Day Five, Six & Seven



Day 5, 6, & 7

July 22,23,24, 2010

71 Miles

Objective for the day:

Survive the heat


This is only the second National Convention I have attended.  I still don’t know my way around yet.   I do know there is convention business during the day and hospitality rooms at night.


I only write about these days to tell you about our Friday jaunt to the Palm Springs Tramway.  The Tramway is a cable car from the desert floor to the top of an 8000’ mountain.  We decided to take this short trip because we knew it was too hot to go very far.  It was only about 25 miles to the tram, which should be no problem, or so I thought.


We started by going to the local post office where I mailed home some of my dirty clothes.  This was so I could take Elaine’s luggage including her carry on bag that came with her.  This way she didn’t have anything to keep up with on her trip home.


We decided that since it was a short trip, we would wear shorts.  This was a very bad mistake on my part   Elaine wore shorts but brought a pair of jeans with her in case.  Hard headed me, I didn’t bring anything.


We rode about 2 or 3 miles to the local post office where I took care of mailing my packages, and then it was on to the tram.


The daily temperature here is running in the 113 to 116 degrees (they are going through an unusually hot time).  If I hear one more person tell me “But it is a dry heat,” I think I am going to get my gun off the bike and shoot them.  There was nothing dry about me while outside and it didn’t feel any different to me than South Georgia.  After leaving the Post Office, I notice that as I ride my ankles are burning up.  I am more comfortable stopped at a light than while I am moving.  We stop for gas, and Elaine buys a bottle of water.  We drink most of it and put the rest in the cooler. 


Because we came into town, we still had around 15 miles to get to the tram.  My legs are burning so bad from the engine heat that I almost have them up in the seat with me.  I knew from other times that this bike is not friendly to a rider in shorts.  With your feet on the pegs, the heat from the engine is blowing directly on your ankles.  And with the extra heat out here that air is doubly hot.


Elaine asked me to find a place for her to put her shorts on, but I couldn’t find anything.  By now we are only 5 miles from our destination so I asked her to hold on.  Her legs were getting beet red.  I thought she was getting sun burnt.


We are stopped at a traffic light when a guy pulls up beside me and says, “I think California has a helmet law.”  I didn’t take a chance so at the next corner, we stopped and got out the helmets and put them on.


When we got back that afternoon, I looked it up and sure enough, helmets are required in California.  I had ridden all the way from the Arizona border to Palm Springs without a helmet.  I was passed by police that were catching speeders, passed numerous police on the side of the road, driven though Palm Springs, La Quinta, and even gotten up Thursday morning and went to McDonalds to get us a breakfast biscuit all without wearing a helmet.  I guess I must have been lucky not to have been stopped.


We turn on to the road leading up to the tram.  It is uphill all the way to the tram and it is a pretty steep hill.  About halfway up, I notice the temperature gauge on the bike is rising.  I cannot get out of second gear with both of us on the bike and the trailer behind.  Now we have about a half of a mile left and there is a slow moving car in front of us.  The gauge is rising again.  The car pulls off at an overlook so I try to get up a little speed.


By the time we get to the tram parking lot the bike is almost in the red zone, and so is Elaine.  Now I have to admit that I was roasting especially with the additional engine heat hitting my ankles.  I know Elaine was miserable because I was miserable.  As soon as we pulled into the parking lot, she got off and I went in search of a parking space.  There was so much slope in the parking lot, that there was no place to park the bike.  Either it would lean too far over that it felt like it was about to tip over or on the other side, it wouldn’t sit on the kick stand.


I pulled out in search of another parking place.  I saw one of the employees and he pointed to a parking area that was reserved for the director.  I pulled in so that he could get his car out without any problems and went inside.  When I found Elaine, she was beet red from head to foot and so overheated the all she could do was sit down.


We bought our ticket and were about to get on the tram when someone came in asking if anyone here owned the blue motorcycle outside.  When I told him it was me, he said I would have to move it and directed me to a parking space further down the hill that was reserved for motorcycles.  I almost ran all the way to the bike and back to the tram, and was back in time to get on.  By now I was doubly miserable from my trek down and back to move the bike.


We rode the tram to the top, got off, and looked for something to eat.  We got our food and found a table inside in the air conditioning.  We were about the only people inside,  everyone else was sitting outside.  We couldn’t figure out why until we left to go outside and take pictures.  It might have been 115 degrees on the valley floor, but it was a pleasant 78 degrees up here.  This was one of those “If I had known it was this cool I probably would have eaten outside” moments.


The view from here is spectacular.  You can see most of Palm Springs and even some mountains in the distance.  It is amazing to see the windmills turning on the valley floor.  There are some green areas that must have been irrigated, but most of the view was brown dessert. 


I took pictures until my camera battery gave out and Elaine took pictures till her camera was about dead.  While in line to go back down, we met some of our Albany group getting ready to get on the same tram.


We decided to break our return tip into two segments with a visit to a local casino in the middle.  Elaine put on her jeans, but stupid me didn’t have any so here I go again with roasted legs.  My feet spent most of the time elevated onto anything I could get them on to get them out of the heat stream.  The ride to the casino was uneventful aside from the heat.


We had coupons for the casino and when we signed up for their player’s card we were given $50.00 in playing cash.  This is one time when I walked out of a casino with more than I went in with.  It was after dark when we left the casino, but it was still very hot.


Note to self:  Do not ride your bike with shorts on unless it is in the winter!


I really believe that if I thought it was feasible, I would have called a wrecker and had the bike towed back from the tram it was so miserable.


On Saturday we went swimming.  The water in the pool was like hot bathwater.  The rails were so hot you could not touch them getting in or out.  The chairs were so hot you could barely lay down on them and they were in the shade.


When we got back to the room, I lay down and took a couple hours worth of nap.  I knew I was going to be leaving early in the morning and I would appreciate the little bit of sleep.  I had been planning on leaving around 3am so the rest of the afternoon was spent packing everything in the suitcases.


By the end of the day and before the banquet, my plans had changed to leave at 1:00am California time.  By the end of the banquet my plans had changed again. I am thinking that if I sleep for two hours, I will be miserable when I get up.  I am going to pack and leave as soon as the banquet is over.