For those who weren't here
last time, allow me to add a link
to my original page.
Just click on the
Welcome new people I hope your not confused by
getting an email from someone called hi there.
I finally made it to San Diego. Thought I did have
some harrowing adventures. This may be a long email so you might want
to print it out and sit down on the throne, or whatever your favorite
place to read is.
The wind and one red eye
I finally got started Friday around
noon. I spent the last two days preparing for the trip so everything
started well. My little sister Siobhan was in town so I got to see her
before heading out. Traffic was light and the weather was perfect. I
made great time, crossing the border to Iowa before 3. Then the wind
Not a tail wind, that would have been
too east. Not a head wind either. No this was a crosswind from the
south making me lean way over and struggle to keep on the road. I only
made about 50 miles into Iowa before I had to stop and rest.
At the rest stop I noticed a big puddle
of fluid under the bike. The small leak I was too busy to take back to
Chicago Harley to fix seemed to be getting worse. I decided to make it
to Des Moines and get it checked out. About 30 miles out the wind
was so strong it blew the sun screen off my nose and into my eye. Blind
in one eye, exhausted, and aching I pulled off in town. Then right
there at the bottom of the ramp was Zook's Harley.
I tried to pull in but somehow I ended
up on the entrance ramp back to the freeway. So I stopped and made an
illegal u-turn on the ramp and headed back the wrong way. Eventually I
into the parking lot. This involved much swearing and shaking of fists.
I might have even punched the gas tank once or twice, but I didn't
The service guys there were great. Jeff
and Jerry fixed the leak in 15 minutes flat and didn't even charge me
labor costs. Considering the problem was a pinched gasket that Chicago
Harley put in I was very thankful.
Back on the road I did a few hundred
more miles, 50 at a time. Until I finally go too tired and slept on a
table in a rest stop. I'm a little paranoid of someone taking something
off the bike while I slept so I only got a few hours.
All through Iowa, Nebraska, Colorado,
and Utah I had to fight the wind and so far the trip wasn't very fun.
I'd ride about 50 miles and stop to rest. At one point I sat for an
hour in the Iron Horse Saloon talking with the owners and putting ice
on my elbow and wrist. I kept going though. I had started about 4 AM
and was determined to make it as close to Utah or even Nevada if I
The road had other intentions though.
About 4:30 that afternoon I was on the Canyon Road section of I-70 in
Colorado When I started seeing smoke. I thought I saw a sign saying I70
was closed due to a fire, but I didn't believe it because there was
plenty of traffic on the road and no one was stopping us.
I stopped a few times to take pictures
of the smoke, but continued on. In No Name Canyon I started seeing
yellow above the mountain so I pulled over. It turns out I was just a
few miles from the fire. The fire had jumped across the road and they
were evacuating everyone. The traffic I had been seeing going the other
way were people loading everything they owned onto their campers and
I got some information from a guy from a
mail packing facility in Glenwood Springs, who had actually seen the
fire from work. He said the flames were 60 feet high and moving fast.
The authorities had no control over the fire and the Hot shots weren't
going to make it until the morning.
I turned around and headed back to the
nearest gas station 20 miles back. While buying a map I overheard a
lady telling another lady to just follow the wrecking truck in the
parking lot. He would lead everyone over Cottonwood pass to Glenwood
Springs and past the fire. They were more than happy to let me follow
Out in the parking lot a cop was telling
people that Cottonwood Pass was still open and to follow the wrecking
truck if they wanted to go. Showing the map to the driver I asked where
we were going. He pointed to an empty spot on the map and said, "The
road goes down this way and around here and we come out here."
At this point I didn't know the fire was
in Glenwood Springs where we were going and I also assumed that the
road was just a blacktop that locals knew about. Just to small to put
on a map of the state. Silly me.
We headed out of town about 30 of us.
The next thing I knew we turned onto a dirt road. remember now I have a Soft tail
Custom, skinny front wheel and weighing about 650 pounds by
itself. Then add me and all my gear I was not ready to go off roading.
On the road I was vehicle number 5 with
a huge box truck following me. Thank God he was an excellent driver
because the road got very difficult. The dirt was pretty bad. With all
the wind and the traffic the dust was pretty thick. Most of the time I
could barely see the car in front of me. Often the dust was so thick I
just headed into the thickest part and hoped that I was still on the
road. Then things got really difficult.
