Thursday, September 2, 2010

Bustin' Loose and Waving My Tool Around

Some things are the embodiment of summer.

Jersey tomatoes and sweet Jersey corn are prime examples of rare and incredibly delicious produce available only in July and August. The “Beefsteak” Tomato commonly reaches the weight of one pound apiece. They are juicy to the point where they crack and burst. Their pure tomato taste defies description. Once you eat one or two of these — nestled in a bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich (where the bacon is the thick sliced, hickory-smoked variety and each tomato slice is nearly larger than the slice of bread — you will easily forego tomatoes throughout the rest of year. Largely because you will remember how these taste, and all others will taste like shit. (And this includes the bright red, fancy, virtually tasteless, still-on-the-vine, hot-house variety flown in from Holland and Israel.)

Jersey corn is a sweet culinary treat that surpasses the most elegant chocolate.

Dropped into pure boiling water — to which absolutely nothing has been added — and roiled in the bubbles for exactly 2 minutes, before being smeared with French-quality baking butter and sprinkled with a little sea salt, renders this farm staple the food of the Gods. While “Silver Queen” is the most common name attached to white corn sold at roadside stands, “Argent” and “White Magic” are now more commonly grown. (They are far sweeter varieties than Silver Queen.) Even more traditional New Jersey yellow corn is still at the zenith of the corn-grower’s art. But this corn is available only in late July and August, when the heat oppresses the Garden State like Congress aggravates the voting public. And with real estate in New Jersey sold by the teaspoon, a staggering number of farms have been converted into sterile real estate developments with names like, “Bird Shit Run At Pheasant Woods.” That means less corn and fewer Beefsteak tomatoes year after year.

Now the average Twisted Roads gentle reader will undoubtedly be puzzled, thinking, “Can Jack be writing pleasant things about New Jersey, the state where he grew up and fled as soon as he was able?” The answer is “Yes.” Credit must be given where credit is due. Nothing says “summer” like Jersey tomatoes and sweet corn. (And at some point in the future, I will write about New Jersey diners, pizza and hot dogs too. In no other state are these complex elements elevated to an art form as they are in New Jersey. And God bless the Garden Apartment State for these small but significant cultural wonders.)

It is hard to believe that the most densely populated state in the Union, where traffic routinely ties itself in endless knots, where the chemical industry, the oil industry, and others blot the landscape, where garbage dumps and landfills tower over roadways, produces the best tasting produce in the United States. (And I have eaten corn grown in Nebraska, Iowa, and Kansas. I have tasted tomatoes in California, Mexico, and the south. New Jersey has them all beat.)

The third embodiment of summer is the steamed Maryland blue crab. Chesapeake Bay has been famous for these for generations, though they can be found in other places. “Crab Houses” are traditional shack-like restaurants where the Maryland Blue crab is dusted with Old Bay seasoning, and steamed to perfection. Low on amenities and big on taste, local crab house fortunes have been built on secret spice combinations and having the best-tasting, freshest, sweetest blue crabs to be had. Most also offer shrimp too.

Above: The Blue Claw crab is one of the most delightful culinary experiences of the summer. Illustration from the internet.



The blue crab is served without fanfare. The table is covered with brown paper — or even old newspaper — and the crabs, usually a dozen, bright red with seasoning and steaming hot, are either dumped loose or presented in a discarded cardboard box. Patrons are presented with nut crackers (for effect) and little wooden mallets (for effectiveness). Then the madness begins. Claws and legs are pulled off and sucked clean. A pull tab on the bottom of each shell (the apron) is yanked, which makes it easy to separate the top shell (discarded) from the bottom, which contains the sweetest white meat. In minutes, patron’s lips are coated with pungent Old Bay.

Above: The underside of the Blue Claw crab, clearly showing the "pull tab" that releases the shell halves. What other food comes with its own opener? Picture from the internet.

While there are a dozen “crab houses” within 100 miles of here (West Chester, Pa), the majority of them are bullshit, low-quality seafood restaurants, offering the ambiance of bus station dining, while skating on fading local fame. And some of the better ones are not on the water. My objective last Saturday was to put together a little ride, within a 70-mile radius, to a decent crab shack. With summer officially ending on September 23rd, I only had a few of these weekend rides left. I had wanted to do at least two a month in July and August, but the stagnant column of heat (well into the mid to high 90’s) towering over this part of the country took the fun out of riding with body armor.

Above: The Blue Claw crab is served with prolaterian elegance. Photo from the internet.

