Day 66 so what is better than Route 66 what a coincidence I am staying in a motel on Route 66 on day 66 of my trip. I started of with my free breakfast at Denny’s packed the bike very slowly as it was 110 Fahrenheit 43 centigrade so very hot in all my bike gear did a quick cruise on my bike of the Las Vegas strip and then headed out to Hoover Dam. It got hotter up to 114 Fahrenheit 45 centigrade so to hot to stop and walk around I just took a few pictures and then hit the road to Arizona and Route 66.
I stopped at strange little town called Chloride! And got chatting to a guy who just opened a bar a week ago Digger Dave good to get out of the heat for while. Hit the road after a short break and then onto Route 66.
In the distance it had turned black and there was a huge electrical storm and before I knew it I was in it the wind was picking up and it started to rain and the temperature had dropped to 67 Fahrenheit 19 centigrade which was a relief after the heat of the last couple of days I was quite glad for the rain but what worried me more was the lightning I felt a tad exposed so decided to call it quits at about 5pm and got a motel in Seligman and I went for Dinner at a German Diner and I had pea soup and a wiener schnitzel which was nice except they had a really annoying waitress who kept wanted to see if I was okay how many times does she need to ask I had a hot sweaty day and all I wanted was a bit of peace and quite but she did not seem to get the message sometimes I just want to be left alone without all the inane chit-chat it spoilt a nice dinner. I went for a bit of a walk looking at all the old cars and route 66 memorabilia then back to the motel to get this up to date!
wheres me dinner!
Today is Grand Canyon Day I had been there before about 15 years ago when I was in the process of delivering a car from LA to Jacksonville and I only had a fixed amount of time to do this so I think I spent no more than 30 minutes there before whizzing on so this time I was determined to spend slightly longer time there than that.
Seligman on Route 66 is a collection of Motels and Memorabilia stores and by the time I crawled out of my pit it was full of tour buses so I was glad I did my wandering around last night as the place was crawling with tourist’s and as we all know my sentiments on tourist’s. I typed in Safeway’s into my GPS and there was one within a couple of miles in Williams so just right for breakfast then it is of to the Grand Canyon.
Route 66 Arizona
I was heading towards the Canyon when I felt something wet on my wrist and at first I thought I had just been shat on by a bird as there where blues sky in front of me blue skies in my mirrors and when I looked left and right the sky was also blue with some fluffy white clouds and then it began to rain so I looked up and above me was a huge black cloud which was surreal as all around there was perfect blues skies with fluffy white clouds. It was like one of those cartoons when you see people wandering around with a black rain cloud above their heads. Fortunately only a brief shower and not long before I quickly rode out of it. As you can imagine the Grand Canyon was heaving with tourist’s so the plan was to use the free Shuttle Bus and get as far away from the masses as possible but in the end I spent most of the day on over crowded shuttle buses as I guess everyone else had the same idea.
wheres me head!
there it is!
Pleasant enough as I managed to get a decent window seat on most of the trips. I did a bit of a wandering but it was still hot and walking in my leathers and bike boots was bit hard going so I only did a couple of km along the rim at the far end of the shuttle bus route which was nice as very few folks around making the grand canyon a lot a better place than where the tourist do congregate.
It was about 5pm ish when I left the park destination Flagstaff where I knew of 2 hostels but I also knew that they where fully booked but I was going to give them a try anyhow. Nice ride from the park to Flagstaff sun was going down so light was nice and a bit cooler than it had been. No room at either of the places so back on Route 66 heading east looking for a cheap motel. Before I knew it I was out Flagstaff back on the Freeway and in the middle of no where and it was getting dark. I am always reluctant to do a U-turn and go back from where I had already been as onward and forward is my motto so I kept on going and soon it was pitch dark. One of my rules is never to ride at night mainly because of the animals on the road but that was not an issue here but because I am not in hurry and I do not need to ride in the dark and here I was in the middle of no where in the pitch dark and the next civilisation 40 miles away. Idiot I had no idea what was in the next town but as I turned of the freeway I saw a motel for a reasonable price so that was going to be my home for the night it was about 9pm so I was to tired to go into town so I had a burritos and Muffin for me tea brought at the local gas station and I settled in for the night. The guy said he had thought of me when he gave me room 8 and I understood what he meant when I got in. A lot of route 66 memorabilia but with a motorcycle theme mainly Harley’s so this was a nice gesture me thinks.
