Monday, February 8, 2010

Living Through The White Death...

The weather dopes on every network from Fox to CNN, and from CBS to NBC, started waxing orgasmic about the the winter storm that was to ravage the east coast from New York City to Virginia, five days in advance. Their predictions included highly editorialized conclusions that snow would pummel places like Philadelphia to the point where civilization would vanish. All transportation would cease... Parents would eat their children... And society would be reduced to wearing hides and communicating via grunts and primitive gestures.

The day before the storm, the mediocre meteorologists were joined by a battery of talking heads, who foamed at the mouth as they explained how the snow would erode recent market gains, destroy US credibility abroad, open the country to a new wave of illegal immigrants, and cause babies who were conceived during blizzard-like conditions to be born with lemur-like eyes. Right on cue, the airlines cancelled hundreds of flights into Philly, before the first flake hit. I half expected the army to start shooting looters, even though no one had stolen anything yet.

I immediately ran out and bought 50 cases of tomato soup and all the leather tanning supplies I could lay my hands on. My thought was to have enough of one commodity to eat, which could also be mixed with vodka for entertaining, and to get a head start on learning a craft, like converting cows into yurts. A friend of mine stocked up on enough food for 48-hours and barricaded himself into the basement with three women he’d met in a bar.

“Do you think two-days worth of comestibles will be enough,” I asked.

“You eat what you want, and I’ll eat who I want,” was his response.

By 5pm on Thursday, February 4th, the chance of finding an elected official in Washington, D.C. was only a point or two greater than the chances of discovering a unicorn munching oysters at the Old Ebbitt Grill. The federal government fled Washington, D.C. long before the storm was expected to strike. The United States has not seen such a mass exodus from the Capital since the battle of Bull Run. Footmen and servants attended stately Senators as they grabbed anything of value and crammed it into their limousines. Cases of champagne, clusters of silver candlesticks, and bunches of women in diaphanous gowns where thrown into car trunks or lashed onto the roofs.


It was a different scene in the poorer neighborhoods — where Congressmen live. Most of them relied on the tried and true routine of tossing a mattress out the bedroom window, and dropping their few things of value onto it, hoping to minimize breakage. One Congressman is alleged to have tossed a crate of chickens from a third-story attic loft, where he had been raising them and selling the eggs, only to see it hit the pavement — splitting open and liberating the occupants. He spent 45 minutes chasing his constituents in and out of traffic.


On the day of the storm, Friday, February 5th, many schools in the Philadelphia area and surrounding region dismissed their students at mid-day, hoping to prevent great loss of life due to avalanches, frostbite, and the increased risk of having thousands of kids wandering around in whiteout conditions. The students were advised to go straight home... To huddle around such heat sources as they had... And to join their families in prayer and meditation for the little time they would have left together.

I was glued to the big screen at noontime. Every channel tracked the storm as it came up from the south. Reporters relentlessly dogged it from airports, to highways, and to rural farming communities — even following it into a bar and a whorehouse. There was nothing about this storm that I didn’t know. Yet the sun was still shining wanly outside, without an indication of the cataclysmic activity that would follow shortly.

My attention was split between televised scenes in which thousands of people were storming supermarkets, buying bread and milk — and the telephone, which had remained ominously silent. (Do people think bread and milk will prevent snowstorms?) You see, I had an assignment to cover a motorcycle event that Friday night (the day of the storm), and I sat by the phone, waiting for the call confirming it had been cancelled.

“Do you honestly believe that anyone is going to turn up for a motorcycle event, in Pottstown, Pa., on the night of one of the worst snow storms in local history,” asked Leslie, the love of my life and the voice of reason.

I hesitated in my response, which was as good as saying, “Yes, I fucking think everyone will turn out for this event because it involves BMWs and BMW riders, who are the closet thing to the Knights Templar in the Middle Ages when it comes to resolve and purity of obsession.”

“You think these guys are gods, and that if you worship them, they’ll let you be a little one,” she said.

Once again I hesitated, which was as good as saying “Yup, that’s what I think.”

The call came at 1pm, at which point the event organizer, Todd Byrum, explained to me the event was on — and that there had been very few cancellations.

