A Boy in Wonderland

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by PackMule, Jun 5, 2006.

  1. PackMule

    PackMule love what you do

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    Somehow, cracking open a few beers while sitting in line to cross the border back into the United States from Tijuana had seemed like a good idea at the time. :freaky It was somewhere around 4AM, and we had capped off a spectacular day of riding with an impromptu trip to T.J. :jose

    As Guido Lou drew the ire of the Border Agent, however, I was beginning to doubt the sagacity of our plan. :gerg


    "Uh hello, honey? It's me. Yeah.


    "I've got some bad news.
    I think we might miss the GP.
    Why? Well, we're in jail.


    "In Mexico.


    "I know, we just ended up coming on the spur of the moment.


    "No, I didn't get a prostitute.
    Really.
    Honest.


    "Where'd you hear that?


    "No.


    "Yes.


    "I don't know.


    "If you don't hear from me by tomorrow, call Amnesty International.



    Click.



    But all of this is twenty four hours into my MotoGP adventure. To tell the tale properly, I need to take you back to the beginning...



    To Be Continued...
    #1
  2. kres

    kres Arrrrrrrrr! Super Supporter

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    Back home in Charlottesville! Woot!
    :rofl

    :ear :lurk
    #2
  3. Ruffus

    Ruffus Dirty Old Mudder

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    Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr :baldy what do you do for a living???? Pro Fisherman?????????,, ya hook um, then ya play um???:ear :eyes

    we're waiting
    #3
  4. ridetwistyroads

    ridetwistyroads tailwind please

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    :lol3

    :freaky

    :ear :ear :ear
    #4
  5. Esteban

    Esteban Banned

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    Great opening piece.
    Do they have internet access in the Tijuana hoozgow ?
    #5
  6. ktmnate

    ktmnate Long timer

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    :poser :jack :poser


    and :augie


    Nate
    #6
  7. PackMule

    PackMule love what you do

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    Prologue

    First off, I have to say that my wife, Sara (aka Mrs. Packmule) is the best. Ever. Without her, this trip would never have happened.


    [​IMG]


    Completely unbeknownst to me, Sara had contacted several of my riding buddies through my email account (Hrm, better be careful about that...). Brandon (Goober) lives in LA, and Steve ('Lil Steve) in New York. As a surprise 30th birthday present for me, she wanted to send me to MotoGP and was looking for some information. A plan came together, and when she couldn't stand the suspense any longer (she's terrible at waiting to give presents), she presented me with a round trip ticket to California in July!!

    The plan was that I'd fly into LA on Thursday, shortly after Steve. Brandon would pick us up and we'd spend a few days riding around LA before heading up to the track. The party expanded as Rick (RedRocket) took a few days off to join us, and Guido Lou called with the excellent news that the NYC fish market move got rescheduled, and he'd be able to make the race as well. (Yes, we have a friend named Guido Lou from NYC, who works at the fish market. Don't you? Fuhgeddaboudit) :mrskbasa


    The weeks leading up to the trip were spent with an inordinate amount of banter amongst the group, and a definite lack of actual preparation. I got about 2 hours of sleep the night before departure, spending most of my time packing (er, okay, messing around on ADV).



    To Be Continued...
    #7
  8. GB

    GB . Administrator Super Moderator Super Supporter

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    :lurk
    #8
  9. Zen Slug

    Zen Slug Spineless Adventurer

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    :lurk




    Can't wait until the[​IMG][​IMG]
    #9
  10. PackMule

    PackMule love what you do

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    Day One, Thursday

    Day one began at 0400, after finally going to bed around 0200. Shower, shave, and toss a few last items into the suitcase, and Paul was at the door to deliver me to the airport in Manchester. My plan was to carry my helmet, boots, gloves and jacket with me, and check the rest of my clothes in the suitcase. At least if the airline lost my luggage (like that ever happens), I'd still be able to ride. Replacement clothes could be bought on the ground in LA, but I didn't want to have to hassle with missing bits of my riding gear.