At times the dirt got so fine it was
like driving on sand only it was dust that just flew into the air
making it impossible to see. At times I would see the car in front of
me slid and spin as she kept trying to move so she wouldn't get stuck.
The dust rose almost to my foot pegs, but that didn't matter because I
was dragging my feet trying to keep the bike upright. I didn't want to
fall over and be crushed by the box truck following me. I knew if he
stopped in the deep dirt he would never get moving again.
This deep sand only happened for a
couple of short stretches, thank heavens. Then was started going down
hill. It was a very steep switch back, mostly hard packed dirt, but
occasionally some of the deep stuff. Just a few inches at the most. I
kept the bike in first gear and used the back brake. Of course the back
brakes have about 10,000 miles on them and had just started squeaking.
Not all the time just a bit. I'm definitely going to change them before
I leave San Diego though.
As we went down the switchback I could
hardly see, but when the wind blew a hole in the dust cloud I decided
it was better not to see. The road we were going down was steep, had
many sharp turns, as well as thick dust. When I could see I saw that
there was no guard rail and a very steep drop off on the right. Not to
mention the big truck following me.
We went up and down a few more dirt
roads, but at least the dust was gone. When we finally got to pavement
I was so grateful I could have kissed the ground, even if there was
loose gravel everywhere. When we finally got out of there I was covered
in dust from head to toe.
Bonnie and Charlie who led the trip over
the mountain offered to let me shower at their house. By this time I
was shaking so much I was glad for any excuse to get off the road for a
little while. I showered and sat down and played with their kids for a
while Charlie went out to find some dinner. When he got back he told us
that the fire had burned the community center in town and was
threatening the local hardware store. It turned out that they lived
only a few miles from where the fire was.
Bonnie and Charlie were understandably a
bit worried about their home and seemed a bit uncomfortable with a
stranger there that night. So I consulted my map with Charlie and
headed for the road again. About 1 or 3 in the morning I passed a car
wash and stopped to clean the bike. I was so tired that I didn't want
to load all my junk back on the bike. I just unrolled my sleeping pad
and slept right there in the car wash.
On the road again the wind was blowing
hard again. I did about 150 miles into Utah and stopped at a motel.
With a 40 ounce Bud I fell asleep watching NASCAR. The next morning
while loading my bike I met two guys in the parking lot. They were
heading to LA and asked if I wanted to ride with them. We went 350
miles that day to the border of Nevada and California when I decided to
turn around and go back to Vegas for the night. I could have made San
Diego by 7, but I just couldn't pass up a night in Vegas.
Forty miles back to Vegas I staying in
the Travelodge next to the Harley Cafe. They have very expensive food
and weak drinks. I ended up wandering from casino to casino until I met
a very loud Canadian couple. They were fun to gamble with and the next
thing I knew it was 4 AM again. The pit boss, J.R. was a good guy and a
biker too. He gave me a couple of free breakfast coupons and I went off
to bed. I was only propositioned by one prostitute on the way home, but
it seems I was too poor for her.
The trip from Vegas to San Diego was
uneventful and thankfully without too much wind. In
Temecula though while getting gas a lady came up to me and asked
if I would be in town long. Then she gave me a flyer about a motorcycle
ride and horse show this Sunday. So I guess I have plans for Sunday
morning now. I probably send out an update next week on my golfing trip
Thursday and the ride on Sunday.
Until then keep the rubber side down and
shiny side up.
As always you can see pictures and more
about the story on my website.
P.S. To the new people on the list, if
you don't like my long boring emails write me and I'll take you off my
list. If you do like them I love to hear from you. Also feel free to
share the emails with friends or send me the email address of anyone
else who would like to be on the list.
emails August 2003
I forgot how great it is to be on the road. After last
years long ride I guess I still wasn't in the mood to go on another
ride. I kept putting off the necessary repairs on my bike until almost
too late. then of course life changed for me and I did want to go out
of town, sort of I really didn't feel like doing anything, but Rocko
made such an effort to get my bike into a repair shop at the last
minute I just had to go.