Now the gentle reader should be advised that I am something of a dimwit when it comes to details. Todd had sent me some promotional material, two weeks prior, explaining the nature of the two-day event, its objectives, the caliber of the speakers, and the focus of the participants. I figured I’d look at it while I was at the event, pretending to take notes. I was under the impression that this was a Mac Pac sanctioned discussion group on mechanical upkeep, and that I already knew most of the guys who’d be in attendance. (The Mac Pac is the premier chartered BMW riding club in southeast Pennsylvania.)

Nothing could have been farther from the truth.

I wandered into the conference center at the Pottstown Motel 6, which shares a building housing a truck-loading facility, and found a full room. In fact, it would be standing-room only ten minutes later. I counted 60 participants, and didn’t recognize more than one or two faces. ‘What the fuck,” I whispered, pulling a notebook out of my pocket.

(Above) This sculpted flower pot sits on a table on our back patio. Leslie used it as an intial snow gauge. Photo by Leslie Marsh

This was the opening reception of the annual BMW Airheads Super Tech Conference, a technical/and social event catering to the riders of magnificent antique and vintage motorcycles of this marque, powered by the air-cooled version of the classic boxer engine. A year in the planning, this event attracted riders from states as far as California, and from at least one other country (Canada). Looking around the room, these guys reminded me of an elite sharpshooter’s unit in the US Marine Corps. A guy to my left stuck out his head, told me his name, and asked what “Airhead” I rode.

I went on the defensive immediately, realizing that I was trapped in a room full of fanatics.

“I ride a 1995 BMW K75, a bike with a proper cooling system,” sneered I.

The guy’s smile faded to “minimal,” but his eyes narrowed, clearly regarding me as a bus station pervert.

“I’ll buy you a glass of coolant at the next BMW rally,” he replied, looking sideways at his companions.

They thought this was hysterically funny. In fact, they began whispering and pointing at me like I was fat or something.

Of the gentlemen sitting at my table, one was from Minnesota, two were from Ohio, one was from Toronto, and another was from Warren, NJ. All of them drove in. When I asked if they had been concerned by the snow, they looked at me like I was wearing a tutu.

(Above) This is the same picture of the sculpted flower pot, except Leslie has now included the entire table top. This is not drifted snow. The snowfall on the table is indicative of what is on the ground in every direction. Photo by Leslie Marsh

Todd Byrum called the room to order and introduced some of the attending biker royalty and keynote speakers. These included Chris Carr (the world’s fastest man on two wheels, 368 mph on the salt at Bonneville), Tony Foale (the world’s leading expert on motorcycle suspensions), and Tom Cutter (one of the foremost BMW restoration experts in the country).

(Above) This was the height of the snow at the driveway door. This was undrifted height across the driveway. Photo by Leslie Marsh

Chris Carr was the headline speaker for the opening reception, and he began by detailing his racing career, which commenced at the age of 6. A two-time AMA (seven year) Grand National Champion, Carr has attained rock star status in both dirt track and super bike categories. He has set the speed record as the world’s fastest man on two wheels twice.

(Above) This was the scene that greeted me when I raised the garage door. Note the scale of the snowfall to the height of the motorcycle. Leslie titled this picture, "No Motorcycling Today." The motorcycle is a 1995 BMW K75. Kindly note it is fucking spotless. I run a tight ship. By clicking on the picture, you can see how new the back tire is too. Photo by Leslie Marsh.

Carr has the rare every-man speaking quality of the late actor Jimmy Stewart. He downplays his accomplishments, making each member of the audience feel that they too could have done what he did, if they had had an $8 million motorcycle in their garage. He ran through his last record-breaking run, briefly touching on an on-board fire created by a parted oil line, a momentary crisis caused by the failure of a brake chute, and the stress endured by a set of tires costing six-figures, all of which seemed to develop at speeds over 300 miles per hour.

(Above) Certain friends of mine always stick pictures of their dogs in their biker blogs. If they can do it, I can do it too. Atticus Finch (rear) chases after Scout (front) in a mad dash back to the house. Scout believes this is too much of a good thing. Scout is a rescue mutt the size of a standard Labrador retreiver. She weighs in at 100 pounds. Atticus is 148, without an ounce of fat on him.

