Thursday, July 9, 2009

The First Guest Blog on Twisted Roads -- Michael Cantwell

Introduction:
From time to time I come across some real gems, great stories that have involved friends of mine, that I would like to offer in this column. I cordially invite these folks to draft the piece and submit it to me for editing. This is the first of this collaborative effort. There will be two more in the immediate future. These are:

• 150 Miles Per Hour In First Gear -- Or How I got to become the World’s Fastest Man on Two Wheels, As Told To Jack Riepe By Chris Carr

• DucDude Pays $1800 At The Toll Booth, as told to Jack Riepe by Eric H.

I will also present a piece on my ideal motorcycle weekend. I guarantee it will be the funniest and most profane thing I have ever written.

Sincerely,
Jack Riepe
"Toad"
Twisted Roads



My Father’s Day Ride To The Clouds
By Mike Cantwell, as told to Jack Riepe


Holidays fall into three categories: religious, national, and those created by greeting card companies (egged on by merchants) looking to move mountains of useless stuff in months bereft of religious or nationally significant holidays. Father’s Day would normally fall into that third category.

Not in my house.

I have instilled a sense of religious fervor in my wife and daughter to treat as sacred the one day of the year in which the father is to be appreciated for all his efforts. These include endless household repairs, the mystical healing of the motor vehicles, heavy lifting, piggy back rides, the education of the dog, plus the conversion of logs into firewood, sweat into groceries, and raw sexual satisfaction into sublime emotional release. (If I were to add “in-law tolerance” to this list, Father’s Day would become Father’s Week.)

On Father’s Day 2009, I made it clear that I was going on a mystical retreat -- to the garage -- where I would purge my soul in silence and solitude, not to be disturbed, unless there was a fire, or the raw sexual satisfaction stuff became imperative. I intended to spend the day with my beloved 1993 K75. She needed an oil change and some other attention.

I did all but change the oil.

Instead of changing the oil, I went for a short ride up Whiteface Mountain. Nestled in the center of the “High Peak” region of New York State’s magnificent Adirondack Park, Whiteface Mountain is the site of Olympic-quality downhill skiing (and the highest vertical drop in the east).It is the sole mountain in this ancient and noble range that has a highway to the top. Construction on Veterans Memorial Highway began in 1929, as a Depression Era project that was part of the New Deal. The road is five miles long and snakes around sheer drops and slides, at an impressively steep 8 percent grade.

A view of Whiteface Mountain with its first dusting of winter snow, taken on August 15, 1964
(Photo courtesy of Wikipedia -- Click to enlarge)

At the road’s end is a tight turnaround circle, that runs through the portal of a stone castle, which houses a coffee shop, a souvenier shop, and tiny bathrooms. A hiking trail disappears upward to a weather station (also housed in a castle-like structure at the very top. The hike is the equivalent of walking up 25 stories of uneven stairs. The less adventurous, and I mean long-time friend and professional gimp Jack Riepe, can take a cooling walk through a 424-foot mine shaft, to an authentic mine elevator at the end. This elevator is a rickety affair, with emergency chains clanking alongside in the shaft. These permit the cage, which holds between 10 and 15 passengers, less if Jack Riepe is jammed into the car, to be lowered by hand in the event of a major power interruption.

"The cloud line is just visible through the trees here as I close on 3,000 feet.
Note the natural guardrail to my right."
(Photo by Michael Cantwell -- Click to enlarge)

I was not interested in engineer marvels or castles in the clouds on this day. I was itching for a ride, didn’t have much time, and live at the foot of this mountain. The die was cast. The views from Veterans Memorial Highway are very impressive. Three rivers and seven lakes, including Lake Placid and Lake Champlain can be seen from the top. On a clear day, you can see Mont Royal and the taller buildings of Montreal, some 70 miles to the north.

"The view of the clouds on this day was strickly inside out, as I reached the 4500 foot mark."
(Photo courtesy of Michael Cantewell -- Click To enlarge)

But weather in the Adirondacks is a chancy thing. It can be bright band dry in the valleys (note I said bright and not sunny), while the tops of the mountains are shrouded in clouds. Today was one of those days and I knew that I wasn't going to see much as I couldn't see the mountain from the house.

"The turnaround at the end of Veterans Memorial Highway runs through the 'castle' at the top of Whiteface Mountain. On this day, it looked like a meeting place for retired vampires."
(Photo by Michael Cantwell -- Click to enlarge)


The ride up to the toll house passes Mel’s Diner in Wilmington, NY, once considered a culinary bright spot for breakfast, lunch, and the ubiquitous burger. In truth, there are better places for breakfast, especially if you have a yen for pancakes or eggs done with flair. Mel’s is the newest looking of these places and tends to capture the transient tourist crowd first.

