Rach & Ed ride the TAT on Honda C90's

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by WanderOnAHonda, Aug 7, 2015.

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  1. WanderOnAHonda

    WanderOnAHonda Been here awhile

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    After saying our favourite line 'What's the worst that can happen?!' he opened the throttle and blasted over the wood, successfully reaching the other side before his bike cut out.

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  2. WanderOnAHonda

    WanderOnAHonda Been here awhile

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    It didn't want to start, but after shaking out the spark plug cap she finally fired in to life, before dying again. This happened several times, until he finally managed to get her up the bank and on to flat dry land.

    Next it was my turn. I would have loved to have jumped on the trike and gone flying over the 'bridge' without a care in the world, but I was well aware that if it happened to tip I could be soaking wet and freezing cold, or possibly worse, trapped under the trike.

    Thankfully my hero came to the rescue, and after putting another plank down so each wheel had some wood to sit on, he carefully rode the trike down the steep muddy bank.


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  3. WanderOnAHonda

    WanderOnAHonda Been here awhile

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    He placed each wheel on the wood and watched the bridge disappear completely under the water, causing him to make some funny noises.

    There was nothing else for it than to commit, hope for the best, and open the throttle. Thankfully he got over and up the bank in one foul swoop, leaving me to work out how I was going to get over without getting wet feet.

    There was an old building on the other side, which according to our map was a post office. Not sure how accurate that was, but it certainly had me thinking about the possible history of the place. It always makes me sad to see old buildings left to rack and ruin, and thought that it would have made a lovely home for someone who wanted to live in the middle of no-where out in the sticks.


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  4. WanderOnAHonda

    WanderOnAHonda Been here awhile

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    After that we had to navigate our way round a tree that was blocking the trail, before getting out on to a sandy dirt trail. The scenery from there was so unbelievably vast and beautiful, with rolling hills and mountains as far as the eye could see; it was spectacular.

    I asked Ed if it reminded him of Mongolia, but he surprisingly said not really, as Mongolia felt far more remote. And I knew what he meant. Although where we were was considered remote, and I would say that it is to some degree, with a proper trail, and fences and gates, we oddly never felt like we were that far away from civilisation.

    After miles of riding through vast open spaces, we got on to a wide gravel road and turned off towards Paradise Valley. It wasn't actually on the route, but as the next town of McDermitt was too far for us to get to, we decided to take a detour and stay at a bed and breakfast that I'd found on the internet.

    Paradise Valley consisted of a small cluster of trees, houses and buildings, quite a few of which were derelict. I have to say that it was great getting somewhere in daylight, which was almost impossible to do, due to the distances between towns, the hours of daylight being so short, and the fact that we never wanted to get up because of the previous day's riding and the cold.

    We rolled in to town around 3pm, and started looking for the B&B. It was nowhere to be found, but thankfully we spotted an open bar (the only place open in town) and went and enquired. It turned out that the B&B had closed down quite some time ago, and I wished that they'd bothered to put that on their website! I also should have called up in advance, but unsure that we'd even make it to Paradise Valley, I hadn't bothered.

    Luckily we were offered a place to camp over the road, and the owner cooked us up some really good burgers and let us sit in the warm and use the internet. I have to admit that I wasn't looking forward to camping out in the cold, so when a local called Lee came in and proceeded to offer us a place to stay, I jumped at the chance.

    He sat down at the bar for a beer and started chatting to us, and after finding out that we were planning to camp, he wouldn't hear of it, and promptly offered us a place to stay at the Ranch where he was living.

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  5. WanderOnAHonda

    WanderOnAHonda Been here awhile

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    Not only was Lee a farmer, but he was also the local chiropractor. I thought he was joking at first, but after several locals confirmed that he was in fact a chiropractor, I half joked that I was in need a treatment. He said it would be no problem, although suggested that we waited until the morning once his beers had worn off. I agreed. While Lee drank more beer and Ed played on the Internet, I chatted to the owner Dennis who used to ride rodeo. He proudly talked me through all of the family photos on the wall, and I couldn't believe that the person on the horses was the same man sat in front of me; the toll of life and owning a bar.

