Friday, February 13, 2009

The Plans for The Great 2009 West Virginia Ride Unfold

The next best thing to being on a motorcycle trip is planning one. That is the premise of tonight’s essay. Naturally, it isn’t true, but it’s nice to think so and is an essential falsehood to the editorial fraud I am trying to perpetrate. If I couldn’t be out exploring new territory on my motorcycle, and I was given a choice of alternatives such as:

1) Planning a motorcycle trip with Dick Bregstein, Pete Buchheit, and Clyde Jacobs
2) Sitting on a beach in Tahiti while a naked Sandra Bullock pours me a Planters Punch
3) Being worshiped as a God/Pharaoh in ancient Egypt
4) Being tied to a tree and used as a drone by a lost tribe of Amazon women...

It is unlikely I would pick door “Number One” as my first option.

Believe me, I do not make this statement lightly. I think about riding through the morning mists, carving my way along the Pacific coast, or putting my kickstand down as the moon becomes visible through my bug-scarred windscreen about a thousand times a day. Nothing compares with the sensations that accompany these ride scenarios. I am a public relations specialist and floating a major news story used to give me an incredible high. (It is still a sense of accomplishment.) But now I do it to fund those occasions when I’m going to be on the road with my two-wheeled desperado pals for a few days.

And therein lies the rub. I try to bring a sense of unbridled enthusiasm to each ride I undertake -- only to be beaten into the pavement by my riding buddies. They certainly have their good points, but they do rise above them where I’m concerned. Here’s what I mean. Every ride that involves two or more riders on their own bikes is something of a compromise. Choosing a route can be a dicy thing if someone wants to take the most convoluted back roads while another prefers a faster way. It gets more complicated if one guy wants to stop and take pictures, while the fourth party feels compelled to pullover occasionally and provide tramp-stamped performance artists with a badly needed stimulus package (one single dollars at a time). It is automatically assumed by the majority on these rides that the routes I choose are determined by the availability of pole dancers, strip joints, or places where a less than discerning female clientel will talk to me.

As a result, my recommendations are always subject to secondary consideration, but are first to draw the most fire.

For the third year in a row, some buddies and I are taking a multi-state ride to West Virginia. One of our number proposed a scenic route that has 758 turns in just under 225 miles. Only six of them are right turns and I believe he used an Escher drawing as a map. He was good enough to type them out and send them along. They took up 6-single spaced typewritten pages. (He claimed this was the most scenic route but it would be worth your life to take your eyes off the road for an instant.) They weren’t on my screen thirty seconds when another ride participant insisted we stop for lunch at Captain Bob’s crab shack, in Railroad, Pa. (And the Maryland crab at Bob’s is worth the detour.)

All this was fine with me, but being the kind of guy I am, I wanted to work out a preliminary schedule. So I started to get into particulars, like departure and arrival times. Now granted, the trip isn’t until the end of May, about 100 days away; and perhaps these details could have waited for a later discussion. Yet I am so excited about this ride that I can’t wait. And yet, this is how one participant responded to my planning efforts.

“Fellow West Virginia Riders,

“I'm writing to tell you how thrilling it has been for me following the 116 emails among yourselves attempting to decide whether you will be stopping at Captain Bob's for lunch en route to WV. I fully expect an equal degree of excitement concerning your much anticipated correspondence in deciding what color outfits you will all be wearing on the ride.


I’m not sure, but I think this is what editors refer to as highly corrosive sarcasm. And it got worse too.

Words commonly used to describe my riding style by the guys I hang with are “mediocre, leisurely, and somnambulistic.” This is because I take my turns with prudence and ample visual confirmation that there are no surprises ahead of me. Dick Bregstein claims he once completed the crossword puzzle in the Sunday New York Times following me through the “S” curves at Hawks Nest, New York.

