Nevada, California trip, Day 8


July 31
Carlsbad, CA to home

Starbuckin'. Me posting from Carlsbad Village Starbucks

In Carlsbad, CA this morning, I found rain adorning the cover of my bike when I went to pull it off. It was a cool, overcast day, but I knew that it would be terribly hot later. Just how hot it would be I couldn’t have guessed.

We got on the road by 9 a.m., my self-imposed deadline. None of this starting at 10 o’clock stuff like we’ve been doing. I can pack quickly as long as I am organized, and I was reasonably organized this morning. It’s not that I wanted to go home, I just knew we had to. Anyway, we were flying down the freeway by 9:15, after fueling up. I hadn’t properly filled my bike the last stop we’d made, and all because of those stupid “collars” on the gas pump that they have in California. They make me spill gas every time so I can’t see that they are helping the environment much. It’s a dumb design that doesn’t work for motorcycles.

About 30 miles later, we passed Ocean Beach and I said a silent good-bye to a place I really didn’t get to enjoy this time. Very sad. Soon, though, we were actually out of heavy traffic, passed our favorite Julian exit 79, and were on our way. We had started out at 68° F., and it was warming up. We pulled off at the Golden Acorn casino at the top of Crestwood summit to fuel up again (we have to do it this way to divide the trip up properly), so I was able to shed all my layers. Good thing, too, because after we started the descent, it warmed up rapidly.

By the time we reached the bottom, it was around 100° F. Then, it rose to 105° in the area I call “little Death Valley” where the elevation is “sea level.” Soon after that, it went to around 110° and stayed there all day. By the time I got to Yuma, I was ready to get off the bike for a few minutes. It was such a contrast to several days of living in 59-66° temperatures, the heat was a bit much. The worst part of the journey, though, was between Yuma and Gila Bend. I was getting “loopy” with the heat, and I wanted some water really badly. I was starting to get sleepy as well, and the strong wind pushing against my helmet didn’t help at all. It really did feel like riding into a hair dryer. I kept pushing my visor up a little to crack it, but it wouldn’t stay open. I had to hold it open to gulp air. Even though it was hot, it was better than suffocating, which is what I felt like.

None too soon we were finally in Gila Bend, our last gas stop and where we always stop at Space Age restaurant. Today we brought our helmets and riding clothes inside because we didn’t want to feel hot immediately when we got back outside. We cooled down and each had a piece of pie with ice cream. I drank a lot of ice water as well. But alas, we could only sit there for so long and inevitably it came time to go home. So, by the time I got home, I had ridden in 110° heat for about six hours. Very tiring, especially after living in cool air for so many days prior to this.

The week went by way too fast, and I couldn’t believe it was ending already. A week ago we were in Beatty, NV. To go from the happiness of being on the road to resuming of my horrific job is just a bit much. The thing I had to remember as the depression set in is that our annual trip to Taos, NM is only a few weeks away. It has become the signature trip for us, and I am excited that it is next on the agenda. I just have to make it through August, which is no small feat.

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3 thoughts on “Nevada, California trip, Day 8

  1. There’s a reason Jimmy Webb did not include your phrase in his famous song. What song am I talking about? What words did you use that made me think of it? He wrote “By the Time I Get to Phoenix” back in 1965. And you wrote, “By the time I got to Yuma.” Somehow, it doesn’t flow the same.

    Have you ever stopped and ridden through the Imperial Sand Dunes just west of Yuma? I have wanted to stop and catch some early morning or twilight photos of untouched dunes (morning would be better for that, right?), but have never done so.

    I found that the Space Age Lodge was built in 1963 as space fever gripped the U.S. and the restaurant was added the following year. The restaurant burned down in 1998, but was rebuilt with a slightly updated (but still space influenced) theme. It seems like a fun place to be part of your travel routine. I have never stopped there because it is too early in the trip when traveling west and too close to home when traveling east.

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