Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Long Way Back -- Alone

Riding a motorcycle is a solitary activity, even if you are sharing it with up to three other riders, which is what I consider the best number for a group ride. Yet I cannot deny finding the illusion of greater security in another solitary headlight dancing behind me, or the glowing cigar-stub of taillight in front of me. Since either of those are likely to belong to riding partners I trust, like, and even admire on rare occasions, there is a kind of security in numbers. This is a false sense of security, however, as a deer, a dollop of grease, a drunk, a momentary distraction or even a sudden mechanical failure like a blowout, can pass over one while anointing another. And headlines have reported the stories of a bike going down and taking part of the club formation with it. These are the times when that element of security lies in getting quick assistance -- either with mechanical expertise or medical attention -- from a riding partner.

Too bad motorcycle riding doesn’t begin with a guarantee of assistance, reassurance, nor absolution.

Many riders who routinely traverse the country, or the globe, are accustomed to carrying the majority of their foreseeable needs in saddle bags, top cases, and tank bags. They are their own assistance. But solo riding mile-after-mile also forces an individual to take stock of what’s in his or her mind and heart. I have discovered that solitary riding offers a unparalleled opportunity to think of things I will write and say; words that I should have written and said; and thoughts that should never have been expressed considering the hurt they caused or other consequences they spawned. Riding alone over long distances requires that you be comfortable with yourself. It can set your emotions free, and from time to time, the demons too.

The taillight competing with broad daylight on the road ahead of me belonged to Ricky Matz, one of five lifelong friends from high school. There was a time when Ricky was only one of two other people I knew who rode motorcycles. Two years later (1976), we rode our bikes into a remote part of backwoods America, where Ricky hooked me up with “Laura The Animal,” a perfectly proportioned woman built on the scale of the Stature of Liberty.

My old pal from high school Ricky Matz, on his new Yamaha FJR1300, which 
replaced the Honda in this story. Note Ricky's expression matches the one on his bike. 
(Photo courtesy of Rick Matz -- Click to enlarge.)

There was considerable evidence that Laura had been raised in the wild and that I was the first human she had ever seen. According to Ricky, she could use her lips to remove the fur from a rabbit. I assumed this was a euphemistic way of expressing that my luck had changed. Then I discovered Laura carried a wallet made from a pelt that she had chewed off a rabbit earlier in the day. She had a good heart though, and had let the rabbit go after she gotten its hide.

Ricky had been with me most recently (2006) in Maggie Valley, North Carolina for my first participation in an event known to the biker elite as “The BuRP Rally.” (BuRP is an an acronym that stands for the “Blue Ridge Parkway, and You.) It was a long distance run for me, about 425 miles, as I was coming from the Philadelphia area. (The details of the BuRP Rally are presented in previous installments of this blog, generally preceded by the word, “chapter.” There were six in all.) But very little of the ride down counted as solo mileage. I had been escorted by Wayne Whitlock and his wife Lucy for all but 150 miles of the way.

The ride home would be a different story.

Now many of you routinely ride much greater distances than this by yourself -- and under very challenging circumstances. BMW riders openly laugh at 425 miles and will spit in my coffee if given the opportunity. This distance is nothing to Mac-Pac riders like Edde Mendez (Morocco to Philly by heading east -- 39,000 miles in 11 months), or Doug Raymond (Prudhoe Bay on the Arctic Circle in Alaska from Philly and back n 13 days), or Kimi Bbush (a Red Butt ride of 1000 miles in 19 hours), or the Sorensens (Philly to Colorado in two and a half days), or Jim Robinson, who does 700 miles a day with his eyes closed (which explains his injuries). But it was a long ride to me: an overweight, shapeless, damp Wonder Bread-kind of re-entry rider, who had originally begun this trip swearing not to ride in the dark, on the interstates, nor in the rain.

On this occasion, the farthest I had ridden was 225 miles in a day, under the watchful eye of my friend Wayne, on this very trip!