    The ranch was six miles away, so we followed Lee in his pickup truck, which veered gently from side to side as he tried to keep it in a straight line. I don't condone drink driving, but seeing as it was in the middle of no-where and no-one was in sight, I didn't feel the need to comment.

    We soon arrived at the ranch, where we discovered that we had our own little flat to stay in with a TV and heater. Lee even offered to cook us dinner, but we gratefully declined as we were still full from our burgers. It was so kind of him, and we couldn't help feeling like we'd hit jackpot. And with that he bid us good night, leaving us on our own to enjoy a proper bed and warmth, with the prospect of cold camping a distant memory.

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  6. WanderOnAHonda

    WanderOnAHonda Been here awhile

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    TAT Day 101 (Paradise valley, NV to McDermitt, NV)

    Saturday 14th November

    We ended up spending all morning and part of the afternoon with Lee. He was good company, and kindly cooked us breakfast while Ed got to play with his guns out of the kitchen window, before heading outside to do some clay pigeon shooting.

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  7. WanderOnAHonda

    WanderOnAHonda Been here awhile

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    We also got to do some work on the bikes. Lee was a biker himself, and had several dirt bikes, along with a multitude of jet skis, boats and quad bikes. We cleaned out our air filters which was a job long overdue, and I hoped that my bike would run a little better now that it could get enough air.

    We found another battery so I could finally have a decent light, replaced a spoke on my front wheel that we noticed had broken, and also replaced a missing nut on Ed's suspension. Finally we adjusted our chains before Lee adjusted me (in the chiropractic sense) and we were finally ready to leave around 2pm.

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  8. WanderOnAHonda

    WanderOnAHonda Been here awhile

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    We got the feeling that Lee didn't want us to leave, I think he wanted the company. I imagined it could be quite lonely living on your own in a town with a population of 40; there wasn't exactly much chance of meeting anyone new, at least not outside of the tourist season. We needed to get going though, while the weather was on our side, although part of me felt that we should have stayed and left the following morning.

    Sam's route took us over a pass, but Lee told us that it would be feet deep in snow now and impassable, so we decided to take the 'easy' route. It started off with really easy fast gravel roads, but I knew it was too good to be true.

    We turned off on to a wet muddy trail, that took us over and through rolling hills, that spread out as far as the horizon, gently climbing higher. The trail was at least 50% water and Ed struggled to stay in a straight line, slithering and snaking all over the place.

    The view was incredible as we got to the top of one hill, but looking at where the trail went next, we knew we had our work cut out for us.

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  9. WanderOnAHonda

    WanderOnAHonda Been here awhile

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    It was really snowy in places where the sun hadn't got to, slushy in others, and wet and slick where the snow and slush had melted. Once again I was fortunate that I had three tyres, but I still found myself slipping and sliding sideways, unable to keep traction.

    The light started to drop as we wound our way round the hills, and I struggled to navigate down a deep vertical wash, while Ed continued battling through the mud further up the trail.

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  10. WanderOnAHonda

    WanderOnAHonda Been here awhile

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    It was obvious that both vehicles had their strengths and weaknesses. While Ed's bike was nimble and could get through smaller spaces, mine had better traction and didn't slide around as much, and when it did it was easier to control. I guess we both had our own separate battles on the mixed terrain that day.

    As the light started dropping, deep pastel colours filled the sky, and while I admired their beauty, I was very aware that they signalled the imminent arrival of darkness.

    Under the cloak of a dark starry night, the mountains and hills seemed never ending to me. Just when you thought you were finally coming up and out, there would be more peaks and hills, in every direction. I didn't know that you could get claustrophobic in a wide open space, but the never ending feeling of being surrounded by hills and mountains, along with the ever increasing darkness, shit headlight and slippery terrain, made me feel claustrophobic. I couldn't wait to get out of the mountains and on to flat open land. I guess looking back I couldn't wait to be somewhere where I felt safe, warm and secure.

