August 12, 2013:
On the 80TH day of the KURE2013 ride, I am in Portland – finally, on the West Coast. I am up early and out on the streets of Portland to explore this marvelous city. I am met by a school of bicycles, all riding in a green painted lane that is part of the street – this city is clearly environmentally conscious. I walked toward the mall, as the doorman suggests, and find these young lads dressed in police type uniforms, but without guns – seem to be policemen, but I watch one go through an amphitheater area picking up garbage, straightening out chairs, and generally answering questions of people – how could this be a cop? I inquire of him of a good breakfast place – he points me to 3rd Street and Stark and I head out, miss the place completely, but end up at a coffee shop where I ask if there is a breakfast place, and am told “yes, right next door”! Missed it by that much!! I note a really funky little café so I can go the next day, and stay satisfied with coffee and bagel with cream cheese from the coffee shop.
I am in a very old and ornate hotel which I am sure has quite a history, itself. The rooms are very comfortable, the staff is very helpful, and I look forward to the meeting that is to be in the same hotel. But this day I am set to attend a luncheon at Jake’s Crab House just up a few blocks from the Benson, with Versie Meyer, and her good friends, Sandi and Roland Page. I get to walk again around the town, taking the street the wrong way, and it is delightful to explore this city, and I have a great dinner with these Portland Kiwanians.
I return to the Benson and continue the always catch up work of the blog, the log for Guinness, and keeping up with things that have happened back home.
August 13, 2013:
Versie picks me up at the Benson around 11 a.m. to travel east of Portland to a Chinese restaurant where the Montavilla Kiwanis Club meets. President, Cymbeline Fernando, is the leader of the club and it is in a large room in the rear of the restaurant. Most notably, it is “grand children’s day” – a day when club members can either bring to the meeting their grandchildren or bring pictures or other things to talk about them. President Fernando has invited her daughter, son-in-law, and their children and other have brought photo albums of their grandchildren – it is like “happy bucks” for grandchildren. The other notable thing about the club, is the size of the amount of food served – huge and all packed with lots of good things like vegetables and noodles and such. We are there early enough to set up for the presentation, and one of the members goes back to her home to get a screen, so the KURE2013 show is well received by the club’s members.
I have the rest of the day to work on the blog and my log for Guinness, but also I find the catering room and ask about where tomorrow’s meeting will take place, and am escorted to the Cambridge room, which seems far too small. After the hotel’s catering person considers tomorrow’s schedule, she decides to move the meeting room to the Crystal room, a much larger and more appropriate room right off the hotel’s main area – we confer on the proper arrangement of the tables, the lectern, the piano and the table for the projector, and by 6 p.m. that day all is set up. I come down from my room to take a look and decide it very much meets with my approval – all we need now is a screen, which I am told will be brought to the meeting the next day. We are ready to go.
