Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The First Roar Of A Bike In My Driveway For 2009...

The garage looks like a bazaar in Baghdad. One that just got worked over by a car bomb. Initially built for three cars, temporary (though indefinite) storage of tons of crap have whittled the available space down to accommodate one small SUV, a bike trailer, and my motorcycle. A fast inventory includes one canoe that has not been in the water for three years, a wheel barrow with a flat tire (whose bead is as loose as the elastic on my oldest pair of boxers), an electric version of “The Total Gym” still in the box (exercise equipment that weighs 700 pounds), several bicycle racks (sans the bikes), gardening chemicals, tools, a turkey fryer, fishing gear, camping gear, and 40 or 50 boxes of extra art supplies collected by my hot squeeze. It should be noted that the the 100 feet of shelving in this garage looks like a flea market from hell. Organization is not my strong point.

Stiffie (Leslie), my hot squeeze, has made it clear that anything that has not been touched in two years is a candidate for the trash. This does not apply to impedimenta that belongs to her, however -- only stuff that is obviously mine. For example, taking up rare space in the motorcycle bay is a collapsable garden refuse container, filled with the dry stalks of last autumn’s final pruning. You wouldn’t think this dehydrated plant matter had value, but it is apparently priceless. I am going to move it next to her car tonight (the driver’s door) and I expect it will surface in conversation tomorrow. On the other hand, I have motorcycle-related material strewn throughout the bike bay. My helmet, has been gathering dust on a chair in my office for three months. I found a spare clutch cable tossed into a pile of gloves, which somehow escaped from a box I packed them in.

My stuff needs tending to.

The garage is insulated poorly and tends to be somewhat inhospitable when the weather turns unpleasant. It was designed by the person who invented the vacuum bottle. Consequently, it stays icy cold when the weather outside warms up and retains the heat of hell when the air cools off on a summer night. This is but one of several convenient reasons I have for never staying in there long enough to straighten it up. The fact that I have arthritis, a fear of lurking spiders, a dread of wasps flying in from outside, and move with two speeds -- slow and reverse -- are other convenient reasons.

Jim Robinson and BMW GS roared into the ice-shrouded driveway, 
the first bike and rider to do so for 2009. 
(Photo by Jack Riepe -- Click to enlarge)

But the weather warmed up to 49º(F) on Sunday, and I opened the doors to let in the sunshine and spring-like air. It was just past noon, when I decided to tidy the place up -- exclusively using my Jedi Knight mind powers to move stuff around. Two seconds into this, I was distracted by the snarl of a motorcycle fighting its way up the ice in the driveway.

“Impossible,” I thought. “The ice is still an inch thick in most places. How can this be?”

The suspense was shattered a few minutes later when my pal (and fellow Mac-Pac member) Jimmy Robinson appeared at the top, wearing a two-foot wide shit-eating grin, astride a silver BMW GS.

“Damn,” said Jim, with a laugh. “You don’t make it easy for friends and acquaintances to drop by, do you?”

“Actually, most of them take the hint,” I replied.

Robinson reported that the streets were largely free of ice and that warmer temperatures compelled him to get on his bike and ride. “Why don’t you come with me?”

The imposing profile of the Beemer GS looks great in the driveway, 
or on the Great Wall of China. It's BMW's best selling model.
(Photo by Jack Riepe -- Click to enlarge)

I pointed to the tarmac in front of the garage for my answer. The blacktop was shrouded in dirty, gray ice right up to the garage door. This presented no obstacle for the vintage Suburban or the Subaru, both of which are equipped with four-wheel drive. “I have no intentions of dropping that bike in the driveway, or anyplace else today.”

