Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Eight Inches Above Sea Level

Nothing amazes me more than Global Positioning System (GPS) technology. The unit clamped to my handlebars is an out of date (and no longer supported) Garmin Nuvi 660, cradled in a Ram mount, which holds the device at the perfect angle for me to read it (without my glasses). The maximum volume on this GPS unit is so loud that I can hear it over the utterly masculine whine of the K75 at 75 miles per hour. This was good last Sunday, as the damn thing was screaming for me to go right onto local Route 141 (Delaware), coming off of local Route 52 (Delaware/Pennsylvania).

It had been while since I had last come this way and I was just thinking, “If my memory serves me correctly, Route 141 pops up like a weasel on a spring around here,” when Route 141 popped up like a weasel on a spring. Leaning the bike way over to grab the sudden curve, I felt the icy fingers of gravity wrapping around my balls in accompaniment to the realization that I had neglected to throw a bigger bone to centrifugal force. This was accomplished by twisting on the gas. And it was at this exact location, in a downhill, descending radius turn to the right, that I executed flawless control on a blind curve that should have been named after Stevie Wonder.

Now paragraphs like the one immediately above are almost always followed by qualifying data like: a) Then my front wheel found the puddle of spilled oil; b) Amish horse shit adds little to the dignity of a tight turn; or c) Emma Blogget was almost as stupid as she was old and ugly, having parked her car in the apex of the turn, were she could feed the herd of deer from the open window... Yet in this case, the next line reads, “The K75 responded to my input like lightning on tracks, rocketing into the turn, and precisely following an imaginary line from my mind through the arc of the curve.”

It was the last decent turn I made all day. The rest of my maneuvers looked like I was steering the bike with my elbows while smoking crack.

Route 141 is a necessary but nondescript 8-mile connection to one of the most beautiful runs on the east coast. Heading south, it takes you around the airport (whose largest tenant appears to be the Delaware Air National Guard) in New Castle, and then to Route 9. The view immediately softens with a gentle right turn with the beginnings of salt marshes and open water on the left. It is an illusion. Less than five miles ahead lies the Valero/Texaco refinery, a huge black eye on the soul of beauty.

This is in Delaware City, which is actually a quaint riverfront community (with over 200 active residences listed on the historic register), sandwiched in between the Delaware River and the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal. The city (and it is a small one) contains two state parks of some significance. These are Fort Dupont State Park, which was home to German prisoners of war (WWII) and Fort Delaware State Park on picturesque Pea Patch island (which housed thousands of Confederate prisoners in the Civil War). Pea Patch Island is now home to thousands of nesting herons, and is regarded as the largest heronry in the US. The island is accessible by ferry.

Route 9, also known as 5th Street, bypasses all of these attractions. Putting the spurs to the K75 brought me -- and the other five riders in my group -- through town in about 30 seconds. And it is here that the road to heaven starts. Route 9 bounces over a steel grate bascule bridge with a slight arch before ascending a 25-story ramp to the spindly deck of the Reedy Point Bridge, which spans the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal. This sea-level canal connects the Delaware River and the port of Philadelphia with the Chesapeake River and the Port of Baltimore. The original canal opened in 1829 and saw incredible daily traffic through 1919. Work started on its current configuration in the 1960’s and continued into the ‘70s. The canal is 14 miles long, 450 feet wide, and 35 feet deep. Lift bridges were in common usage through the ’70’s until 8 of them were removed by collisions with ships.

The entrance to the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal on the Delaware River (Photo from Wikipedia)

I always get a thrill riding over the Reedy Point Bridge. The view from the top is incredible, offering a fleeting glance of three states: New Jersey to the left, Delaware straight ahead, and Maryland to the right. The view is like nothing you would expect, even though it does personify the character of each state. The most prominent thing on the New Jersey coast is the Salem Nuclear Power Plant. Maryland is a distant glow of commerce. Delaware unfolds as a tableau of estuarine salt marshes, flowing around hardwood stands, cornfields, and quaint villages -- some complete with light houses.

The Reedy Point Bridge, about 25 stories above the majestic Chesapeake and Delaware Canal, drops a rider into an incredibly beautiful setting. (Photo by Wikipedia)

The Reedy Point Bridge is also exciting for two other reasons: a) The descent from the deck is abrupt and like landing in an open cockpit plane (if you are on a motorcycle); b) Maintained by the Army Corps of Engineers, the Reedy Point Bridge looks like it will fall down in the next really strong breeze.

