Ramblings of a motorcyclist
Thurs. 19May16 - Day 2 - Williams, AZ to Gallup, NM
Well, that was unexpected!
After a restful night at my hotel in Williams, I went out to pack up and head to breakfast, only to find The Lady and The Tramp covered in frost. Needless to say, she was not amused with my forgetting to put a cover over her after we arrived at the hotel here ... She'd become quite spoiled (Hello, Prima Donna?) with having a garage of her own at home. Honestly! I forgot to check the overnight forecast, as frost was not on my mind.
And that wasn't the only 'surprise' while packing out... I had brought my air mattress, sheets, pillows, and comforter along, as I planned to use them on my return trip west. I had packed the pillows in one Space Bag, the comforter and mattress pad in another, and the sheets in a third. When I opened the trailer, I found that the Space Bag holding the comforter had developed a leak overnight and swelled back up to full size... Derp... Needless to say, I had no way to fix that problem, so those bits of bedding were donated to the hotel staff right then and there.
A plus to that is I now had a bit more room in the trailer, which would be needed later in the journey.
Breakfast, and onward to Gallup!
After staging, we were treated to a lovely breakfast, compliments of John Moore, mayor of Williams, and his son. While doing our respective 'pre-flight' checks, a fellow platoon mate found his ride to be a tad low on oil. I was glad to share some of my 'spares' with him, to ensure a day of safe riding.
Today is scheduled to be a fairly short (225 miles), but fun, ride to Gallup. Our first stop out of Williams was a parade through, and fuel stop in, Winslow, AZ.
After refueling in Winslow, it was a short, 30-odd mile leg to lunch and fuel in Holbrook, AZ. It was during this leg that I found myself in the right track, pacing a fellow rider and his co-rider who were in the left track ahead of me. This couple, and their ride, were memorable for two reasons. The first was their more unique trailer. The second was, as also noted by fellow platoon mates, due to his inability, at least until this point in the run, to keep consistent pacing and placement in whatever track he was riding. Until this point, fellow riders and platoon leadership had been providing the necessary feedback to this couple, in an effort to help them improve their riding skills, while platoon mates increased their spacing around this couple.
The pack had not yet reached the highway when I had my first close encounter with them. Making a turn as we approached the super slab, he drifted, with no signal or indication, directly into my track, but corrected very shortly thereafter. I increased my spacing, for safety. Unfortunately, during this short leg, they managed to drift out of the left track and into my track, seven more times.
We arrived safely for lunch in Holbrook, AZ, hosted by American Legion Post 37.
Of potholes and trailers...
Despite our vigilance, sometimes, the construction areas or potholes would try to get the best of us. Today, while traveling to Gallup, we hit a few multi-lane wide pothole/crater fields.
While riding in the left track, a fellow rider ahead of me, in the right track, hit a really bad run of rough super slab. One pothole was deep enough that, when his right trailer tire hit it, the trailer leapt about 1' into the air. When it landed, it hit very, very hard. I didn't realize JUST how hard his trailer landed until the rider behind him came alongside me to pass a message. That trailing rider saw that the trailers' landing had caused the axle to bend and the tires to splay out.
I immediately came abreast of the affected rider and loudly informed him that he needed to Tap Out and check his trailer, which he did. Unfortunately, we didn't see him again until much later in the day.
Picking up a significant LEO escort team...
As we crossed into New Mexico, we met up with what would be a really awesome escort team. It turns out that the New Mexico State Police had arranged to basically shut down the eastbound side of the interstate around us as we transited the state. Not only that, but we had a dedicated team of NMSP motorcycle officers set to escort the pack from state border to border.
Despite their rides being armed to the teeth, the NMSP motormen were absolutely awesome. They seemed to enjoy escorting us on our mission and ensuring our safety just as much as we enjoyed having them along for this part of the run.
Arrival in Gallup, NM
Unbeknownst to me, this was going to be the first of many very emotionally moving experiences along the run. Upon arriving in Gallup, we paraded through town, arriving at Red Rock Park, where we were hosted by the Navajo Nation and The Black Creek Gourd Society.
We were welcomed into the Navajo Nation with native song and ritual. Short video clips of the ceremonies can be viewed here:
After these moving experiences, we enjoyed dinner, provided by The City of Gallup at the park.