Our trip started at 6:30am on Saturday morning,
about a half hour later than planned
because Mike had a dead battery.  

Luckily, our first two days were almost entirely desert.  
That meant we were going to get cooked either way,
and a half hour here or there
really didn't make no nevermind.  

We had on our lightest summer gear and Camelbaks
full of ice, with our goal being to get 1,500 miles
across the desert to San Antonio, Texas
by the next night.  Piece of cake!
Our next GPS point was a good one -
The Airplane Graveyard outside Tucson.  

Unfortunately, it seems the coordinates
we were provided with were actually
inside a restricted area, as the graveyard
is located on a military base.  

No trouble; Mike can put on his sexy
Zoolander face outside the fence just as
easily as he can inside.
Not being of the Iron Butt persuasion,
Mike was really starting to feel it
after about 750 miles.  

We finally called it a day in Lordsburg,
New Mexico, where we found a smoking
hot deal on a hotel off the beaten path.  

We figured since we were going so hard
for the first couple days, and it was so
hot, we needed a good nights sleep and
therefor a hotel room was clearly justified.
...And within a few hours we found out why
the hotel room was so cheap!  

We were directly across the street from the rail yard, so we
spent a nice evening listening to the blaring train whistles.  

Luckily, after 15 hours and 788 miles in the saddle, we were
pretty well beat and the noise didn't affect our sleep that
much.  
(Don't let the picture fool you;
Mike looks like that every morning.)
Our first stop on day two was
Bakersfield, Texas.  

Yes, we live near Bakersfield, California,
but it's worth three points in Texas
and only one in California.  

Plus it gave us an excuse to get off the
freeway, and ANYTHING that livens up the
drive on I-10 across Texas is welcomed.
Our next set of coordinates delivered us to
the historic Hunt Japonica Cemetery
near Ingram, Texas.  

We had ridden into a nasty east-moving storm,
so we welcomed the opportunity to putt around
on small country roads and give the storm
a little time to move on.  

In fact, this may not have been our intended
destination; the GPS said our coordinates were a
little farther up the road, but just beyond the
cemetery the road was closed due to flooding.
Our plan to dodge the storm did work
to some extent, but alas, we caught up
with the rain again pretty quick.  

At this point we were only about an hour out
of San Antonio, and luckily we never caught
back up to the really heavy rain.  We had just
enough rain to cool us down and clean the
road and our face shields, but not enough to
seriously diminish our vision or traction.  

There was even a beautiful double rainbow,
and at one point we passed a really pretty
waterfall cascading off a rugged rock cliff.  

Of course, we were on the interstate in
the rain so we didn't pull over for pictures.  
(Have you ever driven on the interstate in
Texas?  Psycho truckers galore!)  

But I have provided you with an artist's
rendition of what it might have looked like if
we had pulled over for pictures and the sky's
green Gel Pen ran out of ink.  Enjoy!
We arrived in San Antonio as scheduled around 8pm on Sunday.  
Mike pulled through two 750+ mile days with flying colors
(and only a little crying).  As a reward for our hard work, we
spent several days playing in the San Antonio area.  

The weather was perfect, too - cloudy enough to keep the
temperature down, but not so cloudy that it was unbearably
humid.  What a great way to kick off our vacation!
.
In the interest of fast-loading pages, these pictures are all thumbnails.  You can click on any picture you like and -
Voila! - you will be rewarded with a giant version of the exact same picture.  Isn't technology grand?
Our first IBE (I've Been Everywhere)
stop was Vicksburg, Arizona.  

We could only use each place name once and we get
more points for places more than two states from home,
so we didn't stop anyplace in California and only
picked up the easiest spots on our way through Arizona.  

We had to photograph our bikes at the locations,
same as last year, except this year they also added the
humbling detail of having to hold up these goofy flags to
prove the picture was taken after the contest start date.  

Luckily, we have no pride.  

Just outside Phoenix was our first GPS point; it turned out to
be the Chinese Cultural Center.  Not a bad start!
The Cultural Center was where Mike made the first
of many tactical errors.  In this case, he said
"Honey, I'm going to sneak down into that stairway
and clean all the road crud out of my nose."  

He didn't specifically ask me to warn him if anyone was
coming up behind him to use the stairway, so I didn't.  

Instead, when he was startled by the approaching couple
and turned around to see if his cover was blown,
I seized the opportunity and snapped this oh-so-flattering picture.  

Hey, it's not like I didn't have to suffer for my art;
I quite nearly wet my pants laughing while Mike threw
the rest of his tepid Camelbak water on me in retribution.  

That incident pretty much set the tone for the rest of the trip...