S: PRISMGives Coast to Coast 2009
FC: PRISMGives 2009
3: Saturday May 9, 2009 What a great send off!! Thank you to everyone who donated and to the 50+ people who showed up for the early start, especially Jim Booth who got all emotional and was close to tears (see background of photo). The seven charity riders have completed the first day and are still up and ready for day 2. The weather was initially kind, providing a cool breeze for most of the morning, but by the afternoon, Georgia let us know that she can be hot and steamy!! As we left Jacksonville, we stumbled upon an apparent drug sting as we attempted to buy gas. “We are closed” was yelled at us so we would leave but many people were there as the police drove up and arrested one person attempting to leave. We left quickly, still worried about Kevin (the Cuban’s) status in the USA. Apparently the Lotus flies under the Georgia radar, as Rob “Lucky” Alston repeatedly demonstrated their inability to see him. On a cultural note, we drove through Plains, GA, the home town of the 39th President of the US, Jimmy Carter, and later had a local diversion, to Cracker Barrel. The final miles of a 385 day ride brought us to Columbus, GA for some local food and beverages.
13: Sunday May 10, 2009 The day started out beautiful. Not too Hot. Fabulous riding conditions as we enjoyed the sweeping, rolling roads of Alabama. We crossed the state by lunchtime and then it all changed. Just ducked under a bank ATM cover in Tuscaloosa before a major thunderstorm hit flooding the streets. Lunch was a local delicacy known as Casa Taco!! As it was only a short walk from the bank, it seemed like a good choice. It was a good job we left there as lightning struck it, set the alarms off and shut off the power in all the local stores. Quickly a police car turned up to check the bank to see if we were making an unauthorized, large withdrawal. Luckily we are not having to take advantage of their hospitality and we were able to leave the bikes under cover. Eventually we made a run for Greenville, Mississippi hoping to beat a storm cell that was moving in no such luck! With about 20 miles to go, the second storm hit but we rode on. The rain allowed “Duracell” Dennis to realize he needs a new tire IMMEDIATELY!! Slick Tires & Rain?? No Good! Now sitting in the Holiday Inn looking for a restaurant that is open on a Sunday Not too many in these parts??? Today’s historic fact was that we rode through Montgomery, Alabama where the Confederates first “White House” was located. Two days and over 800 miles behind us
19: It's The Little Things In Life That Matter
21: Monday May 11, 2009 With the storm still pounding us, it was decided to wait a while this morning before proceeding. A local visit to Lowes got some rain-gear for “Duracell” Dennis (who had to actually sit still for a while), Scott “CHiPs” Robertson and Kevin “The Cuban”. Unfortunately, they now look like fishermen but the roads look like lakes. We headed out at 9:00 into the rainy day, hoping for the best but getting the worst. Immediately the rain turned into a full, blown storm and for the next hour we rode through torrential rain as we entered Arkansas. A quick stop to check that everyone was okay and we immediately ventured out again into the rain. This time we were greeted with a full thunderstorm with lightning bolts and even more torrential rain. With only 20 miles to El Dorado, after covering only just over 100 miles, Ian “the Boss” decided to call it a day. With the help of “Lucky” Rob and his cell phone, 5 rooms were quickly booked in the local Holiday Inn Express and the ride ended for the day. Every one and everything was absolutely soaked, with the rain suits no match for the storm. While Janice “Turtle Mama” Thomas, Tayler “Mini-me” Robertson, “Duracell” and “Lucky” all headed for manicures, pedicures and massages, a new route was planned to get us back on track. Friday should be as previously planned. Now all we need is to get out of here early tomorrow, hopefully without a storm!! Heading to JJ’s local BBQ shack for dinner. The locals said it’s the best food but not in the best neighborhood. They politely said, while giving direction: “If the neighborhood starts to look safe again, you’ve gone too far”. If you don’t hear from us tomorrow, dial 911. With three days completed and 914 miles, everyone is still in great spirits and ready for a few early starts to make up for lost time.
23: JJ's “If the neighborhood starts to look safe again, you’ve gone too far”.
