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November 14, 2019

Leaving Columbia

Wednesday Nov 13, 2019

Yesterday, (Tuesday Nov 12th), I go into the office at 8:00 a.m. and start preparing to present my little presentation on Direct Retro. I end up with like a 20 page document.
There's a meeting scheduled at 9:00 a.m. with me and the client.. At 9:00, the client says they're letting me go. They'll pay me for the 3 weeks I worked, and 40 hours for this week, even though it's only Tuesday morning at 9:00 a.m. And then they tell me that I can leave. As in, they don't expect me to hang around.

So, I collect my things, take a few photos of the office I worked in for 3 weeks (and a few hours Tuesday morning).

I think my first week must have been Oct 21. 2nd week was Oct 28. 3rd week was Nov 4th. 4th week was Nov 11th.

Outside, it's raining, so I ride my motorcycle home in the rain to the rotten Motel 6 at 1776 Burning Tree Road.

Probably, the worst thing about being a consultant is living in a Motel 6. Probably that's the worst part. I rent the room on a weekly rate of like $225/week. So, I have the room for a few more days. I think today is Tuesday and my room is paid through Thursday.

My friend stays at the Hilton just 2 blocks away from the office, and drives to work, and gets parking tickets.

"How do you make any money with your expenses?" I ask her. Shocking.

I check the weather, to see when I can ride my motorcycle back to Colorado. But, just my luck, this huge arctic freeze is gripping the entire nation. It's supposed to be freezing cold all over North America. Down as far South as Pensacola.

I think about riding the bike south, to Jacksonville, and then turn west on I-10. But it just adds too much length to the journey. No, instead, I'll just get on I-20 and head west. I-20 actually comes without about a mile of my hotel. Then, it goes west and passes within a few miles of Madison, MS. Eventually, it sort of peters out in the desert just east of El Paso.

The forecast is not good. It looks to be freezing cold all day.

But what else am I to do? If I stay in the room any longer, there's nothing but rain for the next 3 days after Wednesday. So, staying here really isn't an option. And, it isn't healthy. I need to get out of this little cess pool, in short order.

So I dry all of my clothes really good on the AC/Heater unit in the No-Tell Motel. And I think about riding in the rain in the freezing cold. It won't be fun. Normally, when I ride, if the outdoor air temperature is in the 60's, then it's noticeably cold. Now, this ride is going to be much worse than that. The temperatures look to be freezing across the entire country.

But I just decide to put on pretty much everything I have, and ride on. I think about the Dalton Highway on the way back from Dead Horse, AK. It was freezing cold, raining. 38F. And we rode like that from Dead Horse, AK to Atigun Pass. 170 miles. So, if I did it then, I can do it now. Nothing has changed.

So in the morning, I layer-up with all of my clothes, and clear out of the hotel I've called homes for nearly 4 weeks. Room 224.

On the morning of Wednesday November 13th, at the Motel 6, my odometer reading is 34,339. I gas up next door and leave the area at 10:22 a.m. EDTEST. (Daylight Savings Time ended on Sunday Nov 3rd).

I'm riding down the highway and the temperature shows 39F. It's pretty cold, but with all of my layers, I'm OK. And I hop on I-20 and head west. Ostensibly, my goal is to ride 360 miles to Birmingham, Alabama. I'm really surprised that I'm able to ride the bike in temperatures this low. It's not like I have heated handgrips or anything. And, every time the temperature goes up one degree, I shout out to encourage myself that I can make it. That it's getting warmer. That I'll be OK.

By the time I get to Birmingham, it's 55F, and feeling pretty good. So I decide to keep riding, and try to make it to Madison, or at least as far as Meridian, MS. From Columbia to Madison is a little over 600 miles.

When I get to Meridian, it's solidly dark. But the thing is that there's supposed to be some rain tomorrow. And I REALLY don't want to wake up and ride in the rain in the morning. So, part of me wants to make it to Madison tonight, so I don't have to deal with the rain tomorrow. Thanksgiving is next Thursday. And Jen wants me to be back in Colorado for that. I think. So, I don't want to be doing little 300 mile rides. I'd rather make some progress.

But now, the temperature is falling. And it's dark. As I head west on I-20, eventually the temperature falls down to about 40F. It's so cold that I'm just riding with my right hand, and using my left hand to adjust my riding gear for maximum warmth. It's so cold now that I count down the minutes until I'll be in Madison, MS. I stop several times to refuel during the day. I didn't plan my fuel stops. Instead, since I'm on I-20, I just run until the gas light starts blinking, at which point I have 1 gallon of gas and can go roughly 40 miles, and then I refuel, and take off again.

Finally, I make it to Madison, pull into the back of Mark and Molly's house and call and tell them I have arrived. No one knows I'm in the state. No one knows I've been fired. This is all news.

My odometer is 34,965. 34,965 - 34,339 = 626. Trip A says 625.4. So, we'll call it 625 miles.

