May 25, 2016. It was a Wednesday
I finished with the last production of my play, “Trouble in Manteca Junction”. I was like a kid getting out of school for summer. The plays went very well, sold out at every performance, and I did my part as well as could be expected. The audience threw things at me but it was a melodrama so it was allowed. The entire thing depleted me of energy. I suffer for my art. I don’t suffer as much as the audiences who attend my plays, but I suffer just the same.
May 26, 2016. It was a Thursday.
So with my new found freedom, I turned back to the love in my life, my 22 foot Cobalt Tradition. When last we saw her she was in the boat yard for repairs. The minor repairs had been made so it was time to take her out and see if everything was back in order.
First, I had to clean her up. When she went in for repairs she was spotless. Not so when she came out. Apparently there was a bird pooping competition that was held while she was in the yard and my boat was the swim suit portion of the contest. I spent a lot of time cleaning up the boat before I could take her out. Once I did she performed like new so all is good in that department.
May 27, 2016. It was a Friday.
Now that I knew my 23 year old redhead was in good working order I had to go out and screw that up. On a lovely and cool summer day I went out and ran my poor boat aground so badly that I thought I had wrecked it. The lessons learned from this was that my boating skills are rusty, the California Delta has changed significantly since I last use to ply the waters and one should always know exactly where one is. The bottom line is that I did no lasting damage. I put the boat away before I did.
May 28, 2016. It was a Saturday.
I got up on a hot 75 degree morning, loaded up my three wheeled motorcycle and hopped on Interstate 5 going north. I have never been a big fan on interstate travel, especially when riding a motorbike. Especially on a Memorial Day weekend. But I have to try everything once, even when my diminishing intellect tells me it is not a good idea.
Those of you who read this blog know that I have racked up quite a few miles on the blue highways. All of that experience did me precious little good on a holiday weekend interstate. My first epiphany had to do with a lesson in aerodynamics. While I have tuned my bike to behave very well when traveling in the 55-65 MPH range, that all went by the wayside in the 75-85 MPH range. My windshield and helmet managed to turn me into Bobble Head Bob. It was funny for the first 15 minutes. It got a bit tiresome after that.
After a couple of hours of my head bouncing around I did something I rarely do; pulled over at a rest stop to make repairs. The windshield I have on my bike has a lot of adjustments available in it and it is easy enough to do. What I did not consider was my adoring public. People kept coming up and wanting to talk about the bike, sit on the bike, or have their picture taken with Ride Along Duck. After losing the one essential tool I needed for the job, I gave up. I got back on the road and realized that I had fixed the bobble head problem but now I had to ride with my visor down. With my visor down I get a lot of noise in my helmet. Oh well. Riding a motorbike is one compromise after another.
I made it up to Grants Pass, Oregon which happens to be where my partner in crime, John Warren, lives along with his lovely wife Sharon Ann. John and I have had a few adventures over the years and now we like to get together and tell lies about them. Sharon puts up with both of us but neither of us knows why. After hugs and hellos we got down to the serious business of drinking and enjoying John and Sharon’s spectacular home in Grants Pass. We spent most of the time hanging out in the Garage Mahall which is John’s man cave that is as big as his house and packed with collector cars. I was allowed to park my diminutive three legged burro amongst all of the stallions.
I burned some steaks on their amazing patio; we drank some wine, told some lies and went to bed early exhausted from the effort of fabrication.
View from the Warrens’ patio.
May 29, 2016. It was a Sunday.
After a lovely breakfast John and I went out to the Garage Mahall to finish the adjustment on my noisy windshield. We did that in short order since we did not have an audience to deal with.
Then we settled in for the mission of the day: Watch 1250 miles of high end auto racing- Formula One in Monaco, Indy 500 in Indianapolis, and the Coca Cola 600 in Charlotte. We settled in with drinks in hand, scratched, belched and passed gas like a NASCAR pit crew. It made slugging my way 430 miles up I-5 in holiday traffic worth it.
We did take a break now and then. Sharon interrupted us to taste test a bean dip she had spent the morning working on. The verdict: smelled like feet-tasted like ass. She went back to the kitchen to try to salvage it. John and I burnt some burgers for lunch, took a dip in the spa and then went back to watching racing.
We eventually pulled ourselves together and went over to Dee and Karen Searson for dinner. This is another set of friends who we have had adventures with who also happen to live in a killer house in Grants Pass. I am an equal opportunity mooch so I had no difficulty drinking Dee’s wine and eating Karen’s delicious Mexican casserole. Then we told more lies and poked more fun at Sharon Ann’s bean dip.
May 30, 2016. It was a Monday.
With my mooching mission accomplished I had to saddle up and get going. It was looking like a hot day in both Oregon and in the Sacramento Valley so I opted to take the long way home by going down the beautiful California Coast. I made good time getting to Crescent City and picking up the road known by many names but is generally called Hwy 1, or the Pacific Coast Highway or PCH in Southern California where they don’t have time to say the entire thing. It was cool to cold and I eventually stopped in Eureka to get some coffee to warm up.
The windshield, the duck and the coastline.
Then I headed into the redwoods which are some of the oldest living things on the planet and certainly some of the most majestic. I went inland a bit on Highway 101 (still part of PCH) and things heated up. I spent one hour traveling four miles in 96 degree heat. Once I cleared that I headed straight back out to the coast where the temperature was 32 degrees cooler and the scenery was the best in the world. I spent my time driving the twisty road hard and then stopping every few miles to work on my photographic skills.
Just the coastline.
I ended up in Fort Bragg, tired and hungry. I checked in to my favorite hotel (favorite=cheap) and drank a few beers while cleaning my bike. I ambled over to the local restaurant and had a good salad. Now I am ready for bed after a full and satisfying day. I love my life.
Tuesday May 31, 2016. It was a Tuesday
I woke up to a cool coastal morning but at least I woke up. I am at an age where I am thankful for small blessings. I gulped a couple of cups of Motel 6 coffee, loaded up and it was off down the coast again. I had the beautiful Pacific Coast Highway pretty much to myself. That, the cool morning weather and the twisty roads made for a delightful ride. I stopped and took a few pictures along the way and explored some of the small towns that are located along the road.
Somewhere north of Bodega Bay the fog rolled in and photo opportunities were lost in the mist. I was wearing everything I had with me and was being a little chilled. I knew how to fix that. I turned inland at Bodega Bay and the temperature rose just as quickly as it had gone down the day before. I stopped and stripped all of my warm weather clothes off and made my way back into the valley I call home.
I got home before two, when it really starts to heat up, as though 96 was not hot enough. I logged a bit over 1,000 miles, visited some good friends, saw some nice scenery and renewed a thirst for the open road. I felt like a truant when I left but feel as though I can get back to my daily grind of boating, baseball and beer.
Until next time.