I don't think I've ever been so sore in my life. I think it's the combination of many miles of walking and biking combined with short spurts on some crazy forms of transport that work muscles that I never knew existed.
I woke up on Monday morning at Shiva and Larry's house, and borrowed their bike and helmet to ride down to Manhattan Beach. This was my second time riding in LA traffic, and it was only mildly terrifying. Some of the streets did have bike lanes, and I rode on the sidewalk for part of it, (and with so few pedestrians in LA, I didn't even have to share it).
At Manhattan Pier I met up with Brian Spencer and his son Calvin from Vurtego Pogo Sticks. They've brought the classic toy to extreme sports by getting rid of the spring and creating pneumatic pogo sticks. You pump it full of air before you start jumping, and depending in your size and experience you can change the PSI to ensure optimal jumping conditions.
Calvin was probably pogo-ing somewhere between 3 and 6 feet. But that's just the beginning. After getting some serious height, Calvin would do a front flip off the pogo stick and land on his feet. Meanwhile, I was working on staying on my Vurtego Pogo Stick for more than ten seconds. With a half hour of practice, I was finally able to stay on for about a minute and I was pretty proud of myself.
Next up, I was walking again. This time it was about an eight mile walk from Manhattan Beach, along the ocean, to Marina del Rey. I met up with my friend Scott along the way. At 3PM we were meeting up with Ron Levy from RowBike.
This is truly one of the most unusual vehicles I've ever ridden. It's essentially a cross between the rowing machine and a bicycle. It has the sliding seat, the stationary leg stands, and the bar you pump- except it's all balanced on a two-wheeled bicycle. Ron warned me that the first few minutes on the bike would be totally disorienting and I would have no clue what I was doing. He was right. Your arms have to pump the bar as you steer in the breaks between the pumps, and you have to balance all the while. Ron held on to the RowBike tightly as I took a few more pumps and awkwardly moved forward a few feet. He assured me that I'd be riding steady in no time. Sure enough, six or seven minutes later, I was riding down the bike path right behind Ron. Once you get the hang of it, the RowBike is a blast! It was invented by the same man who invented Rollerblades. He built one for himself about a dozen years ago, and has sold a few thousand since then, but now Ron's company has bought the rights to the vehicle and they're bringing it to the mass market. After a serious full-body-workout, Scott and I parted ways with Ron.
I was feeling pretty beat at this time and not looking forward to the walk that lay ahead. A hotel in Santa Monica had invited me for the night, but had suddenly started ignoring my phone calls, so I had to make a last minute change of plans. I'd have to stay at Scott's for the night, which I'd normally be happy about, but it also meant an eight mile walk between me and the couch I'd be sleeping on. That's when Scott and I had the realization. I think he's the one who noticed it first. It turns out the Culver City buses run on natural gas, which is definitely an alternative fuel when it comes to vehicles. So after a serious discussion and some twitter consultation, we decided that a natural gas powered bus would work within the occasionally arbitrary rules of the Un-Road Trip. So I hopped on the alternatively powered bus, and rode six of the miles to Scott's apartment. After the bus ride, I hobbled the remaining two miles to Scott's apartment, finished up some editing, and fell asleep easily.
The next morning, feeling slightly refreshed but still a little achey, Scott and I walked a leisurely four miles to the Tesla Store where we met up with Jeremy. He's been working with the company for a few years and knows everything there is to know about the car. I just don't understand how all these other electric cars companies out there seem to be manufacturing slightly beefed-up golf carts, while Tesla puts together one of the best and speediest sports cars on the market that also happens to be entirely electric. I guess the $100,000 price tag probably has something to do with it. If that's too steep for you, they're also coming up with a $50,000 sedan which will be available in 2011. They may seem expensive, but after the government rebate and never spending another penny on gas, the price looks better and better.
After a quick test drive, Scott and I turned around and walked the four miles back to his apartment. I got to sit down for about thirty minutes and drink some water, and then it was time to walk the four miles to the subway station that would take me to LA's Union Station. And now I'm on the train bound for Albuquerque, which was a late addition to the trip. I wanted to check out New Mexico, and I was also curious to see how well I could plan a last minute stop. So far, it's looking pretty good. Now I'll see if I can get some sleep. I'm starting to think it may be worth it to splurge on one of these sleeping cars for at least one of my train trips. Until then, I'll be using my jacket as a blanket and a T-shirt as a face mask.