I hate saying goodbye to everyone, and lingered Monday while others left. Finally it was time for me to go as well, and I hoped on Rabbit and rode away.
I had a new engine, which meant I had to re-break in everything. I had been thinking about this for a couple days, and finally decided the best choice was to get a room in Flagstaff for the night, out a few hundred miles on in the area (since there is certainly a lot of things in the area of Flagstaff to ride and see), then do the break in service and start home for real on Tuesday. It meant delaying getting home, but I thought it was best way to make sure nothing further went wrong.
Getting room was easy enough, the same motel I usually stayed at in Flag. It had the advantage of being walking distance to an automotive oil change business who would take my oil.
With all that taken care of, it was time to work out where I was going. Looking at distances, the obvious choice was the Grand Canyon. Not into the park, there wasn’t time to really go and look at anything and I didn’t want to waste a visit, but the gate would work. And there would be a few side trips I could take. The downside was it would be a long day, “Using all gears” and “not maintain throttle,” according to the instructions. But, that was what had to happen so I set about it.
I turned around at the gate and headed back to Flagstaff. I checked in to me room, and ate. Then I started taking things apart so I could get the service done. It went smoothly, though I was on the sunny side of the building and I went through a lot of water. I had thought about seeing a movie once I was done, but opted for some streaming video on my tablet. In the morning I was back on the road.
I had decided to ride Route 66 home. I had tried to do this in the past, but I always give up after miles of abandoned buildings and faded paint. This time I was determined to find other things to hold my attention.
Of course, Winslow is easy. It’s a living town and popular tourist location. It’s the towns that I-40 killed off that always bring me down. Instead, I looked for the natural parts, and let the beauty of the landscape keep my mind off the change from small roads to interstates.
I also looked for things that hadn’t died off. There are tourist business along the road, every hour or so, letting people break up their long drives.
But it was still miles and miles of miles and miles. I found a nice place to camp east of Albuquerque for the first night, and with the weather being perfect I set up the hammock without the rainfly and slept under the stars, while it rained on the other side of the mountains.
In the morning I was moving again, still stopping to look at the strangeness that has accumulated along the side of Route 66 over the years.
There is a lot of strangeness.
I found a town called Shamrock TX, which contained (of all things) the Blarney Inn. I had to stop. Since I was in North Texas I was hoping for brisket, or at least some sort of BBQ, but I was out of luck and the only options were closed. There was a busy restaurant though, so I went there and had an excellent, if non-BBQ, dinner.
In the morning I lingered long enough to go and take pictures of an old gas station that had been converted into the chamber of commerce and cafe (closed this early). I’d seen it the night before but had passed on taking pictures then. That had been a mistake, since the morning was overcast and dreary. I still took pictures though.
Then I was entering Oklahoma.