Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Getting Back to Riding

In memory of my little brother H. Lloyd Malone; December 13, 1957 – February 8, 2008.

Having spent most of the past two weeks at the hospital and then making the final arraignments for my brother, there wasn’t any time for motorcycling. Family and the love for my little brother were more important. So, I made Wednesday the day to return to riding.

I just wanted to get away and ride in the solitude of slower paced two lane highways. The problem with that is I also wanted to be out for an extended period of time. That would require some Interstate traffic and I had to make a decision if I wanted that traffic early or late. I choose early as the best option.

I left home at 8:45 and headed to the Loop 101. Traffic was surprisingly light for a Wednesday morning. Merging onto Interstate 10 west I went right to the left lane, set the cruise at 70, and rolled out of town without ever having to slow at all. That is a feat when going through Avondale and out toward Verrado, a really nice planned community 25 miles west of Phoenix. Exiting on Arizona 85 south I headed to Gila Bend and a fuel stop. About six weeks ago I went to Yuma for lunch and had real fuel problems. Like only 20 mpg and just barely getting the 118 miles from Yuma back to Gila Bend. I made it on less than fumes and put 5.3 gallons on gas in a five gallon tank. I was thinking I was going to use up my call to HOG in the first month of the year. I had switched from my loud pipes back to a stock set and just couldn't dial in the PC III. So, I went back to the Pythons, made an adjustment, and was hoping for better results.

The day was cloudy, but the tempreture was in the high 50's. Imagine riding in February in high 50's at 9:oo am. The reason to live in Arizona is the nearly perfect weather. After making my pit stop to gas up it was on Interstate 8 west for the boring part of the day: 118 miles to Yuma. Boring in respect to it being Interstate riding.

This is a view looking north from Interstate 8 about 35 miles west of Gila Bend.

Getting into Yuma I made the decision to take US 95 north to Quartsite, Arizona. US 95 is a well traveled, well maintained road that is mostly in a flash flood area. That is important to know on rainy days and more so as you see the number of snowbirds, winter visitors, who dot the landscape in their motorhomes along the 80 mile trip to Quartsite. I'm not sure how they would get out in a flash flood.

This was an enjoyable part of the ride. Very light traffic, cruise set at 65, warming into the mid 60's, and mild rolling turns. The perfect reason to ride a motorcycle.

After a pit stop in Quartsite it was back on an Interstate for about 11 miles heading home 125 miles from Phoenix. I thought of just rolling the super slab, but my desire to just cruise got the better of me and I exited on US 60 to Wickenberg. It was now 158 miles to home, but a relaxed two lane with perfect weather and no traffic at all. It was the perfect choice to make and the added milage didn't make a difference at all.

I arrived back at home just before 4 pm, averaging 36.4 mpg, and feeling like I can live with that. Most people claim to get around 35 mpg when touring on a Harley and I know when I pull the trailer it will drop some. My front brakes started to squeal a bit and I need to change the pads tomorrow. But, it was a good day to ride. A good day to ride and remember and think about my little brother. Rest In Peace, Harold Lloyd, I love you.

1 comment :

  1. Paul, I'm sorry to hear about the passing of your brother. Riding is certainly therapeutic. Riding gives one time to be alone and think. It's not very good riding weather here in Maryland, but I manage to get out for at least a short ride or a couple of errands. As long as the temp is above 40 I am good to ride.