Day 15 – 2018 Western States Tour

route

Day’s distance: 492 miles
Total trip distance: 2,494 miles

The starting temperature this morning was 56. Expected highs along my route were 102 today. The actual temperatures above the road surface, according to my onboard instrument, was 105. With the exception of a brief time around Dana Point where I was traveling through dense fog, the day was sunny with a bit of haze and some high cloud cover.

To minimize time spent in excessive heat on this trip, I decided to skip the many interesting options along California’s southern border and just get through the hottest part of the trip in a single day. I am not feeling as tolerant of the heat as I used to on my rides. Guess I’m getting old and cranky. 🙂

I departed Huntington Beach just before 6am and made a quick stop at a Starbucks. I wanted to take the route google maps showed me, using Hwy 73 to Interstate 5. My GPS wasn’t cooperating. As it turned out, Hwy 73 is a toll road and I set my Garmin unit to avoid tolls. I got it squared away after the caffeine started to kick in.  🙂

The toll for one-time users of Hwy 73 must be paid within five days “to avoid additional violations.” Toll signage indicated I should not expect any notices in the mail, so I stopped at a rest area north of San Diego to spend the time necessary to provide the toll company’s web page with my payment information proactively so I wouldn’t forget to take care of it.

While I avoided LA commuter traffic by leaving so early, there was some slow moving traffic about 20 miles north of San Diego. It wasn’t hot and the bike’s engine never started to get hot either, so I wan’t tempted to lane split.

My route skirted around most of the rest of the commuter traffic once I turned east off of I-5 at Hwy 805. At that point and going forward, I was traveling counter to the commute.

The scenery started to change in the eastern part of California.

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This would likely be my longest day and I planned to make it to Benson, Arizona, a small town about 40 miles east of Tucson. I wasn’t sure I would make it that far so I didn’t make advanced hotel reservations.

In past trips, I’ve traveled part of Interstate 8 so it was familiar. I saw the turn off I-8 to Calexico and remembered my visit there on my Southern States Tour.

To remain safe in the heat, I stopped at least hourly and hydrated. In the afternoon, I started to also get my base layer wet so it would slowly evaporate under my jacket and keep my skin cooler. Along with liquids, I munched on trail mix to replenish my electrolytes and energy level.

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Yes, that is the chocolate bits melting in the heat. Oh well, they were still tasty.

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Closer to Phoenix, I saw my first self-driving vehicle.

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They still require someone to put gas in them. LOL

I arrived in Tucson about 5pm and chose to splurge at another Hampton Inn to ensure I can fully recharge after an eleven hour travel day.

Tomorrow I am looking forward to heading back north, spending time in the mountains of Arizona and riding some new and potentially great motorcycle roads. I am also planning to start mixing in some camping.

Stay tuned!

 

 

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