We Can Do It
By Carol Skala
Las Vegas – lights and liquor, fun and friends, Elvis, and Donny and Marie… a broken water pump, a bum ankle, and Rosie the Riveter. Vegas is many things to many people. For me, Las Vegas is where the WWII rally cry, “We can do it!” suddenly became more than a propaganda poster of Rosie the Riveter. In August, I became aware of the great depth behind these empowering words. Something happened in Las Vegas. Something more than two ladies wrapping a bad ankle and finding the means to fix a Can-Am Spyder.
Pam Eddy and I were traveling from Chicago to Los Angeles. We were journeying along the “Mother Road” on our Can-Am Spyder and Indian Scout as part of an EagleRider Route 66 tour. Our tour group of international riders had already been plagued with a multitude of misadventures ranging from the technical (oil leaks, flat tires, wiring short-outs) to the environmental (powerful storms and intense heat). We had even watched riders go down in freak accidents and saddlebags separate from a bike. It had been an eventful eleven days on the road.
On day twelve, shortly after my ankle was hit by road debris, the Can-Am coasted to a final steaming halt in a casino parking lot near the Hoover Dam. We analyzed our options. They were not ideal. It was quite possible that, with a broken Can-Am and a badly injured ankle, perhaps our Route 66 might end in Las Vegas.
After delivering the broken-down Can-Am safely to the EagleRider-Las Vegas parking lot, we decided that the group should continue without us the next day. The tour was two days away from the Santa Monica Pier… the “end of the trail.” All that remained was the group ride through the Mohave Desert to Victorville, California, and then the final day ride to Los Angeles ending with an evening of celebration.
Without knowing what was wrong with either the bike or the ankle, we waved goodbye to the group in the morning. It was quite possible that we wouldn’t see them again. It was just the two of us.
After some creative thinking and some help from God above, a plan unfolded:
1~ Call the EagleRider-Las Vegas Hotel Shuttle to transport us to the Eagle Rider Rental shop where the Can-Am had spent the night.
2~ Contact the flat-bed tow truck and beg him to wait for us so we could hitch a ride to the Can-Am dealer across town.
3~ Discuss with the tow driver the option of paying him to haul the Can-Am back to Chicago if necessary.
4~ Connect with friends in the Las Vegas area and at home to help brainstorm solutions.
5~ Order parts express from Canada. They’ll arrive in Las Vegas in 2-3 business days.
6~ Rent a car from Enterprise and make plans to catch up to the group in Victorville. We would drive the rest of the way to Santa Monica.
We finally set off to collect our luggage from the hotel, stopping at a Denny’s along the way for a late lunch. At last, a moment to put my ankle up, a chance to eat and to collect our thoughts: We can do this! It would be simple to catch up to the tour and drive the remaining miles to Santa Monica in a car. Granted it wasn’t ideal, but we could finish the route and by the time we returned to Las Vegas, the Can Am would be repaired and my ankle rested and… Just as our food arrived, so did a phone call from the dealership. They have harvested the necessary part from another vehicle in their lot and Pam’s Can-Am would be completely fixed in 45 minutes!
We now make another plan. It involved backtracking for our moto gear, picking up the Can-Am, returning the car rental, riding 2-up on the Can-Am to the hotel, re-wrapping my ankle, returning to parking lot for the Indian Scout, loading all our gear and riding through the Mohave Desert.
Temperature = 101 degrees ETA in Victorville = after midnight
We can do it.
The desert is beautiful at night. The temperature changes depending on altitude. Sometimes it’s comfortably HOT and sometimes even a little chilly. The full moon rides along above us. The stars brilliantly shine down. It’s an amazing experience to ride through the sleeping desert at night.
As we glide along through the Mohave, I reflected upon our experience… “We can do it!”
See page 10…