From left, Kimi Bush, Jack Riepe, Dick Bregstein, and Alain Kaldewaay take a break in the village of Taylor's Bridge. The author's stumpy knees were killing him. (Photo by Rob Haut)

Another fascinating aspect of Route 9 as it runs through this unique area (for the next 35 miles or so) is that the pavement is 8 inches above sea level. This eight inches is an arbitrary figure when the moon is exceptionally full, when the wind is blowing, or if a tidal surge is in progress and brackish water will simply cover the road. This was the case in the next few miles, where the road was closed due to standing water, sand, and other debris courtesy of Tropical Storm Ida, which had pounded hell out this place only a day or two before.

GS rider Kimi Bush coyly whispers to the author, "Ha ha... You're fat and old. Want directions to the La Brea tar pits?" (Photo by Rob Haut)

That was part of the allure of this ride, to take our bikes through an area that had been pounded by a bad storm within hours of its passing. I was accompanied on this run by Dick Bregstein (my usual partner in crime), Kimi Bush, Rob Haut, Alain Kaldewaay, and Corey Lyba. The road is a main thoroughfare for four or five little communities, all of which face Delaware Bay. I am surprised that there aren’t more bars, eateries, or tourist traps along this road. It may be that not everyone understands the beauty of the marshes. Of course, it could also be that the 25-story-high cooling tower of the nuclear facility across the river, plus sirens atop utility poles with signs reading, “In the event of six long blasts of the siren, put your head between your legs and kiss your x-rayed ass good-bye,” have soured folks on the area.

The row of Beemers on the silt-laden streets of Bowers Beach, De. Tropical storm Ida was responsible for the tidal surge. (Photo by Rob Haut)

Traffic can be heavy on Route 9 in the summer, but we had the road to ourselves and picked up the pace considerably. About half of the ride is through the marshes directly, passing through bird sanctuaries, and winding over a series of bridges that rise no more than eight feet above the water. These bridges sneak up on you in a form of comic relief. In a few cases, the joinery of the bridge concrete and the macadam of the road is purely coincidental. Hitting it at 50 miles per hour will loosen the fillings in your teeth. Naturally, these bridges occur at points where the flowing marsh currents are at their most aggressive. Therefore, they mark the places where standing water is most likely to be an issue. The first three bridges carried signs which said, “Standing water on the road.” We all slowed down accordingly.

The roads were bone dry.

So it was with a light heart that I hit the fourth bridge at 50 miles per hour. This was one of the ones that was badly seamed where it met the pavement. I felt like I had just been kicked in the ass by a horse. And not a petting zoo horse either. I mean a Clydesdale. The shock to my spine had barely registered when I cleared the peak of the little arch to see a pool of standing water, spanning the entire road, for a distance of 30 feet.

The view of the water from our restuarant's dock in Bowers Beach. (Photo by Rob Haut)

“Holy shit,” I thought, dropping two gears and hitting the binders at the same time. The K75 dug in and slashed 30 miles per hour from the speedo. I hit the water at a modest pace and discovered it was about ten inches deep. My boots submerged and acted like twin scoops, diverting the water up my pants legs. I’m told that cod are a cold water fish. Well that water was so damn cold that I thought it was probably a cod crossing.

Later, Kimi Bush (an accomplished long-distance rider on a BMW GS model, painted pink and known as “Tuff Cookie”) would come up to me, looking out of the tops of her eyes, and say, “I thought for sure you were going to stop dead at the water. I would have run right over your fat, stupid ass. Then I would have beaten you to death with parts of my fallen motorcycle.”

Corey Lyba (left) and his wife Kimi Bush (right). She wanted all of us to call him the name of a cute animal. From now on he is "The Jackal." (Photo by Rob Haut)

The scenery changed from marsh to meadow, farms to fishing villages, and ultimately, from carefully preserved habitat to more urban settings. There used to be a great place to stop in the town of Little Creek. “Three Cavaliers” was a bar and restaurant that featured some of the best crab chowder that I have ever tasted. I was sorry to see that it has fallen victim to the economy, and that it was closed and up for sale. I had a lesson in humility sitting at the bar in this place (on a prior ride), that Dick and I will laugh about for years to come.