Route 66 Wigwam Motel
I have no idea where I am and I have no idea where I am going. The Plan is to do the Route 66 to Chicago I am not sure why as to be honest it is not that inspiring. I had my free breakfast and I chatted with Chuck owner of the motel when a native Indian woman came in asking about a key that she may have left there 2 years ago. She was quite obviously drunk which was scary, as she had just driven up in a car. She then pounced some breakfast and disappeared calling chuck a white bastard. So the conversation turned to aboriginal’s and how much they get from the government and their dependency on hand outs etc. This was such a déjà vu conversation as I have had it many times in Australia and Canada and in many countries I am not sure where I stand on this lot of finger-pointing and very little understanding but what I just witness gave a lot credence to the lazy freeloading drunk stereotype that is used in these dialogs so lets just say I was more concerned that she got in her car and drove away as another drunk behind the wheel is that what scares me most as I was just about to hit the road again.
Another hot day and this time I went to the Petrified Forest and Painted Desert National Park which was nice even though I was not ideally dressed for the weather conditions.
Hot and lost
It took longer than I thought and I also crossed the state line into New Mexico and lost an hour without realising it so at about 4pm ish so I decided to call it a day in a town called Gallup I did not cover too much distance today I only did 160 miles today but the heat is exhausting for a chubby little fellow like me. Loads of motel in Gallup all advertising cheap rates but when you roll up well suddenly the rate on the huge billboard is not valid and its more expensive. This was pissing me off no end I was hot sweaty and tired and very irritable. I eventually got one that matched the price on the sign but when I went to put my gear in my room it had not been made up and looked a mess. I had already woke the young guy up from his afternoon nap (idle bastard) all I wanted was a nap as well. Room eventually sorted next problem Internet. Got chatting to the guy and I found out the reason he was napping was that he was fasting for Ramadan so a retraction of the previous idle bastard comment and big respect as there is no way I could be fasting in this heat. I am on the outskirts of town next to the railway and the freeway so not much doing so I decide to walk for 30 minutes in the direction of town and see what I can find in the heat but it just the usual stuff you find on the strip outside of all American towns so its KFC for me dinner and then I walked back to the motel for another evening of trying to get this blog up to date read me book and watched the goggle box. Failed on the first two but watched some crap on the telly in a tatty cheap motel room. I am living the life here I went to bed with John Wayne and woke up with John Wayne as I said before the walls are paper-thin and the bloke next door must be deaf and a John Wayne fan so it was on when I went to bed and on again in the morning. “Get off your horse and drink your milk”
My little pony!
As I said yesterday I have no idea where I am never mind where I am going just blindly following Route 66 signs, which is most cases is not there or it just disappears and re appears infinitum, todays parts of it was calling itself Route 66 prior to 1937 whatever that means I think it is just that certain town can claim the route 66 kudos.
Mirror Mirror on the wall!
Interesting it is not and every now again an old car or gas station but for the rest pretty boring. I only took few pictures today and most of them of a scrap yards so the scenery is not at all enthralling. Highlight of the day was that yesterday I noticed the screw holding the petrol tank on was missing. So it was both forgotten and or not replaced during the last service or it had worked loose (doubtful). So I decided to find a Suzuki dealer in Albuquerque so I plugged Suzuki into the GPS. Two things I had forgotten was that it was Sunday so they would be shut and when I got there it was indeed shut and it was a car dealership. Homer Simpson Doh! This heat is getting to my brain. I finally called it quits at a place called Santa Rosa as it allegedly had some nice lakes close by and I managed to get some more miles in than yesterday but the heat finally got to me so its another cheap motel at the edge of town does this sound familiar?
Route 66 New Mexico
This one had a café next door so grabbed some food there as no Internet at the motel so I watched the closing ceremony of the Olympics. Seeing as this is first real viewing of the Olympics I had watched as I have been watching very little on the goggle box lately I must say I was quite impressed and dare I say it proud of the little show us chaps put on. I only it turned of when the Brazilian did their bit which was not half as good as us. So again I found myself in a decrepit cheap motel with the air co sounding like it going to cough itself to a terminal standstill and I am wondering what the bleeding hell am I doing here. Route 66 so far has not been that exciting or engaging, I have not spoken to anyone for days except for “how you doing” and the very sincere “have a nice day” and I all I am seeing is freeways and freeways and the odd service towns. Every now again I can escape on to the old route 66 but this is always short-lived or a dead-end so ends up with a lot of back tracking and looking at the maps there are not many alternatives routes. So What to do?
