Yuma

Monday, June 2, 2008. Day 31
291 miles
High Temperature in Yuma: 106 F

Sunday night I fell face first into bed. Not inebriated, just mentally exhausted and my body felt like a noodle from the massage. My insurance guy called, Arizona time made it 6:30 am. Good guy, I use Fernet motorcycle insurance. He was answering my question about Mexico insurance. It was already decided that we wouldn’t go into Mexico, though, as Shaun has no passport and it just seemed too complicated in general.

I went back to sleep for an hour, and then jumped up to make some espresso-loving the machine that the Stirrat’s had! Shelby and Mike went off to work, after a big hug from Mike. Oh, and the photo shoot he requested in front of the Saguaro cactus-not sure why anyone would want a photo of me at 7:30am?!

The kids hung out with me as I packed up; they all signed the scoot. I really adore them and have great hope for our future if there are more great brains like those in the world. And hearts. They were really cool kids. The dog, Petey chased me down the street; he looked like he was having so much fun that I kept him going for a bit. With the neighbors shooting me looks, I corralled him on home, to his dismay.

IMG_0874By 9:30 I was at Scoot Over, waiting on Shaun to show. I think he had run into some last minute packing obstacles and finally showed up an hour late, looking nervous but excited. Shelby, rockstar that she is, had his Givi topcase on in 10 minutes. I forced some liquid electrolyte/vitamin mix on Shaun, as temperatures would reach triple digits that day and we would be riding in full gear. He said he felt fine and pumped from adrenalin but I told him that preventive care was necessary for long rides like this. You don’t wait until the minute that you feel like crap, you try to avoid it altogether.

I was worried about the weight of gear on his front rack. Heavy rack=loss of control. He let me adjust his gear and then we checked our air pressure and oil, took a bon voyage photo-and finally left Tucson. I had mulled for days over this route over to San Diego; particularly the first half to Yuma. I hate the interstate, and in the South West, people drive warp speed.

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After checking many options and asking many people their opinion, I picked the above route. The plan was to do frontage road as much as possible along I-8. It’s funny how a situation can become blown out of proportion when mulled over in you head, and when the only thing you have to go on is other people’s perspective. I’ve struck an even balance between crucial and exaggerated advice.

Our jaunt to Ajo was 127 miles. This is where we planned to have lunch. Traffic was fast, but sparse. Wind was high, but nothing compared to what would lie ahead. We talked to a lady about our scooters. Turns out she too was from Virginia. The conversation was great, but hit a low note when she said people in those parts intentionally hit motorcyclists. IMG_0886See above paragraph. Once in Ajo, we leaned into the few curves that make up the town, perusing a selection of shabby storefronts for our lunch choice. Marcel’s was recommended. I ran inside, starved. Once food was ordered I went out to tighten the loose saddlebags and Bob pulled in. Bob Boozer to be exact. He was driving a Yamaha 4×4. Shaun tried to negotiate a trade, but we were only allowed a test drive. Bob then proceeded to rattle off some fancy one liners and cute stories.

Lunch packed away, we set out towards Gila Bend-by way of the Barry Goldwater Airforce Range. It was obvious we were close to the border. Mexican Insurance signs were everywhere (you have to get it to drive in Mexico). We met a fellow at the gas station who was crossing over the border. He claimed to be visiting a gated community an hour over the border. I bet that car was coming back with some extra packages. Nice guy though.

There was a checkpoint going into the range. I had been told I both could and couldn’t drive across the range. Well, you can. The guard only asked me one question; “How many miles per gallon?” I thought about saying something like, “Enough to avoid this war,” but thought that was cheeky. The wind was picking up, as was traffic. It was getting late in the day, and handling the scoot can be weary, but we still had 150 miles to go.

Once we hit Gila Bend, the wind was ridiculous. We were getting our rhythm as riders, and I told him to flash the lights if anything was uncomfortable. Shaun is a hoss, his scoot would hit 1,000 miles that day. Just today he rode his scoot in the rain for the first time and is still getting used to curves. Wind though doesn’t seem to bother him at all. The frontage road ended about 20 miles out. We had evaluated the traffic on the interstate to be pretty sparse, so we jumped on. It was fine, although the wind kept our speed down.

The wind was also eating up our gas, especially his. Shaun has no windscreen and is riding a 150cc to my 125cc, so it is interesting to compare stats. Gas has been consistently sparse in the SouthWest-although cheap in Arizona. We gassed up with the sun beginning its descent. There was really no where to stop before Yuma, so we pushed on. Another new thing for Shaun, driving at night. The frontage road appeared again, as Old 80. It ran through livestock, lettuce and date farms. Canals channel the Colorado River into this dry land. If you look at the satellite view of the area, this oasis is surrounded by a desert stretching in all directions.

The smell of livestock was pungent. At this point in the day we had ridden for 8 hours and were dusty, weary and sunburned. The last thing we wanted was this festering odor. I started thinking about a fact I read the other day. In regards to consumption and water-it takes 1860 gallons to grow a pound of beef. And there in the middle of the desert, a vast amount of this precious little bit of water goes towards fattening up livestock. Livestock that not everyone has enough money to buy, and that we don’t have to eat to be healthy. Of course, I believe in balance, so I’m suggesting cutting the beef out of the diet once, twice, three times a week/month. That’s a good place to start. It takes 19 gallons of water to grow an apple, just in case you were wondering.

Frontage road ended again and the Interstate took us up over some pretty fair mountains. Finally, the lights of a city were twinkling in the distance. Around 9pm we pulled into Yuma, AZ. The hotel clerk gave us a great discount after we told her about P.E.A.C.E SCOOT and then she proudly posed for this picture. Her tattoo says, “Make Love, Not War” I asked her what one does in Yuma when only there for 10 hours.

“Oh, there is nothing to do here except drink, do drugs and get pregnant.”
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So I asked Sean to be careful. We unloaded the scoots and walked around Yuma to get our land legs back. Apparently they like to watch a lot of TV in Yuma. The little shop where we got our dinner had a total of 30 TV’s. ALL on!

I had a great rest, thankful that this stretch of the road was behind us. And thinking that the worst of it was over…..

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