Day 15: Death Valley, the Leak Again, Henderson, Nevada.
“O Public Road
You express me better than I can express myself.
You shall be more to me than my poem.” ~Walt Whitman
We made it safely to Henderson and to the Harley Dealer. I’m sitting outside on a bench there waiting to hear the news on the bike. Normally, what I hear is: “Well, I’ve got some good news and some bad news.”
So far the guy thinks that the cover plate on the inspection chamber for the transmission might be warped and that’s why it’s leaking. He doesn’t have another cover but he could replace the gasket and put sealant on it to seal it up. That would at least get me home. We’ve now come 3500 miles and we have about 2000 more to go. I’m not worried. What was it the guy said to us the other day? ‘Go with the flow and be at peace.’ Very Zen and very Taoist. To me, this trip is about finding “the flow”, going with it and being at peace.
I can’t see my bike but I just heard them crank her up. After a while you know what your engine and exhaust sounds like.
I asked if they could change the oil as well and they said they would. The bike is supposed to have the oil changed roughly every 3000 miles. I had it changed before we left.
Looking at the mileage a short while ago I realized that I had just passed over 10,000 miles since I got the bike from Jeff last July.
This morning Jeff and I got up before 6am so that we could get an early start on crossing Death Valley. It was supposed to be in the high 90’s there today but the temperature can reach the 120’s. Death Valley got its name from pioneers who tried to cross it in 1849. One died and the others barely made it. As the story goes after crossing it one traveler looked back and said: “Goodbye Death Valley” probably referring to the 23rd Psalm.
We gassed up, loaded up the bikes with snacks and water. I remembered the advice of Anne Lamott who said: “The road to enlightenment is long and difficult, and you should try not to forget snacks and magazines.” Magazines might be tough, but I packed plenty of water.
We had enjoyed our stay in Independence. The night we arrived we had a nice walk and a meal at the Still Life Café which included, French food, French waiters, Billie Holliday music, eclectic photographs, painting and posters and Mojave Gold Lager, which was excellent.
Jeff hit the sack early and I stayed up to write. I sat outside on a bench and enjoyed the cool evening, stars shining in a cobalt sky and the faint, ghostly outline of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
Today we encountered another mind boggling day of scenery. It took us over 170 miles to cross the desert. We went from an elevation on 4000 feet to 200 feet below sea level. Gas stations were about 50 miles apart. No phone coverage. Not a place you want to break down. Not a place to have a leaky bike.
True adventures have to have an element of peril in them but I have to admit I’d rather it be Jeff’s peril than mine! Ha ha!
As I was riding it was hard not to think about the leak, the Harley dealer in Henderson and getting the hell out of the desert. But then I realized that I was thinking about the future and not “being here now”, which is really the only game in town worth playing. I slowed down and got back into enjoying the countryside.Treating each moment as sacred, as a miracle. “The true miracle is not walking on water or walking in air, but simply walking on this earth.” Thich Nhat Hanh
The bike is finished. No bad news! They fixed the leak, added a clip for my exhaust, changed the oil and washed her up. She looks prettier than a speckled pup under a shiny red wagon. Jeff is jealous.
We made it to the hotel and ran a few errands, ate at a casino, which I found depressing and now I’m exhausted.