I’d had to leave the BuRP rally early to guarantee I’d make the BMW Motorcycle Owners of Americas’ rally in Burlington, Vermont later that same weekend. Plagued by vicious arthritis in my knees plus the fact that my bike was an 18-year-old BMW K75, I was giving myself plenty of time to get home. Ricky had recently moved to Erwin, Tennessee and was riding point with me as far as Johnson City in that same state.

Riding a motorcycle on the sweepers of Interstate 26 through North Carolina and Tennessee was the closest I have ever come to hang gliding along the ground. The scenery is much better than you would expect from a super-slab. The road surface was superb and the traffic below Johnson City was non-existent on a July weekday morning. Ricky is an excellent rider and tends to hold the needle at 70 mph, or so. (He has an allergy to cops.) Those gently sweeping curves dove into valleys like dive bombers and exited the far end in breathtakingly graceful parabolas. The few trucks we passed were spouting black rage like steam locomotives or giving off vapors of regret from red hot brakes.

Ricky was mounted on a huge 18,000cc Honda cruiser. Having more than double the cc’s and an additional 200 pounds in iron and chrome gave him a whopping 20 horsepower advantage over my vintage bike. This meant he had to downshift less (the exhausting process by which one moves the left foot an inch or two in conjunction with squeezing the left hand) on 80 miles of hills. Ricky’d covered the Honda’s chrome headlight and handlebars with green electrical tape to cut back on the glare that was frying his eyes by coming up underneath his sunglasses. His machine ate the mountains effortlessly. My aging K75 (Blue Balls, with the Sprint Fairing) followed like a Messerschmidt with a boner. Its distinctive BMW whine was loud in my helmet (though not as loud as one of Laura’s whispers), but there was no vibration in my handlebars, a claim my riding partner couldn’t make.

We passed Ricky’s town, Erwin (named after the great Confederate General Erwin Corey), and pulled over for lunch at a chain restaurant in Johnson City. I dawdled over southern fried something, hush puppies, French fries, and a fried quart of sweet tea. Kidding myself that I was savoring the air conditioning, I knew I was just putting off the final segment of an adventure in which I would be my own company for the next 450 miles.

Stepping back out into the tropical heat of the parking lot, the sweat I had saved by sitting in the air conditioning gushed through my pores, gluing my cheap Icon Gear mesh jacket to my bloated frame. Two ravens and a vulture were sitting on my bike. A black cat ran between my legs and a hag believed to be one of the harpies from the opening scene of “MacBeth” let out a cackle.

“Have a good ride back,” said Ricky, extending his hand.

I have often remarked that farewells in motion are the best, but they never do justice to the occasion. It was a difficult left turn out of the parking lot onto a service road, and I caught a glimpse of Ricky tossing me a wave, or the middle finger, and he evaporated in traffic. A sharp right brought me back to I-26 and the reality of dueling with heavy truck traffic.

There was no bullshit here. I opened up the throttle and went left. My arthritis clock was ticking and the purpose of taking the slab was to generate maximum miles in minimum time. By the time I’d hit I-81, I’d had already gone more than 100 miles since leaving Maggie Valley, and hadn’t even put a dent in this trip yet.

There is some element of competition when you ride with a pal. The terms of that competition vary. It may have to do with a little line dancing or it might it just be in matching riding styles. The freedom from having to keep up with a leader, or watching out for the guy behind you, lets your mind free to wander somewhat -- when you are not absolutely focused on the road. And it does seem as if you develop a sixth sense that watches the road.

It was 1pm and I had a dream of doing 450 miles in this one day. I envisioned the way my club -- the dreaded Mac-Pac -- would look at me in admiration, and how some women would lift up their tops as I walked with a swagger. That reverie was shattered by a stone that landed dead center on the top of my helmet. It was like having a shotgun go off in your head, without having it come apart. I went into the first rest area on the interstate to check the damage to my helmet. The Nolan had come through without a chip or a scratch. Quite frankly, I expected to find it cracked. Had the helmet been a windshield, I’m sure it would have broken. I couldn’t help but think what could have happened to someone if they had been riding helmet-free.

This was one of my surviving wedding pictures.  
Here my mother-in-law (front) delivers her daughter to the church. 
(Photo courtesy of the Auto-Da-Fe -- Click to burn her at the stake.)