    After what seemed like forever we finally started coming down some snowy switchbacks, and although this meant that we were getting down on to flat land, I didn't feel any better. In fact I felt worse, as it was dark and my light started to fail intermittently as I made my way down, and with my not so good night vision I struggled to see properly.

    It was down one of these switchbacks, stiff and lacking confidence, that I found myself suddenly bursting out laughing at the absurdity of it all. 'Why the hell are we doing this to ourselves?!' I said out loud to myself. 'It's not fun, it's not enjoyable, what are we doing?!' This sudden burst of laughter loosened me up a bit, and although still riding slowly and cautiously, I finally made my way down the last few switchbacks and on to the home straight.

    Ed was down there waiting for me and although I thought that he might be annoyed that I was taking so long, I'd thought up enough excuses on the way down to defend myself. Firstly his eyesight is better than mine, plus he has a fully functioning headlight. Well I say fully functioning, a lot of the light bounces back off his fuel can in to his eyes. He also doesn't seem to get fear like I do. He's more capable, and can brake and steer at the same time, something I seem unable to do unless a fluffy thing jumps out in front of me.

    I was so pleased to see the lights from some sort of civilisation, but it took ages to get to them. We had to ride for about 15 miles in a completely straight line, which wasn't easy on a homemade trike that only wanted to go right. We discovered that most of the lights were from an Indian reservation, and the rest were from the town of McDermitt. It was really cold, but we managed to find a cheap motel for $40, where we filled our pockets full of free sweets left over from Halloween, before going to the casino for some food.

    It was then that I told Ed about my sudden laughter outburst, questioning what the hell we were doing, and he laughed and said that he'd been thinking along the same lines. The funny thing was we both knew what the answer was. We'd set out to do something and we were going to finish it, even if it meant putting ourselves through hell at times. We like to think of it as rebellious defiance, but I'm well aware that others would call it stupidity.

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  11. Ol Man

    Ol Man Long timer Supporter

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    Thanks for continuing to tell us your adventure. Lovely writing style. I have to ask, tho, does Ed still own that leopard skin outfit?
  12. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

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    Ha! this story just gets more and more epic, and more and more absurd - I love it!

    Hee hee - I'm sure it had something to do with seeing a grown man in a leopard-print onesie trying to push a moped through the desert!

    Keep it going Rach - we know you made it, but we need to know how!

    Jenny xx
  13. WanderOnAHonda

    WanderOnAHonda Been here awhile

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    TAT Day 102 (McDermitt, NV to Fields, OR)

    Sunday 15th November

    After breakfast in the casino, we finally crossed the border in to Oregon. This was a particular milestone for us, as apart from a little dip back in to Nevada and California, it was the last state that the TAT finished in. Finally the end seemed in sight!


    After riding out of town and past a random assortment of dead things and other junk (I'm aware that one man's junk is another ones treasure, but to me it was junk) we turned on to a graded gravel road that took us over green and brown rolling hills.

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  14. WanderOnAHonda

    WanderOnAHonda Been here awhile

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    For me it was the bleakest and most barren scenery of the TAT so far, not helped by the fact that it was grey and overcast without a hint of sunshine. It probably would have looked completely different had the sun been shining, a bit like Nevada, but today it just looked dull. The view opened out, revealing more hills covered in shrubs and bushes, and snow capped mountains rested behind them, like they'd been painted on.


    The trail was corrugated gravel, which made cornering particularly difficult for me. The trike's back tyres would skip over all of the tit jiggling corrugations, making for a bumpy ride, and the front tyre would lose traction all together. Ed was quite far up ahead, but I could still see him, like an ant, following the trail across the huge expanse of land as far as the eye could see.


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  15. WanderOnAHonda

    WanderOnAHonda Been here awhile

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    We turned off on to a narrower dirt trail, which became really rocky, and was a particular pain for me on the trike. Ed could just nip in between the rocks, but any route I picked was bumpy as hell. The rocks then disappeared, and we climbed up a hill as the colours changed from green to yellow. It was actually quite pretty up there, as the soft yellow contrasted beautifully with the varying shades of grey in the sky.

