Friday, March 29, 2013
Thursday, March 28, 2013
Was down at the Hard Luck Scrapyard Thursday scrapping out a '91 Buick when my eyes lit upon this little beauty.
Had to fight hard not to inquire about its asking price. Trying to cut down, not add to, the junk inventory around the compound. But, the wheels and tank were in nice shape.
Maybe if it's still there next week......
I’m diggin’ the juxtaposition in this classic photo.
The officer sits tall in the saddle, sworn to protect and to serve, upright, and virtuous. Looking ahead, stoic, noble and ever-vigilant. Searching the horizon for pickpockets and purse snatchers, bank robbers and bunco artists. The epitome of morality, the enforcer of law and order.
Behind him lurks the skulking heathen. The leather-clad outlaw, riding through an intoxicated haze of reefer smoke and bad intentions. Searching furtively through dark glasses for the helpless and the vulnerable.
A simpler time before revolvers were replaced by autoloaders, tazers supplanted nightsticks and Panheads gave way to Erik Estrada and four cylinder Kawasakis.
Wednesday, March 27, 2013
I’m given to understand that obsessions such as thumb-sucking, and cigarette smoking stem from a deep-seated, instinctual desire for breast-feeding. Something so basic as to be imprinted upon our psyche in the womb, every bit as strong, and indeed an integral part of our very will to survive.
I quit smoking many years ago and only suck my thumb when nervous, but I’m transfixed by images of scantily clad women with heaving breasts and pie pans, beckoning with baked goods and unspoken sensual promise.
If one could somehow add the sound of a ’38 EL idling outside the kitchen window, it would create something close to a state of total nirvana.
Tuesday, March 26, 2013
Little Richard was like a white hot flame. He was so far ahead of his time he must have freaked out the establishment to the point of peeing in their collective pants in the fifties and early sixties. Dude had high freakin' energy. Chuck Berry and Little Richard were pioneers who helped blazed the path for all other rockers, and both are still alive and kickin'.
If this doesn't wake you up, check your pulse.
Monday, March 25, 2013
Ahhhh, spring is in the air. Ten inches of snow and it's still coming down.
At least Mudflap The Wonderdog has the right idea. I work (occasionally) pay the bills, split the wood and keep the stove loaded while he lays around enjoying the fruits of my labor.
So, who's the dumb one?
Sunday, March 24, 2013
Thursday, March 21, 2013
I’m a fool for stickers. The real reason I take trips is to collect stickers from points of interest along the way and paste them on the bike. Kind of like a gunslinger cutting a notch on his pistol handle, or a Groupie making plaster casts of Rock Star penis’.
My old Electra Glide had stickers from Montana, South Dakota, Wyoming, Iowa, Indiana, Florida, Michigan’s UP, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio and more plastered all over the tour pack. The guy I sold it to didn’t like them, but letting go of those stickers was almost as hard for me as letting go of the bike.
I’ve ridden hundreds of miles out of my way to collect stickers. Florida was a target-rich area and I found several to paste on the panniers.
By the way,one of my pannier lids is lying on the side of the road somewhere in Georgia…….Damn it!
Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Well I made it home, safe and sound and I asked myself, why in the hell would I voluntarily do something like that? These rides, whether it’s around the block or around the world always have their moments of horror ranging from, “Oh shit, I forgot my sunglasses,” to being taken hostage by cruel Columbian rebels, like Glen Haggstad, author of the book, Two Wheels Through Terror.
Do bikers, (along with rock-climbers, base-jumpers and those dudes who get the shit stomped out of them by bulls in Pamplona) punish ourselves, in perverse self-hatred, for some deep, unexpressed guilt? Or, is taking risk a manifestation of something built into our psyche?
The answer may be both and lies at the very root of our existence. Mankind was originally designed to live, half-naked, in unheated mud huts, engaging in bloody, territorial battles with murderous, neighboring tribes and securing dinner by killing large, pissed-off, prehistoric beasts using sticks and sharp stones.
Modern Western Culture has turned us from nomadic, savage, hunter-gatherers into a bunch of pasty, timid, well-groomed sheep. Seat belts, air bags and warning labels all mandated in the name of “Safety.” Hell, we even have Nanny-State assholes trying to tell us how big a soft drink we’re allowed to have! We’ve been programmed to avoid danger while, deep down, in the primal cavities of our selves, in the very depths of our Neanderthalic depravity, we crave it! We lust for the taste of mastodon blood!
I’m no badass, and I’ve never killed a mastodon with a stick, and in the years I’ve been riding I’ve had some scary shit happen, including going down hard on asphalt and even going over the trunk of a Buick that ran a stop sign, and I realize there are guys in hospital beds and wheel chairs who went through far worse shit, but those moments of blind terror while crossing the Ohio River, in heavy traffic and icy rain scared the f@#k out of me worse than anything else ever had.
