Trip of a Lifetime, Part VI

After spending three weeks (and then some) riding from our home base to the Puget Sound region, then down the west coast, we were ready to get home. We had careers to get back to.

We left California and rode east on Interstate 80—not our favorite highway—to Nevada. Now, Nevada is one of those western states that has a lot of nothing within its borders. Cities big enough for a decent motel are few and far between. We decided that our first stop would be Reno, because, why not?

(C) 2014, JJ Shaun
Lake Tahoe

I called ahead, and we ended up with a comp room, so we saved a few bucks on the first night’s lodging. Sure, we could have ridden to Fernley, but let’s face it, Reno is much more fun. Besides, it was free. More or less. We got a little gambling out of our systems before the push home.

We almost made it through the Silver State before stopping for the night. Fighting the wind all day tuckered us out, so we only made it as far as Wells, NV. We dodged raindrops the latter part of the day and pulled into our motel mere minutes before the storm caught up to us.

(C) 2014, JJ Shaun
Racing the storm.

The following day wasn’t much better, especially after we passed through Salt Lake City. As we came through Park City, the sky opened up, the temperature dropped, and the water pooled on the road. To make matters worse, trucks blew by us, and the splashback made it even harder to see.

By that time, I not only had my prescription sunglasses on (double lenses), I had dropped my visor, and my windshield was rain-covered both inside and out. I was trying to look through four layers of rain-spotted glass, but my glasses were fogging up. The less I could see, the more I slowed down. I was freaking out a little. First Reader finally caught on to my distress and took the lead.

We rode in and out of the rain for the rest of the day. By the time we stopped for the night, I was thoroughly chilled and ready for a long, hot shower. Maybe it was the anticipation. Maybe it was the stress of the day. Despite the relaxing warmth of the water, the soft bed, and that we would be home the next day, we slept poorly that night.

Packing up the bikes for what we thought was the last time we headed east. The weather was tolerable in the morning. It switched on us halfway to our destination, turning cold and rainy. We were an hour away from home when, exhausted, we made the decision to lay over one more night.

That was the wrong decision. Had we kept going, we would probably have ridden out of the storm less than half an hour up the road. As it was, when we got up the next morning, it was pouring. We asked for a late checkout. That deadline came, and it was still pouring. We hung out as long as we dared, then finally layered up and headed home.

What should have taken an hour took almost two. The water running across the highway kept us from going too fast. If you think hydroplaning in a car is scary, you should try it on a motorcycle. That will give you more than a few gray hairs, let me tell you.

When we finally parked the bikes, we were exhausted, but elated. After twenty-eight days and almost 4700 miles, we were home.

Would I do it again? Absolutely. I want to ride the coast from Seattle all the way to San Diego, though. Now, that would be the Ultimate Ride.

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