Tuesday, May 24, 2011

International Conflict, Vandalism, and Emergency Rooms

We entered Sausalito. It was a gorgeous, sunny day. Each push of the pedal made my right knee send telegraphs to my brain that read something like, "You are a piece of shit, Stu Chipman," or "I had hoped it wouldn't come to this, but I am going to secede from the rest of your body parts," or "You seem to be interpreting this screaming as singing, as you continue to pedal despite my best efforts to inform you of the problems we are facing in this department."  Robbie was pedaling just a little way ahead, frequently checking behind him to make sure I was still there. A few seconds of relief came when the horsepower of gravity and geography combined took over the propelling duty. As I swooshed down the hill, I was taken by the sight of the sunlit hills of Sausalito sprouting up around some of the bluest water I have ever seen. Lovely houses hung on the vibrantly green hills like giant ornaments on a Christmas tree. The hill brought me down turning left onto the main street of the cute little town. I looked ahead at the fudge shops, the restaurants on the docks, and the colorful awnings hanging over the people strolling on the sidewalk. I thought to myself, "This is one of the most lovely places I have ever seen."

Robbie, cruising in his white under-armor atop the Mango Sentinel, from about 25 yards ahead of me, turned to make sure I was alright. I smiled, waved, and gave a thumbs up. He smiled back. We shared the happiness for a moment, and then two red lights light up, one on each side of Robert Allen Guimond. They were break lights. I pointed and yelled. He turned back around, it was too late. He swerved back and forth like a fish that had just left from the water, suspended in the air, hoping to plunge back to safety. Robbie landed on the dry land of a white Hyundai, plunging into the back windshield, which burst like a firework.

My whole body was hot, and I left from the LO Ryder forgetting the pain in my leg entirely. My terror was quickly relieved as Robbie pulled himself from the wreckage in a matter of seconds, seeming to be fully aware, if startled. Small droplets of blood formed on his throat and his ample sniffer: not enough to cause too much concern.

A small, bald man came stumbling in amazement from the driver's side of the car. He began mumbling in a french accent, "Wha, wha, wuszhy, whuu, whatd hoppauned!?" Robbie and I both began making apologetic remarks, trying to calm the man as his wife and two children climbed out of what turned out to be a rental car they had picked up for their visit.

I called 911, as a nurse driving by told me that Robbie was in shock, and needed medical assistance immediately. I thanked the good Samaritan and complied with her request. In short order, a fire engine and 3 police cars arrived at the scene. Police officers started marking around the tires of the car with chalk. I hauled the bikes off the sidewalk as paramedics asked Rob questions about how jacked up he felt. They made Robbie spit out all the glass in his mouth, and took him in the ambulance to the hospital 6 miles away.

After the police took Rob's bike to the station, and I rode mine down, we locked them in the police garage. One officer pointed out the damage to Robbie's bike: the fork (thing that holds the front tire to the handlebars and frame) was bent beyond repair, and the shifters were compromised as well. I replied to a text from Robbie that said, "The hospital is six miles away. How's the frenchman?" I informed him of the damage to his bike, and that I would be taking a cab to the hospital straight away. That cost me $30. In the ER, I found a happy Rob Guimond. After the nurse cleaned his small wounds, we decided it would be best to video document our experiences. I had decided against taping the scene at all, thinking that me whipping out a camera would have scared the Frenchman far too much.   One can see that we looked haggard as shit in these videos. It has been a short, but intense trip. It shows.
Robbie's bike was no longer rideable. We picked them up from the police garage. The police gave us their card, and said we could email them to get a copy of their report and of the pictures of the smitten Japanese automobile. (I have submitted those requests, and will post the pictures upon their arrival in my inbox). We locked our bikes in front of the Bank of America, which appeared to be the busiest place in town, and started walking toward the cheap hotels that a cab driver pointed out to me on the ride to the hospital. It was late at night. My knee was beginning to ache unbearably. We were both carrying 50 pounds of equipment. The hotel turned out to be 4 miles away.
We eventually arrived at America's Best Value Inn, the only hotel cheaper than $300 per night. It was $110 per night. The only other time I stayed at a hotel of this chain was in Saginaw, also with Robbie, 4 years earlier. Robbie had accompanied me down to Saginaw so that I could apply to oodles of jobs. I picked up 30 job applications, and we checked into a $27 hotel room where I stayed up all night filling them out. There was a slash in the chair at that hotel room. There was a mirror on the ceiling above the bed. The bathroom was not clean. This hotel room by Sausalito was much nicer. The air-conditioner and bathroom door were broken, and there were very large spiders. That was it. Complimentary spiders. Ritzy. 
We were hungry as hell. Nothing was open. We called pizza places at 10:30 on a Saturday night. We had walked far enough that all the pizza places we passed leaving town would not deliver to us. Bastards. I told them our sob story, and they said if I ordered $200 or more of pizza, they would deliver it to us. I thought about it, but decided against it. 

So instead, we boiled our leftover Chinese egg noodles in Styrofoam cups in the microwave, and we ate a jar of mixed peanut butter and jelly with a spoon. It was a low point for nutrition and nourishment on this trip. In the morning, we stole all the packaged muffins from the continental breakfast, and ate a bowl of cereal each. 

The plans for the trip needed to be adjusted to accommodate the circumstances. We will bring everybody up to speed on how exactly we are going to proceed in the next entry, probably later tonight. For now, we are safe at the coolest couchsurfing home ever.More on all this later. Thank you for your patience.


  1. look at the bright side. robbie can say he's broken a windshield with his face now.

    sucks about the bike parts though, hope you guys can find a bike shop near the hotel or something. good luck!

  2. YESSS!!! "So, what's the coolest thing you have ever done?" Rob- "Well I put my face through a windshield once!" Hope you guys make it back to the road. Rob hit me up with what you guys need and I will see what I can do from here.