The flight deck of the GS is neat mixture of computer screen and analog dials.
Jim Robinson can be seen shoveling his escape route through the crud encrusted windscreen.
(Photo by Jack Riepe -- Click to enlarge)

Technically, the streets were clear. But melting snow and ice left most of them soaking wet with a piquant brine solution. Anything taken out on the road would return covered with white salt streaks. If there was one thing I felt less like doing than cleaning the garage, it was washing my bike in a cold garage. Plus Robinson was not quite honest about the clarity of the roads. The volume of water in the streets, especially where it was channeled by dissolving snow banks, was the equivalent of a good rain storm. A rider would be thoroughly soaked by the spray from traffic within a few miles.

“Do you have a snow shovel I could use to help cut the ice down on the hill in your driveway,” asked Robinson.

“Aaaah, Jim. I hate to think of you shoveling the driveway,” I said, giving him a choice of two shovels. “Don’t forget to hack a path to the side door.”

Robinson cleared enough of the ice away to guarantee front wheel traction on his exit. Nevertheless, I refused to turn my back on him knowing where that shovel could have been shoved. Seconds later, Robinson roared out, anxious to put a hundred miles on the bike in the next couple of hours. My big surprise is that a recent procedure has made my arthritis a lot more tolerable. Had the driveway been clear, meaning that if we had had two weeks of rain to wash away the salt and gravel, I would have ridden with him.

Robinson cleared enough of a path to guarantee traction for his front wheel 
on the way out. It wasn't quite that simple on the way in.
(Photo by Jack Riepe -- Click to enlarge)

So Jim Robinson and his GS became the first bona fide rider and bike to appear in my driveway for 2009. Forty-eight hours later, the temperature dropped again and there’s eight inches of new snow covering everything. I’m so happy I could just shit.

Addendum

I wasn’t kidding when I said I had two speeds, slow and reverse. The two last winners of the Twisted Roads Riders Meal’s Contest never got their prizes from November of last year. As you may be aware, two individuals are selected from everyone who contributes a comment to the blog each month. Brenda Wheatley and Bobskoot were the last two winners and their $50 meal cards were mailed today. The prize department of Twisted Roads regrets the delay.

©Copyright Jack Riepe2009
AKA The Lindbergh Baby (Mac-Pac)
AKA Vindak8r (Motorcycle Views)
AKA The Chamberlain -- PS (With A Shrug)



33 comments:

irondad said...

Dude, I read your post and just get more confused. How does a vacuum bottle know if the stuff you put in it is supposed to be kept either hot or cold?

How can Jim be your first bike in the driveway for 2010? At least that's what you wrote. And I quote:

So Jim Robinson and his GS became the first bone fide rider and bike to appear in my driveway for 2010.

Perhaps, not having Jedi mind powers, I am not capable of understanding this time travel thing.

Thanks a lot. Now my brain hurts. I'm going to have to go drink coffee and direct someone to think about it for me!

Charlie6 said...

Jack,

Good luck with getting that garage organized, I refer to my garage as the black hole into which stuff of mine vanishes....then after hours of searching every nook and cranny and much cursing, my wife tires of my whining and seemingly with little effort finds the missing item!

As to that driveway, it looked doable, heart-stopping perhaps at some spots, but doable.

Then again, my wife knows I get the DTs if I don't ride, or perhaps its the large life insurance policy I got this past summer?

fasthair said...

Mr. Jack; If you didn't live so far away I would have been the first bike in the drive of 2009 since i was out Saturday here. Photo proof on the blog. Wondering how did Jim and you time warp to the year 2010? Neat trick can you teach me how to just time warp to summer?

fasthair

bobskoot said...