We got on the Route 1 expressway and rode the final seven miles to our destination, Bowers Beach, at speed. Bowers Beach is a little community that sits on a spit of sand, where a tiny inlet winds its way into the widest part of Delaware Bay (probably 30 miles across). New Jersey cannot be seen without binoculars. (That's the good news.) The tide comes in and out here with some force, and regularly flows onto the street. Tropical Storm Ida improved on that plan, by dumping tons of grey sediment hundreds of yards inland, making for careful navigating on slick streets.

The author cannot get through a day without trauma. The crap in his topcase jammed the lock from the inside, denying him access to his step, his cane, and other things. Corey Lyba, and not Rob Haut, is seen carrying away a cinder block used to get "Jumbo" on his seat. Alain Kaldewaay is standing by to make sure Riepe doesn't fall over in the gravel. The attractive blond lady on the porch has asked Riepe not to lean up against the restaurant. (Photo by Rob Haut)

I consider Bowers Beach to be the Paris of the salt marshes, as it has not one, but two excellent saloons to choose from. And it is here the plot thickens. The bar I thought we were going to was closed. And the bar I thought would be closed for the season was open. This turned out to be perfect as bar #2 is a great seafood place, with unparalleled views of the bay.

Ride photographer, Rob Haut and his "Green Machine" (Photo by Klute The Wonder Moose)

And so passed what is likely to be the last utterly nice day of the 2009 riding season. By “utterly nice” I mean temperatures warm enough to ride in mesh. (It was 70º from start to finish on this ride.) Dick was wearing straight mesh and I had removed all of the panels from my Joe Rocket “Meteor” jacket. I was riding in perforated summer leather gloves.

The Senator Willian Roth Jr. Bridge crosses the C&D Canal in style... We paid $4 in tolls to cross this spiffy-looking bridge at speed. (Photo by Wikipedia)

We decided take the fast way back, which was the Route 1 (toll road) to Route 141 in New Castle. We got there in 40 minutes, moving through traffic like a hot knife through butter. At one point, an asshole in a minivan corked up the works for about five miles, while keeping side-by-side with a slower moving car to her immediate right. I edged up next to her, and waited until until a slight curve in the road caused her to fall back a few feet. Then I went though the opening with my engine screaming. To my delight, another bike followed me. In the golden light of the setting sun, I could see it was pink.

(This level of maneuvering must have scared the shit out of the woman in the minivan, and rightly so. After the bike behind me got around her, so did five other cages. I do not understand why slower drivers do not stay to the right. I suspect it’s because they don’t want to be bothered with traffic entering and exiting the highway.)

There is one aspect of these runs that I am seldom prepared for, and that is the rolling good-byes as riders peel off for their preferred ways home. Alain Kaldewaay was the first to go, followed by the tag team of Kimi and Corey (who is her husband) while still in Delaware. Rob Haut disappeared next. His Beemer has two speeds: fast and inter-galactic. Bregstein and I parted company on US-202 (Pennsylvania) as the last bit of light faded into darkness. My dash clock read 1700 hours (Beemer time) as my HID lights filled the garage door. The ride back, which had a high spot of 92 miles per hour, took just two hours. The K75 used 3.5 gallons of high test gas in 168 miles, for an average of 48 miles per gallon. The total mileage for the day was 212.

Addendum:

Sunday’s ride (on November 15, 2009) was preceded by the Mac Pac “3rd Sunday of the Month” breakfast at the Pottstown Family Diner. (The Mac Pac is the premier BMW group in southeast Pennsylvania that I ride with.) The occasion was marked by a big turn-out of riders (about 50) and the first run on Marge Busch’s new F800 GS. This sleek machine represents the finest example of the motorcycle-builder’s craft, and is one of the most sought-after bikes in the BMW line. By count, I believe it is Marge’s 23rd motorcycle in her collection, which includes many rigs from the ‘60s and ‘70s. Way to go Marge!

