Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Sidebar Without Pictures

I apologize that so many of you read the previous post before I got the pictures up. I was tired and started to run out of steam after only two were posted. Likewise, there were more typos and missing words per square foot in that initial text than anything I have ever posted before. I’d like to thank long-time friend and reader Ihor Sypko for sending me the corrections. For his efforts, Ihor will be presented with a “Twisted Roads” tee shirt.

I wanted to write a fairly serious ride report about the Blue Ridge Parkway for the longest time. The preceding post on this blog was intended to fulfill that objective. For some reason, it took a long time for me to figure out what it was I wanted to say. Then I realized the work would only appeal to new or intermediate riders, who had never experienced the Blue Ridge Parkway. I was surprised to hear from so many experienced BRP ride veterans, who either related to the things I felt, or wanted to share different perspectives of their own.

“Serious” for me is a relative term. Considering so much of what I write is pure nonsense, my meaning of the word “serious” is “true.” While I have written about this particular trip on the BRP before, previous references have focused on the pure fun side of the trip. Dick Bregstein and Pete Buchheit are fun magnets in that they attract hysterical situations worthy of comment.

For example, Pete Buchheit was heading north on the BRP that same weekend, when a passing bird targeted his face shield with a huge dump.

“If I hadn’t known that ostriches and emus can’t fly, I would have sworn that this was the signature work of either species,” said Buchheit. “It had the consistency and volume of a large milkshake from hell.” There was the initial splat and then it spread out across the face shield, leaving him a small peephole through which to see the road. Naturally, this happened at about 50 miles per hour.

Now this could have been very dangerous... But Pete has extensive experience handling shit. He immediately switched into bird shit reception and evaluation mode. Since there were no bad consequences, all other riders can do laugh like hell. Especially when I point out that the bombardment effect splatted this avian greeting on his Aerostitch and the inside of his windshield -- before seeping into the helmet.

In the previous story (Hubris and Friend Green Tomatoes On the BRP), I described our relaxing lunch at the National Park Service concession at the Peaks of Otter. If you glance back at this piece, you will see that my exit from this restaurant involved extricating my bike from a beautiful Honda Shadow cruiser (painted in a great forest green and buff color scheme) as part of the typical motorcycle parking puzzle. You will also see that I mentioned a hot-looking woman appeared to be approaching this bike with purpose. This is what happened next.

Pete and Dick took off as soon as we got on the road again. I told the boys that I was going to do my own ride. Their ride was squeezing the most out of the curves. Mine was just doing the Parkway and taking it all in. They’d wait for me at some point up ahead. That point could easily have been 50 ot 70 miles off. So what? This was a bikers’ weekend with thousands of machines on this road. If I got into trouble, two dozen people would stop in a pinch. Besides, what biker rides with his buddies in anticipation of trouble?

An hour passed in which I covered about 40-45 miles, where the terrain seemed to be more wooded and agricultural (on slight hills) as opposed to the dramatic cliff and mountain stuff. My knees were starting to throb and I pulled over by a mill stream that offered a nice little stone wall to sit on. I took a bottle of water that was cold some 60 minutes before out of the top case and noted it was now room temperature. I considered cooling it off in the stream, but that was room temperature too.

I wasn’t there ten minutes when the green and buff Honda pulled in behind me. The rider shut it down and pulled off her helmet, releasing a cascade of brunette hair over her shoulders. She bent down to hang the helmet on one of the passenger pegs and I studied her ass like it was a winning lottery ticket.

She came over and introduced herself as “Angie.”

“I saw you looking at my bike at the restaurant back there, and you pulled out before I could tell you that I had been admiring yours. What kind of fairing is that,” she asked.

“It’s a Sprint Fairing,” I said truthfully. “There were only two made and the other one is owned by a descendant of the Kaiser.” I looked into the greenest eyes I have ever seen to see if the greatest falsehood I have ever told had been detected. “Basically, it is a design more typical of a Triumph.”

I told her that the Honda had one of the most appealing paint schemes that I had ever seen on a bike and asked her if it was custom. (It wasn’t.)

