Real life is not a motorcycle ride

It’s been three weeks since my trip ended.

I was of course very hopeful that some of the things I’d learned about myself on the trip would carry over into real life.

I’m not naive enough to believe that everything would be rainbows and butterflies. I knew there would be struggles.

Overall though I’m pretty happy with how things are going. I have been able to be more social. I have made a few new friends. I even went to a town ice cream social. I didn’t sit in the main group but I was able to talk with people and even made plans to mountain bike with someone later this week. I am also more calm around my family and I’m able to let my kids be kids. Sometimes. I still have a hard time with random noise and I can’t handle chaos. But it’s a start.

I am branching out with my interests so that I don’t get burned out on any one thing.

Just some quick thoughts I wanted to write down.

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People

I’m not a people person. I used to be, and I’m trying hard these days to reverse my tendencies. It’s a struggle. I have become better at it. I really think that was one part of the trip that really got better the further along I was.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the people on my trip the last few days and I thought it would be interesting to thank them all. In the order I met them or interacted with them. Some names I don’t remember and I hope they’ll forgive me.

On day 1 I rode the first 200 miles with Shane Johnson. My former squad leader from my 1st tour.

I spent four days with Matt and Breanne Weber in San Antonio Texas.

I met Adam Sandoval in Oklahoma and camped at his campground.

I also met and rode with John from Oklahoma.

In Eureka Springs Arkansas I was able to spend the night and a great day riding with Tim

My lovely wife Megan met me for four days in New Orleans.

I spent four days with Tadlee and Carrie Welty in Pace Florida

I met three wonderful people. One of whom was a vet, at a campground on the edge Ochlockonee Bay Florida.

I spent four days with Adam and Tiffany Weber in Charleston South Carolina.

I had lunch in Robbinsville North Carolina with a great group of people that really made my day.

In Pigeon Forge Tennessee I had dinner with a couple of veterans who are just beginning their retirement journey.

In Waynesboro Virginia I linked up with Patrick Clark and Kevin for a nice evening of intriguing conversation and a really nice ride the next day.

In Manassas Virginia I stayed four days with Rick and Amy Buongiovanni.

My fourth of July fireworks cruise on the bay near Portland Maine would have been a lot less interesting without the really funny couple from New York city.

Rob and Jenn were kind enough to offer me a place to stay and get cleaned up in Ohio. I think the world of them.

My dad, Stephen Weber rode all of the way from his home in Wyoming to ride with me for a few days through Montana, Idaho and Washington.

In Kalispell Montana, a friend from home happened to be in the area. Amy Osness, her husband Mark and her son Ethan met my dad and I for dinner.

The Rowe family, whom I hadn’t really met before, allowed me to stay in their busy home in Bellevue Washington for three days.

During those three days I was able to spend a good amount of time with Adam and Tiffany Gorski.

I also had a perfect evening of dinner and conversation with Nikolai and Amber Puchlov.

To make that evening even better, Dan and Marcia both made the effort to come show me some love. To never be forgotten.

Camping along the Oregon coast, a beautiful and kind family welcomed me to their breakfast table.

I was able to spend two days with an old friend, Shaun and Sarah Tucker. Way too much fun.

Last but not least, I was able to relax for a couple of days with my in-laws, David and Marjory Newport.

If I forgot anyone here, rest assured I haven’t actually forgotten you, I just suck and writing things out.

This list doesn’t even get into the hundreds or maybe even thousands of people I had short conversations with, interacted with or maybe just waved to. They all meant something to me because I was trying. I didn’t just stare straight ahead and ignore everyone.

It also doesn’t mention all of the people who helped behind the scenes. Those who sent messages of encouragement. Those who helped financially, those who just made sure that I knew they were pulling for me.

People really did make this trip great. You are all what I will remember most.

Thank you.

Decompressing

I am sorry to have left this hanging so suddenly. I really need to write a summary of my trip and how I feel about it. It seems pretty daunting. I haven’t really decided where to start.

I’m working on it. I promise it will happen or I can’t really say I feel complete.

Things are good at home. Not 100% changed and I still find myself lapsing. Overall though things are better.

We’re doing ok.

I’m finally burned out

I’ve hit that point. I want to be done. The more I think about it, the more I realize that’s a good thing. I’m no longer trying to get away from anything and I really want to go home.

It probably doesn’t help that I’m so close geographically to my home. I can feel it. I know I probably only have a few days left.

I am currently in Santa Maria California which is just south of San Luis Obispo.

Yes, yesterday I did not do a blog post, and I didn’t make up for it this morning. That’s a first. I thought about it but then I realized that once again I had nothing to report. I got my massage and then by the time I had lunch, it was close to 2pm. I didn’t really want to be on the road that late and so I went out to dinner with the in-laws and spent another night with them.

An easy morning this morning. Said my goodbyes, grabbed a coffee and jumped into late morning traffic heading into San Francisco. Traffic is so easy when you can split lanes. Like, life altering easy. If I ever lived in a city with a work commute, I’d get a little motorcycle just for that reason. Lane splitting on a big Harley is a very interesting experience. I am finding myself calm in traffic and even though I can still get upset at drivers, I’m able to keep it in check.

My whole day has essentially been spent on highway 1. It has been a beautiful ride, in places, but the joy of the road is gone. What I mean is the road isn’t fun or interesting. The swoops and curves are all but gone. Plus, it being a Friday in California, everyone is out driving the coast. It’s been nut to butt the whole way. A great exercise in patience that I’m close to failing.