24: LIVE WELL LAUGH OFTEN LOVE MUCH
25: Tuesday May 12, 2009 Today has been probably the most eventful day, which is hard to imagine after all that has happened. After taking cover from the storms yesterday, “Duracell” Dennis and “Mini-Me” Tayler were up early to make a run to the Harley-Davidson dealership in Paris, Texas. In the rain, Duracell had learned that slick tires are not a great idea. Today, on his early run, he also learned that putting gas in the tank helps.. a lot! The rest of the group followed a few hours later and rendezvoused at the dealer around 10:30am, after 190 miles. The weather mostly co-operated with just a light shower or two. We must mention that the dealership was absolutely fabulous. “Duracell” got a new tire and brake pads and Ian “the Boss” got a check-up at no charge. That was probably because the rest of the group shopped to the tune of about $1000!! Kevin “The Cuban” looks great in his shiny new chaps! Onwards into the west and the weather quickly improved. After another 100 miles a lunch stop was called for. Immediately after lunch, Janice “Turtle Mama” proved that her engine immobilizer was working too well. The battery had run down and she was now immobilized. “Duracell” sprung to life and was quickly back with an Energizer Battery!??! “Turtle Mama” was back on the road, complete with her house strapped to her bike. 90 miles later in 97F heat, another fuel stop and more dramas. This time “Duracell” has a problem as his hand-grip came off!! Thank goodness for duct tape and we were on our way again. Surely nothing else could go wrong??? Now pounding miles across the windy, Texas plains and a shout comes down the line. “The Cuban” was seeing if he could equal the record for not making the destination due to no gas. With 10 miles to go, he had managed to drain his tank down to fumes but he just scrapped it to a gas station at our destination Childress, TX. Safe at last or not!! As we checked into our hotel, we sat to check the weather channel for tomorrows journey. As we did, we were quickly alerted to a Sever Tornado Alert in, guess where Childress, TX. Almost immediately the storm hit and we were watching live TV reports as we looked out the window at the same scene. A tornado down, was reported and the hotel opposite car-park filled with TV storm chaser trucks. Thunder, lightening, hail and torrential rain descending on us as we visited the local Tex-Mex. Roswell tomorrow what on earth could go wrong there!! 1400 miles down after a 500 mile day, so still on track to be in Santa Monica on Friday.
29: Wednesday May 13, 2009 Today we got another early start to make up lost time. All bikes were on the road at 6:30am as we headed into a glorious, Texas morning with no signs of last night’s storm. As we headed for Lubbock, the wind picked up and soon we were battling the weather again. Somewhere along the way, we had our first damage as a bird hit the front of the Access Information Management Mini Cooper. We got off lightly with a big dent and missing light ring. The hot windy day made the ride across Texas very tricky, so we were all delighted when we arrived at Westex Documents. What made the arrival so great was that John Miller and his entire team were waiting for us in the parking lot. Cameras were flashing as we rode in and that really put a smile on all our faces. After a quick tour John surprised us again with a check for $1000 for Action Against Hunger. That was fabulous and helps with a huge boost to see if we can reach $30K in donations??? After some group photos we headed off again, this time for Roswell, New Mexico. We looked hard for aliens but the closest we saw was “lucky” Rob in his rocket ship (aka the Lotus). A stop for lunch and a quick visit to the Harley Davidson dealership and we were on our way again. We made our historical visit of the day as we rode through the town of Lincoln, NM and past the historic Wortley Hotel, formerly owned by Sheriff Pat Garrett. The town is famous as Billy the Kid broke out of jail for the last time in Lincoln, killing Deputy J. W. Bell and U. S. Marshall Bob Ollinger, in the process. Bob was eating at the Wortley, along with several prisoners from the jail, when the breakout occurred. It was his last meal. A couple more hundred miles and we ended up in Socorro, NM for the night. With 518 miles covered we were now over 1900 miles into the journey with two days to go. We need to cross Arizona tomorrow so we can have a straight run for Santa Monica on Friday.