I directed the conversation toward the BRP, riding in general, and the fact that I was a writer and almost as exotic in nature as the fairing on my bike. I offered her my other bottle of water, which she accepted, and spread out a clean bandana on the stone as a kind of tablecloth. This earned me a smile and twin emerald sparkles out of the tops of those eyes.

I learned that she was 44, divorced, and a resident of Maryland. She had treated herself to the Honda as a marriage escape reward. I was just about to warm up the “Battered Baby Seal” look when I heard the familiar whine of an F800S coming up the road.

It was Dick Bregstein... The same Dick Bregstein of the Buchheit and Bregstein “Every-Man-For-Himself” school of riding. For the first time in 20,000 miles of riding together, he was coming back to see if the turkey vultures were picking at my broad dead ass.

Dick swung into the rest area, popped up his face shield, and yelled, “Are you all right,” over the buzz of his Rotax engine.

“We’re fine,” I yelled back.

Dick looked at me, then at Angie, then at the two bottles of water on the bandana. “I got it,” he replied, before pulling out and heading back in the direction he had come.

“What was that all about,” asked Angie.

“The National Park Service has volunteers riding up and down the Parkway this weekend, making sure riders aren’t struck. Apparently, that was one of them.”

“But that was an odd thing to say,” said Angie.

“They probably don't train them well. Besides, I heard there’s an ax murderer on the loose. His name is Buchheit.”

Angie rode with me until we reached the North Carolina state line. It was here, at the driveway to the Blue Ridge Parkway Motel and Camp Ground, that the volunteer and the ax murderer were waiting for me. I pulled in, Angie rode on. This is the story of my life.

©Copyright Jack Riepe 2008
AKA The Lindbergh Baby (Mac Pac)
AKA Vindak8r (Motorcycle Views)
AKA The Chamberlain -- PS (With A Shrug)


BMW-Dick said...

Dear Jack:
That was all Bull Shit except for the part about Buchheit being an ax murder. Your top case has never seen anything non alcoholic, and I heard the Angie you really met was some guy named Angelo from Jersey City. Nevertheless, it was good writing and enjoyable.

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Dick:

We had to hang a single dollar bill around your neck to get the go go dancer at Club Spanky to talk to you.

Fondest regards,

Rogers George said...

Hey! I'm a editor! y'know, one o' them there proofreader guys. How do I get one o' them T-sharts? I'll even point out a buncha solecisms, fer yuh if'n it'll help.

Charlie6 said...

green eyed beauties, always very appealing....

you do have a way of writing that enables imagination-impaired guys like me to picture the scene.....

keep up the writing, it provides solace on days like today when I could not ride....tomorrow is another story though....

Grandad 43 said...

Jack, as one popular commentator would say "and now you know the rest of the story".
Typos or not,it was an interesting read.

Grandad 43
PS 14

Joe Dille said...

Good stuff Jack. I could see you saying every one of those lines.

Ride Safe,


fasthair said...

Mr. Jack: I want to call bullshit from what I know of you after reading your blog for awhile. It never happens to me and I know I'm better looking then you. OK that's a lie.

But you write it in such a way as to make me think, "you know this could've just really happened to this guy."

I've added you to the blog roll.


Jack Riepe said...

Dear Fasthair:

It really pisses off Dick Bregstein that it does happen to me. He can't understand it. A publishing company I once worked for hired a stunning woman to manage my department. She was everything that I was not. Neat, punctual, gorgeous, and executive-looking. The whole place nearly shit a brick when they realize I was sleeping with her six months later.

Never under-estimate the battered baby seal look.

Thanks for writing in and for elevating my blog to favored status.

Fondest regards,

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Rogers:

I understand your blog is filled with a huge ride report today. It's about time. IU'm going to read it and critique it now.

Fondest regards,

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Charlie6 (Dom):

Some writers believe that data is the essence of every piece. I seek the truth and to elevate my readers' emotions. I find that nothing satisfies like the truth. Truth and humor is good too, especially if the story ends with Bregstein standing under a water balloon.

