Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Summing Up

Well kids, where to start. Last I blogged was Thursday. Friday's and Saturday's ride were good and uneventful. More of the Sonoran landscape we had been riding through. We were able, following Fridays 80 mile ride, to trim 20 miles off a planed 80 mile ride from Cassa Grande to Catalina State Park, by following a route with which I was familiar. The gang were more than happy to get a head start on our first day off.

Saturday evening Pam joined us for dinner at the park and was a hit with three of her pies. One thing cyclists seem to enjoy is PIE! Following dinner we bid the others goodnight and came home.

On the day off Sunday most of the others visited the Desert Museum. I think they enjoyed the experience. I relaxed at home, fine tuned my gear and decided, not with standing some concerns with Bubba, to continue on with the group. What a great bunch, each with their own ambitions and desires for this tour and each a special joy to learn about as friends of the road.
The weather forecast for Sunday night and Monday called for strong winds and rain. I phoned Bubba to determine when we would depart on Monday. He was vague, didn't seem to know. I shared the forecast, suggesting we might want to get an early start and get to Monday camp in south Tucson early as winds pick up as the day goes on. He was not receptive.
Indeed, Sunday night was stormy, none of those camping got any sleep. Some of the tents were torn up, broken poles, dirty from blowing dust.
When Pam dropped me at the park Monday morning at 7:30 we heard all about the difficult night.
We were then told we would not be departing until 9 AM, we would not be given a route sheet, revealing how to get to our destination, rather we would be led, on a group ride, by some guy Bubba knows named Jim and he did not want us in camp until after 4:30 PM. Jim led us out of Catalina Park, kindergarden style, in a slow parade. Some one joked we should have crate paper in our spokes. We arrived at the University of Arizona campus about two hours later.

Jim gave a brief talk about the U of A and dismissed us until 3PM, when he would lead us on. All the while the weather is gathering and the wind increasing. We had lunch and looked about the campus. At three o'clock Jim showed up and informed us he was physically not able to continue but his friend Glen would be here soon to lead us in. Glen arrived and we set off, in what were becoming gale force winds, toward Cactus Country RV park where we were to spend Monday night. Glen stopped on several occasions to lecture on Davis Monthan Air Force Base. All quite interesting, if we were in a motor coach and not looking at the dark skies and riding into the teeth of a storm.

The riders were becoming increasingly restless with all this and by the time we arrived in camp at 5PM were demanding an explanation from Bubba. He stammered around with some feeble excuses. The others really have no recourse but to take what he gives and go on. He has their money, they are stuck out here in Arizona, and of course their desire was to ride cross country. I told Bubba I have had enough of his Bubbaness and was going home. He blanched.
This is the thing. A touring cyclist has need of certain things, given the challenge of such an undertaking.
Clear and accurate route sheets, and milage totals for each day. Most of us would like several days in advance. It helps us plan, to know how far we will be riding. Bubba would give the sheets each day ONLY after dinner.
A cyclist likes to know the menu. Sometimes you would have a larger lunch if the dinner menu was not something you liked. Again, Bubba was always hesitant to tell us anything.
My observation is that Bubba has big control issues. He thinks its all about him. He uses his control as a stage to masterbate his considerable ego constantly. His most often quoted line, " I know what your thinking, How does Bubba do it." .......Indeed, that sort of constant buffoonery, in absence of needed and promised support, becomes tedious and tiresome.

For my part, I am not YET stuck with Bubba far from home, Bubba did not YET have my money for the balance of the trip. And I didn't reckon I was going to be able to get Bubba to respond to our needs. So it was fish or cut bait. I cut Bubba. My hope is that the dust-up, both literal and figurative, last evening may move Bubba to better service for the others. I mentioned in a prior post my feelings for the good kids who work for Bubba. He has good people around him, but as the saying goes, "the fish stinks from the head down".
I'm disappointed I won't be pressing on with the others, to Florida, but I feel good that I had the chutzpah to stand up to Mr. Ego and extricate myself from his oppressive control before it was too late and save six weeks of misery. So it goes.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Home, Tucson AZ

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Day 6, Count Your Many Blessings

A beautiful sunrise in Dateland AZ, gave way to a warm day, 97 I believe.

Out on the highway the route was a mix of I-8 and the frontage road to Gila Bend, about 55 miles at 16.5 mph. So far we have been blessed with tailwinds.

Views along the route included the mainline of the Union Pacific RR, carrying trains in both directions at a regular clip. An old relic water tank speaks of railroading of yesteryear.

Large, I mean LARGE, dairy farms which must milk 1,000 or more cows, were along the way.

Most of us enjoyed, a more than ample lunch, at Sopies Mexican Restaurant, as we entered Gila Bend. I was thankful for the break and refreshment.