    The next section after that was completely riddled with rocks, and even worse than the previous section. I couldn't go very fast at all; if I did I was flung from one direction to another. Rocks were quickly rising up to the top of the list of terrain that I hated riding on the trike, along with bastard bushes and deep vertical washes. Sand, mud and gravel on the other hand; no problem.

    However it wasn't on the rocky section that I managed to have my first proper 'off'. The trail had turned to dirt with grass in the middle, but there were small and apparently inviting banks and gullies along the side. Ed had said that I needed to learn to brake when something goes wrong, so as I hit a rock at the wrong angle, I went up one of the banks, remembering to brake but completely forgetting to steer, causing the trike to tip over on to its side. It wasn't particularly high speed but it happened quickly, and I only got flung a short distance. I was up as quickly as I'd gone down, and took my place upon the trike to strike my hero/look what I did pose.

    Continued...

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  16. WanderOnAHonda

    WanderOnAHonda Been here awhile

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    As always Ed was particularly amused by my lack of being able to multi-task, and after taking a few photos and laughing at me, he picked up the trike and we were off on our way again.

    We continued on, with more rocks and hills, before the scenery seemed to change completely. So far we'd just been surrounded by scrubland, with a bit of grass appearing here and there, but now we were surrounded by rocky hills and outcrops.

    We had a short but steep rocky climb, and found ourselves surrounded by what I would describe as tableland mountains, with grass on the ground and finally the appearance of trees.


    Continued...

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  17. WanderOnAHonda

    WanderOnAHonda Been here awhile

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    We made our way through a gate, but just round the corner I managed to come off again. This time I took the wrong line and the trike just tipped, but so slowly that I just stepped off it and laughed. Ed came back and picked it up for me, bemused by how I could have possible come off on such easy terrain. I believe my excuse was 'It's where the trike wanted to go'.

    Continued...

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  18. WanderOnAHonda

    WanderOnAHonda Been here awhile

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    The trail turned to gravel and the mountains and hills moved further away, leaving space for open pastures. We rode past cows that either scarpered up a particularly steep hill, or ran in front of us, unable to work out that all they needed to do was stop on the verge or run sideways.

    We eventually got to a proper gate, with a proper lock, and couldn't believe our joy at not having to deal with crap barbed wire. Our joy was short lived though, as we discovered that it was an annoying crap lock. We only just managed to wrestle it open, and got on to a wide open gravel road surrounded by scrubland.

    It hadn't been that cold all day, but then the weather suddenly turned and the temperature plummeted. It started to snow, and became incredibly windy, reducing visibility.

    It was just a case of head against the clocks, with my glove constantly meeting my visor to clear the snow so that I could see. I knew it would probably scratch it but I didn't have a choice.


    Continued...

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  19. WanderOnAHonda

    WanderOnAHonda Been here awhile

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    The wind became ridiculous, and a head wind soon saw me doing about 20mph; I literally couldn't do anymore. The miles dragged on, and I hoped that when I got to the end of the road and turned the corner that it would ease off, but it got worse. A side wind now battered me from the left, and I struggled to keep the bike going in a straight line. The trike always wants to go right anyway, so add a strong side wind from the left and it's even harder work. I had to use all my strength to keep it in a straight line, and couldn't wait to get to Fields.

    We finally arrived in Fields as the light started dropping and the wind got stronger; it was good timing.

    We spotted the remnants of an incredibly recent fire as we rode to Fields Station, where the restaurant and motel was. The black ground smoldered and we hoped that it wasn't the motel that had burnt down! (We later changed our minds on that, but I'll go in to that a bit later)

    We'd booked a room in advance in the morning and pre-ordered some burgers, fries, and milkshakes, which the lady said she would leave in our room as we had expected to get there after 4pm when the kitchen had closed. We arrived before they closed and looking forward to something hot after being in blizzard conditions, we were disappointed when we were told that they hadn't been able to make our burgers and fries, as the chef had been out earlier helping fight the fire. We kind of understood this, but at the same time wondered why one of the two women stood before us couldn't have fired up the grill and made the burgers, especially as they'd been pre-ordered that morning.