I was to meet four riders at the local Starbucks, for a 60-mile run down to the Tap Room at Chesapeake City. This is a charming little town on the Chesapeake Canal. The Tap Room was rumored to have great steamed crabs, though there were mixed reviews on other aspects of the menu. Crabs were priced at $56 a dozen (average). This run met my immediate criteria of being fairly close, offering very pretty scenery (though the salt marshes of Delaware), and ending in a neat little community with steamed crabs in a somewhat nautical setting. James Sterling, Gerry Cavanaugh, Matt Piechota, and Dick Brgstein were all seasoned riders with a taste for crab, and the best company anyone could ask for.

Above: The author digging into a dozen steamed crabs at Captain Bob's Crab Shack four years ago. I was much fatter then. The crabs were $62 a dozen. Photo by Dick Bregstein

My 1995 BMW K75 motorcycle fired up and went into gear as it has done countless times before. It’s reassuring whine rose and fell like a Gregorian chant, as its tires traced the familiar route down to Exton. Less than a mile from the house, however, my eyes were glued to a warning light glowing like a hot rivet. The only light of the five on this dash to ever have come on, other then during the computerized system self-test, was the gas light. And now the alternator failure light was as bright as neon.

I didn’t know what to think.

Nothing ever goes wrong on this machine. Even with a bad cooling fan modulator (relay), the bike never came close to overheating. I glanced over to the voltmeter: it was dark. No reading. And then the engine quit. Naturally, this happened on a curve, on a busy country thoroughfare (Boot Road), with no shoulder and uneven pavement ending on grassy lawns. My emergency training took over in a second.

“Fuck this,” I whispered into my helmet.

I waved traffic around me as the machine came to a halt. Less than 40 seconds had passed since the light came on, and there were now 270 cars behind me. The dashboard was as dead as Kelsey’s nuts. In a simple stall, the idiot lights would have come on. I pulled in the clutch and hit the starter. Nothing happened. Although I was less than a mile from home, it was all uphill. “How am I gonna push this bitch back to the garage,” I thought. “Especially with my arthritis.”

Above: On the way to a crab run with Dick Bregstein in 2006, the author is astride his beloved "Blueballs," a 1986 BMW K75 (with the rare Sprint Fairing). Photo by Dick Bregstein.

The sudden death of the engine, coupled with the scant warning of the alternator light told me the problem was electrical. This most likely meant something stupid... Like a fuse or a loose wire. I checked the “kill” switch. It was centered in the “run” position. I switched off the ignition, and let the poor dead bike sit a minute. Then I switched the ignition back on.

All systems came up normally."WTF," I thought gratefully.

I hit the little green button and the bike restarted instantly. The gear shift indicator showed I was in 4th. I got back down into first and pulled out into traffic. There was no question of the next step: I headed back to the garage. The best place to deal with an issue like this would be in the shade, close to a cooler full of cold drinks, where I had access to my tools.

Safe in the driveway, I called the boys.

Above: This shocking scene greated Dick Bregstein, Gerry Cavanaugh, Matt Piechota, and Jim Sterling when they arrived at the garage — the author has his tool out and was attempting to provide emergency service to his own bike. Note the author is still really fat and grotesque, but not like he was seven weeks ago. Twisted Roads reader Monica McDowell summed it by saying, "You can really see a difference. Your head is not quite as fat as it was." Photo by Matt Piechota, who may never be the same.

One is a former electrical engineer for Boeing. Another has a degree in electrical engineering. The third one has a K75, though he rides a GS. And Bregstein stayed in a Holiday Inn Express once, and felt qualified in many respects. To a man, they were coming. Now all of these guys know me well. They know my riding limitations and they are authorities on my mechanical inability. But with the issue as simple as a loose connection, I had to step up the plate and start running through the possibilities myself. When the troops arrived, I had the bike apart, the Clymer book in one hand, and my tool in the other.

Checking the battery connections is easy.

All you have to do is remove the seat lock mechanism and extract the Motronic brain. The later is the device that costs $23,000,000 and regulates the orbits of the planets (when it is not monitoring the ignition, the fuel pump, and the fuel injectors). Jim Sterling watched me remove a tiny little nut with a needle-nose pliers and said, “Step aside. You’re hurting that bike.”