The summer heat settled like a mother-in-law’s curse. Trucks were running in herds on I-81, adding to the heat and stirring it. The line of my upper lip acted like a gutter, channeling sweat from my face to the corners of my mouth. I stopped at every rest area, averaging 50 to 60 miles between stops, buying water and cold diet soda (rich in phosphates and neutronium). While it felt good to extend my legs, getting on and off the bike was becoming painful. I realized there was a finite number of mounts and dismounts I could expect of these tortured knees. (These were the days when I was walking without a cane.)

This K75 was my beloved “Blue Balls,” which sported the rare Sprint fairing. It lent a very distinctive look to a bike that started out as ugly as a bowling shoe. I would be lying if I told you I wasn’t taking a large degree of pride in pulling up to these rest areas on a feisty, 18-year-old German whirlwind. I was basking in that pride when a guy parked next to me someplace in Virginia. He was riding a fire engine-red 1986 Honda, also in mint condition.

My Beloved Blue Balls -- RIP, 1986 K75 with Sprint Fairing
(Photo by Leslie Marsh -- Click to enlarge)

He was a nice guy and made a big deal over my bike, which sentiment I was forced to return, despite the fact he had just unintentionally shit all over my parade.

“Where did you start out from today,” he asked.

I phrased my answer in such away as to pack a little extra punch in each word.

“Well, I had breakfast in North Carolina this morning and swung up this way through Tennessee.”

“Wow,” he said, enthusiastically! “I had my breakfast yesterday in Houston.”

“The Houston that is in Texas,” I queried.

“That’s the one!”

Why is it that every time I get comfortable thinking something, some son of a bitch shows up with something else that is either bigger or longer than mine?

This guy and I played tag for the next three hours pulling in and out of various rest stops. He took off at one where I couldn’t ride the bike right up to the soda machine, and so I spent some time sitting at a picnic table, smoking a cigar that had the same approximate dimensions as a bus muffler.

It was here that a small child pointed at me, saying to his mom, “Look how fat that man is!”

This hell-spawn’s mother glanced at me and replied, “Don’t say that, Beau. Fat people don’t like to be told how fat they are.”

I almost called after them, “And your mom’s huge quivering ass qualifies her as an expert on the subject.”

Miles filtered through the odometer like grains of sand passing through the hour glass at the Inquisition. It had just scored a total of 310 miles for the day, when I decided I’d had enough. I checked into a motel that had a little chain restaurant in front, with the rooms in a separate building about three hundred feet behind. My only requirement was a room on the first floor with parking outside the door. Imagine my surprise to find the Honda on the centerstand  in the space next to mine.

Such was my fatigue, however, that dinner was three cans of Diet Coke from the vending machine and a pint of rum from my saddle bags. I never left the room once my boots were off. (I got the soda in my bare feet.)

The rain hitting the window was my wake-up call early the next morning. Every part of my body was stiff but one. A glance out the curtains revealed the Honda was gone. I opted not to ride in the rain, but to hook up my computer and spend the day working from the hotel. The possibility that my decision not to ride was somehow connected to an inner fear troubled me. I rode the bike down to the restaurant for breakfast, noting the spray coming off the front wheel. The road was wetter than the atmosphere, which was starting to lighten up.

The rain stopped in the early afternoon, and despite the grayness of the day, I opted to get on the road. This was a big deal for me. I generally give riding the pass if there is even a remote chance of getting caught in bad weather. But I felt so eager to be on the road that I knew luck would be with me. (It was, but it wasn't the sort of luck you can do much with.) “Blue Balls” blew into a heavy drizzle an hour later, and slid like a greased turd when I pulled up at a gas pump. That was a clue I had missed.

Sooner or later, you just make the decision to deal with things. I decided not to try and squeeze into rain gear that would be ghastly hot. It was very warm in the breeze at 65 mph and the road spume actually felt good. I pulled into one rest area with the rain at its peak and found a guy on a magnificent K1200GT with a custom trailer in tow. He was on his way to the BMW Rally in Vermont.

“Me too,” I said.