30: Weirdos | New Mexico
33: Thursday May 14, 2009 Thursday was a beautiful morning in Socorro, New Mexico. Everyone was up early and all the bikes hit the road at 6:30am for the ride to Arizona. We headed out on Route 60 West with the sun coming up, providing us with an amazing sun rise departure. “Duracell” Dennis was as excited as a 2-year old (again!) and shot off into the distance in his t-shirt and leather vest, only to learn about 20 miles along that it was cold this morning really cold. While he tried to flag down members of the “adrenaline junkies” so he could put on a jacket, the rest of us had a leisurely stop at the Very Large Array (VLA) for photos. This spot was made famous in the movie Contact. We all re-grouped at our first gas-station and made our first, and only agreed split. The “adrenaline junkies” headed for the hills, while the sightseers wound their way along route 60 towards the town of Show Low. Here the weather was a lot warmer and, as the leisurely group rode in, the adrenaline junkies came in right behind perfect timing. A short coffee break and we were on our way again, this time to the town of Globe. The ride was, agreed by all, as the best of the whole trip. Beautiful sweeping roads with the most amazing canyons in the background (see photo). We had clearly reached Heaven. We were all so happy we decided to push on an extra 100 miles today Hindsight would prove to be wonderful!! After a short lunch stop we headed for Phoenix. We decided Hell has no fury like Phoenix. After being stopped in roadwork’s for about 20 minutes, in 100+ degree heat, we eventually wound our way towards the city. “Duracell” Dennis took off with the “Mini-Me” Tayler in the Lotus in pursuit. The rest of us made our way together into downtown, rush-hour traffic and everything started to get tough. Our next fuel stop couldn’t come soon enough. After 100 miles in heavy traffic, we were all in need of re-hydration. We all agreed that the heat on this leg was one of the most difficult things to deal with on the entire trip. We had reached Hell!! In the meantime, Duracell decided to ignore the gas stop and plow on to get out of the heat. Much debate about what happened next ensued over dinner. I will let you decide. Dennis’s story is that he was so low on gas, and not stupid enough to actually run out of gas twice, so he parked up in a rest area on Interstate 10, and summoned the Lotus to go and get a gallon of gas. Hmmm?? That sound logical??? We all rode on, towards Palm Desert, where we arrived at 8:00pm after a long day and well over 600 miles behind us that day, and 2500 in total. After showering we re-grouped for our final dinner at PF Changs and celebrated our achievement of riding from Florida to California. Heaven had returned and many stories shared, from missing gas caps, bird strikes, wandering turtles, and how “Lucky” Rob really was that lucky. Friday we make the final run to Santa Monica Pier
39: Friday May, 15 2009 Friday morning and the bikes assembled at a leisurely 7.30am. After the big mileage day yesterday, today was planned to be a relaxing ride to the finish-line. As we departed, a small drama ensued as “Mini-Me“ Tayler appeared to have lost her wallet. The main group headed out slowly to an agreed meeting spot about 60 miles away, while “Duracell” Dennis and “Mini-Me” went hunting. “Lucky” Rob took the lead and we all arrived at the gas station to wait, after a gentle hours ride. A thorough search of the Lotus that “Duracell” had apparently tidied up the night before, and the wallet was found. A message was sent and we waited to re-group. During that time, we met another bunch of riders who weren’t quite as friendly. As “CHiPs” Robertson and Kevin “The Cuban” tried to strike up a conversation, Ian “The Boss” pointed out that the Los Angeles Chapter of the Hells Angels, looked like they wanted some quiet time together!!! “The Boss” took the lead for the final 60 mile run to Santa Monica. The traffic built up and got quite heavy but, without the Phoenix heat, it was still very manageable. Keeping the group together was tricky but we achieved it and seeing the LA skyline appear was very cool indeed. We rolled into “The Cuban’s” Santa Monica hotel at around 11.00am to drop of his bags. As you can imagine, everyone was very excited to be here and Janice “Turtle-Mama” got lots of hugs and praise for crossing the entire country with her house on her back bike. After a short break, we headed to the beach for a group photo and lunch. Fittingly, as the President of PRISM, we asked “Duracell” to lead us on this final journey, secretly hoping that he wouldn’t run out of gas on the way. Everyone was excited, relieved, exhilarated and exhausted and the photos turned out great. We will post a gallery of photos from the entire trip over the next few days. Then it was time for the group to disband and go their separate ways. After between 2760 and 2800 miles, depending on who took the adrenaline or leisurely route in Arizona, it was hard to ride off leaving some members behind. The view in the rear view mirror would never be the same! I joked before we left that, by the end of the journey, we would all be great friends with an amazing shared experience, or there would be some unmarked graves in the New Mexico desert!! The desert remains undisturbed.
44: x | Santa Monica
47: Friends Make Every Day A Party | "The friends we meet on the path of life make the trip worth while."
48: Fun in the Sun
49: Truly great friends are hard to find, difficult to leave, and impossible to forget
50: Saturday May 16, 2009 With the ride officially over, I should point out that three of the group are still on the road. With their home base in the San Francisco bay area, “Duracell” Dennis, “Mini-Me” Tayler and “CHiPs” Roberston stayed overnight in Santa Barbara and are continuing up the California coastline. When they finish, they will have travelled over 3200 miles!!!