7-16-05  Demons

 Flagstaff, Arizona

          Some nights I get “spun up”, to quote my old boss.  The Humphrey's Peak climb was planned for tomorrow, and my friends told me they were going to call around 5 AM to wake me.  My cell phone sat on the bedside table.  I was exhausted, but I couldn't sleep.  I began a cycle of nausea, insomnia, and heartburn, each component building and enhancing the next.  I began to sweat.  The cycles continued into the night, and my imaginations worsened.  I worried about the trip ahead, thousands of miles into the unknown.  I questioned my sanity for even attempting this trip.  I looked at the clock: a few minutes had passed, but the digits kept moving exonerably towards the 5 AM meeting time.  I tried to sleep: the nausea continued and my desperation deepened.  Finally, exhausted and defeated, I went to the front desk and asked them to extend my stay for an additional day.  I finally fell asleep around 4 AM, and the promised 5 AM wakeup went by without a call.  Around 8 AM, I awoke, still exhausted and nauseous.  I called my friends and learned the hike had been cancelled because of the constant thunderstorms at the peak.

            The Yellow Pages showed a motorcycle dealer just down the street.  I called to tell them my Kawasaki was under warranty and the speedometer wouldn’t stay connected.  They told me to bring them the bike, but that the wait was around 4 hours.  This was acceptable.  I drove the bike down to Northridge Motorsports and turned over the bike.  There was a coffee shop across the street.  I bought a cup of coffee and watched the storms over the mountain.  An occasional shower moved over us.  My stomach began to settle with the coffee.

            I wandered into the motorcycle shop and looked around.  The rains of yesterday had showed up two weaknesses:  the lack of rain gear and the lack of waterproof footwear.  A girl in the shop showed me the rain suits.  They were reasonably priced: under $40, and I picked one out.  While we talked, I learned she was from Ramona and had just moved to Flagstaff.  She asked me about Packard’s coffee shop, a well-known gathering place for motorcyclists passing through Ramona.  After making my purchase, I still had time to kill.  I walked over to a nearby store and purchased a can of spray designed to waterproof my boots.

            The motorcycle finished, the speedometer back in place and working, I headed back to the hotel.  There was no charge for the repair.  It was probably something simple ("Loctite is your friend").

            At the hotel, I sprayed down my boots and set them aside to dry.  I called my friends, who were staying in Sedona.  They asked me to meet them for dinner.  About midafternoon, I pulled on my gear and headed down the freeway to Sedona.  It took about an hour to find them.

            They fed me dinner, but I was still queasy from the night before.  I ended up eating lightly and requesting an Alka Seltzer to try to settle my stomach.  We spent time going out to the parking lot to look at the bike, and I put the kids on the seat one by one to experience what it felt like.  Finally, I said my goodbyes and headed out, being careful not to dump the bike in front of them.  Instead of the freeway, I took the ’89, and it proved to be not only faster but much more scenic.  The road follows a creek carving through the base of a canyon, through the Sedona Red Rock region, and slowly rises to meet Flagstaff.  It was dark by the time I reached the road crossing the freeway to my hotel.  I stopped for a few seconds to look over the lights of the town from my vantage point, and then drove over to the hotel.  This night, I slept without a problem.