Motonomad, AKA Pete Buccheit, sitting on the bike he bought with his Communion money.
He only wears this leather outfit in the house. The two Beemers are classic beauties, 
at opposite ends of the model spectrum.
(Photo by Pete Buchheit, who took 65 of them today -- Click to enlarge) 

Always concerned that I am holding my friends back, I insist that they go on ahead while I ride my own ride. They insist on it too. I have often said that there is great assurance riding with Pete Buchheit and Dick Bregstein, knowing that help is only 50 or 60 miles ahead of me. Clyde Jacobs and Matt Piechota once insisted they would ride with me in the event I needed assistance (owing to my arthritis) following a Mac-Pac breakfast. Clyde suggested a “nicer” ride back to the garage, and the two of them led me into a Chinese noodle swamp of unmarked roads -- shortly before giving me the slip. (They were waiting for me back at my house, drinking my beer, and sharing overwhelming concern with my girlfriend, when I next saw them.)

Pete standing naked in his boots, which he bought for half off at a yard sale.
(Photo by Pete Buchheit -- Click to enlarge)

Well Clyde has chosen the route for this trip and I am anticipating getting lost again, thinking of all those turns in the middle of nowhere. It occurred to me that it might be a good idea to get a compass for my bike. So I went to The Compass Store to see if they had an inexpensive, liquid-filled ball compass that would not only show me the direction in which I was going, but one that would look cool on the dash of my K75. Kasper and Richter (Germany) make one for $54.95. It would secure to the dash on the Parabellum “Scout” fairing with a suction cup, that I would have reinforced with two screws to prevent theft.

I made the mistake of sharing this idea with Pete Buchheit (Motonomad), who had an alternate suggestion.

Cool Kasper and Richter precision liquid-filled ball compass, available at The Compass store (online) 
for a slick $54.95. This was my first thought for the Parabellum fairing dash.
(Photo courtesy of Tthe Compass Store -- Click to enlarge) 

“That’ll get stolen the first time you park the bike on the street, “said Buchheit. “If I were you, I’d mount it on the front of my helmet. And whenever you want to know the direction you’re headed in, you could pull into a gas station, a bait and tackle shop, or even an antique store and ask somebody there to read the cardinal direction marking on the ball to you.”

This was more of the that highly corrosive sarcasm.

In hindsight, it did seem kind of stupid. I’ve ridden through West Virginia 6 times now and its not the kind of place where you need to chart a course to have a good time. But the best news is that my girl presented me with a slightly used Garmin Nuvi 660, so I wouldn’t get hopelessly lost. It is the same unit I gave her for Christmas in 2007. She bought a new Subaru and prefers the GPS that came with it. So she re-gifted this fine unit back to me for Valentine’s day. It isn’t waterproof, as it was designed for a car, but it has all the bells and whistles and can link to a Bluetooth unit made for my helmet, so I can hear the prompts, if I so choose.

"She loves me; she loves me not; she loves me..." My Valentine's Day gift from Leslie.
It's ready to navigate and so am I. This damn ride can't get here fast enough.
(Photo by the author -- Click to enlarge)

Whitehorse Gear (fine folks to order stuff from) had a set of Ram handlebar mounts for this unit, and they should be here in a day or two. Now I don’t care if I get lost. I spent the evening programming this Nuvi with the location of every strip joint and Go-Go bar in West Virginia.

Ride your own ride -- every time.

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


bobskoot said...

Well Jack:

I was last on the last entry. so now I am first. I've not gathered my thoughts enough yet to enter anything constructive except to say that I am also making plans for this year. I truly wish that Winter would go away but a few more flakes this weekend. I am also using a Garmin designed for car use, but during inclement weather, I just put on some clingwrap. you can still see through it and can access the touch screen.

bobskoot: wet coast scootin

motonomad said...


I'm honored to have been prominently mentioned in your latest blog, although I fully expected to be skewered to a greater degree.
About that photo of someone's legs in motorcycle boots....who posed for that, Leslie?


Jack Riepe said...

Dear Bobskoot:

I am delighted to see you have rearranged your priorities and decided to making reading my blog the first thing you do every day. You will find your days brighter and your trials becoming trivial.

I hope you will post some of your ride plans on your very excellant blog which can be found at:

I am going to mention your blog in a new section to be added to my own today, called: "Dispatches From The Front." There will also be a second section dealing with huge blunders called, "Entry From The Rear."