"These stairs are at the beginning of the trail that winds up the last 275 vertical feet of the mountain.
The part that is stairs is exactly what you see. It becomes a fairly steep walk about 50 steps from the bottom."
(Photo by Mike Cantwell -- Click to enlarge)

Not even on the real mountain yet, the road is steep enough to find yourself riding third gear if you want to adhere to the speed limit.

A couple of miles on the road will bring you past the first legitimate theme park ever built in the US -- Santa’s Workshop. A collection of rides, shows, and attractions, all with a Christmas theme, has delighted little children here since 1949. How detailed is this place? The highlight of one show is a personal appearance by Santa Claus, who arrives in a real full-size antique red sled, pulled by live reindeer, at least four of them. (One year, the reindeer got loose and park employees were chasing them all over the place to prevent a major escape, which would have provided some local hunters with a interesting season.)

'The flip side of the "castle" was even scarier-looking in the fog. Normally, it's a pretty cheery place.
Rest assured, the ridgeline that you can see in this picture is far from the top of the mountain."
(Photo courtesy of Michael Cantwell -- Click to enlarge)

One really fascinating aspect of this park is its address. It has town status and is on the map as North Pole, New York. It has its own little postal facility and cards mailed from this place are canceled that way. What is great is that you do not have to visit the park to take advantage of this. You can send your holiday mail up there (at Christmas time) and the will re-mail it for you with the ultimate Christmas message on the envelope.

The toll house at the foot of the Veteran’s Memorial Highway is absolutely beautiful. It is designed to look like part of a turreted Swiss Chalet, and a reflecting pool, a little lake actually, catches the conical details of the turrets and the blue sky, when there is actually blue sky. The water was somewhat gray today. This lake is stocked with rainbow trout and is only open to be fished by children, meaning kids, about 9 years old or younger.

I stopped at the toll house only to discover that they had raised the road fee from six to nine dollars. I had exactly, including the pennies, six dollars. I rode back down to Wilmington, past Santa’s Workshop and Mel’s Diner, to get some more cash at the ATM in town.

'The last time I pulled over on soft duff like this, it was to assist some guys in pulling Mack Harrell's BMW GS out of his ass.
My bike tipped over that day. I was more carefull in posing it for this picture."
(Photo courtesy of Michael Cantwell, who would pass up taking a shot of a naked women if he couldn't get his bike in it... The picture, I mean. -- Click to enlarge)


Once again at the toll house, I paid my fee to a very friendly woman, who was beginning to carry the unmistakable look of fatigue normally associated with the anguish of romance with an Adirondack man, and endless winters where she had to prove this love by cutting wood and shoveling out his car. You could read the resignation in her eyes. In her smoke-stained voice she informed me that the temperature was 55 degrees and there was no visibility at the summit. I thanked her with all the kindness in the world in the hopes that the old adage 'kill them with kindness' would work in this case. I have a hard-to-conceal disdain for the Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA) and those who work for them. This is not a rational disdain, but one that comes as a reaction to base patronage and decisions made by a semi-private entity that frustrate all understanding.

As a certified BMW rider, it is my God-given right to criticize and bitch at anything that takes away from the total enhancement of a ride. Pulling away from the toll house I thought 'where the hell is the nine dollars per vehicle and five per passenger being put to use?'. The road is what I imagine a prairie dog village would look like. There are mounds, heaves, crevasses, caverns, hummocks, washouts and any other form of hole/fissure you can name. I'm sure if the Inuit lived in proximity to this road they would have one thousand words to describe it's condition.

The posted speed limit is twenty-five miles per hour. While glancing off the road at a vista, I hit what I would call 'Little Whiteface'. My lower back still hurts. I believe the US Olympic Ski team does mogul training here.

At about 3200 feet. I stopped to take a few pictures. The pull off was at a spot in the road that had a nice vista. It also had a grade of about eight percent. Finding a position to put the side stand or center stand down was a challenge.

There are quite a few scenic spots along the road and it would have been a spectacular view had I not poked my head into the clouds at 3300 feet. In one of the pictures, you can see the clouds lurking in the distance waiting to saturate you with cloud mist with a pH of four...about the pH of lemon juice... which by the way is great for removing bug splatter, tar and chrome. How do I know this? I work for an environmental concern that measures the PH of Adirondack cloud mist on a regular basis. It’s part of an ongoing study to support a large scientific pool in which leading authorities place bets on when tons of hydro-carbons released into the air from the great American midwest (and from our shifty-eyed Canadian neighbors to the north) will kill all of the amazingly beautiful 1200 natural lakes in the Adirondacks.

