Thursday, May 22, 2008

Red Bull Does Not Give You Wings

I kept telling Jenny all week that I was feeling sick. I had a sore throat. It started the first day I left and was making it difficult to sleep at night. I thought I had a cold, but the sore throat did not go away. It got worse everyday. I was sucking on throat lozenges while I rode the bike and that made it workable. I was trying to ignore being sick and not letting it affect the experience. I didn’t want to get anyone else sick so I suggested to Les and William that they not pick up my beer by accident because they didn’t want what I had. I was getting worried about it because I’d never had a sore throat that lasted this long. It had been eight days since I first started feeling it and it had gotten progressively worse. The warning on the packet of Halls cough drops that I had in my pocket said if a sore throat lasted longer than two days I should see a physician IMMEDIATELY because it could be SERIOUS.

Don’t worry guys; you are safe. You can’t catch dehydration or stupidity.

I wasn’t paying attention to my water intake. Normally, not a big deal, but riding a motorcycle is very dehydrating. The wind blowing through my riding jacket, pants and helmet, through all the vents made for this purpose, was sucking the water right out of me. Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico have some dry air. I must have been losing pints of water every day to make my throat hurt as bad as it did. When I stopped for the day, I was hydrating primarily with beer and wine.

I left the morning after we delivered Leigh to Lake Number One. It was Saturday May 17th. I wasn’t feeling well and my throat was really hurting. I passed by the water section at the mini-mart in Raton and loaded up on throat lozenges. I also made sure I had plenty of Red Bull because it was going to be a long ride. I’d decided to drive back to Redding non-stop. The trip is 1500 miles and if I only stopped for gas and to stretch then I figured I could make it home by the following morning. In hind sight (what I call no-shit-sherlock vision), I would have had to average seventy miles an hour for twenty four hours straight without stopping, even for gas. This was, of course, more total stupidity. The dehydration must have been already working it’s magic on my brain.

I made it to Flagstaff by around 5PM. I had to stop for gas two or three times, load up on more Red Bull and lozenges, and stay moving. Right around the time the sun was setting, I started across the desert. We’ve been having a heat wave out West. The air temperature gauge on my bike was showing over one hundred degrees as I crossed into California sometime after mid-night.

I didn’t feel well when I rode past the Welcome to California sign. I figured that was because I'd been rattling down the road for sixteen hours.

At around 1:30AM, I turned onto Highway 58, which would take me over the Tehachapi Mountains and then down into Bakersfield. On my way up the pass, I was met by the cool air rushing down and tumbling with the hot air rising up from the desert. I wasn’t riding well and the wind was overpowering the bike. A few times, it blew me completely out of my lane. I was tense, bent low over the bike and concentrating hard. At some point, the wind died down. I don’t know how long I was driving like that, after the wind died down, but I was startled by a semi-truck passing me on the left. I glanced down to look at my speed and was surprised to find I was only going 30mph. While I was looking down at my speedometer, I noticed that the handlebars of the bike were moving father away from me. I looked up from the speedometer, but could still see the bars, with my hands on them, move farther and rise higher and higher and start to come closer and closer together until my hands were almost touching above my head. I was having a hard time driving the bike with the handlebars like this. It occurred to me then that I was having a problem and I was in big trouble. I had tunnel vision and I felt myself getting faint. There was no place to pull off the highway and I could not see very well. I had to stay focused and find a way to pull off the highway. After what seemed like forever, an exit came up and I took it.

I knew I could not balance the bike when I stopped so I put my feet down while I drove off the highway and dragged them down the off-ramp. When I got to the bottom, I let the bike keep rolling, through a stop sign, to a large dirt area just across from the off-ramp. I was holding the brakes hard because I was too confused to tell if I was pointed up hill or down hill. I just knew I was going to drop the bike out here in the middle of nowhere and not be able to get it up. I eased off the brakes to see which way the bike would roll but it didn’t go anywhere. Level ground. I then tried to get the kickstand down but couldn’t balance the bike on my right foot and kick the stand down with my left. I took me a long time to get the stand down. I then tried to shut off the bike but could not remember how to do it. I started turning, flipping and pressing buttons and the bike shut down. I stumbled off.