After the first few miles on the road I couldn't
believe I didn't want to go. the muted hum of the wind through the ear
plugs. the thump of the engine, the buffeting as the wind pushes and
you push back is a great meditation. It reminds me of a Korean meditation tape I used to listen to in a martial arts class. Similar to
the Hum of the Buddhist mediation except the rhythm is much more
complicated. It makes it great for thinking yet somehow doesn't let you
dwell on the bad things. Which I'm glad for because I usually like to
dwell on bad things when depressed.
Riding with friends is much different than riding
alone. alone I think a lot then get to a rest stop and can't wait to
get back on the road again. No matter how tired I am. With friends you
still get the same meditation but there is also a dance going on. As we
ride down the road there is a lot of interplay going on with the other
riders. sometimes someone wants to move up or back in the pack to chat
with someone so he weaves around the others to get into position. Sometimes we feel like flying. Once we were 4 wide doing 90 on the I-90.
And then sometimes you just want to ride alone so you break from the
pack for a while. You just have to remember to keep to half a lane cuz
if your not paying attention on of your friends might try to pass you
on the other half.
the other great thing about riding with friends is
that I never had the time to go off by myself and get into a real good
funk. Something I really like to do when depressed. Every time I
wandered off by myself at a stop or something someone would wonder by
and start chatting. Nothing important, just bull shit, but it kept me
from beating myself up.
the first night we stopped in Lacrosse and hung out at
Vicks Lounge for a couple of drink. Vick was a nice old guy with an
ancient bar. The cash register wouldn't go over $3.
The second night we stopped in Mitchell SD. We had some
lunch. while a girl from across the street came in and gave a nice
streak show. We of course headed to her bar the have a drink after
that. Later Bruce and his daughter along with a friend of his Mike,
went on to Wall, while the rest of us stayed. Tara really wanted to see
the stripper with the American flag boots and of course Dopey didn't
mind. After dinner we went to the club and spent a few hours and a
bunch of singles. The best part was when Dopey climbed on the roof and
mooned us in front of the sign. Hopefully Tara will give me that
The camp site in Mitchell was great. We camped on a
bluff above the lake. We had a great view as well as a nice breeze to
keep us cool. The neighbors were also really cool. A nice family that
offered cold drinks and binoculars to people watch on the lake.
So far the trip was going great. That would all change
just over 100 miles from Mitchell. almost 200 miles to go to Sturgis and
JR's bike just died. He had had some battery problems but this was a
new battery. So we spent some time on the side of the road trying to
fix it but finally gave up. The very second someone stuck a thumb out
someone pulled over. Not just someone, but a girl with an empty
trailer. Her husband was riding the chopper into town. So these nice
people loaded JR's bike onto the trailer and took him into Sturgis.
While we all followed.
I was alone behind the trailer riding down the road,
when I saw her slam on the breaks and swerve left. Then I saw Rocko
fishtailing around and pull over. He had blown out a tire. I put some
fix a flat in his tire and we were off again. Dopey and Tara went with
JR and the trailer while I hung with Rocko to make sure he got in
alright. We made it into Sturgis just a bit late to meet the rest of
the gang, so instead of going to the campground we went to the bar. The
second Rocko parked his bike the tire went flat. No amount of fix a
flat would help so we rolled it around the corner to a shop. 5 hours
later the tire was fixed, but we had no idea why it went flat.
We found out then that we were lucky to go the bar
first because Bill who drove the support truck had also broken down. At
this moment he is still broke down and getting pretty pissed.
The first morning in Sturgis and what do we do? Spend
the time fixing bikes. Blaster, Plummer Dave, Tile Tony, Blaster's Nephew, and another guy Joe I think wanted to go riding, but first
Blaster's nephew had to fix his muffler mount. Something I needed to
do too but I could get by for a while. We thought it would just be a
quick fix, but it ended up lasting an hour or two. finally we got fixed
and rode west to Wy. We spent the afternoon in Sundance, The town that
named the Kid according to the t-shirts.
I wanted to go on to Devils Tower but no one wanted to
follow so I went on alone. Some great pictures. You'll really want to
see these when I get them up. National parks are probably better alone
Later I went to the Dungeon bar to meet with the guys
again, but hey forgot and I spent a few hours hanging there
alone. Not really a place the exuded friendliness. However, the
bartender, Trina, was probably the nicest girl in the world. I think
she was the girl I spent time talking to in 2000 when I came here last.
I will have to check the pictures on my old web page when I get back.