I had no idea where in California the Hearst Castle was because I’d never really cared. All I knew is that my parents went there a year or so ago and I remember they did several tours. As I’m riding down the road I see a sign that says Hearst Castle 1/4 mile ahead. What?! Really? Well, I needed a break so I stopped. I didn’t have any idea what to expect. I meandered up to the ticket window and the guy frantically asked me if I wanted to do the tour. I said sure, why not. So he screams into a radio for them to hold the bus. Apparently the last bus leaves to go to the house at 4:30. It was 4:30. Lucky me. It was interesting. Very grandiose and gaudy. But hey, if you’ve got it, flaunt it. Maybe when you die people will come tour your house someday. The architecture really was amazing. Especially the pools and the ceilings. I thought it was crazy that he’d acquired so many historical artifacts. Our tour guide was a robot who thought she was funny. I couldn’t wait to get out of there.

And of course, what is a day without an adventure. I’ve found that being on a trip like mine where everything is up in the air until the last second is nearly impossible on the West coast and it’s getting harder the farther south I go. I tried, physically, to get a spot at 4 different campgrounds. I called 6 others. All full. I finally took one guys word for it that you could camp on the beach in a certain area. 6 miles out of my way later, I found the beach lined with signs saying that camping on the beach would incur a $250 fine. I decided that tonight would have to be a hotel night. Bad idea. Friday night, the coast, the beaches. That meant everything was booked solid. I did find a few rooms on an app, the cheapest was $400. Nope.

I got back on the bike and rode for another half an hour. I kept searching and finally found the place I’m in for half that. Still. Damn. The payoff though is that about 15 minutes out, the temperature dropped 15 degrees and it started raining. I guess it’s a good night for a hotel.

The deal is, that didn’t help me not feel burned out. I’m now in southern California, the ultimate in urban sprawl. And it’s the weekend. The likelihood of me getting anywhere to camp the next two nights is zilch. I also can’t spend two more nights in hotels.

It is starting to look like a really good call to just head 540 miles due east from here which will have me home by tomorrow night.

What do you all think?

I don’t feel like I’m missing any part of highway 1 that shouldn’t be missed.

I’ve done what I set out to do.

Not to let a day go by

I just relaxed yesterday. Spent the day doing easy things and helping my in-laws where I could. That included cutting out a piece of wall to extract a dead owl from an air conditioning duct.

Today I have a gift certificate for a massage and then I’ll take off at about 1pm. I plan to meet someone in San Jose and who knows how far I’ll get.

I broke my rules

I’ll explain.

Let me get there first.

I did not sleep well last night. I get serious constipation sometimes (too much info, I know). And inevitably it happens at night. So I woke up this morning at 5:30 in serious pain. I had to pull myself out of my warm sleeping bag, into the cold morning air, get dressed, and drag myself about 300 yards to a bathroom. Once that was done, I made my way back, laid down and tried to get warm. And the pain returned. I got to do it all over again.

Finally I was able to lay back down to try to sleep. Nightmares. A lot of them. I finally woke up exhausted and not feeling rested at all. It was 8:30. Geez.

What a great way to start the day.

I grabbed breakfast at a decent little cafe but they definitely put the grease in greasy spoon. I felt that one in my gut for awhile. Or maybe my guts were just torn up anyway.

Today was an amazing ride. I wound down 101, taking several back roads, including Avenue of the Giants.

Pictures never do them justice.

I really enjoyed the Redwoods. As I’ve said, trees are my favorite thing. After this loop, I feel like I’ve been through every type of forest in the US.

Now is where the fun began. I turned off onto highway 1. Wow. The twists and turns began immediately. All day I’d been fighting the weather. I was dressed for cold and as I climbed up and over the hills on 1, it hit 100 degrees. Off came the leathers and the wool undershirt. 30 minutes later I was back by the ocean and the fog and it was 57 degrees. I can’t win. After lunch I put it all back on again. And on it would stay. Highway 1 has got to be the most interesting road I’ve been on this entire. I can see why this is a bucket list ride for most people.

I was making good time until genius me decided any trip around the US isn’t complete without a stop at the Golden Gate Bridge.

Riding through downtown San Francisco, even at 8:30pm, is not a good idea.

I’m so tired right now as I’m trying to write this. I did make it to my in-laws and I’ll take tomorrow off the bike.

So here’s the part where I broke my rules.

Today I had an agenda. I wanted to get to my in-laws tonight. When I plugged all of the waypoints into my bike, and it said I’d arrive at 9pm, I should have known better. I even called my wife and told her I probably wouldn’t make it.

I pushed through today and made it.

And in doing so I broke another rule. I rode in the dark. I’ve ridden in the dark before but not going from A to B. Fortunately it was just highway which is pretty easy.

The other rule I broke today was lane splitting. I swore I’d never do it. Getting through the traffic in downtown San Francisco was insane. After sitting at an intersection for 7 cycles of a light and not moving an inch, I decided to go for it. Less than 30 minutes later, I was out of the city. It wasn’t so bad. I was worried about the width of my bike and it was definitely tight. I took it easy and surprisingly, most people actually moved over to make a wider path.

So I’m mentally and physically exhausted.

I’m out.