Hitting the Road

Having arrived in Arizona, I quickly settled in at my friends' house, spreading my luggage around and making the most of the air conditioning. Thelma arrived having been brought up from Tucson by Roseann and Jonathan in their van, which was extremely kind of them. Thelma promptly took up residence in half of the garage. I got to work checking her over and servicing her. She looked pretty good but the rear tyre wasn't great. I headed off to MotoGhost, a local BMW bike shop. Thelma soon had a new tyre and a smart-looking right-angle valve for it. The friendly staff recognised me from the BMW video, and were a bit surprised to find me in their shop.

Everything ready I set off and not before time, the temperature was hitting 100 degrees as I pulled out of town, the phrase "Mad dogs and Englishmen" ran through my head, I was taking the most direct route up into the hills desperate for the cooler air at high altitude. Eight hours later I arrived in Albuquerque, staying with more friends who provided me with a lovely dinner and a much welcomed glass of wine. As I left in the morning, I was aware that it was going to be a bit mor rough and ready from now on. The highways were straight, roadsigns easy to follow and I made good time, dry weather all the way through and the temperature about right for bike travel. Each evening I set up my tent wherever I could find a quiet spot, taking small country roads away from the highway.

My first camp in Texas wasn't a great success, my tent pole snapped as I was setting it up, I had to make do with a half-collapsed tent for the night. The following night in Kansas I managed to make a bit of a repair and re-thread the shock cord to end up with a shorter pole which gave my tent a lop-sided appearance.

 I had a tight schedule to get to Chicago in time for a talk I was giving so I couldn't really linger anywhere.For food I was mostly having stuff from the highway service stations, giving an extremely limited choice for any self-respecting vegetarian. Several times I found myslef buying a ham and cheese sandwich and discarding the ham in a bin. What happened to good old egg and cress or cheese ploughman's? I wondered plaintively.