The first day started out?early.
My flight left Honolulu at 10:15PM. ?Now, remember, my system is several time zones to the east. ?For my body, the plane left at?4:15AM. ?And I hadn’t had any sleep since I’d got up at 10AM (my?10AM. ?Hawaii’s 4AM.)
I knew the flight would be roughly five to six hours. ?I thought I’d catch a nap when I flew back. ?I must have done more than that. ?I swear I heard, “Prepare for takeoff,” closed my eyes, and a few moments later heard, “Prepare for landing.”
Whatever sleep I got wasn’t enough.
My parking was pre-paid. ?I looked in my wallet to find the parking voucher and noticed my main debit card was missing.? I was still woozy from lack of sleep and could not recall what on earth I’d done with it. ?Had to actually look up the online card information. ?That’s when I discovered I’d left the thing at Farrell’s.
I had to start running through a list of things to do: ?cancel the card. ?Get a replacement card sent to . . . uhhh, where exactly? ?I wasn’t in Kansas any more, Toto. ?Well, then I need to look up where I’m going to be and have one sent there.
All of this would take time. ?Time I didn’t want to expend because I wanted to start the ride. ?But I had to get something done as it was Friday before Labor Day. ?If I didn’t accomplish getting some funds added to another card, I’d be out of money before the banks opened back up on Tuesday.
Fortunately (?) the traffic going into Los Angeles from LAX that morning was even worse than normal. ?As I sat in stop-and-go traffic, I managed to get a lot done on my phone. ?Ain’t technology great?
As I was heading out of the terminal, pissed that I’d left my main funding source 2000 miles away, double pissed that before I could begin my ride I’d have to clean up my own mess, and completely clueless where I needed to pick up the parking shuttle, a guy approached me.
“Excuse me, sir. ?Did you just arrive?”
“Where’d you come from?”
I was more than distracted and now I was getting irritated with this stranger’s questions. ?”Uhhh, Hawaii. ?Why?”
“We’re doing some interviews with passengers about how they feel about Labor Day travel hassles.” ?That’s when I noticed his pullover had CBS Radio embroidered on it. ?Plus he whipped a microphone out from behind his back.
He wasn’t prepared for my “riding across the country” story. ?I?think?he found it interesting but I can’t promise that I was coherent to relaying it. ?(“So you live in Columbus, Ohio, drove to LA, flew to Honolulu, riding a bicycle to South Carolina . . . oh the hell with it, who cares?”)
I arrived at Brian’s about 45 minutes later than what I’d anticipated. ?I knew he’d put my bags and bicycle in the garage so I could get ’em and go, without waking up anyone in his house. ?I used the garage door code, opened it up, and saw this:
The bike had been decorate with balloon well-wishes by Lindsey and Brian. ?How cool was that? ?As I detached the balloons I noticed this one:
Which was damned appropriate for a crazy man.
Weeks ago my youngest had created these signs for the back of the bike:
The banners did their job very well. ?I had a lot of people holler at me from cars as they passed me, “You can do it!” and “Way to go!” and “Aren’t you the guy who got my sister pregnant?!?”
Before answering I’d have to know?which?sister . . .
When I got settled in the for evening, I noticed a new Twitter follower. ?The next to last town I’d ridden through to get to Cucamonga was Upland.
The guy mentioned he’d seen me at a traffic light, jotted down the URL from the banners, and decided to “follow” me on Twitter.
How cool is that?
Just about this cool. ?As I was coming out of a McDonald’s where I’d stopped for a bathroom break, this gent spied my big touring bags:
Don was in his 70s and had done a cross-country ride back when he was in his early 60s. ?He was very pleasant guy to talk to.
At one point he said, “I’ll be praying for you.”
I replied, “Thank you.”
Don then said, “Would you mind if I said a prayer for you right now?”
“Absolutely not,” I answered. ?And we bowed our heads as Don gave a short and very sweet prayer asking God to keep an eye on me, keep me safe, and let me enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime adventure.
Perhaps some folks would get upset, but I thought it was very nice.
The ride itself was pretty easy. ?From Brian’s house to where I stayed it was 55.86 miles. ?Mostly flat until I got to Cucamonga. ?There, you had to climb and climb if you wanted to go north.
Cucamonga is close to San Bernardino where the home office of the company I used to work for was located.
One time visiting the home office I walked out to my car and was immediately struck by the gorgeous mountains that surrounded the city. ?Now, I was also confused as I’d been to the office several times?and had never seen mountains before.
That’s because the smog is so bad in San Berdo that generally you can’t see the mountains. ?For example:
You can click on that photo to put it in another browser window. ?Then click on the photo again to expand it to full size. ?Take a careful look at behind the electrical tower on the right side above the car headlights.
If you look real closely, you can tell there’s a mountain?behind the?top of the tower. ?And that’s a lot more distinct that the mountains usually appeared when I visited San Berdo.
The place I stayed in RC was a nice enough house . . . but there seemed to be a?lot?of people staying there. ?With one notable exception, everyone staying there was oriental. ?The lady who was the contact with AirBNB had an oriental name, but I never met her. ?Heck, with the exception of a couple of texts I never even spoke to her. ?I just showed up, I was told where my room was, and that was about it.
I wound up talking to a girl who couldn’t have been 15 years old. ?She was staying there while her mom was . . . well, I don’t know what her mom was doing. ?I mentioned that I was going to be leaving at 5AM. ?It appeared the front door had no way of me locking it once I was on the outside. ?”I’m sorry to be asking you, but you seem to be the only one who has any answers.”
Day 2 is going to be a bitch. ?It’s nearly 90 miles to Barstow from Rancho Cucamonga. ?It’s supposed to be in the low 90s. ?Plus, I’ll have to ride along Interstate 15. ?And I have to go across the tops of these sumbitches:
Started ride: ?9:30AM. ?Finished riding: ?5:30PM ?Starting temperature: ?80. ?Distance travelled: ?55.86 miles.