5:00 pm EDT in Prescott AZ
When Frank pulled into the Wal-Mart in Prescott Arizona the Chain Gang had been riding for 24 hours. Jerome and Tony took the first 12 hour shift, alternating 2 hours each on the bike. They rode through the entire width of Southern California – 230 miles by 2am (Pacific Time), after a 2pm start from Oceanside. Dave and Frank took over from there, starting with 1.5 hour pulls during the first hours of darkness. Later in the day as the temps went up in Arizona and we started climbing, we switched to one hours pulls. We ended the day with a 15 mile climb from 3000′ to 6000′ and on into Prescott, a beautiful town a mile above sea level with an amazingly cool climate for what you might expect for Arizona
On our first day on the road day we all got to experience one of the most beautiful aspects of the ride – night riding through the desert. Even with the follow van behind us it is still quiet enough to hear the telephone lines singing in the wind. Occasionally a bat will wing its way down in front of you before disappearing again into the night. Night riding is also very safe, with almost no traffic and the follow van close behind at all times illuminating the road ahead. And best of all it is cool
Just a note about the amazing team work of our crew. I’ve already mentioned how the riders split up into 2 teams and each team takes a 12 hour shift (Jerome and Tony 5pm – 5am EDT, Frank and Dave 5am-5pm EDT). Our crew is divided into 3 teams. Dave Payne, Dave Laws and David Gluck drive the follow vehicle from 11pm to 11am, then Jane Eastham, Mark Engemann and Marshall Siler take over the follow van from 11am to 11pm. When not driving, each team finds their way to motel rooms to rest up. We are very thankful to Holiday Inn for donating one million points to the team that we can use at any of their hotels along the way
We have a 3rd team made up of David Rossetti, Tammy Addison and our 2 massage therapists – Matthew Corrigan and Stephanie Grant. These folks man the RV where the riders rest eat and sleep when they are off-shift. Besides tending to the riders these folks have to keep the RV running and maintained. The crew must coordinate the movement of these vehicles around the bikes moving at a continuous 18-20 mph speed. Our rider and crew changes started out as barely organize mayhem, but by the end of the first day these folks were performing like a NASCAR pit crew.