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This is from a couple Phoenix on Tour columns back in 2000.

RACHAEL, PRIMM AND PROPER
May 2000

The intent was pretty much to go riding. And that we did. Somehow Bob and I miss-figured the time it would take us to get out to Rip Griffin’s and Frank was done eating by the time we got there. But, Bob and I ate quickly and the three of us headed out. Our destination; Rachael, Nevada.
The ride to Rachael was pretty much uneventful. I was having more than my fair share of trouble with the cruise control system, so I stayed away from the lead. We made Rachael around seven with, I think, something like 468 miles behind us.
Now, none of us had ever been to Rachael, Nevada before. We had read an account in a magazine that gave the place a positive spin, so we went for it. And for those that don’t know, Rachael is the closest community to the infamous “Area 51”. You know, the place where some folks say our military is housing a craft from another planet. Because of this, I guess those same folks reckon that there must also be plenty of alien activity happening around there as well. All I know is that it’s a great ride getting there.
The only thing strange that I noticed was that, after being on the “Extraterrestrial Highway” for awhile, My Wing started weaving erratically on the road and accelerating rapidly up to around 100 miles per hour, then slowing and weaving again. At first I suspected some extraterrestrial force had taken over the bike. Then, both Bob and Frank reminded me that I drive like that quite often. Nothing strange, well, nothing extraterrestrial about it.
Well now, back to Rachael, the place. I did not, nor did any other member of our party, man or machine, see any space creatures. Nor did any of us see any vehicle or machine that could not be explained. That is not to say that we didn’t see some pretty spacey people and a couple of strange forms of transportation in the Rachael area.
The town of Rachael, you see, is merely a small trailer park that doubles as a motel. There is a small building that does duty as a bar, a restaurant, the motel office and a community center of sorts. So as to not be totally negative about our experience there...lets just say that we’ve decided to not go back.
Day two found us ‘up and at it’ early. Due to the bed I had slept in, my back was giving me quite a bit of grief so, my cohorts conceded to take the short trip to Primm. Back the way we came. That was cool and we got to re-see what had been some really fine scenery. We located Art & Dody, (they went straight to Primm) some rooms, and after a long shower, we had a great dinner, roamed around awhile, did some sightseeing, and even gambled some.
The next day Frank left early so Art, Dody, Bob and I had breakfast and did some more gambling before heading home. At Parker, Art, Dody and Bob headed to the local casino for even more gambling. I headed home with money in my pocket.
So, that’s about it. We rode to Rachael and home via Primm. And even though we were looking, we didn’t see any extraterrestrial activity. We had a great 3 day trip. End of story.
Well, not exactly... But you’ll have to wait for next month’s column to get the details of my bike’s alleged alien abduction.


ON BUMPY CRUISE
June 2000

“What a great trip.” I note, as I pull a bag of clothing from the left saddlebag. “Three days and a thousand miles.” I continue. “A great ride.”
“Farther.” The bike muttered.
“Okay... One thousand and one miles then.” I correct myself.
“Farther.” The bike repeats.
“Oh, let me look.” I glance at the trip meter. “You're right. One-thousand-one-point-seven miles.” I observe. “Are you satisfied now, your royal pickyness?”
“Farther.”
“Farther huh?” I giggle a bit. “Have you been putting around the parking lot with some other guy?” I jest.
“It is not funny!” The Wing quips.
“Okay, what’s up?” I ask, reluctantly.
“Nothing.” The bike replies.
“No, you started this. Now, what’s on your computer?” I persist.
“I went very far.” The bike sounds tentative, but continues. “I was abducted by aliens.” My laughter interrupts its dialog briefly but the bike goes on. “At the Rachael place. Aliens were there and they abducted me and took me into space.”
“Space is right. You’ve got too much space between your heads. I knew you were getting senile, but what makes you think you were abducted?” I ask.
“I saw lights! And there’s a period of time I don’t remember! And my cruise control works!”
“O.K.” I interrupt. “I can see that it was a mistake to tell you about UFOs and alien abductions and such. I might have known you would let it go to your computer. With you it seems like the more information you’re given...”
It was merely a little research on my part. Seeking information over the internet about Rachael, Nevada and any evidence that any of the stories associated with the area have any credence. I couldn’t find the evidence. And while in Rachael, the closest things I found to evidence were counter-evidential. Mini-mass hysteria, if you will. Taken to the point of hysterical. However, on the ride to Rachael, I had imparted some of what I had read on the internet to the bike and embellished it with other stories I had heard about abductions, sightings and all the other crap that circulates, involving UFOs and space aliens.
Don’t get me wrong. I can’t help but believe that with all of the billions of stars in our universe that there must be other life on some of the planets that revolve around said stars. And I suppose that a couple of those life forms could be bipeds. Gray with big black eyes possibly. What I find improbable...no, implausible...is that those life forms have nothing better to do with their time than to hang around here. Something I find even more implausible is the idea that those beings might abduct a motorcycle. But I decide to play along...
“What do you mean ‘your cruise control is working?’ I ask, after the statement had sunken in. “What has your cruise control got to do with anything?”
“I think that’s why they abducted me. To fix my cruise control.”
“Okay, that’s it.” I interrupt. “You’re going to Bruce for a complete tune up. I’m not having you telling this to all the other bikes, because I know they’ll tell their riders and pretty soon...” I stop myself before any feelings get hurt. “Let's just say I don’t want the other bikes to think you’ve slipped a timing belt tooth.”
“Like rider, like bike!” The Wing retaliates, and having no defense to such logic, I back off.
“Anyway, it’s about time we have your carbs looked at again.” Changing the subject was my only way out. “I’ll make an appointment with Bruce for early next week. That will give me time to clean you up and put in some new plugs.”
“Okay.” The bike also backs off. Sensing that no good can come from this argument. And, I suspect, not wanting to talk itself out of a coat of wax.
We don’t discuss the ‘alien abduction’ incident anymore. I don’t want to hurt the bike’s feelings, but I know what really happened. For the first time in its life, I left the bike uncovered that night in Rachael. I parked it under a carport and figured it would be fine. But to a bike, a cover is more than mere protection from the cold and dew. It’s security. It’s a warm, safe and familiar environment for a bike that’s far from its garage. Without that cover, the sights and sounds of a place as strange as Rachael could become very frightening.
Yeah, it’s easy to explain how the bike could misunderstand what it saw in the Nevada desert that night. What I can’t explain is how its cruise control system; a system that has been working poorly since our trip to South Dakota last summer, and gave me fits all the way to Rachael...worked flawlessly for the two-day return trip.
 
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