Friday, May 9th: There's a full house at Al and
Julie's place! We arrive at Al Jesses shop and meet the guys; Dave and Neil.
Dave is currently living in the apartment over Al's garage while he looks for a place to
live. Julie, Al's wife, welcomes us at home later that night, on her way out to work
at the hospital. Their friends Steve and Patty were staying at the house as well, in town
from Nebraska for a friends wedding.
Saturday, May 10th: Spend the morning chatting with everyone while starting
to dismantle my bike. That afternoon Hiro arrives. Hiro, originally from Japan, he lives
in Santa Monica, California and stopped in for a few-day visit. He's an old friend of
Al's. We head out for a great Thai food dinner and run into an old friend, Rob
Taylor, and his wife Christy from New York. Rob used to be a part of the Village
Lions RFC, the rugby team Chris played for in NYC. Rob and his family moved to Phoenix
seven years ago and Rob is now head of the Theatre Arts Department at Arizona State
University. What a small world!!!!
Sunday, May 11th: Remove the engine from my bike and bring it into Als
shop. After helping Al to install new windows in his bus/RV, we split the engine open and
inspect it. Al says that with the exception of needing a little head work, it all looks
quite good and does not look its age. After much deliberation its determined that
the oil leak must be coming from the breather valve behind the magneto.
Monday, May 12th: Send off the head to Ron Wood Racing Products in Costa
Mesa, CA. They agree to do the job as fast as they can because we are traveling.
Also, the chain cut into the break-line on Chris' bike, and we got a new stainless
replacement Galfer -- better then
original, and about 30% cheaper! Installation was easy-as.
Later in the evening, we went to Rob Taylors house for a nice dinner and evening
of reminiscing. Beth, their daughter and only 10 when she left NYC, is now a 17-yr
old wonderful young lady (knock-out).
Tuesday, May 13th: Chris runs around trying to get the magneto pulled off my
engine so we can open it further to replace the crank case breather valve. I work
all day on the computer to do a "pitch" letter to motorcycle magazines and a few
TV shows to see if anyone might be interested in featuring our story. My good friend Wendy
Dougherty, who is a public relations person, advised me on how to present our story and
research prospective media. Weve been interviewed so many times overseas, an
interview in our home country would be the biggest honor for us.
Wednesday, May 14th: Oprah wrote back (with an automatic reply) that she
received my email!!!
Friday, May 16th: Its over 100°F in Phoenix when we leave for
the Roadrunner Rally in Heber, AZ. Heber is about 140 miles north-east of Phoenix, at a
higher elevation and thankfully much cooler than Phoenix. Surprisingly theres a lot
of motorcycle traffic on the road for a Friday afternoon. Al takes the truck up to the
rally pulling Julies F650GS on a trailer. At the rally site, we find a shady spot to
pitch the tent, then place Chris bike up in Als tent in the vendor area on
display. Later than afternoon, we see Helen from Helen Two-Wheels. Shes an old rally
friend and vendor who we used to see all the time at the rallys back east. Helen
makes stuff sacks and bags that fit inside Als boxes. Theyre great bags, which
weve used for the whole trip.
Dave arrives a couple of hours later on his V-Strom (with Jesse Luggage), and puts his
tent up next to ours. Later that evening after dinner, Belgian Chris shows up to
surprise us. In fact, it blew us away to see him, since we thought he was still in
California. Simi, his girlfriend, is currently in a rental car for a month touring the
national parks with her German friend Anna. Chris is enjoying the feeling of riding his
bike without the extra baggage (no offence Simi!) He immediately fits right in and is
chatting with Dave and others at the rally that admire his Honda Africa Twin.
Saturday, May 17th: Spend the day wandering around the rally site, looking
at the other bikes, and hanging out in Als tent. In the afternoon, Chris, Al, Dave,
and Belgian Chris all partake in the field events: tight circles around a cone, riding the
length of a long two-by-four, navigating a slalom course, and a slow race. Chris thought
hed give Al a handicap and made Al ride the course with him on the back! It made for
Just before dinnertime, Nelson Oliviera shows up on his fully outfitted F650GS. Nelson,
a Portuguese who immigrated to Canada, is a Chain Gang member and stopped by to see if he
could meet us. He is just starting his round-the-world trip, heading to Mexico and further
south in a few days. His website: aroundamoteofdust.tripod.com Nelson gave us some good tips on
which national parks to see and we gave him some tips on things to see in South America.
Sunday, May 18th: My dads birthday. Happy Birthday Jim! Nelson, Chris
and I take another, longer scenic route back to Phoenix. Wow, what a difference in
climates coming out of the mountains. The temperatures have gone up since Friday and
its well over 100 degrees F now! Next up this week, reassemble the engine and
off we go---hopefully!