He looked very skeptical, as if a three-legged stool had announced it was going to do an oil painting. “Where’d you start from,” this bastard asked.

“Houston, two days ago... The one in Texas," I added for emphasis.

The sun came out just before I hit Maryland, and I was dry as I crossed the Hagerstown line. I was home three hours later. Those two days had been the longest I had ridden alone in 25 years. On that ride, I thought of the following:

• Three past girlfriends, what they looked like naked, and where they were at that moment.
• How Charles Lindbergh once figured out how many times his engine fired in an hour, and how many times it had to fire to get him to Paris. West Chester isn’t Paris, but as far as I’m concerned, it amounted to the same thing. I gave up trying to make other calculations when I hit 16,000,000.
• Clever things I could have said to each of those three women once I realized they would never lay me again.
• That I had never consciously looked at the bearings in the steering head (after swerving around a truck).
• My life in general.
• What it would have been like to have all three of those women together, slathered with warm Crisco.
• Clever tstatements that all ended with “Shove it up your ass,” to a former client.
• How I could afford a new BMW K1200GT?
• What this story would look like if I ever wrote it?
• How the woman in the car I just passed would look naked?
• Would I really feel like meeting Mack Harrell the next day and riding to the BMW Rally in Vermont as planned?

The one thing that I wasn’t thinking about was that I had over 10,000 miles on those damn Metzlers. And boy did that come back to haunt me in Vermont!

©Copyright Jack Riepe 2009
AKA The Lindbergh Baby (Mac-Pac)
AKA Vindak8r (Motorcycle Views)
AKA The Chamberlain -- PS (With A Shrug)


Woody said...

Classic Riepe "My aging K75 ... followed like a Messerschmidt with a boner."

Thanks for the great story.

Charlie6 said...

Jack, your K75 wasn't aging...it was becoming more of a classic! It's all about the perspective.

It is interesting how the mind wanders down forgotten paths when riding isn't it, mine does as well, but you did a great job of actually capturing it all and sharing it.....thanks.

Although, there did seem to be a primary stream of consciousness in the random thoughts you had.....those women must have been some lookers.

Looking forward to your report of the first ride on the new seat with your accompanying weight loss.


bobskoot said...


Excellent. I often read your posts with my eyes closed so as to conjure up images of naked women, and often I find myself smiling. Just the other day I was stopped at a light and a "hooker" crossed the street in a micro dress, I tried to get a "Jack Riepe photo" for you but the light changed too fast. Never fails, when you want it to go green it goes red and visa-versa.
I must say you've got guts to ride solo. My longest solo ride was to Oregon last summer and a lot of thoughts do run through your mind as the fence posts fly by.

bobskoot: wet coast scootin

BMW-Dick said...

Dear Jack:
I loved this story; it was just plain fun to read. The words flowed together like rum and coke with a slice of lemon or Sta-bil in a full tank of gas or drool in the corner of Pete's mouth. The best part was that this time I wasn't shredded in the story; you even refrained from hoisting Mack Harrell on your ball point. If you're expecting kindness in return, forget it.
I am sooooo looking forward to the return of this year's riding season and our planned and unplanned adventures.

Anonymous said...


Thanks for your "solo" tale. What an appropriate trial run for the upcoming rally!

If hell don't freeze over and the crick don't rise, I may be fortunate enough to put in a few miles with you on the way to and from.

Hope to be seein' ya' sometime,


BreakfastVP said...

Very well done Jack. I too find that "solitary riding offers a unparalleled opportunity to think of things I will write and say" but I also experience the frustration of having to repeat it all over and over so I won't forget because - since I'm riding - I cannot write it down at that time. How many brilliant insights and world peace level ideas I've had but have lost by the time I stop because at that point all I can think about is where to take a piss.

Kilik said...

Hey Jack. Great story! I've always loved that aspect of motorcycling. What a world the mind is.

How's the diet going? Be nice to meet you in TN.


John K.

DC said...


This was my most enjoyable read of your blog to date. Masterful. See you on the road, good luck with the new seat.


Anonymous said...