August 14, 2013:
This is the 82nd day of the KURE2013 ride – I ask for an extended check out, knowing that I will be in the Portland Kiwanis Club meeting starting at noon and probably to around 2:00 p.m. or so – the hotel graciously gives me to 2 p.m. I go down to the Crystal room early to set up the projector and speakers, and I also decide to retrieve my motorcycle from the garage a block of so away where it has been parked these past 3 days. I plan to park it in front of the hotel to expedite my packing procedure, but I am met with two rather different issues in this process. First, I give my parking ticket to the garage attendant, a young woman who appears to be of India Indian descent, and she states that the cost is $4.00 – very reasonable since the bike has been in the garage for 3 nights. I pay it and proceed to fire up the engine of the KUREmobile to move the bike to my packing position, but then I am met by a somewhat frantic garage attendant, now with an older, managerial-looking woman in her tow, saying that she made a mistake and it the parking fee is actually more than $4.00, it is $4.00 per day I was in the garage. I advise her that I was told it would be $4.00, and nothing was said of per day, and that I had already paid her the believed sum I was quoted, not wanting to argue about a most reasonable parking fee, but still reeling from the outrageous parking fee from the Embassy Suites in Indianapolis - $22.00 a day. I figure all parking establishments, throughout the country, are in cahoots with each other and if one overcharges, maybe it is appropriate to make up for it with another undercharging. With the motorcycle running, my helmet on, gloves on, and with very little interest in stopping this procedure to then reach into my pocket to retrieve more dollars, I become somewhat sarcastic with the young lady about now trying to get an additional $8.00 out of me for 2 more days of parking – the young lady, like so many that I have met who work as an attendant in some service related business, seems to be able to do little to respond to any question or comment of mine, and only persists in saying that the charge is more – it seems that training is lacking, as I have seen it in many locations, however, when the manager-like person chimes in that the previous payment for the parking is enough and I can go, I figure maybe my effort to balance out the inequities of the parking lot conspiracy have been successful – never believing that a motorcycle should be charged anything to park since it takes up, usually, no parking space and can almost always fit around the parking bar that is at the payment booth, I figure that with the two locations I have been charged a parking fee – Indianapolis and Portland – the $88 dollars for four days in Indianapolis and now the $4.00 in Portland for the same parking spot, now average out to about $15/day of parking – OK, I feel so much better!! The next dilemma is where the hotel wants me to park the bike in the front of the hotel, and it seems much more of an issue than I had thought – one attendant wants me to put it at the upper area of the street, far from where it can be seen, and the other at the lower end – we compromise and I put it in middle!!
I attend the Portland Kiwanis meeting in the Crystal room and have some fun with pictures afterward – Evelyn Chapman, the president, allows me to place my Harley hat on her – later, in Seattle, I will use this at the speech before the convention attendees, and Evelyn plays along very well – thanks for being so graciously understanding, Evelyn!! Sandi Page and Versie Meyer also participate in making the meeting a memorable one. Lastly, I box up all the stuff I have obtained since the last time I boxed the stuff up, and Evelyn Chapman and her husband agree to take it with them to Seattle, where I plan to dump it on my wife to take back to Los Angeles – tag team transference I call it!
The meeting done, I go through the laborious steps of packing up the bike, meet some wonderful Canadian people on bicycles who admire the KUREmobile, and then head out down Broadway. My GPS does not hook to the satellite right away, so I guess at where I have to turn to get to I5 and I am exactly right at where I turn, so I feel a premonition that the Seattle part of the trip will go very well – a little superstition in 12,000 miles is OK! The trip to Seattle is just short of 200 miles, but I do not get out of Portland until about 3:00 p.m. I hit the Seattle area – my host for the stay are the Spurrells, Gail and Bob, and they live in Kent, which is south of downtown Seattle and almost directly east of SeaTac Airport – and the traffic is just horrendous, and it is pure traffic, no accidents – just too many cars for the roads. I turn onto a route to go to Kent, and apparently there is a concert or something – it is wall to wall cars and takes me about 45 minutes to travel less than 10 miles. Someone needs to discuss this with the traffic engineers of this area, because it is as bad as LA traffic, and it should not be for such an idyllic place. I arrive at the Spurrells compound around 7 p.m. – the KUREmobile is parked right behind Bob’s gold cart and I am now set to begin the last official efforts of the KURE2013 project.