Thank you again for reading my blog and for adding your two cents at all the right times.

Fondest regards,


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

I find it interesting that you sir have now joined the GPS crowd. I fondly remember the days, not that long ago, when you heaped scorn and derision by the tandom-load on those(Bucheit, Bregstein, Curry, Kazanis, Horst amongst others) who, and I'm quoting, "Need the last word in technology to find a spot to take a piss." Oh! How the mighty have fallen. OTOH if GPS can locate leather there's a chance you'll be able to find your wallet the next time we meet. I've heard from a trustworthy source that you are worshipped as the God of Foul Hooking in Pulaski NJ

motonomad said...


I believe that Foul Hooking is sometimes known as Snatch Fishing. If so, I must disagree with your trustworthy source about Jack being a God of this sport/endeavor. I doubt he has hooked a snatch anytime in recent memory in Pulaski, N.J. or anywhere else.


Jack Riepe said...

Dear ADK (Chris):

I cannot be trusted to do a fucking thing right. I ordered the necessary GPS mounting material from Whitehorse gear, and they sent me a bill of lading three times. I read three documents and missed the fact that I had ordered the wrong model GPS cradle each time. The stuff got here today, and of course, the unit did not fit into the cradle.

I said "Fuck" 400 times. And then I said it again to be sure. The folks at Whitehorse Gear are swell and told me to mail it back to exchange the right part at no charge for shipping. This would cost more in effort than the $10 part was worth. So go get a Garmin 300 series GPS and I'll send you this $11 cradle for free.

I regret to inform you that Curry, Horst, and Gerry Cavanaugh do not subscribe to the GPS school of thought. Bregstein, Robinson, and whole bunch of other guys do. Now you know I generally like to keep things simple... And you know what happens to me when this damn arthritis kicks in. Pulling off the road to unfold a map, put on my glasses, and figure out the next three steps in a ballet generally get me nuts, especially if the temperature is above 85 degrees.

This should nip that in the bud. As for my wallet, you drank it into an epic drought the last time I ran into you at the Spruce Hill Tavern. By the way, I gave up drinking. I have no idea what to do with the extra $500 a week.

Thank you for writing in. It's been too long since we were last asked to exit an establishment. Call when summer starts up there, in about seven more months.

Fondest regards,

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Motonomad (Pete):

One has to admire courage in a man, even if it is the reckless variety. Maybe it will cause you to jump in the air, waving your $10 bill, the next time the barmaid tries to sell you a raffle ticket.

If you recall, you told her you'd try to get one cheaper on e-Bay, making it possible for me to win $125 an hour later. And damn, did that feel good.

Fondest regards,

Tena said...

If you've been to Hawk's Nest in NY, you HAVE to hit Hawk's Nest WV! Is it on your map? Last time I was there I was just a kid, but I remember winding roads thru the trees and a beautiful outlook.

I'm carefully watching my verbiage usage now, but I have to tell you: Bugser agreed with the initial word I used in your last posting...

Don Eilenberger said...

Dear Jack,

You said: I spent the evening programming this Nuvi with the location of every strip joint and Go-Go bar in West Virginia.

There are exactly forty-nine (49) strip joints in West Virginia. You're going to have to re-route the trip through Charleston (which is OK - but not great riding.)

Since the Nuvi can probably download points of interest I'd suggest going to visit: - Nudar, or as they call themselves, "Your Picket to Tittsburgh" (tm)

You can download this database right into the Nuvi, saving you lots of time in locating places to help the educational funding of these poor young ladies (a dollar at a time.)

The website charges a small fee for the downloaded file.

I see this and think - why wasn't this ME with the idea? Think about the tax deductions for on-site research.




Charlie6 said...

Hi Jack

a gps is a good thing to have when exploring. Just don't fixate on the damn screen or you'll be riding off the road and into the trees. I use a Nokia Internet Tablet that does wifi/Internet, plays MP3s, has GPS software talking an external GPS via bluetooth. All this and some other crap on it would have gotten me killed one day until I quickly realized to not look at the screen so much. Use the voice prompts when navigating, much safer.

