West Coast Bicycle Trip
May 19, 1980
Well, here I am, sitting on John F. Kennedy University lawn,
waiting for classes to start, Modern Philosophy to begin with. The
trip from Michigan was good. After Jane contacted me (when she saw my
name on the ride board back at school) we made arrangements for my
ride out to California. She was on her way to the coast to visit
friends, and my contribution for gas made it easier for her. She also
liked the idea of having someone to travel with. Driving to California
was a big deal for her, and a single girl traveling alone did present
some legitimate concerns.
Jane may have been a crack shot on CMU’s women’s basketball team, but
her preparation skills for the drive to California were lacking.
We left Mt. Pleasant in a rusted out ’72 Maverick. I had my doubts
about whether or not we would get to California, especially after the
problems with the rear end differential started. By the time we
reached Modesto, where I said goodbye to Jane, the clunk, clunk was so
noticeable that I gave her a 1 in 5 chance of making it to San
Francisco, but I didn’t tell her that.
The highpoint of our trip to California was our twenty-four hour stay
in Park City, Utah. Jane stopped to see her ski bum friends. The boys,
Dan, Robin, and Kevin, lived to ski. What do a bunch of jocks do when
they haven’t seen each other for a long time? Play basketball! So we
all went down to the Salt Lake City Sport Coliseum to shoot some
hoops, something I loved to do anyway. Unfortunately, I was out of
shape. I was playing with superbly conditioned athletes. I was so out
of breath from running up and down the court that I had nothing left
to play the game. That was an eye opener for me. One should never take
lightly his or her personal race with Father Time.
The other highlight of the trip was when we stopped in Paxton,
Nebraska. I had been driving for a long time, so when I saw this small
town saloon, I pulled over. The owner of the place was a big game
hunter. He had his game trophies hanging all over the place. Actually,
the place was more like a museum than a bar. I was not into killing
animals for sport, but that place was impressive. Under each trophy
was a written description of the kill. Admiring the memorabilia, it
was impossible not to feel the intensity of the hunt. The guy who did
all the hunting was the same old guy who handed me my beer. He was a
proud old man. All he had left now, though, were his memories and the
bar. I was lucky enough to buy him a beer before Jane and I headed out.
We ran into snow in Wyoming and more in Utah, but once we reached the
salt flats, the weather warmed. It was nice after that, and when we
arrived in Modesto, we stayed with more of Jane’s friends. In the
morning, Todd gave me a twenty-minute ride up to Stockton and that’s
where I started to bicycle north.