You must have a time warp machine under all that junk in your Garage. Can you use your JEDI powers and rewind back to spring 2009 ? Better yet just leave your machine in auto repeat mode. Spring 2009 to Fall 2009, on a continuous loop for a few years. If you had a Transport machine rather than a Time Warp machine, then perhaps a few of us can be "beamed" over to a few Mac-Pac meetings.
I'm also confused by your previous post. BMW-Dick claims that there is NO Brian Curry, but on the home page of the Mac-Pac website he is prominently mentioned, but his name does not appear on the "secret" email list. Perhaps you could set up a subsidiary Mac-Pac: West coast branch for those of us on the left side of the continent. Your moto: "Eating & Wrenching" is almost attainable. I am sure most of us know how to EAT, but not so sure about that wrenching part. You could also use that Transporter machine to send out a guest speaker, now and again.

bob
bobskoot: wet coast scootin

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Irondad:

Years of brushing my teeth with gin and working in a rarified atmosphere of cigar smoke have rendered me mildly stupified on occasion. I should have explained myself much better.

The vacum bottle knows the same way thousands of women know they will never sleep with me in their lifetime -- after a two second meeting.

Jim is a great guy... But his visits always seem like a year long, which is why I initially wrote 2010, when I meant 2009. I did get it right in the title. But do you ever cut me any slack? Not a shot.

I am willing to help you develop your Jedi mind powers, but I must then refer to you as "Grasshopper" in all future posts and communications. Consider it done. (This is going to be a pisser.)

I too am drinking coffee and attempting to think. Doing two things like this at the same time always gives me a headache.

Always a pleasure to hear from you. Drop by more often.

Fondest regards,
Jack

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Charlie6:

Putting the collapsable trash can filled with last fall's garden debris next to the driver's door of my significant other's SUV seems to given at least one inanimate object a life of its own. I found the can on its side next to the motorcycle this morning, with the dried garden crap spread out all over the bike bay's floor. I'm sorry the folks from Monster Quest weren't here last night.

Ther driveway now has 8 inches of snow in it, with temperatures headed as low as single digits tonight.

Thanks for reading my crap one more time and for writing in.

Fondest regards,
Jack

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Mr. Fasthair:

If the President can do it, so can I. I screwed up and I admit it. I initially typed in the wrong date. It was a lousey day... The writing was hard... And I was already on my third rum and coke when I typed that post. I am not allowed to smoke in the house... Thank God rum doesn't emit a visible vapor.

Thank you for jumping on the now completely full band wagon of critics (which includes Irondad, Bobskoot, and yourself), who couldn't wait to bust my balls. I'm sorry you don't live closer too. I'd have traded you breakfast for 20 minutes of hard labor in the garage.

It's great to see you in the mail here today. Thanks for reading and writing in.

Fondest regards,
Jack

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Mr. Bobskoot:

In one of my articles that was published in the BMW Motorcycle Owners of America's magazine last year, I described the Mac-Pac as a quasi religious order dedicated to mileage, maintenance, and calories. That was not an exaggeration. Many of the members in rthis club routinely put between 14,000 and 20,000 miles on their machines each year -- without commuting. And they will ride 500-plus miles to sample ribs, lobster, a hamburger, or crabs that received favorable mention somewhere.

They also routinely hold maintenance meetings, in which airhead experts, or master mechanic Tom Cutter, will run through proper upgrades, various service aspects, or on the road repairs. There is only one person in this club who can't fix a damn thing. That's me.

Mac-Pac rides are legendary. There was one last year to Centralia, Pa. This tragic town was abandoned and pulled down (all except 13 buildings) owing to a raging coal mine fire underground. Forty-seven year later, the streets are still hot. Smoke stills issue from cracks and crevices in the ground. The Mac-Pac rode there, and cooked their lunch on the open sidewalk.

This is some group. As far as the secretive Brian Curry goes, as I said, he drifts through life like Peter Lorre in a Humphrey Bogart movie.

Always a pleasure Bob!

Fondest regards,
Jack

Tena said...

I swear, Leslie and I must be related! In our 1 1/2 car garage, there is only room for Bugser's motorcycle and the BBQ grill. At LEAST half the crap out there is mine, and Bugser is warned never to touch under fear of death, or worse. Once we actually got the car into the garage, but that was eons ago.

Too bad about the new snow. Always a disappointment for mother nature to tease like that.

