19 September - Williams to Needles: 160 miles
We drop 6700 ft in just 160 miles today and move from forest to the Mohave desert. Starting to feel the end of the journey is nigh.
Breakfast was a nightmare. Hundreds of Japanese tourists pushing and barging, they don't do queuing, strange for such a polite people. Mind you, I've the same experience in hotels in Buenos Aries and Lancaster. And all I wanted was some oatmeal and toast.
Follow the Route as much as possible this morning but there is a bit of I40 work until just after Ashe Fork.
Bear then has another one of his interesting bits. We're teaming up and riding with a German TV crew doing a documnetary. Basically it's a restaurant life swap kind of affair. Two chefs swap running restaurants for a week. This particular episode will be about a German exile running a diner on the Route. We're to be extras, the bike gang. More than 15 minutes. I have a video camera strung under my bike. We then set off with the cameraman strapped in the back of a pick-up filming us overtaking him until we reach our goal: Westside Lilo's Diner in Seligman. Here we meet the restaurateur, Lilo, for breakfast with the film crew doing interviews. Four film crews. Gotta be on telly somewhere.
Wander back down Seligman main street to Delgadillo's Snow Cap. Crazy joint. Had a fantastic ice cream sat outside watching all the tour buses pul up one after another disgorging their contents. One parked right in front of us and opened hi door into the Snow Cap's corrugated roof. Donkey. Wandered up the high street visiting more and more souvenir shops. Then back on the bikes for a little more filming with the restauratuer joining us on the spare bike. With the tourists snapping away.
Say goodbye to the filmcrew and Lilo's, after requesting footage - yeah right - then hour ride into the last state, California, to the Hackberry General Store (their own site says it's been hacked), another of the classic tourist traps on the route. Souvenir's anyone?
Really into the desert now. Very hot.
Enter a 21 mile straight to Kingman where we have the most major break-up of the tour. About 6 of us end up on the intersate, luckily there's a turn off after a mile so all reunited in double-quick time at Mother Road Harley Davidson. I like bikes, but am fed-up of Harleys. At least here they have Hondas and some hunting Quads to break-up the monotony. I did splurge on some Indian Nickel fat bastard chains for the leather waistcoat. If only they'd been buffalo side up.
Now is probably the bit I'd been most looking forward to: the Oatman Highway. Bliss, or it would have been on something European, Japanese or anything approaching responsivene. Again, slightly underwhelmed. Have to say some people rode like complete tarts making it difficult to get round some bends as we were going so slow we had to stop. Only real treat was listening to the bike in front accelerating out of the corners. His pipes sang.
Oatman's an interesting little place. Would call it a one horse town, but we only saw two donkeys. Apparently it's out of season, it's a winter weekend town with gunfights and all sorts of crazy stuff happening then.
Starting to get dark as we leave into a westering sun. Road not as tight as on the way into Oatman, although you do have to dodge the donkeys - the four feet, swishy tail variety - but far more enjoyable than the road in.
40 miles from Oatman to Needles last 10 of which was on the I40 in desperate need of repair. Bear tells us that effectively California is bankrupt and can't afford to repair the roads.