Fondest regards,
Jack Riepe
Twisted Roads

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Grandad43 (Dave):

Thank you for your kind comment. But it dead red better corrected, with the pictures, and the related links. I'll try to do better in the future.

Fondest regards,

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Joe:

I wish you had been there. I could have used you as a witness.

Thanks for writing in.

Fondest regards,

Conchscooter said...

I don't think any of this is real because Angie/Angelo never wrote in to confirm. So there. But it wasn't a bad read, actually.

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Conchscooter:

It was a long time ago... She met a GS rider and cooks his breakfast now. I had my chance and Bregstein blew it for me.

Fondest regards,

Erik H said...

Jack; Just reading your blog on this cold and rainy Thursday. What a pleasant diversion from the grey mist of the past two days. Your story reminded me of my own trip down the BRP, though my solo trip was not nearly so adventurous . And made me realize how I sorely due I am for another trip south. A good, albeit temporary, antidote to incipient PMS. Thank-you!

Michael said...

I've been trying to catch up on reading your blog. In doing so, I've noticed that BMW-Dick seems to have a good read of the Author. In this particular "sidebar" I would have to believe Dick. Although, as a sidebar of my own, if Angelo looked as you described, I probably would have hit on him too.


sgsidekick said...

Yeah, I THOUGHT the original "Hubris" etc was very serious for you. Not that it wasn't good; it was! But here are the missing pieces. Thanks, as always, for the entertainment!

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Mike (probably Evans):

Noting that Dick Bregstein has a good read on my editorial philosophy is like noting that horse shit attracts flies. I'll deal with you later.

Fondest regards,

Jack Riepe said...

Dar Tena (Side Kick):

Thank you for noticing my effort to draft a serious biker piece, without deviating from the actual circumstances. The truth is the truth, and my middle name, as well.

It is always pleasant to hear from you.

Fondest regards,

Michael said...

Actually, it's Cantwell again.

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Michael:

I was recently telling a few folks about the episode where you and I were standing on my porch in the Adirondacks (house in Wilmington), which was slowly being covered by the webs of ugly bloat bag spiders.

As you will recall, each of these disgusting creatures was about the size of an Alaskan KIng crab, with a leg span of about 3 meters. The typical web was 30 feet in diameter, and one had a deer caught in it.

You claimed the spiders were more afraid of me than I could be of them, and you approached to within a few inches of a web, and gently blew on one.

The spider unfolded like a subpoena and started to shake the web like crazy. You casually explained that the creature was doing this to scare us. Then you turned around and realized that I had pissed myself.

To this day, I start that story by saying, "I knew a guy who blew a spider once..." You are that Cantwell, aren't you?

Fondest regards,

Cantwell said...

It's funny that in your world things always seem bigger.

I recall other experiences with strange creatures while in your company. One of them involved alcohol in various forms and flocks of nubile young women who hung on your every word. Little did they know you were luring them into a carefully constructed cone shaped pitfall trap.....oh wait, that's how you described the Ant Lions that were in the sand around the foundation of your house....My mistake.


irondad said...

A couple of observations.

With imaginative writers, it's all about the intrepretation. Angie or Angelo, it can be whatever the writer wants it to be. The readers will make it what they want it to be. That way we all get what we need.

Secondly, birds aren't the only source of big shit loads. Was Pete under a railroad trestle and the tragic victim of Amtrak? Were there contrails from passing passenger jets? It pays to think outside the box, especially when it comes to how much shit we have to deal with.

Jack Riepe said...


Zap me a note with your phone number to the email address atop the blog. I was in the Adirondacks three weeks ago, under very strange circumstances.

Fondest regards,

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Irondad:

Thank you for your kind observations and note. Trust me, it was "Angie," just as I have presented the scenario in the story. Dick Bregstein is just jealous, and tired of coming up on the thin edge of the wedge.

I only report the truth.

Pete swears it was a bird, and being he has spent years in corporate life, I can only assume he knows the difference.

Thank you for your kind note.

Fondest regards,

Anonymous said...


Excellent recollections of the grand New Year's Day meal at Michael's. Chris Carr really did say that about you passing him on the salt. I was there.

Big Jim