I can’t drive 55! I’d get squashed like a bug on Interstate 10! From the start at the Santa Monica Pier, there seems to be a contagious sense of urgency to get where ever you’re going when you’re on the California Highway. So, it seems that everyone drives either 80 MPH or ZERO because of the occasional fender-bender. When you are on a motorcycle, a higher state of awareness is warranted and almost becomes second nature. I DO appreciate that the vast majority of California drivers show respect toward motorcyclists by allowing lane splitting at the standstills, and elbow room at higher speeds.
The sun’s rays began to dance off windows and mirrors, while the asphalt pushed back up the day’s heat. Oh, how short sleeves and a hundred degrees are sweet together at eighty miles per hour on a super-bike! I veered onto Highway 15 with the weekenders heading toward “Sin City.” I made my only stop for gas and food in Barstow. After an air-conditioned lunch, I refilled my coke and took it under a bridge for the only noontime shade before getting back on the two wheels.
At mid-afternoon, I curbed the bike on the south edge of the Vegas strip to enter the destination address for the day into my Blackberry/Google Maps App. Up came my turn-by-turn directions to Kelly’s place. My cousin, Kelly, was kind enough to put me up for the night.
Kelly and Michelle took me out for a fantastic dinner where we really visited for the fist time aside from family gatherings. Our time was too short as I was just passing through and they had an early morning departure for a Los Angeles venue with the Las Vegas Showgirlz.
Before leaving Las Vegas, I swung by the new home of my dear friends, Bob and Sherryl Lovell. They had sold their homes in Bothell and Everett, Washington, the year before and moved to retire in the warmer, drier climate of Nevada. The change, they say, has done them a world of good!
I got my ‘kicks’ back on Route 66 as thunderheads billowed in front of me. Bright blue skies became infested with puffy columns of sterling gray clouds. Silver sheets in the sky promised that there would be wet roads ahead. Again, I donned my trusty rain gear.
The two-hundred-seventy-seven miles between Vegas and the Grand Canyon were laden with intermittent showers and lightning storms. I pulled up to the window at the Grand Canyon National Park entrance where I swear the last wet drop of my day hit the helmet! I gladly paid twelve dollars to enter and another twelve to pitch the tent under clearing skies at the southeast rim of this Grand Canyon.
After one of the greatest moments of my life–7 a.m. sunrise devotions with my feet dangling off the southeast rim of the Grand Canyon–I broke camp and hit the desert roads through Flagstaff, Phoenix, Scottsdale, Tucson, New Mexico and into Texas. The flat, dry, and hot roads gave me plenty of room to reflect on the beauty that I’d just taken in from one of God’s most majestic landmark creations!
Once I returned to Highway 10, I “leap-frogged” several dozen miles with a couple in an RV until dusk, when we both pulled into a rest stop for the night. The gentleman approached me as I stretched my legs and surveyed the grounds for an inconspicuous place to pitch the tent.
“That’s a beautiful bike you got there! What’s that sign you got on the back there say?” He was referring to a laminated 8.5×11 poster that I had bungeed over my packed tent and sleeping bag.
“It says, ‘God Bless S-Miles Across America,’ and shows my route.”
We introduced ourselves and Arthur told me that he and his wife were traveling from Alaska to Rhode Island on a similar route.
I asked Art what makes him smile and he told me . . .
Terlingua, Texas, is a ghost town that Art came across earlier that day. He remembered that it had been mentioned in a movie which he’d recently seen. He lit up when he told me how tickled he was while thinking of the irony of two infamous gunmen buried in unmarked graves at Terlingua. I didn’t quite get why that made him smile, but when I finally saw the movie, I smiled too.
As I rode the border through El Paso, I looked through the fence at Juarez, Mexico, and smiled, thanking God that I live in such an incredible land of opportunity and wealth.
Ya’ll come on back for “S-Miles Across America – Chapter 5 – BOLD, Sales, and Alligator Tales”
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