"slathered with warm Crisco" .....I remember a road like that....the "haul road" (Dempster Highway) in Alaska. It turned to Crisco when it started raining crossing the Brooks Range, north of the Arctic Cicrle. That day was 498 mile/16 hour ride from Prudhoe Bay to Fairbanks, 400+ miles on dirt. A VERY MEMORABLE RIDE....lots of time to have long conversations with myself ......and my bike! Standing on the pegs in 2nd gear for mile after mile allows for lots of bike/bonding time!
'07 R 1200 GS Adventure
- Show quoted text -

Anonymous said...


Thanks for the great story. Made me smile today, God knows I needed that.
Yes, there a lots of things to think about whilst riding alone.

I've spent a few miles doing that. Sometimes not thinking at all is
good too. Kind of a zen thing, I suppose.
Most of the time I spent thinking about the next stop for food, fuel
and restroom......

Erik H.

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Woody (Wayne):

Thank you kindly for your encouraging note. I have no idea hoe these alalogies occur to me, but you must admit, they are slightly different.

Thank you for reading and for writing in.


Jack Riepe said...

Dear Charlie6 (Dom):

I have continually aggravated my friends by turning up with real stunners over the years. One of my buddy's accused me of drugging them. I tell you it is the pattened "battered baby seal" look.

I do think of the damnedest things on the rare occasions when I ride alone. And you might think that I pamper myself when the pain wakes up. Not true. It's at those moments that I usually push myself farther.

Going back 4 years ago, in the very beginning, I stayed off the expressway because of the fast moving traffic. The pain in my knees was so bad one day, that I said "Screw it. I gotta get off this bike." The fastest way to do it was the slab. And I had a pisser of a good time.

Thanks for reading and for writing in.


Jack Riepe said...

Dear Bobskoot:

There is really nothing to riding alone -- not around here at any rate. But if you get the chance, read my first blog about riding the New Jersey Turnpike, in traffic where 85 would be considered slow, with four feet or less between vehicles.

You just say, "Screw it. I'm here."

Thanks for writing in.

Fondest regards,

irondad said...

Perhaps we have more in common than I first thought. Many of my rides have started out as group rides. Then, thousands of miles from home, they suddenly become solo rides. Hmmm.

What I really appreciate is the way you close the loop on things. For instance, the Messerschmidt with a boner, thing. Instantly, my mind wondered what that would look like. After all, the thing up front is actually rotating quickly and I couldn't figure out how it would all go. You know, the sticking out versus spinning dilemma.

About the time my brain went into overload, you are kind enough to supply an old wedding picture. Instantly, I see exactly what the above mentioned Messerschmidt with a boner would look like. You see, I just hadn't pictured it being quite so bony.

Seriously, what a wonderful tale you spun for us!

Baron's Life said...

I'm also aging and I think riding solo is a sensual experience... I don't want anyone watching me when I'm riding my girl... and Viagra has certainly solved some problems in the iron dep't....
Great story...Jack, don't know how you do it..you can probably teach us all a thing or two..If ever riding Up North To Vancouver, let me know....!

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Dick:

The truth of the matter is that I have ridden the lion's share of the miles with you in the last three years. And it appears we are getting ready to do it again this year.

I think we make a good riding team because we learn a little bit more about each other every time we go out. For example, I've learned that you like cottage cheese and apple sauce from the buffet, and you have learned that everytime you zing me with a good one, you are written up in my blog two days later.

Here it isThursday, and it looks like rain for the next three days. I don't mind as the roads are still covered with crap. It looks like its going to be the second weekend in April before we hot the pavement though, Pal.

It always a pleasure, Dick.

Fondest regards,

Jack Riepe said...


Unless I have you confused with someone else -- aren't you in Delaware? (I'm under the impression you're Doug Bennett.) I'm going to do a Delaware ride at least once a month for the next three months, hopefully joined by my buddy Rogers George and his wife Val, who are couple of pissers.

I'll make sure you get the schedule and you could meet us on local Rt. 9.

I want to take pictures at the wldlife refuges on the salt marshes (bikes in the foreground) and get a frsh seafood dinner at a joint on North Bowers beach.

North Bowers Beach is an amazing place. The tide went out in 1960 and never came back. Cool bar though.Thee are two of them, in fact. I prefer the joint on the water.

