Route 66 – The Plan
Sometime at the beginning of November 2007 three things came into my life that changed it in some subtle ways:
1) Can Am Spyder #610 arrived after a six month wait.
2) My Tom Tom GPS which goes with Item #1 above.
Delivery Day for #610
I fell in love with the Spyder having never owned a motorbike before. With its reverse trike layout this seemed like the ideal setup for an old guy like me. I fell into a routine of riding every day from the day I got it. Since I was new to all of this, the freeways terrified me, so I limited my riding to two lane country roads with the least amount of traffic.
Item #2 came in real handy for this since it had an option to “avoid freeways” in its trip planning mode. I always selected this and started seeing parts of California I never knew existed. Once away from the hubbub of the high speed roads, life took on a more sedated pace that I found to my liking. Also, the scenery was a lot better and it was much easier to enjoy it at a slower pace.
Visit to Blacksmith Shop
Item # 3 took me off the bike for a couple of months but it drove home the point that if I had something I wanted to do, I had better get to it. It seemed like the number of rotations I had left on this old mud ball we call earth could very well be limited.
So I went into training. First I went to the gym to get enough strength back to be able to hang onto my new toy. Hanging onto it is not always easy as the reverse trike set up makes for some interesting g forces. While the bike is very stable, that will not do me a lot of good if I get thrown from it. By the way, I can now bench press 400 pounds. It takes me 4 reps but I still can do it.
And I practiced with the bike. First taking longer and longer day trips and then doing several two and three day overnight trips. I would go from Death Valley to the top of the Sierras in one day, just to learn how to dress properly for all conditions. I also made a study of what was the cheapest motel accommodations I would likely be able to survive without having someone harvest my organs during the night. And I vowed to not eat in any place with a name that I already knew. This last decision is probably harder on my health than Items 1 or 3.
So after 8500 miles of practice I felt I was ready for an adventure. Since I was rather smitten with two lane country roads and the American country side I decided to get my kicks on Route 66-The Mother Road. While most of it still exists, it has all been bypassed by modern interstates. Once the main east-west route, it supposedly lays as a testament to the American Dream as it existed after the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl and World War II. I thought I should go check it out.
The idea of visiting The Painted Dessert alone would have gotten me to go. I later found out it was the Painted Desert. While somewhat disappointed by that, other attractions like the Wigwam Motel, the Cadillac Ranch, and a 72 ounce steak all held enough of an appeal to keep me going. And I thought I might achieve a few other of my goals like visiting the second largest ball of twine on the face of the earth and making a much overdue pilgrimage to Big Butter Jesus.
I made the necessary modifications to my bike to make the trip more pleasant. Luckily there were not many that were needed. I added a Throttlemeister throttle lock to ease the dreaded hand cramping which I have never had. I added mirror extension so I could see the semi trucks right before they ran over me. I put a Corbin fairing/windshield that performs so poorly I am thinking about taking it off for this trip and just eating the bugs that hit me in the face. And lastly I added my Indian-Taxi-Driver beaded seat cover. This is the goofiest looking thing but it works so well I can’t leave without it.
Spyder #610 with its wicked new fairing.
I bought some cheap saddlebags to increase my luggage space. I have a Spyder riding outfit that I have 8500 miles on. And a cheap WalMart helmet that has been serving me well. I am bringing disposable clothing with me that I intend to jettison along the way rather than wash it. So I think I am pretty well prepared, but we shall see. I have never ridden in the rain in those 8500 miles and I know that will be revelation when the first thunderstorm hits.
My first leg of this trip is down to Santa Monica, Ca. where Route 66 officially ends. The purist out there will tell you that it is only proper to go East to West on Route 66 but I have been swimming upstream all my life and this will be no different. Route 66 officially starts in Chicago some 2400 miles away from Santa Monica. I have no particular schedule. My only time requirement is to not travel further than two creases in the road map in any one day. It is the journey, not the end that I am looking forward to. It is quite likely I have one shot at getting this right so I intend to give it a good try and smell whatever roses there are along the way. And if I get tired of it I will just head home or park the bike and return to it later.
I am going to need a lot of that stuff