Day 13 of 14 San Diego to Key West ride

One more day and a wake-up is all that is left and then this ride is in the books. And the best part is that we are only around 300 miles from San Diego.

This morning we lost two more of our original group of 11. One is riding home to Phoenix and the other to the San Francisco area.

One is recovering well sporting a new short leg and the other took a flight home from El Paso to mend his broken wrist. Both initially planned to complete the ride in San Diego then ride home to their respective states, Indiana and Florida. My how life certainly always gets the last say.

Fourteen days to cross the USA on motorcycles, staying in hotels from a one star to possibly one or two nights in a near 4+ star is not really something to brag about. Not getting bed bugs in the process sure is. Another noteworthy event is that for the most part everyone got along. Non of tge 7 brand new motorcycles experienced any problems.

On several nightly occasions our organizer, gpskevin would hold what I started referring to as nightly court.

Kevin would start proceedings by first filling up on his favorite plastic water bottle with a mystery drink and then take out and place his folding chair in a conspicuous location.

The other riders rallied around with their own chair and drink of choice. Those not in attendance were often times the subject of discussion. The tie dye shirts came up just as frequent as both rider accidents. No blame was ever placed and seldom was anyone found guilty or innocent.

Televison watching played a very small role in our nightly entertainment except for last nights television entertainment, Survivor, naked and afraid. We fell asleep while it was on. The fact that we had the bar to ourselves for several hours may have played a role. This morning most everyone is up at 0500, welcoming in west coast time.

Our normal evening meal at times included the areas dessert, be it flan, key lime pie, pecan, or ice cream. The road warrior motorbike riders worked up an appetite.

Today I was the first to depart Douglas, Arizona. Russell and I checked out the area surrounding the historic Gladsden hotel. A great place to stay and highly recommended.

The most riders I ever rode with was two. Most of the time Scott rode with Tom; Chris rode with Joey and the foot accident kept Russ alternating between three riders hoping to find one that cruised to his liking.

My flea market special phone charger gave out and I headed to Tucson to find a Verizon store. While there I called up an Army buddy. He offered up a room at his house but, I declined on account of him still a busy working exec.

I next filled up the bike with premium fuel. In my travels I have yet to put in more than $10 worth of fuel for a fill up. Today premium at $3.04 gallon in Tucson. Tomorrow California high fuel prices here we come.

Since the Verizon store did not open till 10 a.m. and I am now on west coast time I had an hour to kill so….. I got a 90 minute foot refexology massage. My soorest spot turned out to not be my butt but, my shoulders.

Today we spend the night in Gila Bend. “Located on an historic route of travel, for centuries Gila Bend has has been a place for weary travelers to stop and rest.

The small town of 1,900 people is in the southwestern portion of Maricopa County, 70 miles southwest of Phoenix.

The Butterfield Overland Stage had a timed stop in Gila Bend. A large Hohokam settlement once thrived here and remnants of their platform mound and canal system remain.

Those that stopped to rest and regroup in Gila Bend include famous guides Father Kino, Juan Bautista de Anza, Kit Carson and Jean Baptiste Charbonneau, the son of Lewis and Clark Expedition guide, Sacagawea.

Well-known groups of travelers that stopped and rested include the Mormon Battalion and numerous 49’ers on their way to the California gold fields.

The Butterfield Overland Stage had a timed stop in Gila Bend. Known as the Gila Station, the stop was built in 1858, burned down by marauding Apache and then rebuilt.

The Oatman family tragedy occurred near Gila Bend. Of the family of nine, one survived the massacre, one died in captivity and one, Olive Oatman, was ransomed from the Mohave’s with whom she had lived in captivity for many years.
When the railroad laid its tracks in 1879, the town moved four miles southwest to its present location to take advantage of the economic opportunity.

Portions of the 1879 Wagon Road and 1920’s unpaved ‘highway’ from Yuma to Phoenix are still visible today.

Travelers in the 1920’s and 1930’s enjoyed rare ice cold drinks and fresh ice cream when stopping at the Stout Hotel in Gila Bend, which had its own ice generating plant.
Recently celebrating its 50th anniversary of incorporation,

Gila Bend is memorialized in song, Los Lobos’ The Road to Gila Bend; in film, The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing starring Burt Reynolds and Sara Miles; and more recently was in the international spotlight when Prince Harry of England’s royal family called Gila Bend home for a month while training at the local Gila Bend Air Force Auxilliary Field.