Route 66 or whats left of it
I am not sure what time I got up as I am still a bit confused on the time zones and for me currently it does not really matter. Well actually it does I missed McDonald’s Egg McMuffin by 10 minutes so not a great start to the day. I am desperately looking for inspirations or something to get excited about so after failing at breakfast I decided to go and look for the lakes I saw on the bill board that I saw yesterday so I headed of to Santa Rosa Lakes State Park. Well considering I am in the middle of desert and it has been 30 plus centigrade for the last few weeks I was not sure what I was expecting. (It was raining last night I know this because the owner of the motel was banging on my door late last night telling me if I wanted I could move my bike under cover so that it did not get wet which was nice however in the the fleapits I am staying when there someone banging on your door late at night ones does tend to crap one pants!) So here I was heading for the lakes in a desert well you guessed it was just a dried out small puddle oh well very little inspiration there or in Santa Rosa so decided to treat myself to a Denny breakfast. On the way in there was a French guy and a whole load of Harley Rider’s. He asked me about my trip and bike and I told him briefly and said goodbye as it was very hot and as I had come so far today I needed some breakfast and walked into Denny’s I could hear him recanting my story in French to all his Harley’s pals excitedly which made me feel quite cool and nonchalant all at the same time. I have been complaining about not talking or engaging with anybody and I just walked away from an audience but in my defence I needed a coffee 🙂
I finally got out of Santa Rosa at about 12am and continued to play hide and seek with Route 66. Well I was looking for excitement and today I found it I am not sure I need it in this kind of dosage but certainly got the old ticker working and it cost me a pair of underpants.
Route 66 New Mexico
I had turned of the freeway trying to find the illusive route 66. On my GPS is said you are now travelling on historical route 66 no road showing however but heading east so I just kept rolling. All of sudden the road turned from tarmac to dirt track. Hammered on the brakes as soon as I spotted this to wash of as much speed off before I hit the dirt the ABS was going into overtime. So down to a slower pace the road is dirt but hard and compact with the odd sharp rocks so decide to continue my pace picking up as you know this fella has done the Dalton Highway to the Arctic Circle so this bit of dirt no problem. Getting braver and getting faster and faster when all of a sudden it all goes pear shape and the bike goes all wobbly and loose under me front wheel digs in I am flying all over the place. Now in the manual it states the best way to handle a situation like this is to accelerate through it well bollocks to that I was off the throttle in no time which did not help the situation and I managed to wrestle the bike to a standstill which seem to take a long time and I was all over the road but least when it was stopped I may be in control of the bucking beast. I finally stopped and remembered to breath and then I looked down to see which of tyres was flat as I presumed I had just a big tyre blow out nope both looked fine except they where both buried in 2 to 3 inches of sand. So the hard dirt track I was following just turned into a sand road with no warning except the bike wanting to throw me off and by then it was too late. Shaking like a leaf I pulled forward and it was hard going in the soft sand every time I picked up a little speed the front wheel dug in and decided it no longer wanted to cooperated with the instructions it was getting from me so I was down to a snail’s pace confidence totally shot in the middle of who knows where no one around for miles around and this went on for a couple more miles it felt like longer then eventually the road turned back to Tarmac much to my relief. I pulled over had a pee and and just started to giggle. That was a close call to close. I keep getting let down by my off-road skills I was looking for excitement well I just got it in spades can we go back to dull ville please.
I was just 1 mile short of the Texas State line so another State to add to my ever-growing list and back on the boring I40 where I kept seeing signs for a cheap motel in Amarillo with a swimming pool which seem very tempting considering the temperature and my motocross exertions. It was early but I had lost another hour as I crossed into Texas and I had had enough for one day. One final stop before I hit Amarillo the famous Cadillac Ranch a public art installations of about 10 Cadillac half buried in a field. I had a wonder round here which was nice except for all the empty aerosols canister lying all over the field there where thousands of them. Not sure if was the original intention that they all get covered with graffiti and if was there is no need to leave the empty canister lying around spoilt it a wee bit in my view but maybe the graffiti has added something to the piece.
