So I get orders transferring me from Santa Barbara Ca. to NYC. In the military theres a thing called a "dream sheet". Essentially you list your top 3 picks for where you would like to be assigned and the 3 places you do not. I was just completing 5 years sea time and was required to go ashore. Yes. You do get sea time in the Coast Guard. My first 3 years had been on a ship in Alaska. Which I loved BTW.
Shortly before I got my orders I had gotten a DUI and hadn't completed the requirements. Specifically a safe driving course. The minute I crossed the Cal border into Arizona I felt a huge relief. Out of Cals jurisdiction! I traveled light. An "Alice" pack strapped to the seat behind me and a very small set of saddle bags. About a gallon on each side. I also carried a Colt Agent .38 special and a couple of speed loaders. I had no clue about the CCW laws. Most states didn't permit it back then. I wasn't gonna ride cross country by myself unarmed though.
I took Highway 10 from LA to Tallahassee. The tank only held 3.5 gals and at the speed I was cruising was only good for about 100 miles. I ran 100 mph most of the way. No joke. There were quite a few stretches in AZ and NM where I wasn't sure if Id make the next gas station.
Theres a lot of nothing out there and back then you could ride for a half hour or more and not see another bike or car. I was west of Phoenix in the middle of nowhere when I just spotted a small bird as it flew into my right knee at 100 mph! It felt like a sledgehammer hit my knee. I immediately went into a high speed wobble and my legs were, no shit, hanging straight out over the back of the bike. I kept my eye on the edge of the road and came within 3 inches of shooting off into the desert!. I slowly reeled it back in and said a prayer. There was not a car in sight and I may have laid there a looong time if I had lost it.
So I get to the Holiday Inn in Phoenix and go to the bar. The bartender was trying to pimp some girl that looked like Jennifer Beals from the movie flashdance!. I was tempted but I had about $3000 on me and wasn't gonna take a chance and get rolled.
The next morning I jump on the bike and head for El Paso. Same routine. Im hauling ass. Havent seen a cop. As Im riding A station wagon with surfboards on top and I take turns passing each other. ( 100 mile range. Remember?) As I approach the Texas state line I see that State Troopers had pulled the car over and torn it apart Literally. seats out. Luggage everywhere. They even broke the surfboards in half! I don't know what they found but they had 3 young white guys in handcuffs.
As Im approaching civilization something flew into my neck and STUNG THE LIVING FUCK OUT OF ME! It was so bad Im trying to look in the useless bike mirror to see if Im bleeding as I slow down. I always assumed it had been a wasp of some kind but having lived in Texas for a spell I wonder now if it was a Tarantula Hawk? Google it.
Anyway I pull into the Holiday Inn El Paso. Take off my helmet and walk in the lobby and women swooned! I had an angry red swelling the size of half a baseball on my neck that looked ready to burst! HAAA! Im laughing now as I type this. I was just irritated at the time. People were askin me " Are you allright? Should we call an ambulance?". I declined and went to my room. Fucking desert tried to kill me twice in two days!
I don't know if it was nationwide but this HI bar had hookers too. I settled for a couple beers. My momma didn't raise no fool. Thanks for reading I do have some route advice and will get to it tomorrow.