Ride West: Day 16 To Bloomfield, NM
I was looking forward to seeing Canyon de Chelly National Monument in Chinle, AZ. Beautiful views and a chance to hike down the canyon to visit up close and personal where Cliff Dwellers lived 5,000 years ago and where people have lived continuously ever since. That stop would have been the last for Jon and me since we left Wichita nine days ago, since tomorrow we go our separate ways. The ride, I knew, would be through desert scrub with an occasional rock formation or canyon to see as we went racing by. Not one of the greatest rides of this tour, but a good one anyway.
The day started out well. Early breakfast and on the road by 7 a.m. But during a rest stop 100 miles into the ride, I glanced at Jon’s rear tire. I thought I saw cords where I should be seeing tread. I looked closer. I saw cords where I should be seeing tread. Oh crap. Jon was riding on a tire that was not just bald but had worn the rubber all the way off. And we were about 150 miles from the nearest dealership. And more than 50 miles from the nearest town of any size and we didn’t know what we would find there.
We decided in short order that the Canyon de Chelly would have to wait until another trip. I called the Harley dealer in Farmington, NM, and located a tire and told them we would try to get there by 2 p.m. And then we began our four-hour slow-speed ride to Farmington, keeping the speed to about 50 mph the whole way. At a gas stop, Jon checked the tire again and had serious doubts that it would make the distance. But we pressed on.
Finally, at 2:45, we pulled into the dealership and the tech installed the new tire. He was also kind enough to replace a turn indicator bulb and add air to the adjustable shocks.
All ended well, but it could have disastrous. A blown tire in the desert would be a problem. A blown tire on the Coronado Trail in the White Mountains yesterday could have been serious in the extreme. No harm done, and Jon learned a valuable lesson about checking his bike thoroughly before taking off on rides to the mountains. And for those of you reading this who ride, please do a thorough TCLOC before you get on your bike.
As for the ruins as Canyon de Chelly, they’ve been there for 5,000 years (though I guess they weren’t ruins when they were first built). They’ll be there the next time I’m in the area and I’ll hike down the canyon to see what’s there.
Tomorrow: Jon and his new tire head back to Kansas and I begin the second part of the Ride West as I head to Boulder to meet the “Twisted Riders,” a group of a dozen riders from the midwest that Brian Brannon rides with . Stay tuned.