    Standing in line at the security checkpoint, the guy right in front of me was carrying a Shoei helmet bag and a magnetic tankbag. He seemed a bit taken aback when I asked if he was headed to the races. "Yup" was about all he could offer up in the way of conversation. While hardly a scintillating dialogue, it did serve to heighten my excitement; this trip was the real deal -- people were traveling from all over the world to be there, and I was finally on my way!!

    Shuffling through the queue to board the plane, I glanced at one of the TV monitors to see a scene with many men in lime yellow coats standing about. The volume was muted, but it appeared to be British police. Something was definitely wrong. I made a mental note to catch the news when I changed planes in Chicago. :scratch

    The flight was nearly full, but I managed to grab my customary window seat. The sky was choked by a low overcast, and with the lack of solar reference, I struggled to gain my bearings as we took off. Ah, yes -- there's the 101/93 interchange, Patuckaway Mountain in Nottingham, home must be right over... there. It's always a challenge to orient one’s self to the aerial perspective of everyday surroundings. On my last plane flight, I brought along my GPS. In addition to speed and altitude trivia, it was fun to be able to look and correlate the view outside with cities, lakes, and highways on the display. Packing light on this trip, however, I left it at home -- something that I'm not likely to do again in the future.

    As we broke through the clouds into brilliant sunshine, I pulled my ER-6's from their case. What would suit my mood? Carefree, sailing above the sea of clouds, The Samples fit the bill. Gentle thoughts, meander through the sands... I have to say, that the Etymotics absolutely kick arse on an airplane -- between songs, the silence is deafening.


    [​IMG]


    Clearing the storm front, I could see that our track was taking us along the southern margin of the Great Lakes. From the air, the contrast between vast agricultural areas and areas of heavy industry was striking. It seemed that in places, the farm fields literally started (or more likely, ended) right at the factory gates. Descending into the Windy City, I was confused by the unfamiliar approach route, until I remembered that we were heading to Midway, and not the usual connection at O'Hare. Hendrix Blues seemed appropriate for the venue: There's a Red House, over yonder...

    I had always assumed (you know what happens when you assume, right – you make an ASS out of U and ME) that Midway was so named because it was partway between somewhere and somewhere else (creative, I know). Walking through the terminal, however, there was an SBD dive-bomber hanging from the ceiling and a display about the Battle of Midway. Being an airplane nut, and a WWII buff, of course I had to stop and examine it. My wife hates going to museums with me because I stop and read every panel of every display. This one was no different, even though I was in a hurry to catch my connection. :deal

    Turning my attention to the TV monitor when I reached the gate, it became obvious that something very bad, and very unaccidental had happened in London. :ruskie Sara’s a bit of a worrier with regard to travel, so I hoped that she had gone directly to bed after getting home from work at 6am, rather than catching the news. She’d be worried enough about me riding around in California without having to worry about the plane flight there on top of it! :uhoh


    Climbing back out of Chicago, it became very apparent what a transportation hub the city is -- there were canals with barges, rail yards, intermodal facilities, large shipping on the lake, and two huge airports... Also visible were several deep, deep quarries – these seemed especially odd to me, as they’re not at all what I’d expect in the middle of a metropolitan area (though when they were first struck, I’m sure they were in the “middle of nowhere”).


    The precision with which the western part of the country is laid out is something of a marvel to me. Straight lines are a rare occurrence in New England; the roads here echo the meandering paths of horse-drawn days. At times, it can be nearly impossible to discern cardinal direction, as even major thoroughfares that purport to run North/South spend much of their span crossing East to West. Across the Midwest, though, the N/S/E/W grid system of fields and farm roads deviates only where it wagon-wheel’s into towns and cities. As strange as it may sound, I have fantasies of blasting down these dirt roads on a 640 someday… :ricky


    [​IMG]

    Dualsport trip, anyone?
    [​IMG]


    To Be Continued...
    #10
  11. gothamAlp

    gothamAlp happy to be here

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    :thumb :lurk
    #11
  12. Ruffus

    Ruffus Dirty Old Mudder

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    :ear :lurk :slurp
    #12
  13. Grounded

    Grounded Wannabe

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    :lurk
    #13
  14. Questor

    Questor More Undestructable

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    Hey PackMule.