DC said...

I haven't ridden a motorcycle for 7 weeks. If it hasn't been ice cold, it's been wet, ...lately, both. I've been an absolute bear to the wife and kids. The day you "cleaned the garage", when Jim showed up on his GS, was the best day to take advantage. However, for me, it was the first chance the ground thawed enough to bury the bodies.

Jack, I'm glad to hear that you may be having some arthritis relief. Keep up the effort to be pain free. Your rides might also be much better if you could shed a little weight, like somethng on the order of Breg Dickstein.

You and I need to grab a couple bar stools soon. I want to find out how many "foot down" stops you can handle on a 100 mile ride so I can plan one thru Southeastern PA this year, in your honor, of course. We'll call it "Rolling Hills, Streams and Strip Clubs - Riepe's Ride of Redemption - Not for the Squeamish".

Keep writing. The sanity you save may be mine.

Dave
p.s. - just kidding about the bodies, folks. Ground's still way too hard. ;-)

ADK said...

I don't know what'bone fide' means but I'm bone weary of your spelling errors.

This is a free link. I know how much you hate paying for anything worthwhile.

http://dictionary.reference.com/


You said that I would win some food if I would only run up your web site hit count a few times a day.... Where is it?

ADK said...

The food, not the web site.

DC said...

Is this why Jack's dimensions are that of a small board room? No one else gets to eat?

John said...

We had close to 4 inches here last night. I am tired of the snow and ice, but cheer up I just insured that we not get anymore. That's right I bought new wheels and snow tires for my car. So temps will go up and we will be clear for the next 10 months.

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Mr. Case:

Considering you were ione of the first winners of this contest, I would not have anticipated this low and dirty shot. You should be deeply gratified that we have not ridden together, otherwise the next story would carry the gruesome details.

Still, I'd recommend vigilance on your part. I'll be asking other mutual acquaintances of ours for things they may know. Ask Bregstein how this works.

I noticed you started writing in again as you are now eligible for the monthly prize once more.

Fondest regards,
Jack

Jack Riepe said...

Dear ADK (Chris Wolfe):

Do you remember the last 40 drinks I bought you at the Spruce Hill Tavern on my most recent vist? That's how you should remember them, as the "last." I do, however, have something you can eat right here.

Mike Cantwell says he was digging the snow out of his drive way and found a mastadon wedged against the garage door. With eight fresh inches on the ground here, rthere will be no riding for two more weeks.

Thinking of you, occasionally.

Jack

Jack Riepe said...

Dear John:

The snow measured eight inches here on the snow gauge, the four feet in diameter coffee table on the back patio. There was no wind to speak of last night, and nothing significan in the way of a drift.

I doubt the warm weather will be enoigh to dissolve all this.

Thanks for reading and writing in.

Fondest regards,
Jack

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Tena:

To show how much I loved her, I started putting Leslie's crap from the garage out into the driveway. To show how much she loved me, Leslie put on a Godzilla suit and ran through my model train layout.

This is the house that Cupid built.

Always a pleasure,
Jack

Charlie6 said...

she put on a Godzilla suit and ran through your train layout....

I can feel the love from all the way out here.....

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Mr. Case:

I am going to hold you to the "Rolling Hills, Streams and Strip Clubs -- Riepe's Redemption Ride. Mr. Eilenberger from New Jersey knows a strip club that adds a new dimension to sleeze. I only hope the authoirities don't close it before I can incorporate it into this ride. Please do not think I'm kidding. We are going to do this ride.

And I'd love it if my friends Chris Wolfe, Michael Cantwell, and Lee Kozanas could kake it down that weekend too.

Fondest regards,
Jack

DC said...

Dear Jack,

Yes, I was one of the first dinner winners. (And, to Jack's credit, I DID receive said gift and ate like a king on his dime.)

Now I'm hungry again, hence my comments.