Naturally, the battery connections were tight. So was the Motronic brain plug. (At least it was before I pulled it out to get to the battery.) So were the wires going into the dual fuse boxes. So were the connections on the alternator. No fuses were loose or popped. A multi-meter (carried by Gerry Cavanaugh on his GS) measured the battery output at 12.8 volts. Whenever something craps out on a motorcycle, some guy always asks, “Did you put a meter on it?” This question is usually posed when there are other guys standing around, looking at you, even though they already know the answer by the amount of sweat pooling on your forehead. And saying, “I don’t have a meter,” is like admitting you have a small dick. So when this episode was over, I went out and bought two cheap multi-meters at Radio Shack ($10 each). One will stay on the bike while the other is consigned to the garage tool chest (the red one on wheels, with 10 drawers of tools, like the kind favored by guys with big dicks).

The boys bestowed on me the kind of sympathetic expressions they would share with an unsuspecting dope, rich in the unspoken recognition that I might be dealing with a partially broken strand of copper hair in the 108-miles of buried K75 wiring.

Some ideas seem to be electric in themselves. Five guys were all looking at the same motorcycle, and all of us focused on the same thing, at the same time: the clock. "If the bike lost electrical power," asked Bregstein, "then why is the clock still reading the correct time?" Since the clock had't crapped out, that meant the problem was between the relays and the engine.

“I had a cooling fan module replaced last week,” I said, “But that wouldn’t have anything to do with the engine.” The engineers looked at me like shit was leaking from my head.

With the efficiency of assembly-line welding robots, they popped up the K75’s gas tank and exposed the closed relay box underneath. Every electrical circuit in the world works better with a relay. The brand new gray cooling fan module looked perfectly innocuous and sat as tightly as a cork in a champagne bottle. Then Jim Sterling, the electrical wizard lately from Boeing Helicopter, began probing the other 34 relays. (I wrote that to be funny. There really aren’t 34 relays on a BMW K75. There are 63.)

“Ooooh,” said Jim. “That one slid down down into the connector significantly.”

“Which one was it,” asked Gerry Cavanaugh. He had the Clymer book open to an illustration of the relay box. “Was it relay number 4 or relay number 32?”

“What’s the difference,” I asked.

“Relay number 4 controls the lights on the Christmas tree of the White House lawn, and number 32 is secret, carrying the seal of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission,” said Cavanaugh.

We were an hour dicking around with my bike in the garage. The boys held a hurried conference, speaking in muffled tones.

“What’s the verdict,” I asked.

“We’re hungry and want to go eat, yet feel marginally badly about leaving you here,” said Matt Piechota. “But we’ll get over it.”

“Ride the bike,” intoned Sterling.

Once again, the K75 started flawlessly. The truth is that this machine may never have this problem again, because it could have been a loose connection in the relay box. Or, it could have been a loose wire on the keyed ignition... Or it could have been dirt or crap at work in the kill switch; in which case, the clock is ticking.

We decided not to head to Chesapeake City (65 miles distant), but to Crab Crazy, a little steaming Blue Claw shit house on RT. 662 (22 miles away). Dick Bregstein and I have had crabs here before, and will again. The crabs have been good, and so has the shrimp. Pretty girls occasionally wait tables there too. The place has all the appeal of an ice cream stand because it is that as well. The ride up was quick and hot, with temperatures in the low 90’s. The K75 ran fine. We met Ron Yee, the Mac Pac’s newest member and his “R” bike waiting for us in the parking lot.

Ron just bought this bike a couple of months ago. Riding it back from the guy he purchased it from, Yee discovered a mouse nest buried under the fairing. He discovered it when it burst into flames. His flawless “R 1200RT” now needs a new fairing, as the other one is toast. He laughs about this now in the best of humor. But replacing that fairing will be ten bucks more than the cost to the nation for the new healthcare program.

“Crab Krazy” will not make it into the steamed crab hall of fame.

For some reason, it took us an hour and 15 minutes to get served. (“Subpoenas are served faster than this,” said Bregstein.” ) The crabs were okay... Just okay. The shrimp was good, but our noses were already out of joint. Three of the guys ordered crab cake. Now crab cake is also a regional, Maryland thing. But even there, most places make it poorly. Crab cake should only be ordered from a restaurant where ten out of ten Supreme Court Justices swear each patty is less than 3 percent filler. That makes the average price of crab cake about $22 apiece. These crab cake sandwiches ran $8 each and were approximately 87 percent filler. The guys put a good face on it.

