Ryan and I were heading down the coast in the U-Haul truck. Ryan was driving. He was giving me advice on how to buy rental properties (he’s studying real estate in school). We finally arrived in San Diego at the final stop at 3:07. I’m being fairly precise about the time, because some of the riders were already there, and THEY were very particular about their arrival time (one changed my entry, because I’d mis-estimated his arrival time by five minutes (it’s a ride, not a race, right?). The first riders in were Mark Abercrombie and Francisco Figueroa. According to Francisco, he and Mark had worked together all the way from lunch. Jay LaRiviere followed closely. Jay reported that he’d closed a 45 minute gap between him and leaders to eight minutes.
Tony drove up and I asked if they’d ever found Cecil Campbell. I was stunned—not only had they found Cecil, but he was continuing on the ride! I was afraid that we’d somehow let him down, and that he’d had a major problem on the road that we were unable to help him with.
Later Cecil road up looking great, far better than he’d looked at stop #2! I was so happy to see him.
Ryan started loading the bikes into the truck. Tony had created a removable system of hooks that enabled the truck to carry 58 bikes without damaging each other during transit.
We soon brought out the keg of beer. Tony (not being a big beer drinker) had relied upon me for the beer selection. I tried to find something that many people would like, nothing forgettable, but also nothing too bitter for those folks who like their beer lighter, so I settled on the Firestone Pale 31. I guess people liked it—I heard nothing, good nor bad, from anybody about it. We tried to be discrete, keeping the beer in plastic cups.
I spent some time talking with Eiji Yamamoto, a PenCC member and LAPD patrol officer. It turns out that Eiji knows my wife’s cousin, Dennis Kato, quite well (he’d been Eiji’s watch commander at one time).
After a few drinks ( I would guess it was about 3:45), most of the riders headed off to the fitness center to get cleaned up. This was the first year that the riders hadn’t been reduced to showering in makeshift portable showers setup in the parking lot. I didn’t go to the fitness center, so you’ll have to wait for their feedback on that experience.
George Gabric, the 85 year-old who’d started the ride at 5:30AM got in just fine, and he wasn’t last.
One downside to finishing last—Bob Spalding and Malcolm Sharp got in at 5:08 and found out that the fitness center closed at 5:00! They walked over to see if they could wangle an entrance, but no luck, the facility was closed. They resorted to washing in the parking lot using a gallon of chilled mineral water. I’m sorry I didn’t get any pictures of that one, but I figured to give them their privacy.
George and I walked down to dinner. Most of the others drove over later [I think George thought I needed the exercise]. The walk was about a mile. We had dinner at Buca di Beppo. If you haven’t been to one of their restaurants, it’s quite an experience. Italian everything up to the MAX.
The food was really pretty good. It started with two salads, house and Caesar, followed by chicken Parmigiano, spaghetti with meat sauce, and some kind of chicken Alfredo. The only disappointment was the dessert. The chocolate cake was way too sweet for me.
Everybody had a great time at dinner, Tony got a wildly enthusiastic ovation for his efforts organizing the ride.
After dinner we trundled onto the bus (Tony had very graciously offered me a ride on the bus home, instead of riding with him in the van). The bus sounded like fun, so I went on the bus. I spent most of the ride talking with Cecil Campbell, who’d had some very interesting experiences to share.
Finally, we got off the bus in San Pedro and unloaded all the bikes. I know this may seem a little rushed, but the newsletter just went out and folks are going to start looking at the blog (I hope).