I was really woozy. There was a street lamp nearby and I could see that I’d pulled off in a semi-truck turn-around where they could change directions on the highway. It was a large dirt circle with grass and trees on the edge of it and about fifty yards behind me was an underpass for the trucks to go under the highway to get to the other side. I squatted next to the bike and started to feel sick. I considered lying down on the ground but this thought filled me with fear. I stood up, feeling that lying down right now would be end of me. I tried walking around the bike and shaking my hands and feet. I managed to get the hard case open on the back of the bike and found a can of V8 juice to drink. I also started drinking some water. Then I heard the animals in the grass and in the trees. There were so many of them. I saw movement in the grass and heard tropical birds and some low grunting noises. Mountain Lions. From behind me, coming from under the highway, I heard voices. I turned quickly and I could hear shuffling around as people were crawling from their cardboard boxes and talking. I could not make out what they were saying but I had to turn around and watch the grass line for the animals that surely were starting to make their way towards me. When I turned around, I saw three cartoony lion heads pop up quickly from the grass and then duck back down. I knew I was hallucinating. But I was really scared and the feeling of being stalked from all sides was very real. I thought that I should get the gun. I tried to remember where it was in the bags but I knew in my stomach that this was a bad idea. The rational part of me knew that getting the gun was going to turn out bad. I would end up shooting at noises or possibly being shot by the highway patrol if they happened to see me pulled off the highway looking around with a gun in my hand. I knew that there couldn’t be so many lions in the grass and people under the freeway discussing how if I kept my back to them long eoungh they would be able to reach me. I kept turning around and around looking for all the things that were surely coming to get me. I pulled out my knife, opened the blade, and held it in my hand.

Someone in a beat up truck pulled off the highway, drove past me, and stopped about a hundred yards away in the dark. I could see their brake lights. I had to get the gun. I moved quickly and pulled it free from one of the saddlebags. The truck started to back up towards me. I set the gun in the opened top case and freed the bullets where I had them in the zipper pouch in my camera bag. I fumbled the gun open and tried loading it but kept dropped the bullets. The truck backed up past me, then turned under the freeway and got back on going the other way. I think he must have been checking his map.

I was so confused and feeling very sick. I knew I had to calm down and get myself out of this situation. I was on top of the Tehachapi Pass at almost 3AM and there was nobody around. I couldn’t lie down, I couldn’t start shooting at phantom sounds and I had to work this out. I drank more water, walked around the bike, hopped up and down and stretched. I made myself walk over to the edges of the grass to prove there were no lions. I knew I could not get back on the bike if I was hallucinating.

I’m not sure how long I stayed there, but I started to feel a little less faint. I got the bike started up again and tried driving in circles in the truck turn around. No problems. I decided to get back on the highway. I paid special attention to the handlebars and told myself that if I could not keep my speed up or the handlebars started to drift that I needed to get right back off. It took me about an hour to get down to Bakersfield.

I was still very confused. It’s hard to know, when you are confused, how confused you are. On the way down, I started trying to go over my symptoms and figure out what was happening to me. I was a medic in the army and had some training in recognizing and treating heat related injuries. I spent several weeks each summer supporting tank crews in the Mojave Desert on field exercises. I drove an armored personnel carrier tracked ambulance and followed tankers around treating mostly heat exhaustion and hydration problems. Cold sweats, confusion, hallucinations, nausea … these were signs of heat exhaustion and dehydration. Oh yea, and a dry, sore throat. What a dummy. I needed water.

In Bakersfield, I stopped at a gas station that was clearly closed. I shutdown and got off the bike. I wondered why I just pulled into a closed station. This was not helping. I then drove a while longer and found central Bakersfield and pulled off at an open station. I filled up with gas and went in and purchased three bottles of water. The guy working the station was looking at me like I had a problem. I drank a bottle of the water and nearly threw up. I looked at myself in the side view mirrors on the bike and my face was flush, sweaty and my eyes were sunken. No wonder he was staring at me. He continued to stare at me from the store because I was sort of pacing around the bike for a while. There was a Best Western Hotel next the gas station. I was trying to figure out if I should go there. I could not decide if I should keep going or if I should try to get inside and cool off and rest. I got on the bike, started it up, and without deciding, just sort of drove over to the hotel, parked and went inside. I think maybe my body decided. By 4:30AM, I was in the shower running cool water over myself.

