Dwayne and I left Pasadena at about 10am, after having packed and eaten and checked about a dozen times that we pretty much had everything. We made good time...*smile*. We finished crossing the Bay Bridge into the City at 3pm. I didn't know exactly where Fort Mason was (our starting point); Dwayne had the cross streets and knew it was "on the water, near Fisherman's Wharf". Well, I knew where that was and we followed the first few miles of the Friday Night Skate route as we took the scenic route around the City towards the Fort. Well, of course we found the place (for those interested, it's *over* the hill from Ghiardelli Square and the Wharf), parked, and left the bikes on the car, the bags in the car, and took our pledges and medical release forms to the main registration building....the Festival Pavillion, I believe. So, we get into the line w/ our last name initials on it, then spot the Info booth, and go over there to find out what we do w/ the pledges/medical forms since we didn't exactly mail them in ahead of time (whoops! Heehee). So the Info guy tells us that the medical forms get dropped off around the corner, and the pledge turn-in site is upstairs. So we go around the corner to the Medical drop-off, and wait in line, and she asks us for our card. What card? The one we get at the main registration line, yep, you got it, the very first line we were in. No problem. However, we still hadn't turned in the pledges and figured that they certainly wouldn't give us anything until we proved we'd raised our commitment of $2200. So we go upstairs to drop off the forms, and wait in line. We get to the front of the line, and he asks us for our card. Damn! This time, we know which card he's talking about. So, we go back downstairs to line number 1. Which, by this time, still has 2 people in Dwayne's line, and about 6 more than the original 1 person in my line. Hurumph! So a while later, I get my card. Then we go to medical, and I realize that I kinda missed the back side of the second page of the form, and fill that out while in line (how long was I unconscious for, etc. At this point I amaze Dwayne by actualy knowing months/years of the various medical incidents I've experienced over the years. Of course, these number far fewer than Dwayne's medical experiences, so we all can understand why he doesn't remember when specific incidences occured!). So we turn those in and get one of the two "Ready to Ride" stamps on said card that we need. Then we went back upstairs, stood in line, and finally got the same person for both of us to turn in our pledges too, which worked well (though not fast) because we had so many half-n-half pledge forms to work out. However, this lady was really really nice and understanding and patient with us, and we offered to buy her chocolate at Ghiardelli Square, which she reluctantly turned down (we really were going to get her some!). We next went to Tent Assignment, where I was asked "single female?" Of course, my answer was "yes", and I got handed a little piece of what looked like the matte board for framing (dwayne inserts here "foam core!"). One side was green w/ "149" written on it, the other had a letter "J". Which expands to "tent site Green 149, Equipment Truck J". This is cool, I think; I can remember all that, green being my favorite color, J being my initial, and 149 being a 3 digit number. Then, the dude w/ the foam things turns to the lady behind me and asks "single female?" she says yes, but since I'm still there filling out yet another form, he asks us if we want to tent together. After sizing each other up for approximately .17 seconds, we agree...but now we have a problem. We're no longer "single females". If only relationships were really that easy! So, we tear up my form, and I have to turn in my green foam thing, and we get Orange 147, Truck F. Well, okay, that's harder to remember but I think I can do it. We try to get dog tags next but they ran out of clips just before we got there. Bummer! My tent mate is Lise, who bears a striking resemblance to the ex-fiancee (including ethnic descent, cheekbones and hair color! and the ex *was* adopted. Hmmmmm), and Dwayne's is JP, both from San Francisco. So, we went back to the car, get the bikes, and turned them into Bike Security (being from LA, we got to keep our bikes overnight at Fort Mason, making the morning commute much easier), and ate dinner (Tortellini w/ Pesto, beans&mushrooms) (As you'll soon see, a non-fat meal was pretty much impossible the whole trip so I just gave up fighting and started eating. *grin*). Dwayne and I then walked over the hill to Fisherman's Wharf and Ghiardelli Square, wandered around a bit, saw an absolutely amazing art display by Amanda Richardson...a sort of felt/silk cloth media collage/picture type of thing. Way cool, very striking. Plus, the object which drew us into the art gallery to begin with was the actual prop from ST:Generations' opening scene, a huge Federation logo. Wow, it was big. And, immediately recognizable as "hey, that's the Federation logo" no matter how out-of-place it may have been. Hmmm, maybe we're all a bit too into that series. *grin*. Well, anyway, I made some phone calls, and we walked back over to Fort Mason for the mandatory safety meeting. We learned a very important phrase..."On your left!", were told the conditions under which we'd be expelled from the ride (riding w/o a helmet, riding after dark, riding w/ headphones on, other stupid things to do, etc.), and listened to some rather impassioned comments/speeches. The energy was amazing. Over 1700 people in one building, all cheering, meeting each other... I'd never seen anything quite like it from that perspective (that of being *in* the crowd!). The meeting ended, and Dwayne and I drove over to Berkeley, where we spent the night at a friend's house.
Back to the Ride report