"The mountain is lined with interesting stone work that lies covered by 75 years of overgrowth."
(Photo by Michael Cantwell, who is finally a little embarrassed that his bike is in every picture -- Click to enlarge)

The ride down the mountain was purely uneventful, if your idea of routine is taking hairpin turns in a dense fog, on a road that was apparently hit by mortar fire in the middle of the night, and occasionally dusted by fine particulate generated by the deterioration of the “$9 per square inch pavement,” complete with sheer drops to certain death on rocks a half-mile below, or comforting rock faces and boulders to gently arrest your speed should you mistakenly turn into the mountain. (Actually, this is routine for the average BMW rider.)

"One of the many delightful little picnic areas that line Veternan's Memorial Highway on Whiteface Mountain,
in New York's magestic Adirondack Mountains."
(Photo by Michael Cantwell -- Click to enlarge if you want a better view of his bike)

On the subject of speed, the dynamic braking action of the K75’s unbelievably solid engine, combined with the judicious application of the dual disks on the front made the five-mile descent from the clouds a thoroughly controllable and pleasant exercise in good judgement. That is because Father’s Day does not fall in the height of the Adirondack Season. Had the day been a bright, clear, and relatively warm (60 degrees at the top) example of North Country perfection, the road would have been a lot busier with tourists in minivans charging up the road, scenting the atmosphere with the aroma of engine coolant as it comes to a steady boil. Many of the little vistas offer picnic tables, allowing those who have saved for a few weeks to cover the toll, to pull over and grill salmon or smelt tin over engines that are generating clouds of their own.

Yet the real measure of stupidity can be gauged by the manner in which Darwinian elimination candidates try and hold their vehicles at a steady 25 miles-per-hour on the way down. The cozy smell of brake fluid at the operating temperature of French fry oil is common at the first major intersection in the hamlet of Wilmington, far below. There used to be a gas station right there, owned by a guy who migrated north from New Jersey, a place where having forced anal sex with consumers who know nothing about the cars they drive is mandatory.

"Distant lakes and rivers can be seen through rents in the clouds, just behind a good shot of my bike."
(Photo by Michael Cantwell -- Click to see either the Saranac River, the Saint Regis River, or some other damn river flowing down in the valley.)

It is my understanding that this mechanic did 20 brakes jobs a week. Jack Riepe pulled in there nearly 30 years ago, driving a brand new AMC Spirit (not a Pacer) with hot brakes. Riepe was encouraged to do so by Maryann (his sizzling squeeze dejour), who thought hot brakes were a harbinger of certain doom, and that the guy she was with had moments in which he was a pure horse’s ass. In a rare move, Riepe did not do any of the talking. He let Maryann, his future former #1 wife exit the vehicle first, wearing tiny little shorts that rode up high enough to do double duty as a necklace, explain the perceived problem. The mechanic recognized Maryann’s unmistakable New Jersey accent, and put the car on the lift. He then gave her a tour of each wheel while Jack, leaning against the inside of the garage doorway, watched with professional New Jersey male appreciation.

The mechanic then look at Jack and said, “These brakes are fine. You don’t owe my anything. If you want, you can get me an iced tea across the street.”

“No problem,” said Jack. “Babe, please run across the street and get this gentleman a six-pack of iced tea. The look of disappointment on the mechanic’s face could have been read like the front page of a newspaper. There are all kinds of ways to screw stupid consumers in New Jersey. According to local accounts, Riepe’s wallet was one of the few survivors to escape that garage. His girlfriend didn't have any grease marks on her ass either.

My friend and fellow Mac-Pac member, Michael Cantwell, on his Blue BMW K75
(Photo courtesy of "Lolita," Pole Dancer Extraordinaire -- Click on the picture for her phone number)


Submitted as a diversion in literary styles.
©Copyright Twisted Roads/Michael Cantwell 2009
The opinions presented in this story do not reflect the position of Twisted Roads, its publisher, or any of the people he really likes. But if it portrays a real douche in a natural light, you can accept it as the truth.

58 comments:

mtlcowgirl said...

Mike,

You could give Jack a run for his money. Bravo! BTW, I'm all healed up. Thanks for the pat on the back in PA. It meant a lot to me.

Best,

Karen

Jack Riepe said...

Dear MTHcowgirl:

I'm sure the readsers of Twisted Roads -- along with myself -- will be delighted to learn that you are now as good as new! Yet the bigger question remains will you ever again ride pillion with the Albert Einstein of advanced motorcycle maneuvering?

I just got another shot in my hip yesterday, in preparation for my ride down to Gray, Tennessee, for the BMW MOA Rally next week. The excitement for this ride is building to the point where the Four Horseman of the dreaded highway Apocalypse are leaving a day early. We are rolling out on Sunday, instead of Monday, to take advantage of back roads, at reduced speeds, so we can stop and take pictures of stuff along the way.

My regards to "Pops" Harrell.

Fondest regards.
Jack "R" Toad

mtlcowgirl said...