I left four hours later. I didn’t sleep because I was really wired from all the Red Bull and feeling really crappy. I heard the people next door talking and I decided that I must have woken them up when I came in and they were mad at me. I didn’t want to face them so I decided to leave a little after 8AM before they got up. I realize now that I was still acting very strangely and very confused. Why would I think the people next to me where angry? I'm not even sure I really heard them talking.

By 10AM, I was on Interstate 5, heading North. The sun was climbing higher as were the temperatures. Once it got above ninety degrees, I started to feel really bad again. Just like a few hours before up on the pass. I'd been drinking water and Gatorade and thought the worst was behind me. It seemed to help at first, but I started to get woozy in the heat. I drove for as long as I could but my riding started to deteriorate and I pulled off at an exit. There were no services on this exit and there had been no services for many miles and there were no signs of any coming up. But I needed to rest for a moment.

I could not have chosen a worse exit. I needed to get out of the sun and find some shade. It was over a hundred degrees by now and I was losing my grip on the bike and the situation. There was no shade except for a little postage stamp of a shadow from a small tree I'd passed a few minutes before. I kept driving father and father away from the freeway, into some farm lands. It all seemed very desolate. I decided I would go back and take that small amount of shade I'd passed by. It seemed inadequate, but it was apparently my only option. I had to pull off the road into the drainage ditch next it. My bike would not fit in the shade but I was able to sit down and pour water on my head and try to pull it together. Every now and then a car would pass me. I considered laying down but I thought I would pass out for sure and be in the direct sun light in no time. A highway patrol office, probably tipped off by a passing driver, pulled up. I was relieved to see him, but I could not believe what my mouth told him. He asked if I was “doing ok buddy?” I told him I was just taking a break from the heat. He told me I found the only shade for miles around. He said “you don’t have too far to go do you?” I had a sinking feeling and I told him I actually did have a ways to go. He asked me if I needed help… I said no. Watching him drive away, I thought about what a total fucking stupid person I was and wondered why I can never ask for help. Apparently, I’d rather die.

My efforts to cool myself were not working. My feet, hands and tongue started to tingle. I decided I had to make a run for it, from this shade, and make it to someplace with air conditioning. I swore to myself I would stay there and not get back out in this heat if I could only make it. I was scared for my life at this point and done being a moron.

I took a big drink of water, dumped some on my head, shirt, arms, back and chest and got on the bike. Not feeling stable or completely alert, I got back on the freeway. I pulled off at every exit and dumped more water on myself. I drove like that for about twenty more miles and came up on Patterson California which is essentially a truck stop. There was a hotel there and I parked out front, went inside and was able to get a room. I felt sure I would pass out right at the front desk but managed to be polite and patient and smile. I probably looked like a nutjob.

In the room, I filled the tub with cool water and got in it. My whole body felt like it was radiating heat, I was queasy and not able to stay standing very well. I got into bed and put some wet towels on my head and chest. I continued to feel worse. I’d drank water that day, but I felt like it wasn’t doing any good. I called Jenny and left a message to tell her everything was OK but that I’d stopped to rest. I called my parents, hoping to give the same impression, but as soon as I heard my Mom’s voice, I broke down. I’d scared myself, was feeling completely drained and completely ill. I cried and told her how bad I’d fucked up. My Father was ready to come and get me but I asked them to wait. I wasn’t sure what I should do. I felt at this point I should call for medical attention. I was worried that I’d dehydrated myself and overheated to the point that I was not going to be able to fix this myself. I called the front desk and asked them if they could go to the store and buy me some Gatorade or something similar. I thought I better try to get sugar and salt in me along with the water. I called my Mom back and asked her to find Jenny and tell her to come to Patterson to help me. I felt really shitty about this. Patterson was a six hour drive from home. I felt like I created a problem and now I was dragging other people into it. I wanted to do this myself, but was too spent to not ask for help. I also wanted to be able to complete my journey on my own and this felt like a failure.

Four hours later, I was still not able to cool down and I still felt horrible. Jenny was on her way. Jenny asked someone at the hotel to bring me food. When the person from the front desk brought me something to eat, she suggested that I didn’t look well and maybe I should call for medical assistance. She offered to call the local fire department and that they could assess me. I agreed and within a few minutes the fire men were in my room and then some paramedics came. My vitals were fine. The paramedics explained to me that I was certainly dehydrated and they could put an IV in me and take me to the hospital but felt that what I needed most was to eat. They said that without eating, the water I was drinking would not be absorbed into my body. They asked me to eat something, keep drinking water and electrolytes and try to sleep. They also told me I was going to feel badly for a few days.

