During our time here we have learned that in order to keep An happy, it helps to have at least a few of the bare necessities within walking distance. The bare necessities being a restaurant or two, a convenient store, and watering hole (preferably one for wine and one for beer, although a combo spot will do).
Barring pedestrian access to such staples, life in our little slice of the Bay Area has certainly been car focused. Old hat for veteran commute warriors like myself (you don’t live in the Bay Area for 13 years without becoming one with your car, and in my case your horn), but somewhat of a culture shock for An. That is not to say I am gripe-less. My time behind the wheel is also my NPR time. Listening to NPR is core to my strategy for surviving the persistent traffic with my sanity. Like most people who rely upon NPR for such life saving services, I have come to accept pledge week as a crucible we must all endure. But what I am not ready to accept is the music. Why do the program managers at NPR believe their is a significant intersection between audiences that enjoy The News Hour, California Report, Forum, and many other such great programs and audiences that like to spend an hour listening to the deconstruction and analysis of music that can equally well be described as the sounds of a long forgotten people making flint tools or the melody piped over the phone while on hold with Comcast/Time Warner in hopes of sedating their customer to such a degree they forget why they hate their cable provider? (NPR and its affiliated stations have yet to respond to my question.)
Having given up on the urbanization of West San Jose and change in the NPR lineup, it seems like a good time to resume our trip. At least that is what An and I thought. My doctor seems to be a contrarian. The latest CT-scan suggests my carotid artery is healing, but not quite fully healed. On the bright side, it is just a matter of time. Recheck in three months. In the meantime, no motorcycle for me. We did get the green light to travel, but just not on the bikes. While it is sad to leave The Weasel and Rick Grimes behind, we were not up for another three months hanging around.
Where does that leave us? Two ideas came to mind. We could grab a flight somewhere and backpack for a while. We thought of either spending time in Greece or Vietnam. Our ancestral homelands and places we each wanted to spend time in during this trip. The other option was to continue our planned road trip, but using a different mode of transportation for now. Right from the start the road trip idea was more appealing to both of us. We like being on the road and had been looking forward to continuing on through the Rockies, Southwest United States, and beyond. The only question was how?
There were a lot of brilliant answers to that question over the past few weeks. Without going into too much detail, we progressed from car camping (winter weather in large section of the country ruled that out quickly), VW camper van (damn they are expensive, who knew?), camper van rental (damn they are expensive, seems to be a pattern), to buying a van and stick a heater in it. That last idea seemed like a winner. That is when we welcomed Kaiser Wilhelm (all our vehicles have names), our 4x4 Sprinter van, into the family. He is a little bigger (some would say husky) than The Weasel and Rick Grimes, you can actually put both of the bikes inside The Kaiser (a fact that was not lost on us), but that just means there is more of him to love.
We picked up Wilhelm just before the holidays. I quickly worked out the electrical (addition of a car GPS mount and some inverters for AC outlets) and heating solutions (Mr Heater indoor propane heater). An is doing the “scaping”, pretty much everything else. We will build a bed and storage frame for the back (father, brother, and son project time), bring cooking gear, and a hell of lot more. Did I mention Wilhelm is a bit of a chunky fellow? Of course that means An will have more cloths. Probably a good idea since one of our first destinations will be the Rockies. Estimated departure from the Bay Area is mid January. Do we lose out adventure rider credentials?
It has been a few months since our last post and we are a little over excited to be back on the road soon, but that was a slightly longer blog post than I was expecting to write. In particular, the NPR rant went a little longer than expected, but it had to be said.