Jack,

<...will you ever again ride pillion with the Albert Einstein of advanced motorcycle maneuvering?>

Done deal. We rode to church on Sunday. Since it was not a very long ride, it was perfect for my re-entry ride. "Pops" remembered all the basics of riding.

Have a ball in TN. That rally was on our radar but, as you know: no money, no candy. There will be others.

XOX,

Karen

cpa3485 said...

Michael / Jack; what a great ride report! I am absolutely jealous of the beautiful country you get to ride in. What a great way to spend a few hours of life. I remember the first time I rode in fog very well. It was strange but wonderful at the same time. And this is a great idea to have guest authors.

Allen Madding said...

A touching story. I had to peel myself away from reading it on several occassions to retrieve a tissue to blot my eyes.

Mike, I think you are a gifted writer and should engage in this activity more often.

9 bucks certainly seems expensive to be allowed to ride upno a road that looks like a prairie dog village. But then again it seems toll booths are becoming popular infringements on the people's right to be free from taxation without representation. Here in Atlanta, they decided to extedn GA 400 into the bowels of the city and quickly constructed toll booths. The expenses incurred for the construction have been paid off for years, but the daily theft of the commuters coffee money continues even as we type.

The good folks of Kentucky elected to take the money grubber booths off of the PennyRile PKWY and soon after the PKWY apparently turned into a bombing range for Navy Jets as it has holes in it large enough to swallow an Alabama double wide mobile home.

And more recently, I was accosted by the toll takers in Pennsylvania who lifted $19 from me because AVIS didn't have the SpeedPass on the car that they brag about at the rental counter.

In closing, let me mention that I think you have a pretty strong court case against "reep" for defmaing your good character by referring to you as his friend.

-Peace

bobskoot said...



Mike / rEEP:

Excellent post. I can't belive that Jack was at a loss for words. I am still visualizing "Maryann (his sizzling squeeze dejour)" and her "wearing tiny little shorts . . . . I also can't belive you would only ride with only $6. in loose change, what happened ? did you forget to pack your wallet ? and I think that the grease marks got wiped off.

Jack:
Have a nice trip. I am leaving SOLO on Friday to Kelowna taking the Coquihalla highway for the Rally. They took off the tolls last year, otherwise I would have asked Mike to send me the $6.

Karen, mtlcowgirl
glad to hear that you are out and about. When are you getting that Ninja 250 ? post up some pictures, right now we are in need of some eye candy. I've still got that image of you in that hospital gown with the open back. Posing in a micro mini skirt would be the best

bob
bobskoot: wet coast scootin

mq01 said...

fantastic post, i enjoyed the writing and pics immensely. although the roads seem brutal, we riders do love to surround ourselves in beauty of landscape... don't we?!?

thank you, i really could imagine riding the area with you.

Charlie6 said...

Jack, thanks for posting this from Mr Cantwell!

To Mike Cantwell, Bravo Zulu on that ride report! I really liked your comments about beemer riders....

Jack Riepe said...

Dear MTLCowgirl:

Please tell"Pops" tat I have had something made for him. It is a little engraved plaquethat reads, 'Put feet down at full stop." It if for his dash board. I'm looking forward to riding with you and Mack o your home turf when I get back after the MOA Rally.

Fondest regards... Again.
Jack "R" Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear CPA3485:

The views from Whiteface Mountain on a clear day are really impressive. But I have yet to ride my bike up Veterans Memorial Highway, and must be content to have Michael tell me about it.

But that will change! I have decided to do a Whiteface ride at some point this summer. I haven't figured out where the time will come from, but the logistics are too good to pass up. One of my oldest friends has just completed a summer house in Wilmington, NY, and will gladly put me up. The trip will cost me gas, a bag of groceries, and the $9 toll.

I can't passit up.

Fondest regards,
Jack "reep" Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Allen Madding:

This piece was delibrately crafted to move you to an emotional extreme. M. Cantwell told me it was his intention to make you feel the passion of his words, like other mortals. He is that kind of person.

Michael told me to tell you that while he does enjoy the gratification that comes from writing strling ride reports, he prefers shorter venues, like making comments on the direction of society with a can of spray paint on subway cars and blank walls of public buildings.

And despite your advice to him, telling him to turn against me, I can assure you that he will hold out and continue to be my pal, until you meet his price.

Thank you for reading Twisted Roads, and for taking the time to comment.

Fondest regards,
Jack "reep" Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Bobskoot:

Maryann and I were hiking alomg a trail through the dense backwoods at the foot of Mount Marcy, about 15 miles away from Whiteface Mountain. Love was new and she was wearing a wool shirt without a bra.

The wool itched and she didn't like it. I told her that we were on a closed trail, in a remote pasrt of the woods, and tha she should just take the shirt off

She did.

We ran into the scout troop about 15 minutes later.

I went out the door today to get new tires and brakes on Fire Balls. I was five miles into the trip when I realized I left the house with 38 cents in my pocket. I stopped at the first ATM.

