Depending on which way you go, it’s about 220 miles from Farmington, New Mexico, to Taos. Today was all about visiting the D.H.Lawrence Ranch in Taos and I’d been given special permission to visit on a day when it isn’t generally open to the public. Better than that, the trustees at the University of New Mexico, who now administer the ranch, had granted me permission to film there.
I didn’t get much of a chance to see what Kayenta looked like last night, but as I was pulling out of the motel this morning, it quickly became apparent that it was every bit as depressed as Tuba City, that I’d passed through the previous evening. This whole area is Navajo land and it’s pretty obvious that your chances of living an affluent lifestyle are considerably less if you’re an American Indian.
I got a properly early start this morning. As in, up by 0530 and on the road less than an hour later. I love early starts on road trips because the light’s pretty, the traffic is minimal and you get to see the places you’re going through as they wake up. I had a long way ahead of me, too – and lots to try and fit in on the way. Kingman isn’t particularly pretty, but it *is* on Route 66 and as far as I care, that’s better than pretty.
I fucking love Barstow. I last visited about four years when Julian and I were expecting our daughter. Somewhere in between the evil morning sickness and the so-preggers-everything-aches phases, there were a handful of blissful weeks when we were able to get away for a last hurrah before settling down to a life of nappies, night feeds and never going out.
This was always going to be the day that I was most concerned about. I mean, if it’s not enough to fly half way round the world to buy a forty year old bike sight unseen and ride it 4000 miles across America, I was planning on taking it into Death Valley in search of a ghost town, with the vague intention of finding somewhere to bivi out in the desert for the night.
I really liked Pismo Beach. It’s a cool little town on the way to LA and we stayed at a fabulous beachfront hotel, waking up to views of the ocean. When we went for breakfast, Phil had his very first motel waffle experience, which surprised me no end as he’s been living here for nearly two years…
Berkley is lovely and my brother in law Phil’s house is really rather splendid. I wish I could have spent more time hanging out in the Bay Area, but I’m on a mission and so it was only a brief overnight stay. We had oatmeal and coffee, packed up our bikes and rolled out, down Phil’s quite monstrously steep driveway.
I woke up in an overpriced Motel just off the 101. Usually, I’m quite happy to forgoe the inclusive toast and cereal breakfast that you get in most motels in order to pay absolute bottom dollar for a room for the night, but at just shy of $100, I felt like the Motel 6 in Fort Bragg owed me breakfast before I left.