Words and Photos by Danielle Baker
Chad and I hit the road again on Thursday. We were meeting the boys at a truck stop in South San Francisco, the very same truck stop that hosted the first of our rig dance parties and more than a few bad decisions.
Traveling with Chad brought back childhood memories of travelling with my family. My dad would speed by attractions without even touching the brakes, saying “Hey kids, that was Disneyland!” or ‘Did you see that [insert really cool thing here.]” and we would crane our necks to see what was now out the rear window.
Chad doesn’t like to stop. I learned to time my water intake and subsequent restroom needs with the gas gauge, guzzling water when we hit a quarter of a tank and crossing my fingers (and legs) that I had the timing right. I looked longingly out the window as things like the turn off to the scenic route, Jiggles Strip Club, baby goats, Segway tours and dinner all flew by.
In all fairness to Chad we did have to deliver a deposit check for our next event in San Francisco by 4 p.m. on Friday. Chad tried to boost morale in the truck by suggesting that I think of us as being on a mission…you know, like the Blues Brothers. Oddly enough, picturing myself as John Belushi did cheer me up, but I wasn’t allowed to stop for a hat and glasses.
Reunited and it feels so good.
We arrived back ‘home’ and reunited with the boys. There was no slow-motion run across a crowded truck stop leading to a giant embrace, twirling and tears as I’d imagined. Rig life is a bit of a bubble existence; it has it’s own rules, culture and community. The shared experiences of our last trip strengthened our family bond and led to an endless supply of ‘remember that time’ stories, but Chad and I had been off the road for a month. We had some catching up to do. The boys told us stories of their adventures, nights out, girls met, and how much they are ready to be home. Chad and I brought stories of rain and work and how happy we were to be back on the road.
Rig life isn’t all glamour. Chore day was initiated when Steiner announced that he’d been out of underwear for three days. While walking around our little neighborhood in South San Francisco to find a laundromat I caught the scent of cinnamon and sugar in the air and shuddered at the memory of dumpster churros. Luckily for me the boys have been on a shenanigans hiatus and I have a chance of keeping up on this trip.
If you build it, they will come.
Saturday morning I was back earning my keep as we built the track up for the Wheels for Life Pumptrack Jam. No matter where the track is set up a community forms around it and San Francisco was no exception. Bike Mag, Boombotix, Ride SFO, and Freelap all came together to make this event happen. We were lucky enough to even find a mountain biker amongst the people in charge at Impark who helped us to secure the location for the event. Here I was at an event, miles from home, and everyone who came by was connected in some way. The Ride SFO box jump got some love and the track saw all ages and abilities, attempts on doubles and fast times from some keen groms.
With the same love that the San Francisco bike community has shown us, we would like to help one of their family members. Kachusha “Chuey” Munkanta, known internationally for his handmade cycling caps was beaten unconscious and arrested by police while trying to ensure that four Latin youth who were being detained by officers were treated fairly. You can find more about the story here. Our friends at Chrome are helping to organize a fundraiser for Chuey to help with is medical costs. If you are in town we encourage you to check out Bikes & Beats on Friday November 9. The fundraiser starts at 9 p.m. and is hosted at Baobab Village, 3372 19th Street, San Francisco. If you aren’t nearby but want to help out, you can purchase one of Chuey’s handmade hats to help support the cause.
It made me itchy.
Fred from Boombotix took us riding at Sutro on Sunday. It seemed odd to watch the boys and their bikes disappear off the city street between two buildings and up some stairs, until I walked up the stairs and was suddenly in the jungle. The trails were fast, flowy and tacky. The forest was a crazy amount of lush, with green ferns and vines growing on anything they could get their little suckers into. This was unexpected. Every now and then you could see the expanse of city below us and it was as if we were in some secret world away from all the city business.
Saying goodbye to Fred at the curb he was eager to get home and shower because of all the poison oak. . . really something someone should have told the photographer about.
We have a few days off before the track finds a new home at the SF Bike Expo. We dropped the trailer at Cow Palace where preparations are well underway and hit the road heading north.
As I write this I have no idea where I am. We are parked somewhere between San Francisco and Fort Bragg on the ocean. It’s dark. The sky is bright with stars. I know that when I wake up tomorrow morning our surroundings will be a surprise and we’ll finally know where that fish smell is coming from. Rig life.