Have a great time at your rally! When are you coming back?

Thanks for continuing to read my blog and for commenting, without savaging me with stinging remarks that openly imply I'm fat.

Fondest regards.
Jack "reep" Toad

sgsidekick said...

First, good to see Karen is back on her feet and kicking up her heels again! A round of applause for Karen!

Second, 'bout time we heard something from you, Jack! Was beginning to fear may YOU had forgot to put your feet down...

Third, Nice piece, Michael! You definitely give Jack a run for his money! I enjoyed this foggy trip.

mtlcowgirl said...

Bobskoot,

Trust me. Hospital gowns are the unsexiest things in the world. As for the micro mini, not with the scar on my knee where the rod went in my leg, I'm afraid. Does that dash your reverie?

Best,

Karen

mtlcowgirl said...

Tena,

Tenk you. Tenk you. Not exactly kicking up my heels just yet, but well enough to throw one over the pillion seat, which is good enough for me for now.

Best,

Karen

Jack Riepe said...

Dear MQ01:

Michael Cantwell has skills he has yet to fully exploit... But I will do it for him... In this blog... Trust me.

The Adirondacks in New York state are as wild a place as you can imagine. I had the pleasure of living there fot 18 years. But just reading this piece from Mr. Cantwell has me itching to ride up that way again soon.

Thank you for reading this blog, and for writing in.

Fondest regards,
Jack "r" Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Charlie6 (Dom):

Michael Cantwell isn't shy abouit standing on his rights as a BMW rider. He plants his feet firmly in mid-air and yells with the best of them.

Naturally, you make it very difficult to write any kind of a story dealing with mountains. Nothing can compete with your pictures of hairpin turns and steep dops in the Rockies... So Twisted Roads will graciously accept your compliument in the spirit with which it was given, knowing full well the magnanimous depth of your mercy.

Thanks for reading and writing in Domingo.

Fondest regards,
Jsack "r" Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Tena:

Work concerns have had me to the point where I could have sacreamed, and I really didn't feel like putting it all down on paoper. In fact, I simply didn't feel like writing anything. I took too long day-trips by bike, and each one left me drained and exhausted.

But I'm better now... And more inclined to continue on through the seedier side of life. Thanks for looking for my blog and for writing in.

Fondest regards,
Jack "r" Toad

bobskoot said...



Mr Jack rEEP:

let me rephrase, I leave for the rally on Friday July 17th, Not today, so while you are at your rally, I will be at my rally in Kelowna. So in effect we are doing the rally at the same times, but not together I'm afraid. Take care of Sharon, she needs a riding buddy.

I know you are riding in a group, but sort of SOLO as you attempt to catch up, or get lost or make a wrong turn along the way.

While you are in a group, I will be riding by myself. My riding buddy is leaving earlier in the morning and I will meet up with him later somewhere on the road as he has some business to do enroute.

Have fun at the MOA rally. For some reason you always find yourself in precarious predicaments and we all anxiously await your ride reports. Is your camera capable of taking photos in cladestine environments, or do brass poles reflect too much light? have fun and remember, whatever happens at the rally, is prime blog material.

bob
bobskoot: wet coast scootin

PS to mtlcowgirl:

Karen, I would treasure any photo of you

John McClane said...

Jack: re your tale about Maryann and the scout troop.

Sue-Lee and I were on a beach in Greece. I said to her, look, there's no-one around, you can go topless if you want. She is asset-rich in that area.

A lone Greek turned up. He wouldn't leave until she came out of the water. She wouldn't come out of the water until he left. It was stalemate, until I went in with her bikini top.

She has forgiven me lots of things, but she has never forgiven me that.

Nikos said...

Fantastic literary style and a credit to the BMW owners club (pre octogenerian section).

Nikos said...

Fantastic literary style and a credit to the BMW owners club (pre octogenerian section).

fasthair said...

Mr. Mike: Great post and no bent wheels is always a good thing. The clouds sucked but it is still great fathers Day when the bike is involved.

Mr. Jack: When are you planning on going to Sturgis? I need to get your xxx cow size shirt and make sure they have that great big steak for your visit. As always it's been fun!!!

fasthair

Ihor said...

Very detailed tour of the VMH up and down Whiteface. I was at North Pole on June 30th with my friend Dave, who wanted to send a Christmasy post card to his little daughter from Santa's workshop. We walked in and asked to buy a postcard to have it mailed with the North Pole cancellation. This was possible, if Dave bought an entry ticket. Rebecca got a nice PC of Lake Placid from Wilmington instead.
John, hope the trip north comes off and you are always welcome to stay at my place. I don't have a summer house, which is a type of gazebo, but there will be some summer ale and steaks at my place certainly.

