My apologies but the program I was using at the time did not accept some punctuation. So the following story may seem a little odd at times.
Four Corners Story First, I would like to thank what I will call all my angels; those of you who took the time to wish me luck, tell me you thought I was cool, or just offer a smile. Those of you I ran into on my endeavor made this more possible, and helped me more then I can ever thank you for. To you all I say thank you, and best of luck perhaps we will meet again. Second, I would like to thank all my sponsors, my family and my friends, who have put up with me and helped make all this possible. Thank you all. Now for the story. April 28th Blaine, WA, Day 1 aprox 900 miles (Start 4 am end 4:45 pm PST) I awake to rain hitting the roof of the hotel and banging against the window. I am to ride today, it is the first day of my ride, I must ignore this. My mind starts thinking if I can just make it to Weed, CA it will be sunny and warm, as I watch the weather channel and the rain pouring down. I gear up, full gear: long jeans, gortex pants, all my electric gear. One last look around the room to make sure I am not forgetting anything. I grab my bag (all 50lbs worth), my tank bag, place my helmet on my head and out the door I go into the pouring rain. I stop quickly to get my required gas receipt, add to the photo and secret phone number then over to the post office before I leave Blaine. I head down I-5. I have ridden in rain like this before, I keep my eyes on the road as best I can but the shield is fogging up and it is dark, thank goodness there is not too much traffic on the road this early in the morning. I stop several times for gas (I will average every 140-160 miles before stopping usually 2 hours of riding). Outside of Portland I experience something I hope never to have to experience again the spray off the wheels of an 18-wheeler. You know that spray that hits your windshield like a wave, and blinds you for a second in your car when you are driving image the feeling on a bike! Outside of Eugene I am gassing up when two guys in a pick up with Harleys start questioning me. I start explaining giving them a flyer. They smile from their sun burned faces and tell me just keep heading south they had just come up from Yuma and it was sunny and 99 degrees just what I needed to hear. I make it to Williams, CA. Not a great day but I am cold and still wet and it is 70 degrees so I know I should stop. I check in at a Motel 6 ask for a quite room, which means I lug all 50 lbs of gear up two flights of stairs (I get very used to this). Off to grab dinner and make my call before crashing in the bed. April 29th Williams, CA, Day 2, Aprox 750 miles (Start 4 am Stop 3:45 pm PST) Wow I am so tired I slept through the alarm, so there is no time to take a shower and barely enough time to eat half a muffin before heading out! I am nauseous and sore (nothing compared to what I will encounter). It was about 60 degrees when I start, but by the time I hit Sacramento it is down to 40 degrees. I have forgotten to plug in my socks so I pull in to a rest area where I see a couple truckers working on a truck so figure I am pretty safe to plug in and start up again. A few miles down the road and a speeding car pulls up behind me, I immediately realize I need to pull over and figure ok first ticket! Nope guess I wasnt going fast enough for him phew off he runs into the dark before the dawn. When the sun finally comes up I see desert with hills in the distance, and am glad I did most of this in the dark. It is not until just outside LA that I catch up with a speeding Volvo and decide whippee! He is going faster then I can divulge with California plates so I stay right on his tail weaving traffic in the hills so cool! He exits before LA, so I am on my own to figure out the traffic of LA! Wow what a different world everyone is cruising at 85-90 mph and if you dont youre dead. Well that is all fine and dandy until I need to pull off and get gas 50 feet to stop I am not kidding! The brakes are squealing the tires are chirping I am not sure I will stop but I do! Gas up and back on the road to San Ysidro. Entering San Ysidro I see a sign, with the town name. The only way to get the bike and sign in the same picture is to park the bike on the sidewalk, with me standing in the major intersection blocking traffic. This must not have gone over well, as no one wanted to tell me how to get to the post office! I finally convinced someone to help me and off I went to get my secret phone number and mail everything off. Back on the freeway heading west now, I encounter a border checkpoint! Did anyone else know about these things! They actually block the freeway and check vehicles randomly for illegal aliens! Pretty scary stuff. It is over 90 degrees in the southern California desert and I am burning up in full gear. I end up stopping in Yuma, AZ as I am dizzy from dehydration. Stopping again at a Motel 6 I am not happy with my mileage but know I could not go any further. April 30th Yuma, AZ, Day 3, aprox 960 miles (Start 3:30 am Stop 5:00 pm CST) It is warm when I start, but I know only too well the desert is cold so I gear up full gear. Thank goodness, I run through hot and cold variations that are incredible. Another border checking, and my mind starts thinking oh my gosh I dont have my high beams on to watch for deer I have