Monday, August 24, 2009

The Adventure Continues - Day 1

Well, another exciting day on the road. This morning the gang packed up and said goodbye and we went our separate ways.

I headed West to continue the quest for National Park stamps to complete my Master Tourer Challenge. I had intended on going to Pipe Springs, NM, Death Valley, Ca and Lake Meade, NV, but Death Valley got scrapped on the advice of a local rider and some of the other parks changed, too. By changing things around I've gained about 5 hours of flex time for unforeseen delays.

I headed toward Colorado National Monument and got some great help at Colorado Junction's visitor center. I walked out with a highlighted map and the name of the last gas stop on 70, Green River, before a 115 mile stretch to Salina, Utah. I drove through the park's 26 miles and it was stunning. It was the best lost hour I could have spent. (4 hours flextime left.)

From there I went to Arches National Park near Moab, Utah. I'd been before, so only went to the visitor's center. I got my stamps and watched the 15 minute orientation film about the park and got back on the road. I wanted to get as close to Baker, Nevada as possible to start tomorrow off close to Great Basin, the first stop for Monday.

I passed 2 gas stations on the way to Green River wanting to fill up at the last opportunity, since I had about 80 miles left in my tank. As I saw the exit sign for Green River the bike hiccoughed and my eyes got big. I looked at the odo *chug* and it read 163. *chug* Well under the 200 I can squeeze out of a tank. I leaned right to enter the long stretch of ramp *chug, chug* and looked ahead to see where the gas station was, and...couldn't. I saw nothing. I grabbed the clutch to drift as far as I could as it was clear that, unlike last time I drained the tank, the chugging wasn't gonna get me where I needed to go.

came to a stop after a decent drift 2/3 of the way through the ramp. I tried to push it for a bit, but at 100 degrees and with no station in sight, gave up. I grabbed my tank bag and my water bottle and started walking. I could see the sign that pointed to where the gas would be 1.5 miles away...and finished off my water. I was still in full gear and it was hot. I reached the stop sign at the end of the ramp and was greeted by a guy sitting on the ground by his bicycle who asked if I'd broken down or run out of gas. Apparently, he was hitting cars up for money for food/travel. He kindly offered to get me a gas can or watch the bike. I headed to the gas station and didn't have to walk too long before an 18 wheeler pulled over to offer a ride. Apparently my bike guardian had told them I was out of gas and in need of a ride.

Dorian (BFD) and his trainee driver were great and as I reached for my Parks book to help explain what I was doing on a bike so far from wasn't there. I couldn't find it. Had i left it? DAMMIT. DAMMIT!! sigh.

I filled my empty water bottle with gas to get me back to the gas station and the guys waited for me to start the bike. When they caught my wave they went on their way. I went back down to the
gas station to fill up and then headed BACK to Arches to get my book. I wasn't thrilled, but I wasn't throwing a tantrum, either. Turns out it was where I left it and then I turned BACK around and got to see a 4th run of the 30 miles of the driest, most tedious, barren wasteland ever. Ok, it wasn't THAT horrible, but it was pretty hot, dry and boring. (2 flex hours left)

So, BACK to Green River exit for gas. (Yes, I made it.) Then on to Salina (like Saliva, not like a girl's name). After coming dangerously close to being caught in some bad weather, it rained for less than 15 minutes and I was able to find a motel in Salina for the night.

So, I survived another day of silliness. Didn't get as far as I had hoped, but who knows...that 2 hour snafu either put me in the rain or set me up to perfectly drive thru the center of a bit of nasty weather and get the least of it for a change. :) It could always be worse. And, hey, there's always tomorrow to see how my genious will manifest itself. :)


Anonymous said...

So did you figure why you only got 163 out of a tank? Was it the terrain? My driving angels have not let that happen to me yet, don't know why. I know I have a 16 gal tank in my van and more than once have pumped 16+ gallons into it... which would be a good indication that I was really, really, really, low on gas :-)) the apple does NOT fall far from the tree...
But I can see where you're going with this. Need bigger gas tank, therefore... bigger bike!!! Do I get to help pick the next one's color? xoxoxoxoxox glad you're still enjoying your trip! bjelwp

jwesterman said...

well, the extra weight is one, the altitude is another and the high speed is a third. yet, when I clacualted my gas mileage again this morning just before I left at "mom's" specifically to know how far I can make it, my average was almost 48 mpg. so, no, I don't know. :) and that's AFTER i shopped 20 pounds home. :) ok, i'm off again to yosemite now!

Anonymous said...

Keep them buns a movin', keep those buns a movin'....raw its startin' to feel like that! Ginny