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Bobskoot:

Now I catch on. What sort of rally are you headed to? ‘Vettes, motortcycles, or scooters?

Our riding itinerary has changed several times. Dick Bregstein and I are leaving together on Sunday, at the crack of noon, to ride the unbelievable distance of 136 miles to Ellicott City, in Maryland, where we will be spending the night at the home of Pete Buchheit, the third member of this group. At some point in the day, we will be joined by Clyde Jacobs, and thus the Fellowship of the Beemer will be complete.

We’re taking it easy on Monday as well. It will be another 136 miles to New Market Battlefield, in Virginia. Tuesday will be a bit more ambitious at 236 miles to Fancy Gap, with most of the riding on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Wednesday will see us with another light day of 136 miles to the rally site in Gray, Tennessee. I am looking forward to the light riding days in hopes that I will be able to get some interesting pictures of the run. I would like to stop at Antietam and Bull Run, (as well as New Market), as they are famous Civil War battlefields.

I did a 108-mile solo run yesterday, over to my mechanics (Tom Cutter/Rubber Chicken Racing Garage) to get two new tires mounted. While there, I mentioned I found it necessary to top of the brake fluid on the front wheel. Tom asked me if I had found any leaking out. When I replied in the negative, he pulled the front brake shoes. They were worn to almost nothing. He thought I could have gotten another 2,000 miles out of the tires (and there’s 11,000 on them), but he doubted I’d have gotten 200 miles out of the existing brake shoes. Futhermore, he discovered that the brakes shoes on my beloved “Fire Balls” were the wrong ones to begin with. It was my good luck he had a single set of the correct ones on hand to install. Being a BMW OEM part, they were made of gold and priced accordingly.

I found the solo riding fun, and held the speed to 80/85mph in both directions. I took it easy on the turns coming back until I was sure the mold release lubricant was worn off the new tires. I was told the braking would be flakey until the new pads were worn into the disks. Braking was a trifle spongey for the first few stops, but was as precise as dammit by the time I got home.

I will be attending an official dinner for BMW MOA magazine contributors -- and was asked to bring Cheri Pie. (No shit.) I had to post a request to my club for a date, and three women volunteered. So I will be in the company of Cheri Pie on Thursday evening.

Regarding Sharon, I have sent her my contact information and hope to run into her over one of the three days. It will be great fun to meet some of the folks I have been chatting with (online) for the past year or so. I am looking forward to this run and think it will be great fun.

Now you have a good time yourself, Mr. Skoot. I am bringing my computer and hope to provide a running commentary of the event.

Thanks for reading my tripe and writing in, Bob.

Fondest regards,
Jack “reep” Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Mr. McClane:

It is amazing just how many of us have had classic topless moments. Maryann actually laughed the incident off, and there is a whole troop of boys someplace whose first memory of mammories was my first ex-wife... So it all works out in the end.

I think you were very gallant about going into the water with the bikini top.

Are you familiar with St. Pauls Catherdral in London? The one that has a dome inside another. There is a self-guided tour in which you can walk up a flight of stairs between the two domes.You're sort of in the cathedral, but not really.

The stairs are constructed of open steel grating.

I took a woman to London on a date about 15 years ago. (Remember I am a travel writer.) She was of the impression that she could do anything I could do (even better) and considered herself fearless.

Yet when it came time to come back down, being able to see though those steps into the darkened bowels of that great building scared the hell out of her.

"Walk in front of me so I can lean on your shoulders and not see the steps," she said."

It was closing to closing and we were the last people on the stairs.

"No," I said.

"Please," she asked.

"Lift up your shirt first," I suggested. (Actually, I put to more to the point.)

She did... Otherwise, she'd have spent the night on those steps.

Thank you for reading my blog and for leavng a comment. It is a pleasure finding a note from you here -- considering I regard you as a true trave writer, in the strictest sense of the word.

Fondest regaerds,
Jack "r" Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Nikos:

Michael Cantwell does tell a fantastic story with a unique style. He also engineers neat rescues from ice storms. I was trapped in my house in upstate New York, with a beautiful Russian woman who was turning into a vampire after 8 days without phone or electricity.

On a gamble. Michael Cantwell climbed a phone pole and was ab;e to reconnect my phone lines. Three people in town had working phones and I was 33% of them.

Thank you for reading and for leaving a comment.

Fondest regards.
Jack "reep" Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Fasthair:

Michael Cantwell is too shy to answer everyone's comment in this blog personally. So he asked me to thank you on his behalf.

I am headed to the BMW Rally in Tennessee next week, not Sturgis. But I want you to know rthat there are various aspects of the great Sturgis Rally that I would love to see incorporated at BMW events. (They largely have to do with beads, wading pools filled with Jello, plus tee shirts and cold water.)

Sooner or later, our paths will cross.

Thanks for reading my tripe (or in this case, Cantwell's), and for writing in.

