Before strange, random posts start showing up and raising unneeded questions, I figured I’d give everyone the heads up. My partners in this endeavor, Mack and Dale, have been authorized writing privileges inside these very walls of jaymekohler.com in the daily log of our workup. As they continue to prepare for the infamous journey of man and machine next summer, they may occasionally scrape together brain cells and write some useful, informative quips and stories about how their own progress is coming along. I hope they do. The world waits with nervous anticipation.
There has been rapid development in my gear list. The dollar figure is slowly adding up, but I’m using my average military pay for the duration of my leave block prior to reporting to duty in back in the U.S. as a reference. I’ve already dropped $240 on the Garmin eTrex Vista GPS and $235 on the B.O.B. Yak trailer, but these two are my big ticket items that I’ll be using on a regular basis. If a Thai hooker for $240 were on my gear list, I would have to reconsider my priorities. But alas, she is not. It’s money in the bank.
In the colorful spirit of the Christmas season, my Specialized M-4 decided to toss me over the handlebars at almost 50kmph, over a curb, and onto a sidewalk where I promptly lost approximately 14% of the skin on the right side of my body. This is an estimate only, and actual numbers could vary. The really odd thing is I was remarking to Mack not a day ago about how I haven’t had a really good wipe out since I’ve been in Brasilia. I usually leave all the falling to him and I take care of the showmanship and public flare. And you know what the really irresponsible, stupid thing of it all was? I wasn’t wearing my helmet. In fact, I haven’t worn my helmet since I’ve been here. It’s a dumb thing to do, especially when I’m weaving in and out of rush hour traffic at over 30kmph. I know the dangers, I see the dangers, I’ve experienced the dangers, but I haven’t been wearing my helmet. I actually tried to justify my actions the other day when I was trying to cross the street and a bus blew a few inches past the front of my face. In a case such as that one, what good would a helmet be? An open casket funeral? They might as well stick my perfectly preserved, intact head on the end of the spatula they used to peel my guts off the grill. Gross. I vow to do better!
Plans are really beginning to solidify. I’ve got my orders to _________ (I’m not telling yet) and have to report between 30 June and 31 July 2004. Because of the length of the bike trip, the boss man said I could leave 30 June. Assuming I leave in the morning, it will put me into Bismarck, ND late that evening or even butt-crack dawn. Regardless, I plan on using one full day to prep and pack. Then I’m hopping a plane from Bismarck, ND to Portland, OR. Mack may meet me in Bismarck or Portland depending on ticket prices. The only real wrinkle in this plan is how we will get the 97 miles from Portland to Astoria. If we ride it, it will add another day and we’ll be covering the same ground twice. Okay, but not what I want to do.
Enter: “Marine buddy hook-ups”. I’ve got a friend in Albany, a scant hour from Portland, who I might be able to coerce into picking Mack and I and our gear up in Portland, then dropping us off like so much garbage in Astoria. Passmore, if you’re reading this, this is me asking. If not, expect a phone call soon. Another option I have is Nielsen, currently in Medford, OR, which isn’t exactly a hop, skip, or jump from Portland. The good thing about Nielsen is I talked to him the other night and planted a bug in his ear about the trip. Him and I put some serious miles on the hogs back in my SoCal days over three years ago, and he really sounded up for it. The idea was to get his sister to drive him up in his truck, load us up, and then drop all three of us off in Astoria. Provided that Nielsen actually goes, this is the most viable option. Staring the ride in Portland in another option, but we’re just so damn close that it would be a shame.
There are still plenty of what ifs and how tos and maybes, but one way or another this is gonna happen.
The journey continues…