Out on the road trying to avoid burning rubber


It was a huge sound, even as we were riding down the freeway on motorcycles going nearly 80 mph.

I was on I-40 in Texas recently with two buddies, riding west toward Arizona to visit family. It was a very warm afternoon, and we were more than 400 miles into a ride of about 650 that day. The last thing we needed was a surprise.
But we got one when the tire in a semi we were passing blew with a loud boom. I was in front, so as I looked to my right, I saw not only pieces of tire, but also metal sliding toward me on the highway.

That was not a good feeling.

We moved to the left and were able to dodge every piece of rubber on the road. It was a real heart-stopping moment that could have gone bad but didn’t.

Well, that was our one near disaster, I thought. I was wrong. Not that many miles later a horse trailer being pulled by a truck blew all four of its back tires – I have no idea how – and the metal scraping the asphalt on the highway started a fire in the middle median. It happened probably 10 minutes before we rode through. Not only did we have to dodge a lot of rubber, but the fire almost chocked us out. There is no place to hide on a motorcycle.

Thankfully, that was it for the trip. But there always seems to be something.

We stayed for a few days in Arizona where my brothers, son and dad all live in the same town. I had not seen my dad in three years, which is way too long. He turns 88 this week, so it was good to see him and spend some time with him. We had a great time.

While there, we rented a house from Air B&B, something I had never done before. It was a three bedroom, two bath house with a pool in a nice neighborhood. When you broke down the cost between the three of us, it was cheaper per night than your average hotel.

And did I mention it had a pool?

And we needed that pool because it was hot – unseasonably hot. It was in the 90s every day we were there and there was never a cloud in the sky. I do love the sun and the warmth, but it can really beat you up when you are riding in it.

As with most trips, one thing we did was eat. And eat way too much. The menu was very heavy on the Mexican food, which is the greatest food in the world. In fact, one thing I noticed as we rode is that there are more and more Mexican food restaurants and taco stands everywhere. Not only in Arizona and Texas and New Mexico. I am talking about tiny towns in Kansas, and Missouri and Iowa. In fact, we had some great Mexican food in Cedar Rapids, Iowa the night before we got home.

Speaking of Kansas, we rode through northwestern Oklahoma into southwestern Kansas, and I must question the sanity of people who live there. Seriously, there was nothing as far as the eye could see. And that meant the wind had no breaks and tried its best to make us run off the road into the fields that were mostly dirt.

I feel for anyone who lives in that place. No thanks.

As we rode home, the weather got cooler and cloudier the further east we got. It was a bit of a letdown, but it is always great to be home.

We are already planning our next trip. We are looking west to Monument Valley, but that could always change. For now, it is great to be home and not riding next to semis with exploding tires.