Saturday, August 05, 2006

The City of Murals

Lompoc, CA. I mentioned in my last post that this was the site of my first (and last) motorcycle accident. Ever been there? It's a blip on the map of Central Coastal CA. Take a look at the link and tell me what you think the #1 topic of political debate is in the city of Lompoc. I'll wait.

Okay, enough already. Sounds like an exciting town, no? Despite its serious lack of water and its wastewater issues resulting from a serious lack of water, Lompoc has some very positive attributes.

There's Vandenberg Air Force Base, home of the Flying Tigers and the 30th Space Wing (the "best overall space wing in Air Force Space Command"). Can anyone tell me what is a "Space Wing?" Sounds impressive though.

There's La Purisima Mission, a beautiful and serene place to visit, if not a little haunting when you see the cemetery where all the Indians are buried, the ones who died of the diseases brought to them by the Franciscan monks.

There's a lot of agriculture in this soil-rich, fruits, and vegetables.

Apparently, it is the "Most Successful Mural Community in California," whatever that means. I never saw any murals when I was there, so these must be relatively new, or else, by "successful," they mean there are none.

There are some amazing beaches, isolated from the world, only accessible by way of miles and miles (or so it seems) of hiking, but the views are amazing. These are not what you think of when you think of Southern California beaches. There are not throngs of scantily clad people on them. It is a grueling hike back up to the road. My advice? Take lots and lots of water!

And finally then, there are the winding back roads in and out of Lompoc, great for motorcycling. Let this be a public service announcement for motorcycling.

Don't Do It!!!!!


I am anti-motorcycle. My ex-husband is pro-motorcycle. This proved to be a bad thing in our relationship. Here's just the tip of the iceberg:

Him: Here's the key. Would you mind getting the motorcycle warmed up? I'll be out in just a minute.

Me: Sure. [I'd had one or two lessons in not only starting the motorcycle but also riding it on straight stretches of driveway; I was no novice to this sport of starting the motorcycle]

Him [upon arriving in the parking lot where I was supposed to be getting us underway]: What in the @#*% did you do?!

Me: Well, I was standing on the pedals just like you told me and when I pushed down on the kick starter, it just kind of fell over. There was nothing I could do to stop it. And it's too heavy for me to lift back up. It's a good thing I wasn't injured.

Him: That's the last time I ever trust you with the keys! Look what you did to my bike!

Me: Hrmph!

And so began the infamous last motorcycle ride of my lifetime.

Long story short is, when you see a sign that says "Pavement Ends 50 Feet" and you're on a motorcycle, do yourself a favor and slow down. If you choose to continue driving at the speed of oh, say, about 50 mph, be prepared to lay it down when the pavement does in fact end at the crest of the hill and you are now on a dirt road full of grooves the depth of the Suez canal.

I'm not sure there is a proper way to lay a bike down when faced with this predicament, but I will give my ex credit for doing so in a manner that preserved both of our lives. By choosing to do so rather than waiting to be forced to do so, I think he kept us from flipping end-over-end when the front tire hit its first gulley. Instead, I flew over his head and slid about 25 feet down the dirt road while he stayed with the bike, also sliding. Fortunately, we were both wearing helmets and covered head-to-toe in jeans, boots, etc. such that we sustained far fewer injuries than we might have otherwise. No broken bones, only some serious bruising and a couple of scrapes (now scars) to the wrists and knees. One of my knees was bad for over a year, but it wasn't broken and is now fine. The hardest part was righting the bike (for the second time that day), getting back on it and riding home. The blessed part is that we were able to do so.

And that is the city of Lompoc.


At 12:56 PM, August 05, 2006, Blogger EmmaSometimes said...

THAT is so not funny. (bwhahahhaha!!)

I'm procycle and my hubby is vehemently against them. My father has an artifical hip thanks to his donorcycle and the surgeons at UCLA.

At 5:49 PM, August 05, 2006, Blogger Badoozie said...

i'm "ambivalent" cycle.
so, in a nutshell when visiting Lompoc, pay attention to the road, instead of staring at the murals, or you might fall on your motorcycle, and require some water, which might just be treated sewage. And while you are in the hospital, you will enjoy numerous channels of local TV depicting the hot topic of the day at city hall. wastewater and conservation of such wastewater. 101 ways to reuse toilet water.

At 10:15 PM, August 05, 2006, Blogger Eric said...

I've dumped a bike three times...spent time on crutches after one of wife still married me even though she has scars from another...and after the last one I sold the freakin' thing and bought bicycles. Never looked back.


Those V-Rods are sweet machines. ;-)

At 11:51 PM, August 05, 2006, Blogger Rach said...

Last time I rode a m.Bike I almost killed my brother. I was riding what we call a quad bike (One with 4 wheels) and discovered a bump that I didn't know was there. He lost his grip and almost went under the wheels - never again!

At 11:15 AM, August 06, 2006, Blogger Gwynne said...

Emma, surely you jest about being procycle after your father's accident! I will admit that I enjoyed many nice rides before our accident and before witnessing another get killed right in front of us on a different occasion. Since then, well, I think your term "donorcycle" is a good one. ;-)

Susie, that about sums up Lompoc, thank you. And also, there is a kids' program...Wastewater and You." ;-)

Eric, I always knew you were a smart man. YLB's scars surely serve as a good reminder whenever the allure of a V-Rod tempts you to look back. ;-)

Rach, yikes! Those 4-wheelers are another thing I cannot endorse, especially given that people let their young kids ride them off road. Very dangerous!

<*off soapbox/> ;-)

At 1:17 PM, August 06, 2006, Blogger Badoozie said...

oh, come now 4 wheelers aren't so dangerous, just use common sense and don't let your kids on them. i still have mine from 1987. can you believe that? i am saving it for what i don't know.

At 7:45 AM, August 07, 2006, Blogger beth said...

I'm just glad you're ok. :)

Though I will say I suppose I'm anti-cycle given how much I detest the the morons around here dart in and out of traffic with utter disregard for pesky little things like lanes and rules of the road. I've seen 3 get hit in our traffic and in 2 of the instances it didn't end happily for the cyclist.

At 7:06 AM, August 08, 2006, Blogger Lyn said...

I've been to Lompoc - Vandenberg Air Force Base, right? - swam against Patrick & Mathew Labyorteaux who played (one at a time) Albert Ingalls on Little House on the Prairie.

That doesn't make up for your motorcycle accident, but I thought it might help. lol

At 10:01 AM, August 08, 2006, Blogger Gwynne said...

Hey, Lyn. I remember a swim meet or two in Lompoc also, and learning the valuable lesson of not swimming competitively after drinking orange juice and milk. But wow! Swimming against the stars...that's something! ;-)

At 10:02 AM, August 08, 2006, Blogger Gwynne said...

Beth, the darting in and out and getting hit right in before your eyes is reason enough to be anti-cycle, don't you think?


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