That said, the worst part of the trip was getting sick and having to come home early. But, now that it’s all over, I have no regrets and I’d do it all again ‘cause I’m a dumb ass and I love this shit.
There is a macabre practice among emotionally troubled teenage girls called “cutting” where they periodically use razors to slice their skin. They often report that, though painful, they feel a sense of euphoria after it’s all over. I guess I can kinda’ relate.
Sunday, March 17, 2013
Got sick in Fla. Don't know if it's from sleeping in the cold, bad sardines or malaria, but I had a fever, chills and felt like crap. I took off and headed home. No more camping just interstates and motels and trying to get the hell home.
Woke in Cave City, Kentucky 36°, and took off in a drizzle, sick and miserable. I'm now in Scottsburg, Indiana after the worse 117 miles in my life.
The rain increased as I traveled north and by the time I got to Louisville it was pouring. Face shield fogging up and rain-covered windshield, I got be behind an RV that was moving slower than the rest of the traffic. It was raining so hard I could see nothing but the camper's tail lights. While crossing the Ohio River Bridge I could barely even see the tail lights in front of me and thought I was going to die. I wanted to get off the road, traffic was flying all around me sending up spray and I couldn't even see an exit. Now, soaking wet, all I could do was try to keep following the tail lights in front of me.
I finally got past Louisville an heavy traffic, (thank God it's Sunday with lighter traffic) and the rain turned to snow. For a while it seemed better because the visibility improved, that was until my face shield and windshield iced over! Then I had to lift the face shield, look over the windshield, squinting my eyes and try to make it to the next exit.
Now I'm safely in a motel in snowy Scottsburg, thawing out and drying out, just a couple of hours from home. I'm not leaving 'til I see the sun shining.
Friday, March 15, 2013
If you ever go to Everglades National Park, you'll have to pass Robert's Fruit Stand. Stop in for the kitschy backyard zoo and the best fresh-fruit shakes on earth.
Spent several nights sleeping amongst the mosquitoes and alligators at Flamingo Key, the very southern tip of mainland Florida. Now time to head back north on this yo-yo trip. I'm skeeter-bit and tired, but I got to keep on steady-rollin'.
Pesky twenty to thirty mph winds are making me fight with the top-heavily loaded bike. The wind gusts try their best to blow me into oncoming trucks as I cut across the cotton fields and orange groves on US 27 then jump on to I 70 for a white knuckle blast up the Bradenton/Tampa/St. Pete corridor.
The winds blew the pleasant smell of oranges up under my face shield and the citrus fragrance reminded me of my youth, when I'd free-base fabric softener sheets for cheap thrills and good times.
I think the days on the road, sleeping rough and the NyQuil are all conspiring to affect my central nervous system. I'm starting to speak in short Bulgarian phrasing an I'm seeing visions.
Thursday, March 14, 2013
I'm a steady rolling man
a wandering recluse
My resolve is tough as hardened steel
and my stools are soft and loose
All I seek is gasoline
and the open road ahead
Canned sardines and crackers
and a place to rest my head
When the ice melts in the cooler
and the sun sets, so sublime
I'll sit right here, drinking lukewarm beer
At campsite eighty-nine
By day I roam the highway
through the wind and rain and bugs
By night I sleep 'neath nylon sheets
and pee in plastic jugs
Tuesday, March 12, 2013
As I rode through the drizzle this morning, I got to thinking about my whining about the Sunshine State.
When riding I try to circumvent interstates and congested urban/suburban commercial areas. Florida, by virtue of its being geographically narrow and population concentrated in its center makes it impossible to avoid both. I knew that going in, but it's gotten worse in the years since I've been here.
I'm now in the Everglades National Park and I'll quit bitchin'.
You native Floridians deserve to keep a few secrets from us tourists and Northerers.
Steady rain this morning and I'm holed up in a cheap motel where most of the occupants are not "guests" but permanent residents. There is a dude with his car up on jacks performing major engine work in the parking lot, (seriously.)
I walked to the Burger King for breakfast, on a sidewalk lined with soggy trash, cigarette butts and spent condoms, like the other indigents who live here.
Another shitty day in paradise.
Monday, March 11, 2013
I knew it would come to this. These trips always have their high and lows.
Inland, Central Florida is just a flat, overcrowded turd with endless strip malls, hot asphalt, stop lights and retail, suburban redundancy.
Miles and miles of traffic. Dismal, blue-haired drivers staring vacantly at their dashboard, pull out in front of hapless riders, like soulless, geriatric zombies, then putter down the road at twenty mph.
Octogenarians, dying manatees and bottlenosed dolphins flop on the sidewalks while estate lawyers, feral dogs and scavanging pelicans wait patiently to dine on the nourishing, fat-laden carcasses.
