Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Border to Border Ride - Day One

Start – Simi Valley, CA 8:00am

End – Yuma, AZ 5:00pm

Rolled out at 8:00am. Next time we see these streets will be in 12 long, road grimey days. Weather is cool and overcast, hope it burns off. No such luck. Not for a while at least.

Papa Rocket and his magical GPS takes the lead, followed by Lillypad, Too Good, with Stitches and me flying tail gunner. It’ll stay that way for the day. Don’t know why I wanted to ride rear guard today. Don’t normally. Interesting view from back there.

For whatever reason stomach was roiling until the first gas stop 20 miles in. Grabbed some Pepto and it settled. Gotta love the pinkness.

Uneventful ride south, easy. Weather didn’t recover. Alternated between mist and rain for about 100 miles. Oh well, we get wet. We’re still riding. This is the worst part of the trip, the super slab grind. Each to get what Too Good aptly dubs, “highway hypnosis”. Gotta fight that, stay alert. I’m determined not to space on this ride at all. Want to experience every mile. No wishing the day was done for me.

Popped in my squishy new headphones at a gas stop near Oceanside. (Ed. Note: These would turn out to be life savers on longer days. Metals is good for riding.)

We head inland from San Diego and it quickly warms up. Nice easy sweepers and good quick twisties take us to the sleepy mountain town of Julian, CA. I’m sure at some point this place was an unknown. Then one biker found the awesome that is the road in and out of there and that, as they say, was that. (Ed. Note: Who are “they” and how do they come up with these clichés? Do we owe them money?) Now Julian is a full-on “little American town”, totally built for the tourist trade. Cute. Ate at Mom’s. Decent sandwich. Apparently they have good pie. Good for them.

The place was packed with bikes, we had to park all spread out. Too Good and me and Stitches parked together, Lillypad found a spot between some Hardleys and Papa Rocket ended up way down on the end of the street. (Ed. Note: Not sure how I feel about towns like this. They’re cute, but so manufactured at this point, like someone’s idea of what Small American Town should be. I wonder what it’s like to live there and cater to tourists all day…said the guy from Hawaii. I dunno, I like to visit but I wouldn’t want to live there.)

Papa Rocket led us out of town and down and out some real nice twisties. Huge environment change in a real short period of time afterwards. From green mountains quickly into open desert. The wind starts in too. But the roads are wide open and clear. No one is out here. It gets hot fast. Within no time we’re sweatin’ in our leathers. Papa Rocket pulls off into some kind of RV park or something so we can take off our jackets and he and Lillypad can throw on their cooler vests.

From here on out I can hardly believe it was raining and cold a few hours ago. We’re baking now, rolling through empty desert. Great road, mixing between dips and twists and long straight-aways. Broke into triple-digits. Wheeee! (Ed. Note: Uh, I mean, “Whoops!”) Lillypad rides slow, makes it hard to hit the Go Fast button too hard. She normally rides tail gunner so that won’t be a problem too often.

Next stop is Mexicali. Right on the border. We rode the fence for a while and watched the Border Patrol guard sand. Way to go, guys! Keep them illegals out! It’s weird being so close to another country. We’re counting it as hitting Mexico, even though we didn’t actually go in. Too much hassle right now. We took pictures of Mexico. We could see Mexico from where we were. (Ed. Note: Close enough, right, Sarah?) I also kept an eye out for all the jobs they are stealing from us. Didn’t see any. Damn tricky Mexicans.

Speaking of jobs, we did lose one near Mexico. Papa Rocket’s new bike is super fancy, with all kinds of buttons and switches and bells and whistles. (Ed. Note: …and knobs and lights and flickers and keys and settings and dials and lions and tigers and bears…) It’s so fancy, in fact, that it came with a factory installed Mexican midget in the trunk trained in mechanics and massage. Something breaks down, Javier pops right out and gets it fixed. Little bastard skipped out on us during a gas stop. Musta jumped back over the border. Now Papa Rocket’ll have to find an American midget mechanic. That’s gonna be way more expensive. Those guys don’t work cheap.

From Mexicali on to Yuma, AZ. Killer wind on this last stretch. Wind sucks on the bike, its worse than rain. Just pushes you all over the road. Kinda weird, riding tail gunner you can see everyone leaning one way, into the wind, just to be able to go straight. Then we’d pass a semi and get sucked into the vacuum it creates and then readjust as soon as we’re clear. Fun. Still, better than being in a car.

The whole stretch of land looks dead, looks like I imagine Egypt looks. Rolling sand dunes. The wind sand-blasts us. Stings on bare skin.

We arrive, hot and tired, at the Yuma, AZ Motel 6. 103˚. Get to the room, throw on board shorts, hit the pool. Then Wendy’s for dinner. Yum. Bought Too Good a present at the attached Quicky-Mart. 50¢ sticker that says BabyDoll in glittery pink and purple. Hehe. So he bought me a incredibly fragrant palm tree air freshener. Papa Rocket ended up with light-up redneck teeth. Very funny. Have to find something for Stitches and Lillypad later (Ed. Note: We never did. We suck.) Great day.

366 miles today

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