Fondest regards,
Jack "reep" Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Ihor:

You need to have a great "biker" type nick name when you leave a comment here. I name you "Flounder." I intend to get up to your cabin in heaven sometime in August.

You are one of the charter mermbers in the club who has been calling "reep" for 40 years. Feel free to call me "Toad" if you like too.

I think Cantwell did a great job describing the VMH and Wilmington in general... Don't yiou think?

Fondest regards,
Jack "reep" Toad

Conchscooter said...

Dear Toad,
I'm figuring you are on the road by now and I can leave a comment with impunity. However I can't think of what it was I wanted to say but it was a really dirty insult. Like have Cantwell write your blog, he's pretty good and if he's shy he will be much more polite. Enjoy Tennesee and watch out for those Harley riders.I hear they feed BMW riders to their pit bulls.
Your frend
Badger.

Don Eilenberger said...

Dear Jack,

Where is the flashlight? You can bring it to the dinner on Thursday eve.

And that was a cheap trick to get me to click on the photo.. that phone number was to Brian Curry.

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Badger:

As a matter of fact, I haven't left yet... And I have plenty of time to respond to your lame comment.
For your information, I do not regard Michael Cantwell as a literary threat. While he is a real sport, he's Casper the Friendly Milktoast when it comes to trading jibes. (It is hard to believe I have gone wild turkey and grouse shooting with that guy.)

The last time I rode the Blue Ridge Parkway, I got passed by a hundred Beemers heading to a rally. But I refused to yield to the chrome and leather crowd. In fact, I pushed my speed up to 50 on that venerable roadway. At a rest area, a Harley rider that had been following me asked, "How can you take these turn so fast?"

No one has ever said that to me.

Fondest regards,
Jack "reep" Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Don:

I just put it in my bag. I look forward to seeing you on Thursday night.

Jack

The Dead People's Garbage Inspector said...

Reep, how's this for an alias? It's the topic of my interest. Mike did a swell job, I said so from the first. Do you actually employ reading comprehension before you reply? Same question regarding spell check, or is it that typing for you amounts to pounding the keyboard with a dozen bananas?? I think a biker nick name would be wasted on me, don't own a motorcycle, never been on one, don't plan to do either and even if I had the cash and inclination such an endeavour wouldn't make the top 20 'To-Do' list. Just not my thing. Enjoy your new brakes and Tennessee.

Bryce said...

Slanty eyed Canadians eh?
Hmm, only those from the Republic which you can see seventy miles north of the top where you were allowed to trod my son.

And the story line is as vague as Riepe's reputation, which is nothing
to yell about. Mind Father's day wasn't a total loss, the oil stayed in the bike, the bike remained upright and, you got away from the daily hubbub of your day at home!

Cantwell said...

Everyone,

Thank you for commenting on my story. The byline says "as told to Jack Riepe" which gives him some editorial license thus, even though most of the story was written by me, I have to attribute a lot of the historical background to Jack. I think that Jack has been very generous to offer this forum for douches like me to try and write.

As Jack would say,
Thanks for reading this tripe and commenting.
Cheers,
Cantwell

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Ihor:

I distimctly remember you telling me you had no interest in deer hunting once too!

Speaking of which, I nearly hunted two yesterday, on Skyline drive. I hate these damn hooved rats.

Fondes regards,
Jack "reep" Toad
Twisted Roads
On The Road To Tennessee

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Bryce:

I'm sure the author never said "slanty-eyed" Canadians. I think he must have said, "Shifty-eyed," which is something else entirely.

And how can you say my reputarion is vague? If nothing else, my reputation is certainly slanted.

Fondest regards,
Jack "reep" Toad
On The Road To Tennessee

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Cantwell:

As a contributor, you are also a slow moving target.

Fondest regards,
Jack "reep" Toad

Ihor thoughtfully said...

Hope the deer weren't hunting you! The last trip north was over run with deer, sightings and near misses. It is true that I once had no interest in deer hunting, but why take on another hobby of similar content. Think of it: both have a steep learning curve, both require a license, each has special equipment, both can get you maimed or killed, and each has group participation though you really do the thing alone. I'll stick to shooting deer, it fills my freezer regularly and gets me away from traffic rather than putting me in traffic. Besides, I'm a walker and enjoy sitting in trees.

Steve Williams said...

My wife and I traveled through New England and up to the top of Whiteface Mountain in similar weather about 10 years ago. I wasn't riding at the time but it remains one of my bucket list rides. I was thrilled to be able to vicariously participate in your ride.

Thanks Michael and thank you Jack for presenting him to us.

Steve Williams
Scooter in the Sticks

bobskoot said...



RIDE REPORT UPDATE:

As you all know, Jack is on his way to TN for the BMW rally in Johnson. You also know he is riding in a group of 4 riders.