They were right about eating. I forced myself to eat and within an hour started to feel a little better. Jenny showed up, I ate some more, drank some more and slept. The next day I got back on the bike to try and get it home and Jenny followed me in her car. I made it about an hour but started to get dizzy and was feeling nauseous again. Jenny told me that I was having problems riding straight and keeping up right on the bike. I had to agree with her. She suggested that we take the bike to my aunts house, which was a about twenty minutes away, and then I should get in her car and go home. So that’s what we did.

It’s now five days since that happened and I’m starting to feel better. Yesterday, my hands were too weak to type much but today I’m feeling stronger. I rode Jenny’s motorcycle a short distance today and had some trouble working the clutch and my balance was not one hundred percent right.

So, this is why I was slow to report that we made it to Number One Lake and why I haven’t mentioned my return trip until now. I've had to take a few days off from being me so I could recover.

Oops.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Success

On Friday, May 16th, the roads where clear and we made it up to Number One Lake with out any problems. Les and Harriett nailed a little angel into the tree where we laid her ashes. I scattered Scarlet's ashes in a ring around the tree and then right next to Leigh to keep her company.

video

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Vermejo Tomorrow

In the morning, I'm following Les, William & Harriett up to the lodge. Les thinks that there is only one stretch of road where I might have a problem because it is 'slippery than shit'. I think he called it the 'Old Mine Road'. Sounds like Shaggy or possibly Thelma might have named it. Apparently it's steep and has a certain fecal viscosity that is going to give me trouble. Worst case, I'll leave the bike, jump in someone else's vehicle, and deal with it later. My ability to get the bike up to the lodge will not prevent Leigh having her special day.

We are going to bed feeling pretty good about our prospects to get to Number One. It is supposed to be nice weather tomorrow. I'm feeling relaxed about everything now that Leigh's family is here. If things don't work out, we'll all figure out what to do together.

Snow in the Mountains

I've arrived in Raton. It rained hard the first 100 miles, the temperature got down into the 30s and it’s been blowing hard all day. No problems on the ride. It took me a while to travel the entire 170 miles because I had to go slow. I didn’t realize how cold my feet had gotten until I tried to set them down on the ground to stop and almost dropped the bike.

This has been a sad day for me. I couldn’t stop crying for most of the day and that continues as I write this. I’m hoping to get it together before Les, William and Harriett arrive so I’m not difficult to be with.

We may have a problem. This late season storm has brought snow up in the mountains. It looks like a lot. Too much snow means we won’t be able to get to Number One Lake. I’m not sure what we’ll do if that happens. I'm not sure I can get the bike up to the Castillo Lodge either. It's an hour ride on a dirt road, up a mountain, and it's bound to be muddy.

In a panic, I tried to rent a four-wheel drive. This cannot be done in Raton. A very helpful employee at the Tourist Information Center offered me the use of the her Jeep. She said if she could not find me a four wheel drive before I walked out of there I could leave my bike and take hers Jeep. Ultimately, after trying four or five places, she called up to the Castillo and they reported getting snow for the last three days and seven inches just this morning. The lodge is at about three thousand feet below the elevation of Number One. She did not report that Number One was unreachable, but did say that several people have been stuck. The good news: they have a four wheel drive truck I can rent from the lodge. The lady at the Tourist Center gave me a big hug and I left. I drove my bike to a hardware store to get a shovel and some chain. When I pulled up, I thought about it, and decided that if it's going to happen then it's going to happen and I'm not going to be able to control this situation. I left without a shovel. If I had purchased a shovel, you can bet your ass I'd be posting a picture of it tied to my bike.

Can’t write any more right now.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

My New Outlook

I rode about 410 miles today. I left Flagstaff at around ten this morning and arrived in Santa Fe, New Mexico, early this evening. I’m writing this from the bar at the La Posada. This is a place I came a few years ago with Leigh, Les and Rachel. We came to this hotel for a wine and cheese tasting put on by Justin Winery from Paso Robles. I didn't plan on coming here tonight and didn't realize it until I pulled up. The weird thing was that I was just thinking about this memory earlier in the day and now here I sit.