Thanks for reading and writing in, Doug.

Fondest regards,

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Breakfast VP (Todd):

The truth of the matter is that I really prefer riding with Bregstein as opposed to riding and grea distance by myself. There are several reasons for this. The first is that Dick is a real pisser and is generallt up for anything.

"Dick, wanna go fast?"
"Dick, wanna stop for lunch?"
"Dick, wanna hold up a filling station and spend the money on cheap whores?"

Riding is always solitary, if the pillion is empty. But sometimes it is more solitary than others. I don't mind riding alone if that's what the situation calls for. But when the ride stops, I like to smoke cigars, drink whisky, and talk bikes with Bregstein.

You were good enough to send me your collected solitary thoughts from a weekend ride... Remember? You probably thought I forgot. I didn't.

Thanks for reading my drivel and writing in, Todd.

Fondest regards,

Jack Riepe said...

Dear John Kilik:

The diet is going well, I'm down about 15 pounds as of yesterday, but I really have to kick things into gear, as the ride to Tennessee is looming.

I am staying at the Jameson Inn at the Tennessee Rally (sweaty camping is not for me). Look for "Fire Balls" in the parking lot.

The camping arrangements are a bit different this year. Generally, my local club -- The Mac-Pac -- sets up a compound. I intends to plant my ass on my Kermit chair for an afternoon or two there as well.

I'm delighted you liked the piece I wrote and look forward to seeing you in Tennessee.

Fondest regards,

Jack Riepe said...

Dear DC (Dave Case):

You were very kind to me in your note. I ran into DucDude last night at dinner, who took the exact opposite of your viewpoint, describing my recent work as "mildly amusing." I described him as "mildly annoying," like rectal itch.

The seat was delivered yesterday. It has the surface area of a pool table. It mounted on the bike in two seconds flat, but I haven't sat on it yet. That test will come tonight.

I ordered the electric version of this seat, not realizing that it will require a quick disconnect to remove it every time I need to get something out of the tail piece.

Oh well.

I hope to share a ride with you very soon. And it not a ride, then an adjoining barstool.

Thanks for reading and writing in.

Always a pleasure.

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Gary:

The first time our paths crossed, you were entering the "the most unusual obstruction on the road" contest. I was floored when you introduced yourself to me in a BMW dealership (Hermy's) two weeks later.

I would really like you to share with me some of your adventures on the Dempster (Dumpster) Highway as wel as your pictures.

Thank you for reading my stuff, and for writing in.

Fondest regards,

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Erik H.:

Thank you for your kind note.

You bring up a very good point: Riding a bike alone also provides you with an instrument not to think at all. And sometimes, not thinking about something can be the most liberating therapy.

Dick Bregstein told me that he rides not to think about the stuff I will write which occurred while he was riding.

Thanks for writing in. Your note made my day.

Always a pleasure,

Jack Riepe said...

Dear IronDad:

A good friend of mine, a woman biker, once said, "There is an earthy tone to your writing that consigns it to a personal blog forever. I can see why no one else would touch it."

That about sums it up.

But it is hard to come up with new ways to describe the sounds and power of a K75. Plus this marque and model has plenty of detractors, most of whom live in Key West. So I struggle to come up with visual images that any man, or Viking goddess of a woman, can easily visualize.

Thank you for your appreciation of my effort. I knew we were kindred souls.

Fondest regards,

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Baron's Life:

Thank you for your kind note. It is praise from people like yourself that help my trudge forward in my quest for literary purity regarding motorcycles and all two wheeled vehicles.

I do hope to ride throgh Vancouver one day. And I envision a phalanx of two wheeled machines -- including you and Bob Skoot - careening around the waterfront.

Thank you for reading and writing in.

Fondest regards,

Anonymous said...

Hey Jack -

Another great story - Liked the one before it better tho. I have been promoting your blog to what family and friend that actually pay some attention to me. You have a following at QVC now.

I went to the Dr yesterday and got my ass reamed by her. Cholesterol up, blood Press up, Sugar up, and Weight up. Told me if I wasn't careful I'd end up acting and looking like Jack Reipe. I told her I didn't like Rum and Coke.

