June 28, 2009
We were packed and on our way after a warm night. Daylight showed us the extent of the insect invasion at Jones Campground. The floor of my tent was moving with hordes of mites and ants. It reminded me of computer generated animation scenes from The Mummy when the scarab bugs crawl all over someone before that are devoured.
CKS was most efficient and was packed before Jim and me. Jim is a perfectionist and needs extra time to get all the wrinkles and dirt specks off his tent so he can preserve it for fifty years and pass it down to his great grand children. I have been used to this odd behavior for the thirty years I have been friends with him. It still bothers me. I endure it for as long as I can before I offer my help (about 2 minutes). He ignores me as usual. I then attack his perfectionist tendencies and his manhood. I try everything to get him to move faster and more efficiently. He responds in his usual passive aggressive fashion by packing even slower. It is getting hotter as he fiddles and futzes. CKS decides to go for a ride. I watch him leave the campground and head left toward the dead end road. After 10 minutes of watching Jim, I decide to ride down the dead end and assume Jim has noted each time one of us leaves we go back to the left. It is a clear view of the road about 50 yards away and a simple thing to note which direction we go. However, it goes unnoticed by him.
I meet CKS coming back toward the campground and turn around to follow him to pick up Jim. But there is no “Jim”. Jim has finished packing and remained clueless about the direction we took. He thought we were ahead of him and rode fast to catch us. It would not have been worrisome, except that he had no GPS like CKS and I did. The back roads we took to get to the camp ground were confusing and I was truly worried Jim would get lost. About 15 minutes later we reached the I-5 overpass where Jim was waiting. He was mad that we had taken off without telling him where we went. I was a little upset that he had already begun his usual tactics he does on our motorcycle trips: not paying attention to things going on around him, taking way too long to pack up, futzing around with his gear and clothing, and in general just not having any situational awareness. Did I mention that I expect a lot out of people? Is it too much to ask someone who has 20 years of riding experience and commutes to work daily, who has been on half a dozen road trips to be a little more on the ball? Should I have to continually monitor what he is doing to make sure he is not about to screw up? Yes, I should. And I should have more patience. But I do not have the patience. It is going to be a long ride.
The Interstate is actually beautiful from Lake Shasta into southern Oregon. The day is clear. Mount Shasta looms to the east and is covered in snow. It gets hotter as we drive. Oregon traffic clots up and the two lane traffic is further slowed by slow trucks. South of Tacoma the Sunday afternoon traffic is stifling. The three of us get hopelessly separated in the inter-city traffic. I am further frustrated at the erratic riding of the other two. Perhaps it is because I ride San Diego’s morning commuter traffic on I-15 daily and I have participated in a few group rides (even though I hate group rides). A group ride dynamic is an accident waiting to happen. Bikes ride too close to each other and you never know how incompetent the other guy is around you until he does something stupid. I have seen a lot of dumb riders and they all seem to gravitate to the group ride. That being said, the other two guys in our “group ride” had no clue in taking advantage of lane changes by the lead rider. If I were the lead rider, I would change lanes and slow up to allow the others to change ahead of me. Or if the rear rider changed he could hold up traffic in his lane to allow the others to change ahead of him. In this way three riders could cut through traffic faster than a 50 cent burrito could go though your colon. Alas, it was not to be. Another stop on the side of the road to allow everyone to regroup and cool down.
It was becoming obvious that we would not get to the Canadian border in 2 days as planned. Jim had a friend in the Tacoma area that was ready to feed us and let us stay at his house. Initially I had been opposed to stopping a “friend’s” places on the way up as I thought it would take up a lot of time to “say hello”. But now that we were tired and not wanting to brave this ridiculous traffic past Seattle for another 4 hours, it seemed prudent to stop at Jim’s buddy’s house.
The exit we had taken to gas up was only five minutes from his house. Dinner was on the table when we arrived, turkey with gravy on white bread, mashed potatoes, and vegetables, with ice cream and white cake for desert. We washed it down with some of Wayne’s beers. Afterwards we were able to shower and slept in beds free of mites and ants. We had agreed on a very early start on Monday morning since traffic would be build early through Seattle. We were going to get up at 4AM to leave at 5:00.
The valuable lesson learned today was never turn down a free meal, shower and bed at a friend’s house when on a long motorcycle tour. I went to bed at midnight with Jim playing with his new helmet camera for the first time.