Arizona - Day 1
The mother road
October 19, 2007]
This is the day. I have stayed up late on Tuesday, Wednesday, and
nights packing and recharging after work. All that time spend
organizing and packing beyond midnight has
paid off. I'm able to take flight this day with a high level of
confidence that I didn't forget anything important. 7:30am, Kevin
arrives. At around 7:45am we get a surprise visit from
Russell. He's on his way to work and decided to stop by to bid us
farewell on our four day journey. Not too long later, Russell's
back on the rocket to drag himself to work. A little after 8:00am
Minh shows up. About 5-10 minutes later, we're off and
running. As usual the west bound 210 is packed. I'm ever so
glad we're east bound this time and don't have to contend with traffic.
Kevin is unsure of his FZ-1 and doesn't think it will be able to keep
up with Minh's Balckbird and my R12R in terms of fuel range. He
originally asked that I carry the red 2 gallon gas can, but I refused
and didn't think we needed it. The prediction is that the longest
stretch of road without fuel stops is 130 miles. Kevin's bike
should be able to easily handle this. Not only that but most
motorcycle manufacturers aim at around 175-200 miles to the tank before
hitting reserve. The trick is, you don't crank yank the throttle
and time warp into the next millennium. Kevin doesn't have faith
in his bike, but Minh and I do.
We were all dressed for cold weather and ended up cooking. We had
to shed some furry stuff to
keep ourselves from sweating to death.
Now why in the world did Kevin bring this sheep skin duster polishing
There is traffic eastbound but it is ever fast flowing. It didn't
take long for us to reach the 15 freeway. Nothing special to
report here as we climbed the hill before reaching Hisperia and
Victorville. Once we got into Victorville, we decided to pull
over to have breakfast at the Denny's. About 45 minutes later we
back on our way to Laughlin. All is progressing as expected until
we reach the 40 freeway and Minh signals for us to pull over to fuel
up. We ended up pulling over at the gas station in Newberry
Springs. As we turn right off the off-ramp, there is a sign that
mentions Route 66. Minh took notice of this and mentioned that we
should take Route 66 instead of the 40 freeway as Route 66 runs
parallel to the freeway. I was all game for the change as I'm
never fond of freeway riding unless we have to or we're in a
hurry. My experiences with highways have always been one of
interest because it's a slower pace and it allows you to truly
experience your surroundings.
Once we were done fueling our bikes, we pulled off into the shade to
take a quick break. While I was standing there getting my gear
off and wanting to reprogram the GPS, Minh motioned to me to take a
look at a bicycle leaning against the mini mart. It was a bicycle
with a sign that read, "I love route 66". That's so awesome.
I want one of those signs too. I wonder where he got it at?
Unfortunately I don't remember the gentleman's name. I'm so bad
with names. I hope he writes so I can put his proper name in this
article. Anyway, he's from Germany. He over here in the US
on a VISA. He started in Vancouver and wounded in our neck of the
woods. He's been riding Route 66 and wanted to take it to the
very beginning (e.g. Santa Monica, CA). Looking at him I have to
say I feel very humbled. Here we are riding our motorbikes
hundreds of miles while he's riding a bicycle hundreds of miles.
I have to say, laughingly, that I'm such a wimp in comparison.
Nonetheless, we're all out here for a reason, to experience life and
all the experience that I can bring to those who are adventurous enough
to make tracks beyond their porch.
As it turns out, this gentleman really likes motorcycles.
However, he had to give it up because of what he seen in Germany.
He mentioned to me that during one of the celebration days in Germany,
there were 10 motorcycle fatalities within a period of 3 days.
This was all due to automobile drivers no being aware of
motorbikes. As a result, he gave up his motorcycling days for a
bicycle instead. Even though he might have given up motorcycles I
can see the fire in his eyes when he looked at my R12R. I sensed
his appreciation for the new BMW motorbikes as we spoke. We
exchanges more words, I gave him my SC card, and wished him good luck
on his trip to the beginnings of Route 66. He has to get to LA by
the 25th because that's when his VISA is up and he has to take his
flight back to Germany.
"That's Route 66 right there."
He was talking about his friend who died from a motorcycle accident in
I had over filled my tank and the extreme angle of the bike on the
cause a lot of excess fuel to dump out beyond the charcoal cannister.
