Miles Traveled: 0
Location: Chula Vista, CA
My Security Blanket
Have been trying to figure what drew me to the cabin swinging chair when we pulled into the camp site a couple of days ago. Well buried deep in the dark dungeon of my mind is the front porch from the movie To Kill a Mockingbird. For me, much of the movie rotated around the front porch and for who knows what reason there were many aspects of the movie and the role of Atticus Finch that became benchmarks in not only what I would do in life but how I would do it. Now, this will come as a surprise many who think my role models in life come from a nexus of Robert Mitchum, John Wayne, and Steve McQueen.
Why I carry two flags
Today for one of the first times since I don’t know when, I was at a total loss of words. I was asked at the bike shop why did I carry two MIA flags on the back of my bike. I said nothing and just walked away because I did not feel like giving a history lesson and I did not think the person was interested in more than a one line answer. The truth is that it goes back to Vietnam where I served as a young marine corporal who was very influenced by the works of Bernard B. Fall. I consider his benchmark work Hell in a Very Small Place: The Siege of Dien Bien Phu. When Dien Bien Phu fell, the French Government turned their backs on the Paras, Foreign Legion and Vietnamese regulars that escaped capture. I think it was something like 18 months after the fall that the last calls came in for help. This is a precedent followed by the federal legislature in the Security Assistance laws that stated no money would be spent by the CIA or Department of Defense to rescue any Americans stranded or that remained in Vietnam. When serving in El Salvador during the conflict of the early 80s, I had my own bug out plan because I knew that the Congress of the United States could not be counted on to authorize my rescue. Just did not know how to put that into a few simple sentences for the man on the sidewalk that was not alive during Vietnam.
A Life Line
For better or worse, this has been my home as I have traveled across the country. The sleeping bag and air mattress are rather generic. However, what is totally alien to any camping environment is the C Pap machine that generates enough over pressure so that I can sleep. I have had sleep/oxygen problems since the middle ’80s that have been attributed to malaria or heart problems. However, it appears that the base cause has been sleep apnea. At first, I was embarrassed by it but I have come to accept it and look forward to breathing in the oxygen at night. It is almost like doing some deep meditation and falling into a sleep that is so rich. My basic planning for this motorcycle odyssey including toting an air machine from the get go. One of the saddle bags is for the electronics and the computer while the other is for the sleep machine. I even have a 50-foot extension cord that I use to power the machine where ever I am. I can tell how the loss of sleep impacts on my health and decision making process. So, for me, camping includes finding a place to stay that has power outlets at the camp sites.
Luggage rack and trust
Today, I took the bike in for an oil change and for a casual look see by a mechanic. Just had a feeling that something was wrong and could not put my finger on it.I also had to pick-up the luggage rack and sissy bar to replace the one where the weld was breaking. Told the service manager that something was wrong and if the mechanic would do a close visual inspection to see what was up while the oil was draining. About 15 minutes later he came into the shop where I was writing post cards and explained what the mechanic had found. The four brake shoes on the front tire were worn down to less than 2 percent of their size. He said at some point prior to getting to Sacramento they would haved worn through and I would have been in serious trouble. Then he said the good news is that there was a recall on the luggage racks and he could install mine at a reduced price. I had pause to think, I am not a stranger to death and destruction. It is not something I fear. However, I am at a point in life where there are a lot of people in my life that I am oh so thankful they are there. I would hate to check out early for some stupid reason when I could continue to enjoy their presence in my life a little longer.
This is a good point to close out because I hope dinner will be ready and I am also too cold to keep typing.