​​​BamaRider
Day 10
June 13th, 2003
Redwood City, California


It was a quiet morning.  Uncle Phil left out early on his way back to Nashville.  He has to be back by Sunday night.  He is looking at a tough ride the next few days, but I'm sure he will be ok.  He told us last night, he would make his way to I-40 and grind it home as quick as he can.  I didn't even hear him leave.

Today is a day for relaxing.  As in past years, I use this time to finalize plans for the trip back east, wash my bike, mail unwanted stuff back home, and to check the bike over.

I met with Ron and Dennis in the garage and we decided how to fix my phone problems.  We are going to install an adapter under my seat, run the wires out, and charge my phone on the fly from my tailbag.  I won't need the charger when I am at home so  we don't need a more permanent solution.  This way, I can remove it, but still bring it back in service when I go on tour.

After making that decision, we wheel the bikes out for a wash job.  I like my bike clean and shiny, and wash it often, but on a cross country tour I really don't worry about it.  The only day it looks clean is on the first.  A bike on a cross country ride has a certain look-road spray, bugs, dirt, all unite to give a bike the mark of a Long Ride's mount. 
​Wash day at the Ryans.  Ron and Coop taking care of business
While we were washing the bikes I told Coop to check his oil.

I didn't do a detail job, I only washed the red and chrome, but when I was finished you'd never know it had almost 80,000 miles on the speedo.  It was still beading water and shiny from the wax job prior to leaving home.
After we washed the bikes we rode to a Radio Shack so I could pick up a phone charger, and 12v adapter.  We left there and went by a Kragen so Ron, and Coop could get new bulbs to replace their blown ones.

On the way home we stopped at the Canyon Grill for hamburgers.  Excellent burger.  They had pictures on the wall of the many 49er players, who patron the place.

Back at home, Ron installed my new phone charger.  Ron is excellent wrench and machinist,  he had me in business in no time.  Now I don't have to worry about getting my phone charged on the road.  Problem solved.
With my phone fixed and bike clean, I went inside to begin packing.  I enjoyed riding with the brothers, but I was anxious to get back on the road, and enjoy a solitary trip to back to Alabama.

Unlike Uncle Phil, I have 6 days to return to the land of cotton.  I plan on riding north through the Napa Valley to Lassen and in to East Oregon.  The first day will be the toughest of the return leg (words of prophecy).  This route home will mean I will miss Big Sur and the Bixby, but it was time to explore other roads.  It also translates to 600 miles on secondary mountain roads, to position myself for the final portion home.  Much easier said then done.  I looked at the atlas, I will have 3.5 days of mountain riding, covering over 1500 miles, on what I know will be twisty, hilly, and sometimes busy highways. (Central Calilf to Central Wyoming, the northern route ).  Certainly doable, but if I run into bad weather, or something unforeseeable, it could change things.

I studied the map carefully, checking the areas I anticipate problems.  I could have a cold night in Idaho, that high in the Sawtooths.  Getting out the Tetons into Central Wyoming won't be a picnic either.  I have the choice of riding through RV saturated Yellowstone, or going 125 miles south out of the way.  I will make that decision when I get there.

I will overnight the first night in East Oregon, #2 near Stanley, Idaho, #3 on the Wyoming-South Dakota line, before taking a easy day on #4 and moteling in Pierre, South Dakota.  From there I will turn south and head for Alabama, probably  through Arkansas and crossing the Mississippi in Memphis.  It will be fun to see how this plan plays out.

I closed the atlas and went to the Weather Channel.  For the 3rd year in a row, no fronts were on the horizon.  I had clear sailing east, and nothing was approaching from the rear. 

After I took care of all that, it was time to head over to Castro Valley to meet Joyce and Don for supper.  Ron and I loaded up in Dennis truck and followed Norma, Dennis and Coop.

We had a excellent Mexican dinner at Los Compadres, a favorite hangout of Don Cortez.

I had a great time there.  In fact the whole time in Redwood went by way to fast.

We made it back home about 10pm and got ready for bed.  I said my goodbyes because I was leaving out at first light in the morning.  I was heading north to East Oregon, Coop was going north up the coast to Seattle, and Ron was going south through Big Sur and over the Bixby.  Some guys have all the luck.  I was tempted to join him.
I ran into Coop late that night out in the garage.  He had his Stich draped over his bike, all his equipment was poised and ready.  I could tell he was ready to break out on his own, in true Long Rider fashion.  I said-

"ain't nothing personal brother, but I'm ready for some solo riding and exploring"

"you aint gotta tell me brother, I feel the same, I need sometime alone"

"but it was fun, I know we'll do it again"

And that was how I felt.  I prefer solo riding on the way to somewhere, but once I get there, I like the social aspects of the group.

"well I won't see ya in the morning, leaving out EARLY, but ride safe brother and take care.  See ya in Canada in 6 weeks"

I thanked Dennis and Norma and said good bye to brother Ron, and went to bed.





Footnote: "Uncle Phil" made it back to Nashville by Sunday night.  Covering over 1000 miles the first day, over 800 the second, and 400+ on the final day.

 John Cooper went on to Seattle, then returned to Utah before returning home.  His trip was over 7000 miles, he had no problems.

Ron Epperly had the the longest ride.  He took in Big Sur but then had problems with his ST somewhere in the fuel line.  He fixed the bike in the field, and made it home to Orlando without incident.  His trip covered 8,000 miles.