    Instead they'd taken it upon themselves to make us some overpriced ham sandwiches, along with a freezing cold milkshake, which had to be eaten with a spoon; basically ice cream. Ed didn't seem enthralled by a ham sandwich or freezing cold beverage, so decided to find something else to heat up in the room. He found a macaroni and cheese ready meal, but as he went to pay for it we discovered that there wasn't a microwave in the room. They didn't even think to offer to heat it up for us, they just said that there wasn't a microwave in the room and that was it. It was me that had to ask if they had a microwave in their kitchen to heat it up for him, which they did. It then dawned on us that they'd offered to make us hot food and leave it in our room as they'd be closed, but with no way of heating it up we would have arrived to cold burgers and cold fries! How stupid.

    Another guest was in there, unimpressed that he was unable to get something hot to eat. He'd been told over the phone that it closed at 5pm, but they'd neglected to tell him that the kitchen closed at 4pm. He then asked if there was Wi-Fi, to which he was told no. TV? No. He was then advised to read a book. Ed made a passing comment that it was the most expensive accommodation for the least amount of facilities, which it was, then the guy started telling Ed about some great and cheap accommodation that he'd stayed in about 40 miles up the road the night before.

    We soon retired to the room, which was freezing as the heaters hadn't been turned on yet. With no TV and no enthusiasm for doing anything else, we watched a film on the laptop while eating our food and ice-cream. The heaters finally kicked in so we could hang our stuff up to dry, but still chilly from the ice-cream I made some coffee in the coffee maker to help warm us up. It was then that I noticed a big damp patch on the floor in front of it, and thinking that the floorboards must be leaking with the bad weather, I made a mental note to mention it in the morning when they re-opened and thought nothing more of it.

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  20. WanderOnAHonda

    WanderOnAHonda Been here awhile

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    TAT Day 103 (Fields, OR to Lakeview, OR)

    Monday 16th November

    (Apologies that this next bit is a tad lengthy, but I needed to write and post it to get it off my chest. Feel free to scroll down to where we leave the hell hole that is Fields Station)

    We got up in the morning, packed up most of our stuff then made our way to the restaurant for breakfast. The girl serving and cooking was rude from the start and it appeared that her face would crack if she dared smile at us. We sat down and looked at the menu, and then she asked if we were out of our room yet as they needed to clean it. They hadn't told us a check out time, and at 10.20am we were a bit surprised that we had to be out already. We both went and grabbed our stuff and dragged it in to the restaurant area, ordered our food and then waited, and waited, and waited.

    She seemed to be too busy on her phone to hurry up and cook our food, and she soon came over to us. 'The cleaner says there's oil on the floor, you need to pay for it to be cleaned'. I was in shock, I couldn't believe it. 'No there isn't' I said. 'I noticed a damp patch yesterday and saw that it was worse this morning, I meant to tell you but I forgot as we were hurried out this morning. We haven't spilt anything, especially not oil'. 'Well she's pretty clued up, she knows what oil is'. 'Well she obviously doesn't!' 'Well you need to pay for it'. 'I'm not having that' I said, starting to feel shaken by what was happening. Ed then said that he wanted to speak to the manager and go and look at the wet patch, so he went out and met the male part of the couple who owned it, and after inspecting it they both agreed that it was water, not oil or coffee, and that it was all fine.

    Thinking that was that, he came back, and about an hour after ordering we finally got our food. I have to say it was good and a decent portion, but I had a bitter taste in my mouth from how we had been treated. We finished up and went to leave, and the girl said she needed to speak to me before we left. Not to Ed, but to me. I went over and told Ed not to leave, and then she proceeded to say that it was coffee on the floor and that I needed to pay for it. I couldn't believe it. The female owner then appeared and completely went off on one at me. She basically told me to shut up as I tried to defend myself, and she claimed that I'd had an attitude from the start. I thought she was joking. 'What attitude?! I've been nothing but pleasant from the start'. She said that I'd made a comment about it being expensive, and Ed quickly stepped in, pointing out that it was him that had said that, and that he stood by it; it was a statement of fact.