    This sounds like another one of your 'epic' adventures.

    I'm going to come back to this tonight after a few beers.:beer

    But could you please enlighten me as to when this took place.
    (I'm guessing last July)
    :lurk

    Thanks.
    Q~
    #14
  15. PackMule

    PackMule love what you do

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    Green fields fade to brown as we traverse the country, headed toward Phoenix. (Flying Southwest can feel like riding the bus at times, what with all the stops, but hey – at least it’s cheap) :deal

    Now, everyone is generally aware of (and generally disregards) the dangers of using ear-mounted speakers like the Etymotics while riding. There are other hazards to be aware of, however. As I pulled the plugs in preparation for landing, I nearly choked on the remnants of my Dr. Pepper. I hear the attractive businesswoman seated behind me (there’s something about a fit woman wearing a sharp suit… :tb ) say “I don’t 3-way with Bob. Jim, yes, but not Bob.” :eek1 :huh :getiton

    After catching up on the conversation for a few seconds, I realize that she’s talking about 3-way phone calls… :shog :bueller


    Herky Bird in Phoenix. I love these planes...
    [​IMG]

    Phoenix. Hope you like your neighbors.
    [​IMG]


    The hop from Phoenix to Ontario (CA, mind you, home of the MagLight) is short and uneventful. The smog, however, is utterly disgusting. It looks as though we’re descending into one of those desert sandstorms; by the time that we’re on the ground, the San Bernardino Mtns -- which are only a few miles away – have disappeared in a manner reminiscent of some David Copperfield magic trick. Living here must take years off of one’s life. Buy hey, the weather’s great, right?


    Getting off the plane, I head to the baggage claim with trepidation. :arg What are the odds that my luggage has made the complete trip…? I think I laughed out loud as I turned the corner and surveyed the scene before me. :brow

    ‘Lil Steve was supposed to meet me just beyond the security checkpoint while Brandon kept the TSA busy by waiting in the no-waiting zone just outside. Now understand that ‘Lil Steve really stands out in a crowd in New Hampshire -- He’s a 5’4” tall (I may be generous) Puerto Rican. In Ontario, California, the whole freakin’ waiting area was full of Hispanic pigmies. WTF? How was I going to pick him out of this crowd?!? :dood

    Keeping my head on a swivel, I try to locate Steve, and spot my luggage, while still ogling the hotties. Hey, mommacita… :sweeti Suddenly, I’m jolted from behind by a not-so-accidental hip check. I turn to see a tattooed goon wearing a wife beater and flip-flops pretend to look the other way. Guido Lou is here!

    It turns out that Stevie got in a bit early, and he and Brandon are off securing another bike for us to ride, courtesy of a very kind member of the LABiker list. After threatening to unleash Lou on the baggage attendants, my suitcase miraculously appears and we scurry off to the truck.



    I am here. And it feels sooooo damn good. :jkam



    To Be Continued
    #15
  16. PackMule

    PackMule love what you do

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    Si. :nod A bit tardy, yes. :cob


    RedRocket's been threatening me that if I don't finish this report within the one-year statute of limitations, he'll release the photos from the Tijuana hoozgow. :ymca :huh :freaky
    #16
  17. PackMule

    PackMule love what you do

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    Day one, Part II


    Brandon lives about ½ hour from the airport, and since he and Steve are still a little ways out with the bike they’ve picked up, Lou and I head for something to eat. I’m starving. (I’ve been up for about 12 hours, with little more to eat than a bagel and airline peanuts) As we careen through the streets of El Monte, Guido explains that Brandon doesn’t really live in the nicest of areas – the (insert ethnic epithet here) live over there <points>, the (insert other ethnic term here) live there <points again>, and Goober lives here in the middle. But don’t worry – it’s close to the border of Temple City, which is where the (insert yet another term) live, so it’s okay. (All of this, mind you, is delivered completely matter-of-factly in New Yawk Guidoese) :pimp


