Day 1 600 miles.
This morning we left at the early hour of 3:30 AM. This was our attempt to beat the heat that right now is well over 100 degrees mid day in Arizona. Riding a motorcycle in those conditions is like sitting in a blast furnace.
Even though we left so early it was still warm in Phoenix and I thought we were in for a long day. Surprisingly, as soon as we got outside of Phoenix, the temps dropped way down and I even got cold going through Wickenberg. I was tempted to stop and add more clothing but I decided instead to enjoy being cold because later in the day I would hopefully appreciate it.
By dawn we had already traveled 100 miles and temps were still cool. This was a very nice start to the trip because at the time I felt we were well ahead of schedule, with what hope to be a great trip and the sun was just starting to come up on the horizon.
By 7:00 AM we made it to Parker and Lake Havasu. We stopped for breakfast at a restaurant by the river and checked out the water skiers coming by.
Of course I had to snap a quick shot of the London Bridge as I came by.
Going through Needles to Barstow is a very barren part of California and is normally one of the hottest areas in the nation.
The whole rest of the day we were never more than 100 miles from Death Valley and we kept seeing signs pointing to Death Valley. Along this way, outside of Barstow we arrived at a place I could best describe as Hell, called “Four Corners”. Basically, an intersection out in the middle of the desert where, 2 freeways intersected and there was one traffic light. It just seemed like a place that no one wanted to be at and everyone was passing through as fast as possible.
Right behind these old buildings, off in the distance was Death Valley. By this time it was just afternoon and was extremely hot, David’s thermometer on the bike read 140 degrees. I’m sure that was an error due to the hot wind but it’s been accurate every since. We still wanted to ride at least 150 more miles today and get completely clear of the heat and the desert. Our plan was to compress all of the hot desert riding into one day and get it out of the way quickly.
In the afternoon we made it to a town called Independence. It was far enough into the Sierra Nevada’s and out of the heat that we decided to stop and camp for the night. This was a nice little camp area not ˝ mile from town with a stream running through the camping area. After setting up camp and getting everything organized we decided to head into town and get some supplies for the evening. It wasn’t long after that I heard a loud noise as David exited the camping area and soon after I learned the first challenge had already started.
Apparently heading out through a rocky section, he caught his footpeg on a rock and completely tore the assembly off the bike. The part not only had the footpeg but also the shift lever. There would be no way to rest his foot on that side but more importantly he couldn’t shift and that wouldn’t work for travel.
After looking at it for a while we came up with the plan to reattach one large piece with JB Weld and secure it over night with bailing wire to keep it in place. The lower attachment point would need longer screws and a spacer to reattach it.
I headed into Lone Pine, the town we had previously passed to get the hardware we needed to repair. I was able to get some bolts at the True Value store and then headed to the local NAPA. It was already 5:30 and luckily Dave, the parts guy was still in the office. Dave hooked us up with some bolts that would work better and a stack of washers that would make a good spacer. More importantly though, he made a few calls and found us a welder that could properly reattach the broken parts. I rode over to George Miller’s welding shop a couple of streets over from the NAPA store and showed the whole mess to George. He agreed to weld the parts the next morning at his shop but was none too happy with all the JB Weld we put on the parts. Apparently JB Weld causes lots of problems when trying to weld metal. After setting this up, I headed back to camp to bring the parts and relax.
When I was about to leave another rider approached and said “Don’t see too many people on BMW’s in the states”. Turns out, Gideon was from South Africa and was riding up from Venezuela. He also was on his way to Alaska for sight seeing and he would look for a job to make traveling money while up there. I invited Gideon to come back to our camp and pitch camp by us and maybe we would join up for part of the Alaska ride. We stopped on the way back and picked up some beer and water and then headed back to camp.