Dark Skies likes it when we’re inside the US borders, and rewarded us with a precise window, telling us when the rain would stop, and how long we had to pack everything before it started again. We followed its lead, pilled and fed the dogs, and packed up whilst the current bout petered out. Then went out, and started dismantling the tent, and removing its guts so that we could transplant them into panniers and bags.
Midway through the surgery one of the KOA people swung by on his golf cart and we got to discussing his life with llamas, and how many lamas have too much wool to successfully mate without a trip to the barber. It was kind-of interesting, but our rain-free window was closing… He left. We moved faster, and pretty soon we were off into the increasing, scratch that, pouring rain. No breakfast for us.
It’s bad enough getting suited up to ride 10 minutes, but getting suited up, driving 10 minutes, soaking your gloves (and with Dachary’s failing FroggToggs her legs too), pulling over, taking off wet stuff, knowing that you’re going to have to put it back on once it’s had a chance to feel even colder and grosser… This just doesn’t appeal to us. The dogs would probably be disappointed too. “But… we just got going!” And they’d have to sit there with the sides down to keep dry. Just…. no fun.
We rode on.
Someday… Someday we’d go for a ride and not be wet. But, it was not to be this day. We went for miles. Silent, wet, uncommunicative miles. Stupid headset.
Once the clouds began to part we started considering breakfast, and found a place with a breakfast buffet. We opened a flap for the dogs, brought them some scraps, and let them stretch their legs before heading out again. There were miles to be made. There was a shower waiting, and a real bed, and our comfy chairs!
But, as the miles went by we started noticing something. The ural was being a Bad-ass! 70mph with a little left to spare and no drafting required! YES… no wait. Fuck!
We’d been having consistently bad performance with only intermittent bouts of not-bad after visiting with Lutz. It’s timing was good. The Air filter was good. The carbs were balanced… everything was as it “should” be and the thing was still being sucky. “Finally,” we thought, “Finally, we’ll be able to take it to our dealer and they’ll be able to reproduce the problem!” But no. Last day of the trip and the Ural had to be a bad-ass little powerhouse.
Now, if we take it to our dealer they’ll say “Yup. She’s running great. That’ll be $90 an hour please.” It’s like a Heisenbug.
Frustration and joy. The rain had lessened. The clouds had parted. The sun shone down, and the Ural continued on at 70mph, with the best gas mileage we’ve ever seen (still crap but way better crap). 3 gallons for 120km instead of 4! No joke. That’s 24mpg! That’s… that’s just…. wow. That’s just awesome. And yes, I’m afraid to see the final numbers on how many gallons of gas this thing burned through on this little trip. I’ll have to plant a forest to offset the carbon.
Eventually, there was a rest area, a rest area with a Starbucks. My poor wife’d gone over two weeks without her crack. I pulled in, and there was grass for the dogs. UDF kicked in on the way back with the drinks, but then we met a guy who’s Kawasaki we’d been tailing, or passing for a while. Turns out he and his wife were of the adventuring persuasion too, but had succumbed to the media’s campaign to make Mexico into a “dangerous” place. We assured them it was BS (I’ve checked the numbers, Americans are in far more danger in the US than Mexico) and that they should get down there ASAP, because it’s awesome.
Back on the road the Ural continued to be a bad-ass, all the way home.
Upon arrival we covered every available flat surface with crap. Then we took showers.
Life is good.