My ride home was feloniously fast, and the 15-year-old K75 ran flawlessly. Do the boys think it was that loose relay? Probably not. Would they tell me otherwise? Nope. They may have even staged a loose relay so I’d ride the machine with confidence. But as Brian Curry later told me, “There’s no way to tell what it was unless it happens again... And stays broke.”

I only thought writers stayed broke.

Addendum

Five days before this event, I found myself cruising the Pennsylvania Turnpike, keeping up with traffic in the left lane. It had been raining earlier, and I simply wanted to get home. Keeping up with the traffic is another way of saying “I was going like the hammers of hell.” Daydreaming a bit, I did not see a huge bump in the road and took a jolt that damn-near loosened my fillings. The bike took it real hard and caught a little air. I thought I had bent the front rim. That’s how I think that relay module got loosened. I remembered thinking, “I wonder what that shook loose.” Now I know, sort of.

I still have that yearning for crab. (Steamed crab is eaten right out of the shell plain, unlike lobster, which gets immersed in melted butter, which I cannot have.) So I am planning to visit a friend in Cape May this weekend, and sample Jersey Shore Blue Claws. As it stands, this could be some high adventure. I want to take the 17-mile long cruise on the Cape May, NJ — Lewes, DE ferry, and in will be in the wake of a passing hurricane. Rough seas could lead to a interesting time ferrying a bike.

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

63 comments:

Jim Robinson said...

Jack as always I find myself in a position that makes it hard to stop reading your blog once I start. Thanks for making me late to work again you bastard.

P.S. It was worth it! ;-)

Jim Robinson

BMW-Dick said...

The steamed shrimp at Crazy Crab were excellent. The cute waitresses have been replaced by skinny guys with mullets. Hanging out with you, Gerry, Jim, Matt, and Ron made the waiting for food almost unnoticeable; a good-looking waitress would have made it disappear completely.

Dreaming of picking, Ihor said...

I hear the CM/L Ferry has cancelled most of their service due to Earl, check to be sure you won't be having eats in Lewes as a fallback plan. I've never had crabs at a shack, just in Dave Z's backyard. He'ld through an annual Crab-Fest, invite dozens of friends and beautiful women, the sort that turn all the men's heads and render them silent. All their girlfriends and wives would bruise knuckles to reset the guys' attentions. Z and I would get the crabs sometimes and this was so long ago that I recall paying under $50 a bushel! It must have been when the Apostles still plied their day jobs. Now that he lives in glorious retirement and in Maryland, the focus is on the lamb he raises. I'ld vote for a crab detour, on occasion, and in his newer backyard. Hagerstown, next stop?

gary5410 said...

The images I got from the title were scary!!!!!
Great story!
Gary Christman

JAY SCALES said...

"and Dick Bregstein stayed at a Holiday Inn once"

Great line

BeemerGirl said...

Hi Jack! Hawking sweet, juicy Jersey corn to us and you weren't even near any kernenls of your own? You didn't even have the luxury of taunting us...but only making yourself hungry too! What sacrifice and sharing. :)

Pass on to Yee to check Beemer Boneyard for that fairing. Can even write to them to have them keep an eye out for an incoming part. Might be cheaper to purchase a slightly roughed up one and have it painted to match.

I hope it was just a loose connection on Fireballs. Ride as much as you can before winter storage to shake all of the gremlins loose!

-Lori

Bikerfs said...

Great story Jack! Reminds me that there are mysteries all around us!

Cantwell said...

Dear Jack,

You wouldn't happen to have a spare shock laying around?
Oh and good story. I was drooling at one point. Not because of the tomatoes, corn or crab, but because of the technical crap you wrote about.

Michael

MattPie said...

Jack, we will have to plan a ride down to southern Maryland where I know a few joints. All killer, no filler.

So what is this butter you speak of for eating lobster? I always thought it tasted pretty good unadorned.

Allen Madding said...

MY Cliff Notes:
Suffice it to say reep has had crabs several times in his life and will have crabs again in the not too distant future.

(notice I left out any derogatory comments about german engineering)

-Peace
Allen

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Riepe:

Like most of your bullshit blog stories, this one is nothing more than a near-empty vehicle for a derogatory remark aimed at the ruling Democratic junta in Congress. Get your shots in now, Fat Boy, because certain nasty people are reading your blog and taking notes. They will drag your worthless fat ass out into the street some dark night soon. A night so dark and miserable that none of your informant neighbors will hear your screams, nor remember what you looked like.

And if our parasitic asses are thrown out of Washington in November, you can bet we’ll still find ways to fuck you royally before a new Congress of coat-turning "independents" can sit in 2011. Either way, you are so fucked.

