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January 19, 2017

90 Miles from Palm Desert

In the morning, I ride into work in a cold, light, January rain. It's times like this I wish I hadn't left my gloves in Colorado. Like, I'm really surprised that it's cold here. Really surprised that it's raining. None of this fits with the Los Angeles basis, in my mind. Not that I'm a metereologist or anything. I just wasn't really aware, I think.

At work, I'm trying to decide what to do. It's so hard to know what to do. I'm in a curious position where I can spend my weekends in either Colorado or California and, at some point, you start to consider the weather as a factor in your travel. "Hmmm. It's probably warmer out here than it is in Colorado. I think I'll stay in California for the weekend."

The thought process goes something like that. It's not a complicated thought process.

So, I've got a ticket to fly to Denver today, but I just no-show the flight. After lunch, I fiddle around trying to load some data, but in the back of my mind, I'm trying to figure out where I'll. go. Palm Springs? Palm Desert? The Joshua Tree National Park? Slab City? The Salton Sea?

I start charging my GoPro and my GPS. Everything needs to be ready to hit the road.

There are a lot of options out here. And now that I've missed my flight, I may as well go somewhere.

I swing by the house to pick up my boots. Then, to K-Mart to buy some winter gloves. Now, I'm all set for my little adventure. Hop on the bike and presently, I'm rolling east on Highway 60 with a camera around my neck.

I'm further east on Highway 60 than I've ever been before when the road starts climbing up through some low hills. I'm guessing these are the Moreno Hills. Not certain. I go to shift down and the clutch is gone. Again. Mother fucker. Like, I'm so through with this KTM that there aren't words. I've had this bike in the shop for this same problem at least 4 times. Mother fucker.

The trip is over, and now, the game is to try to get turned around, and try to get the bike back to the KTM dealership for repair. In an instant, everything changes. So, I'm heading East, looking for a place to turn around. Eventually, I see a very small exit (Jack Rabbit Trail) and take it. (This is the last intersection before 60 merges with I-10 if you're heading east.) It's a dicey intersection, and basicaly I end up doing a U-turn on Highway 60. A car come by and honks loudly to announce his displeasure at my driving. But I can't stop. That's not an option now.

Now, rolling back west, towards town, I want the GPS to take me to the KTM dealership. I know roughly where it is, but not exactly. So, I need to find out the address while I'm driving down the road with one hand. I'm serching my GPS and my contacts in my cell phone, but I can't find the address. Finally, I google the Chapparal Motorsports and now I have an address. Cars are passing me on the left. I'm driving with one hand. Coming down the hills into the Moreno Valley. Searching for the address in my GPS. Finally, I see the address, and I select it.

Now, the GPS has gone into some mode where it acts differently than it used to. It used to say "in 10 miles, keep right". Instead now, it shows a map of Los Angeles from the moon and says "keep right. Take 215" or something like that. Useless as tits on a bull.

But it's something.

So, I'm driving in heavy traffic and this is tricky because, if everyone stops, I'm royaly screwed. Hosed. I can't stop. The goal is to NOT stop. If I stop, then I have to call a tow truck.

So, I'm monitoring the flow of traffic.

As we exit onto 215 North, 2 lanes merge into one and traffic is backed up. Somehow, I make it through without having to stop. Now, as I'm riding north on 215, I see a massive storm moving in. It looks like, without a doubt, I'm about to get drenched. This is going to suck.

So, I'm rolling north on I-215 and after about 10 miles, the GPS says my exit is coming up. But there's a red light at the intersection, so I jam it down into 1st gear and let off the throttle so that I'm idling in 1st gear. Please lord god don't let me get to that light before it changes from red to green.

Somehow, the light changes to green, and I roll through. Very close. Now, I'm coming to the next red light. Same drill. 1st gear. Red light. Idling. Light turns green. I roll up and turn right. Now, there's short cut that I usually take where I drive down the sidewalk to get to Chapparal. So now, I'm driving down the sidewalk, stuck in 1st gear, rolling between parked cars. Somehow I make it to Chapparal.

Drop off the bike.

And now, I have to deal with the dumbest guy in the planet.

"Are you going to leave it with us?" he wants to know.

"Dude...it's a brick. It's not going anywhere."

"So you're going to leave it?"

"I'm telling you that you couldn't move that bike without a forklift. It's stuck in gear. Do you understand what I'm saying?"


"I'm not going to say it again. Maybe we need to get your manager."

"Sign here to say you're approving for us to do $100 worth of work on it."

"Dude...Y'all just fixed it. I just had it in here. Y'all said this problem was fixed."

"Well, you have to...."

"I think you need to get your manager."

So, after a while, they agree that I was in here to have this repaired and just got it out of the shop in the middle of November. But it was sitting out at the Ontario airport for 4 weeks. I haven't been on it.

"I can't find you in our system," he whines.

"Would y'all tell this guy who I am?" I ask loudly. Everone else in there admits that I practially live here as a second home.

They lean over to help the idiot find me in the computer. He's so daft there aren't words.

"There he is....this guys in here all the time....Rob. Rob...you go so much money when you write a check, the bank bounces!"

Posted by Rob Kiser on January 19, 2017 at 6:30 PM



Posted by: sl on January 26, 2017 at 7:42 PM

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