Your Riding Pal,

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Clyde:

Many "Twisted Roads" readers have reported dramatic weight loss, lower blood pressure, and lower cholesteral readings solely as a result of reading this blog. But you have to keep an open mind and read my stuff often.

Also, readers are claiming they are getting laid a lot more often simply by using my quotes. Many have switched to rum and coke too.

Bless you for recommending my blog.

Fondest regards,

ADK said...

Dear Jack, Where's my flashlight?

I knew two of the three girlfriends you mention, and you're right. All sorts of things go through ones mind when riding alone.

Thanks, once again, for your generosity in all things.

Jack Riepe said...

Dear ADK (Chris)

Send me your postal adress to the e-mail address on the top of the blog.

I was about to fire a well aimed shot, but declined, hoping to avoid the fusilade.

By the way, Mike Cantwell is considering coming down this way the third weekend in April. He is going to do a Friday-Monday thing. Do you think you could start moving the pieces around now to ride down here with him? I realize its tough when you have a social calendar like Charles Manson.

The deal is arrival on Friday. Ride through the salt marshes in Delaware on Saturday (fresh seafood in a biker joint). Mac-Pac breakfast on Sunday, followed by road apple ride through Amish country. Return to Adirondack hell on Monday.

Just say yes. It will make up for missing the rally in Tennessee. Have you checked your rubber lately? The tires on the bike?

Fondest regards,

Earl Thomas said...

Mr. Riepe: The majority of the miles that I have logged on two wheels has been solo. Even though I feel much more comfortable riding alone, I envy the groups of riders that I pass and wave to during my travels. I've always wondered what that experience would be like.

I love the way that a solo ride lets my mind graze through a myriad of topics in no particular fashion, I do wonder why my mind works that way only when I am with the bike. Also, I have found that when I am in my 18-20th hour of a long ride (apparently my definition of a long ride is a bit different than yours), thinking "naked" thoughts is an effective tactic that helps keep me awake...............now that I think about, those thoughts don't always occur in the 18th hour, sometimes they occur shortly after leaving the driveway. Hey! It still keeps me awake.

Ride Well


Jack Riepe said...

Dear Mr. Thomas:

Regarding the length of a ride... I am in a new stage of my life. I'm fighting the arthritis with some success and have just taken delivery of a new custom saddle, that is alleged to have been made to match my ass.

My riding time could double.

Also, I have discovered that there is never a wrong time for an uplifting thought. Thank you for taking the time to read my stuff, and for leaving an encouraging comment.

Fondest regards,

bobskoot said...


Thanks to you I find that my mind is slowly adopting Jack Riepe thoughts. Not that it's bad, mind you I find myself grabbing the camera to take Jack Riepe photos (as you have noticed) and when ever I see those scantily clad bodies, I immediately think Jack Riepe thoughts again. The more I read your blog -- the more Jack Riepe I become. Not that it's bad, mind you
I have a friend with a K75 and when I see it, no doubt I will imagine that it's you sitting in the saddle, aboard Fireball with that fancy, one of a kind fairing and my mind will wander off again and I may call him "Jack" by accident as his real name is JohnB. Not that it's bad, mind you

bobskoot: wet coast scootin

Charlie6 said...


oh, it's bad but its a good kind of bad.....

see if you can find some greenery for Jack to gaze at, I've failed at that lately....


motonomad said...

Thanks for the fun piece, and I was pleased to finally see a photo of your good friend, Rick Matz (I'm guessing he dropped the "y" many years ago). I can see why you guys are still friends....he looks like your younger and slimmer brother. I'm curious though....does he ride with his eyes closed too, or only when he's having his picture taken.

cpa3485 said...

When I ride, especially at this time of year, my mind thinks of numbers dancing around until they find their way on to some friggin tax form ending up in such a place on the forms so that order becomes balanced in the universe.

Yeah I know that sounds stupid, but that is how the synapses in my brain work this time of year.