Carr is the consummate professional on and off the track. He spoke for 90-minutes, took questions, and then met with participants one-on-one. Realizing that I would not be called upon to narrate my high-speeds runs for the crowd, I made my exit and stepped out into a raging snowstorm.

I should have made the effort to stay at the hotel, though it is unlikely they would have had an open room. But there was barely two or three inches of snow on the ground in the parking lot, and with my customary concern for caution, I said, “Fuck it.”

With the Beach Boys pouring out of the stereo and the wipers flipping snow off the huge windshield, I pulled out onto Route 100 in Pottstown and felt the rear wheels slip in the eery white slurry. It was eery in the sense that it was largely undisturbed and undiscolored on a major thoroughfare. And then I realized that mean there was no salt or grit on it yet. “How odd,” I said to myself, pulling the floor lever to engage the four-wheel drive.

(Above) Atticus Finch sitting in the back doorway, the lord and master of the snowy wasteland that is now the yard. There is no evidence that Atticus ever gets cold. Photo by Leslie Marsh

The snow was falling at a rate faster than two inches per hour and created a dense fog that bedeviled the truck’s headlights. I chugged along at 25mph, which seemed to be the going rate for what traffic there was. Route 100 is a pleasant run through changing terrain that normally delights the eye and provides the average biker with multiple thrills. There are pure country stretches that are very pretty, running through charming little towns where adulturors are still stoned to death. These connect with freeway stretches and two-lane twisties alike. Had I had a hot cup of coffee and a cigar, I would have enjoyed myself thoroughly.

(Above) Though she looks like she is digging in, Scout is coming through the snow at about 40 miles per hour. She hates it... And she hates having her picture taken. That is her look of abject betrayal. Photo by Leslie Marsh

The nice twisty stretch starts at the intersection with Route 23 and runs down to Ludwig’s Corners. (Doesn’t Ludwig’s Corners have a nice ring to it? It sounds like the kind of town Norman Rockwell would visit to get laid.) I was well into this bit of heaven, listening to Blue Oyster Cult going on about not Fearing The Reaper (my theme song), when I picked up “The Asshole.” This guy appeared out of nowhere and filled my rear-view mirrors — all three of them — with his high beams. He appeared to be 15 feet off my bumper, with no other purpose in the world other than to aggravate me.

Checking the speedo, I was dead nuts on at 25mph, now hacking my way through what appeared to be more than half a foot of falling snow. “Blow me,” I thought, concentrating on the road ahead. The nicest twisty bit unfolds on a hill that opens to three lanes, with the center one closed to traffic in either direction. The asshole passed me on curve, in driving snow, on a hill. I slowed slightly and let him go. I met him again at the top, where he was the last vehicle in a line of 11 cars... Stuck behind one that was taking the incline sideways.

(Above) Atticus Finch, named for a character in "To Kill A Mockingbird," as is Scout, is seen here looking wise and just. He is four years old and probably was planning to ambush Scout when this picture was taken. Clicking on the picture will show you this magnificent dog in detail. Atticus goes on the alert well, to advise you that he senses something odd in the house. Scout not only has an impressive bark, but she will kill anyone who comes in here without the nod from Stiffie. She went after Dick Bregstein, my riding partner, one day. Photo by Leslie Marsh.

I only had 18 miles to go from the Motel 6 in Pottstown to my driveway in East Goshen. It took me an hour and 45 minutes. Every road at my disposal runs through a valley, with a somewhat steep climb out the other side. Every route I picked had stalled cars sideways on the hills. Turning north, I road into Paoli and turned onto Paoli Pike, which is level at that point. I had a pleasant cruise (hitting 30 mph), throwing up nice rooster tails of snow from the back.

(Above) Hitting the bread line just outside the living room windown is "Cardinal Mendzenty," named after the great Vatican financier. Despite the cold winter, the Cardinal is looking a little chubby. We love these birds and have had a pair of them around here forever. Photo by Leslie Marsh.

