Posted from Starbucks, Carlsbad, CA, July 30, 2011 (Thank you, Starbucks!)
July 29, 2011
Nothing much exciting to report today, except for all the stress over where we were going to stay tonight. A glitch in the reservation process left us without motel rooms for the next two days, and those were important ones as they were supposed to be our “beach” days. I have to admit, they were ones that I had eagerly awaited, the last relaxation before returning to job hell.
We started from Santa Barbara under an overcast sky, and as we got on the 101 south, the mist covered my visor instantly. During this trip, I have finally noticed how worn out my helmet is. What do I expect, right? After six-plus years and about 90,000 miles it has long passed the “worn out” point. I must have been in denial before just because I really don’t want to get a new helmet (can you say “expensive”??). I will have to now, though, because it moves around on my head (unsafe), I can barely see out of the visor (helmet is no longer imported so the visor is not replaceable), and the liner has foam sticking out of it. It has also turned a strange color from sun exposure, and I have to wonder how much protection it would actually be in an accident.
Theme of the day: the freeways in southern California are terrible. In fact, I would have to describe today’s ride as “a nightmare,” but that’s the thing about being “on the road”: you have to be ready for anything that gets thrown at you. From the moment we began, we rode in heavy traffic that grew heavier the farther south we rode. We stopped after a little while to get rid of a few layers since it was warming up rapidly. That was a good call because right after that we went into the huge traffic jam at the 405 interchange, and we crawled through “Carmageddon.” I actually saw the Mulholland bridge that was replaced and what caused Carmageddon in the first place, we rode under it. So, we passed through Carmageddon and came out on the other side unscathed, except just as I picked up speed on the far side, a shoe came hurtling toward me. Yes, that’s right, a single shoe. It was a workout shoe, too. One would have to wonder how a single shoe came to be tumbling across the freeway seemingly of its own free will. I managed to gauge its trajectory and avoided hitting it. You never can tell what damage a moving object, whatever it is, can cause.
The rest of the day was more of the same. Speed up, slow down, speed up again. Be riding along at around 80 to keep up with the rest of the crazy people, and then come to a standstill, all in about 50 feet. Motorcyclists are allowed to lane split in California, and all of them (except us) did. Hal was riding along with the air of one who has reservations at a hotel and no hurry to get there, and he refused to lane split. I wanted to follow one guy on a huge Harley that looked much wider than my bike with bags, but as Hal wasn’t going to do it, there would be no point in me doing it without him. I’d just have to wait for him anyway. So, Pearl got pretty sick of changing gears and getting the clutch used so much, and I think the shitty California fuel was making her run rougher than normal, too. So, all in all, the day on the road totally sucked, but still not as bad as work does.
We finally got to Ocean Beach and tried to beg people to let us sleep standing up in a closet in their hotel (well, not really, but just about), and still there were no rooms. We even asked to sleep in the courtyard of our favorite hotel. We were kind of kidding, mostly not. I don’t know why I had it in my mind that we would be staying in Ocean Beach, and I was hell-bent on staying there no matter what I had to do. No luck, though. After nothing worked, I was ready to go get some dinner at one of the favorite places in Ocean Beach, then head home. I am done, as much as I didn’t think I would be. I was ready to ride all night and roll into my garage at home around 3 a.m. Fortunately, we found a Starbucks, Hal whipped out his laptop, and after a long time of searching, managed to find a place to stay in Carlsbad, about 40 miles back up the road. I groaned inwardly because we had just fought through a huge traffic jam in that area, one that could have been avoided had we known. I don’t think we are really near the beach, either, but at this point beggars couldn’t be choosers, so even though it’s not the ideal situation, I can’t complain. I’ll listen to the traffic passing by on the very-near freeway and pretend it is the ocean.
Tomorrow was supposed to be our day on the beach, who knows what will happen or what we’ll do? One more day officially on the road, and I hope it turns out to be good after all.