Marge Busch with her new BMW F800 GS. Note the cool cast wheels and the overall sinister look to the machine. (Photo by Rob Haut)

The business end of Marge Busch's sizzling new F800 GS. This is a hot-looking Beemer. When I asked if she paid the same price for each of those headlights, Marge replied, "Just keep your fat ass off my bike." (Photo by Rob Haut)


Jim Gingrich from Reading, Pa showed up in a “Smart Car,” which almost garnered as much attention as Marge’s bike.

Technically, this "Smart Car" could be a Beemer K75 on "Miracle Grow." The three-cylinder engine puts out 71 hp, just like my K75. I think these are hot shit and plan to own one some day. (Photo by Rob Haut)

• Mark Mehalik was our speaker for breakfast. His lecture was titled, "The Difference Between Battery Acid and Timothy Leary's Acid." Mark went three rounds to a fall with a battery problem.

Mark Mehalik and his beautiful Blue Beemer F650GS. This picture was taken just outside the "observatory" room at Mac Pac International Headquarters. (Photo by Rob Haut)


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

57 comments:

Woody said...

Funny thing, I grew up in New Castle and we used to party in Delaware City. We use to describe the "quaint riverfront community" a little differently, but I'll go with your poetic license. You drove over the nice bridge on Rt. 1 coming home. Next time, I encourage you to skip that and take St. Georges bridge. It will give you a new and much lower opinion of the Army Core of 'Engineers'. What fucking idiot puts not one, but TWO curves in a bridge, half way up the span? Did they throw all the bad bridge design ideas in a hat and let a politician pick the 'best' idea?

Thanks for the great story!

Charlie6 said...

nice ride report Jack, though you didn't go into details on that "lesson in humility"?

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Woody:

Quite frankly, the back streets of Delaware City look like they've seen some bruising. I think Corey, Kimi, and Alain took the St. George's Bridge. I just wanted to get home and took what my GPS said was the fastest way.

The Reedy Point Bridge looks like it is in bad shape.I'm no engineer, but the rust is pretty think on that structure and its close to 40 years old.

I'm glad you liked the piece.

Do you know of any great "joints" in Delaware City? Fourteen miles west in Chesapeake City, one is nicer than the next.

Thank you for always reading my tripe and for commenting.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Charlie6 (Dom):

The lesson in humility is actually a heart-warming story, in which an old guy without a pot to piss in, insisted on buying me a drink.

I will relate this piece at somepoint in the future. It was nice that you asked. Thank you for reading my tripe.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

motonomad said...

Noted miscommunication and missed opportunity to spend some time w/like-minded riders aside, we all agree that it was the perfect late season riding day. And for that I'm thankful.

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Motonomad (Pete):

I am thankful for days like Sunday, for men who ride like Vikings, for bikes like the K75, for women with perfect asses and who smile when you notice, for another great corn crop, and fore guys like you and Clyde.

That's almost a prayer.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

BMW-Dick said...

Jacko:
Your ride report was great, but the ride itself was even better. Thanks for leading us on a merry chase through the Delaware salt marshes and then back on the Route One race track. The restaurant was wonderful. I think it's called JD's (owned by juvenile delinquents). The clam chowder was chock full of large pieces of "Cohog" clams; the fried clam strips were homemade and great; even the French Fries were outstanding. Finally, we could not have found a better bunch of people to ride with if we had hand picked them. Pete and Clyde would have fit right in. I should have called them from the diner after breakfast, but I was holding off until we got on the road. That was a mistake, because we didn't stop until we hit Delaware. I spent two hours hosing the tidal sludge off of my bike today. Now it looks brand new. Hope the weather holds tomorrow, so I can take it out of the garage.
Thanks again for leading a great ride.

bill said...

Nice blog. If you get to Flatistan (Florida) give us a shout at Eurocycles of Tampa Bay. We ride every Wednesday for the retired guys leaving from Land O Lakes, and the first Sat of every month is pancakes at the dealer (their treat) followed by a ride somewhere to lunch. Other trips also, check out our site at www.bmwriderstampabay.com.

ride safe

Corey said...

Great telling of the days events Jack. I'll let you know that I was the one carrying the cinder block away from your bike. I almost used it on you, putting you out of your misery, but the baby seal look stopped me. I wished that we had gone back through the standing water just to get photos. The action shots would have made us look tough. I peeled off early only because I had to pee. Kimi then needed gas, which took some looking and back tracking, before we headed home by way of 95. I never changed my dark tinted visor and was having a hell of a time seeing by the time we got home. It was one of the best looking sun sets that I had seen in a while.

sgsidekick said...