My time is over here so I have to get off.
Ride fast and take chances.
Well I'm back again. It occurred to me that some of you may not have known that
I was going away. I'll assume that you figured that out. If not I went to
Sturgis South Dakota with some friends. We left on Friday. This morning 4 of
the six who rode together left for home. I'm actually having so much fun that I
decided to stay an extra day or two. That and a beautiful blonde bartender
from San Diego who actually wants to hang out with me. Trust me I'm more
surprised than anyone. I didn't think I would like Sturgis nor did I even want
to meet someone.
I think I'm enjoying Sturgis so much cuz I haven't spent very much time at all
in town. yesterday I was gone by 7AM and off to Mount Rushmore. The heads were
very impressive. Then I rode down to Crazy Horse and that was even better.
Crazy Horse has been under construction for something like 50 years and it
looks like it will be under construction for another 100. but the sculptor
doesn't care. Or didn't care he died about 15 years ago. The object of Crazy
Horse is to stay true to the spiritual nature of the native American peoples.
Not just one tribe but all of them. So they hired a sculptor, one of the
assistants from Mt. Rushmore. They told him they had decided on Crazy Horse
because. when he was asked, "Where is your land now|?" He replied," My land is
where my ancestors are buried." We'll they never had much money to rush
through the project and they have refused 20 million dollars from the federal
government. So they are taking their time. Not to mention that the carving is
just huge. over 500 feet high.
After leaving Crazy horse I road through deadwood, home of Calamity Jane, who
grew up a drunk and whore, but sobered up to help sick people during a fever
outbreak. Right next to her you can find the graves of Wild Bill and Potato
John who first found gold in Deadwood.
Returning to Sturgis I eventually made it back to camp. Most people think
Sturgis is full of naked chicks on the back of bikes. It's not. There are laws
against that. So everyone goes to the campgrounds, that rival the town in
size, to play. Being private property people can flash all they want. They do.
through our camp is a road they call titty alley. it runs almost a mile and in
the evenings is lined on both sides by people giving away beads for a flash.
It was pretty fun, but I had to check it out, so I road all the way down and
back. You'll just have wonder if I made any beads or not.
This morning after Rocko, Nat, Dopey, and Tara left I headed out to Belle
Forche to see the moving wall. My two favorite memorials are The Wall and The
FDR memorial. I think FDR sort of memorializes the best in American history.
FDR became president while the entire world was reeling from the great
depression. He gave people hope for the future and something to work for. Then
of course WWII started and though we took some time to do what was right we
finally stepped in and helped out. And of course we didn't stop there we went
on the help rebuild almost the entire of Western Europe as well as Japan. (Now
there is an argument for foreign aid) The Wall on the other hand memorializes
Americas greatest failure. Not that we lost the war in Vietnam, but that we
were ashamed and tried to forget about it while we still have people there.
You may or may not have agreed with the war but we certainly could have taken
better care of our own people. After such and emotional morning at The Wall I
had to take a nice ride and relax. I took highway 85 south to 14a and
Spearfish Canyon A beautiful ride all the way back into Deadwood then on back
to Sturgis. I just love those little roads riding next to a creek through the
hills. Even though 100's of other people were on the same ride it really
wasn't that bad. After all a motorcycle can pull on and off the road with a
minimum of fuss while cars always block traffic.
Anyway you've caught up to me, I'm hanging in the computer store now writing.
Looking forward to my date tomorrow.
riding around Thursday and writing the last email I headed back to
camp. Rick (the camper guy) and I chewed the fat for a while and Bill
and JR pulled up a bit later. Bill's truck still wasn't ready and he
was getting more and more pissed. Rick was talking about going home
that night or early in the morning. Then a rainstorm hit cooling things
of considerable. I took the opportunity to take a much-needed nap. A
half an hours later the rain stopped and it got too hot to sleep again.
So I took off. I didn't even think about saying goodbye, I just plain
forgot. I know I'm a rude bastard. Well I camp back to camp that night
and evidently Bill's truck was finally finished and Rick had decided to
head home, because there was my little tent sitting all alone at the
tip of a small rise. It was very windy that night; I kept feeling like
the whole tent would be picked up and fly away with me in it.
