35 marathons down, 100 to go
I check the status of the wind as soon as I wake. It was incredibly windy last night, but thank goodness it isn’t windy this morning.
I enjoyed spending time with my sister and brother-in-law yesterday. I shared with them some of the struggles I’ve had, and I’ll share those with you at a later time. We have breakfast at the hotel and attempt to talk over the incredibly loud Germans. There are about eight tables in this room, and only one table is taken, ours. So, they sit at the table right next to us and talk loudly enough to one another to be heard in Lancaster. We start making stage whisper comments, and they’re completely oblivious. They finally leave.
I’m sad this morning because I’d really like to spend more time with my sister and brother-in-law, but their schedules are packed at this point with a death, a scheduled vacation, and getting ready to move; so they don’t have any additional time. I hang around the hotel until checkout time at 10 to spend as much time with them as possible, then I put a big smile on my face and head east.
One thing I did yesterday was some proactive repairs to my running trailer. I thought being proactive would be a good thing, but boy, was I wrong. I just made things worse. My thinking was that if I were proactive now, I could lengthen the life of the trailer. I already know it won’t make it the whole trip (these things aren’t made to do what I’m doing to it), but if I’m proactive then I’ll delay the time when I need to replace it. Sounded good at the time.
When it comes time to replace the trailer, I’m going to try again to get a company to sponsor me. Ed, my brother-in-law, offers that he and Marianne will get me a replacement when the time comes if I can’t get a sponsorship. They’ve both been incredibly helpful on this journey I’m on, and I’m very grateful for that.
Both Lancaster and Palmdale have well-known gang issues. I was able to avoid the worst areas on my way into Palmdale, but I have to go through a gang area in order to get out of Palmdale. There’s no way to avoid that, but I figured early morning would be no big deal. I didn’t take into account that I would be pushing my departure as late as possible so I’m not going through that area until 10:30 or so. As I run down the sidewalk, there is what appears to be a gang on the sidewalk ahead of me. I decide the best thing for me to do is to drop down off the sidewalk into the bike lane and continue.
As I go off the curb, the handle of the trailer comes off. Now the trailer is in the bike lane, the handle is in my hands, and the leader of the group is walking toward me. I start reattaching the handle as the leader gets up to me. He offers to help me reattach the handle. I thank him for the offer but assure him I have it handled (pun intended). He tells me that he feels better when he’s being helpful so I accept his offer of assistance. I attach the left side while he attaches the right side. When he gets done, he just starts to walk away. I say thank you, and then hold out my hand to shake hands with him. He looks at my hand, gives me the strangest look of completely utter disbelief, and then he shakes my hand. I’m pretty sure his telling of this story goes more like, “And then the crazy white guy thanked me and shook my hand,” or something with a few more colorful words added. He then walks back to his group. I’m then back on the sidewalk, and as I approach the group, the leader orders everyone off the sidewalk so I can pass.
This could have gone bad in many ways, but I never felt threatened. There was that “oh shit” moment when the handle first came off, but that was as tense as it got. The reality is that I am confident enough of my ability to get out of just about any situation that I’m really not concerned about interactions. That confidence may bite me in the butt some day, but until then, it serves me well.
In this case, the other person felt valued because he was able to help, I thanked him, and I shook his hand. These are the exact things I’d do with anyone. I treated him with respect — really just as another human — and he reacted positively to it.
After that, I continue on with a pretty uneventful day, except that handle keeps coming off. If I hit a rock, off it comes. If I look at it funny, off it comes. It’s coming off more and more as I approach Littlerock.
No one can seem to tell me where the Clinton Library is located. One would think it would be fairly obvious in this little town, but nothing looks the least bit like a presidential library, but oh, look, there is a gift shoppe.
And what a gift shoppe it is. It’s “a shoppe in good taste for people with good taste.” It has gifts for loving, it has gifts for touching, and it has Pepsi. I didn’t stop and ask about the Clinton Library.
I’m getting more and more frustrated with this trailer. The handle is coming off on a regular basis. Because I’m running on only two wheels, when the handle comes off, the front of the trailer drops to the ground like a boulder, the trailer comes to an immediate halt, and I run into the back of it. I’m pretty sure both my abdomen and my penis are bruised.
My motel is just the other side of Pearblossom, and I can’t get there soon enough.
As I approach the motel, I see no cars, and I see a fence surrounding it. It’s closed. I turn around and go back a couple of blocks to see about my options. There are people who weren’t even aware the only motel in town had closed. The only option people can come up with is a campground six miles into the foothills and away from my route. It would be six extra miles tonight and then those same six miles tomorrow. I head up to the fire station to see if anyone there can think of anything, but there’s no one there.
I decide to just keep going. I get out my headlamp and continue down the highway toward Llano and Phelan. It’s still light when I pass Llano, and all that’s there is a very nice post office.
Not too long after, it gets dark, and I’m so frustrated with this handle. I’m ready to cry. I almost hurl it into the scrub. I scream, swear, and yell every time it comes off, a distance that now seems to be measured in yards. I can’t keep doing this, but I have to keep doing this.
It’s pitch black, and I’m at the end of my rope with this trailer. I’m walking down the highway hunched over because that keeps the trailer horizontal, which keeps the handle attached for a little bit further.
The handle is off, again, and I’m reattaching it, again. A utility truck of some kind pulls over a bit ahead of me on the other side of the highway going the same direction as me. After a little bit, the flashers come on. I don’t know if he’s having a problem or if he stopped because he saw my struggle. Finally, I decide I need to find out. I shove my trailer onto the soft shoulder since it will be unlit and sprint to the truck.
I scare the hell out of the driver when I appear out of the blackness. I didn’t hear anything as he passed me, but he has a very flat tire. Someone is headed out to help him replace it. He thought I was picking up cans when he saw my light on the highway. His name is Mike, and he’s headed to a job in San Bernardino. We talk about my problems, and he offers me a ride once his tire gets replaced.
He asks me questions, and I keep him entertained with “stories from the road.” He takes me and my damaged trailer to a Motel 6 in the University District of San Bernardino. It’s 10 at night when I get there. I’ve been on the road for 12 hours today.
I let people know I’m fine because certain people are a bit worried about me. I talk my sister down off the ceiling.
I have a message from my friend, Mark. He’s been looking at my route, and he wants to get me a motel room for a night when I get to San Bernardino. He’s looked around, and he thinks a Motel 6 in the University District would work well. I message Mark back that I’m currently in room 301 of that very motel, I need to take tomorrow off for repairs, and I’ve so far only paid for the one night. Five minutes later, Mark lets me know he has called the front desk, and he has paid for the next night.
I’m starving, and the only place open around here at 11 at night is IHOP. I get back to the motel after midnight. Tomorrow, I’ll work on fixing this trailer, but right now I just need sleep. I pass out.