Thursday, May 25, 2006

El Centro, California

IT HAS BEEN ONE LONG DAY. Arrived at the hotel in El Centro, CA about 9:30 PM. Had about 13 hours actual drive time today. Logged 640 hard miles.
We left Socorro, NM at 05:30am and headed towards AZ on Hwy 60. Two hours later we were in Arizona. Absolute beautiful drive. We left the hotel and the temperature was about 63 degress. An hour later the temperature dropped down to about 45 and we had to stop and add more clothes. Found a great place for breakfast in Quemado, New Mexico called the Largo Cafe. Will have to stop again during the next 3Flags trip. After passing through Springerville, AZ, the ride became awesome. From Springerville to Globe, AZ, the road was a bikers dream, 130 miles long. Twisting left and right hand turns, down to the bottom of canyons and back up again, and then start all over again. Came upon a Ford Bronco that had a collision with an elk that looked to be about 1800 pounds. Neither one fared too well. Not to long after seeing that, a small deer ran out in front of Gary. He saw it in time and had no trouble avoiding it. Not to long after that, a naked chipmunk or squirrel ran out in front of me. Can't tell whether I missed it or what.
After passing through Globe, AZ. things went down hill. First came the road construction, then when merging onto Interstate 10, the traffic became a nightmare. By the time we got close to Phoenix, the temp was reading 107. So, it's like really hot, traffic is terrible, and road construction going on and I (Carl) start having these nodding off spells. Bumper to bumper, people all around us, horns honking, people screaming at each other because the Phoenix Suns kicked Dallas' ass in the NBA playoffs, and I'm trying to take a nap while riding the bike. So we had to pull over 3 times so I could walk around and get awake again. One of these stops, at a rest area, we met a guy named Nigel from the South of Wales, UK. He was borrowing a bike (BMW) from a friend in Houston and riding to CA and go up the west coast to Vancouver, B.C. Nigel is here on a 3 month visa and taking a 6 week vacation.
Gary said, "Not a bad idea; too bad we can't have a 6 week vacation." Maybe someday !
Made good time driving down to El Centro. Arrived at the hotel and cleaned up the bikes. MORE BUGS !
Considering the heat, no performance awards and no trouble. Its been a pretty good day !
The plan for tomorrow is to make the first corner at San Ysidro, then to the airport and pick up Barbara, the up the west coast highway to San Francisco. Do not know how many stops we will make.

El Centro, CA Satellite Image
High Temp: 106, Low Temp: 67, Wind-W, 10mph
Skies clear

Next Stop: San Francisco, CA (Click to see route) Start Time 5:30am
Distance: 644.3 miles, Time: 8 hrs 50 min

May 24, 2006 - (The one I didn't post last night) Well, here we are in beautiful downtown Socorro, NM. We rode 11 hours today and covered 650 miles. The first place we stop for gas was a joke. A major oil company truck stop that you couldn't go to the bathroom (out of order), no coffee for Gary, and they couldn't take credit cards because the PC was down. Hope this isn't an omen of things to come.
Going through west Texas the head wind was awesome. Dropped the gas mileage on my bike down to 33 mpg. With my bike carrying a lot more weight than I usually do, Gary and I decided to stop for gas every two hours. This will also give us a short break that should enable us to ride longer per day. Weather was really nice until we got past Snyder, TX. Ran into several bug showers (check out the audio blog for the intense moment of the day).
Upon arriving in New Mexico, the temperature was 100+. Best way to cool down was to stand out in the sun when stopping for gas, get a good sweat going, then hop on the bike and take off. The wind would keep us cool until the sweat evaporated. Stopped at the border and took pictures, something we plan to do at every border that is crossed.
Talked to a guy that was staying in the same hotel and he had just ridden in from Yuma, AZ. He was about 65 years old and riding a Honda Shadow 1100. He was checking on his winter home in Yuma and was heading back to Colorado to his summer home. Man, If I could afford a summer and winter home, I think I would fly the airlines.