The Perfect Vehicle - Life with motorcycles

Pony Express 2000

July 13, 2000

Day Thirteen : (Almost) Last Leg – Part 1

The day starts with trying to figure out why the brake light doesn’t work – I discovered a loose wire last night while washing the bike. Thought I’d fixed it. Wait! The horn stopped working yesterday – check fuses. Yep, brake and horn are on the same (7.5) fuse. Guess which fuse size is _not_ in the spares?

So, fiddle with the wire – test with the good 7.5 amp fuse – voila, light and horn. Now need to get a replacement fuse before leaving.

The lady from Bloomberg Radio calls and we talk about a half hour. I still don’t have a “pat” answer to the “why are you doing this” question. I suppose if I do this in 2002 – I’d better figure out a sound-bite why first. Cause if I do this again, I’ll sure as hell work on promotion – the lack of publicity on something this worthwhile, this newsworthy, this “odd” (oddity makes news) made me sad (and annoyed, simultaneously).

The reporter found me on the About.Com motorcycle site – she’s going to do regular motorcycle features for Bloomberg. She’s ridden since she was 12.

It’s 10:30 before I’m ready to leave. Dan’s going to ride with me as far as Vale, Oregon – and he does the ‘fetch the fuse’ run.

The Valentine1 won’t “plug in” because I either let the end of the telephone wire touch something hot – or I stepped on it. The “lever” that allows you to insert and remove the male end is bent to the left. OK. I’ll just ride conservatively. (yeah, right)

It’s a pleasant run on 20/26 to Vale from Caldwell. Very agricultural. I discover that Amalgamated Sugar is a co-op.

Milestone: the odo crosses 10K in Nyssa.

We cross the Snake River … and I wonder, “Could that really have been the same Snake River I crossed in Wyoming? Surely it was a _different_ river?” Nope – one in the same. I think a ride following the Snake all the way would be interesting.

I’ve been told by a motocross rider than 20 is boring. Well, not to me. More high desert – gentle curves with straight bits, but the straight bits aren’t overly long or boring (with one or two exceptions). And the scenery is beautiful; I like our northwestern deserts.

Enter a long rise with sweepers — and the view on the west side takes my breath away. I’ve had many of these “wow!” moments on this trip. I make a note of the odo – so I can figure out where I am later. Turns out, this was Drinkwater Pass, elevation 4,212.

I’m still taking it moderately easy – the new rear tire now has about 150 miles (mostly straight, of course). But you come out of the pass into a long straight bit – and temptation, well, it does what temptation is supposed to do. I twist the throttle. Start climbing a second pass (Stinkingwater Pass, 4,848) and, fortunately, back off a little when I glimpse two vehicles on the right shoulder near the summit. It’s a black-and-white with a van pulled over.

Drop down into Buchanan – so small, if you blink and you’ll miss it – and stop for gas and munchies. Let’s see, I wonder if I press the telephone wire “lever” against the warm clutch cover … can I gently square it up so it will insert into the V1? Warm – test – warm – test – warm – success! Yeah, I’m wired again. ;-)

This is good as there are some seriously straight stretches on the west side of Buchanan. This area isn’t called the Great Basin for nothing. I definitely need to study a bit of geology. (aside : Joanne will later tell me about a geology series designed just for folks like me – “roadside geology – insert state name here”)



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