Thursday while out I again went back to the Dungeon to visit Trina and
chat. I got to know a few of the other Sturgis regulars and we chatted
about nothing for a while when a few Indians came in from the
reservation. A husband and wife, probably a brother, and a white ranch
hand. None of them could have been more than 25. They seemed to be
having a great time, to two younger guys were real shy at first, but
with a bit of encouragement and a few body shots they loosened up and
were putting tips in Trina's leather. As the night wore on I was
feeling a bit tipsy so I went for a cup of coffee and a long walk to
clear my head. When I got back my seat at the bar was gone and I sat on
a table just behind everyone. Within a minute this guy's wife sat next
to me and started talking. I didn't really want to hear about her
marriage problems, but before I could even say anything he turned
around and started yelling. "Your talking about me" I tried to laugh it
off and say, don't worry about it, its only good stuff, but he wouldn't
listen. Next he was off his bar stool poking me in the chest and
swaying. Then he was yelling at his wife and I was trying to ignore
them. I though for a second he was going to smack his wife, but he came
back to mess with me again. So I stood up and told him to back off.
Next thing I knew he hit me with a left to the jaw. I slammed him
against the wall and proceeded to pummel him until someone pulled me
haven't even seen a fight for years much less been in one. His wife and
his brother apologized and took him home. Then the bouncers finally
came down, but everyone told them the fighters had left. They stood
around for a bit then went back to work. There was no reason for the
fight, but I think the wife wanted to piss off her husband because she
was sick of him sticking dollars down a strange woman's bra all night.
I was just the sucker who got caught in the middle.
the fight I had another drink and we laughed about it for a while. Then
I headed home, and missed the real excitement of the night. Some idiots
tried to light up a joint just after the cops did their usual walk
through. Unfortunately the cops were still at the top of the stairs and
smelled the smoke. They found the guys with the roach, and searched and
searched, but didn't find anything else.
guess that Trina was feeling a bit guilty. I took the advice to heart
from my last girlfriend, that women like you to treat them special and
buy stuff for them. In college when I was 20 everyone thought I was
filthy rich and I got real tired of people wanting me to buy them
stuff. Now I guess I have the opposite problem, everyone thinks
I'm dirt poor. In reality I have money in the bank and a budget that I
have a lot of problems sticking to.
anyway back to Trina, I bought her a nice choker necklace from crazy
horse and a dozen roses. She probably gets a million offers for a ride
and the occasion present from a customer. I don't think she expected
extra two days and me to stay and get her a dozen roses. That and the
fact that most people seem to think I'm a nice guy on first impression
helped me out a bit. Especially when she sent the other bartender over
to look me in the eye and say hello. I guess I seemed trustworthy. She
finally gave me her phone number and told me to call her in the
morning. This of course was before the big fight and all of that.
next morning I was at the payphone promptly at 10AM to call. Then I
waited a half an hour while some jerk thought he would spend all day on
the payphone. I finally gave up and found another phone two blocks
away. These night people really sound tired when you call them anytime
before noon. But she sounded happy to hear from me and ready to go.
a few minutes after getting on the bike I finally asked her if she had
a boyfriend back home. I probably should have asked sooner, but I
didn't really want to know. Of course she did. It didn't really change
the ride at all; it just meant we probably wouldn’t hold hands crossing
the street and stuff. After all she lives 2000 miles away the chances
of any relationship were pretty much nil anyway. I know a lot of the
guys are thinking yeah but you could have had one day. The problem is
she is what you call good people and I just can't bring myself to just
sleep with good people. It’s that damn catholic upbringing.
was the right choice too, because she gave me her home email. I may
have not gotten the wild thing, but I found a new friend, much more
important to me.
decided to head out the next day and get home in time for my Doctors
appointment Monday afternoon. I rode 80 to 90 miles an hour most of the
day. Finally getting a hold of Rocko at Albert Lee. I had no cell phone
service at all in South Dakota. I wanted to stop at the town they all
stop at on the way home, but I had already passed it. I rode on to
Rochester and considered stopping in on my aunt, but I didn't have the
number with me.
went to dinner in a little town called Stewartville. The Down Under
Bar. I almost left because all they had was pizza, but I came back. The
pizza was actually pretty good. The town drunk sat next to me and told
me his life story three times while I shared my pizza with him. I was
out the door 10 minutes later and ready for bed when cute redhead
came out the door and asked for a ride.
