Our greatest daily mileage so far was 640 miles from Wyoming to South Dakota in 2007. It was on an incredibly hot day – we later heard of roads buckling and houses catching fire in lightning storms.
Hot Springs, South Dakota
By the time we found a motel we were soaked in sweat and exhausted. We bought a couple of 6-packs from the supermarket next door, showered and collapsed into bed with the air conditioning on full. But it was not to be a peaceful evening. No, it was not!
An hour later, we heard another motorbike pull in and looked out of the window to see it was a nice couple (on a big, comfy Honda – padded seats, radio, the lot) we had bumped into occasionally over the last couple of days – in fact, we had shared the same hotel in Wyoming last night and had breakfast together and then, along with another couple, all rode to Devil´s Tower that morning.
So, of course we went out to say hello. They suggested we all go out for dinner in an hour´s time. Great, we said.
Back at the motel, I had to beg off more drink because I had a pounding headache from the stifling heat. So I said goodnight, took another shower and climbed into bed.
I could hear the others all laughing and having a good time outside – voices gradually becoming a bit more slurred.
Just as I started to doze off, the door opened and mgm said, `Christine, Christine, Bob and Carrie want to you to come outside for a minute. Grunt; I managed to open slits in my eyes, pull a tee-shirt and a pair of nix on and stumbled to the door. Bob said, `Just one Jim Beam to say goodnight and goodbye – our routes diverge from here on in`´. Well, I don´t like Jim Beam at any time, but to be sociable, I went along. But we were short of a glass. MG said, he would go and get a tooth mug out of our room. Which he did; closing the door behind him. Bob poured me some of the nasty bourbon and we all said good health, ride safe, etc. I took a tiny sip and then gave the friends a hug goodbye apologising again for being a party pooper – `but this headache is awful, I have to go and lie down´.
I turned the door knob. It wouldn´t open, I tried again, the opposite direction. Nope.
`mg, can I have the key?´.
`I haven´t got a key´
`You must have´.
`I haven´t, you must have it´
`Mg, I have a tee-shirt and knickers and nothing else whatsoever´
At this point, Bob and Carrie – three sheets to the wind – were saying goodnight; they asked, `Will you be OK, will you be able to get back in?´
`Don´t worry´, I replied, `I´ll go to the office and get a spare key. Goodnight, sleep well. ´
I hopped barefoot across the car park to the office around the corner.
OH BUGGER, it´s all dark. They´re not going to be too pleased at me ringing the bell at 1am in the morning.
As I approached the door I saw a notice taped up.
OFFICE CLOSED UNTIL 6AM. IN CASE OF EMERGENCY RING THIS NUMBER…..
She-it. I hopped back.
`Give me some coins so I can ring the staff to see if they´ll come and let us in´
He dug in the many pockets of his mobile shed (jacket) and his pants pockets.
`Erm, I put all my money on the table, I haven´t got anything´
`Oh you tosser´ says I, (ever the Ms Congenial when hot and tired) `what the bloody hell did you slam the door for?´
`Well I thought you would have had the key. ´.
`Like where? In my knickers?´
`I´m sooorrryyy. Don´t worry, I can pick the lock´.
So he pulled a plastic patio chair up to the door and started pulling stuff out of his many pockets – other keys, a penknife, a bit of fuse wire, a pencil, a pen. Of course nothing worked and I had to bite my cheeks to stop myself laughing as each attempt took a fair bit of aiming – one eye closed, the better to reduce the double image to a single one. Then his hands started slipping down te door as though it was greased.
Realising this was hopeless, I pulled two other patio chairs together and tried to get comfy. Mg was muttering and cursing to himself and then I noticed his head drooping. Before long, he was snoring. I tossed and turned uncomfortably, until finally, I gave up – the plastic was simply too sweaty in the heat – it was still well over 100 º F. In the distance tremendous claps of thunder cracked the black sky. Great, I thought, all we need now is a fucking thunderstorm and torrential rain.
I thought it would be more comfy lying on the concrete so stretched out there. Within minutes my legs were itching like mad. ANTS – all over me. I jumped up and brushed them off. looking over at snoring boy, my ire really came to boiling point. I knelt down, pulled his shoes off then his socks. I put his socks on, pulling them as high towards my knees as I could. Then I shook him – `Wake up, wake up´. I thought, `well, if you think YOU are going to sleep in peace….´. For the rest of the night i went over to poke him sharply in the chest for the fun of it.
But there was no waking him. He slept on like an innocent babe. As I sat and fumed and cursed and swore and – and….. a car with a red and blue flashing light slowed to a stop on the main road. The Sheriff.
He peered through his window at us for a couple of minutes. I debated whether to approach him and ask if he could help – but wearing as little as I did, and mgman reeking of booze – and unconscious too and imagining Mr Sheriff, sir, might even pull his gun out on me and order me to `spread em´ I decided that caution was in order. Let the Sheriff think we were sleeping outside because it was too hot in the room.
Pretending to be asleep, but peeking through one eye, I watched him watching us. Finally, he slowly cruised away. Phew, thought I. But that sheriff returned another 3 times to keep an eye on us.
Gradually, the dawn began to lighten the long, horrible night. At 6am I heard a car pull into the car park.
It was not funny really. A crazy Brit mostly undressed – not even shoes on – running across the car park in her tee-shirt and nix to dash into the only-just-opened-door and ask for a spare key.
I got back, opened the door, took a long cool shower, took 2 aspirin crawled into bed and left mgman outside. When he finally woke up and came into the room – before he could utter a word, I warned in a scary voice, `and I´m NOT going ANYWHERE today!´
Can you imagine paying $65 to sleep on the bloody pavement after sitting on a bike for 650 miles?
Where these ducks came from will always be a mystery to me – but they needed a drink….
And they returned the following morning to come and drink from the dog´s bowl