Day 1 – Saddlesore 1,000 from Richmond, CA to Durango, CO.
Left the house at 3.30am to meet Tom at the local gas station. After the official signing and tank filling with a receipt, I was off.
I decided to take 5 down and use 132 to cut over to 99. Even at 5am the traffic heading west was unbelievable. Bumper to bumper coming out of Modesto for a good 30 minutes… fortunately I was going the opposite way.
I stopped for gas in Fresno and again just outside of Bakersfield. Once I reached Mojave, the heat was kicking in.
Everything was going fine until I got about an hour south of Needles. This is where I got the first speeding ticket (that’s right… the first of two). The CHP was pretty cool, but what can you say… getting pulled over sucks.
Moving forward I decided to take a break in Needles and grab some Taco Bell. At this point I was running behind schedule. There’s no straight shot through Needles… you either take 40 and do a half circle underneath Needles or do a half circle going North through Laughlin. My original plan was to do Lauglin since it’s a couple miles shorter, but it was clear that it would have been much slower so I decided to forge ahead on 40.
(random rest stop pic… did I mention tickets suck?)
I was making good time and then decided to stop in this town about an hour south of Flagstaff to gas up, etc. The sun was going down in the west so I decided to change my shield insert from tinted to clear. Unfortunately one of the screws holding the shield on dropped on the ground and went right into the hole where the truck drivers lift those manhole covers to fill the tanks. Fortunately, there’s two screws on each side, but note to self… when you get a replacement… get a few just to have as backups.
Up until now I had pretty much clear skies, but I was getting into Thunderstorm country as I approached Flagstaff. As I came into Flagstaff, the whole town was soaking wet but the skies above were clear… so far, so good.
Pulling out of Flagstaff it started to get dark and in the part of the country, that means no street lights or ambient light from cities. Fortunately it was almost a full moon, but for the first time I was immediately grateful I got the extra HID lights. I was running two different types… one was a flood on the right side to light up the side of the road in case of animals and another was a spot that basically reached about the same distance as my high beam, but a lot more light in general. Having them on also didn’t seem to bother oncoming traffic so that was good too.
I made one stop out in the middle of nowhere to get some gas… good thing too because there wasn’t another open gas station for over 75 miles and I only had about 40 left.
I finally got to one of my turnoffs from 160 near Shiprock, New Mexico. It was about 11pm and for some strange reason… I wasn’t even tired. The view of Shiprock backlit from the Moon was pretty ominous… I only wish I had time for a long exposure… but the Saddlesore deadline waits for no one.
(a quick shot at Shiprock)
I pulled into Kayenta hoping this would be my last gas stop before moving into Durango. I also decided it was a good time to get something to eat. I quickly checked in with a few people and it was great hearing the encouraging voices in a town filled with strangers wondering who the guy was on the weird bike and what he was doing having a chicken sandwich in the middle of the night.
As I moved from Cortez to Mancos, it got extremely cold. I had been faced with pretty severe heat up until then and this was a serious shock. As I was making my way down the grade into Durango… I started talking to myself… hoping it would warm me up… it didn’t… but sometimes crazy can be like a warm blanket 🙂
As I pulled into Durango I was only about 10 miles from my Mom’s house, but was running on serious “E” so decided to not only get some gas, but also needed one more receipt for the Saddlesore cert. Of course I only wanted to get some gas and get the hell out of there so of course the pump I chose was pumping gas at a drizzle. Took me almost 2 minutes to get half a gallon but as the attendant told me… “Yeah… they do that this late at night… nobody knows why”. I knew right then and there I was back at home
I got close to my Mom’s house only to find that her quaint place out in the woods was now surrounded by a giant hospital and housing development that would even be excessive for a metropolitan suburb. After a couple of wrong turns, I finally found the place and got in just after 1am.
It was an incredible day and even now I can’t believe I did it. It’s amazing that although I expected to be exhausted… I was not sleepy at all. I was actually very charged up and even stayed up another hour talking to my mom. A friend of mine, who does a lot of long distance riding, told my wife that the adrenaline kicks in towards the end of the ride and I think he may be right. Regardless, I was looking forward to a day of rest and hanging out with mom the next day.