them on to watch for people trying to run the border! Now another scare it is pitch black and the sign says loose gravel then about one mile further fresh oil. AHAH- this is about as scary as it gets two of the worst things a biker can encounter oil and gravel in the dark! Luckily I dont hit any must have put the signs out early. Oh it gets better, just outside of Las Cruses I pass 3 18-wheelers only to see something up ahead on the road I cant quite make it out. When I do I realize it is a boat and trailer that have broken away from the truck, and a group of trailers on the side of the road. I stop as quickly as I can and swerve around them (including a man standing on the freeway waving his arms!). As I drive on I hope and pray the truckers can stop in time. In El Paso a woman working where I stop for gas gives me the cool sign and tells me I rock. A female riding alone, I give her my website information and tell her to keep in touch. Then a man approaches and I feel terrible I really cant stop so I just give him one of my business cards and tell a quick synopsis. I make it to Ozona, as I have battled huge gusts of wind for the last 100 miles, watching 18-wheelers swerve all over the road. I pull into town there is only one hotel so I check in. I walk over to the building I will be staying in and there on the ground are the biggest grossest beetle things I have ever seen thank goodness I am staying on the 2nd floor. I am very tired very sore and actually still have a hard time falling asleep. May 1st Ozona, TX, Day 4, Aprox 420 miles (Start 4:00 am Stop 10:30 am EST) I am tired and nauseous again, cant even eat anything. I know I should be eating more but I just cant stomach the thought of food right now. The wind has died down but the fog has come in and it is horrible I cant see a thing. I stop for gas about 140 miles into the ride and grab about 6 oz of coffee just to keep me going. I go to the bathroom set my coat down, as I am leaving I pick up the coat and crunch all my hair stands up and shivers run down my spine as I frantically shake my coat I just stepped on one of those beetles! I usually place my helmet on the ground near the pumps, I reach down to grab it and now I try hard not to throw up a huge grasshopper thing has jumped through my shield into my helmet please just let me get out of Texas! I cant stand bugs like this! Everything looks fine until the next stop Sealy, TX. I stop for gas in Sealy, go to get back on the bike and notice oil everywhere! Ok not good. I immediately start making calls from the pay phone, as my cell phone is not working at all. The sheriff (Sheriff R. Dewayne Burger thank you) shows up and asks if I am ok, realizing my predicament he lets me use his cell phone to call AAA thank goodness I had upgraded before I left to include motorcycles. The sheriff must get into Huston so he calls a town officer to stay with me both were incredibly kind. A quick call to the Ducati head office in New York and it is arranged I will bring the bike to Huston and have them work on it. The AAA driver shows up and we have a conversation from Sealy to Houston about all the accidents hes seen and deaths by seat belts, and my ride and where I am from. He laughs at one point when I tell him what I do and he said it definitely fit the Secretary to a CEO, because of my bright personality. His name was Mack thank you. I get to Northwest Honda Ducati and they are the most helpful kind people I have ever run into! Brandon Goodwin, sales, allows me to take over his office and make calls. Jeff and Bryon in service grab the bike and immediately start working on it. When it is unclear as to where the oil has come from, the call goes out again to New York and they say tear the engine down. Bryon, asks me to look at the bike and explains why he doesnt think we should tear the engine down. I agree as I point to the oil at the top of the frame right above the radiator. Thats when I find out Ducatis are oil cooled and the hose has loosened quick fix and I am off. After causing quite a stir thank you all. I now have to ride all the way back to Sealy as it is not legal for me to start from where I am at on the way back I notice traffic is backed 5 miles out of Houston so I determine I need to stop for the day and start again tomorrow. May 2nd Sealy, TX, Day 5, aprox 985 miles (Start 3:30 am Stop 5:45 pm) I start the day fairly well rested. I am through Houston before rush hour, but hit it head on in New Orleans ahh I wish it wasnt so dark I would have known to go Rte 12 instead of I-10 avoiding the traffic! The road in Louisiana are so bad I think my back will break up and down I am bouncing finally just standing on the foot pegs for 50 miles on and off. Somewhere in Louisiana I figure out some of the pain I can endure while riding when I get hit by a piece of that rubber that comes off 18-wheeler tires flying from the wheel of a car. I am in traffic traveling at 85 mph so I simply feel and look to make sure I am not bleeding, I know I will be badly bruised though (and I am). I hook up with a Lumina, Camero, and PT Cruiser going way to fast on I-10 all the way into Florida. What fun! When an 18-wheeler passes me going about 110 I get a little freaked, but figure hey he must know what he is doing! I see clouds in Florida and decide to stop in Gainsville right before the storm hits! I notice again oil is leaking from