Thursday, January 29, 2015

R-Pod in Florida




Alabama is a long state north to south. I jumped off the superslab around Greenville and drove county roads the rest of the way. Woods and hills in the north give way to empty fields where cotton once grew, then further south to lumber plantations thinly dotted with corrugated shacks and decaying automobiles, the side ditches empty save the carcasses of sharp-boned roadkill dried and blackened on the rough pavement, eyes wide open and seeing nothing.
Had to stop for a band of grim-faced men in rusted pickups probing the underbrush with sharpened sticks, and bloodlust. Their truck beds bore packs of caged hounds, red-eyed and ravenous, their slatted ribs showing through thin and scarred hides, eager for the hunt. I drove on.
We stopped at a roadside campground on the Alabama/Florida border and set up for the night. After a sparse meal of Shredded Wheat and black beans, with the sun sinking fast, we took a short walk and came upon a melancholy woman with a floppy hat, smiling pleasantly as she drowned a man with harsh words and rhetoric in a state-run swimming hole. He floundered and gasped for breath. Sputnik kept walking, and so did I, leaving only the squirrels and night creatures to bear witness.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Pullin' South



Sputnik knows long before I do that a journey is imminent with that unearthly canine intuition we mere mortals can never comprehend. Days before our departure she’d leap into the truck’s open door and stubbornly refuse to exit. She must be coerced and cajoled with veiled threats of violence and promises of dog biscuits and cheddar cheese. Hooked up and loaded the Gypsy Pod and was ready for takeoff Saturday morning. The weather was moderate, unlike the poor conditions during last year’s southern migration.
Trailing the Pod on my tiny pickup and traveling at interstate speed is similar to towing an obstinate, tethered parachute like the one used to stop the space shuttle during landing. Doesn’t do well up hills or into a headwind. Maybe a truck cap would help streamline its overall aerodynamic properties, but right now ten mpg is as good as I can get.
The landscape in Kentucky was frosted with a fresh coat of benign snow, but the roads were fine, and we made our way to a cold little campground of I-65 just north of Nashville. They placed me in the back row with the rear of the camper about one-hundred feet from the interstate. I fell asleep to the sound of the nightime highway, which is among the loneliest sounds on earth, and also a favorite of mine.
The siren song of the highway is the sound of restless movement, commerce and flight. Bleary-eyed, high-ballin’ truckers with doctored logbooks trying to avoid the twenty second nap that will end their run, or worse. Desperate families, their meager possessions piled high in the back seat of ancient Chevys, hoping the next town will bring them employment. Undocumented migrants and drug runners crowded into mini-vans and non-descript Buicks flying under the radar and hoping their secrets go unjudged before they make their destination.
After a decent night’s sleep I batten down the hatches, pull up the landing gear and power up the on-ramp as I join the others on Amërïkä’s endless, infrastructural, asphalt bloodstream as I move ever Southward.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Crowded House

Been slacking on the blog of late and gripped in another Midwest winter. The hibernating bikes are crowded into the shop so my tired, old diesel skid loader can benefit from the heated motorcycle garage if called upon, with just a short blast of ether, to perform snow removal duty.
The chopper project sits shrouded in rags and ninety-five percent complete waiting on funding and motivation.
This winter has been rather pleasant compared to last, with many days above freezing but Sputnik and I have been planning a mobile hovel run south nevertheless.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Sawed-off Shotguns


When the weather turns foul a young man's fancy turns to tinkering, so work finally resumed on the justanotherevosporty project. I mounted the poorly painted fender and tanks and cut down some shotgun pipes in preparation for some exhaust tips which are on the way.
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Felt good to get back in the shop. This thing may actually come off the lift sometime soon.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Redneck Retail



The Dollar General Store, (not to be confused with General Dollar, The Dollar Store, Dollar Tree or Family Dollar) is at the very epicenter of commerce in Jerkwater, USA. The product line ranges from food and over-the-counter medicines to clothing and furniture. With its plethora of substandard merchandise and sidewalk bargains no self-respecting hillbilly need visit Kroeger, Walgreens or The Gap.
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Step inside and you're hit with the smell of poverty, EBT cards and artificial cleanliness. I once purchased a can of “Fish Steaks” for fifty cents. It was horrible, and the fact that the type of “fish” isn’t labeled makes one suspect. I have to wonder how they can catch, can and ship a product from the ocean, (I assume) all the way to Jerkwater for fifty cents when a bottle of freakin’ water is a buck and a half.
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Then, I figured it out. I'm eating bait.
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Could be worse though……

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Apparitions

 
 
I sit in front of the Doppler radar sometimes for hours, the green and yellow high-def images burn through my retina and cast shadows on the back of my mind like the burnt and grisly phantoms of Bikini Atoll. I see visions at these times. Once I saw a demon sitting astride matched Land Cruisers puffing loose cigars……The smoke and sulphur curled lazily upward, like the ethereal drift of Dick Cheney’s shotgun muzzle, and breathing heavily but fresh, like pre-wrapped salad.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Wild Thing




After repeated duck egg theft I endeavored to put an end to the robbery. The ducks themselves were picked off one by one, and the sole survivor had been mangled fairly severely, but recovered. I had lost a few chickens as well, and suspecting ‘coons I set the live catch trap and baited it with cheap Dollar Store cat food. After several nights with no luck I had all but given up when I caught a red fox. Foxes are usually hard to trap, particularly in a live catch, but this was a spring born pup and he paid the price for his inexperience.

