Heat can be a bitch. When you're riding a motorcycle in it for prolong periods, it can wear down your emotional state, suck your energy, cause cramping, and leave you in a daze.
We made an attempt to ride back to San Diego from the Phoenix area but just couldn't make it. We got as far as Yuma and had to call it a day.
While the Arizona desert can be colorful and beautiful, it can also be huge. The road runs straight for dozens of miles without a single degree of turn, lulling you into a trance. You have to use your creativity to keep yourself entertained, or you have to shut off your emotions and not let external variables bother you.
The heat wasn't really that hot, the hottest I saw on the air temperature gauge on my Honda ST1300, was 93 degrees F (33.9 C), but was still hot enough after a few hours through the Arizona desert. We probably had another 60-75 minutes of riding in the heat until we climbed up the grade into San Diego County.
But it wasn't just the heat. It was the long miles down from Denver, through cold temperatures and fierce winds through New Mexico, and the rainfall inside the Gila National Forest. For someone with only a year and a half of long range motorcycle riding under her belt, Sash's body just couldn't take too much more.
The lifestyle of riding a motorcycle across the country, through all the weather elements, the geography, the backroads and twisties, and then stopping to see people, and trying to get some work done at the same time, takes its toll day after day.
But we're not complaining by any means. Sash and I would still rather do this than a "real" job.
The day started out with breakfast at the house of Arizona Harley Dude. Paul made us a combination of scrambled eggs and chorizo while his puppy dog Dexter licked the residue from our faces. After we took a group photo, we packed up our stuff and thanked him for his hospitality. Then we headed off to Whole Foods Market in Scottsdale to meet Genevieve Schmitt, founder of Women Riders Now, who happened to be in the area. Sash met Genevieve at the Steel Horse Sisterhood Summit earlier last weekend.
We finally got back on the road around 2:00pm, close to the hottest point of the day. At first I led at a pace of 75 MPH, but increased it to 80 MPH. Sash finally passed me by and led between 90-95 MPH (144-152 KPH) until we got into Yuma. By that time, she was worn out. The heat was sucking the life out of her.
One would think that sitting on a motorcycle wouldn't require much energy. But it does. Riding a motorcycle seems to burn calories, more calories that sitting in a Lazy Boy recliner. It also wears down the brain. There's an intellectual aspect of watching the road, the traffic, and your speed. It's also calculating your distance to the next gas station and how far you think you can go. You count down the exit numbers and the mile markers and run a series of math equations to determine your distance and the estimated time you'll get there. You don't think about this inside a car because you're too busy surfing channels on your satellite radio.
Add the heat and the sun shining down on you, and somehow it wears down the body.
Tonight we rest in Yuma, and tomorrow we leave early for San Diego. We actually meet with clients at 11:00am that day.
|Arizona Harley Dude (left), Sash (middle), and me (right)|
|Me with a bag of cracklins in my jacket, I can reach in for a crunchy snack every mile or so.|
|We met with Genevieve Schmitt in Scottsdale, the publisher of Women Riders Now|
|These sculptures sit outside of a gas station in Gila Bend, AZ|
|Sash and I ride down I-8 in Arizona|
|Me on my Honda ST1300|