Tuesday, August 18

Monday's perfect, worry-free riding...all 530ish easy miles!

One upside to staying at the Bates Hotel (think the movie Psycho!) is that it got me up and out early! I paused at taking a shower because the shower area looked ghastly.  showerwall Lest I'm accused of being dramatic, here are a few pictures that reveal some of the better views of the hotel room. wallpeel

Here's a travel tip for Bates Hotels and even good hotels...Instead of packing shower shoes (those cheap flip flops) you stand in while showering in public facilities, place one of the hotel's hand towels in the shower. Stand on it while showering. showermat Prevents having to stand barefoot on the shower floor and by leaving shower shoes at home, this saves packing space too.

The Bags:

I'm beginning to “feel” the bags.  fueltank Today's set up was the best and fastest to date! I feared the same old slipping and sliding. Monday was different. The bags never budged. The only difference I can think of is that the more I've had to set them up, the better I've become. After Monday's 530ish miles, the bags never shifted!  Now, they were a tad cock-eyed because I can't get the bike on the center stand (shoulder is still healing) to make sure the bags are even. Still, they worked flawlessly today--and it made for absolute worry-free riding. The previous days of riding were greatly influenced by constantly thinking that one bag was resting on the exhaust, which blocks the ride endorphins! But not today.

Only one worry remained: the Denali light patched up with black duct tape. Unsightly to say the least. lightfix Early Monday morning I called one “motorcycle sports” shop. Their decline was immediate,“We don't have anyone available to do that.” Now, even I could see that it probably only needed a few screws. When asked if he had any recommendations for Amarillo shops that might help, he said, “David Brown's Sport Center.”

Brown was only a mile or so from me. Rather than call, I showed up. Perhaps if they saw the desperation in my face, they'd help. A white haired man who looked to be in his seventies (David Brown?) told me to take the bike behind the building to the service area, “Talk to the guys there.” Met a young, blond-haired man, probably in his twenties walking the grounds. He looked at the light, said it was “no problem.” He patiently removed all the tacky duct tape and within ten minutes—including looking for the right size screws, the light was restored to its original position! We chatted while he worked.  allfixed When he finished, I asked for the cost. He said, “No cost, don't worry.” We went back and forth on this and I could tell his refusal to accept money was genuine. No fake modesty. I pushed money toward him and told him to at least permit me to buy him lunch. He said, “You really don't have to do that.” He proceeded to walk back toward the service door. I urged him to allow me to show my appreciation. He smiled faintly, thanked me, and we departed. 

Later while riding, I wondered if I had been too insistent about him taking the money. It made me feel good, but did it make him feel good to take it? Perhaps I should have accepted his gift to me? Turning his kindness into a monetary transaction, in a way, felt like I was devaluing the purity of the gift. I can now see where the exchange of money on the gift was a vain attempt to quantify the gift, when in reality, it couldn't be quantified—not really. Oh well...being on the bike for hours gives me a lot to mull over matters. I simply wanted to show my appreciation for his time and talents.  If you're ever in Amarillo, I highly recommend David Brown's Sports Center for all you motorcycle and sports related needs.

The weather couldn't have been more perfect. It started out in the upper 60s. The cross winds made it feel cooler. But it was a welcome relief compared to Sunday's scorcher, which felt sticky and yucky the whole day's ride. But today remained comfortable throughout. It reached the upper 80s somewhere leaving Amarillo and in New Mexico the temps climbed. However, it never became sweat-popping hot. My mesh jacket was comfortable. In Pine Springs, New Mexico, the elevation rose to over 6000 feet and the roads nicely reflected the ascent. Lots of wide swoops, dips and curves—very conducive to long days in the saddle. Thanks to trucks, I did have some cheek tightening moments. I try to steer clear of trucks; I saw several sway wildly on curves and during grade changes in the road. Many seemed to waddle before finding solid ground.

Still, the ride was 99% worry free, which makes for stress-less motoring IMHO. I don't recall furrowing my brow once! My eyes, however, are bloodshot, dry and itchy. I think I'm a tad dehydrated. Still, Monday was simple joy: ear plugs in, sunglasses released from its internal housing inside the Nolan helmet, DrySpec bags, rock solid, and my mind cleared of worries, taking in all the gorgeous landscape that lined both sides of I-40. I jumped off the interstate for bits and pieces of old historic Rt 66—nothing more could made Monday's ride more perfect. trading66pic

I'm headed to southern CA tomorrow.