The Perfect Vehicle - Life with motorcycles

Pony Express 2000

July 12, 2000

Day Twelve : Regroup

Up at 6:15 and out the door, packed, at 7:30. It’s chilly this early in the morning in Idaho Falls. I wear my long-sleeved Jackson Hole tee-shirt.

I’m at the Motel West, on the way out of town on 26/20. Make Very Good Time running through country that gives new meaning to the word desolate. I keep thinking I’ve seen “desolate” … then there’s an even better (worse?) example.

Just before Arco — I see a “construction ahead” sign. Immediately followed by chip-n-seal. Bleh. Slow down to 60ish … come over a rise, and there’s the flagger, with two trucks stopped. Now I understand the “clump” of autos I just met headed the other way. (Have I expounded on my theory of cars as pack animals?)

Stop. Turn off bike. Sit. After 10 minutes – I signal the flagger (she’s talking with the guy in front of me – who is trailering highway equipment) – point to my watch. “30 minutes” she says. I rip off my helmet – “30 *more* minutes!?! I wouldn’t have come this way had I known ….” “No, usually just 30 minutes.”

Eventually, the guy in the truck comes back to talk to me – he’s a motocross racer (formerly enduro racer), from Idaho Falls, manages the track there, and is transporting this highway repair equipment to Shoshone. He’s not heard of the PonyExpress ride for breast cancer. He tells me to take 20 across at Carey, not 26 down to the freeway.

*45* minutes after I stop – I start again. Then 8 miles behind a pilot car, going 30 mph, on new chip-n-seal. The cars backed up headed east measured .5 miles (at least).

Still, I stop briefly at Craters of the Moon NM. Wow – reminded me first of black, midwestern earth, slightly dampened and then “clumped”. Or lava from the volcano on Hawaii. (a more accurate comparison)

Turn right at Carey – you’re immediatel climbing in the foothills – then enter a pristine valley. GreenGreenGreen. There must be irrigation somewhere – but I don’t see it. Pass through – and on the other side, desolate again.

By running 20 – I stay in the highlands and it remains cool – even though I’ve lost more than an hour (plus two more, short, DOT stops). When I’m about 5 miles outside Mountain Home – it’s like I entered a blast furnace. For the first time this trip – the air that’s entering my helmet is dry and hot. This is hotter than the afternoon at Bryce – well, a different hot, anyway.

Hop on interstate and remain in blast furnace. Very Very glad I took the high road. Another 10 miles of road construction (single lane expressway) – and then I’m in Boise at Big Twin. The rear tire is toast – but no cord showing and you can still see where there is *supposed* to be tread on my flat spot. ;-)

Fred has pulled my Metzler for me – I ask him to also adjust the chain*, since I still couldn’t loosen the axle nut this morning. We discuss whether I need to also replace the front – but he says the profile of the Metzler and Avon is *very* similar – he recommends that I keep the Avon (it has lots of tread).

I find a Really Cool Vanson jacket – cordora and leather – very VENTED – short, fitted and red. It fits. It looks OK with my stich (amazing). But I just spent $400 on a new helmet – I don’t need to spend $400 on a new jacket TOO. Even for vents. (and it’s Very Very Hot here – feels hotter than I remember Arches feeling).

The guys are really quick – and I’m off for Caldwell. Meet Dan at the Darigold plant, then go to (late) lunch. To the house to unpack, wash clothes, give the bike a Bath. Dan helps get the tar off the wheels – my fingers eventually feel as though I’ve worn them to the bone. ;-)

It’s been a very relaxing day – about 300 miles. I’m *just* under 10K miles on the odo.

Bloomberg Radio is supposed to interview me Thursday morning about the PE tour and my trip. Then I’ll head to Oregon.

* but when I washed the bike – I discovered *both* chain adjustment nuts were LooseLooseLoose. :-/



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