My NYC trip was uneventful, if not surreal. I mean, one afternoon I am on the receiving end of some Mojave whoop-ass, the next, I am standing at a podium high above the Meat Packing District. Happy to say the audience was pleased (their check cleared) and, without a moment to celebrate, I was back on a plane to Palm Springs.
We hit Safeway, obtaining all manner of solid and liquid carbs, filling the trunk of his Subaru wagon to capacity with calories. My hope was to catch some shuteye at the preciously eclectic Twentynine Palms Inn, but alas, I was nervous and couldn't sleep well, awaking with nightmares that my GPS wasn't charged or I ran out of CO2 cartridges.
When the alarm finally buzzed, I just put my mind into autopilot, Brian groggily reassessing what he had signed up for. After all, it was 7AM and already 90 degrees outside.
We drove 26 miles east of town to the spot where the Trek Travel van had picked me up about 36 hours before. I think maps refer to that location as "F'ing Nowhere" but, I will have to check on that. In any event, it thus began.
It would be 65 miles until the first glimpse of a service station. Until then, head down cranking a solo 18 mph into the wind on a seemingly Saharan treadmill. On I went, traversing undulating dunes, dodging actual tumbleweed, and encountering ghost towns whose only curiosity is why someone would have lived there in the first place.
Back to the grind, every fifteen minutes, Brian and I would sloppily execute a hot swap of refilled bottles of water, Cytomax, Gatorade, anything cold. If it were frosty, I would have pounded a bottle of Windex. Mile after mile, the sun was unrelenting and I took the wind from the East as a personal affront.
When we passed by the river crossing to Parker, AZ, the temperature was 108 degrees. Upon that reading, the day became downright laughable. Brian and I descended into dementia where we suddenly were finding humor in pretty much anything, and particularly the gargantuan RVs toting boats to Lake Havasu whose unwaveringly consistent passing produced rushes of air that sounded like the tides of an oil baron's fantasy ocean.
One hundred and forty-one miles later, my body encrusted in salt, I spotted the absurdly anomalous London Bridge in Lake Havasu City and within 10 minutes was celebrating one of the top five showers of my life in my opulent Hampton Inn accommodations.
Brian, without whom I never could have approached this feat, let alone accomplished it, was an absolute pillar. He and I grew up constantly cracking each other up. So, he knew that the best way to encourage me across 141 miles of that mercurial anvil would be to make with the funny. And so it was that I crossed the desert courtesy of some bad jokes, a couple of hastily assembled sandwiches, and what Brian calculated to be 4.5 gallons worth of fluid.
Many of you on Twitter encouraged me to go grab a beer and toast the inexcusability of riding on such a day. But, the reality was much less pretty. Brian and I hit the In-N-Out where I proceeded to eat 3,000 calories of fat and still feel hungry, and by 7:30 I was in my bed asleep.
Another day of riding awaited me at 6:30 am.