I had decided the night before that I didn’t want to attempt the 550 miles to LA all at once today, since leaving early for a full day of riding would have put me in the Mojave Desert smack dab in the middle of the hottest part of the day. So instead I spent a leisurely morning with Lillith and Jonathan, consumed some of J’s amazing cooking (concocted soley of their home-grown eggs and veggies) and got a tour of their property. (Side note – they don’t actually live in Holbrook, but I don’t know the name of the town!)
Aside from the dome, they have built a wonderful foundation for self-sufficient living, including a solar powered well and electrical system for the house, outbuildings for rabbits, chickens, and soon alpaca, as well as providing space and care for the menagerie of cats, dogs, and the aforementioned livestock. Seeing all the work they have done over the past few years towards living in a self sufficient community setting was awe inspiring. And while I didn’t get to see my friends Patrick and Mel who also live there, the fact that A&J were expanding their microcommunity to include others was just as awe inspiring as all the work they have done to the physical property.
Here are some pix of the property, as well as the family Avalon:
Around noon it was time for me to resume my trip, but I was nearly out of gas. Jonathan summoned up some fuel from his farm stores, and I now had enough bike juice to head back north and west without having to backtrack east (to the closer town) in search of fuel. This was just one more exceptionally considerate and nurturing touch that is typical of the Avalons.
Thus armed with at least 50 miles of mobility, I decided to drive back north through the Petrified Forest, to see what it was like in the dry daytime. I won’t bore you with any more words – to the pictures!
The last picture is a special request for my friend Steven’s daughter Olivia. She wanted to make sure I was being safe, and wearing my helmet when I was riding. Throughout the Petrified Forest I was riding with my camera around my neck, and stopping to snap quick pictures whenever the mood struck. On a whim I angled one mirror at me and pointed the camera at it while riding (slowly, on a straight road) and captured proof that yes, I do indeed wear a helmet all the time (even in a 90 degree desert!)
Having now see the PF in the daytime, it was time to get some westward miles under my belt. I drove along US-40 for a few hours until I crossed the border into California, in a town called Needles. I considered staying in Needles for the night, but since it was rapidly approaching dusk, and I had 145 miles of Mojave Desert ahead of me, I decided to do it before stopping and get the benefit of the cooler night travel.
All went well for the first 100 miles or so, until I stopped for gas in the middle of the desert. That was when I noticed a weird clicking sound coming out of the front end of the bike when I was driving at low speeds. It wasn’t the engine, or at least nothing integral to combustion, as twisting the throttle didn’t do anything to the sound, but traveling slowly around the gas station parking lot produced short, sharp, squeaks. I didn’t know what it was, and had no way of identifying it, and I was at least 50 miles from a town of any size. Since the sound wasn’t affecting handling, braking, electricals, cooling, or the engine, I had no choice but to continue. I made it to Barstow, CA and checked into a Holiday Inn Express. Funny that the one in CA was $95 a night, while the one in MO was only $50. I did some internet sleuthing and was able to rule out a few more causes for the weird noise, but at the moment I’m in Barstow with no idea how serious this problem is. Luckily I only have 150 miles left to go before I’m at my new home, and there are 2 Triumph dealers between here and there. From what I can gather between triumph websites and my shop manual, this might be a fork problem (annoying but not dangerous) or a valve problem (ditto).
I’m going to call the dealers in the morning and get opinions on this problem and either drive the bike to a dealer, drive the bike to my apartment in LA and make an appointment for service ASAP, or rent a pickup truck and carry the bike the rest of the way. Either way, she has carried me exceptionally well for over 3400 miles so far, although I’m not unhappy that the trip is almost done.
For now, it’s almost 2am PST, so I’m off to bed!