Chilling in SoCal


Tamecula, CA to Santa Monica, CA 

125.1 miles ridden. 

5:15 am is a remarkably early wake up when going to bed at past midnight. I was able to get up and out on the bike pretty early and rode to have breakfast at a little place called the Landing Zone Cafe in Lake Elsinore. 

Had a good ride up over the mountains on California State Route 74 but was tired enough to nearly fall asleep riding a few times. The road itself was twisty and would have been a dream ride if there had been less traffic and I had not been so exhausted. Multiple stops for photographs and my book on tape just simply were not cutting it to stay awake, even through the great curves. I finally made the call to switch to some music in my head set and used some Five Finger Death Punch and Volbeat to fight off the heat and fatigue. With the music blaring I made a push on to Santa Monica without incident. 
In Santa Monica I was greeted by Tessa and her wonderful dog Waffles again. Tess had to prep and run for a convention about tiny homes so I got situated and took Waffles for a walk down to the ocean. It was a nice walk for the dog and felt great to stretch my legs a bit.  I caught a few Pokemon as well. The rest of the day was spent playing with the dog and doing some computer work to try and get caught up. 

For dinner I used my favorite Google maps secction, where locals eat, and walked down town and tried the Fork-in Aussie Pie. It was without a doubt the best meal of the trip so far. I had a Chicken Tarragon meat pie on a half serving of roasted yam mash with mac and cheese on top and an Australian peach soda to wash it down. The crust was a golden brown buttery-perfection.  The savory Tarragon Chicken evoked memories of my mothers best home-cooked meals. The yams were just the right bite of salty to offset the sweetness of their roasted perfection. The mac and cheese was sharp with the taste of real cheddar and some crunch from what I would guess are crumbs from the amazing pie crusts.  In short, it was incredible and I would have ate myself sick if I was in a weaker mindset.
If I am ever forced to choose a last meal, this might just be it.

I chose to grab a little dessert at the Ben & Jerry's across the street before walking off some of my meal by Poke' hunting.


Santa Monica, CA to, Los Angeles, CA and back 

63.8 miles ridden. 

It's derby day! Today I got to go and ref the scrimmage between Angel City Derby Girls Hollywood Scarlets against the San Deigo Aftershocks. The game was a blowout but still great fun to ref. I was an outside pack ref, which rarely happens in Alaska, and had a blast. 

Afterwards I got to try Popeye's chicken for the first time and it wasn't nearly as bad as I would expect fast food to be. I don't think I will be jumping for chances to eat it but not bad.

While waiting for the evening's scrimmages I was blindsided by an incredible women. I had been relaxing on the couch when one of the officials asked for me to come talk to someone about my bike. That someone turned out to be a skater from the Hollywood Scarlets. Turns out she rides a black CB500X like what mine started out as before the Rally-Raid install.  We went outside and talked about my bike a bit and all the modifications.  The more we talked the more I realized how beautiful she was and what a genuine spark for life she had.  I was shocked to realize that I didn't just find her beautiful, I was actually feeling attracted to her and like a genuine connection was happening. With Cat being so central to my life it just hadn't been something that had happened for a long time.  It was like an old part of me was waking up from a long slumber.  While I really hoped she would stick around and play the scrimmages that night, it was likely for the best that she didn't since it was such an overwhelming sensation after so long only caring for Cat.

Working as Head Ref in the Angel City Warehouse under the eyes of WFTDA level 3 ref Allyn UR Grill
 - Photo credit to Celeste Johnson
I head reffed the first black and white scrimmage of the Shore Shots mash-ups and felt like I had done alright. Got told I had done fine by Allyn and that was a sure plus and made me feel a bit better about my performance. Working with Allyn is always a good time and I had really enjoyed doing so at The Big O when he head reffed the Team USA men's vs Big O All-Stars game that I outside pack reffed.

I played the next two games and felt really good about it on all counts. Both games were coed and while my teams lost both it was still a great time. I played well and worked well with the team. I even stopped Andrew (Lambo) several times and beat him to clear the pack as jammer which is a rare thing and since I don't jam much anymore.
Photo Credit to Celeste Johnson

The afterparty was good and made the choice to bail a little early so I could get up and go to Aftershocks practice in the morning in San Diego.


Santa Monica, CA to San Diego, CA 

159.2 miles ridden. 

I was supposed to have gotten up at just after 5 am so I could ride the two hours to San Diego to practice with the Aftershocks. When I got up I realized I was too tired to be safe and choose to go back to sleep and let my body decide when was right. It was a small thing but a very healthy choice for me to make and not one I normally would have made. 