The driveway was a bit of challenge — not. Though it is an incline with a slight curve in it, and covered with eight inches of snow (at that hour), the great blue beast never hesitated. I made myself an Irish coffee the size of my ass and called it day. The Airhead Conference was scheduled to reconvene at 8am the next day for a full 7 hours of classes. (The program also included an addition half-day on Sunday.) It was being held at the Boyertown Museum of Historic Vehicles, and would feature some priceless BMW restorations.

Yet it was not to be for me. When I raised the garage door the six hours later, the snow was 22 inches deep. My arthritis was screaming, and the thought of digging a path to the truck, then digging a path in 22 inches of snow around the truck, then clearing 22 inches of snow off the truck, drove me back into the house. My part in the great storm was over.

It is my intention to write at least two articles on the Airhead Super Tech event (one for my hard copy magazine column and one for this blog) at some point in the immediate future. Later this week, I will present a story called “183 Miles Per Hour in First Gear,” focusing on the details of Chris Carr’s most recent record-breaking run.

©Copyright Jack Riepe 2010
AKA The LIndbergh Baby (Mac Pac)
AKA Vindak8r (Motorcycle Views)
AKA The Chamberlain -- PS (With A Shrug)

44 comments:

Conchscooter said...

Imagine my surprise to find the Cardinal reborn as a bird trapped in East Goshen. All those years in the US Embassy (he was apparently an asshole and refused to be dislodged)and you'd have thought he would have come back as something more worthy, like a muffler on a BMW or something.
I always say a proper museum piece needs brand new tires to go on display properly.Yours looks great in it's display case. I had a nice ride to work tonight in sub zero (69 degree) weather. I am toughening up for my Ass Burner.

Cantwell said...

Dear Jack,

A well written account of the storm of the century of the month. It looks like it'll be melting pretty quick.

Enjoy,
Michael

PS, Notice that I didn't comment about how fat you are.

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Cantwell (Michael):

What the hell are you doing up at 4:16am? It's as black as a cow out tonight (right now). You can't be getting ready to ride. What are the roads like up there?

The temperature is 14º here at the moment, and the highs will not be much above freezing this week. There is another snow storm coming the day after tomorrow, and they are claing another 6" to 8", or up to a foot for that one.

I havre written off the entire month of February for riding. And March could be dicey too.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Conchscooter:

If you were out riding in 69º weather, you must have had a hot water bottle strapped to your bollocks. It's good that I did not tax my tires too badly last year... As I am too broke to buy new ones this year.

I was wondering why Firevalls was so svelte looking i these pictures, and I realized it was because she's not wearing the bags on the back.

Naturally, you are riding now. Make sure you plan the starting point for your 1500-mile Bun Warmer ride to start on the third Sunday of a month, from Pottstown, Pa. I have some friends who would like to escort you for the first 250-miles, giving you encouraging gestures.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

cpa3485 said...

I hereby nominate Leslie as your blog's official photographer.
Our dogs love the snow. We got 4" last night. Our dogs literally would think they were in heaven if we got a snow like yours.
Your dogs are beautiful and look like they were having lots of fun. Great pictures!

Rogers George said...

Another nice read, Jack. I really need to get back to going to that workshop...
FWIW, I posted a smaller snow adventure on my blog, then followed up with a post featuring some young ladies in bikinis down on St. Kitts or someplace like that. http://mushroomstomotorcycles.blogspot.com (note the change of url. Blogger lets you change the url now.)

cpa3485 said...

PS. I have a sis in law lives just north and west of DC. Sent me some pics of her 30" snowfall. I told her we had been expecting 6", she, of course, said that was nothing and finished by saying that "size does matter".

bobskoot said...

Jack "r":

We have been enjoying Spring-like weather here in BC. Not even enough snow for the Winter Olympics. Took the Wee out on the weekend. Temps around 50f (10c), which is perfect, unlike the cold spell down in KW. Roads are clear, No salt, No sand, No snow.

sorry you can't ride, but that will keep your tires "as new"

bob
bobskoot: wet coast scootin

MackBeemer said...

