These are some of the gifts given to me on Christmas, although two days before the holiday I nearly froze to death and almost didn’t get to give or receive a damn thing.
I believe that there is no suffering worse than the suffering from being cold so I checked Weather.com a day before meeting Tom Gardner in Joshua Tree. The Web site said ‘50s with winds 5-10 mph. I know some of you reading this are probably thinking, “You should have gone to WeatherUnderground.com.” And I say, why - so I have to waste 11 more keystrokes before finding out that the weather in JTree will be 55 with winds 8-11 mph? Do people actually go to WeatherUnderground.com because of its “underground” label and because they believe they’re getting some sort of insider information that the guys over at Weather.com aren’t privy to, or because WeatherUnderground.com actually has more precise climate info? I seriously doubt it’s the latter. I should start WeatherInsider.com or WeatherElite.com and see if “insider” and “elite” can outdo the nauseous popularity of “underground.”
Speaking of underground, Trevor has nothing to do with this story because while I was checking the weather, he was driving to Hollywood to hang out at a goth club. Now that’s underground.
Anyway, Weather.com says ‘50s with 5-10 mph. I can do that, so Eric, Joy, and I get up early drive to JTree and meet Tom and Blair at the visitor’s center. We were rolling by 10:00. The thing about JTree is that there is only water on the outskirts of the park, which is why we rode from the Yucca Valley/Joshua Tree entrance to Cottonwood, which is about 60 miles away near Interstate 10.
Now, as far as I can tell, here’s where I screwed myself on this Weather.com thing. The wind in Joshua Tree said 5-10 mph, but when you get on the other side of the national park and 60 miles away from the town of Joshua Tree, things can be drastically different. Things like the wind. I’ll try not to make this story any more long-winded (pun intended) than it needs to be, but the onset of Joy’s nagging stomach issue and strong wind made things slow-going. Things weren’t only windy and slow-going, but as the sun started to drop, things got cold. And when things get dark and cold, I get testy.
I hadn’t bothered to check the night temps on Weather.com or WeatherUndgergound.com because I hadn’t planned on going for a night ride.
No cell phone service. No lights. Little water and less food.
Remember the Saturday Night Live where Will Ferrell plays the character Terence Maddox and he can’t afford to buy his hepatitis medicine because he can’t sell his blood and he can’t sell his blood because he has hepatitis? Well, that’s kind of what happened to us, only Terence Maddox is much more funny than we are. We couldn’t ride fast to stay warm because Joy had stomach problems and we couldn’t ride slow because we were running out of daylight and it was getting colder.
We rode in the dark by moonlight until almost 6:00 when an angel driving a Ford F350 picked us up. It was Tom’s wife, Trish and that's how she saved Christmas.
The moral of the story? All the weather-related Web sites in the world will do you no good if you can’t afford to buy your hepatitis medicine because you can’t sell your blood and you can’t sell your blood because you have hepatitis. Or something like that.
Dec 26, 2007
How Trish Saved Christmas