Travelogue Chapter Eighteen

Monday, 08 July 2002 7:23 p.m.

So there I was. Wednesday evening at about 1900 I woke with a start. I had been asleep since about 1600. "Hmph," I thought, "Three hours of sleep. That'll fix me pretty good." Now what to do with the next five hours before my scheduled departure? I tried going back to sleep, but there was no way. It wasn't the upcoming ride that had me awake. I've never been able to get to sleep or especially BACK to sleep easily. There's been many a time I was woke up by an unusual noise at Oh-Dark-Thirty only to lay awake the rest of the night.... So I hung around watching TV until about 2345. One good thing came of it. I was able to watch the new South Park episode that I thought I was going to miss...

At 2330 I am doing the final packing of the bike. I am packing real light this trip. A couple shirts, an extra pair of jeans and some socks. Knowing Montana weather, I took a medium weight winter jacket "just in case" (I've seen it snow on the 4th of July Parade). Strapped across the rack on the back of the bike was a tent and sleeping bag in case I got tired and needed to stop miles from anywhere. As it turns out I didn't use the jacket, the tent, or the sleeping bag. Just as well I had them with me, though. If I hadn't I would have been snowed in somewhere late at night.

I arrive at the gas station I scope'd out the day before a little early. I wanted to start the ride at the stroke of midnight on the morning of the 4th. After waiting about 15 minutes for that stroke to arrive I pump $1 worth of gas into the bike and look at my receipt. "07/03/02 23:59"(sic) DAMN! Good thing I didn't top it off... I've got just enough room in the tank for $1 more and I wait about 30 seconds and try again. Success!! 07/04/02 00:00"(sic) Time to roll.

A couple days before I left, I asked a question on the LDRider list as to whether or not a ride could "officially" begin before getting the witness form signed as long as it was documented and backed up with receipts. The answers I received were as varied as they could be. Some said "That's fine"... Others said "No Way, Jose"... The trip I had planned made the difference in miles a non-event, I just want the certificate for my "I Love Me" wall to say "San Diego" vice "Escondido". I also didn't think it was prudent to "require" my witness to travel into the "Bad" part of town (off-limits to military personnel after dark, yet right outside the gate) in the middle of the night. Especially considering the negligible difference in miles and I was riding right through his berg anyway. What ever will be, will be, eh?

I still can't figure out how the first 37 miles took me a little under 45 minutes, but that's how it worked out. I left the gas station in San Diego very shortly after midnight with 000.0 miles on the trip odometer. I got my witness form signed in Escondido at 0045 with 37.0 miles behind me. I also picked up another receipt just in case the IBA doesn't appreciate my reasoning concerning the witness disparity.

Not much else to report for the next 17 hours and 9 minutes. I'd ride till either my tank or my knees convinced me it was time to stop. I don't know what's going on with my knees, but after about 150 miles they are in agony. There was one "unscheduled" stop in South Las Vegas. For some reason the sunrise always makes me tired. It doesn't matter how long I've been up or what I am doing. Watching the sun rise makes me sleepy. I stopped long enough (about 10 minutes) to slug down a 20 oz Latte and two Krispy Kreame doughnuts. Once the sun was fully above the horizon I was wide awake and perfectly fine the rest of the trip.

I arrived in Butte, Montana and got my witness form signed and gas receipt at 1854 local time. I briefly considered doing another 350 miles to complete a BBG. I decided to have dinner with my dad instead. Originally I had planned on taking the next morning to do the rest of the 1500 to get a BB, but I decided to forego that as well. I was feeling fine, but wanted to spend time with my dad.

Saturday afternoon came and it was time to leave. The return was to be a more leisurely trip I wanted to get about half way back before holing up in a hotel for the night. I didn't quite make it. After fighting two severe thunderstorms just north of the Montana/Idaho border along with the requisite rain and harsh cross winds I was beat. I only made it as far as Springville, Utah before I had to stop for the night. Having a Cracker Barrel there didn't help to convince me to continue, either.

The next morning I filled my two 2½ liter Camel Back liners with ice and water and off I went. It's a good thing I had two of them. It was so freaking hot on that freeway I had both of them emptied by the time I got to Barstow. I ran into the traffic back-ups starting around Baker, Ca. One three-car crash had a back-up 20 miles long. It must have been at least 150° on the Interstate. The heat coming off the asphalt even had the bottom of my feet burning. I was so happy to be back in California so I could partake in a bit of Lane-Sharing. Most folks were very considerate when they saw me coming up behind them. Even some of the truckers were moving over to give me room. Only a few folks "accidentally" hugged the center line and only one little bitch went as far as to roll down the window of her air-conditioned cocoon to yell at me as I went by her. I'm not sure what she was saying, but it mattered not... All I could do was giggle to myself because, while I was burning up, at least I was moving. She still had a LONG time to go before she got moving again... :)

The traffic was stop and go for miles at a time on several occasions all the way to Victorville... It was about that time that I noticed I was having trouble seeing properly. I wasn't able to focus using both eyes at the same time. Closing one eye at a time proved that each eye was working independently just fine, but for some reason I couldn't get them to work together. I think I had a bit of a heat stroke. It wasn't until several hours later that I was finally able to see properly again. I will never again plan a motorcycle trip through the desert in the middle of the day.

Eleven hours and 758 miles after leaving Springville, Utah I arrived back in San Diego. A little worse for wear but feeling pretty good.

Today I started teaching Micro-Minitature Solder Repair for real. I gave two knowledge lessons and passed my evaluation on both of them. The first one wasn't quite as smooth as I hoped but the guy doing the eval gave me a "Good Job" appraisal... Good thing he hasn't seen me teach in the past... I was disappointed in my performance, to say the least. Most of the problem, I guess, is that I haven't had time to memorize the Instructor's Guide yet. I had to keep referring to it occasionally to ensure I covered everything. The second lesson went a lot smoother because I was more sure of the material I was relating. It was a combination of "knowledge" and "practical"... I did the second half of the lesson without even looking at the IG until the end to make sure I covered everything. First thing tomorrow morning I start the day with a "demo". This is where they actually start learning the "skills" they'll need to pass the course. I think it will go well. I am well prepared for it and comfortable with the material. The hardest part, for me, is going to be Wednesday morning. That's the demo that I have been having the most trouble with so far. I do not even have all my "graded steps" done yet and don't think I will. I have one more to finish but it's a doozy for me. Hopefully they let me borrow that step from someone else...

Welp... I'd better get going. My fingers and wrists are still a bit sore from the ride and typing this "little" note hasn't helped much.

On to next chapter