Jack:
I read it with glee, looking (in vain) for the big-breasted Hooter babes you promised.
Nuts!
Otherwise, for an old as dirt adn twice as dumb BMW rider sitting the cold out while the Queen is on the Battery Tender, things couldn't be finer.
M

sgsidekick said...

The 50 cases of tomato soup was an inspired choice for you, and you may need it yet. And, like you said, everything mixes with vodka...

It's very nice out here on the West coast/PNW area. The sun is shining for the moment, and the wind is down. We'll think of you, shoveling snow (or not). Tell Leslie nice shots. I love the dogs and the cardinal!

Radar said...

Jack,

Love your stories. Understand the Storm of the Century/Decade/Month deserves some coverage from a professional such as yourself, but what about the "Dispatches from the Front" you promised us in your last post? Ya big tease...I know, you get that a lot.

Regards,
Radar

BMW-Dick said...

Dear Jack:
You should have called. I would have sent Jane over to dig out your truck (Don't tell her I said that).
Also tell Scout and Leslie that I have not forgotten the canine attack. My second, who is a Philadelphia lawyer, will be in touch. Although Scout stopped short of a buttocks-ectomy, she did scare the crap out of me, so the issue is mental anguish which I'm certain you recognize as grounds for an expensive divorce.

Jack Riepe said...

Dear CPA3485 (Jimbo):

I suspect that Leslie feels that standing close to my blog is like embracing athlete's foot. She does have an eye, and a sense, for capturing compelling pictures, however.

Atticus and Scout thank your for the compliments.

We have been told we could be getting another 18 inches of snow tomorrow night. Swell. This just pushes back the start of my riding season even farther.

Thank you for reading my tripe, and for dropping by with a comment.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Bobskoot:

Thank you for citing your temperatures in Fahrenheit. This will speed our ability to respond to your comments. Scientific research has shown that exposure to a dramatic change in seasons is highly beneficial to one's social development and sense of political outlook. Those confined to one environmental system are often moody, cantankerous, and prone to being Bolshevics.

"You will know them by the pinkness of their feet." -- Senator Joseph McCarthy.

Thank you for reading this blog and for writing in. It's folks like you that keep our roads twisted.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Mack:

My K75 sits out in the garage, connected to the lide support of a battery tender. The little green LED light flickers every now and again, just like a candle before an icon, in a freezing cold church out on the steepes.

Dick Bregstein reminded me today that Spring is a mere six weeks away. I'm sure we'll have the opportunity to ride together.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Rogers:

I have been firing on less than all six cylinders this week, as I have been stalked by some sort of intestinal bug. But I am hoping to catch up on some past reading tonight, and will certainly look at your blog.

I may call you this week to discuss this business of chamging the blog url, as I don't quite understand it. I am planning to do a five-day tour of Delaware this summer, and hoped you would act as a ride guide for part of the trip.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear SGSidekick (Tena):

The snow torture isn't over yet. We have been told to brace ourselves for another 18 inches in the next 24 hours. I used to love the winter, but I'm getting a bit too old for it now. And this will inevitably postpone the beginning of my riding season.

The novelty of the snow has worn off for the dogs too. Atticus can take or leave it, and Scout doesn't like anything over three inches.

Thanks for looking in on my little world, and for leaving a comment.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Radar:

Thank you for your kind note of encouragement, and for your inquiry regarding the text switch in today's blog.

I had originally intended to run the storm coverage piece on Saturday night, and the Dispatches From THe Front on Monday. But I just ran out of steam. It is my intention to go back to the DFTF tomorrow night. At the latest, it will run on Thursday.

I read your blog for the first time earlier today. I was intrigued, and will link to it soon.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Dick:

Scout is a excellent judge of character.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Cantwell said...

