Tuesday, June 13, 2006

My Crappy Vacation, Part 1

All the reasons aside, we were on our way north on Saturday. “north” was our only destination, with an implied “Seattle” somewhere along the way, as my brother lives there with his wife.

North on Memorial Day weekend, with all the unhappy feelings we had, meant, of course, we got tagged in the speed trap in Redding. The officer who stopped us had a speech impediment of some kind, which made it a little funny, but mostly it was just the icing on a cake made of shit.

What-the-fuck-ever. We both have two matching speed tickets each now. I cannot afford to get stopped again, so the ride north became a painful exercise in speed control. It was inevitable. There must have been at least 25 cops between that area near Redding all the way up to the last pass into Oregon. I was, at that point, riding painfully slow. Which sucks, since I spend more time looking at my speedometer and mirror than the road in front of me. And it makes me soooooo sleeepy to go so slow. Whatever. I fucking hate CHP.

Since I had not packed with a ride in mind, I didn't have a few things I would have liked. Mainly, my electric vest, cell phone charger, and frankly I missed my ipod. But the vest was a real problem, and riding into Oregon at night up to Grants Pass, I could not feel my fingers. Grants Pass doesn't seem to be much of a town, but our room was fine, and Denny's was entertaining.

Sunday we headed west to the coast, sloooowly still, since I cannot afford to talk to a cop again. Then up the coast on Highway 1, which is pretty, and we are getting great mileage, but it is taking forever. Planned to get up to Tillamook or something, but as we came through Waldport, Paul saw that there was a Howard Johnsons on the on the tip of the spit on the other side of the bay. It was pretty, and we were bored of riding, and so we stayed. From the hotel restaurant, we could see seals playing in the bay, and a ton of birds. The views were nice, and there was a bar. Good enough.

Monday we headed north still, through Tillamook, which is very pretty country. North of Tillamook are some small towns on a lagoon-like bay, where we both caught sight of a bald eagle. I've never seen one in the wild before, so this was a real treat.

At Astoria, we turned inland, back to I-5 to make the rest of the trip to Seattle. We had finally called my brother from Waldport to tell him we were on our way to Seattle. Stopped for gas at the junction for the road to Mt. Rainier. I rode that route two years ago and loved it, but this time I didn't have it in me. This wasn't a fun ride, just an escape. I wanted to get to Seattle in good time, so we just took I-5 into Seattle, where I took a bit to get my bearings and then got us to Ben's house just as he and Megan were on their way out the door to dinner plans. Perfect timing. I just wanted to spend some time laying low in Seattle. Both of our chains were shagged, and we'd need to replace them before the ride home. It would have been a good excuse to just hang out in one of my favorite cities. Things should have looked up from here.

But Tuesday, well... We wandered around Fremont in the morning and then came back to Ben's house. He'd left us the spare key and we'd agreed we'd call to meet them up for lunch downtown. Before this happened, Paul spent some time checking over the bikes out front. I went in and out to get stuff and somehow managed to get locked out. I don’t really know how since I didn't actively lock it the last time I came out, but, old locks, I don't know... and with my cell phone inside too, I just decided it was miserable, and sat and felt sorry for myself. We did find an easy way in and called Ben to have lunch with them downtown. After which, we went to the Yamaha dealership where Paul had his chain and sprocket replaced (as he didn't have the right size socket for the FZ1) and then on to the Suzuki dealership to get my chain and sprocket, which Paul would install the next day. It all felt very nice and accomplished, despite the fact that in the afternoon, we dropped the FZ and broke off the passenger peg.

It all seemed great, until we got home to Ben's house and found the door wide open. And the door to the basement open. Both these doors are strictly supposed to be kept closed so the cats don't get out or in the basement. I was immediately sorry that I'd somehow fucked up and left these two doors open. After shutting them and calming down, it was probably about ten minutes before I noticed that the iBook was not on the kitchen counter. Had Megan been home? Shit, the Powerbook was not on the kitchen table! I called my brother, had either of them come home? No, and he'd rush home now, and could I call the police? Upstairs, the two bedrooms (one is really a den) were also opened. Not as they'd been left, again for cat reasons, we knew something was wrong there.

The upside is that the cats were both home, but the downside was that three laptops (Ben's work laptop was stolen from the guestroom underneath a pile of our dirty clothes, and I hadn't even known it was there despite sleeping in there.) The cordless phone handset had been stolen, but not the base (Why? Can anyone help explain this? It's useless without the base!) A jewelry box had been taken from the bedroom, including a sapphire ring that had some family heirloom value, but nothing much else in that box of real value, as I understand it. Megan's wedding bands, gone. And some credit cards, also taken (and used, at Krispey Kreme and gas stations, and some sort of catalog order I think?) Most bizarre, a Trader Joe's grocery bag full of trail mix and camp snacks for Ben and Megan's upcoming Yosemite trip was also deemed worth stealing. It was obvious from cabinet doors left open that the culprit had spent some time looking downstairs too.

The point of entry and exit was exactly as we had come in earlier. Was it a neighbor who saw us do it? It was so effortless, and obvious to us in the morning, perhaps someone had coincidentally come by that day and had the same thought? The point of entry isn't particularly visible from many public areas, so it would be strange luck for someone to have witnessed it... And regardless of anything, we felt horrible about it. Everyone, of course, feels horrible. Ben and Megan took this all very well, considering.

But it was miserable. I hope the best, I hope the stuff comes back, but mostly I hope the trouble ends there.

Wednesday, we had breakfast at a freakish restaurant run by a brainwashed cult (really) and came home to do chain and sprockets, then back across the Fremont Bridge to walk around Fremont eating ice cream and checking out Gasworks Park. With all the excitement, and since Ben and Megan were going to Yosemite in the morning, we decided to lay low with pizza delivery and Arrested Development videos at their house.

Thursday we had breakfast at Coastal Kitchen where I picked up some Italian language CDs and then hiked around Capitol Hill and Volunteer Park, up the Observation Tower for a nice view of the city. We went to the Bleu Bistro, which is a really great bar. We bought Paul a sweatshirt that said “high roller” along with glittery graphics of a roller skate with wings. Cool! Things were looking better. Every day, we kept thinking, OK, now the lemons are done falling, let's make the fucking lemonade and get on with it. How much worse could it get?

At some point in the evening, back at the house, I turned my phone on, which I'd left off to preserve the battery, as I hadn't brought the charger (since I didn't pack for a road trip)

The message was minimal, but there was something wrong. I called back, left messages, waited. I finally called my mother to help. We had no internet access either since the computers were all gone. She looked for me, and saw it, and was sorry. I'd given out my brother's home number so people could reach me as my phone was dying. I got an update later that night, and thought once again that we'd go home the next morning.

But Friday, I got up after dreaming about James all night, with a changed mind once again. There wasn't anything to be done at home, and the ride home would be hell anyway. Speaking with Lionel in the morning helped calm me a bit. To solve the communication cutoff feelings, we went downtown and bought a new cell phone (I'm sad to say, really, as I'd been very attached to the old one) Still no internet, but it was something. I just had to keep calling and bugging people for updates. At this, I truly felt that rock bottom was hit, but not by me. It put everything into perspective, but brought up a whole new range of guilt and grief and worry. It fucking sucks, is what I mean, and made everything else small. Also, shouldn't I have been there with him? That really stung, but what could I have done anyway?

But I'd lost my fight, for sure there would be no trip to Vancouver or the islands or Mt. Rainier; I just did not have it in me. We determined to stay until Ben and Megan returned, and I quietly decided I did not want to do anything besides low key wandering. NO MORE FUCKING ADVENTURES.

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