Seriously though, I am planning a Reipe Ride. One where you'll have to put your foot down only a dozen times; 8 at each of the 8 go-go bars, 3 at traffic lights or stop signs, and I'm allowing one extra for the invariable moment Bregstein squeezes the brake instead of the clutch.

Oh sure, it's a logistical nightmare, but to see your ass moving effortlessly thru space will be my pleasure, sir.

and you're buying.

Dave

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Dave:

I figured I was buying.

Fondest regards,
Jack

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Charlie6:

If nothing else, we are creative in our passion.

Fondest regards,
Jack

bobskoot said...

jack:

I like the idea of a Riepe Ride. (ie: only put your foot down 8 times) now you're going to have to hire spotters.

oh, please post pix of Leslie in the Godzilla suit, or was that a Gorilla suit ?

bob
bobskoot: wet coast scootin

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Bobskoot:

Against all odds, Leslie read my blog last night and had plenty to say about the garage situation, and whose stuff was the real garbage, and whose ass was too fat and lazy to get up and do something about it.

You can't believe how often my name came up.

Fondest regards,
Jack

fasthair said...

Mr. Jack: 20 munites hell! I would have gladly gave you 30 if it would have helped get you out on the bike! Sorry to hear about the 8" of new stuff though. Not to rub it in by any means but we are going through a heat wave here agian this weekend. I'll be sure to honk and wave as I ride by :)

fasthair

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Mr. Fasthair:

It's hard to plan anything around here. I've been moving around a lot better than anyone can figure with this arthritis, and the clowns at the weather station are predicting a week of very mild weather, starting on Sunday.

I had intended to take the exhaust system off my rig and get it jet-coated over the next two weeks. But I am reluctant to lay up the bike if I can get even one good day's ride out of it. It is scheduled to have the seat removed from it -- and custom rebuilt -- the first three weeks in March.

It'll probably be 80º those days.

It is always great to hear from you. That's for writing in.

Fondest regards,
Jack

Charlie6 said...

Jack, wait and see before you take the bike apart! It'll be good for your soul.....

ADK said...

Give me a time and date and I'll do my best to be there, if only to confirm my long held and cherished belief, that there is NO redemption for Mr Riepe.


http://gizmodo.com/gadgets/gadgets/motorcycle-training-wheels-166972.php

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Sir:

'Hrumphhhh." And I meant it to sting.

Fondest regards,
Jack

Jack Riepe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jim said...

The oddest item I hit was a queen mattress .. square on.. rode over it before I understood or knew what was where or going on .. I was in heavy traffic on the interstate in Kentucky, I was riding a Honda 550 doing about 75… the mattress just showed up from under the car that I was following .. needed to change my shorts

Anonymous said...

Jack:

The most unusual thing I ever encountered in the road while riding my motorcycle was a full-grown African lioness sunning herself! This occured in the late 1970's on Roemerville road about half way between Newfoundland, PA and Promised Land, PA in the poconos. I honestly thought I was halucinating! I hit the brakes and swerved to miss her. I parked the bike and started walking back to investigate. As I neared the lion, a little kid about 10 years old walked up and said,"Want me to show you the lion?" I nodded and he pulled on an old swing set chain which was attached to the lion's collar. As she got closer I got agitated - the cat was as big as me! The kid said, "Don't worry she can't bite or scratch." As it turned out, the lion was defanged and declawed. She used to be in a travelling circus and was 'fixed' when the circus went broke. She was very friendly and got up on her hind legs put her paws on my shoulders. She was slightly taller than my 6'-4" frame! She proceeded to lick my face with her tongue which felt exactly like 60 grit sandpaper. I had to pull away as she was removing skin from my cheek. I rolled around with her on the grass for a while, she was like a playful kitten. I then thanked the kid and suggested he shorten the chain so the lion could not reach the road and risk injury. He agreed and I went on my way. I'll never forget the experience as long as I live.

Rick Cavaliere
Telford, PA