Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Tuesday, November 16, 2010: Tucson, Az – Phoenix, AZ – San Diego, CA

Wake up and get my stuff together, load up the bike and head to Phoenix, where I arrive 2 hours later. John's flight doesn’t arrive for a few hours and I take the time to do a bunch of errands. I’ve been pretty hard pressed to do a bunch of things that I won’t be able to do as easily once I leave the U.S, including some paperwork at Kinko’s, odds and ends at Target, and various other boring things. I’m actually starting to get pretty annoyed at the parking, looking, riding around shopping centers, and having problems locating a place to have a coffee and login on the laptop, which is retarded in such a big city. Finally get to a Starbucks and John rings me up. I'm only 3 miles away and I show up at his folks house in a beautiful gated community. The fist thing I notice is the pristine 66 Corvette Stingray in the garage, right next to a vintage and nicely restored 60’s Jeep belonging to the man of the house, Hiley, John’s father whom I meet in the garage. John’s sister Emily arrives with Pei Wei and we all sit down to eat. His mom is very interested in how me John and I became friends and my upcoming travels and we all enjoy a nice dinner and conversation. John and I catch up for a while and he fills me in on his real estate ventures and I fill him in on my future plans, and he turns in while I do some reading up on the Baja peninsula, where I plan to be in a day or 2.

The next day I secure a place to stay for the night in San Diego with another motorcycle traveler, Reid, in San Diego, about 360 miles away. John leaves for work, we say goodbye, but as I’m about to leave, Hiley makes me an offer I can’t refuse, to take out the Vette for a spin. He offers to let me drive, but like a true pussy, I decline. Let me explain though: when it come to high performance vehicles, I always like to be a passenger first to learn the car and how it handles and any quirks that come with it. I'm going to go ahead and stick with that explanation. We pull out of the driveway and get out to the street and Hiley lets it out, the 427 big block making that little convertible scream and tear ass between stoplights. Damn those side exhausts sound good. We pull back in the garage after a while and I promise I’ll be back to take it out with me behind the wheel. Say goodbye to the family and get 20 miles down the road when I realize I have left my computer power cord and headset at the house. Shit, I have to go back. I do, embarrassingly say goodbye again, for real, and I’m back out on the road. Nice remote straight highway through Maricopa which turns into nice sweepers and curves through open range and undulating hills until Gila Bend, where I hit I8 to Yuma. Cross into California and I gain an hour and continue to follow Route 98 to Calexico, paralleling and touching the Mexico border. I confirm my arrival with Reid and after a slightly chilly and treacherous ride through the mountains, and a couple of border patrol checkpoints (where again I am immediately waved through), I arrive at Reid's in downtown San Diego at 8PM. He hops on my bike and rolls it behind his fence and next to his garage, and I settle in and we talk for a couple of hours and listen to Monday Night Football on the radio. Michael Vick outs in the performance of a lifetime and fucking embarrasses McNabb and the Redskins. I’m not that into football but I'm glad for Reid, who has won a 2 team parlay and made a few $. He turns in (he wakes up at 4 in the morning) and I stay up for a while, planning some last minute errands and wondering whether or not to try to push for Mexico tomorrow. I figure I’ll decide when I wake up and turn in for the night.

Which brings me to this morning. I wake up at 4:40AM and hang out with Reid for an hour. He is a cool, laid back lifelong bachelor, with a couple of motorcycles in the garage. After adjusting my chain on the bike, he suggests I stay for a while and points out some things to see in San Diego. I’m pretty sure I’m staying for another day at this point, I just have too much to do to try to make it to Ensenada before dark. I go back to sleep, wake up at 11, cook up some breakfast and walk over to the local Starbucks to have coffee and update this blog, as well as plan my arrival into Mexico. Gonna watch the rest of this Mad Men episode and head out to pick up some bike maintenance stuff, do an oil change, and install a real horn (a necessity in Mexico. And in NYC for that matter). If all goes as planned, I’ll be crossing the border at Tecate in the morning and be in Ensenada in the afternoon, By sheer coincidence, the Baja 1000 will be kicking off tomorrow and I’ll be able to check out a few hundred off-road vehicles tearing off from the starting line and heading for the tip of the peninsula, where I plan on being in a couple of weeks myself.

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