the bike and I get really nervous and upset I dont want to loose another day! I call Herb at Ducati Seattle and he explains after I tell him what is happening the bike is just happy and spewing oil as a release from all the hard work I am putting it through. My shoulder is beyond hurting something like a charlie horse that never goes away, I have been popping Advil like candy to no avail. I am nauseous and tired. May 3rd Gainsville, FL, Day 6, aprox 830 miles, (Start 3:00 am Stop 5:00pm) This day starts off fine it is warm, unfortunately I hit traffic in Miami dead stopped for almost 45 minutes. Then Key West ahh absolutely horrible what should have taken at most 2 hours took 3 hours! The speed limit in Key West is 45-55 and even lower! There is so much traffic is it horrible and only two lanes this must be the worst leg of the ride especially since I know I must come back this way! I grab my picture, gas receipt, and secret phone number and off I go again. I pass a sign that says 18 deaths this year drive carefully oh my goodness. A few miles down the road and a guy in a mini van decides he wants to pass three cars, does the usual cant see the biker in the other lane into my lane he comes with no where for me to go! Just as he realizes he will hit me he swerves back into the traffic he was trying to pass, causing one of the vehicles to end up in the sand on the side of the road and all I can think about is the handicapped sticker he has in his window! I make it again through construction and Miami traffic, only to hit just outside of Fort Lauderdale traffic two storms converging, one from the west and one from the east, right above where I am. The lightening is flashing, thunder rubbles and rain is pouring down I will later find out it was falling 2 inches per hour! I know I need stop when I pass by my third accident and can hardly find any area to ride where there is no standing water. Now to maneuver through toll booths filled with oil and slick steel plates becomes the challenge as I look for a hotel I see a Holiday Inn from the road and decide to stop. May 4th Boca Raton, FL, Day 7, aprox 1,100 miles (Start 3:30 am Stop 7:10 pm) I dont know what day it is any more, but I know I am a day behind schedule. I am very disappointed but will do my darndest to get to Philadelphia by tonight. I am somewhere in the Carolinas when a wonderful family approaches and says wow you were on the bike I said oh I hope that I didnt bother you too much and they laughed. The dad was an old biker and the son had just picked up his first Harley they thought what I was doing was really awesome and the mom told me to be careful! It was wonderful. Then I ran into to racers on the way to the track ah my heart pounds as I hand them a flyer and tell them I wish I could talk but I am late. Back on the freeway I decide to avoid Richmond by going around on 295 only to hit the remains of an accident in DC backing all the way out to 295!AH I run up next to a Harley guy who tells me there is not other way to NY except on 95 so I must sit in this traffic and bare it I make it to just out side of Baltimore a Double Tree and two warm chocolate chip cookies at check in I can barely stand up and I stink worse then a mens locker room I have been on the bike for 16 hours and 30 minutes! May 5th Baltimore, MD, Day 8, aprox 1,000 miles (Start 3 am Stop 6:30 pm) I have barely slept, I cant I will finish today if I have to walk the bike to the end, though I can barely stand up without feeling dizzy. I have lost I dont know how much weight, but there has been no chance to eat and I am too nausea to eat! It is about 65 degrees when I start, but by the time I get north it will about 40! I am cruising until I hit the Jersey turnpike and then dead stopped traffic and tolls everywhere how can they have tolls with roads this bad what is everyone paying for? I am sitting in traffic when a trucker decides to get in my lane, all the way up the east coast I have been almost hit like this so many times I have lost count but this is the first encounter with a trucker and there is no where to go as there is a car stopped in traffic in front of me and a jersey barrier on my left. The truckers tire gets closer and closer as I press the horn praying he will hear it he does just in time! I must stop in Connecticut and gear up even more as it looks like rain ahead and the temperatures have drooped so drastically. By the time I get to Maine and hit Rte 1 I am singing to myself and working on my second cup of coffee just trying to stay alert. I reach the gas station and my parents awaiting my arrival I later find out I was glassy-eyed and looking pretty bad. The few block ride back to the hotel after mailing my picture, receipt and phone number just about kills me. I am done well not quite I have over 500 miles to do tomorrow to get the bike to Boston and the temperatures are to reach only the 30s tonight! I have endured a hard run event, and yet I wake crying on Monday morning caused by the disappointment I feel in not having broken the female record. My family has asked me not to do this again, that I can not promise, as I ride to the dealer Riverside in Somerville to drop the bike off I dont want to stop ridding I want to keep going. I think this is in my blood and I can only promise I will continue to try my best and show everyone that I can, including myself. Thank you, Rachel.