Sincerely,
Some Big Democrats In Washington
Anxious To Impress You, DC

Anonymous said...

Jack:

All this talk about tools is getting me hot. Can I come over to your garage and lube something?

Mia Ciapino

Anonymous said...

Jack,

Great story. I need to stop a Crab Crazy. I'm on rt622 all the time.

Martin

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Jim:

I'm delighted to learn that Twisted Roads is responsible for putting the most recent blot on your employee service record. Soon, it will look like mine.

You've been entered into the EZ Tire Pressure Gauge contest for September.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Anonymous said...

Dear Jack,

The way you are handling those needle nose pliers in that picture reminds me of how my ex-husband would come at me after a few too many Tom Collins.

My new husband does the same thing, except he has a gantry crane.

Love and kisses,
Mea Culpa

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Dick:

I don't think I have had a crab in the last five years where you weren't on the other side of the table. And each trip was a pisser. Let's do another soon. In fact, we should ride down to DElaware trhis afternoon to watch the storm surge cover the roads. And we could grab dinner at Sambo's.

(And I have already presented you with an EZ Tire Pressure Gauge).

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Ihor:

I believe I am coming tomorrow. But I won't get there until very late in the afternoon (barring any mechanical problems.) There must be a crab joint in or around Cape May. I can fit two six packs of something good in my right side bag.

Fondest regards,
Jack • Reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Gary:

A little fear is good every now and again. Glad you laughed.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Jay:

I was wondering if anyone would catch that? Did you think Bregstein caught it?

You and Gary are both entered into the September EZ Tire Pressure Gauge Contest, but not as a tag team.

Fondest regards,
Jsck • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Beemer Girl:

I need a clarification... What is winter storage? I have electric gear now and will ride as long as there is no snow on the roadways.

I am pretty sure it was a loose relay that caused the problem.

The Beemer Boneyard is a well utilized vendor in these parts. I have bought a alternator from them (for Blueballs).

Have a great Labor Day ride.

You are now entered into the September EZ Tire Pressure Gauge contest.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Bikerfs:

Thank you for writing in. My whole life is a mystery. Glad you enjoyed the piece.

You are now entered into the EZ Tire Pressure Gauge contest for September.

Fondest regards,
Jack • Reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Michael:

Call the Beemer Boneyard in NJ and see if they have a good K75 laying around. Or you can call Cutter... He carries shocks for the K75, stock or otherwise.

Rubber Chicken Racing Garage
215-321-7944 shop

Beemer Boneyard
Customer Service: (973) 775-3495

You have been entered into the Twisted Roads EZ Tire Pressure Gauge contest for September.

Call me tonight.
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Matt:

I'm game. Give me an address and I'll leave the day before.

You are entered into the EZ Tire Pressure Gauge Contest for September.

Thanks for your help last weekend.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Richard Machida said...

Love the crab pictures and the story. That group you hang around with will turn you into either a mechanic or a food writer.

Anonymous said...

Jack "r":

Intermittent problems really bug me. You just never know when it will fail again, if ever.

Our crabs are not blue, they are sort of red and much larger than the ones in your photo. The last time we purchased them at the dock we got 3 for just over C$50.+ Right now Salmon are cheap as they have just had the largest run in history.

lobsters prepared the asian way in white sauce is the best. I'm drooling for some right now. If you lived closer I would have you bring some over for a feast, either that you could send the air fare instead

bob
Wet Coast Scootin

Rick Sorensen said...

Jack;

You are the hurricane Earl (not to be confused with our own Earle)of the Mac-PAc. You leave erosion of morality and wreckage of motorcycles in your wake.

All in all, a case of crabs are good; but a bad case of crabber-doo's is BAD (but a kerosene shower works wonders, I hear).

Anonymous said...

You are the hurricane Earl (not to be confused with our own Earle)of the Mac-PAc. You leave erosion of morality and wreckage of motorcycles in your wake.

All in all, a case of crabs are good; but a bad case of crabber-doo's is BAD (but a kerosene shower works wonders, I hear).

Rick Sorensen

Charles Scott said...

I frequently have corn, in season, when I visit my bother in Avalon, NJ. We also buy corn at road side farm stands in NJ to have for dinner when we get home. The corn is generally excellent. However, the best corn (butter and sugar) I've ever had was from Barr's Farm outside of Clearfield, PA (where I spent the first 18 years of my life). Homer Barr was the farmer. He, or one of his kids, would pick the corn after we told him how many dozen we wanted. We would take it home and place it in boiling water as soon as the husks were remove. I still miss that corn 40+ years later.
The corn at Pete's in Westtown has been very good lately.

