Mercury rising…

Lauren, Adrian and the owner of BMW Tucson

With John Cartwright, owner of Ironhorse BMW Tucson

14 August – Day 23

Flagstaff, Arizona to Tucson, Arizona
Distance: 481 kms

It was hot today. Really hot.

Imagine going outside in the middle of one of Sydney’s sweltering summer heat waves. You’re wearing socks, pulled up to mid-calf. Jeans – really heavy, Kevlar-lined jeans. A tshirt. A solid black jacket with inbuilt armour at your back, elbows and forearms. Feet encircled in calf-length leather boots. Head encircled by a full face helmet. Hands being smothered in gloves. Now, while outside, stand in front of a blow heater switched to the hottest possible temperature, on high fan.

That’s pretty much what riding today was like. The mercury topped 44.5 degrees C (that’s just over 112 degF) and riding on the bike meant we were also dealing with ‘wind heat factor’ (not sure if that’s a real thing – the opposite of wind chill?!).

At every stop, I poured cold water down my back, doing the ‘ooh it’s cold’ dance while icecubs shimmied down my spine. I then started to pour water down both of our jackets while riding… which was great, at first, while the water was still cold. It didn’t take long for the water in my drink bottle to become so warm it was more like someone was peeing down the front of my shirt rather than anything remotely cooling.

It was so hot, that Adrian was only half-joking when he said he hoped Beamsky’s* tyres wouldn’t melt on the asphalt.

And – it’s going to get hotter from here!

The heat meant it was a pretty slow day of riding – or at least, it felt that way. There was some lovely scenery south of Flagstaff, through Oak Gorge and a couple of other smaller towns… and then it was mostly highway riding to Tuscon. It was the first day that I’ve seen cacti in the desert – so it definitely felt like we were in Arizona. Some of the cacti we rode past were taller than telegraph poles, with long skinny cacti fingers. A few looked like they were flipping us the bird – in a ‘ha ha – take-that-Aussies-with-all-your-protective-gear-on-riding-through-the-desert-in-summer-ha-ha-in-YOUR-face!’ kind of way.

Anyway.. we made it into town and went straight to Ironhorse BMW dealership ( where Adrian was planning on getting new tyres and also needed to replace the globe in the front headlight, which had been out for a few days. Although we hadn’t booked or called ahead, they were able to sort us out on the spot which was just great.  All of the staff were super friendly and helpful – down to even googling and printing out local restaurant recommendations for us while we were waiting for the bike!

And then it was time for dinner at a fantastic vegetarian/vegan restaurant close to where we are staying. Wow – so good! 75% of all food they serve is from local, organic farms. Definitely my kind of food. And meat-eating Adrian also really enjoyed it… you know veggo food is good when a meat-eater is into it.

We’re in Tucson for two nights and have a heap of things to do tomorrow before we cross the border into Mexico and continue heading south… it’s hard to believe that the North American part of the trip is nearly over!

*Note that the use of the name ‘Beamsky’ to refer to the bike, a BMW, has not in any way been endorsed by Adrian.

5 thoughts on “Mercury rising…

  1. Adrian and Lauren:

    I chatted briefly with the two of you on Sunday morning at the Red Rock Lodge in Moab as we were all departing. I was riding the red 1200 GS. Turns out, I was ahead of you by just a matter of hours, and we both ended up taking the same route into Monument Valley via the Moki Dugway Dirt Switchbacks. Yahoo! Anyway, I’m now following your progress with great interest. I very much enjoy your writing style, humor and perspective, and I only wish I could have met you both a day earlier so we could have shared some stories (and a minimal amount of gear talk!). I’m enduring some of the same heat (but it’s a dry heat!) as I blast across Montana in full leathers on my way back home, and I wish you the utmost safety and nourishing adventure on the rest of your journey. Welcome (or rather, welcome back in Adrian’s case) to the United States. Er, now that you’re ready to cross into Mexico!


    Andrew Allen

    • Hi Andrew
      That’s too bad – it would have been fun to ride down into Monument Valley together. We’re in Mexico now and have just had an epic day – 10 hours on the bike, about 8 of which were switchbacks up and down mountains…
      Hope you’ve had/are having a good trip home!
      Lauren and Adrian

  2. Hi Lauren & Adrian,
    They’re high temperatures for all that kit, but understand why you wear it. I’m enjoying the updates.
    How’s the bike going? What’s working well? Anything not so good? Interested to see you got new tyres. How long did the originals last? So many questions, perhaps I should wait for you to return.
    Had a laugh at Adrian’s white knuckle fever in the passenger seat of the quad bike. Always picked you as a rev head Lauren.
    Garage cleared, decision time on a new bike…

    • Hi Simon
      The bike’s going really well (“excellent”, Adrian says)! The seat could always be a bit more comfortable, although we did get it custom-made before we left so there’s not much more we could do about that! Adrian would like a set of highway pegs so he could stretch his legs every now and then, but other than that all is great. The tyres were Heidenau k60 scouts and had 14,000kms on them. They probably still had 4,000-5,000kms left when we changed them…but the next known change spot was further away than that, and Adrian was concerned about wet weather stability. The new tyres are Michelin Anakee 3 which are better suited to the road riding we’re doing now.
      So… what bike are you getting?!!

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