Final Preparations

2008 December 20
by Levi

Met some great people after writing Monday night’s post (friends of the aforementioned motel employee – Hi Richard). They were on the way to make some good use of a tattoo gun they happened to have, and offered me some commemorative ink, but sadly I didn’t have a good design in mind. Too bad.

Woke up bright and early in Tehachapi on Tuesday ready to dig my bike out of a few frozen inches of snow. Added another two signatures, including one in Hebrew. Battled my first mechanical problem when the cable that’s supposed to cut the engine when the bike is in gear and the kickstand is down froze overnight. This left me with a bike that thought the kickstand was down even when it wasn’t, and with a bike that would die as soon as I put it in gear. Luckily, my obsessive research into the bike before buying it had warned me of this, so I knew what the problem was, and it wasn’t too hard to disable the system altogether. A few slushy miles later, I reached clear, if still very cold, freeway.

As the day productively wore on, the eastern sky that was my destination deepened to a dark bruised visage, as if to question my chosen direction of travel. My rear-view mirrors reflected the setting sun hanging in a watercolor sky, an unnecessary contrast to the upcoming rain. Hours of looming doom never came to fruition, and I finally pulled into Tonopah, just West of Phoenix, still dry from the day’s travel. I stayed at a heavily armed motel (complete with NRA stickers in the office, and paintings of Native Americans with guns adorning the rooms) and ate dinner at an awesome sleazy diner with $3 pitchers of beer.

Interesting things seen on day 2: a sign advising we “Get the US out of the UN,”  – home to the 20 Mule Team Borax plant and mine – the largest Borax mine in the world.

Then I was on the home stretch of the first leg of the trip, with just 366 miles to go before reaching Silver City, NM to meet up with my dad. I hit the road early and without breakfast (the NRA apparently is happier to spend their money on guns than breakfast) and had that old craving I get in the early morning on a road trip: Waffle House. A mostly southern phenomena, I hadn’t tasted the pools of brakkish grease dripping from those hash browns and eggs, the big round waffle that looks so impressive in the menu, and the sub-par coffee since I’d been in Georgia over a year ago for a work conference, and with multiple road trips to Florida (Spring Break, helping Brandy move, and visiting my Brother) through Ground Zero for the Waffle House movement, the thought hung heavy in my traveling mind. No sooner did my stomach protest to my foodless start did the telltale Waffle House sign hang, beckoning, in the cold morning sky. Empty calories, and the first former biking codger intent on explaining every motorcycle trip he’d taken greeted my waking consciousness. On the road again.

Mountains, shrub-covered foothills evocative of West Texas, and finally ungodly windy desert brought me into my dad’s friends Joe and Deb’s driveway in Silver City, NM, where we’ve spent the last few days in preparation. On my bike, we’ve added connections for a power outlet, a hookup for my electric jacket liner, missing bolts and nuts, new tires, and a healthy dose of loctite and torque to much of the hardware. I also must add to my Dad’s praise of our hosts in feeding, housing, and putting up with us for the last few days…

Interesting things seen on Day 3: the first bad traffic of the trip, more cops than any part of America should be allowed (though many waved as I passed), my dad and his bike waiting on the side of the road – aware to nearly the minute when I would arrive thanks to my GPS tracker.

The haiatus is nearly complete. Friends, family, and viewers, start your browsers: Tomorrow, we ride.

4 Responses leave one →
  1. 2008 December 20
    Jean-Marc permalink

    Hey Levi !

    I’m so bummed I missed your departure ! I’ll make sure I follow your adventures online… I which I had the experience to do a trip like that myself… Some day soon surely, and in the meantime I’ll think about you when I roam the Bay Area backroads on my KLR.

    So long, have fun and ride safe !

    Jean-Marc The KLR Neighboor…

    • 2008 December 21


      Great to hear from you man. Sorry we never did take that ride, but it’s nice to see you got to my Blog. Your time will come to put that KLR to task :) In the meantime, keep the rubber down!


  2. 2008 December 22
    Marc McCole permalink

    haha, only you would just happen to meet someone willing to doll out some free ink.

  3. 2009 January 7
    Brandy permalink

    Ahh yes I remember our Waffle House adventures…I don’t think we could have stopped at EVERY one. What were we thinking anyway?