Minh and I estimated his age to be in the 60s. However, from the
looks of things, he's as fit as a 30 year old. In fact, I dare
say that he's plenty healthier than myself.
Funny thing about us stopping at gas stations. We come in when
it's empty. By the time we leave it's packed with folks.
While we were talking a set of Harley folks popped on in. When
they finished fueling, they walked over in our direction.
Greetings are passed back and forth and next thing we knew they said
they are from London, England. They're making a big tour of
California. They started in Las Vegas, went to Mammoth, and are
now making their way towards Kingman before heading back home.
A surprise "Hello!" for a photo.
Everybody looks happy.
Back on the road again...
Next I knew a gal showed up with her little puppy. The dog had
been couped up in the car for so long that she decided to give her a
little break. Man did she take the opportunity. She marked
her territory and the proceeded to laze about in the grass until the
owner forced her to get up. Too funny.
Next a really nice guy with a Harley rode up. He was on his way
to and from San Diego and Kingman. He's riding solo visiting some
relatives in Kingman. He's pretty much taking Route 66 to and
from his destinations. He looked at our get ups and said...
here's the fast bike (pointing towards Kevin FZ1), here's the
experienced biker (pointing at Minh's Blackbird), and that's the most
expensive one of the lot (pointing at mt R12R). To that Kevin
suggested his Harley is the most expensive of the bikes. We all
got a good laugh out of it.
Since he's being so friendly, I decided to snaps some photos of him and
handed him my SC card so he can hop onto the net and check this site
out. What's the first thing he ask me, "What are you
selling?" I said, "I ain't selling sh*t! It's just my
website with my motorcycle stories and such." He got a good laugh
out of the comment and said, "That's cool." Ultimately we bid
farewell to everybody and we all took off toward our destinations.
So it begins. This is the first time I'm riding Route 66 beyond
LA. My house is actually 1/4 miles south of Route 66, but that is
the glorified and supped up revamped Route 66. Now I'm getting a
chance to experience the route the way it was meant to be, in the
middle of nowhere. The route started off well enough but
eventually became a bit rough. I knew my R12R is suppose to be
able to handle almost any terrain but I wasn't sure if it would be OK
on this section of the route. This is when I wished I had the
12GS. Oh well, too late now. After about 15 minutes, it
didn't feel so bad. I had to dodge pot holes and things of that
nature, but the bike handled everything fine. I later learned
that Kevin had the same reservations I had in the beginning, but he too
settled into the rhythm of things. The first twenty miles or so
was really rough. The road was cracked everywhere and in need of
repair. I guess this section of the road doesn't see too much
traffic these days. Most people are taking the 40 freeway just to
the north of us. With a simple ever so slight twist of the neck,
there is freeway 40 with all the big rig truck bellowing its diesel
smoke. The freeway is at most 1 mile away from us.
The more and more we ride this rough road, the more we understand it's
characteristics. After a while I was noticing that speed really
helps the matter. Similar to riding washboards, riding faster in
this rough stuff does reduce the shake factor. After a while we
were gliding over the majority of the brain blender. It looks
like 60-65 MPH is the magic number. When I took a quick glance at
my shocks, I can see it doing its business to keep me
comfortable. Oh how I would hate to ride this road on a stiff
bicycle without any suspension. I can only wonder how the German
fellow we recently met felt about this section of Route 66.
The further we went east, the better the road became. After a
while, it's silky smooth tarmac again. While I was in the rough
stuff I can't help but think about this "Mother road". How it's a
bit of history we're setting our rubber tires on and it is in need of
repair. Not only that but the thought of what are now old vintage
cars, built in the hay day of automobiles, the '20s, use to travel down
this road to get to their destination between the Chicago and Santa
Monica. If this road can talk, I wonder what it would tell
me. All the people it would have met and all the oddities that
would have traversed its path. Will the state government or the
federal government recognize the need to further preserve this road and
not let it get picked apart by mother nature? It's such a shame
to see such a wonderful piece of history being cracked and pitted to
the point of oblivion.
We make a sharp left turn, went on 40 freeway the over pass, and then a
sharp right turn to continue on the National Trails HWY, Route
66. This stretch of road is nice, smooth, and clean. We see
the west bound freeway 40 traffic rushing towards and going right pass
us. Once again, my and Kevin's thoughts are the same. It's
so nice to ride the highway roads because we're not rushed by 18
wheelers trying to improve that one $ by getting there faster, gamblers
in a hurry to the casino so they can lose a couple more $s, nor the
soccer mom forever in a hurry even when their on vacation. Face
it, people don't drive any more, they do low level flying.