I was also amazed to find that I had remembered the two prior day’s mileages for my journals even though I had not written them down when I should have. My memory is already starting to improve in such a short amount of time which shocks and amazes me. 
Write it down, then reset it. Simple in theory, complex in early mornings....

Once into San Diego I rode around a bit to find food before heading to Lauren's to off load the bike and say hello. She was being amazing and letting me stay with her even though we hadn't seen each other in six years. Once I got all unloaded I got a message from Andrew about going to Mexico for dinner that night. It felt really odd and kind of shitty to show up at Lauren's and then just up and leave but she said it was alright and I took her at her word. 

We went to the boarder where we parked at a pay-lot and walked across the border into Tijuana. It was my first time going to Mexico and the first stamp in my passport to date. We grabbed a cab to the main part of down town where we walked till we found a taco stand and proceeded to eat street food. It was awesome and I tried three different tacos and a tea like drink made from steeping a flower and then sweetening it. 

We had a great time and then walked back across the border to get the car and head back to San Diego. We chose to use the Jack in The Box bathroom just over the border and it was filthy and disgusting. More so even than most of the toilets in Iraq. I actually did a squat and drop cause there was no way I was touching that seat. 

Got back pretty late and it seemed like Lauren had been waiting up to talk to me about house stuff. It made me feel even worse for running out that quickly for dinner.


San Diego, CA 

50.9 miles ridden. 

Waking up in a new place for a second day in a row is starting to feel odd.  The one day one bed then on is really quite comforting and yet disconcerting as I process through memories and make new ones.

After a quick shower and gearing up I went for breakfast downtown at a smoothie shop where I grabbed an acai bowl to go with my protein smoothie. I feel a bit like a yuppie with all the juice bars but it really helps get my day started.

It was time to go grab the parts I would need to get me through Baja and I went to a place called Fun Bike Center and bought a new chain, two front sprockets, a new rear Anakee Wild tire, air filter, and oil and filter for the change. 

I had to ride over to the distributor to pick up the chain and sprockets and was really annoyed at the place. I parked where it said Will Call and was told I was in the wrong place. So I moved and went into the unmarked door. Once there I was told I needed my receipt even though Fun Bike Center had called ahead. It shouldn't have bothered me but it did. As I am beginning to deal with everything that has happened I am getting the realities of who I was back. There is a lot of anger and temper I put away with the pain and despair. As I am uncovering and coping I am having to deal with my flares as well. 

Once I got back I had some time to do a little work on the computer and watch a bit of Longmire. Lauren got home as I was prepping to leave for Aftershocks practice. I felt bad heading out just as she got home but really wanted to make practice after missing yesterday's opportunity. 

Practice was good but another example of my rising levels of emotion, good and bad. I ended up having frustration and walking away from a skater who was pissing me off. Needed a minute to cool my head before jumping back in. I know that this is all part of the healing process but I am embarrassed by how quick I am to emotion right now. 

Got many comments of wishing I was going to be at Champs with the Shocks which really made my day. Telling them I had offered but not been rostered hurt a bit but such is life. 

After practice I hung out with some skaters talking in the lot and then went to a place called Weiner Schnitzel with Boo and Tyrrell for food. Stayed out pretty late and then got back to the apartment late. 

It felt bad to be staying a second night without doing hardly anything to say thank you to Lauren or even spending any time with her.


San Diego, CA 

Zero Miles ridden. 

Had a slow start to the day and mostly just worked on logistics and watched some Longmire for the morning. I also went to the small grocery store up the street and bought food stuffs for the house and to make dinner for Lauren tonight as a thank you for letting me stay with her. I also picked up some local beers and food for general eating while I am here. 

Once all my errands were done I went ahead and completed the oil change and swapped the air filter on the bike. I did this all in the street in front of Lauren's place and using an aluminum broiler pan. I tried to get the chain and sprocket exposed but realized that with the bike grounded and no stand there wasn't anyway to do so myself. 
Doing maintenance with only the tools I carry on the bike.  I love my Motion Pro Metric Trail tool though.  So useful!

The joy of a too-tight oil filter means I have to use some old-school tricks to get her free.
After the bike maintenance I made Cat's and my Loco Moco for Lauren and I for dinner and relaxed with Lauren on the couch for a bit. I ended up watching a little more Longmire and calling it a night.
Healty Loco Moco


San Diego, CA 

16.3 miles ridden. 

Slept in again as I have since arriving. Was in the shower when I got the call that my tire was in at Fun Bike Center. I got cleaned up and geared up before hitting the road. 

I had decided to change out the rear sprocket with the front just to be safe so I had to go back to the distributor again after paying at the bike shop. This time I knew where to park and to bring in the paperwork. 