Cadillac Ranch Amarillo
Swimming pool here I come as it now about 40 centigrade I find the place and yes the sign says 29.95 per night but guess what when I go in and ask that rate is only if I have a sick relative staying in the hospital down the road! What a load of bollocks I had seen about 10 signs since New Mexico for this place and then they pull this kind of Bollocks so to the Executive Inn Amarillo you can eat my shorts the ones I was wearing today which you can imagine are not very pleasant. Final rant I am getting sick of huge signs saying one thing only to found out they are totally meaningless should not be allowed. So I found a place round the corner where they did honour the huge sign outside and they had a pool as well but it was tiny more like a large bath so I gave that a miss. So again I am in cheap motel on the outskirts of town tonight walked to a huge shopping mall for the Food Court for me dinner but have not seen much of Amarillo as I do want to get on the bike after a long day in the saddle but guess I will have to start doing this or it is going to be very boring through the rest of the States. I need to get some kind of plan together on what I am going to do as what I am doing it not that exciting and the only buzz I get is when I nearly hurt or kill myself so it is back to the drawing board me thinks! Good news is this blog is now up to date all I need to do is publish it.
Only in Texas
Todays highlight was a huge cross in a place called Groom. Well I am in Texas so I guess they had to have the biggest one! I have no idea why it’s there as I am in the middle of nowhere there where a whole load of other religious sculptures at the place to all in all very strange. It was the signage that amused me the most which said “Keep off not responsible for accidents” We know that allegedly it is the fella who’s sculpture you trying to keep folk of who is responsible for the accidents or am I missing something 🙂 Made me giggle.
Bloody Big Cross
Slow hot day I did not get out of Amarillo till after 12am as I needed to find a Suzuki dealer to replace the bolt that was missing that held me petrol tank in place. No problems easy fix but it took time to find the place and get the right bolt and you do not move to fast in this kind of heat.
Afterwards I had breakfast at a Donut place and I got chatting to an ex retired air force guy who had been stationed in the UK. It was cool in the Café and I was reluctant and get out into the heat outside and they had donuts. So I finally got going trying to track the elusive 66, which kept appearing then disappearing. Just grinding out the miles trying to find something interesting to see but not being that successful a all as all I got today was a bloody huge cross.
Route 66 Texas
The heat sucks the life out of you and it has been very windy for the last couple of days so it is like riding with someone pointing a huge hairdryer at you yes even the winds are a hot ones. So at about 5.30pm I started to look for a Motel. The first one that looked affordable was an Ex Motel 6 well I thought it was but the owner a nice catholic Indian chap (Not sure why his religion is relevant but he wanted to be sure that I knew and there where pictures of the last supper in the reception and lots of useful quotations from the good book all over the place) he claimed it was a Motel 6 but I am not sure as the signage was decrepit and all Motel 6 logos been eliminated so it may had been in the past but I doubt if it is now. Good thing about Indian Motel owners is that they are always ready to haggle. It did not go so well but I managed to get a reduced rate but as it was just starting to rain outside I think he had me over a barrel as I was hot sweaty and tired and I did not fancy getting an external warm shower. As usual motel on the outskirts of town next to the freeway but fortunately there was a nice little Italian restaurant just across the road so spaghetti sausage and meatballs for dinner and back to the motel room for the rest of the evening who said travelling was glamorous and exciting?
Yet another Route 66 Petrol Station!
As you can probably tell I am not to impressed with this part of the journey but I had very little option but to grind it out in the hope that it will get more interesting soon. I had a pleasant day Route 66 was more present in the State of Oklahoma so this got me of the freeway, which was a nice change.
I must confess I am no longer a speed freak and on the Freeways you are allowed to go 75 mph but that is a tad fast for my liking the bike could do that all day long the rider however prefers the more leisurely pace of the back roads where he is not being humiliated and passed by 20 wheel trucks as he tootles along in the slow lane. It is official I most be getting old as I am no longer in hurry to be the fastest thing on the road and considering the miles I am putting in I would be even more tired than I am now. Again on me own in a tatty old motel room so I finally got all my routes downloaded from my Garmin GPS onto my computer as there is no Internet and the goggle box here is crap.
Bugger it was Closed!
So here are some Stats;
I have done about 23,690km in 72 days so that is about 330km a day. The most I travelled in one day is 764km from Thunder Bay to Winnipeg. I have spent about USD 1, 250 on fuel and about USD 2,200 on Accommodation and god knows how much on Cinnamon Rolls. I know but I am not telling. So a pleasant enough day at the office not mind-blowing or much to write about but pleasant. I have got some ideas on how to liven things up bit but a tad more research is needed so watch this space.