|Travelogue -- Dr Bob's US50 Motorcycle Ride|
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20 May 2012, 11:20 PM PT, Flagstaff, AZ
Hottest day yet. I am sure it will be the hottest day period. I rode 534 miles. I took the northern route, from Buttonwillow on CA-58 through Bakersfield, Mojave, Barstow, then on I-40 to Needles, and Kingman to Flagstaff. Tomorrow I will continue on I-40 to Albuquerque. Somewhere I must turn southeast because I want to go through Austin. The temperature gauge on the Harley went as high as 110°F just inside Arizona after passing through Needles. I just checked some weather data which says the maximum in Needles was 105. The difference could be the accuracy of my gauge, but it could also result from higher temperatures on the road. I will not have temperatures nearly this high tomorrow, like I would have had if I had gone the southern route. [Editor's note: Not sure about his use of grammar.]
Because it was so hot, I was forced to turn on the air conditioner on the Harley.
You can quit laughing now.
I guess I will have to demonstrate it to you. In this first picture, you will see a black strip of cloth that sort of looks like a tie lying on my riding jacket.
In this picture you should notice that the black strip of cloth got very fat, like a long sausage. That's becaue I loaded it. With water. I put it in water in the sink in the men's room at the rest area for about ten minutes. This device has granules of some sort that absorb water, and lots of it.
Then you tie the wet sausage around your neck.
This style of air conditioner requires no electricity, just water. I believe it is called a swamp cooler by some people. Those of you old enough will remember long ago before air conditioners became standard, cars would have those black things hanging out the window, often the driver's window. They had water in them. As the hot dry air passes over the water, it causes the water to evaporate which takes energy out of the hot air making it cooler. So, my Harley air conditioner cools my neck. That helps more than you might realize. You have blood close to the surface in your neck going into your head, and it really makes you feel cooler. I felt better today in temperatures well above 100 than I did yesterday without the Harley air conditioner when the temperature just reached 90.
Enough about retro technology.
After I left Buttonwillow this morning, I went into the Tehachapi Mountains. Along a ridge line, I saw dozens and dozens of windmills. They looked awful. They looked haphazard. They didn't look neat like the ones I have show you before. They were so ugly I refused to take a picture. It's bad enough that I still have the image in my mind. It made me think of the random placing of TV antennas on a city apartment building that you used to see.
Sometime later, though, I saw some that were aesthetically pleasing to me, so I took a picture. Notice in the bottom of this picture you see some Joshua Trees.
Here are the Joshua Trees.
This is not that good a picture, it looks much better when the sky is the background, but I didn't have an opportunity to take such a picture. So, I have included an old picture taken by my daughter-in-law Susannah of wife Hanna and son Darryl and daughter Cindy and me in Joshua Tree National Park. This is the best Joshua Tree picture ever. You see, it explains why it is called a Joshua Tree. The trees look like people with their arms up in the air praising the Lord like Joshua did. If I remember correctly, it was Cindy's idea to do this picture, or maybe Susannah's idea. I don't remember.
After crossing the Tehachapi Mountains, I went through Mojave. At that point I was about an hour from daughter Cindy's home. Unfortunately she isn't home right now, so we missed seeing each other.
This picture was taken just past Needles. That is the Colorado River separating Arizona (where I am standing) from California.
This train is crossing the Colorado from Arizona into California.
And this ugly thing is the beautiful arch bridge that Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda crossed on the Billy Bike and Captain America in the movie "Easy Rider". That is the old Route 66 bridge. I have no idea why it is covered like that.
Here are some nice red rocks in Arizona when I was getting to higher elevation.
This is a motel in Seligman, Arizona where Hanna and I have stayed.
And this is the Road Kill Cafe next door. I had to get a new Road Kill Cafe tee-shirt, that's why I stopped in Seligman.
Last picture tonight was one I took about 6:30 PM, don't remember exactly the time, but it was near the peak of the eclipse. It got darker than normal, but not dark. The camera exposure was 20 times what earlier pictures were. That's why I have left the picture a bit dark, so you see it the way I did. About ten minutes later it was bright again. These are the San Francisco Peaks just north of Flagstaff. The last time I saw them, four years ago, they had snow on them.
The moon was almost completely in front of the sun where I was, but it was slightly to the south as it crossed in front of the sun.