August 15, 2013:
This, the 83rd day of the KURE2013 ride, finds me in a home with two Kiwanians who are so incredibly helpful and supportive – something the “unity” part of this ride is all about. Gail and Bob know that this type of project is difficult, long and arduous and that any assistance they can give our project will result in the ultimate benefits to the Eliminate Project, and boy do they help. I get to do my laundry for the first time in a few weeks, they help in directing me to a BMW dealership where I have to have the 12,000 miles service done [I am at over 13,000 on the bike and when I call to make the appointment, they ask what year the bike is, and when I tell them 2013, they do not believe me!! Apparently, riding 13,000 miles on a bike in 8 months is simply unheard of!!], and they offer to allow me to use one of their vehicles instead of renting a vehicle to do some things I have to do while I am here – the Kiwanian spirit and espredecorps is alive and well in the Spurrell house! We head to the Auburn Noon Kiwanians Club meeting, where Bob is the President. A group of Kiwanians that clearly enjoy each other, this club rivals the Long Island Kiwanis’ clubs for sarcasm – a very close second. The program is some kids of one of the members – Lisa and Mike Clark – showing us hip hop dancing – very entertaining, then I get to say a few words, which turn into many more than a few because of the questions and response of support for the project. A fun and enjoyable meeting. Back to the house to get prepared to pick up my lovely wife, who will be joining me for the weekend – I borrow the Spurrell vehicle to drive the short distance to the SeaTac airport, and now comes another one of those local experiences that one cannot believe occurred. As I drive into the airport, and only because I am in a vehicle that my wife does not recognize, I approach the terminal, spot Lynda standing by the curb, and drive right toward her on an angle and, to get her attention, flash my high beams – on and off very quickly, not more than a split second. At the exact time, unfortunately, an airport cop, on one of those Segway type vehicles, drives right in front of my line of sight to my wife, where I was going to park – I drive around him and park further down the road and get out to greet the woman of my life who I have not seen in over a month. With venom in his eyes, this cop approaches me and says that I “flashed my high beams” at him, and that is “illegal” – somewhat shocked that I am even having the conversation, and mostly in disbelief that this could possibly be an issue [traffic was huge going into the airport and the cops were very busy directing it], I shrug him off, greet my wife and start loading her stuff. The copy would have nothing to do with my bliss – he persisted to accost me with this accusation, so I am forced to address it. I explain that I was not “flashing” my lights at him that I do now own the car I am driving, my wife was not familiar with it, and that I, ever so briefly, flashed my high beams at her to get her attention, which it did and which help us connect. The cop persists and is way overboard on this – I ask to speak to his supervisor – he agrees, then asks for my “license, registration, and insurance” information, some of which I do not know where it is because it is not my car. Continuing in my disbelief, and wondering if someone pinned an “abuse me” sign on my back, I give him my California driver’s license and my USAA insurance card, and we start hunting for the registration and insurance information. The supervisor arrives – a Marine looking type guy so I figure I’m toast now – and he explains that flashing high beams is “very dangerous” and a violation of the law [I find out later, from friends who live here, that the fine legislators passed a regulation that you cannot flash your high beams because apparently people were using their high beams as a signal of where a speed trap was – not sure if this is the same issue, but, boy, some complicated issues up here!!]. I start to get as I get – you know, belligerent, and somewhat testy since I am now being delayed, holding up traffic, and I would love to turn my attention to the woman of my dreams, rather than these two people with “small man” personalities [and now, I did not call them that!]. Lynda interjects several times, the cop that starts it looks like he is going to write us a ticket, I explain 10 times that I had no intent to flash anything at the cop but that he came into my line of sight when I was doing the “flash”, and I finally whip out the “I am a lawyer” so I know something about “intent”, and I apologize for any misunderstanding – one of those finally gets to these guys, and we are finally allowed to go on with our business, and they theirs – boy, a real experience in futility. It is great to see Lynda and we head back to the Spurrells, where we are greeted, pretty late at night, by a smiling Gail who welcomes Lynda to the Northwest. Another day is in the books.
August 16 and 17, 2013:
This day begins the NW Convention – quite an experience. We arrive at the Double Tree Hotel at the airport, and I round up “the Alaskans” for what I think is our 50th state meeting – Dave Watts, the president of the Chena Fairbanks Kiwanis Club, along with members Pam Demeritt, Joan Cannon, and Kerri Phillips, as well as Jim Huetti of the Anchorage University Club, all join me for a ½ meeting to talk about KURE2013 – thanks guys for helping the KURE2013 project complete one its most important efforts – a meeting with a club from each state. At the same time, my committee members, Dave Hemstreet and Barbie Eland are meeting with the Hawaii group in Reno, at the CalNeva convention, so we now have all clubs “met” with – 48 by visiting the clubs, and 2 by them visiting us. Mission accomplished.