    Photo of Little Hitler

    She then proceeded to show us photos that the cleaner had taken, of a yellow looking stain. She even threatened to call the Sheriff, which we encouraged, as we hadn't done anything wrong. I also thought that we could do with another sensible male around here, they're the only ones that seem to be listening. After comments back and forth, Ed said 'Can we just go and look at the actual floor, instead of these photos?'. She wouldn't have it, but he eventually managed to get her to go to the room with us to look at it. She was convinced it was coffee, and despite standing right next to the wet patch, she wouldn't stop thrusting her phone under our noses saying 'Look, it's yellow!' 'But it's not yellow!' Ed exclaimed, pointing at the actual patch in front of us. He then went and grabbed some toilet roll to prove it. He blotted the patch, and showed her that there was no colour. She seemed to completely ignore him, and kept pointing at her phone and the yellow stain in the photos. Ed was getting frustrated by her blatant stupidity and ignorance, and tried to explain that the screen on a phone and the light in a room can change the colour of something in a photo. He then tried once again to bring her attention to the actual patch, and that he'd proved that it wasn't coffee or oil. She then got the cooks boyfriend in to check it, and he confirmed that it wasn't oil or coffee, it was just water. She kept saying 'Just admit that you've spilt something!' which just frustrated me further as we hadn't, and I couldn't do any more than keep repeating that we hadn't spilt anything. We were going round in circles.

    We all left the room and she went back in to the shop while we packed our things on to our bikes. I felt so angry and frustrated, how dare they treat us like this, we're paying customers. There is a way to go about dealing with things with customers and this definitely wasn't it. She soon came back out and seemed to change her tune. She said 'You can just pay for what you owe for breakfast as you've already paid for the room, and then you can go'. We said okay but then continued to explain that we hadn't spilt anything, and that we weren't happy with the way we'd been treated. She apologised, unconvincingly. I apologised too but I don't know what for, the only thing I was sorry about was staying there. I think apologising even when you haven't done anything wrong is a British thing. People bump in to you in the street and you end up apologising to them.

    We really felt like we needed to reiterate just how frustrated and annoyed we were, and she said something along the lines of 'Well there's no point flogging a dead horse'. I understood what she meant, but I also really wanted to get across how rude and unacceptable her and her member or staff's behaviour had been. I didn't feel like she really realised, or that her apology was genuine, she was trying to save face. She then put her arms out for a hug, which we both reluctantly but stupidly accepted. It was awkward and fake. I'm not a mean person, so I went with it, but with hindsight I really wished I'd said 'No thanks' and got on my bike and ridden off. The annoying thing was we wanted some fuel, although we just had enough to get where we were going, so we couldn't say what we really wanted to which was along the lines of 'F*ck off you mental bitch!'

    And that Ladies and Gentlemen, is why we wish it had been the motel that had burnt down after all. Sorry if that sounds harsh, but it's just how we felt at the time. After nearly a year and a half on the road, this for me was the worst experience on the trip so far, and that includes getting our bikes impounded by the Quebec police; at least that was relatively entertaining.

    It was gone 1pm by the time everything had been sorted and we were free to go. We'd hoped to have been gone by 11am, but with breakfast taking an hour and having to deal with three apparently stupid, irrational and hormonal women, we hadn't stood a chance.

    Officer Doofy reporting for duty

    Not having many hours of daylight left and with freezing cold temperatures and snow on the ground, we decided to skip the next section of trail through Oregon, Nevada and California, and take an easier and quicker route direct to Lakeview, Oregon.

    We got back on to the paved road and then turned off on to a wet muddy trail. It was pretty slippery, and Ed managed to crash. It showed how much better he is at crashing and multitasking than I am, as he gave me a running commentary over the intercom while crashing, making sure I wasn't in the way. All I can manage is 'Shit shit shit shit shit shit shit!!!'

    Continued...

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