Poor Jack! It's always an adveneture with you, isn't it?

Nice ride report. I could almost smell the seabreeze.

You ever get out here, we have the perfect rib joint in mind for you!!

irondad said...

I'm glad you got out for a good ride despite needing a cinder block.

My question is this:

Have you actually ever steered with your elbows while smoking crack so that you actually know what that feels like?

It's like people who say something tastes like shit. I always wonder exactly how they came by that knowledge.

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Dick:

You and I have take the run along local Route 9 in Delaware about 10 times now. This was the first time the trip south went so quickly, even with my stops in Centerville and Taylors Bridge.

I was sorry to see that the "Three Cavaliers" have fallen on hard times. But I was going about town here tonight and two other bars of great local repute have also gone belly up.

The next time we do this run again, it will be in May or June of next year. And who knows how the dice will have fallen after this winter.

We do manage to have fun on the expressways.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Bill:

What a nice surprise to hear from a BMW dealer! I am planning to ride through Florida at some time in the early spring. I love to come by and have my picture taken eating pancakes. If you have a tee shirt that fits me, I'll buy one and wear it one of my BMW MOA column pieces.

Fondest regards,
Jsck • reep • Toad

kathy said...

Too bad your riding season is coming to a close and mine is just ramping up. Enjoyed your trip report. Glad to see one of my own gender in the mix.

rob h said...

Jack,
Sunday was a great ride through the salt marshes of Delaware. Nothing beats that smell. Thanks for letting me ride along.

Rob

Electra Glide In Blue said...

Jack,
Great post, I was saving up for a F800 GS, but after reading that the "smart-car" drew almost as much attention as Marge’s bike, I'm leaning towards the purchase of the smart-car. BTW just what is the difference between battery acid and Timothy Leary's acid?

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Corey:

I changed the caption under the appropriate photo to indicate the magnitude of service you exended on my behalf (with the cinderblock). And for the briefest possible moment, I too wanted to retrace our steps up Route 9 and run through ths water again, kicking up a rooster tail.

But in all practicality, it would have been blacker than pitch by the time we'd gotten out of the swamps. Did you have a clear face shield with you?

Pain was the deciding factor for me. I wanted to get home pronto, and I suspect taking Route 1 to Route 141 shaved 45 minutes off the return ride.

I was wondering why you guys cut out at Route 13. My gas light flickered on and off all the way to the Pennsylvania State line, where it acquired a disconcerting glare. I was convinced I was on fumes but was pleased to discover I had at least another 72 miles left in the tank. I could have made it home easily, but what would have been the point of heating up the fuel pump?

When the light fades to dark, there is nothing as reassuring as switching on my HID light.

Thank you for coming on Sunday. I always have a good time with you. I hope we get to do this again soon.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Sgsidekick (Tena):

I'm sure the coast road in California would put this little run in perspective. I'm sure there are heights in Oregon that mesmerize riders with each mile. And I bet Washington has some of the most beautiful rides in the country. But the best any of them would have to offer would be greatly improved if I could do them with you and Bugser.

I'd be delighted to have ribs with you guys anywhere. Thanks for the invite.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear IronDad (Dan):

Why is every note from you a philosophical challenge?

Part of the "Advanced Urban Street Guerilla Riding Course" entails steering the bike with your elbows while smoking crack. I got it on the 57th try.

As far as the expression "tastes like shit" goes, I understand it is a baker's expression for wedding cake. A divorce lawyer told me this. I took his word for it.

Thank you for reading my blog, and for attempting to find value in it.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Kathy:

My riding season doesn't end until the first real snow, when the local municipalities drop 50,000 tons of sand and salt on the roads to keep us safe. Then I will not ride again until the mess is swept up in April.

I have gone out in temperatures as low as 22º, provided the ground is dry. And this year, I intend to get an electric jacket liner. My seat is already heated.

What I meant was, this will likely be the last 70º weather of the 2009 season. Now it just gets cold.

