5 Days on the road for LGBT Veterans
I’ve been on the road cycling for 5 days now and it’s been an experience. I was on the road traveling from Austin for 4 days before that. It’s hard to believe that it’s been 8 days since I left Austin, TX. Before I left, I sold my furniture and all the big stuff, then rented out my duplex. I’m not planning on coming back to stay.
The actual cycling hasn’t been that much of a challenge. I must have prepared fairly well, because I feel pretty strong and capable of riding 50 miles a day. It’s the conditions that have been somewhat of a challenge. Things were going great for the first 3 days. We had an extra cyclist, Rod, who rode the first few hours with us. We rode close to 50 miles that day. Then, the second day, another cyclist, Ken, joined me for the first half of the ride and we went through the mountain pass that I would have avoided had it not been for Ken who knew the terrain. It wasn’t bad at all. The third day went without incident too, with my SAG support Bill.
Yesterday, on Day 4, we hit our first major challenge. The old route 66 trail has seen better days. I would say that the road was impassable except for the fact that Bill and I passed on it. I should have listened to Bill when he wanted to hop on the interstate I-40, but I wanted to stay true to the trail and continue on Rt 66. My bad! It was the worst road I’ve ever ridden on and it jarred the living daylights out of us. We had to pick our way around cracks and crevices and holes, and the going was extremely slow. Then, in the middle of nowhere, there was a crew working on the road. I think it’s great that they were repairing the road except that we had to maneuver through tar and whatever else they put on the road. Bill wasn’t too happy with me, to say the least. But I learned my lesson.
Today, when we headed out of Ludlow, CA, I actually listened when I was told that Rt 66 was closed for the next 27 miles, so we had no choice but to travel along the interstate highway. Previously, we rode for about 10 miles and it had been smooth sailing, so I was hopeful that we could ride without incident. But I wasn’t counting on the Laughlin River Run! 10,000 Harleys must have passed us, each one louder than the last. Why do Harleys have to be so loud? Can someone please tell me? Please please please explain that to me. Between all the Harleys and the trucks, I couldn’t hear myself think. After about 38 miles, I was about to go crazy. And then I got a brilliant idea! Put in my headphones and listen to music on my ipod. Why didn’t I think of it sooner? After rocking out to about 4 songs, we hit construction on the road. The state trooper sitting on the side of the road told us it would be treacherous for us to continue. So we called it a day and called our SAG wagon to pick us up.
I’m in the big city of Goffs, CA now, sitting in the only gas station for miles. Every single motorcycle seems to be pulling in here. I can’t get away from them!
After that lousy road and the stress of riding on the interstate, I’m ready for a break. My shoulders hurt, my hands tingle, my left foot hurts and I’m generally feeling pretty beat up. I’ll ride 40-50 miles tomorrow, to get to Needles, CA and there I will relax for a day. I’m looking forward to that. This is just the beginning, and I have to remember to pace myself so I don’t burn out. It’s easy to get on a roll and want to keep riding, but I think it’s good that we are sticking generally to our planned stops. I don’t want to overdo it one day and be sorry the next.
Aside from the lousy roads and the Harleys, the terrain is beautiful. I love seeing the mountains in the distance, especially if I know I don’t have to climb them. There have been some lava rocks left from ancient volcanoes I presume. The weather has been perfect. It starts out cool and warms up quickly. I’m glad that I’m going through the desert in April!
I could use a massage. Where is Elizabeth Allen when I need her?
Thanks to everyone who has contributed in some way to the Restore Honor Ride. We are acknowledging and honoring all the LGBT Veterans who have served. Thank you all for your service! Me too!!