Wednesday, June 8, 2011
"Pyrotechnics" or "You must be exactly this stupid to ride this ride"
Chris and I arrive more than on time to the airport, which is spectacular and unusual given our track record. (Jpuffs, you know what I mean.) It's not even 5:30 am yet and Chris has already deemed me "a mess" twice. And he's right. Pretty much all of my luggage is jerry-rigged together with zip ties and bungee cords and I have dropped my passport and boarding pass more than twice.
I was feeling slightly defeated until I realize that my "mess" pales in comparison to what Chris has done. My bags go through the x-ray machine, I'm fondled by strangers and scanned by a machine that resembles Hal's pod-bay doors. Chris follows. I retrieve my bags and cruise through, feeling as molested and shoeless as any other weary traveler.
I look back, Chris' bags have been seized by security and taken to an inspection podium. We eye-ball each other and turn a whiter shade of pale. Maybe more like a barf-green.
A kindly-eyed man with white hair, a good sized paunch and a fully festooned blue buttoned down turns to Chris and asks, "Why...do you have a road flare...in your bag...Sir?" To which Chris quickly shoots, "I'm uhh, biking across the country." He sizes us up and honestly, I can't imagine what he's thinking. I look like someone's crazy grade school art teacher with half of my head shaved, an Aztec scarf and a Peruvian warrior necklace. Chris...has lighting bolts on his head. We're quite a pair.
Kindly-eyed man responds: "That's probably a good idea. But you can't take them on a plane". Right.
Whatever check list is posted online describing in intricate standard and metric detail what NOT to bring on a plane, Chris packed it.
-More than 2 fl oz. Check.
-Dangerous pointy things. Check.
Our flight is about to board in ten minutes and the guy turns to us and says, "This could take a while". He speaks low into his shoulder attached walkie-talkie, "We've got a road flare." Yeah, we do. Or we did, at least, until you jerks took it away from us.
We wait, sweat. Someone finally comes to explain the possible ramifications of his deeds, snaps his picture, finger prints him and puts him on the terrorist no-fly list. Just kidding. Most likely? They'l give him a slap on the wrist via mail. Worst? He'll pay a hundred bucks.
We pack up his stuff and make it to the gate at the exact moment it is boarding. Cue Chris' "sorry for partying" face.
The bad news is, there is no free food on this flight, not even peanuts. The good news is: I have this little lady riding in front of me. I am quite content to play peekaboo for four hours straight.
Regardless of this debacle, we have arrived in one piece in San Francisco. We built our bikes at the amazing BOX DOG bikes, ate some vinegar soaked fries and headed to the ocean.
So, remember the opening credits to Full House? I know you do. Remember the cars parked on the side of the road that are nearly straight up and down? Yeah, that's what San Francisco is really like. It's the first day and we are already tackling the worst hills we have seen in a long time.
We are staying with a family from warmshowers.org, who live about a mile from the ocean, in an absolutely beautiful little sanfran style home. They have a chicken coup in the back yard. They made us an incredible soup dinner, complete with bread, wine and cookies.
Here's what I have found about warm showers from the two encounters that I have had thus far: Warmshowers provides you with the benefit of having friends in every city you've ever wanted to visit but have never had the time and money to go. Want to hang out, drink wine and chat about socialism and biking with amazing like-minded individuals but have never known anyone who actually moved to California? Yeah, it's like that.