Getting SMAP'ed

[ Sunday - January 4, 2015 ]

After two weeks off work sitting around the house doing nothing much, it's time to get SMAP'ed once again.  At work, I've been heavily involved in supporting the SMAP (Soil Moisture Active Passive) project.  The Earth bound space project is intended to map out the Earth land mass moisture levels.  I'm fortunate enough to be one of the people supporting the project at Vandenburg Air Force Base near Santa Barbara, CA.  Since it's so close, I have on occasion taken the GS to work.  The long way.  However, this will be my last SMAP VAFB trip.  It's a fun 180 miles ride one way.  So I load up the monster and head out.  So far this winter has been remarkably warm.  I'm sure this is contributing to the drought in the western US.

A quarter of the way to VAFB, I can't help but notice the bike is a bit squishy and definitely uncomfortable.  So I pulled over at a gas station an made myself feel like a complete noob.  How so?  Well... as it turns out, I haven't been doing a whole lot of long distance riding so... I can't remember how to set the pre-load for the bike.  Even when I wimped out and read the manual, I still felt green.  Fortunately, at long last I figured it out, or finally remembered.  You have to turn on the bike, select the pre-load you want, and then start the bike for the pre-load to take effect.  Duh....  Now that it's set to one helmet icon and one luggage icon, the GS is tall but rides much better.  My new comfy chair setting.  Now there is less pain all around.  Figuratively and literally speaking.

For once, there is massive traffic on the 101 west bound.  Normally it's on the east bound side only.  This is indeed very unusual.  That is until it dawned on me that most of the college students are also heading back to UCSB to begin school again.  No worries, it's spliting time.  About 10 miles and I'm off to climb the mountains of the 154 HWY.  Folks were nice and civil for the split so no distraught video will be shown.  The temps has been hovering around the low 70s to mid 60s on the 101.  On the other hand, the minute I crest the mountain on the 154 heading into the Santa Ynez valley, the mercury dives from mid 60s to the high 30s.  Now the question is should I pull over to put the rain shell on as a wind blocker?  Well, blockhead here was too macho and waited until Bulton to put the outer shell on.  That's only 24 miles short of Lompoc and VAFB.  Fortunately I didn't catch a cold so no harm done.

I was hoping for a simple and quick week out at VAFB, but I knew the minute I'm thinking that, I was doomed.  Sure enough, it dragged out pretty much the entire week.  A bit of stress and a lot of relief.  In the end it was all good as all agenda items we completed.  I went home on Thursday feeling like a million bucks.  Plus, I get scenes like this almost every evening.  Who can complain about that?

Sunset over the Pacific Ocean.

With that everybody has to take pictures.

Written on: February 20, 2015
Last modified: February 20, 2015