At 625 miles, this is easily one of my longest days ever. I have ridden over 1,000 miles a day 3 different times, but this might be my 4th longest day ever. There's not a lot of days where you're riding over 600 miles when it's very nearly cold enough to snow.

Tomorrow, a family gathering at lunch. We plan that I'll make a surprise appearance at 12:00 noon at the Itchiban Buffet, 146 Grandview Blvd, Madison, MS.

Day 2:

Everyone Left. Thr Nov 14th.

When Jennifer and I used to come here, the place was a mad house, but in a fun way. Everyone was running around, playing, riding the golf cart. But now, the kids have all gone and it's very quiet. Peaceful. But all that's left of the kids are the photos on the wall. And, don't get me wrong....I think that's the goal is to raise your kids to be independent and go off and have their own lives. But it's sad when they're gone, too. And all that's left are the photos on the wall and some pets that got left behind.

We change the lunch date from Itchiban Buffet to the Strawberry Cafe in Madison. At noon, Molly and Sarah Lou were to meet Jack. But he's talking to his teachers at school and won't make it. And Molly is running late. So I walk in and surprise Sarah Lou.

Apparently, SL comes up on Thursdays and picks up Kate and Charlie, from different schools, at different times.

I start looking at the ride back, as Thanksgiving is on Thursday, a week from today, and I've got a long ride ahead of me. It took me 3 days to get to Madison on the ride down. It looks like I've got 1,200 miles ahead of me.

The problem with the iPhone.

So, I'm using an iPhone 6S+ to run Waze while I'm riding. It's nice because it shows you real-time traffic updates, police on the side of the road robbing citizens, stopped cars, traffic jams, etc. So, it's a nice app to run. But, it the iphone battery will never stay charged. It loses power until it starts acting up, even though it's plugged into a cigarette lighter on the motorcycle.

This is perplexing to me because I see that the cigarette-lighter USB adapter has power to it (red light shining), and so, in theory, it should be feeding electricity to the iPhone. But, it's hard to see if the iPhone is charging because the little lightning bolt to indicate it is charging is about the size of a grain of sand, on the upper right corner of the iPhone, where the screen protecter is separated from the iPhone by a small amount, but enough that it changes the color of the screen and makes it difficult to see if the little rice-grain-sized electricity icon is displayed or not.

Eventually, what happens is the phone battery runs down to the point that the phone won't operate. Then, it starts acting funny. It says things like ""This accessory may not be supported" or some such nonsense. Or it goes to a completely black screen.

Finally, I plugged it into my laptop and that did seem to make it charge correctly for the first time ever.

So, my iPhone works sporadically at best, on these long trips. Also, I should point out that my jacket doesn't work properly either. I bought the jacket off of someone on Craigslist years ago. It's faded, and torn pretty badly from when the deer hit me on July 5th of this year. So, my riding gear is faded and torn, but also, the velcro that's supposed to hold the neck closed doesn't work, and also, the jacket zipper won't stay up and creeps down as I'm riding in 40F weather. All of this is maddening, but I have no one to blame but myself.

Also, the jacket and pants are not waterproof. So, if it rains, I'm pretty much hosed.

I check the route for my ride back to Denver. I'm surprised to see that I rode this many miles in my first 3 days of that trip:
Day 1: Denver, CO to Amarillo, TX. 458 miles.
Day 2: Amarillo to Tyler/Lindale, TX. 473 miles.
Day 3: Tyler/Lindale to Madison. 334 miles.

Day 1: 458 miles
Day 2: 473 miles
Day 3: 334 miles
Total Miles this Trip: 1,265

So, it looks like I've still got a long way to go to make it back to Colorado.

The forecast for the ride back looks good, finally. Dallas, Amarillo, and Denver all looks good. Mostly clear, sunny, and a high in the upper 50's or 60's.

Posted by Rob Kiser on November 14, 2019 at 1:25 PM


"I gas up next door and leave the area at 10:22 a.m. EDT EST. (Daylight Savings Time ended on Sunday Nov 3rd)."

Daylight Saving - Movie Trailer
This November, they call it Daylight Saving but the thing that needs saving...is us!

Posted by: anonymous on November 14, 2019 at 8:13 PM

You need a new lightening charge cord. Some of the cheap ones don’t work any more or phone has to be unlocked. I broke down and bought one at Apple store. If I had read pw, I would have given you my new one. Sorry. It was good to see you.

Posted by: sl on November 16, 2019 at 8:33 PM

"You need a new lightening charge cord. Some of the cheap ones don’t work any more or phone has to be unlocked. I broke down and bought one at Apple store."

I've been using Amazon Basics cables * - both for myself and friends & family for whom I do tech support - and have never had a problem with them.

Whereas I avoid the cheap no-name cables - from places like 7-11 or gas stations, or even from vendors at tech conferences - like the plague. Those have been nothing but trouble.

* for example, https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01F9RGJJO/ .

Posted by: anonymous on November 16, 2019 at 9:23 PM

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