On May 13, Dave and I left Santiago, Chile around 9:00 p.m. on an American Airlines flight to Los Angeles, California. Our bikes had flown the day before as cargo on United Airlines. We would be reunited with them (we hoped) on May 16 when we could get them from customs after the weekend. When we can we use a great online system for accommodation called Motostays, which for annual fee, gives you access to free homestays with other riders. In Irvine, CA we found Eric Hall and Michelle Coale and stayed with them for 5 days while we got some work done on the bikes and reorganized for the next leg of our trip. Eric is the senior editor for XLADV. Michelle is an accountant just getting into riding. They were strangers who’ve now become good friends. We found our bikes at United cargo and unwrapped them like giant Christmas gifts. An Asian man found this all quite hilarious and kept asking us questions then letting out a crazy laugh when we answered. I guess riding a motorcycle to the end of the Southern continent isn’t so believable for some. We left Irvine and rode to Palm Springs, where we spent a night catching up with Dave’s cousin Rogene and her partner Peggy, which is always a treat. On May 19 we made our way to Bouse, AZ in 100 F (38 C). We were a little concerned how hot the deserts might be at that time of year for us to ride. Dave’s mom and his step-dad spend their winters in Bouse and had left over a month ago to escape the heat. Dave’s dad spends his winters in nearby Quartzite, AZ and had also vacated before the heat. We were definitely used to riding in very hot weather by now but that didn’t make it any easier. In Bouse, we’d had a few things shipped to a friend of Dave’s mom. Tom and his wife’s winter season had been extended into May as he was working on a building project. We found his house and got to work in his covered garage on our bikes. While Dave replaced his very worn out rear tire, I went through all my things and was able to downsize even more. We left a box of things we didn’t need for the next part of our trip that Dave’s mom would pick up the next time she was in Bouse. Tom invited us to stay in their fifth wheel overnight, which although very hot, was nicer than sleeping in those temperatures in a tent. The next day we rode to Prescott, AZ and up to Mormon Lake near Flagstaff, AZ where we attended a 3-day Overland Expo event, showcasing the finest new travel vehicles and accessories—even a $6,000 kitchen-in-a-box! Here we were reunited with our friends from Irvine, Eric and Michelle. We had a great time camping with them and getting to know them even better throughout the event. After the Expo Dave and I began to tackle one of our goals—to ride north into Canada via the Backcountry Discovery Routes through the rest of Arizona, Utah and Idaho. Here’s a sneak peak about what that looks like but we’ll save that for our next post More photos here.