With all the parts in hand I went to the service department where I found it was going to cost me $127 to get them to mount the chain and sprockets. This was a hard hit to hear on top of the parts cost but without the needed tools I didn't have much choice. 

I ended up falling asleep in the chair waiting and the service clerk ended up having to come tap me to wake me. I cleaned up the rim with some provided rags before adding the extreme seal tape to the rim. I know I should have taken the time to really clean up the rim and use rubbing alcohol before mounting the tape but I was rushed and not thinking very clearly. Ultimately the lack of good seal would be my own fault, not the tapes.

Before I returned to my seat I walked around the bikes and took a look at what was in the shop. Was nice to see so many bikes and so much gear. The service manager found me to tell me that the JT sprocket wouldn't fit on the counter shaft. We tried the second one and it wouldn't fit either. The parts counter didn't have any Honda front sprockets and the fitment was likely a whole batch issue with JT so we had to order them in which put me without bike for two more days. 

All my frustration didn't change anything but at least Mario at parts was calming and helped to keep me cooled off, even if he was the only one not adding gas to the fire that my temper was trying to grow into.

I had to grab an Uber back and the driver got turned around twice so it took almost an hour. I went up the street for food and a smoothie at a small Hispanic deli just up the road. It was a really good Cuban sandwich and a papaya-mango-strawberry smoothie with protein. It solved my hangry problem like a champ and I finished Longmire and started Luke Cage.


San Diego, CA 

Zero miles ridden. 

Spent most of the day sitting on Lauren's couch watching Luke Cage and working on catching up on my journals. Really not much else happened until Kristen arrived from Sac and Lauren made it home from work. 

With everyone there, including Lauren's boyfriend, we went out to pick up dinner from Lucha Libre, a local taco shop many had recommended, and carried it to a brewery a few blocks down that Lauren and Kristen's friends own. Along the walk I saw a logo on a window that stopped me cold and I just had to take a picture.

NoMad in front of the new home for Nomad Donuts.  Hard to argue that serendipity.
The food was alright and the beer was pretty decent. We then went on to grab ice cream at a little place a block back toward where we came from that had six cone sampler flights to try several of their 32 flavors. 

When we got back I managed to get some work done, and after everyone else went to bed I finished watching the last episode of Luke Cage.


San Diego, CA 

10.3 Miles ridden 

Slept in as much as I could but was up and about by 9:15 due to activity in the apartment. Finished watching the comedy show I started last night and then got a shower. Was a very different morning with Kristen also being here but not in a bad way, just more company. 

We went up the street to have breakfast at the little dinner on the corner and I grabbed another smoothie from the same Hispanic deli. We then hit the same small supermarket and walked back. The laundry I had started was ready for the dryer so I flipped that and went back to relaxing a bit and handling other admin tasks. 

Kristen drove me and we went out shopping for a bit to try and find "adventure pants" as Kristen called them. Pants that zip off at the leg to become shorts. So that I could lighten my load and ship some more gear back home. We didn't have any luck finding ones that fit that were less than $100 and the last place was more than 30 minutes north and so Kristen asked if I could wait to handle it. 

I was able to find more long socks and was also able to go and get my Stryker armor replaced by Cycle Gear due to the rivets falling out. Then I went to Fun Bike Center even though they had not called yet. The bike was "done" but the chain was looser than it should have been and I had to adjust it before riding home. The shop was pretty good though and I likely would take the bike there again for work if it was stuff I wasn't able to do. I would guess that they just went with the stock chain adjustment which doesn't take into account the new swing arm angle from the Rally-Raid suspension.

The ride back would have been uneventful except a women in a white Mercedes decided that she should drift over the white line while I was lane splitting and bump my right knee when I had nowhere to go to my left due to the other vehicle on my left. I instinctively fired off a kick into the cars rear driver-side door and she finally appeared to realize I was there and gave me a dirty look as I accelerated to get away from her. 

Once back to Lauren's it was time for the crock pot chicken that Kristen had started and to watch Zootopia. The movie was fun and I actually watched most of it without something else needing to happen. That was pretty cool considering it is essentially a children's movie and I am rarely able to sit still and watch an entire movie without working on something. Afterward we put on London Has Fallen and we all helped with Lauren's bead making project which was actually pretty cool. We made beads from scrap book paper rolled around a small knitting needle and secured with modge podge glue before sanding the edges and coating in poly acrylic sealer. I made 9 or 10 in the span of the short movie.  
Everyone else chose to call it a night so I did the same and prepped for bed. Cat and I talked on the phone for a bit before I journeled and called it a night.


