Southern California to Menlo Park, CA
Day 1: Wednesday, September 7, 2021
“Life is not always linear, and on reflection, it is often in fact, the zig-zags that occur, that are the most interesting to me.” Trawlercat
At o dark thirty I quietly roll my BMW GSA 1250 Adventure bike out of the garage, and glide it down the inclined driveway and onto the sidewalk, before starting her up; with several quick twists of the throttle I continue moving, from freeway to freeway, all in a northerly direction.
Approximately 509 miles later I arrive. That’s the reader’s digest version of how I got here but, my honorable mention now goes to the smell of garlic. When you ride fast California freeways on a motorcycle some smells come and go but, not full sized open semi trailers near bursting with garlic.
And NOT just one or two but, nearly a dozen tractor trailer fulls. I pulled up on one of those fresh picked trailers, got about as close as legally possible, and then opened up my visor. I think I took such a big whiff that the garlic smell cleared out all my sinuses. It even brought tears to my eyes!
Then I even started hunting for them. The garlic trucks. I loved the smell of garlic on the road so much that I even altered my course to ride through the town of Garlic central – Gilroy, California. Honestly, the entire town smells of garlic. And if you don’t yet know- garlic is a vegetable (often confused as an herb or spice). It’s also great for its unique taste. Ever enjoyed a Cuban meal? Garlic is the key ingredient.
Gilroy produces all the world’s garlic! Almost 23 billion pounds of garlic per year. Not really but, it sounded good on paper.
And did you know that the sense of smell is more closely linked with memory than any of the other senses? True. Garlic also evokes emotions. I looked that one up.
Weather normally dominates a motorcyclists environment but, today it is the garlic smells on the open road and not the weather that dominated my environment.
My first stop for the next several days is Roberto’s home in Menlo Park, California. Roberto, in some ways is the archetypal Latin type — however, he is not tall, broad or bronzed. If a situation calls for a gentle caring soul, then Roberto would be your man. Ever earnest and thoughtful. Roberto now brings up images of Mr Roarke from the original Fantasy Island movie. Set at a luxurious and remote tropical island resort, (very similar to his home now) Mr. Roarke makes the secret dreams of his well-heeled guests come true. For me, Roberto is granting me and a few other riders a week long ride around the Washington state peninsula, mostly in an area known as the Olympia peninsula.
There’s a sense in “Fantasy Island” that the island is controlling everything – the island is god like. No one knows who or what is controlling it, but the island knows all, even that I love garlic so much that I can’t smell anything else- aaaaahhh! And then I woke up from my poolside nap.
I am now so relaxed. Roberto’s home is surrounded by redwoods – there’s a willful silence in the air. My garlic infused body is now so relaxed. I can almost feel my breathing slowing down as the sun gently caresses my now bronzed up latin skin.
Everybody knows about the Amazon, the world’s largest tropical rain forest but, do you know about the Hoh Rain Forest on the Olympic Peninsula? That’s just one of the places that we’re going to. Seattle gets around 36 inches of rain a year but, the Hoh Rain Forest gets as much as 14 feet of rain a year. The prevalent fog and mist contributes the equivalent of another 30 inches of rain, resulting in one of the world’s lushest rain forests, hence its designation as one of the wonders of Washington State.
This upcoming Saturday, Roberto transforms himself into a Yoda Yeti Master. True.
Gpskevin, the guy that put together our Olympic peninsula ride calls everyone of his ride leaders Yoda’s. Yoda is a fictional character in the Star Wars universe.
“Much to learn, you still have.” That is Yoda speak. Yoda-speak gets even more confusing, to me anyway, when you try to translate it from English to Spanish.
Both Roberto and I now speak three languages. “When nine hundred years old you reach, look as good you will not.” Now try saying that in Spanish!
Some or all of my like minded and passionate Bike Riding Bros would truly enjoy this (planned) Washington Olympic peninsula ride however, something called (time) has a way of keeping them from it.
And if I could now offer a blast from the past to this story, it would go something like this. At about the time I entered basic training in the USAF, in 1974, a band group called Pink Floyd came up with a song called TIME.
The lyrics of the song dealt simply with passage of time – “time that easily slips away.” The most profound lyrics are the following. Note: This ride is in Washington state and we are riding in and around a (Ho) rain forest.
“Tired of lying in the sunshine, staying home to watch the rain
You are young and life is long, and there is time to kill today
And then one day you find ten years have got behind you
No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun”. …………..Lyrics by Pink Floyd
A problem of the younger persuasion is that they do not realize that time is always slipping away. Most of our lives we spend chasing something.
We continue moving forward doing things; then one day, you take a look around you and realize that you are now middle aged. For me the do or die age was 35. For others it could be younger or even older.
It’s an incredible moment when you leave your home and those you love behind you with nothing more than your motorcycle and two panniers with what you think you’ll need for three weeks.
And this is only my Day 1.
A skunk came close to where I was earlier – but he couldn’t stand the smell and left.
Can’t stop the truth from getting in the way of a good story.