    We head to In-n-Out Burger and I am coached to order a Double Double, Animal Style, side of Chili’s. I say it with enough authority, that the guy behind the counter believes that I’m a local. Riiiight. Just don’t let anyone mug us and steal my riding gear. :jomomma Actually, it’s a beautiful day (the sun is filtering through the smog nicely) and I’m quite relaxed. We munch lunch on the tailgate of the truck, watching the world go by. It’s certainly a world far removed from the one that I live in in New England.


    Every time that I come to Southern California on vacation, I make the mental comment that while the weather is great, and the scenery spectacular, it’s a place that I love to visit but have little desire to reside. The population density, traffic, and sprawl really would get to me. Of course, it’s a Catch-22; the reason it’s so crowded is because it’s so nice…


    Anyway, we finish up our burgers, and I suck down the last of my chocolate shake (in the absence of a beer, a chocolate shake is an absolutely necessary companion to a good burger). :slurp I would have taken an ‘ADV ate this’ pic, but honestly, I was too damn hungry to wait. Sorry.



    It turns out that we’re just around the corner from Brandon’s place, and they’ve just returned with the bike as we pull in. Hugs are exchanged all around as we unpack my gear. There’s something special about this group of guys -- completely disparate to an outside observer, we started out as riding buddies but have become real friends over the years. Even though we don’t see each other often, when we do, things pick up right where we left off – as if no time has passed at all. Cheers, boys. :beer


    Brandon has quite the toy box in his garage…
    [​IMG]


    The plan was for us to hit Angel’s Crest – Brandon’s “quickie” ride. We had a selection of bikes to choose from: an SV650, a KTM Duke, a streeted DRZ, the borrowed ZRX, and Rick’s VFR. While we waited for Rick (RedRocket, a.k.a. Doosh) to arrive, Goober commenced to tear down the SV in search of an air/fuel problem that crept up after he powerwashed the bike a week or so ago. Do you think you could have hit that, oh, say, at any point over the week, Brandon? You’re unemployed, for Chrissakes… :rolleyes


    Guido Lou, waiting patiently for the SV to be fixed. Not.
    [​IMG]


    I wisely stand aside as Brandon and Steve break (er, repair) the SV. What’s this extra bolt for?
    [​IMG]



    To Be Continued...
    #17
  18. Questor

    Questor More Undestructable

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    Oh for F*ck's sake PackMule. This is cruel!

    With friend's like this...
    [​IMG]
    And your intro...
    Something about calling your beloved wife from a Mexican jail on a borrowed Satillite Phone, borrowedfrom the Brazilian "Shemale Drug Lord"...
    I'm getting confused. This all took place almost a year ago, and I'm :slurpI've been waiting at work since, waht? 2:30pm doing the ...:bueller\
    and now I get a "busy signal"?
    You had better be changing diapers or I'll turn off my Cell phone GPRS linked Laptop, and ride from this VT State Park and kick your (proverbial) ass.

    What gives?
    Why do you tease?

    Q~:deal
    #18
  19. PackMule

    PackMule love what you do

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    Patience, Junge, patience!


    Watch your tongue, boy. I know that's just the :slurp talkin', or I'd sent Guido Lou up there to give you a lesson on etiquette. He just got out after 11 months of being Alejandro's bee-otch down in Meh-hee-co :ymca, and I don't know what he'd do to a white boy after so much Spanish lovin'. If you know what I mean. :wink:





    And don't make me resort to the diaper pic again... :puke2
    #19
  20. ktmnate

    ktmnate Long timer

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    We need an animated .GIF of a dog panting and running back and forth. It would be great about now...



    West Coast Nate
    #20