San Diego, CA 

106 miles ridden. 

Woke up around 9 and had a pretty relaxed morning before Kristen and Lauren went to the grocery store and I took a shower. The girls made breakfast of bacon and french toast while I worked on my phone. 

After breakfast I went out to Adventure 16 to go pants shopping and ended up with the pants I was looking for, a money belt, a new head lamp, and my travel towel. Spent too much money but it will likely be the right stuff. Ran to Home Depot and then to Lowes afterward and got the hardware for mounting the GPS to the Palmer Products brackets and was able to get what I think I needed. 

When I got back the girls were leaving as I parked. They were off to target and the grocery store and I was headed inside to change. Boo contacted me and asked if I was busy tonight because he had a game with his COED team, Chorizo and Eggs, and knew they would need refs. I ended up loading up and riding an hour to the games. 

Once there I was actually tasked as the head ref for both games and did my best with a fairly green ref crew that all did really well based on their level. The first game was Chorizo and Eggs v The LA Flakers, a high level coed game, and then a mid level women's mash-up. Both were a little dicey with green refs but were safe and fair so I think it went well. 

I rode back and was only back a few moments before Kristen and Lauren got back. They ended up giving me their left overs from dinner which was great since I hadn't eaten all night.


San Diego, CA 

Zero Miles ridden. 

Woke up early and tired to pack and head down stairs for Boo to pick me up for practice with the Aftershocks. We went for breakfast first at Nomad Donuts. the doughnuts were incredible and so filling that we each only had one and a half doughnuts of the Dozen we got. Boo insisted on paying for breakfast and even bought me a Nomad doughnuts shirt. The pineapple passion fruit crueller was so good that I went back in and bought four more so that I could bring them back for Kristen and Lauren to try, though I would end up eating most of them... 
Not just a shared name, also the best donut I have ever had.

We headed for practice after that where Phoenix said I was more needed as a ref when I asked her what would be most helpful for the team. It felt good to be able to help out and was a completely different experience to being told I could ref or nothing at some practices. I would be lying if I said I wasn't worried about coming home to what I thought might a semi-toxic practice environment in January. 

After practice Boo and I went to Grater Grilled Cheese and had lunch. We ate an amazing lobster and crab cheese fries with roasted garlic aholi as an app and then each had a gourmet grilled cheese. I had the Bacon Arugula and Tomato version of their five cheese grilled cheese. It was good, but not even in the same league as the fries. After that Boo dropped me back at Lauren's and I spent most of the evening working on the computer. 

Those fries though!

Lauren's boyfriend came by and the four of us watched the football game. More realistically Lauren and her boyfriend watched the game and Kristen and I both worked or played on our phones. After football they put on the second presidential debate and I lost even more faith in humanity and more specifically the US's chances with a good result from this election. No matter who wins, the world losses. 

A friend ended up sending a message asking if I could talk. I took the call and she had been drinking in New York and was walking away from her fantasy of a threesome because she didn't want to Cheat on her husband. We stayed on the phone for over an hour as I helped talk her through what was going on and stayed on the line keeping tabs until she was safely in her hotel. 

The conversation had gone to our attraction to one another and we had started flirting. It was fun and a bit exciting but even just talk is starting to make me feel bad because it isn't Cat. I love her and want to do right by here even though I still have urges towards other women. I don't know that it is fair or healthy for her or me even though we talk and I tell her everything. I just wish I could be better for her. All these emotions and feelings are making me wonder who I really am anymore, like the me I put on for the last six seven or so years was just for others. Cat has been so amazing and wonderful through all of this. It is hard to imagine another woman who would openly talk to me about my urges for other women and still be so incredibly supportive of this process.


San Diego, CA 

17.8 miles ridden. 

Today was all about getting ready to go and deciding if I was crossing the boarder into Baja as planned or heading to Dallas, Texas for the Men's Roller Derby Association Championships

When I got up I ate the last of the Nomad doughnuts cruellers. I spent most of the day working on logistics and editing to make a blog post and get things checked off my list. I cooked the last four eggs I had bought for lunch but went out again around five for a Hawaiian sandwich and a green juice blend from the little Hispanic sandwich shop up the block I had been frequenting.

I rode the bike to my last Shocks practice of the visit and reffed again. They really cleaned up their play throughout the night and I was glad to be able to help. I also talked to Brett about satellite skating for the Shocks next season and he seemed favorable to the idea if I could commit to going to tournaments. After practice Boo, Terrell and I went for Pho and it was really good. I came back and had made up my mind to go to champs and so I stayed up doing laundry and getting things prepared.


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