Goodness you have lots of snow....and you can keep it!
The temperatures here are in single digits at night and climb to high single digits and low teens during the day. The snow has been falling lightly in the upper elevations, but here in Wilmington it's been sunny. The roads are bare and have a beautiful coating of fine white salt. As you know the NYSDOT does not use sand up here anymore...strictly salt. If we do not get any considerable amounts of snow by President's Day, I am going to give my beloved 1993 BMW K75 a spin. I want to get some pictures of her in front of a very impressive ice field that formed after the last thaw and torrential rains. There are huge slabs of ice right up next to route 86 between Jay and Ausable Forks. It was an impressive ice flow. The grass is showing around the house and the drive is almost ice free thanks to the suns power.
Looking forward to your next piece.
Truly,
Michael.

Canajun said...

One word - schadenfreude.

Finally it's happening to someone else!

Great pics of the dogs btw, and the shiny new tire.

classic velocity said...

Dear Jack,

Your bravery in the face of danger knows no bounds. With only half your total snowfall, I used it as an excuse to spend some quality time in the garage making progress on the R90S; A proper BMW with horizontally opposed cylinders and no radiator. Due to your talent as a writer, you are forgiven for owning an alternative engine configuration.

Cheers,
Wayne (aka classic velocity)

sgsidekick said...

Hey! Did you add to your post??? That's sneaky!!

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Cantwell (Michael):

The second part of the one/two punch will arrive tomorrow. They say we can get another 18 inches. I do not expect to be riding until the middle of March. It will take two weeks for this stuff to melt. I am searching for 100 pounds of rock salt to work the driveway over on Wednesday, after the plow guy gets here.

You will be riding before I am, at this rate.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear SgSidekick (Tena):

Nope... I don't add a thing. What did you think changed?

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Classic Velocity (Wayne):

The one thing I tried to avoid at all costs was having to shovel out the damn truck. My joints were screaming. And I ended up having to do it any way.

Tomorrow night, I will park the truck in such a way that the driver's door is right up against the garage door. Not path to shovel and I now have a routine for getting the snow off the roof.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Canajun:

You can take this snow and shovel it.... :)

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Charlie6 said...

Jack,

very nice writeup on the hyperventilation and exaggeration done by the media every time a snowflake is rumored to be inbound.....still, 2ft of snow is a goodly amount of snow....it'd stop my Ural in its tracks. Who am I kidding, all it takes is about 8 inches and my exhaust pipes are "floating" my rear tire from the ground.

I'd just like to have it known that it took 5ft drifts here in the Denver area to shut the town down for a week or so; a few years ago....that was a lot of digging!

Please convey to Leslie my admiration for the wonderful quality of her photography. Those are great looking dogs, and I say this as a non-dog person.

As to being in a roomful of airhead riders and being man enough (or perhaps stupid enough) to admit you ride something from the dark side, good for you! Some Beemer riders just take things a bit to the extreme sometimes...

Charlie6 said...

oh and thanks for not using the term "snowmaggedon"!

Conchscooter said...

Mono climates are good for the soul and I will seduce the dogs in amnner that will take your beath away. They will demand pink crocs of their own.
My plan is to leave Key West at some ungodly hour near the htird weekend of May and arrive less than 36 hours later at the toip of the south fork of long island. Rest. And, if I can make it work ride to East Goshen Delaware by the Saturday evening. Then head south the next day.
Perosnally I think the mac pac should descend on scooter in the boonies after breakfast and shave his dog.

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Charlie6 (Domingo):

It is interesting that after having gone through three days of msassive prep for the storm of the century, we are getting ready for another 15 to 20 inches of snow today -- and nary a peep out of the weather guys.

We had two interestimg situation develop over the wekend. The first is that we ran out of heating oil on Sunday night. A call to our fuel supplier produced an apology and they sent a guy out here with a tank in a pickup truck. They gave us 25 gallons to get through the night.

Stiffie reminded them again yesterday, beforee the snow came again tonight, and they filled the tank.

The other was the inability of the snow removal guy hired to clear the driveway. There will be no screwing around this today. I will call the vendor I used to get the driveway and garage area plowed out after the other guy cancelled to make sure we are on the list.

The snow predicted for tonight is said to be of the wet variety. It will be some bitch to clear 15 inches of that out of this driveway.

I am going to park the truck so that the driver's door is almost flush with one of the bay doors. This will preclude having to shovel a path out to the vehicle.