Mine is not waterproof either, it goes into the tankbag when it rains as one should really be paying attention to the road during rain. :)

I've turned out to be not much of a group rider as I stop way too often (in my fellow rider's opinion) to take pictures. I can't remember the last time I rode in a group actually.

Yet, I look forward to the day when I can ride with the mac-pac and worthy riders such as your pal Dick. He'll probably leave me in the dust as well.


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

Dear Jack,

You downplay the joy of planning a ride, but it can be almost as much fun as the ride itself. The ride could harbor thrashing rain, fatigue, joint pain, and a host of other physical trials, while the planning is full of sunshine and perfect turns.

For me, the planning is a great way to make sure I (we) know as much as we can about the area we're traveling through. The planning allows the riders to agree on general principles such as fast vs. scenic, stop often or keep going, etc.

It's not easy to travel with others if they don't share your passions. Kind of like finding a good mate.

I have a feeling this is the time of year ALL of us are planning our rides. In fact, my maps of GA and TN just arrived in yesterday's mail. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to clear the kitchen table... :-)


Jack Riepe said...

Dear Tena (Cupcake):

I got all excited about your recommendation to visit Hawks Nest, WV and then I did a mileage check on the distance beyween this place and our base cabin for the
weekend. It's 260 miles one way. That would be 520 miles for the day, which is a lot farther than my personal best of 400 plus change.

Even with the new orthopedic seat I've got coming (and better results with the aryhritis) that's too long for a day trip. But I am going to keep it in mind for another time.

The MOA Rally is coming up and I am thinking of heading deep south, so I can add a few more states to my belt. It may be more practical to stop there at that point.

Thank you for writing in, and for reading my blog. Please tell Bugser that I have been pondering his last criticism of my work and that I am saving a nice, shiny spot on my ass for him to kiss.

Fondest regards,

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Don:

I would go into a greater explanation of my strip joint plans, but I don't want to seem like I am bragging about my biker's stimulus package to the struggling performance artist industry. In fact, I'll make all my donations from a dark corner of the studio. Other riders accompanying me may be wearimg brown supermarket bags over their heads. This will not only guarantee the anonymity of their donations, but prevent them from scaring away the performance artists.

I have personally chosen the location of the performance artists' studios myself. The last time I let Pete do this the average age of the dancers was 72 and their walkers kept knocking over my drinks. Pete likes these places as the artists will accept quarters as opposed to dollar bills.

Thank you for writing in with a great idea.

Fondest regards,

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Charlie6 (Dom):

Your points about using a GPS are all good ones. The truth is that I would only use it if I were good and lost. I look at a goods road map before riding (or driving) even when using one of these devices. I like to have certain landmarks and other details firmly planted in my head to keep a running tally of progress I've made, and things I might want to see.

I just bought a kit that will enaable me to hear the GPS prompts in my helmet. I am less then thrilled with it for the moment. Details on this to come.

Thanks for writing in.

Fondest regards,

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Dana (Dave):

If you are going to take every word I write as the truth, then you wll be driven to smoking a crack pipe in short order. I love planning trips. The purpose of this story was to illustrate how the most reliable of riding partners can savagely turn on you, becoming rabid alpha dogs, just as soon as they encounter any resistance to their ideas.

And I wanted to imply that the only reason I am riding with these guys is because,Judas, Hitler, and Charles Manson couldn't make it.

The truth is that there are no better guys to ride with in my book. I coerdially invite you to search back through my blog and find the details our our last West Virginia trip, and you will get an idea of the fun we always have.

I just received my large-type copy of the US Atlas from American Map, and have begun to trace out the details of rides I am planning throughout the summer.

Welcome to Twisted Roads, where perception is very loosely defined. Thank you for taking the time to write in. I love getting reader letters.

Fondest regards,

Bugser (Mr. Cupcake) said...

Dearest Jack,

I cannot believe that you would honor me so by saving a shiny spot to kiss. Unfortunately, it is a policy of mine to kiss only virgin shiny spots on asses. Due to your PROLIFIC career, I can only assume that you do not have any virgin shiny spots on your ass to kiss as I'm sure I am not the first to be offered said spot. Don't be sad, it's the only thing holding me back.

