Despite the delightful speculation by Mike in LA that I’ll show back up on a Harley, married, and knocked up, I have fulfilled none of the preceding.
I’ve been documenting preparations for the TAT but I haven’t gotten around to getting it online along with pictures. Until now: transamericatrail.wordpress.com.
That’s where I also explain why I’m a German Shepherd, so check it out.
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Trans-America Trail. The current plan is to do it this autumn. Wayne and I are going to make the trip on the DRZs, starting and finishing in San Diego. The blog — currently neglected — may continue to be neglected until this trip is done because other than continuing do contract work for my previous employer, most of my energy is going into anything related to this trip.
We need to:
1. Overhaul the bikes. They don’t have a ton of miles on them, but they’re 2002 models and could use some lovin’. So far the rear linkages and head stem bearings have been cleaned and re-greased. There is oh-so-much more to do.
2. Work out the extensive packing list. This ain’t no motel-only trip so it’s everything we’ll need plus the overhead of a portable domicile.
3. Research the route. I have the maps, but we still have to work out the rest of the trip that isn’t laid out. We’ll also need plenty of bailout options should things go sideways.
4. Plan for problems. This includes stuff like taking first aid courses, figuring out bike rescue methods, researching news stories for bears who steal dirtbikes (with or without first assaulting their owners), etc.
5. Make the trip dog-friendly. Yeah, we’re bringing Simon if he passes the riding/camping preliminary excursions. If not, we’ll need to set him up with a therapist to work on his abandonment issues.
That’s the high-level stuff. I will post again if something interesting happens. Until then, just assume I’m mildly freaking out.
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The flooding was tame compared to everything north of us, but it was enough to entertain us Professional Gawkers.
Forlorn bus in the YMCA lot.
A flooded Fashion Valley mall.
Dude, where’s my couch?
Mission Center Road. The little little bit of yellow in the distance may be the trunk end of a car.
Rio San Diego Drive.
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You know why I’ve taken so long to write about that ride? Because nothing of tremendous interest happened. No drowned bikes. No compound fractures. No gunfights with survivalists. However, one thing did arise from this trip that I need to discuss: Ride Moochers.
There are two types of riders: prepared and unprepared. It’s ok to be unprepared as long as your riding buddy is comfortable with your slackness and its ramifications. Maybe what you bring to the table is a great sense of humor or a face that’s simply dreamy to gaze upon or a huge bag of delicious beef jerkey. If you’re the unprepared type, here’s what you don’t do: show up and latch onto someone else’s team. You’re probably a nice person, but nice doesn’t make up for the fact that you might be a rolling liability — a Costco-sized case-of-suck in the making.
Wayne and I did our due diligence for this ride. We studied the tracks, vetted the bikes mechanically, and packed an array of tools knowing that we’d probably use none of them. On the morning of the ride we took off from the motel in Barstow. At a specific point we had an option of going the harder way or the easier way. The harder way had a deep water crossing so we decided to save that route for the trip back in case it all went to hell; at least we’d only be 50 miles from the truck and a warm ride back to SD.
As we were stopped and making our decision, three guys pulled up behind us. They also had to make their decision. One guy pointed at us and said, “I’m going with them!” Suddenly we were put in a position where we sort-of-but-not-really had someone to take care of. The other guys ended up following us too, so we had three people in tow, none of whom we’d ever ridden with so we had no idea how fast or slow they were.
Wayne and I took off in the lead and stopped every now and then until everyone regrouped. At one stop, three of us were waiting for the other two. We waited and waited. And waited. Finally, we rode back several miles and found one guy changing his flat. He had never changed a flat before that moment (!) but at least he had packed a spare tube and the necessary tools. Another two riders showed up so when we were all ready to roll again, it had become a group of seven.
Once again, Wayne and I took off. Once again we waited for the group and they were nowhere to be seen. We turned back and found that the guy who had a flat had now run out of gas (he had the largest tank of the group but had failed to fill up before leaving). By the time we got back to them, they had just finished transferring gas from one guy’s tank to his.
Yet again, Wayne and I took off. We finally hit a stretch of pavement and I took off down the road. Everyone was behind me and at some point I looked in my rear view and saw that everyone had stopped. I made a u-turn and rejoined the group. The guy who had a flat and then ran out of gas had gone dry a second time. I was packing a spare liter of gas so I put it into his tank and we finally all made it into Baker. That rider decided to part ways with us and slabbed it into Laughlin. As it was, the delays forced us to modify our route in an attempt to get into Laughlin before dark.
We finished the day’s ride a couple of hours past our expected time. Yeah, we all arrived safely and the rest of the ride was pleasant, but it could’ve easily been a full day of dealing with other people’s problems.
Speaking about other people’s problems, some of you may have already read this long, drawn-out, opinion-filled post on Advrider. It’s about a guy who crashed and the series of errors that ensued. I think had he started out the ride with a trusted riding partner or group, the giant magma flow of shit from that dualsport volcano wouldn’t have been so wide, deep and burning hot.
Go not into the desert unprepared lest ye share the fate of this abject chariot:
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I took Simon to Fiesta Island yesterday so he could frolic in the vast, leash-free area. When I returned to the van I found a note on the camper van’s windshield. I had crumpled it and was about to toss it when I became increasingly intrigued by the “Why?” of this message.
My guess is that someone else may be trapped in the Quest for Nothing and is projecting because The Great White Whale™ happens to be the perfect vehicle for people desirous of undertaking that pivotal, life-changing, goose-egg journey, with its nothing-esque little toilet and nothing-esque little fridge. It’s so perfect, in fact, that I can file this report:
To the note-writer: Good luck to you, too. You’ll really dig it when you get here!
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I am still here. You thought I had gotten into that bath tub with my box of 100 single-edged razor blades and artistically did myself in. Well, you were wrong. I did recently buy a box of 100 single-edged razor blades but only because they’re my favorite tool, ever; however I would never use them on myself, outside of an accident.
I have been going through physical therapy and can now walk a quarter mile without disability devices. The doc said I could even ride my bicycle this weekend as long as it was an easy ride. An xray this week revealed mild scoliosis but that’s just because I have another birthday in twelve days and it’s all a part of the Supernova Lifestyle™ of burning bright and blowing up ahead of cosmic schedule.
Still, I’m not going out early because I’m the heartiest motherfukcer ever and here’s why: Yesterday I was finishing up a bottle of Coffee Mate Italian Sweet Creme. I use that sugary crack every day in my coffee. I’m just one person and even though I buy the smallest bottle possible, it takes me a while to get through it. By a while, I mean a few weeks after the expiration date. Now, I know I have the immigrants’ daughter’s problem of using things well beyond their expiration date, but I was fairly vigilant with my problem and I poured the sweet sauce into a spoon and checked it for bad odors or lumps before dropping it into my coffee. It looked fine and tasted fine so I kept using it.
Yesterday I had used most of it up so I went to rinse the bottle and drop it into the recycling bin. The bottle was LINED WITH MOLD. I was thinking about getting sick at that sight, but then I turned it around on myself (I’m easily manipulated) and applauded myself for enduring this controlled exposure as a part of making myself a more resilient, fungus-proof person.
Which reminds me of another story: One night I was feeling nauseated. I got up and went to the bathroom, found the Pepto Bismol by the faint cast of the nightlight, and took a chug of it. It tasted weird. I flipped on the bathroom light, looked in the bottle, and it was filled with mold. I can’t say I felt worse after that swig, but I’m pretty sure I didn’t feel better, either.
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