Liquor stores, pawn shops and fast food outlets line the streets while leather-faced tweakers drool spittle and failure through sun-blistered lips.
Supposed to rain tomorrow.
Sunday, March 10, 2013
Yep, Sopchoppy, Florida in the panhandle along the coastal highway. No room at the campground and I pretty much hit the wall after getting about three hours sleep the previous night (loud f#%kin' college kids in the campground) and riding all day so I had to look for a motel.
Darkness and exhaustion was fast approaching so I found a Best Western with the only available room some kind of a f#@kin' King Suite at a budget-busting eighty-nine dollars.
Too tired to go on, so tonight I'm livin' large. This thing's bigger than the hermit hovel and has porcelain toilets. No Gatorade bottles, but I'll survive.
This is the deep South baby! Chitlins, black eyed peas and shotguns hung on Easyrider Rifle Racks. The people around here are awesome. At every stop in these small backwoods towns, with my rig outfitted as it is, someone is always stopping to ask where I'm going and wish me well. I love the deep South, with its mixture of rednecks and rural blacks. These are tough, God-fearing people and southern hospitality is no misnomer.
US 431 in eastern Alabama is a great road with rolling open areas mixed with thick forests, where the smell of fragrant pines are intoxicating.
It pays to stay the hell off the Interstate and take the road less traveled.
Saturday, March 9, 2013
Cold start. Had a stabbing pain behind my left eye as I motored down I-65, dodging sheets of snow blowing off the tops of semi trailers and exploding on the pavement like the crystalline spoor of arctic mushrooms,( huh?) and remembering the story of the biker whose eyeball froze solid its socket like an icy melon ball. But, no worries, it thawed out and i made it to Mammoth Cave where I had the whole National Park Park to myself. I boiled noodles in fifty eight degree temperates to the sounds of spring time robins.
I dig camping. Cooking noodles with my backpack stove and peeing in Gatorade bottles is close to heaven.
Having trouble with internet connections, hope this works.
Friday, March 8, 2013
Six inches of snow in March and I’ve had enough. This long, Midwest winter seems endless. If Spring won’t come to me, I’m going to Spring. I loaded up the swift and merciful Japanese Galaxy Traveler and I’m outa’ here. Don’t know where, but South.
I may get as far as the Kentucky border and turn back, or I might keep going right on to Central America to drink tequila with Mexican drug dealers or snort cocaine off the back of Juan Valdez’s donkey. (probably not.)
I may get as far as Tennessee and breathe in the fragrance of fresh-mown grass and return home satisfied, or head to the Gulf Coast and wiggle my toes on a sandy beach under pleasant skies and favorable tropical breezes. Maybe Florida where, in a few days, I could be drinking body shots off the supple bellies of Spring-Break Coeds. (doubt it)
But, damn it I’m going!
I hate interstates and motels, and prefer state roads and campgrounds, but I may have to relax my standards and make a bonsai run down I-65, sleeping in bed bug-infested dumps until I hit fair weather and open campgrounds, for as long as $472.00 hold out.
I’ll thumb out periodic dispatches from the open road in the course of my journey.
Thursday, March 7, 2013
Shot this today in a parking lot. Looks like a pretty much stock Sturgis. Has the original ham can air cleaner and the requisite "Live to Ride, Ride to Live" eagle crap on the battery and points covers.
I'm diggin' the tie-down job on the fishing poles, old bald tire and bike itself.
The owner appeared to be a real renaissance man.
Wednesday, March 6, 2013
Tuesday, March 5, 2013
I've always had a healthy respect for over-the-counter cold remedies, NyQuil being my drug of choice. It's pleasant syrupy flavor seeps deep down into frayed nerves and its sweet nectar provides a soothing balm to life's harsh reality.
But, it ain't shit compared to the original good stuff!
This is the precursor to modern NyQuil and obviously a superior product. Judging by the ingredients, I can't help but feeling that we're being short-changed. Unlike the watered-down swill masquerading as cough tonic in today's modern pharmacy, this shit would really kick your ass. Sold by hard working snake-oil salesmen, traveling from town to town in festive painted wagons, this stuff cured all ills and brought joy, bliss, euphoria and drug addiction to insomniac mule skinners and little old ladies with rickets all across this once-great nation.
Alcohol, Cannabis, Chloroform, Morphine (skillfully combined with other ingredients)
Sounds like Friday night at my house.
I was born a hundred years too late.
Oh, Sweet NyQuil®, giver of life, merciful elixir of Angels, nectar of hummingbirds, release me from the surly bonds of this troubled place and deliver me into the waiting arms of Peaceful Slumber………
Monday, March 4, 2013
Saturday, March 2, 2013
This is the potholed, soggy road I live on, flanked by miles of miserable, muddy farm fields. With 34°f temps, no sunshine for weeks and dreary overcast skies, how can one possibly be anything but cheerful?
I hate winter.