Thursday, May 1, 2008

Day 11 & 12 update

I thought I could make it home in 2 days, & I would have….

I left El Cajon (San Diego suburb where I was staying with friends), got out good & early, it was cold & overcast & even started raining as soon as I hit the highway & it rained right past long beach, not too hard & it wasn’t that cold & hey, I’ve got the clothes for it, especially for southern California’s mild “chill” & rain. It started clearing up around. LA. Man the traffic is nasty, this lane splitting stuff is such a time saver, but as I pass by I’ve noticed that So-cal people talk too freaking much on their cel's, even when they're passing on both sides running at 140k + they’re still freaking blabbing their heads off, it’s really annoying, especially when they should be concentrating on not hitting me!!!!!

Stopped at Ventura for lunch & gas, couldn’t help myself, that song was running thru my head over & over, “Ventura highway in the suuunnn shine…” & hey its sunny & beautiful again! Food, gas a pic & back on the road!

Next I got to Santa Maria & stopped for gas, Wind is kicking my ass, it’s the 2nd worst I've come across , the oregon coast might have been the worst I ever rode in, but at least its sunny here. Holy Crap, the wind kept getting worse, I can’t even believe it, it was killing me, I needed a break & I wanted to take 1 more pic so as to have something decent, the Ventura pics didn’t seem like enough for a whole day’s ride & the California coast is really gorgeous when there’s no buildings in the way, so I took the exit to Monterey Bay for a photo. The truck in front of me turned too sharply & left a slick of oil when it cut in front of me, maybe it was carrying barrel’s, regardless there was nothing I could do, the bike instantly went sideways & we frizbee'd clockwise down the onramp, when we stopped moving I couldn’t believe it, how the hell did that happen, why didn’t I listen to my little voice that was telling me to keep going to San Fran, CRAP!!!

OK, now it was time to take stock of the situation, the bike was on it’s side facing the opposite way, still on but not running, tried to get up & my knee really hurt, went for my side zipper to check it out & shit, my fingers really hurt too, painfully pulled my gloves off & my 2 middle fingers were no longer pointing in the right direction, I have no idea why or what the hell I was thinking but I seem to have decided that this seemed like the first issue I should deal with, so (what the hell was I thinking!) I grabbed them one at a time, pulled them straight & they popped back into place, didn’t even hurt that much… at the time! Then to the knee, we’ll that was interesting, kneecap’s are supposed to face forward, so this can’t be good?! My boot got caught under the bike & I must have twisted around while sliding, confirmed by the scuffs & damage on my gear. OK, back to the knee, I’ve had a dislocated kneecap before, can’t be any worse than the fingers right, gave it a shove, POP…. HOLY FREAKIN SHIT, wow, that one hurt! Then over my shoulder I heard “Holy Mama” I looked up to see a trucker who had been behind me & stopped to help, looking quite pale & “crossing” himself, adrenaline rules!! He got my bike upright & me on my feet, I mean foot & moved on, THANKS DUDE!. Next a cop came by about 2 minutes later, took a report, although he confirmed the wet oil when he arrived he had to tell me just as we started down the ramp, that it was dry & said “too bad you weren’t 10 minutes later… no shit Sherlock, he then followed me down the hill as I rolled the bike down the off ramp to the motel at the bottom, Oh yum, 7-11 stale hotdog for supper, nothing else in hobbling distance! Things got worse, the pain started to overpower the adrenaline & the insurance people told me the private portion of my bike insurance had expired, FORK!!!! This was NOT happening… Actually it wasn’t, at least the insurance part, I finally found someone at the insurance company that found my current policy & assured me everything would be fine, whew…. Now I could relax in pain & be pissed off that the cheap motel at the bottom of the off ramp didn’t allow outgoing long distance at all, not 800 #’s not collect, can’t wait to see my cel bill…. There was a bike shop close so I got it there early, they had the parts I needed, on a bunch of new bikes in the showroom, but would not sell them to me, pricks, like 9 guys are going to walk in & buy the same bike the same day… My bikes pretty scratched up but not really in bad shape, the rear brake lever is broken as is the end cap that holds the throttle grip on the handlebar, probably $50 worth of parts that make the bike basically undrivable. So I was forced to jerry-rig the broken parts to at least get it somewhere I might get it fixed.

It was getting harder to get around so I finally broke down & went to a Doctor, $300. Later I’m on crutches & in this weird brace/cast & the Dr says there was no way I’d be driving back even if the bike could make it…. He did give me vicadin though! Well, this was a disappointing ending to a really spectacular trip, although there’s really not much more to photograph on the I-5, right? Do I have any regrets, no, not really, would I do it again, ABSOLUTALLY I’d still be riding now if the bike was safe! I made it to Tijuana, via storms, wind & weather from hell on the Oregon coast, long hours to Yosemite & Death valley, rattle snakes, M16’s, cel phone blabbing speed freaks massive winds & 5000kms in 11 days….. and an oil spill brings the trip to an end what a bit of bad luck. But it’s not really over, I plan to do it again, but without so much urgency & pressure I would like to do an anniversary run & bring some friends, take more time, less rush, no “schedule”. I really put a lot of pressure on myself to get this done & done within a challenging timeline to say the least, but I had to get back, got stuff to do back home!!

Next time I’ll go down the coast to San Diego, probably TJ again too, then up thru Death Valley, Yosemite, hit sequoia park too, then the redwoods & north to Nanaimo! No book, no picture pressures, that parts done, but don’t think I’ll be camera-less, are you insane?!. I survived my “guardian angel” Vultures the instant death hallucinations at Death Valley, the wind, the snow, the assorted weather, snakes & guns & an oil spill ends the trip…. I’ll be fine & my bike will too. I met a bunch of awesome people, some I didn’t even get their names, but they all impacted my trip & I remember all the smiles and interactions, from the stranger who just gave me his own map & then explained his best directions, to the girls at the hotel in Fresno who gave me such an awesome room & fantastic deal, & everyone I met in between however briefly or when I imposed myself for 3 wonderful battery recharging days at Jim & Ron’s! I saw some of the most spectacular scenery in North America & tried to capture it all

If it had to happen the timing might have been good to end it now though, like I said there’s really not much to see on the I-5 & I get one more visit in San Francisco. This has been good for me & I hope you all enjoyed it too…. Thanks for coming along for the ride!

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