Wednesday, December 31, 2008

My Cross Country Log - Day 3

This was likely the most mentally freeing day of the trip. The plains. Growing up in Illinois and living in the Midwest a total of roughly 30 years is not sufficient preparation for life in the desert southwest. The past twelve years here in Las Vegas has been fraught with inner turmoil and a definite loathing of the desert.

That first moment on the eastern edge of Denver, Rocky Mountains growing ever more distant, was sublime. I stopped in Aurora, Colorado for a lunch time rest and celebratory Red Bull. Looking at the mountains, merely bumps on the western horizon, my eyes became misty; not for what was behind, but for what was ahead.

Plus… It was warm and dry and I could finally feel my toes again.

Eagle, Colorado to St. Francis, Kansas
Beautiful - FREE!!!

--Written in the margin...
The more complex we make things, the more things there are to break.
Brenda (my ex-wife) is suggesting that I don't go to the East Coast. Stay in Illinois, then come back.

First pen left in Pizza Hut.
Second pen bad.
Finally found third.
Thunderstorm to the North East. It plays with the earth and my soul; beautiful lightning.

OK, so woke up about six AM and it was completely dark. Went to bathroom and walked around the campground with the hope of getting warm. As soon as it was light enough I broke camp.

This is where the electrical gremlin started showing itself. Camera batteries were dead. So were my spares, so no camp pics. ok.

I ride a few miles into town to get gas. I notice the GPS was powered off. I turn it on and ride 100 yards to a restaurant. It is off again. I turn it on & leave it. Have a great gravy and rolls breakfast. (I think I meant gravy & biscuits). Check the GPS, still OK. Get batteries for camera, take a few pics & head out. (Pic below is of the restaurant where I ate breakfast.)

At my first stop it is still cold but bike is running fine. GPS is off again. I turn it back on.

I ride another 40 miles or so & bike seems to be loosing power. Running fine but weak.

At the next stop I notice a hot electric plastic smell. SHIT! I pull my quick disconnect plug from the power harness I built for the GPS and radio, then removed the fuse. The smell left. I am not sure what was getting hot but that was the end of the tracker.

Riding up and down hills was disorienting. Up sometimes seemed down and down seemed up. The mountains and trees were gorgeous but confounding to my senses.

The bike is running poorly even on real downhills. I can only get 60 MPH at times.

Up hills had to be taken in third at times. The I see why... "10,000 feet elevation!"BINGO! Too rich! I lean out the low jet and it helped a tremendous amount. The plugs may be fouled a bit, but she is definitely running better.

Going through a tunnel on I70 just West of Denver, I see another ADV Rider. I believe he was on a Dakar. He waved his foot and was gone. I wonder if he saw my stickers?

I felt sorry for my bike now, going through downtown Denver. Traffic was not as bad as Vegas but a lot of twists & turns. I knew it would be over soon. After Denver, I36 was beautiful - 2 lanes - fields - almost cried.
(Here was my stop just before getting on I36. Far off in the distance are the Rockies.)

Then, on my last 50 miles was running out of gas. Not many towns on that road in Colorado.

(Cope, Colorado. How apropos.)

Got lucky and found an automated CO-OP gas station. "It's here, or I go to the Lyons Club hall & start asking if I can buy any gas."

I swipe my PayPal debit card. Cross my fingers. If that don't fork, I have a credit card with like $10 and my ban's debit card. Don't want to use my bank's card at all - might make things bounce.

AHHHHH "Proceed Pumping on #3" I don't think I was so happy to smell gasoline.

50 miles down the road and I was in Saint Francis, Kansas!

Wonderful little town. Clean. Friendly. Still about an hour and a half before sundown so I check out the free city campground and eat pizza @ Pizza Hut. MMmmmmm

And here I am. Fire is slowly dying. Thunderstorm still waving at me in the distance. Light wind blowing & it is 9:30.

I can see the Milky Way...


Doug C said...

That no-power-slugishness-due-to-an-empty-tank is the worst feeling especially when there's not a station in sight.

Baron's Life said...

Happy New Year
All the best for 2009