Thsank you for reading my blog, and for commenting.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Rob:

I didn't let you ride along... You were the guest of honor. You and I have been talking about doing a ride forever. I was flattered that a man of your skill and ability could find a short run of this nature both interesting and entertaining.

I would be delighted to ride with you any time of your choosing. And thak you again for your repeated offers to help clear the lockiong mechanism on this top case. I may sent you a note tomorrow if I do not meet with success.

It would be splendid if you had the time to drop by for a cocktail and a cigar during Thanksgiving Week.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Electra Glide in Blue:

You're pulling my leg, right? I mean, while that new F800Gs is hot, my bike is way hotter. And it does do things to women. I was riding it around in the kitchen the other day, and Leslie said to me, "If you continue to ride that bike in the house, you are going to get fucked big time."

What do you think of that?

If you have to ask about the different kinds of acid, don't take any.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Nikos said...

Jack
Another similarity between a Smart car and a BMW motorcycle is the quirkiness of the gear change. The acquisition of my Smart was the final nail in the coffin a.k.a. my marriage, and no, I did not drive around in the kitchen.
Keep it flowing Jack, you are making an old man very happy.
Nikos

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Nikos:

I am delighted that you find something of value or inspiration in my misadventures. I live to make others happy. This is my path to canonization.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

cpa3485 said...

Must have been a great ride. Having good friends to accompany you is nice, too. Here's hoping you get a couple of more in before the cold really sets in.
It was 31 degrees when I left the house this morning. My wife rolled her eyes as I came downstairs with my gear on and said: "Are you really going to ride today?"
You know what my answer was.

Inquiring Ihor said...

Care to elaborate on the hidden meaning of the final two sentences? Is it even-money that you will trade the K75 for a Ford 500 or an assisted living passkey?
I hope that the topcase lock is a simple fix(after you get it open), perhaps with some interior duct tape or a blocking panel. Easier than having to upend the bike and give it a shake!
Don't forget that I am always available to help, even if you never ask.

Conchscooter said...

Yet more proof, if it were needed, that tropical storms screw up other places much more than the florida keys. Plus we know how to deal with standing water...
Please let me know when you plan to be here in the spring as I might plan to be elsewhere.

bobskoot said...

Jack "r":

That muddy silt on the road gives me the heeby jeebies. I'd need outriggers. I enjoyed your ride today. Too bad you left the other 2 behind.
Your bridge engineers must be related to our bridge engineers. I can't think of a bridge which doesn't have a curve in it, but at least we don't have steel serrated grating.
Glad you got someone to fetch a cinder block for you, and hope you get your topcase opened.
did you try rocking your bike a bit, perhaps something pushed up against the plastic flap inside.

bob
bobskoot: wet coast scootin

sgsidekick said...

You're such a smooth talker!

Jack Riepe said...

Dear CPA3485:

I am looking at some heated jacket liners from Gerbings. These include heated panels in the sleeves and collar. I believe the interior heated surface will reach and sustain 125º (F) at an external temperature of 32º (F). Taking the wind chill factor into account at 22º (F), I believe the heated gear will extend riding days well into the winter.

I have a 50amp alternator on the K75 which should be fully capable of heating the jacket, as well as the seat, plus the lights. I will fride until the local townships dust the streets with salt and sand.

Thank you for reading my tripe, and for leaving a comment.

Fondest regards,
Jack

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Ihor:

If we lived next door to each other, you could come over tonight to share a cigar and a snort, while we figured out this lock problem.

As to my cryptic remark, the stae of my arthritis has made my participation on future group rides with tight schedule arrangements something of a crap shoot.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Conchscooter:

Standing water and wind-blown debris are nothing to BMW riders -- as long as the fattest of them has access to his step in the top case. My plans to visit Key West in the Spring are purely arbitrary as I now make $27 a week.

Can you please forward to me the address of a local "Tempura Thought Shelter?" These are for men with lightly battered professional images, relating to recent salary cuts.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Bobskoot:

The last thing I tossed into that topcase was a little traveling case for my garmin unit. I bet one of the straps is pincked in the lock mechanism. My project for today is to shuffle the contents of the case around, using a twisted coat hanger, to see if I can get the lock unjammed.

If that doesn'r work, I'll go the hammer-on-the-lock button route.

Parking the bikes on the muddied road surface did not appeal to me. I thought the rough gravel of the parking lot offered better resistance to the tires.