Gail and Bob dive into their duties at the convention, then Lynda and I take the BMW GTL1600 and the Spurrell vehicle down to a place called Fife, about 20 miles south of the airport and near Tacoma, to the BMW dealer, where we have an appointment to have the 12,000 miles service done. While being done, we have lunch at a local BBQ place and tour the “Glass Museum”, where we see a woman walking a pig along the street – very interesting. The service done, we head back to the hotel for the meeting – I meet about 10 BMW riders in the hotel lot who have just ridden some 11 days on BMW GS1150s all through Canada – love those bikers. I then start working on my speech, tweaking the PPT I have to center more on the ride then on the Eliminate project – since most at the convention are very familiar with Eliminate – and my son, Lee, helps out. We bring up some of the thousands of photos and videos of the trip and put together what I hope at that time will be an interesting presentation.
On Saturday, we work most of the day on the speech and other matters, and visit seminars at the convention. I take my PPT to Gary, the audio-visual and computer guy for the convention, and we come up with a few things to make things go well. He suggests putting in Star Wars music for my entrance which, since I decide to wear the helmet as I walk in, works out well. When the time comes for the Governor’s Ball, my wife has brought me a suit – black of course – which with the white helmet, clearly makes me look like “dark helmet” in Spaceballs. Gail introduces me to a crowd of about 300 and adds all those ever so pertinent items of my ride that I have forgotten about – after my entrance, I have some trouble getting the portable microphone unattached from the helmet, and the holder breaks, so I have to now hold the microphone during the speech – oh well, one little glitch. The speech goes well, even though several of the videos do not load and play, I improvise, and after the speech, I receive, much to my surprise, a standing ovation – many thanks NW District Kiwanians for your kind acceptance of my talk and for hosting me for this event. I am told over and over again that they were so pleased to have a Kiwanian talk to them, and not someone “from the outside” – point well taken.
Gail, with her side kick Lisa Clark, drag us to a nightclub in the hotel where we are definitely not part of the “usual crowd”. We find out it has a cover charge, and since none of us is trolling for a mate, that expense is unnecessary, so we head for “13 Coins” a 24 hour restaurant just down the road. We take a hotel shuttle and, after we are done, and somewhat feeling pretty good, Bob Spurrell calls the Red Lion Hotel [we are at the Double Tree] and asks them to send a shuttle, which they do, but when we get on, we ask to go to the Double Tree, and the driver does not flinch, and takes us to a competing hotel – now that would never happen in Los Angeles!! Back in the hotel, we collapse.
August 18, 2013:
This is now the final day of the 12th week – we slowly get our things together, take in breakfast at the 13 Coins restaurant [we walk this time], and bid goodbye to our hosts, drive to Edmunds, just north of Seattle, where we visit Dan and Linda Wilds, some friends from Glendale. Dan and Linda are incredible hosts, taking us out to many local places and introducing us to some biker friends who talk about joining me on the last part of the trip. We hurry back from dinner to catch the 5th episode of Newsnight, an HBO program we both very much enjoy. We stay the night after such an enjoyable time – thanks, Dan and Linda, so much for such a wonderful visit.
The final numbers, as of August 18, 2013, the 86th day of the ride – we have now travelled 12,063 miles, and are now past the Guinness World Book record by 691 miles. I have met with 58 Kiwanian functions in 48 states, plus meetings with Kiwanians from the 2 states we could not physically go to, Alaska and Hawaii. Thanks to all for continuing to share this experience on Facebook at “facebook.com/KURE2013” and on the web at “KURE2013.com”, and for supporting the effort with your contributions. It is truly a humbling experience as “The Eliminator”!!