The next day, I wandered to the agreed meeting spot with a bulging pocket full of $20s. Little did I know when I set out that my bank does not exist in this state, so I was forced to use the ATM of another bank to withdraw the money... but it was an easily overcome obstacle. I do wish I'd gotten a photo of the pile o money though, that was fairly ludicrous. I had too much on my mind at the time.
I met up with the owner of the bike and took it for a spin around the parking lot. There was a very, very steep learning curve. I am a short, 5'5" or so woman, and the only bike I'd ever rode was my Rebel. Never even test-drove a dual sport, never rode dirt bikes as a kid... nada. The DR650 is a tall machine, and this one was even taller - stiffer suspension and the Renazco seat make it a good couple of inches taller than a stock version. I found that I could flat foot one foot, or drag both tippy-toes. I learned really, really quickly that the clutch was not nearly as forgiving as my Rebel, although it did take a few stalls due to a dropped clutch getting up to speed from a stop to drive the lesson home. The low-end torque was phenomenal, like nothing I'd experienced on the smaller bike. I looked it over for obvious problems, and finding none that would outweigh the value of the purchase, gave away my bundle of cash and had the title signed over to me at a notary.
Why yes, most of my luggage IS tarp straps, why do you ask?
It's an ugly fucker, but paint is cheap and it suits me just fine!
The previous owner was absolutely fantastic. He was a hoarder - he had a good number of OEM parts, another set of tires, rims, and other goodies that he sent with me. I wasn't willing to carry all of these things strapped Beverly Hillbillies-style to the bike, especially an unfamiliar bike, so he was a true gentleman and drove me to a UPS store, where I spent $200 shipping everything but the stock exhaust home. He seemed a bit sad to see his baby go, but his wife was expecting, and had developed an interest in riding pillion, so he was in the market for a cruiser instead. His loss!
The day that I purchased the bike was dreary and rainy, but I didn't care. I had a new motorcycle! After getting insurance set up and printed out, I romped around on some back roads, going in the vague direction of Phoenix, and retired to a scummy dive motel in Chickasha for the evening.
Oklahoma was full of rolling green scenery.
Wow, these motels are getting expensive! And why are they all owned by folks from India? Some mysteries will never be solved... after the night in Norman and another $30 now drained from my bank account, I started considering my options. I had no camping gear - it was too bulky to carry on the bus with my riding gear as well. I wasn't too enthusiastic about being woken up in the middle of the night by spiders, scorpions, or other hooligans, and besides which, it was still a bit chilly out. I remembered that my parents are packrats, and decided to book it back to Phoenix, in case they happened to have any camping gear laying around that they'd be willing to let me have.
I decided that as much as I hate the freeway, it was the only way to really get from Oklahoma to Phoenix with any alacrity. I-40, here I come!
The next day was a drone along I-40. I didn't stop to take too many photos, because I was pushing as much as I could. I finally ended up in an exhausted heap in Santa Rosa, New Mexico, making my first real day on this bike 410 miles.
I'd heard about the Texas bugs, but ewwww!
One of my rest stops had a great idea - give people paper so they don't write on the walls!
Another dive motel, another $50 down the drain. Wifi stopped working randomly - the manager couldn't speak enough english to understand "The wifi isn't working, can you check it?". I found a purse in one of the drawers with a receipt in it which suggested it'd been there since February. Cheap soap, decor from the 70s... ugh. I don't mind spending money if I want a quality experience, but paying rent just to sleep? For the birds. I was determined to make it to Phoenix without paying another dime to short-stay slumlords.
Nothing says "I stopped caring" like a swamp where the pool used to be...
The next day I booked it. 85mph all day, only stopping when I absolutely had to. The IMS tank was a blessing - I found I could go a good 180 miles and still have a gallon or two of gas left over. The drone was boring - I was thankful for my headphones and music! But, I closed in on my goal. I called my parents near the state line to let them know I was on my way.
Gorgeous views coming in from Flagstaff, AZ
I rolled into town shortly after dark. Success! I could sleep in a bed that was much less likely to be infested with bedbugs! This was my longest day ever in the saddle - a good 580 miles. Thanks to the seat, my ass was fine, but the rest of me needed a good, long nap.
I stayed with my parents in Phoenix for a week and a half. I hadn't intended on staying this long, but my mother's birthday was right around the corner and I didn't want to leave beforehand. While I was there I did minor maintenance on the bike - changed the oil and oil filter, took the chain off, soaked it in kerosene and re-greased it. The chain was much better than before but still rather stiff. Cleaned the air filter and oiled it. I also gave the bike itself a nice wash.
No mom, it's okay, it won't fall over... No, I know you can't touch the ground...
Bikes? Needing to be checked yearly for emissions?! Say it ain't so! I had to wrestle with the DMV to get the bike past emissions to register it - thanks ADVRiders in Phoenix for all the help with this! Eventually I wrangled it through and got the bike registered. Why did I bother to register in Arizona? I move around a lot, and this is the closest thing to a permanent address that I have. Besides which, my AZ license doesn't expire until 2049! It's also been my experience that when your registration is in a different state than your license, cops tend to look at you a bit sideways... not that I plan on getting pulled over, but I'd rather be safe than sorry!
I'm squinting because the sun is stabbing me in the eyes.
I visited with some friends who I hadn't seen in months. Got a poor-quality $20 tent back from a guy I had previously given it to, he claimed it was "derpy" and that he didn't like it. Sweet! Free tent! Begone, insects of the night! My mother found a sleeping bag in their Garage of Hoarding that I hadn't seen since I was a kid, and thusly I was equipped for the next leg of my adventure.
After having paid more in hotel fees for 3 nights than I did in gasoline to cover more than 1k miles, I decided that I would do my best to sleep for free from here on out.