Giving thought to and thanks for, the considerable blessing, of being able to be here doing this brought to mind two of our riders and three of our staff.

Dawn is a 63 year old lifetime type A diabetic,with an insulin pump, who is facing her issues and chooses to press on. Bravo Dawn!

Rand, also 63 years of age, recently retired, diagnosed with MS forty years ago, and likewise, is here riding daily. These folks are everyday heroes, for the example they set for us.

Among the staff are three young folks from Missouri who, with some others, do the heavy lifting in looking after the riders. Erica and her man Gopher, along with Gopher's brother Gentel-Ben.

These kids put up and take down the tents, do much of the cooking, laundry and anything else ask of them, by the riders or Bubba, with a smile. They are blessings to us ALL.
So on one hand we are blessed by courageous example of our fellow riders and their stories and on the other, uncommon grace-under-pressure.
As the old hymn instructs "Count Your Many Blessings, Name Them One by One"..........Let me just say, Dawn, Rand, Erica, Gopher, Ben.
An other good day as we travel on. So it goes.

Location:Gila Bend AZ

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Day Five, Blue Skies, Tailwinds

Good night sleep at the Yuma slumber-party at St. Paul's Cultural Center. A well equipped kitchen made for a good dinner and breakfast from our crack culinary crew, Erica, Snowflake, Krash and of course our French Chef, le Chef Bubba'. The "Big-Ol-Boy" and company served shrimp scampi for dinner and scrambled eggs florentine for breakfast.

Preceded by stretching for road weary muscles, led by Robin Wooten.

By 8:00 it was cowboy up, on the road following a wandering rout out of town avoiding a climb, on I-8, over Dome Mountain. The fortunate result was a real-time tour of Americas winter salad bowl. The lettuce goes from dirt to crate in about thirty seconds, if you have a spider in the produce....it's apt to be alive.

The fertile soil and sunshine of Arizona would not allow this productivity without.........WATER!

The CAP water, Central Arizona Project, from the Colorado river puts produce on the American table throughout the winter.

Turning onto old highway 80 we proceeded on, parallel to I-8, enjoying a wonderful tailwind. Stopped for lunch in Tacna AZ,at the Patio Cafe. BLT, cottage cheese, peach cobbler along with tall glasses of ice tea refreshed as much as about an hour out of the saddle.

On to Dateland AZ and the Oasis Camp Ground. Total numbers, 77.5 miles, 4:24, 16.6 average. Good ride today. PTL.

Window in the St Paul's Cultural Center, Yuma AZ, catches the rising sun. March 16, 2011.

Location:Dateland AZ

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Hot sun, cold shower.

I was out of camp and on the bike at 8:00 this morning. Twenty four miles down CA highway 98 our first sag stop was a nice break. From there it is back on I-8 and on to Felicity CA.

Now Felicity is what my Dad used to call a "clip joint", a tourist-trap built around a notion, on the part of the founder,that this is the center of the would.......more like the end of the world. LOL

They did, however, provide a tasty turkey sandwich and delicious desert.

Part of the fun of cycle touring is these kitchy clip joints. Places we do not typically visit but, hey, what the heck, when your riding past at 16 mph, might as well stop in.

From Felicity it was on to Yuma, a incorrect cue sheet provided a bit of quandary but we soon found St Paul's Historic Church, an old out of service Catholic Parrish Hall, where we will sleep all over the floor, slumber-party style. I was the first in and when I repaired to the shower, no water. What? We searched high and low for some clue as to why no flow......finally I spotted a long garden hose in the courtyard, checked, it had water, pulled it into the bathroom, Ted turned on the water and I and several others, in turn, had a refreshing, COLD, shower. Meanwhile our leader, Bubba, was getting some electrical issue on his travel trailer taken care of. Is this the PAMPERING we are paying for? We have a cold shower while he is seeing about his private quarters. Hmmmmmm, just askin? I like Bubba, but his ego-centric act is better taken if the services one has payed for and expects are provided.
Any way it was a vigorous 58 mile ride in the warm day, felling good and glad to be hear. So it goes.

Location:St Paul's Historic Church, Yuma AZ

Monday, March 14, 2011

On the Border

We rode out of camp at 3,000 ft elevation and 63 miles to Calexico CA elevation -1. The Mexican border was on our right all day long as we watched various US Border Patrol work in progress.

A ten mile decent on I-8 was a treat and aided our average of 16.5 mph.

Staff members Michele and Erica has a hot lunch at 31mile post. Not bad.

The geography is dry desert, wind was not much of a factor which was good. We are camped tonight at the Calexico Fidel Department grounds using the it facilities. The firemen are even fixing dinner. A hot shower a couple of beers, dinner ahead. It's good to be here with the group and participating. thanks be to God. So it goes.