I do not see any riding in Februrary. And unless we get some really warm days, I doubt we'll get any in early March either.

I hate it when journalists coin a word like "snowmagedden."

Thank you for reading Twisted Roads and for writing in.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Mr. Conch Scooter:

I have no experience in making long-distance qualifying runs. I have years of experience in dealing with Metropolitan area traffic. Do I understand correctly that you are going to qualify on this new run on your way up -- heading north?

Then here are my questions to you.
1) Have you ever been to Long Island before?
2) Whether you pass through Manhattan (Lincoln Tunnell to the Long Island Expressway) or bypass it
(i.e. The Goethals Bridge or the Outerbridge Crossing -- both from the NJ Turnpike -- to the Verannzano Narrows Bridge to the Belt Parkway), you run the risk of weekend traffic out to the Island. Your plan had better entail hitting this stretch very early on that Saturday morning. The Belt Parkway has a hook-up with Route 27 (running out to Montauk), but it is right by Kennedy Airport, which is not known for its tranquility.

It is important that you stop and take on a full load of gas at the last service area on the New Jersey Turnpike (around Woodbridge) before taking the Goethals Bridge into Staten Island. New York City is everyplace on your eastern horizon at this point, and getting off one of the chainsaw expressways to look for gas is unbelievably annoying.

There is one fucking service station on the Belt Parkway. It is a left lane exit and entrance, built in 1929, with a ramp that is 10 feet long. This is getting close to Kennedy Airport, and left lane traffic at this point is moving at 400 miles per hour.

Once you have crossed into New York City (presumably through Staten Island), the neighborhoods start to change. Staten Island is pretty safe, but you are in Brooklyn on the other side of the Narrows Bridge. Historic Coney Island is the kind of place where an out of towner could run into trouble. Queens is a kind of a mixed bag, with incredibly tight ethnic neighborhoods. (And by that, mean the last time I was there -- 3 years ago -- I found myself in a warren of streets filled with Irish.)

You can get robbed anywhere. The only place I was ever robbed was in the lobby of the best and most expensive hotel in fucking Montreal. And the police up there were real cocksuckers too. Unless they just assigned us to the cocksucker squad.

Let me know the route you are thinking of taking to get out to Montauk. I will pack a picnic hamper of good stuff, pick up my pal Ihor in NJ, and run the route to measure mileage, find the best places to gas up, and look at hotels out there.

I might also consider riding out to Montauk on that Friday, under a different schedule than yours, and wait for you at the designated end.

Bear in mind that I have a motorcycle trailer and can offer you some assistance in the unlikely and unhoped for event of a breakdown.

Assuming you got out to Montauk by noon, you could sleep for 6 hours before we started back. I think it advisble to tackle getting through NYC perimeter traffic in daylight. It has been my experience that the quality of the road surface of the Belt Parkway runs from bad to really bad. And it will not be improved if we are dealing with rain.

Fondest regards,
Jack

3) The traffic in that area is so fucked up anfd aggressive, you'll want to have your wits about you.

Without problems in traffic (hahahahahahaha), this house is about 5.5 hours from the southern tip of Long Island.

sgsidekick said...

Aw, hell. The first time I read this, the cat had jumped on the keyboard. I thought I'd got back to where I left off. Obviously I hadn't. Evil new kitty, trying the patience of everyone. I figured it out, too late, of course. But it was just as good to read a second time.

Anonymous said...

Jock,

After sitting here for many an hour awaiting your next blog, I am delighted to be entertained by two. That's one followed by another. I was not aware of your skill of writing one blog followed by another.

Thank you to Tom Cutter for pointing out your skills in mechanical maintenance and the fact that you published some more shitxxxx stuff to be read by the common man.

To Stiffie I commend the great photos of her beloved dogs. I wonder, however, why your picture does not grace the pages. Hell man it's your
blog. I understand that you are maybe lower on the list of guardian pets, but then which of us men are not. Got to tell you my "other half", didn't say better half, loved the dog pictures, especially
Atticus. The only spoiled male in your house according to you.

Thank you for telling me where to find the oil filter on my K75. It is not necessary for you to give me "the digit of indignation", save it for Clyde and Breg Dickstein.

