Saturday 28th July 2001, Mena AZ

We arrived at the dealership half an hour later than intended, but no-one seemed to mind. Merrin took the Trophy for a ride, checked the brakes, then rolled it into the workshop to change the battery and oil.

There was a small snag with the bike’s ‘Title’. Corbin, it appeared, was going through a divorce … and his ex-wife had the vital document! However, it emerged that Corbin’s nephew in Oregon had long coveted this bike, and would be only too pleased to buy it off us at the end of our trip. Thus we agreed that Corbin would make out a handwritten Bill of Sale for now, and send a duplicate Title to his nephew. In this way, the bike need never actually be registered to John, so saving the complication of having a new Title sent to a Texas address in his name. (Quite what they would do in the case of any more speeding tickets, remains to be seen!)

The deal done and dusted, we rode back to the hotel (Brigid on the new Triumph, and John on the BMW!) to pack up. Finally, (John having wrested back the keys of the Triumph from Brigid) we were on the road.

We made it to the Talamina Trail before dusk. As the sun went down, we enjoyed 50 or so miles of undulating, twisty, mountain road, meeting no more than two other cars between Talahina and the Queen Wilhelmina Lodge.

With no advance booking, we were lucky indeed to find a room at the Lodge. Nominally it was a smoking room, though either their cleaners are exceptionally efficient, or the Lodge attracts few smokers, as the room was as clean and fragrant as any non-smoking room we have used. The dining room closed at 9pm, but we were just in time to order dinner. Afterwards we strolled outside in the humid night air. To the south, the lights of Mena were visible below us. But we were more interested in a thunderstorm to the north, where distant flashes of lightening lit the sky like the aurora borealis.