Go West Young Man!

32 Days and 5,536 Miles On My Vintage Motorcycle

Having sailed around the cape, Jordan and I did our hostel chores and said our goodbyes. Highway 550 (rad!) would wind us back up and around the more treacherous geology towards Farmington, Shiprock and out of the great state of New Mexico. Only 199 miles today.

Riding a motorcycle costs you something. The really good things in life do. In this case its an assault on your endurance. You twist the throttle harder and everything in front of you comes at you harder. It's a trade off. I have a bum wrist that bothers me at points during the day. The cold makes it worse and I decide to try out a little toy I picked up before the trip, a throttle lock. It's a device that locks your throttle tube while riding long straight stretches no-handed. Its an unwieldy device and I get vertigo with the thing, twisting the gas in the wrong direction. I panic, actuate the clutch lever and rev the bike almost 2K rpm's above it's redline. My insides throb and I actually feel sick. I pull over and snap this lovely picture of the painted hillls folding over themselves like drapery.

This little guy shows up. The bike is wounded and Death has come to claim her. He attracts creepy crawlers. We speed away from his boney grasp and the bike is fine. A well built motor can stand a little abuse.

In Farmington we arrive before dark, which has become rare. I hate riding in the dark and it's not worth the extra 60 miles you can gain from two hours riding in it. We tool around, get a little lost and stop for directions to nothing in particular. Locals suggest Farmington Lake for camping. We find it not far from the main strip. It turns out to be less of a lake and, more precisely, the towns water reservoir. Looks fantastic for camping.

Satisfied we've scrounged up safe camping, we head into Aztec for dinner. A retro A&W beckons us from the cold and we sit at a booth. I already know I want a chili wanger dog and wait for a waitress. Finally I realize that each booth has a telephone hardlined to the kitchen. I assume I'm supposed to do my best Big Bopper, pick up the receiver and say "Helllllloooooo Baaaaby!"

They send out our weiners and I spy this gnarly tattoo while Gord phones home. He said it represented pain. Personally I don't see it.

We stop for a much needed flashlight. My idea. When we get in the store Jordan picks his out and I decide one is enough and put mine back as we head to the checkout. I am a piece of crap. Back at Farmington lake we ride our bikes through the loose dirt and washed out hills gathering dead limbs. A fantastic fire warms our blood and we sleep like we're dead.


Jean-Pierre said...

This blog is amazing. Found it whilst googling around deciding between a cb550four and cb750k, '77 and '78, for a cross-country trip. I relish every word so far. 750 is obviously better for the trip, but 550 is perfect for when I get there (I've had everything from 150 to 1300, with many stops in between, but haven't done more than 4 hours in a day.) If you had it to do over again, would you have preferred more power? word

KernCountyKid said...

Hi Jean, I would not have chosen more power. I have since been able to ride a 750 and found the additional power wasn't really worth the extra bulk. But as you can tell from the blog, I'm a pretty thin 130 pounds, so a 550 has been all I ever needed. Glad you're enjoying the trip!

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