I slept right through my alarm clock. The days have been long and the nights short. It’s beginning to wear on the entire crew. We woke to steady rain, not a welcome sight. Riders began donning garbage bags and goggles, taking last sips of warm coffee but not wanting to have to stop to use a restroom because of the additional clothing. The Motorcycle Cannonball is truly a test of both man and machine. Who will endure to the end??? Only 58 riders started out today. Currently the 5 front runners have been steady. They are on two Harley Davidsons and three Hendersons. Today we face more steep grades as we climb into the High Desert. 262 miles with elevations of 3700 to 8400 feet and a stop at Four Corners Monument. The monument immortalizes the intersection of Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Utah. The countdown began and the riders were off!
Mixing with traffic today was even more stressful since the water spray on the road made the riders extra hard to see. We were on a 4-lane highway with a 65 mph speed limit. I prayed for safety and grace. Just then a large word appeared in my vision, painted on the roof of an old building: GRACE. I knew we would all be OK. Thank you…. As we went down to 2-lane, I found #59, Steve Gonzales, pulled over. His clutch was slipping and he needed to do an adjustment. He pulled his rain soaked tools from his canvas saddlebags and went to work. Sometimes the best thing for me to do is be quiet and just let the person do their work. I stepped back to my bike and pulled my “Slow” sign out to provide more safety while he worked on the left side of the bike.
We got to 4 corners with a little break in the rain and pulled into a gravel muddy parking lot. We were able to get a few picture, mixed with many other tourists, before the sky let loose again and everyone huddled near the vendors seeking shelter. I had left my rain gear on the bike so had to run out to retrieve my soaked on both sides gear…. Ugh… A little further down the road many riders pulled into a small trading post for gas. It was busy with locals retrieving mail and buying supplies. They were curious. Darlene, a local Native American motorcyclists stopped to talk to me. She had just ridden home from Texas for a visit and was delighted to see the bikes. As we pulled out I saw another painting on a roof; Love Life. Yes I do.
I got more pictures of scenery than riders today. The red rock formations were fascinating and made you wonder what it would have been like for cowboys of the old west on horseback looking for shade. Trees and water were scares. I saw many people walking. About 2 miles before we got to one of the larger towns, Kayenta, I saw a woman and child walking with a dog following them. Later I saw them in town. A motorized bicycle would be nice for them, especially one with a sidecar!
We arrived in Page, AZ for the night. 10 bikes were on the sweep trailers and more had been picked up by their crews. Where some people are done for the night many others are busy with maintenance and repairs. I am doing the same but in my case it is for the riders. I finally got to my room about 9pm but tonight I got to eat supper for the first time in 4 days. Good night, sleep tight – tomorrow we visit the Grand Canyon! For more information about the Motorcycle Cannonball including statistics, visit www.motorcyclecannonball.com