Enjoyed the write ups and looking forward for the next several. Since we are due for more snow I think you should get about the next several
so everyone has some time to kill reading the minutia. Really enjoy the stories and the laughs they provide.

Gerry Cavanaugh
Coatesville, PA

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Mr. Cabanaugh:

Thank you for your kind note of encouragement. I cannot tell you what it means to me to get an email from a Mac Pac rider that does not begin with "Dear Lard Ass," or "Hey Shit For Brains," or "You Son of a Bitch."

I am delighted that you have found my blog to be a source of inspiration, peace, and personal satisfaction. Many of my readers have embraced my personal philosophy, and now base their lives on it. One gent, Conchscooter (Key West), confers with me on a near daily basis.

Many Canadians also read this blog in the belief that it promotes international unity. Women claim "Twisted Roads" most accurately depicts their innermost desires and provides thm with a confidential recipient for their naked pictures.

Please be advised that the extensive staff of "Twisted Roads" is comitted to publishing new blog episodes every Monday and Thursday.

Thank you for reading this blog on a regular basis for for taking the time to comment. Your comments are important to us... Especially as many provide me with ammunition for my critics, who are as numerous as grains of sand on a beach.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear SGSidekick (Tena):

One way to prevent the cat from jumping onto the keyboard is to send it to a taxidermist for a short vacation. Within a month or two, it will return devoid of any bad habits, and will be eternally youthful. And best of all, the litter box will become purely ornamental.

If you like, you can mail your cat here. I run a kind of petting zoo. Does your cat like to run? The current two exhibits in my petting zoo will certain keep it light on its paws.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Chris Luhman said...

Jack, I really like the photo of the snow piled up behind your back tire.

-Chris

Electra Glide In Blue said...

Jack are you sure that is new rear rubber, or is all that snow just making the tits erect?

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Chris Luhman:

Thank you for your kind note. I like the picture too. Regretably, we are in the process of getting another 16 inches today and I am not happy about it. The word on the street is that there is another storm coming on Monday. Yes, another snow storm.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear EGIB (Jeff):

Now you have me thinking of tits. Okay, I always think of tits... But now I'm thinking about them real hard.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

mtlcowgirl said...

Dear Jack,

As per usual, another winner. As for the precipitation you have been getting, rest assured that 16 inches is a balmy spring day in Montreal. Speaking of same's finest being cocksuckers, you were lucky. You got them on a good day.

As always,

Karen

sgsidekick said...

Appreciate your offer regarding my cat, but she is the only one out of the 3 that actually ADORES dogs!! She might wear them out!

Chris Luhman said...

Dear Jack,

Why are you so greedy with the snow?! You shouldn't horde it! Dom and I would like some more please.

-Chris

Snow-pocalypse indeed and Ihor said...

I'm sure you got the winning amount yesterday. I made it to work at 11 after sleeping late and shoveling out our cars. NJDOT is open and quiet, due no doubt to the fact nothing else is open in NJ. Your Long Island advise is very optimistic, dire though it may seem. I have spent many a day going out to Westhampton and back since I was a baby, tossing my socks out the window of my parent's 1955 Chevy Bel-Air. Unless it is 2 o'clock in the morning on a Wednesday, any run out to Montauk will actually take twice the estimated time. I have on occasion abandoned the trip after 6 hours from Imlaystown, having gotten to within sight of the World's Fair grounds in Flushing Meadow Park. That's in Queen's, and any trip requires full expedition preparedness: food, drink, extra medications if daily use is required, and bladder control of the gods!
You think that we are doing a test run??? Now we are in Stanley and Livingston territory for certain!!! I'd start prepping now, re-watch any episode of "LOST" that is handy. Be aware that every trip out there is different from every other one. Weather, accidents, golf tournaments, tennis, holiday proximity, road work, and pure chance can turn the trip into an over night or even an extended weekend. Eeeeesh! Timing is everything in this case and the best time is NEVER!! Not kidding in the least, even if sacks of cash await the arrival of Mr. Conch. Don't paint it all pretty for him, it never is.