Saturday, June 15, 2013

June 15, 2013: Mercer Island Mission (MIM), Day 0. What was lost, now is found.

After a year of anticipation and months of planning, I am finally on my way to West Yellowstone to meet Fred and to start the last leg of our cross-country (Key West to Seattle) bicycle tour. The past couple of weeks I have been pretty stressed-out trying to get the bike prepped, the packing done, and the routes prepared.

I briefly thought I was ahead of the game on Thursday night, but when I transferred the routes to the GPS, I was treated to a "Route truncated" error--something I have never encountered previously. Apparently my unit, a Garmin eTrex Legend HCx, has a limit of 500 waypoints across all routes loaded on the device. That is not a problem when I create my own routes from scratch, but in this case I imported tracks, in the form of GPX files. I then converted the tracks to routes using a utility in Garmin's Base Camp software. The effect is that each point on the tracks is converted to a route waypoint, putting me way over the limit. I was down to one day until departure, without complete GPS routes, on the one portion of the upcoming trip where they will be essential! I slept on it, and yesterday started looking for a solution. Examining each route, I discovered that most of the routes were ok and used only a few dozen waypoints each. The last three days, however, were loaded with unnecessary waypoints and it took me several hours to remove around 300 of them, getting the total down to 498. The limit on this unit is 500, so I got in just under the wire. There are other ways to create routes, using primarily what Garmin calls "via" or "routing" points instead of waypoints. Next time I'll know better.

Anyway, I finally completed my checklists at around 8PM or so last night and got to spend a couple of precious, comparatively relaxed hours with my honey, Kathy, before lights out.

*   *   *

Everything seems under control this morning as I approach the Frontier Airlines ticket counter at the airport to check in my bags. Then... WHAT!? WHERE THE HELL IS MY DRIVERS LICENSE???? I frantically search the plastic pouch that serves as my wallet on these trips, finding everything except my license. The ticket clerk waves me up and I tell her the bad news. Much to my surprise, she says that she can take my bags without it, and that TSA could do some kind of special procedure to get me though security. There's a special procedure? I'm thinking strip-search and anesthesia-free colonoscopy at this point, but I'm thrilled nonetheless that there might be a way for me to still make my flight. I thank her profusely and skip, singing "Happy Days are Here Again" all the way to the security line, where I am ready to drop trou or do anything else they want me to do, smiling and without complaint.

I share my situation with the TSA woman, who pleasantly says, "Well let's see what you DO have, then." I pull the stack of plastic cards from my pouch and start to flip them over one-by-one, like a Vegas blackjack dealer. Before I even get to it, she says, "There it is!"

Huh? Whaaa..??? Sure enough, my license is right there, where it should be! I gleefully hand it over, noticing as I do so that my picture on the card is grinning and winking. Right, you devil. Time to relax and start enjoying myself!