a holster that is guaranteed to hold up in that case. Just my two cents worth. If you have a better motorcycle carry option please post it in comments. I'll even try one out for you if you'd like.
So we're both home safe and sound after another epic trip. Car Guy is making noises about another, maybe in September. If so I'll be traveling out to him (for once). But I'm not nearly as insane as he is. I'll load up the BMW on my trailer and drive out to California. Yep, I am just a big ol' wuss.
Thanks to DO for minding the store while I was gone and thanks to you all for dropping by and keeping us in business. And a huge thank you again for your prayers. I've now seen her and she is our miracle child in truth.