I just received his text message with a request to pass on this info.

"Rode 136 miles solo today . . . Top speed 102 mpg on GPS. Laptop (4 years old) has Quit."

Looks like he is going so fast that he has lost his riding buddies, or he is hopelessly lost having taken the wrong turn.

Now is the time to speak up as Jack presently has no tongue and is unable to comment for a few days

bob
bobskoot: wet coast scootin

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Ihor:

I predict the time will come when economy and intense social pressure (not from me, but from global warming) will have you riding a scxooter and playing the guitar like the singing nun.

Fondest regards from Tennessee,
Jack "reep" Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Steve:

I'm glad you liked this new editorial experiment of mine, and Michael Cantwell's story. Think of me as Mr. Public Service.

Fondest regards,
Jack "reep" Tod

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Bobskoot:

The computer crisis is over. I called Apple and had a new MacBook Pro delivered to my hotel to I could meet a few deadlines for work. It arrived yesterday.

Thanks for posting my plight.

Fondest regards,
Jack "reep" Toad

montieandme said...

FABULOUS BLOG!! the terrain looks alot like where we live in Turkey, although after 5 years I am still not happy about riding up the Mountains that have sheer drops and very bad...well cant say roads..paths..but the views are always worth it..I was glued to your post and shall for sure come back..thanks..(linda)

Ihor, shocked, said...

John, where are you now? You called for Mac takeout? I've gotten pizza that way, you get a laptop!! Your modern world both frightens and confuses me. Trust me, no scooter on my horizon. Speaking of Scooter, any news?

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Linda:

I am delighted this episode of Twisted Roads left you on the edge of your seat.. And all the way from Turkey, nonetheless!

Please be advised that Twisted Roads is Kind of "twisted" and the mood can change like the weather in the mountains.

Thanks for reading (Michael's crap) and for writing in.

Fondest regards,
Jack "reep" Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Ihor:

After four years of constant service (and surviving one ghastly motorcycle crash), my trusty Apple 13" Black MacBook blew up while on the road to the BMW MOA Rally last week.

I replaced it, enroute, with a telephone call to Apple and a mere $3 grand. A shiny, nuclear MacBook Pro was delivered to my hotel by FedEx the next day.

That's some service. And the new computer has to be seen to be believed. It is slight more than 1/2 inch thick, has a full-sized qwerty keyboard (that is backlit) and a lustrous screen that delights the eyes.

I am getting all of my files restored today.

Fondest regard,
Jack

bobskoot said...



Jack:

I'm back but like you exhausted. I got trapped by the wildfires in Kelowna. They closed the highways both south and west, and I was on the wrong side. Had to travel an extra 4 hours to circumnavigate the mountain and took a slight 5 hour detour to meet some friends in Spences Bridge for late lunch. I am not sure if you get this news where you are but they have evacuated 6,500 homes and they have water bombers etc trying to put out the fire(s) - there 3 major fires up there.

bob
bobskoot: wet coast scootin

bobskoot said...



Mr Jack "r"IEPE

Firstly: congrats on your new gig with the monthly ON column

Secondly: I found Redmond, OR on the map. Now all I need is a Beemer. I mentally mapped out July 14-18, 2010 in my mind. Did you know that Oregon has the best roads ?

Thirdly: Is there an official KW rally ? Rogers George was just in KW, too bad he didn't let you know he was going, you could have ridden with him

All the time I was making the detour around the Fire to return home, I was thinking of you and your Russell day long seat, or a Corbin, anything. I think my hard seat is not good for circulation and the pegs are not ergonomic in that "crunched-up" position. Just another excuse to get another bike.

I purchased Ram-Mounts for the Video-cam. because you have no control over the road surface which affects vibration and shock, I still believe it is very steady. I decided not to chance one-handed camera shots as being too dangerous "at speed", but the video cam is easy to use.

I am using a Panasonic SDR-20SW, SD flash memory camcorder which is waterproof and shock resistant. Virtually no moving parts except for the zoom. I host most of my video and images on Webshots, where they give you the coding to imbed the video, so more or less, the same as posting a photo.

I took a 4 hour detour to ride Hwy 8 which follows the river and has a lot of twisties. I came across many groups of bikers and when I came up on them, I turned on my video and recorded them for a while. Perhaps I may post a couple of more.

For video, you have to upload some codecs in order to edit them. The SW20 records in a modified MPeg4 which requires to be converted.

Actually, if your bike is reliable and you don't go crazy on the twisties and ride safely, riding by yourself is sort of refreshing. No one else to please, stop where you want, eat where you want, gas up where you want, and you end up talking to yourself.

bob
bobskoot: wet coast scootin

RossK6 said...

Very nice. I look forwrd to more.
Ross

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They singled it out because Steve was saying how awesome it was, and how it would never break, this proves him wrong, thats why.
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