When I left this morning, I left with a new resolve to do some serious miles and focus on the reason for why I’m here. Yesterday, I questioned why I made this trip. Reminding myself that I'm here to honor Leigh made it all make sense. I started out this morning, not focusing on the day’s destination or scanning the roadside for reasons to stop or change direction. Instead, I focused on Leigh. I started from the beginning. I thought about the moment I knew I wanted to marry her, about moving her from Denver to San Francisco, about that transition and about the time we spent learning how to be together. I thought about the day we left in our car from San Francisco to Arizona so we could get married. I remembered slow dancing with her under an over pass on the freeway on our way there because I said we needed the practice and because she didn’t believe I would do it. I also thought about how I got annoyed at her because she bought a welcome mat for our apartment that I believed we could not afford. And then I had trouble going further with the memories. I do that. I get stuck on those moments when I know I behaved badly. I start to replay them in my mind and it pushes out all the other thoughts and memories. I apologized for getting annoyed later, but it’s not like I didn’t repeat that episode over and over again during our marriage. I was sorry each time, but I kept doing it. I’d get mad about something, I’d pout. Sometimes I would get loud and say shitty things. And later I’d be sorry. And then I’d do it again a few weeks later. We probably fought every five or six weeks about something. By ‘we’, I mean me. Leigh wasn’t the fighter. She put up with a lot of crap from me.

Before Leigh died, I’d always heard that it was never too late to apologize. I think that statement misses the mark. I can tell you now that it is too late to tell Leigh sorry for being an asshole on a regular basis and not recognizing that it was I, not her, that was the source of contention. I was always trying to convince her that she was wrong. I was pretty good at it. So now, too late, I’ve faced that and I’ve done something about it.

Although my therapist traded me for year-round seventy five degree temperatures, she did leave me with ways to recognize myself for who I really am, think about who I really want to be, and suggest ways to make up the difference between the two. It’s not like I don’t have my moments when I get angry or annoyed, but I’ve stopped looking for whom to blame for my bad mood. Too bad it’s too late to say sorry to Leigh for being like that. You can say sorry for something you said, but there is no more complete way to say I’m sorry and I love you than doing something tangible about it. Every time I think about a moment that I spent pissed off at her and telling her how she was wrong and what she should she do to stop being wrong, is a moment I stole from her and ultimately stole from me. You don’t get those back. Word to the wise.

So this is what I focused on. I focused on serious riding. I focused on Leigh. I maintained a Zen like state of purpose, thought and mission. Until I saw this sign.



Anybody who knows me well knows that I have a thing for cosmic destruction. I started seeing the signs miles away. Meteor Crater 23 miles. This is not why you are here. This is not the purpose of your ride. Meteor Crater 15 miles. Think of Leigh. Think of your mission. Focus on your life with Leigh and letting go of the things you can’t change. Meteor Crater 6 miles. After making this gesture of love to Leigh, you need to turn around and get home. You will not make it back on-time if you allow yourself to be distracted from the goal. Meteor Crater Next Exit.

The crater was awesome. When I made way up the stairs, past the museum and gift shop and out the doors to the walkway to the crater rim, I started to feel my heart race. This is THE crater by which all earthly craters are measured. A mere 50,000 years old, this crater is in perfect condition and tells the real story of what happens when the cosmos says ‘WHOS YOUR DADDY!’. WHAM!!! I started to tear up as I looked at the enormity of the devastation. I stood on the rim of the Grand Canyon a few days ago, and frankly, it was hard grasp. It’s just too big. Two hundred and fifty some-odd miles and ten miles across? It’s hard to really see it. I stopped every ten miles or so, while riding the canyon rim, and took a look. It looked the same as it did ten miles earlier. But this impact crater was something you could grasp. At one mile across and about five hundred feet deep you could definitely put your finger on this. You could feel the power of the Universe. If you believe in god, and you look at this impact site, you would probably feel like god should look the other way when this thing hits because something is about to fuck up his art project. The undeniable future of the human race can been seen just a few miles from a corner in Winslow Arizona. “Hey honey, we should really change these incandescent light bulbs to more energy efficient compact fluorescent bulbs. If every household in America installs just five of these bulbs, we’ll save seventeen million tons of greenhouWHAM!!!!

If I could choose my death, it would be by mass extinction. I’m a people person and would find some satisfaction in that.

