Thursday, October 27, 2016

188: 500 miles

You probably have heard the song, "500 Miles" (attributed to Hedy West), with its mournful refrain:

Lord, I'm one, Lord, I'm two, Lord, I'm three, Lord, I'm four
Lord, I'm five hundred miles from my home.
Five hundred miles, five hundred miles, five hundred miles, five hundred miles
Lord, I'm five hundred miles from my home.

Well, we've passed that milestone by now. We are somewhere within 500 miles of our home. Another milestone passed today:  9000 miles ridden!  So our 10,000 mile trip is going to end up being something more like "9,484 miles." Or round about that. Doesn't have quite the same ring to it as "10,000 miles around the country," but what's a girl gonna do?  Ride around in a circle to make up  the miles?  NOT!

We had a hard day. Roger is in bed already - he'll be asleep before I am finished typing this. He's worn out. I am worn out. It shouldn't have been that tough, but we had that bottle of wine last night, at altitude . . . maybe we were hung over! Or maybe it was riding for 60 miles, nearly all of it on the shoulder of Interstate 40, and a good bit of it uphill. At least we were not fighting the wind!

The highway shoulder has been, generally speaking, pretty decent. Aside from the fact that we keep picking up those tiny segments of the busted-up truck tires, it's usually a pretty good surface. Not so today. From Flagstaff on, it was totally crap - all busted up and filled with debris. I was worn out from the collateral effort of trying to help Roger avoid all this stuff. I cannot imagine how tired he must be. It's a stupendous job, keeping the bike upright, dodging the tire debris, avoiding the potholes and lateral cracks. We have another good portion on 40 tomorrow and I hope to heaven the road surface will be in better shape.
Flagstaff motor inn

Love the detail on the golden parts

So modern

On another note, though - the towns of Flagstaff and Williams still have some great old motels and inns along the original Route 66. There were so many in Flagstaff I could scarcely get them all. We had lunch at the Galaxy Diner, and great old place with movie star memorabilia all over the walls and delicious milkshakes. Seems like you just want to have a milkshake when you are riding down Route 66!
Galaxy Diner

And dinner was a delightful reunion with our friends from Redlands, Mike and Martha Lee. They have moved to Arizona, and drove up to visit with us in Williams. We had a good time catching up. And of course - there was pie!
Roger and me, Mike and Martha

By the way, Roger and I are not the only things around here that are worn out. My shoes are worn out, my little pouch for my phone is worn out, our leggings are busted up and losing their grip, we've gone through several pair of shorts each . . . I have patched and mended our toiletries kit, our jerseys, my socks . . . we are just hoping to have everything hang together until we reach home. For sure, we retire the RWBTC jerseys! They have had it! And the shoes - I am about to pull a "Vicki M" and get the duct tape out. I actually have used a small piece inside the toe to keep my little toe from sticking out.

Over our trip, we've reduced our carrying weight in a number of ways: use it up, wear it out, send it home, leave it behind, or give it away.  Just tonight we finally bit the bullet on our tent and sleeping gear. We have toyed with the idea of shipping it home many times. We always demurred, figuring that we'd run out of places where we could find a motel and we'd need to camp. But even in the past few days, when we have expected to camp somewhere, we've found an indoor option that was just a few dollars more. And that's what we did - we stayed indoors.
About to become open-toe sandals

My poor bag is wearing out

We were hanging on to it out of concern that we'd need to sleep in the desert during that long, 107 mile stretch that is coming up. But we were talking today while we were on the road, and found out that we had both independently come up with the idea of just making a run for it on that segment - sticking it out to do the entire bit in one day. And that means we don't really need to carry the tent and sleeping gear anymore. And that means we can lose a bit more weight from the bike, which will help us get through the long day.

So, we packed up some clothes that we hope we are done with, and we pulled out the tents, sleeping bags and pads, and asked Mike to carry them back to Redlands for us. They may beat us home!

The day's report:  Winona to Williams, 60.9 miles/9020 to date

The run down the highway


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