Chris' 1994  R100GS/PDChris' new bike, a 1996 F650 ULTIMATE JOURNEY Erin's 1997  F650
Living a Dream . . . 2 Live-N-Ride

April 28th, 2003.-- 1,439 Days; 49 countries; with over 91,000 miles

Credit to to the USA

-- Story by Erin --

The Aduana (customs) in Mexico quickly processed our papers for the bikes and stamped us out of the country. Mexican immigration we didn’t even see and then we crossed directly over to the US side. There were no gates or guards to ensure we were fully processed on the Mexican side. On the US side a few yards away there was one single line with exactly one car in front of us. The officer asked me if I was a US Citizen and I said, "Yes". He then asked me where we were coming from and I told him a town in Mexico. He waved an electronic wand over the bike searching for contraband, and then waved me through. That was it. The same for Chris. No big searches, no asking to see our passports and ask us lengthy questions as to why we had been out of the states for so long.  No comment on his NZ registered bike.  It was all very anticlimactic. Meanwhile, several "third-age" couples who were there to buy their prescription drugs across the border came up to us and congratulated us on our trip.

That's it!  After 4 years (OK, 3 years, 11 months, and 5 days, but who's counting?), we rode across the border and back into the USA!

We promptly parked, bought a phone card and called our parents. Then we got on the flat, straight desert road again and headed due north for 30 miles to Deming. My bike’s been leaking oil through the air box for the last week now. So, much so that I need to check the level every 50 miles or so and top it up. The nice guys at the BMW dealer there looked it over and said it needed more detailed tests and probably a major overhaul. But, they couldn’t fit us in until the middle of the following week. Well, Deming is a nice little town of 4 thousand people or so and not much to entertain us for 4-5 days.

Interstate 10 is long, straight, and windy as could be! We got the bikes up to 75mph, and still the big semi’s past us by. The speed limit has certainly risen since we left and the 18-wheeler trucks are newer and faster! At one point we crossed the continental divide, an odd sight in the middle of a seemingly flat desert.

We stopped at a roadside gas station to check the oil level again and get some fuel. When we pulled into the station we parked on the side in some shade. While I topped up the oil, Chris pulled off my side panel and checked the clamps on my exhaust because it sounded like I had an air leak. The elderly man working there came over to see what we were doing. Rather than asking us if we needed help or if we were going to buy any gas, he told us that if we were going to do any more work on the bikes that we would have to move the bikes some 200 yards away, off the property, in the dirt and in the sun. The late afternoon temperature must have been 95 degrees F.

We told him no problem, we were just tightening up some screws. As we continued he got more persistent and red in the face. All I could think was that I hoped our foreign friends traveling through the states were never so unlucky as to meet an awful, nasty person such as this. What a welcome back to the USA that was! We finally finished up and took our time doing it. The old man returned to his dusty little office, got on the phone (perhaps calling the police) and glared us through the glass. Well, we certainly didn’t buy any gas from this old coot and we pulled back on the highway hoping we wouldn’t have anymore experiences like that for awhile.

Fairly exhausted we reached Tucson just as the sun was setting – a brilliant orange ball slowly slipping down to touch the desert mountains. When it was gone, it left behind an orange sky that was more like a painting. Tucson is set in a scenic desert valley with jagged mountains all around.

Our first night, we splashed out for a room in the Roadway Inn for $29.99, and it is one of the nicest room we’ve had in years! A big king-size bed, cable TV, air-conditioning, and a sofa, coffee table, desk, and huge bathroom with big fluffy white towels-----ahhh, luxury! The only disappointment was that we arrived too late to fully enjoy it and the heated pool.

Saturday morning we woke early and arrived at the BMW Dealer, Ironhorse Motors, exactly at 8:30 am when they opened. Chris had called them the day before and they knew to expect us. They were very welcoming, let us pull apart much of the bike ourselves to save on labor charges, then they did the compression and leak-down test. Looks like the exhaust valves are the major culprit, although the intake may also need work.  There was a faint breeze in the crank case, so will also need to check the rings and the crank case breather (again).  We will have to do a major overhaul soon!

Later that afternoon when we got my bike back together, we got on the long, straight, windy I-10 again and headed for Phoenix. Gerry Elam is a nice guy who has been communicating with us via email for over a year now. We were going to visit him and his Brazilian wife Sandy for a few days and relax a bit after the last few long days of riding.


We're Back!!  US Border at Columbus, New Mexico.


Billboard welcoming us to New Mexico.


Not to be outdone, Arizona has its own unique sign across the highway.


Somehow this sign seems out of place on the flat expanse.  Water runs east and west from the Continental Divide.


Gerry and Sandy Elam, celebrating the 24th anniversary of his 21st birthday.


Gerry is also a Land Rover enthusiast (he has 3!).  Chris and Gerry prepare to put a rebuilt transmission in the old girl.


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