This is it... the end is near. Today was the last full day of riding with our tribe before we roll into Carlsbad for the awards ceremony and final meal together. And then there will be no more. No more hurried breakfasts as engines sputter to life. No more green flags. No more engine rebuilds, worried brows or route sheets. No more rules, and no more tilting at windmills.
But for today, the ride was glorious. There were roadside gatherings for photo ops and playing with friends. There were antics on the roads as favorite riding buddies shared a few miles and awed at the desert landscapes, some of which were reminiscent of the Flintstone's hometown of Bedrock with huge boulders pushed up out of the desert sand. Other worldly plants like the Joshua trees and menacing Cholla cactus that are known for flinging their nasty splines at anyone who gets too close, graced the roadsides.
Lunch was hosted in the park in the city of Twentynine Palms and the gracious and warm welcome the Motorcycle Cannonball received was humbling. A little boy was sprinting through the parking lot as riders arrived, gleefully leaping into the air as each one jockeyed for a parking spot. Upon seeing #25, Scott Byrd, roll in young Cayden shrieked, "OMG! Look! It's a PINK Harley!" and ran over to take pictures with his iPad. Everyone laughed as he then ran down the line to ask Steve Gonzales, #59, if he was indeed a loser, as it indicated on the tank of his "Thor Losers" team bike, which incited another round of laughter as his dad stood shaking his head.
By the time riders arrive in Palm Desert for the evening checkin, it was 96 degrees and everyone was wilting but spirits were high. Tomorrow, we will have a shortened day of just 101 miles before the 2016 Motorcycle Cannonball arrives in Carlsbad, California for the Grand Finish. Come on out and meet your favorite rider and see the 100+ year old machines that managed to survive 3,304 miles across America.
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