Stopped in Henderson to get some fuel and something to eat. Saw a Sonic, hmmmm, Tommy and I went to one of those once and it sucked. But hey, I could park in the shade, so why not. It was still bad and no bathrooms...... brought back a memory, so it was all good.
Met one of many angels on this trip. I have just started seeing them as angels...... a young man named Shane and his wife, Autumn. They helped me figure out how to order from the shaded table area. We started talking. Interesting side note, Men who want to talk want to know how many cc's my bike has, what's the fuel capacity, how many mpg, etc. I have memorized all this info., and more, even though I am a romantic and am riding a BMW because I don't know anything about motorcycle maintenance and if I treat her right, (regular pre-trip/post trip stuff), she will take care of me. I don't know the first thing about "fixing anything". Anyway, as Shane was leaving, he stopped over to let me know about a short cut. Follow signs for St Rosa --- it will put me on 15 and save me some miles.
So I wanted 160W because I was planning on going to Death ValleyNP. Well this short cut dropped me onto 15 S of 160. Once I realized it, it was too late. The temp. was 104.9 and I was so finished with the desert. Re- boot --- headed for Sequoia and Kings Canyon NP's. Such a meant to be change, all thanks to my angel, Shane.
A couple of notes about temp. changes., I have noticed that I still have not had to use the cooling vest a friend gave to me, but I have used my gel neck wrap. I think that driving a school bus in hot, humid weather has prepped me for the temp's. The highest temp. I have ridden in is 104.9. I've driven my bus with the inside temp at 106. It all is not fun. And that myth about dry heat....... once it gets past 98...... doesn't matter -- I can feel the air sucking every bit of moisture out of my body.... I can't drink enough water, especially while riding. I have realized the advantages of a jacket with a water bladder pocket. When riding, I can feel feel one degree of temp change. It is amazing, I have never been so tuned into temperature. Of course, I have been worried about Stormy, as we have been locking the throttle down and just going for the last day and a half. She is a rock star, all I can say. I hug her every night.
This angel, I met, where else, at a fuel stop. He was driving a big white suburban, hauling a trailer loaded with 4 wheelers. I was feeling down, I was in California, I had been so focused on getting here, but really nothing had changed. Tommy would still be dead. Maybe in the back of my mind, I had hoped the last two years was all a dream. I don't know, all I know is I was down. Then this tall, blonde, 20 something kid wanders over and starts talking to me. He has a bright pink surf shirt on, shorts, flip flops and a smile that lights up his eyes from the inside. He tells me that my bike looks like the bike Alice had in Resident Evil. Blank stare. He laughs and says you have no idea what I'm talking about do you? Exactly! He goes on to explain that it's a zombie movie. It's the second one, "Extinction" when she crosses the Nevada desert. I just laugh, and write down the name of the movie, and say, I'll have to check it out. I go inside to use the bathroom ( In this heat, it seems to be understood that if it's not crowded, you just leave your vehicle under the awning at the pumps, that awning is usually the only shade).
I'm back with stormy, putting my gear on, and back over he comes, like we're old friends. Here, check this out --- he has pulled up a picture of the bike from the movie. I grab my glasses, sure enough, the picture does look like stormy! Very cool --- I ride off with a smile and a lighter heart, realizing the difference in my being thanks to a young stranger that I felt I knew.
58 from Barstow to Bakersfield, passed the towns of Mojave and Tehachapi. I was here in Feb. coming out of riding in the Mojave Desert. It was beautiful in Feb. Wildflowers blooming, green, even the cactus was blooming. Not so in July. I broke my leg, on Caliente-Bodfish road in the Sequoia National Forest, east of Bakersfield. Bakersfield is where the ambulance was coming from, until I had them cancel it. What they hell would I have done in a hospital in Bakersfield? All my stuff, and my rental car was 2 hours South. I reflect on what a good decision it was to ride back to the ranch on the back of Shawn's bike. I'm thankful he is such a good rider, even 2 up. By the way, I did not have any painkillers with me at the time -- stupid on top of stupid.
99 from Bakersfield to Visalia. Out of the corner of my eye, T - WEST, in big bold letter written on the side of a tractor trailer.
The crosswinds were a little bit better on this uneventful stretch. Uneventful is good!!! lots of nut trees, vineyards, and BIG signs from the farmers coalition NO WATER = NO JOBS. They are not happy with Sacramento in this area.
Stormy has not been using a lot of oil, but I only brought a small nalgene bottle of it. Needed some more, There happened to be a Motorsports store right off 99. I called and asked if they had any 15-50 wt. oil. He asked what I was putting it in. I told him and he said yes. Valley Cycle on Buck Owens Blvd., Bakersfield, CA. Easy in and easy out. Walked in, pretty young woman at the desk, good aft., very friendly. I saw the parts sign and pointed, I'm heading that way. She nodded and smiled. A young man comes up and says 15-50 wt oil? Yes, how did you know? He smiled, I saw you pull up. Chad Courson. Friendly, nice, relaxed, professional. I just love Motorsports stores - everyone is so happy.
A final note for today's blog -- I apologize for the lack of images. My intention was to add good images to the Galleries page of this website. However, uploading has been way too slow for me to be able to do that on the road. I will add them went I get home, just in case anyone is interested in seeing them.