Commercials on TV make mention of the pleasure of driving, but is there
true pleasure in driving when all car drivers are trying to do is get
from point A to point B? I'm forever happy to be on the highways
because we have the entire road to ourselves.
Once again the road twists and turn at Ragtown so we end up on the
correct side relative to the 40 freeway. We stop a bit to ponder
our route and to take a quick breather.
There were a lot of bikers. Groups of Harleys passed us on the 40
freeway while we were continuing our detour on Route 66. From
here out Route 66 is smooth as silk. There were occasional
patches of rough stuff but it's far and few in between. We see
cargo trains immediately to the north that would eventually be to the
south of us. We wind back and forth for a bit and then we make it
to Amboy. As we went through Amboy we passed the Roy's Motel and
Cafe. As I glide pass I was thinking, "Hey, wait a minute.
We should stop there. That's an interesting looking place."
Little did I know that this is a historical site. I stopped,
pulled over and talked to Minh. "Let's go check out that
place." We doubled back and pulled in.
Welcome to Roy's Motel & Cafe.
So here we are. At Amboy parked slightly under the awning of what
use to be a gas station/diner for Roy's Motel & Cafe. Kevin
was afraid of parking so close to the gas pump while attempting a smoke
break. I said to him, "What are you worried about? These
pumps have been decommissioned. They're all rusted." To
which Minh chimed in, "They cut the hoses to the hand pump." With
that, Kevin struck a match and no further mention was needed.
The fellow that tends the place was out and about so a "Be back in a
few" sign, or something like that, was being shown in the window.
In the meanwhile Kevin and Minh were laughing it about the motel rooms
because of their memories of the movie "Vacancy". I haven't seen
the movie so I have no idea what they're talking about. It turns
out the movie is about strange motel grounds keepers that walked around
with machetes slaughtering people in their motel rooms. The part
that really got them going was the fact the guy running around Roy's
Motel & Cafe, in his little golf cart, was dressed very much the
same as the people depicted in the movie. Again, I didn't see the
movie so I had no real comments, but at least they're having fun with
the entire situation.
Ultimately the door opens and we go in to see what the diner looks
like. It's been well restored. It almost looks like they
can serve meals again. Anyway, the only thing we can buy in there
are some souvenirs, hats and/or T-shirts. Kevin and I each bought
We were all outside getting ready to depart when several SUVs pulled up
next to the gas pump and several kids jumped out. They look to be
Marines from Twentynine Palms, their hair cut gave them away.
They were searching for gas. I think they're going to have a hard
time getting any gas here. Funny thing is one of them grabbed the
pump handle and noticed there were no hose attached. Can't they
see by looking at the state of the pumps that it's all rusted?.
Anyway, one of them ran in to ask about fueling up. He quickly
came back out as the grounds keeper told him there is no gas
here. Back into their cars and off they go. I was standing
there scratching my head wondering, "Can't they see these pumps are
non-functional?" Not too long after, we're back on the road.
There is a big difference between this section of Route 66 as opposed
to the previous section. There is a lot more traffic. I'm
not sure where everybody is coming from and going to but I keep on
having to wave cars to pass us because we're slow going. "What;s
the hurry people? Try some sight seeing. It does the heart
We continued on Route 66 as long as we can take it until it hits the 40
freeway once again. Reluctantly we get on the freeway to finish
off this section of the trip. We're about 50 miles out from
Laughlin so it's not going to be too bad of a ride. By about
6:30pm, we pull into the Harrah's Laughlin hotel/casino, secured the
bikes, and checked in with the hotel. All in all this section of
the trip proved to be interesting because we got off of the
freeway. If we had stayed on the freeway, we wouldn't have met
some of the interesting folks out there, and wouldn't have experienced
life that little bit more. It was a smart decision to take Route
66 so we'll do more of that when the opportunity appears again.
Day 2 - Is it Yosemite or is it Sedona?
Day 3 - Should we pray to the wind god?
Day 4 - Firestorms at home
Written on: October 23, 2007
Last modified: October 26, 2007