But I tried not to stay too long. I felt the pull of my mission and I needed to get back on the road. I started focusing again and reaching for that Zen like state. Then I saw this sign. Rocks and wood together in one place? Free for the taking? Who put chocolate in my peanut butter!

Advice from a HIllbilly

One of my two readers has pointed out that my use of were and where is not always correct, and the she is distracted by this. I'm not thrilled that a hillbilly is telling me that my grammar is poor but I have to face truth.

East for Leigh, West for Me

As the two of you know, I’m not a stable person. The way I overcome this is by constant movement and engaging in ‘projects’. I’m always up to something. Otherwise, it gets too quiet in my helmet. But there is always a moment when I come up for air and realize the trouble I’ve made. Today was that day.

I didn’t really plan for this trip very well. II talked about it, I knew it was coming, but it was only a couple weeks ago that I decided how I was going to get here. Like I mentioned before, it’s so ‘big’ that I couldn’t simply get on a plane the day-of and show up. It had to have drama. This coming weekend has been sitting in the corner of every room I’ve been in for months just sort of staring at me.

I actually didn’t think it would be as difficult as it has been. Today I started to really feel the time I’ve been away from home, away from work and away from family. It’s only been five days but it feels like I’ve been gone longer than that. I’m feeling lonely and a bit tired.

I’m two-thirds of the way to Vermejo. It hit me today that I’m only one-third of the way through with the whole trip, considering that I have to go back. And I can’t be gone for fifteen days so I was really feeling a bit panicked today about what I’ve gotten myself into. Yesterday, I started to entertain thoughts of shipping my bike home or leaving it and flying back and coming back to get it later. But I couldn’t really dwell on that because I had to worry about staying up right and in one piece.

Sitting around today gave me too much time to think. I started working through the scenarios in my head. Then I called Rachel. You know how sometimes you are thinking about something and then someone says to you what you are thinking inside your head and that makes it real? Rachel mentioned that I had to ride the bike back and that is all it took to push me into a panic. I tried to be cool on the phone, but after I hung up I started to really think about the details. I started to think about how long it takes to drive one mile. And I thought about how every mile I drive east; I’m going to have to drive that mile back west. I had a few conference calls today for work and there were questions about when this project would be complete and when I could schedule that call and what exactly would be delivered.

I started thinking about how I needed to get back home. I started calling around to see about how you would ship a motorcycle home. I started to look into where exactly you could park a bike for a month or so at an airport like Denver and what the flight schedules looked like. I thought about the costs of implementing these plans, the amount of time it would take to set them up, how soon I could expect to put something in motion and where I would need to be to do that. The first two long-term parking lots I called said they don’t take motorcycles. I called a storage unit rental company but they didn’t have anything large enough on the ground floor that I could drive my bike into. I emailed one and called two shipping companies. Only one was open and they said they could get me a quote and shipping schedule by the middle of next week.

It was a frenzy of typing, calling and thinking.

And sinking.

And feeling like a dumb shit for doing this.

It’s hard to think clearly when thoughts are rushing through your head like the wind. Then a customer of mine called me on my cell phone and asked me for a meeting this week. I told them I was indisposed, but I could possibly do it next week. They asked me if I could do it first thing on Monday and I said no… but how about Tuesday at 10AM? Done. So working backwards from 10AM Tuesday, I had to throw out all the plans that would not put me back at my desk at that time. That was pretty much all the plans. The only way I can get back by then is to ride. And there is no ignoring the distance. The most direct route back from Vermejo is fifteen hundred miles. And driving a mile in a car is not the same as riding a mile on a bike. Somehow they are a lot farther on a bike. The most I can hope to ride in a day is about five hundred miles that will take about eleven hours if I only stop for gas and to let blood circulate in my legs and hands. That means, when I see a sign like this, I have to ignore them and keep riding. No matter if it explains why clowns are so scary, why I have a minimum room price and why I won’t eat a dirty food... all at the same time.

So, the panic has passed and I know what I need to do. This is a serious ride. I need to focus on being safe, accomplishing my mission and getting my ass back home to my family and commitments. I will have to apologize later for the abruptness of my visit to Vermejo.

This ride to Vermejo is a tribute to Leigh. I know she would be laughing until she cried at what I’m doing and she would appreciate it. And after I let her go on Friday, I know I have a life I need to race back home to. I know Leigh would appreciate that too.