Location:Alameda St,Calexico,United States

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Day Two

First night camping and a chilly one it was, in the forties, on top of that my air mattress went flat, so at 2 AM I'm waking up our camp staff guy's for a new mattress. That's what Bubba calls pampering. It all good. Any way, aside from that, for the first night, OK. Breakfast this morning, one again at the casino.

It was 9:45 before we got on the bikes to ride. A short 32 mile day with a nice climb, part on I-8. We are overnighting today at Live Oak Springs in A-frame cabins.

Bubba has assembled a great group of young people as well as a couple who are young at heart. They literally do everything for us......but ride the bike. Think cabin steward on a cruise ship in an outdoorsy kind of way.

We are huggin' the Mexican border fairly close, consequently we see a good many Border Patrol people.
So far a good start and a good group of both riders and staff. So it goes.

Location:Live Oak Springs, CA

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Day One

Overcast skies didn't cloud the enthusiasm of the Coast 2 Coast wheel-dip and departure.
As leader Bubba Barron did, well he was, how can I say Bubba. Bubble blower in hand he sent us off festively.

We rode 43 miles through San Diego climbing about 2400 feet on a beautiful chamber of commerce day.

Its always wonderful to get started and today was no exception.

We are camped in Alpine and will dine at the Indian casino buffet this evening.

I never like bidding Pam goodby but me thinks she would not enjoy camping as much as I do. Cool to be writing all this on an I-Pad in my tent. I getting ready to "beam it up to Y'all". As Bubba like to say, "it's all good". For day one Saturday, so it goes.

Location:Alpine CA

Friday, March 11, 2011

Gathering Day Photos

Fourteen riders pose for photo as the sun sets.

Pam enjoying Dog Beach

Did I Say Dog Beach?

I guess you call that a Paw Board.

Toes in the sand

Who dat?

Going to miss my Baby, though I'll be back in Tucson for two nights next weekend.

Location:Point Loma, San Diego

On your mark....

Foggy, as I look out the motel window at what is surly the Pacific, cloaked in the morning mist. Today 13 other riders and the ride staff will gather for howdy's and orientation; a rider meeting followed by dinner. These gatherings are always filled with hopeful excitement and nervous second thoughts, about the journey before us, ( will I be the slowest rider? can I get along with these folks for seven weeks? bigger question, can they get along with me? LOL. It's the nature of new beginnings, not much different than a new school and a new grade for kids.)
One question, I have going on, is how will I like the supported tour vs the self contained tours of my past. In self contained touring I'm carrying all my gear on my bike. I'm independent. If things get uncomfortable I can go my own way. In supported, you pay a fee, they carry your gear, cook your meals and so forth, but you are tethered to the ride. Good or not so good? Depends on variables, many of which I don't control. Bubba, the larger than life tour leaders slogan is, "it's all good". Let's hope so! Any way, last month when I phoned Bubba to sign up, I agreed to the first eight days, SD to Tucson. That was my commitment, with the hope that I'll want to continue beyond. Still, you don't prepare for a seven week trip by only thinking of the first week, so I have been looking way down field, as in St Augustine.

One more thing. On past tours I have mentally dedicated the ride to some ones or thing. Break the Cycle in 97 was my Parents and Habitat for Humanity. Vision Quest in 03, was Pam and my pending retirement. http://www.caloosariders.org/David%20Brunk.htm
Tucson to Summit County Colorado, spring of last year, to Bruce Miles, my Pastor in Colorado, who was, at the time at deaths door waiting for a liver transplant. Thanks be to God, Bruce now has a new liver and lease on life!
This year I have my Hospice patients I visit as a volunteer, past and present, in my thoughts and prayers. The authentic friendships I have shared with these guys as they face some serious head winds in their lives has been a great blessing. So for the memory of J.R., Chuck, Harley, Harry Bill, Bill, and those whom I share time with currently, (HIPPA won't let me share names), this one is for you. Thanks for all you share with me. God Bless, bless all of us, as we journey on. So it goes.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Point Loma, San Diego CA

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Out of Tucson

Pam and I departed home in Tucson about 11:00 this AM, arriving in Simi Valley, near LA at 7:00 PM. Beautiful day to travel, light traffic, away from the two major city's, Phoenix and LA. All in all good day, 520 miles.

Our plan for tomorrow is a visit to the Ronald Reagan Library. We've visited many of the presidential library's, learned much and enjoyed each. In this centennial year of President Reagan's birth it seems a fit beginning for our adventure.
Later in the day we hope to reunite with some Brunk Cousins, in LA, before proceeding on to San Diego and the gathering of the Coast 2 Coast riders. So it goes, Wednesday, March 9, 2011.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Simi Valley, CA