Trapped animals will often thrash wildly, throwing themselves against the wire and steel enclosure, bloody snouts and skin rubbed raw of hide. This pup was different. He was scared, but not panicked, coolly looking at me through the wire with aloof detachment. I couldn’t bring myself to shoot the thief, and if I were to relocate him it would have to be thirty or more miles away. A fox can cover a lot of ground making his way back to familiar territory.

There is a certain, inborn arrogance among we humans. The need to tame and conquer lies deep within our psyche. As I stood there weighing my options, I determined to put him in a pen for a while and see if I could chasten his wild nature to some small degree. To own him, subdue him, forcibly befriend him. I knew it was wrong.

Donning my thickest pair of welding gloves I carefully transferred him to a small chicken enclosure I had built to house aggressive roosters. He bolted into the pen, and after quickly searching for a way out, retreated to the farthest corner. I pulled up a bench in front of his prison and observed him with fascination. A beautiful specimen in the prime of health. Large erect ears and tiny needle teeth. The fox, in turn, coiled up in the corner staring furtively at me with his cat-eyes, burning with hatred. Boring twin holes into my soul.

I checked on him often, talking softly and feeding him through the wires. At first he wouldn’t eat when I was in his presence. I’d drop some food in front of him, he’d sniff, lick his lips but kept his eyes on me. I’d walk out of his sight for a few seconds, and the food was gone when I returned. He would eventually eat, reluctantly, if I’d back away from the pen, but it was becoming clear that he would never trust me. By night, he’d piss in his water bowl and chew on his cage. By day, he’d sulk in his corner. I liked the little bastard too much to shoot him, so I started formulating a plan to get him in a cage without getting bit, for a long journey of relocation.

Turns out I needn’t concern myself with a mission of mercy. One night he somehow managed to tear up enough of the galvanized hardware cloth to slip away into the night, savvier, and a lot wiser in the ways of Man.

I admire his pluck and determination. I weigh 190 pounds and can’t separate that wire with my bare hands, but at fifteen pounds he shredded it enough to escape. I probably haven’t seen the last of him. I managed to educate him, and the long cold winter is coming and he knows exactly where several plump, tasty hens sleep.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Where has all the Teflon Gone?




Pictured are two nearly identical Teflon pans. The one on the right is about twelve years old, on the left, a brand new one. One might ask regarding the pan on the right, where did all the Teflon go? Sadly, the answer becomes quite clear when simple physics and basic logic are applied. There's only one place it could be. All that Teflon was ingested by me over the course of years, subtly seasoning my fried eggs, and sausage with its deadly contaminant.
Fragments of this insidious material are lodged within my body, doing incremental damage to internal organs every day. Or possibly, a legion of tiny, synthetic fluoropolymer (had to Google that) particles wait in the deep recesses of the digestive tract preparing to enter my bloodstream, and mount a full frontal assault on my central nervous system.

Maybe it already has, which might explain the tremors, drooling and some other things.

Oh Teflon, with your flowery promises of non-stick cooking and easy clean-up, you are a wicked deceiver!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Hog Wild

Why doesn't anyone call Harleys "Hogs" anymore?





Always had an affinity for hogs, both two-wheeled and four-legged. When I was a young, too poor to afford the two-wheeled variety, man raising a family on a meager income I always raised and butchered a few hogs for the freezer.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Nigerian Princess





Sometimes I fancy myself a Nigerian Princess sitting upon a throne of jackal skeletons and wearing a flowing robe of stone-washed Cape buffalo hides. There'd be be eleven pigmy house servants hand-feeding me seedless grapes and a pair of matched hyenas tethered to my bedpost. Balanced upon my regal head would be a five-gallon bucket of latex house paint and a pasta strainer, because my posture would be impeccable and my nipples in a constant state of stimulated readiness.
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Sometimes, on the other hand, I just sit alone in the dark, drinking warm beer, and wondering if I left my phone in the truck.

Friday, August 1, 2014

The Road

Gay, Michigan 2008
Flamingo, Florida 2004
Naples, Florida 2006
Mitchell, South Dakota 2007
US 52 West Virginia 2008


While others embark on their journeys, I'm reduced to remembering past trips. Maybe September?