Day Twenty-one and Final Thoughts by Dave Schultheis
Saturday, June 8, 2001 - El Dorado County, California
I was awakened bright and early by a child's clock-radio playing the most awful music in the next room! He slept right through it. Ah, to be young again.
On television, you'd pick up the radio and throw it out the window, but in real life, you get up and pack your T-Bag and go downstairs wearing a bright smile.
We had orange juice and sat around discussing life and playing with the puppy as each of the kids woke up and came in to greet mom and dad.
I thanked Mark and Christine for their wonderful hospitality and left their house a little after 8 a.m. for the ride down into Placerville, back onto Highway 50, then west to Sacramento and west on Interstate 80 as Hy 50 ended.
I know this road pretty well, having made the trip by car a number of times. There's not much that can be said for the super slab on a hot summer day.
I stopped for fuel in Davis, continued west on I-80 and then south on Interstate 680 at Cordelia Junction. This particular section of highway, about 15 miles from 80 to the Benicia-Martinez bridge, is called the Luther E. Gibson Freeway, and is prone to cross winds, and this day was no exception.
I was plumb worn out from being blown around in the lane, and took the opportunity to stop at the vista point overlooking the Suisun Bay and the Reserve Fleet (sometimes called the "Mothball Fleet") to rest my weary bones at 10:35 a.m.
The rest of the ride (70+ miles) was very familiar to me: southbound 680, northbound 280, southbound Meridian, with a stop at the post office to pick up my insurance check and lots of other mail, then a stop at the photo processing place to drop off film before getting home at 12:53 p.m.
The house was still standing, Barney was happy to see me, and all was right with the world!
Miles for the day = 184.
Miles for the trip = 7139.
Miles since January 2000, when I became the caretaker of the Road King = 19288.
I learned a number of things on this trip. "Get gas when you can" is high on the list. Stop at state Welcome Centers and get state maps. Ask local people what's going on in their area, but don't be too surprised if they don't have an answer. Be nice to people and they'll be nice to you, even though you're "biker scum" to some people. Take a camera: you'll never know when you might need or want one.
Some people stopped when I needed help. I stopped to help some people when they needed help. Pass it on.
Some folks wave, some folks don't. Some folks wave if their hands are not busy shifting gears. I waved at a lot of people on motorcycles on this trip. I can't tell what brand of motorcycle is coming from the other direction, so I don't discriminate. If you're a waver, that's great; if you're not a waver, that's okay. Your choice.
Why not stop and get rain gear? I guess I never really thought seriously about it. By the time I was sopping wet, there was no point. However, I got rain pants and jacket early in 2002 and have been riding (mostly) dry ever since.
I did not intentionally stop in Salida, CO one night and in Salina, UT the next next. It just worked out that way.
I'd like to apologize to those long-distance riders (and you know who you are) who think that 384 miles or 583 miles or 608 miles are just a drop in the bucket. However, I did the best I could. I hope to improve with time.
Thanks go to many people for helping me before and during this trip.
* Redbeard Emeritus, StephG and Barry van H. helped with route planning.
* The guys who stopped to help me in Arizona when I ran out of gas. One was an r.m.h denizen, or at least he checks the newsgroup once in a while.
* The Service Department at Chick's Harley-Davidson in Albuquerque, NM, especially Sean, who went way beyond what was required to keep me on the road safely.
* The Service Department at Denney's Harley-Davidson in Fort Smith, AR went above and beyond the call of duty to help get me safely back on the road in only a day and a half after I crashed. Particular thanks to Service Manager Mike Freeman.
* "harleywoman" assisted with arrangements for my attendance at a mid-Atlantic activity until it became clear I could not make it there in time, and also helped improve my mental health and morale when I was seriously in pain from injuries. All of this by phone. I hope to thank her in person some day.
* Thanks to the H-D rider in York, PA who helped me find my way.
* Thanks to the people at Dale's Harley-Davidson in Mt. Vernon, IL, who got me on my way in about 2 hrs.
* Thanks to Tony C. in Mt. Vernon for some very pleasant conversation and for showing me his classic motorcycle.
* The awards committee at Meet In The Middle wheedled my mileage out of me without me even suspecting a thing. Thanks for honoring me for riding so far.
* Thanks to aunts and uncles for feeding me and letting me visit and stay with them. Thanks to my sister Joanne for letting me stay at her home. Thanks to my brother James for visiting and taking me to lunch. Thanks to Mike for letting me stay at his home in Ohio. Thanks to Ted and Cathy for letting me stay with them in South Lake Tahoe. Thanks to Mark and Christine for letting me stay with them in the woods of El Dorado County.
* Thanks to all of you for reading!
Later in the year I got back to the Zephyr Cove area and got my "Z" city picture at the U.S. Post Office on Kingsbury Grade (NV 207) in Stateline, Nevada. Thanks to the Person In Charge at the Zephyr Cove post office. (If you want to read more about that story, go to Reno Trip September 2001.)
Some have asked me how I remember all this stuff. I take along little notebooks and write down the things I'll need to know later. Sometimes just a few notes will help me recall a lot more information.
If you missed any part of the trip, or would like to re-read any part of it, please click on the appropriate link below.