When the topic of Messeeschmidts with boners is considered
However, I have to assume that the synapses in your brain work significantly differently than mine. But that is not a bad thing at all. I have come to admire the firings , or is it misfirings in your synapses. Your blog has actually helped me keep some semblance of sanity through this 'tax season'.

But while we might be on the subject, I feel obligated to mention that I recently read somewhere that the reason Irondad did not like to ride scooters was because he experiences an 'equipment arrangement problem' due to the seating position on a scooter.

Alas, I do not seem to experience this kind of difficulty. Was wondering If you thought he would have a similar issue with a vintage BMW?

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Charlie6 (Dom):

You were so kind to mention my aversion to anything that now refers to winter. I'm utterly sick of it. It's rainig like hell here at the moment, and I had to run into town this morning with the truck. I am amazed at the piles of gravel lining each intersection, scattered throughout the curves, and going straight up the centers of the road.

Now I was under the impression that the dopes in Washington had allocated endless money for municipalities to put people to work. I sncerely hope they will start to spend some of this dough on cleaning up these road surfaces come April 1st.

That could be the date that they will have determined will be the official end of sleet and snow.

I desperately need pictures of green fields, flowers in bloom, and bikes in the warm sunshine. I would hold it against you if you stage some.

Thanks for writing in again.

Fondest regards,

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Bobskoot:

The thoughts to which you are referring are not "Jack Riepe" thoughts per se. However, they are regarded as the most common of thoughts shared by lesser gods, Viking Chieftains, Visigoths, and Druids. And while most women regard a conversation of this nature as "distasteful," no expense is spared by the vast majority of them to be the focus of such thoughts for as long as humanly possible.

I try to accommodatre them as often as possible. And Bob, you have no idea how thrilled I am that my influence is wearing off on you.

Fondest regards,

Jack Riepe said...

Dear MotoNomad (Pete):

Thank you for reading my blog and writing in with your comments. I know it is an effort for you to read my stuff as you number among those who think I am full of shit, and overly generous in my desire to share it.

Ricky (the "y" still applies occasionally) is a pisser and is likely to meet up with us in Tennessee. Either that or we will take a side ride over to his place. You will find his art collection very interesting.

Ricky has been a vocal critic of my riding style for years, but he has dumped it a few times as well. He closed his eyes in the picture at the point where he realized that sending it to me would forever put him in my power.

The four horseman of the Teutonic apocalyse (Clyde, Bregstein, you and me) will be on the road again soon.

It was a thrill, albeit a cheap one, to see your note here today.

Fondest regards,

Jack Riepe said...

Dear CPA3485:

I'm delighted that readsing my blog contributes to your sanity during tax season. I'm sure you have returns up to your eyebrows, and I'm equaly sure some of the more complicated ones prey on your mind.

I have learned to keep work out of my head when I ride. Some day I will die. And in that last few seconds of remaining life, or as I stand before Christ, I do not want to think I wasted one instant more than necessary constructing news stories to greater glory of others, when I could have been doing something else -- like jerking off.

On the other hand, I could regret not spending more time making peole laugh. There are so many bastards on this earth who make everybody else miserable, that I feel blessed if I can get a smile out of a solitary rider somewhere.

Regarding "equipment displacement" on vintage BMW motorcycles... It is important to remember that since 1923, BMW's have been built specifically for men with huge balls, and for women who ride like they have them. Looking at the average BMW seat, you will notice that they are narrow in front so that you may drape a testicle over each side of the tank.

You know, you ought to look into getting a vintage K75. Everyone should fly a Messerschmidt at least once in their life.

Thank you for reading my blog and for writing in.

Fondest regards,

Grandad 43 said...

Long Way Back...Alone, reminds me of a solo ride from Laconia,NH back to the Keystone State on a rain filled Sunday afternoon and evening.
My introduction to riding in the rain and finishing up on the super slabs.
Jane and I rode 523 miles in one day, last summer. Toured "Little Bighorn" and crossed Montana and Wyoming and returned to South Dakota at 1:00 am.
Great rides the whole time there.

Niteowl said...

Jack, another great read. That BuRP trip was fun. Looking forward to our next ride.
Is Ricky enjoying his new scoot?

Thanks again for the laughs.