Friday, March 25, 2011

Milwaukee to Mesa to Los Angles.

I’ve been in Arizona for about a week now. After camp, after driving the van and trailer back to Cleveland, I was off to Milwaukee. A new sponsor had come on board and the van and trailer needed to be re-wrapped to show the addition. Check out the list of sponsors here:
The job was supposed to take four days or so, but it became eight. Since the temps were near freezing, there was little I could do about the work that remained after camp. I did catch up on my sleep and reading. Apologies to all my Milwaukee friends who did not hear from me. My departure day was “tomorrow” for several days and I was reluctant to make any plans.
From spring training

Once the wrap was done, I headed southwest. Along the way there was a brief stop for coffee with an old friend. Memories were shared and I had things to think about for days. But you can‘t turn back the clock (boy, do I know that) and the only way to go was forward.. Back on the road, I felt like I was making good time till I got to New Mexico.

Grass fire in Oaklahoma.
From spring training

The weight of the trailer, the horse-power of the van, the elevation changes, road conditions… all converged to make for what might have been the most stressful day of driving I’ve ever had.
From spring training

The road surface was wavy due to the days of heat and heavy trucks, so the van was constantly hunting for a place in the lane.
The hills were steep and I couldn’t maintain speed. The cruise control was overwhelmed, as was the van’s motor. My solution was to drive the van like I was riding a bicycle: I’d go as fast as I could down the hills and try to maintain that speed up the next climb. I frequently went over the top of a hill in second gear at 35-40 mph.

Dustiest planting I've ever seen.  I think they burned the field prior to planting.
From spring training

It was exhausting. When I stopped for the night in Gallup, NM, I’d covered less than 400 miles and was completely spent. Somehow, I was coherent enough to reject the first hotel I looked at. The price was right but there was graffiti on the walls. I could just imagine coming out in the morning and seeing some “street art” on the new trailer wrap. Pass.

The next day I was making better time and using the cruise control again, since I was over the continental divide and there was more downhill than up. About 10 miles from Flagstaff, I heard a funny noise and immediately pulled over to inspect. I had no idea what happened till I saw the flat tire on the trailer.

A couple hours later I was parking the rig in Mesa and riding a bicycle to Mom’s house where I’ll be staying for the next week.
It didn’t take me long to get back in the swing of working on the bikes. Pretty soon it was just like camp again, although by myself, and with no distractions… Okay, it was nothing like camp.
From spring training

I left Mesa on a Tuesday and have been in Los Angles for a race this week. First stage was today, two more stages to go, then a couple days off (for the riders) and another stage race here. Then I’ll be off to New Mexico with a stop in Mesa.

This job takes a lot of time and energy and has put a damper on the quality of the blogging.  I'll work on it.  Meanwhile, stay tuned for more.

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