We’re Off … (SNAFU!) .

logisticsI had been looking forward to my 2016 summer long trip, planning and researching for nearly six months, sending emails and making reservations. I’d made preliminary “dry run” test trips to Orlando, Daytona, Port Canaveral and Tallahassee. However, as time ticked down to departure, it was just a series of mishaps.

I had reserved my AB&B room in Detroit, my Amtrak auto-train ticket for the Orlando to DC trip. I had arranged my free attendance at the Reason Rally in DC, the CNU conference in Detroit, and UUGA in Columbus. I was still working on my room in Washington, a room in Columbus, and hadn’t done anything at all for the two mid-trip UU summer camps or other places I’d want to see. The rest was wide open, with just general ideas of what I’ll do and where I’ll go.

I bought a new Helmet, Jacket and Safety Equipment; and did some repairs and enhancements to the bike. I replaced my worn out bluetooth in-helmet speakers, used for hearing GPS navigation and audio while riding. I organized the house and bills for being away all summer; but still had lots of loose ends. My overnight rooms in Washington and Orlando finally got finalized, with a dozen emails zooming back and forth, so I had routes and beds for my first full two weeks. I was set for the DC Reason Rally, the CNU Detroit Conference and my routes getting between them.

Then my phone died.

Saturday afternoon, just 16 hours before my Sunday morning departure, after 6 hours of technical setup and troubleshooting, I still could not connect to my new bluetooth helmet receivers to my phone. So I followed the procedure and did a “Factory Data Reset” on my very reliable Samsung G3 … and it “bricked” (a technical term for becoming worthless, a doorstop, a “brick”). So much for leaving on Sunday morning.

Jesse & I scrambled, looked at buying a phone off the shelf from Wal-Mart or the phone store at the mall.  But instead I picked up Lyn’s hand me down Samsung. She had just upgraded to a G5, and I took her old G4. To do that, I sat down and cleared her data, and nearly bricked a second android inside of twelve hours. But I was able to recover the phone and install all of my needed software after 8 grueling hours of detail technical work into wee hours Saturday night.

In the meantime, the hand-me-down G4 started to overheat (from all the uploading and downloading) and eventually it began dropping and reattaching to the network like a yoyo (a know “feature” of old G4’s). After letting it cool down, I finished several more hours of data transfers however, now getting a “SIM card missing” error message, which also seemed to be a known problem.

I had planned to start my summer on Memorial Day week-end, along with every other motorcyclist in Tampa Bay. Poor Adam at PMA was slammed helping get bikes out of mothballs and ready for spring flings and week-end escapes. But he stayed late every night for a week, and he pushed my prep through that mess. After changing all the oils (engine, trans, gearbox) and mounting beautiful new Michelin touring tires, the other things were snafu’d: needing an extra part, an extra day, and ended up running right up to Sunday morning in his driveway. Talk about cutting it close! I can’t thank Adam enough for moving mountains on my behalf to get me out of town and onto that train.

So I decided to delay my departure back to Monday morning, cutting out my Orlando layover, giving me Sunday to fiddle with the used phone and to relax for the day with Jesse. Also, I could now ride in Adam & Garry’s PMA Memorial Day motorcycle ride on Monday. The ride went up and back to Bushnell National Cemetery, and Bushnell is the mid-point of my ride to Orlando. I could ride with the parade of Harleys, then just peel off at the turnaround point and head east to Orlando. Unfortunately, I woke up Monday morning with a terrible migraine (they occur randomly).  So instead of joining the ride, I took my migraine meds, sent Adam a “sorry” text, and headed back to bed.

In the end, I didn’t leave Sunday at sunrise. I finally set out Monday, at just before noon and in 90 degree heat (wearing all my new uncomfortable safety gear). And I’d be relying upon a phone (my absolute lifeline) that I had never used, did not have a protective case, and was still acting very finicky.

Not an auspicious start to my summer.

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