how am I going to refuse that? Two miles down the road she told me she
was married. AAARGH. She did invite me back to the wedding reception
she was suppose to be at. The bride was passed out drunk and everyone
else was looking for some Jagermeister. So another bridesmaid jumped on
the back of the bike and we headed back to the bar. She was married
too. That’s it, one drink and I'm gone, but no. Why do girls want to
tell me how bad their marriages are? I guess the original redhead had
decided to or got drunk enough that it didn't matter what she did. I
gave her my card and eventually made it out the door and back to the
hotel. The first thing I did was turn off my phone. I figured if we
wanted to find me bad enough she could call the front desk and convince
them to ring through to me. She never did, but I had two messages on my
voicemail in the morning.
didn't call back in the morning. I just jumped on the bike and headed
for home. Around 1 or 2 Rocko called. Amazingly I had just pulled up to
the gas pump. I guess I moved a bit faster than he thought. I was
already past the turnoff for his house. I did a bit of back tracking,
but made it to his house. Dopey and Tara came by. He just picked up his
daughter and moved her in. Some dinner and stories and the next thing I
knew it was dark. Park Ridge is a long way from Johnsburg so I rode
with Tom past his house. This route took me right past PS so of course
I had to stop in for one. Annie, Lisa, and Mike liked the pictures.
I'll be darned if I wasn't completely exhausted. I finally got home at
11PM to find my mom waiting up for me. I guess she knew I couldn't be
so close to home and stop for the night.
going to take some time and try to set up a web site again so you all
can see the pictures. For the first time though I have some R rated
pictures so I'm going to have to figure out how to put them up without
letting my students find them. Or even making mention of them. I'll
probably just set up an adult account that you will have to write and
ask for the address of, but anyway expect pictures in a day or so.
where people worry even when you don't want them too.
I'd like to make a bit of a correction. I tend to write these
things pretty quickly to try and get them out on time. After rereading
I noticed there was something I said that I didn't really mean the way
it sounded." I took the advice to heart from my
last girlfriend, that women like you to treat them special and buy
stuff for them." What I meant was you should treat your
girlfriends special and make sure when you take them out, you really
take them out. As in do the driving, open the doors, not allow them to
take the check that sort of stuff. I wouldn't want anyone to get the
impression that my last girlfriend didn't like me cuz I didn't buy her
stuff. Trust me there are a lot more things than that to dislike me
And as long as we are on the subject, yes, I was pretty
depressed when we left town. That's a normal stage to go through after
breaking up with someone. Like I said riding with friends really kept
me out of a funk. I'd like to say that I am as happy and as go
lucky now as I ever was. Don't feel sorry for me or give me your
sympathy. You'll just annoy me. Enough people have felt sorry for me as
it is and I'm pretty sick of it.
As you all know I'm home safe and sound. I
finally found a web hosting service that will allow me to put up what
they call porn pictures for free. There are a lot of sites that will
allow you to put up naked people pictures, but not many that will do it
I have to say this was one of the greatest
rides I've even been on. I've been over most of the country on this
bike and I've enjoyed almost every mile. (I think I put up all the old
pages, but the pictures for them won't work, I just don't have enough
storage space to put them all up.) The difference on this ride was
I rode with friends. I was a bit leery at first because though I like
all the guys, I'm not really a very good companion. I really hate
talking and tend to wander off on my own a lot. It's not that I don't
like sharing my thoughts and feelings with people, its just that what I
try to say and what people hear are generally very different things.
I like writing stories about my adventures
for that reason, it is a bit easier to put down what I mean after
I've been thinking about it all day long. It always amazes
me though that people actually read the drivel that I write. What
amazes me even more is what they find notable to mention. Often it
is something that I put in as filler or a connection to something else
that I thought was important. Then I'll run into someone or they will
send an email mentioning something that I wrote and I'll think wow I
did write that didn't I.
So I guess what I'm saying is that I
appreciate the comments and next year I'll try to inject the humor back
into the stories. After all the original reason I started writing this
was because of my little sister's hilarious stories when she drove from
San Francisco to DC a few years back.
So until next year or possible the Quincy
trip coming up soon. Take good care of yourselves and keep the rubber
stuff down and the shiny stuff up.
Oh yeah and the sites are