Gone.

I carry the panniers to the bike. Then the dry bags. Then the tank
panniers. And the tank bag. I stuff items of questionable purpose or
utility into the top box. Loose ends get stashed in the tank bag. Other
items are jammed into the pockets of my riding jacket. I gotta get out
of town. I’ve pushed my luck. Ready or not. All I can hope for is time
in Northern California to regroup and tweak the bike and the packing.

Riding a motorcycle is the ultimate freedom. It truly the captures the
spirit of travel and being on the road. As I pass push on through the
traffic of Los Angeles the smell of rubber on pavement, spewing diesel
and drivers holding cigarettes out there window turns to sweet sage,
onion, garlic and finally as I make it to Los Banos on the 5 freeway
toward San Jose the stench of thousands of bovine. As the sunset over
the coastal range a large flashing highway signs warns me of strong and
gusting winds on route 152 which will take me to Highway 101 to Mountain
View. My plan is to stay with my friends Ken and Robin and get an early
start the next morning. My GPS tells me only 50 minutes until I arrive
in Mountain View. But a long line of cars stacked up on the winding and
twisting Pacheco Pass forces me to halt. It’s 9pm. After a few minutes
of waiting I cruise to the head of the nearly half-mile line of cars and
trucks. As ten or more fireman and policeman scurry across the pavement
it looks like a war zone. I can’t recognize the car. A fireman with his
yellow coat flashing and reflecting in my fairing he brings two body
bags to the alien looking vehicle. I turn my head away and motorcycle
off. Not what I wanted to see. I felt for the families who are still
wondering why loved ones are late coming home.

The police officer tells me two people died because of a drunk driver
and advises me to take an alternate route to Mountain View. I arrive at
11:30pm.

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