USA, 05 Oct '02
January 07, 2003 GMT
USA...Carefree Highway

I finally hit the road at the beginning of october, with a weeping petrol tank (27ltr), a bald back tyre and throw over panniers.

Canadian Rockies.JPG

I left in such a rush. The idea came to me in May;i bought the bike (ī97 F650) in June and called it off in september. I finally hit the road at the beginning of october with a weeping petrol tank (27ltr), a bald back tyre and throw over panniers.
The panniers were already melted from the exhaust on one side, after an hour the other had angled into the rear tyre: a matching holed set! Stopped for tent pegs in Cranbrook to use as guards, they worked a treat.
I was happy with my decision to follow Rt 95 through Idaho, no need to cross the Continental Divide with itīs high and possibly snowy passes! Blue skies and warm days into Utah.
My first "mishap" came on the way to downtown Salt Lake City. I got off to look at the map and my foot hooked on the pannier buckle...over she goes!! I wacked the back of my head and the handle bars were very cock-eyed! Itīs always something stupid. I had sore neck and ab. muscles for a few days!
Went to the Tabernacle (amazing acoustics) for a free organ recital, which finished off with the Liberty March- the Monty Python theme. I wish the organist had looked over his shoulder while he played it! Wonder if anyone else pictured him naked!?
BMW of Salt Lake for a rear tyre, an oil filter kit and handle bar straightening! A very friendly and helpfull place...thank you Tarik.
Route 89 was gorgeous; winding through valleys full of firey autumn colours. Stayed the night in a "two bit" motel, the Harley riding owner gave me a deal for cash. I counted 195 flies on the ceiling! A hunterīs special.
Gusting winds battered me through the Navajo Nation.
My intention was to stop in Sedona for a week and order touratech panniers but i didnīt like the feel of it and besides it was threatening to snow! So on to Phoenix. As i rode into the outskirts Gordon Lightfoot came to my mind when i crossed the Carefree Highway......let me slip away on you. I only can remember two lines of this song but i sang them for three weeks.
Camping was going to very expensive and very far out of town so i settled into a motel in Mesa (east Phoenix). A weekly rate made it cheaper than camping and there was a swimming pool.
The Touratech boxes were to be UPS-ed from Seattle to my room in 3 days. In the mean time i went on a shopping spree! First a chain and sprockets- just for that added weight, there was a front tyre for $30! You donīt say no to that. Two books from the $1 bin, film, socks and frappacinos- just the essentials.
I had a little trouble mounting the frames for the boxes. The instructions were in german and although it looked straight forward, there was the curious case of 3 extra washers....the library i went to for free internet use didnīt have Word to print from the T.T site. I went to a translation site, put in a sample and got back something about the "nut mother unscrewing".....?
After a weekend of cold camping in a state park near Nogales i was ready to cross into Mexico!

Posted by Jo-Anne Smith at 01:40 AM GMT

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