For months my NT-riding buddy Rick Ryan and I had been planning to do the Epic Ride together. But just before the NT/ST-Owners Rally in Spearfish, Rick started having serious family issues. These required him to abandon the Alaska part of the trip, which opened the door for Jim Rau to ride with me through Canada and Alaska. We had a great time and managed to adjust to two radically different personal circadian rhythms. Jim’s a quick-starter in the morning. I, to put it mildly, am not. But we handled it.
When Jim left Prince George, he headed home to Wisconsin. Rick got back to his home in Henderson, NV, on that same Friday that Jim and I rode to PG. After a quick packing job and a night’s sleep, Rick left Henderson and rode to Baker, OR, on the day I was riding from Prince George to Blaine, WA. He joined me in Blaine on Sunday evening a week ago.
We rode Leg One of the Four Corners Tour together, but got separated in one of the Freeway Crawls yesterday. When I got to the hotel after collecting the Corner at San Ysidro, I could tell he wasn’t feeling good at all.
When we woke up this morning, he said that one of the things he’d learned when he was taking flying lessons was that if something didn’t feel right, you ought not to be doing it. Even thinking about doing the CC-50 didn’t feel right to Rick, and neither did riding farther away from home than he was this morning. He said that his ego was telling him to go but his gut and his brain were telling him that he didn’t have it in him to go any farther.
I really appreciate Rick’s integrity and judgment in choosing to terminate his part in the Ride today instead of cratering somewhere on the causeway above the Atchafalaya Basin in Louisiana (for instance). He made it home, but it took him way longer than it should have and he considered stopping for the night in Baker, 85 miles from his house.
I left SD at about noon, stopped for a late breakfast that included a burrito at a Carl’s Jr, east of San Diego, and then rode on through the mountains to the Imperial Desert and then into Arizona at Yuma. The temperatures were a balmy 105-110F, but the winds were light and one of the things I learned from Rick (and had confirmed by Kurt Worden, a long distance rider who had witnessed the start of my now-abandoned CC-50) was to ride with LD Comfort long underwear and with all the vents to my Aerostitch Roadcrafter riding suit closed. The LD Comfort gear is a two-layer wicking material that keeps your skin totally dry and all the sweat you have goes to the outside. Air comes up the open cuffs of the ‘Stitch arms, hits the sweat (or water if you pour it up your sleeves and instantly creates a micro-climate inside the suit. You can actually be cool in 110. You can get the water onto the outside of the LD Comfort stuff by pouring it up (or down) your sleeves and your neck or by drinking it and sweating it out. I did both today, drinking about two liters of water between the start of the Imperial Desert and Tucson. The temperature stayed above 100 until about an hour after sundown.
I’m staying at another Motel 6. This one is only $39.99 for a senior. Motel 6’s are another good legacy that Rick passed along to me.
I’m going to ride somewhere into Texas tomorrow so I can get to Katy and visit Kathy and Bob Harvey Tuesday night. Kathy’s my ex-wife’s sister and she and Bob are great friends. Plus, when we’re together, we almost always manage to find the best Mexican food on the west side of Houston.
On Wednesday, I’ll get to Baton Rouge, where an NT-Owner’s Forum member will set me up for an oil and filter change.
I’ve ordered a GPS that will be waiting for me at my brother Mike’s house in South Carolina next week. Navigating from here to Florida isn’t too challenging. I made the only turn when I merged from I-8 onto I-10 (although I guess I’ll do a stint on I-12 east of Baton Rouge).
A few pictures:
Stats: Day, 457 miles; Trip, 10,420 miles; Year, 16,280 miles; Total for bike, 68,372 miles.