It was a great run, and I am planning something similar for the next nice weekend. Something Amish, perhaps.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear SgSidekick (Tena):

Words come easy when they are heartfelt.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Ihor, refering to Wednesday's email, said...

I thought that the final two sentences were refering to my recommendations in the email I sent on Wednesday. Those guidelines will do much to alleviate the other physical restrictions from which you suffer. How many times do I have to say this before you get to it?

sgsidekick said...

Highway 101 on the Oregon coast is very similar to your sea-washed road: right now, with a storm combined with high tide, the hwy is underwater. And the people who live there are saying: "Well, the tide is fixing to turn, so it will go down." IOW: No biggie!

DC said...

Dear Jack,

I really enjoyed your "Eight Inches Above Sea Level". It took me back to the time I used to ride down to visit a Navy buddy stationed in Norfolk. I'd meander that area on the return trip, discovering the beauty of the marshes. You know, somewhere down there (possibly off Rte 9, I discovered it by luck) is a Native American burial ground. An area the size of an 1/8 sq acre is excavated and covered under roof. All of the (50 or so) skeletal remains are left covered in several inches of earth (iirc, it's been years!) so one can see the body "in relief". Interestingly, all are buried on their side, fetal postition, facing east with spine running true north. I'm sure a google search would 'uncover' the place.

Thanks for another great story. Dick and I will be taking you to the gym 3 days a week this winter so we can hear more fresh tales of riding (mis)adventure.

warmest regards,
Dave

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Ihor:

I just got new inspiration to join a gym or the Foreigh Legion. I am apparently the subject of a You Tube video, doing my "bike dance." I watched eat eatinga wholesome breakfast of grubs and shoots.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear SgSidekick (Tena):

I'd be willing to bet the Oregon coast road is somewhat higher in elevation than Rt. 9 in Delaware. And certainly longer... The stretch in Delaware is only about 42 miles long.

Hopefully, I'll get to see that Oegon road next year.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear DC (Dave Case):

We had a pisser of a day on that run down to Delaware, and it seems as if the weather will repeat itself this Sunday. I'm thinking I might do a gentle run up to Lancaster, just to keep my hand in.

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

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Observantly, Ihor said...

Great Oogley-Boogley!!!
Spelling skills are the first to go!
I take it that while your sarcasm and denial centers are intact, your reality check finds the flashing 'INSUFFICIENT FUNDS' sign to be of no concern. All to the good I say, I'm sure that BMW is hybridizing their latest cruiser model with a telemetric hospital bed. Robot ER staff option will be extra, but well worth the money. You need a dose of Edmund Dantes' special stay-cation, it will perk you up mightily.

Lance said...

Jack, enjoyed your post, and sorry about the less than lady-like comment about you from Ms. Kimi. If you hadn't told us, I would have thought she was reacting to one of your usual witty and correct comments on apres-motorcycle wear.

Sojourner rides said...

Those first few paragraphs made me hold my breath! You're right, they are usually followed by something not so good. Thanks for surprising me.

It is nice seeing your mileage up there--not so good hearing that you're still struggling with the joints. Your decision to meet up with people sounds reasonable. Will that take away from the ride for you--you enjoy the group so much?

Take care...

bobskoot said...

Mr Jack "r":

even the spammers have your number

bob
bobskoot: wet coast scootin

mq01 said...

jack, there is a used K75 for sale in my area, ive been thinking of you...

even with jammed topbox, flooded roads, closed bars, achy joints, besides that all, i am happy to see you got a decent ride in!!

happy thanksgiving to you and yours!! ride safe and enjoy my friend.

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Lance:

Kimi and I are great friends. She can say anything she wants and always manages to muster the same effect achieved by Charleze Theron in the "Legend of Bagger Vance." I dropped so much speed coming up on that water that the folks behind me really did think I was going to stop.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.

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

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad
Twisted Roads

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Sojourner (Sharon):

Since I don't have any real adventures, I have to use the odd literary device to lure my readers in. Consequently, you got caught in my gill-net.

It took me only fifteen minutes, plus three tools, to get the damn top case open, ten days after the ride. I have decided tha the smart money would be to store items like my cane and stuff (not essential to getting on and off the machine) in one of the side bags.

