Thursday, May 19, 2011

Day 6: The Run Begins (California-Arizona)

We got up at five this morning so we could get packed up and be at the daily mandatory rider’s meeting by six. We were lost for a while, until we found someone who knew where to go.

It was lightly raining and very cloudy. We got breakfast, free at the meeting, and talked while people got the meeting ready.

The meeting included, among other things, an introduction to RFTW and many tips on safety. After that meeting the Platoon leaders had a meeting with their platoons (or in the case of the chaplains we had a prayer meeting), and then we got on our bikes and prepared to leave. The procession of moving all the hundreds of bikes took some time, but we got through it and soon were on our way.

The first leg of the run was much like when we were going to Rancho Cucamonga. Since the road we used was the same, the effect was even more pronounced. Mist had set in heavily again and was mixed with a little rain now and then. As we climbed up mountains, it got more clear until we could see the end of the mist. It was pretty clear the rest of the way.

Our first stop brought back a few memories. The bikes lined up into a huge parking lot, sorted by platoons. We gassed up in order and were done relatively quickly--at least, quickly for hundreds of bikes.

We had a little time to just wait and have a break from riding, but soon it was time to go again. It is always amazing to watch so many bikes hit the Highway, one by one in order until the entire parking lot was emptied.

We went on like this for many hours. The next stop the refreshment trailer was open and almost everyone went to grab a bottle of water or a snack. I found slim jims and made sure to grab a few.

A little after we got into Arizona we stopped for lunch at Kingman. Something seemed wrong. Every year I had been here it was really, really hot. This year it seemed fine. Then I heard it was snowing ahead, which explained the cool temperature. I had never seen snow on the Run except at Angelfire, New Mexico, which is in the mountains and is usually the coldest point on the Run. I also heard it was supposed to be thirty degrees. Suddenly I didn’t want to leave the lunch area.

The next leg was fine, but it started cooling more. We barely had fuelled when everyone started to leave again. There was supposed to be a chance of rain ahead, so Dad took some time to get ready for it rather than hurrying to keep up. And when we did take off, it was not long until we found all the others.

The weather cooled even more. It was getting really cold, but when we came to where it had snowed it got miserable. We just wanted to finish the ride. Luckily, this was the last leg of the day, but Dad had gotten so cold we went straight to a hotel after coming into Williams. 
We took a long time warming up in the hotel and were really glad we could. The storm looks like it may continue tomorrow and it’s hard to say how we’ll get through it with ice on the roads. The rider’s meeting tomorrow has been delayed an hour already. I hope that’s all we have to wait for the roads to become ridable.

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