Maybe it was the beds at the Best Value Inn, or perhaps the anticipation of starting the route that led to a fitful night of sleep. The silver lining was the breakfast bar at 5:30am that morning. Pristine, clean and organized, like it had just been laid out for me. I was able to casually enjoy some pancakes, eggs and a cup of coffee before any other guests awoke.
I’m not sure if its the left-over viking blood in our veins, or just the layout of our culture. Lodgers waking up in hotels, charge into the breakfast room, tiny plastic forks and knives raised, elbows out, ready for blood. Eating voraciously with singular purpose; Get the good food, before it all runs out. The sad dejected look of those who arrive too late, and are left only a fossilized apple turnover, or a stale slice of rye.
The plan was to meet Zina and Wayne at the border station outside Eureka at 3:00pm, which gave me 4 hours to do 60 miles. I again referenced my Gazetteer maps to burn a little time.
This is the only photo I got of one of these butterflies that wasn’t smashed up to bits, or slow-roasted “well done” between the cooling fins of the Urals cylinders.
A little past 3:00pm, we rolled into the border. I saw Zina, Wayne and Simon, and did my best Valentino Rossi fist pump in the air. A little premature, this being the starting line and all. It felt right in the moment.
Three humans, two dogs, and seven wheels at the Canadian border. Now the fun can really begin. Wayne and Zina wanted to find a camp site right off, so they could dispose of their worn TrailWings, and spoon on some knobs.
After searching fruitlessly for some marked campgrounds on the Gazetteer, we doubled back to Rexford, where Wayne and Zina said they had seen a viable campground. It seemed more like an RV parking area than a campground, but with sturdy picnic tables and running water, we’d certainly make do.
Changing tires is one of those communal shit-jobs where everyone pitches in. Doesn’t matter who you are, if a rider sees tire irons in your hand, they immediately stop and pull over to help. No words need to be exchanged, the commiseration of arm wrestling stiff, sticky beads over metal hoops is well known across all languages and cultures.
Wayne is pretty good at flipping skins on his own, so my only real contribution was the scissor-jack I had packed along. A luxury for those traveling by motorcycle, but a requirement for those on a Ural. Sure, you can tip the Ural over in a ditch to take the sidecar wheel off. But you lose major cool points when you get stuck in the ditch.
Zina and Wayne made a special ramen noodle dish they lived off on the TAT, while I made one of my freeze-dried meals I had brought along. Some picture off-loading, and general conversation about the next day, and we turned in early for the night.
With tomorrow mornings waxing sunlight, the promise of dirt, dust and grit between our teeth would be fulfilled, and the journey officially begin.
Days mileage: 78 miles
Total mileage: 1162 miles