The tinkle of diner flatware, eggs and hash browns, hot coffee, it’s saturday morning at Mom’s Cafe. Waitresses scurry around in matching aqua and pink dresses serving tattooed Harley riders and retirees.
After breakfast we ride west out of Salina, Utah. The road turns to smooth dusty gravel and we twist our way up to speed. It’s a short ride to Richfield for lunch.
The GPS points us into what looks like a driveway. At the end an old double wide surrounded by trucks. We timidly start heading down, but it leads right past the house and then takes a sharp left up onto the side of a canal. The double track on the side of the irrigation ditch leads us most of the way. Its a fun, challenging trail, overgrown and narrow with the big ditch a sneeze away. To keep us on our tows there are random, deep dips thrown in. Dark storm clouds are looming and a cold, stiff wind fights our progress. We pass junk yards and farms and newly built homes. The junk yards are goldmines of beautiful old cars and trucks.
I find my dream truck and pose in front of it for a picture. As we ride I fantasize about fixing it up. But not the brutal reality of fixing it. In my daydream I fix it in a seamless operation like on television and one week later it emerges a sparkling masterpiece in candy coated tangerine flakes and flames.
And really I am an American, because who in this car crazy country doesn’t understand the Red Barchetta story. Finding that perfect muscle car tucked away in some old barn ready to be resurrected to glory. And we spot them as we ride. Classics, literally sitting in old barns, the barn doors long rotted away.
Soon we are in downtown Richfield. It’s a good sized town for this part of Utah but there’s not a soul around. Nobody has business down here on a Sunday, at least we think it’s Sunday. We have lunch at a homey little restaurant where the waitresses yell to each other over our heads. We ride around a little and discover a Wallmart and a Yamaha Dealer! Samantha is in need of a front tire, she’s ridden hers down to nubs. We also need new dry bags for the TW 200, the old ones are barely held together with tape.
So we decide to do some shopping and wait for the motorcycle shop to open tomorrow morning. Plus the clouds are still looming over the mountains to the west and it’s forecast to get cold tonight. I’m a little disappointed to get so little riding done but Northern Nevada is an empty place, we need to stock up.
Wallmart is a strange and brutal land. It is the architype of American consumer capitalism. A huge corporation exploits cheap labor overseas to undercut local businesses, kill small town America and then underpay employees to sell cheap plastic crud to folks. Grab a complimentary wheel chair on the way in to get your giant Cheetos bags and $3.00 bath mats. There’s even a giant steel pen filled to the brim with almost expired non-prescription drugs. There’s really no business that isn’t safe from Wallmart because they sell almost everything.
Oh the hypocrisy, here we are greedily buying this junk. We get Samantha new dry bags for her motorcycle racks, teflon chain lube, little packets of food for our trek across the rest of Utah and into Nevada and a new headlamp. We joke about pitching our tent in the parking lot since they welcome over night RV’s.
We ride down the road, Wallmart bags hanging precariously from the bikes, and pull into a little motel. We chose this one because it advertised $29 rooms.
There are certain key ingredients for a perfect motel. In a super funky retro 50’s motel the entranceway will be covered, preferably by some kind of crazy slanted roof, often pointing skyward on one end and tilting back toward the building on the other. Sometimes the office will be all glass windows that slant outward. The building must be one story, if there’s a second story it’s not a motel in the classic sense it’s a lodge or some other thing. The room should also have one big picture window and in its most perfect incarnation a small table and chairs by the window. The bathroom should be tiled and the sink, toilet and shower all overbuilt, with the stout lines of 1950’s practicality. The final thing that the very best 50’s road motel will boast is a huge sign, with neon V’s and arrows and other artfully constructed designs. Perhaps the arrow is pre neon and lined with tiny lightbulbs. The very best if these is owned by folks oblivious to to retro chiq of their own establishment. And it should be cheap.
Our motel had most of these design elements and we loved it. There was even an old, wooden, stand up radio in the office. On top if it was the cheap, plastic modern version.
We hunkered down for the night and hoped the dealer would have the oddly shaped, fat front tire for our TW 200.