*One little note before I get started- I do still have one Arizona post left, but I guess I'm putting it off, because it's the trip home. :( I'll get around to it.
Now, on to today's story.
Several days ago, Dave told me that the "Thunder Riders" were having a Mission Run this weekend. I have gone to several of their events and have always enjoyed them so I thought that this sounded like a good way to spend a Saturday. They really do a lot for our community and I'm happy to support them.
As of yesterday I wasn't sure exactly where the run went and what missions we would be visiting so I considered just riding with Dave. I still only have my permit, and although I have ridden on the freeways I was worried that it would be too much time on the freeway and too much chance of me getting in trouble. But then Dave brought me a route map and I realized that the missions were all pretty close, hardly any freeway time, and good roads. So this morning I decided to ride my own, and I'm so glad that I did.
Dave had donated coffee for the morning sign up, so he was out of the house a little before 8 to go and take care of that. While he was gone I got ready and by the time he came back to the house I was all set to go.
After stopping for gas we headed over to Monterey County Harley for the sign up. Dave informed me that we would have to go in the front of the parking lot. Big deal you say? Well, I always go in the back way, because the front has this really messed up driveway and I have seen several riders go down either going in or out. He asked if I was okay with that, and I gave him my standard, "Do I really have a choice?"
We pulled into the parking lot, no problem, I was just glad that I had room and nobody stopped in front of me on the way in. After I got my girl parked, Tom (the one who is pretty much responsible for me buying my bike) comes over and gives me a big hug and tells me that I looked really good and really confident, that made me happy.
I was sad that Willy D. and Carol wouldn't be joining us for this ride, but apparently Willy thinks he has some kind of responsibilities or something.
They had group rides set up, but you could choose if you wanted to go in a group or on your own. We met up with a couple of guys, Paul and Jeff, who are both regulars at Dave's shop. We decided the four of us would go out on our own little group. The first few miles for me were spent just getting used to following someone besides Willy or Dave. Jeff was in the lead, then Paul, me and Dave in the rear. Jeff is a really great rider and I felt at ease with him as our leader.
I really felt like I was in the zone today. I'm sure some of you can relate that some days you just feel it more than others. There was one point where traffic suddenly came to a dead stop and the car two ahead of us locked up his brakes. I had to stop faster than I've ever stopped before. I remember thinking, I have to stop, I have to stop fast, and I need to make sure that the car behind me isn't going to slam into me. I came to a stop a lot smoother than I expected and thankfully the car behind was paying attention and stayed a safe distance back. I hear Dave next to me yelling, "GOOD JOB!" I never get tired of his encouragement while riding.
We made it to the first two missions with no problems, but then we couldn't find the third one. The route map didn't give good direction to this particular stop, but we finally managed to find it, thanks to this sweet older couple who came off their balcony when we stopped to turn around in front of their house. The lady was so sweet, she insisted that we take her map with us in case we needed it later.
Getting lost wasn't all bad. I had a lot of opportunities to practice my u-turns, which are getting pretty good by the way! Unfortunately, by the time we made it to the third stop the people with the cards had already left. Oh well, as long as I still got to eat at the last stop I would be happy.
We got a little bit of rain on the way to the last stop. Not too much, in fact I don't even know if it was enough for me to say that I've officially ridden in the rain. I thought I was going to be baptized, but it wasn't meant to be today. That's okay, I'm not too disappointed.
We got to the fourth mission and I couldn't believe how many bikes were there, it was crazy. They had the streets blocked off and several blocks of San Juan Bautista were all ours. It was very cool.
We were talking to Kyle, one of the owners of Monterey County HD and I told him that we had missed the cards at the last stop. He said just to tell them at the booth and we could get the cards for that stop as well as the last one. A lot of good it did, none of us won. They did the cards a really weird way, I can't explain it because I don't even understand it myself, I just know that I didn't win.
But I did get a fantastic meal. The food was so good, I was a happy girl.
We hung out in San Juan for awhile, ate, listened to the band, got ice cream, people watched (some people were watched more than others, by more than others of us), the usual. They announced that they had raised over $20,000.00 for youth programs. I think that's amazing!
We left San Juan and headed home, well to the coffee shop.
It was a great day, a great ride, and I'm really happy that I decided to ride my own. Today also is the most miles that I've ridden in one day on my own, 139! Whoo hoo!