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Bugser (Mr. Cupcake)

Thank you for sending me a note that clearly states it is from "Mr. Cupcake." I cannot believe you would tempt fate by sendng me something -- that could so easily be proven to have come from you -- signed "Mr. Cupcake."

I feel like I have just won a lottery.

Thank you so much for writing in. And don't think you can hide by leaving the country. Twisted Roads is international.

Too bad you don't live next door. We could have a really hysterical ride. I'd report it as the great cupcake run.

Fondest regards,

ADK said...


Riepe is perhaps better known in an earlier life for his fishing exploits. Delicacy forbids me to reveal more but, as much as it pains me to do so, I have to say that His Planetship has had his day as something of a Lothario. Snatching continues to be his preferred means of meeting women however, usually from a dark corner or driveway.

Jack Riepe said...

Dear ADK (Chris):

I almost poured myself a drink to celebrate this rare moment of honesty and acknowledgement on your part. But I was about to have one anyway to mark the fact that no one in the United States will be employed in another two months, probably myself among them.

We need to ride soom. Michael Cantwell just sent me a picture of his bike with a snow-covered Whiteface mountain in the background. It made me cry.

irondad said...

If I remember correctly, you said you were planning this trip in order to have an alternative to riding as conditions aren't favorable for it right now.

So why shouldn't there be great enthusiasm in the process? It's not the time to nail everything down, it's the time to talk about all the sweet possibilities, right?

I wondered why you hang out with these guys who want to turn on you with little provocation. Now I realize that they are the ballast to your balloon. The extremes keep each other balanced. Which is why you all eventually combine the best of each other for a great adventure.

It's just ugly having to watch it get there. Kind of like having to watch all the S & M leading up to the..... well, never mind.

Mike said...

Hey Jack,

You make it sound as though rides with you can be a bore or a burden at times...with some resorting to crosswords to occupy the time while you negotiate a curve. I have actually found rides with you to be quite entertaining.

For example, that time you were taking a curve near an elementary school, with textbook form I might add. The police officer who was helping young children to safely cross the road walked up to you, right in the sweet spot in your apex, and wrote you a citation for parking illegally.

Looking forward to warmer days and rides in the near future.

M. Evans

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Irondad:

I can always count on you for the right metaphor. Ballast... That's exactly how I would describe my riding partners.

I have to tell you that our rides are genuine pissers. These guys are all wool and a yard wide -- but the Mac-Pac does play hard ball and I am regarded as the backstop.

I suffer from crippling arthritis, and these guys show me a lot of consideration. It doesn't stop them from greasing the tip on my cane, but they are considerate about it. There are many parallels between riding with these guys and S&M.

Thanks for writing in, Irondad.

Fondest regards,

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Mr. Evans:

You, sir, are despicble.

As you are aware, my arthritis crippled me last year. But things have changed slightly now. You and Kimi are the the crab ride co-chairs... You'd better get off your ass this year and plan a few rides.

Thank you for writing in.

Fondest regards,

bobskoot said...


I've been confused for the past few days. Why would you need a compass when you have a GPS ?

bobskoot: wet coast scootin

Cantwell said...

That picture I sent you was actually a conceptual photograph depicting the perfect day riding with Jack Riepe. As you notice, if you squint, the bike is standing still and the background appears to be moving. Fascinating work I must say.
That's my kind of ride.


Jack Riepe said...

Dear Bobskoot:

I was thinking of getting the compass before I opted for the GPS. Now I spent $300 to equip my helmet with Bluetooth stuff only to realize the helmet will not communicate with ths GPS without a wire.

Think your confused?

Thank you for writing in.

Fondest regards,

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Mike:

That picture will be in my blog over the next day or two.

Fondest regards,

Ihor said...

Dear John, the first picture wasn't you??? I'ld assumed that you had added a vintage BMW to your collection and were progressing forcefully to be in shape for the riding season. You should plan an ADK ride, nothing but the straight and flat up there! Lee and Chris would be thrilled to put in the miles and I'll meet you at the Tail O' The Pup.
Ha, Ha, Ha, Ihor