We set off early next morning glad to be together and on the move, we had wasted three days of our precious quota and needed to make sure we had no more mishaps. We were now beginning the start of the plains covering the States of Oklahoma, Kansas, and Colorado. If all went well we would be reaching the Rockies in four days after covering over 1000 miles and seeing nothing but flat featureless landscapes.
The navigation was really simple, at each left/right turn we would cover 30 miles west to around 2/3 miles north. Sam had said that we would be riding for 10-12 hours a day, but this section was flying by. The fields along side the route were huge and full of massive combine harvesters cutting wheat and creating voluminous dust clouds! The view wasn't exactly inspiring but the riding was simple and we made excellent time. By 11am we were over half way through our daily route. Jon was putting up a punishing pace and Stef and I were eating a lot of dirt and dust, thoughts of air conditioned hotel rooms were foremost in our minds as the temperature soared to over 100 degrees and heat sapped life and will.
Aside from making your bogies black and crusty, the dust made it very hard to see what was going on with the road ahead. There is however a fairly simple rule to apply here: If you ride into an impenetrable cloud of cloying dust that you can't see through, you are on a particularly poor surface, probably sandy and rutted, very likely to throw you off with no warning. Probably all for the best that you can't see it, you might be scared...
When we arrived at our mid day fuel stop the station had clearly been shut down for some time and we needed fuel badly. We had foregone an earlier stop to keep the pace up and were now suffering for our decision. We finally found a small town station within riding distance and headed out on a due south bearing which led us directly there.
American petrol is generally of a very low quality ,only around 83 octane for all you tech heads. This means that we cant use regular 'Gas' but need the very best stuff America provides (our bikes are quite highly tuned and ideally require at least 90 octane or the performance is awful and engines sound as if they are destroying themselves due to pre ignition). Most gas stations sell a range of fuels, this one didn't! With our choices limited Stef and I dutifully filled up and moved off to await Jon.
The next section of the route was short and completed in around one hour!. It was 1pm, we had finished the route for the day and 20 miles away awaited our air conditioned motel room and showers!
Sadly we didn't quite make it that far before our (by now) daily mishap reared its ugly head. Jon in his wisdom had decided to fill up with as little low quality petrol as possible to preserve his beautiful KTM and 12 miles towards our hotel his bike ran out of fuel. He switched to reserve and ran an impressive 200 yards before spluttering to a halt again (KTM tank reserve's are NOT to be taken seriously!!). We were stuck in the middle of nowhere, with no shade, at 1pm in searing 120 degree heat. Jon was not popular.
But then neither was I when I told Jon that whilst staying with Stacy I had posted back our team 'Syphon Tube' to the UK as a weight saving measure...
To cut a long and very hot story short we called Jon 'talentless' took his bike apart and raided his fuel breather line from his. Luckily it was about 3ft long and allowed fuel syphoning to take place. By 3pm after a steady rebuild we arrived at the Ranger Inn motel which had a room with three beds but woefully inadequate air conditioning. Alva was another example of 'nothinhgheresville' and food was a dodgy Mexican restaurant which gave me stomach problems for the next 4 days and provided Jon with the memorable meal of crisps (chips to all you US based people) and melted cheese. Not a great end to our day.