The arthritis is getting worse and I have problems with my shoulders now. What the hell? What would life be without a few challenges?

I'm glad to read you're out and about.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad
Twisted Roads

Jack Riepe said...

Dear MQ01:

If the business travel industry were not so firmly embedded in the shitter, I would consider collecting K75s (in the four major classic fairing configurations). These are an acquired taste but one that stays with you long after you have left the table.

The K75 is a very peculiar machine, and a ghastly-looking one to the untrained eye. If you ever get the chance to ride one, you will discover a seating posture that is akin to having a church steeple shoved up your ass. The feeling is replaced by amazement when the throttle is twisted, and the bike becomes utterly weightless, in a 45-degree turn at 90 mph -- loaded with crap for a five-day trip.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad
Twisted Roads

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Bobskoot:

Spam... Spam... Spam... Sapam.. (Monty Python's Flying Circus)

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family, or whatever you call the holiday up there.

Fondes regards,
Jac • reep • Toad
Twisted Roads

Steve Williams said...

Another fine post Jack. My only criticism is that the camaraderie reflected in your powerful prose makes me wonder if my own self imposed solitary riding is cutting me off from something special.

But I still find myself sneaking out of the driveway alone...

Steve Williams
Scooter in the Sticks

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Steve (Scooter In The Sticks):

You are cordially invited to ride with me, and such members of the Mac Pac that show up, for one of these shore runs, or something of that nature.

I can guarantre you will have a sensational time... You will also be inclined to get an unlisted phone number and go into the Witness Protection Program.

I sneak out of the driveway alone all the time. If Stiffie (Leslie) knew how often I was headed to a strip joint, I'd be living in a shelter for battered men.

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

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
bobskoot said...

Jack "r":

I trust that your arthritis disappeared long enough to devour that turkey on Thanksgiving. I noticed the picture that Stiffie posted on her Blog. With all that steam it was as if I could smell the aroma of a delicious meal in the completion stages.
Are you able to take more pills or get an injection for the arthritis ? Would it help to move to a warmer climate ? Perhaps a place with free range chickens hobbling about ?

bob
bobskoot: wet coast scootin

fasthair said...

Long time no type. Great read and I'm reminded of a few of my trips. The knee deep water made the memory of the time in the middle of Ohio at O-dark thirty in a heavy down pour and having the water forced up my leathers and thinking thank God that car in the other lane was a second slower at meeting me under that train trestle.

Those salt/silt covered roads look nasty and something that makes my bung pucker. Not having smoked crack but have other things I know what it is like to drive with my elbows. But I can't for the life of me think about doing it on a road like that.

And after Iron Dad comment I'm reminded of Cheech and Chong's little ditty... wait.. look... look like dog shit? Yes look like dog shit. Smell... uh... smell... yah smell like dog shit. Taste... uh!!! Taste like dog shit... numm numm... yah taste like dog shit...

Sorry I've been AWOL but I really have been busy at work. OK that's a lie too but figured I could get it by you.

fasthair

ps: yes your tee shirts are still sitting here waiting for my lame ass to mail them off to you. Note I would understand if you blocked me from your site. Oh did I tell you I met Chris Carr? When I asked him what he thought of you he said " Jack who?" More lies... happy holidays buddy!!!

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Fast Hair:

I was delighted to get such a long letter from you tonight. You're on my liust of folks to contact. I have been sick for a week, but the past quarter at work (my day job) has been very shakey, and I am looking to make a major career shift after nearly 32-years.

I am a poor organizer and my desk looks like a 400-pound hamster lives there. I had a problem with the 2X shirts that were sent to me, and I am not pleased with the results. I have been half-assed arguing with the supplier, and your note was a great incentive to get moving on it again.

I will resume the appropriate complaints in the morning. If you liked the last post, you may genuinely appreciate the one before it.

I hope your Thanksgiving was great! And I hope your Christmas Holiday will be warm and special.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

CJBrink said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bobskoot said...

Jack "r":

You know, I was just chuckling to myself. something I heard a long time ago . . .

"if it has 4 legs and barks like a dog, and answers to the name "Rover", then it must be a dog."

hope you enjoyed those dog biscuits

bob
bobskoot: wet coast scootin