Anonymous said...

So, this concentration on culinary topics, could this have something to do with your current health initiative? How are you making out by the way, I hope it is going well, and that you will be unrecognizable the next time I see you (in a good way). Say hi to Leslie
Rita

John said...

Crabs, like cockroaches and Spiders are arthropods. The "meat" of a crab leg is identical to that of the above mentioned critters. I choose to not partake in eating this types of animals. Enjoy!

saylorspond said...

Jack,

Thanks for the trip & culinary diary. I would add that, in addition to superlative corn and tomatoes, New Jersey also has terrific peaches, besides all those cranberries. Having lived all over the world, New Jersey was not my favorite, except for the fresh produce.

Scott Miller

Charlie6 said...

Jack, another great posting though I was wondering about the first part when you were going on about NJ-grown vegetables!

I used to live in NoVA and spent time in the Cheasapeake Bay. The blue crabs certainly were tasty the one time I had them but unfortunately my "constitution" decided to process and pass them through in record time...if you know what I mean.

First thought when your K75 cut out on you was, damn there goes his alternator.....but am glad it turned out to possibly be a loose relay. I hate electrical gremlins, especially the intermittent ones. I still never found what was causing my turn signals and brake light fuse to pop on my R80 airhead....it's still lurking on Brigitta, waiting to piss me off again one day; which is why her S fairing has not been put back on yet.

BTW, I have a multimeter....and know how to use it. : )

dom

Redleg's Rides

ps: did you get the email with the picture of Tom Cutter "back in the day", was that your favorite Beemer Wrench?

Steve Williams said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Steve Williams said...

Mostly a decent post though I do take exception with the notion that sweet corn with French baking butter is better than chocolate. Close, but not quite in my corn eating opinion.

And you should warn your readers that not all Silver Queen is created (or sold) equal. I've had more than a few New Jersey ears sold here in Pennsylvania by boneheads that don't realize that high sugar corn doesn't keep very well and store it in the trunk of their car for three days before selling it along the road as "Fresh Picked". But cooked not long after picking -- magic.

I look forward to learning about transporting a dead K Bike home from a long distance. I always worry that I am not fully apprised of the options for getting dead machines home. Your upcoming post will be a good one I'm sure.

Steve Williams
Scooter in the Sticks

Conchscooter said...

Hmm. I have new tires ordered, a new chain and sprockets and my wife has authorized me to reserve my seat on the auto train home. Are you sure about this? I mean, you may die from the ribbing I shall give you about your super reliable BMW.

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Allen:

Crabs are one of the occupational hazards that confront successful "Boulevadriers" and "Bonvivants," such as myself. It is a mark of pride that I have never paid to be a recipient (in your sense of the word). And yet we all pay, don't we?

Thanks for writing in and you have been entered in the EZ Tire Pressure Giveaway for September.

Fondest regardfs,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Richard Machida:

I used to write restaurant reviews years ago, but I have never been much of a mechanic. There is considerable evidence that it is not one of my stronger points.

Thanks for commenting. Your coment was your ticket into the current EZ Tire Pressure Gauge giveaway.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Martin:

The boys and I may have hit Crab Crazy on a bad day. As Dick pointed out the steamed jumbo shrimp were great and the crabs are certainly good.

Thanks for readng my stuff and for entering the EZ Tire Pressure giveaway for September.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Mea Culpa:

If I had a dime for everytime I approached a woman with my tool in my hand, I'd be a wealthy man. I hope the "gantry crane" signifies your new husband's endowment, and not that you have a huge, fat ass.

Thanks for reading, and for commenting to compete in the September EZ Tire Pressure Gauge Giveaway.

Fondest regards,
Jack • Reep • Toad
Twisted Roads

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Bobskoot:

A problem is intermittent when it reoccurs at least twice. That has yet to happen, and I do believe we found the cause. (As I reported, the machine ran almost 100 miles that day, crossing over into triple digits along the way).

The contacts on the cooling fan module disintegrated when the mechanic pulled it (last month). There could be any number of reasons for this, with three being vibration, age, and extreme temperature variation. It's important to remember that this machine is 15-years-old! My concern is that other relays or modules could be in a similar state. I am planning to get the forks rebuilt on this rig in January. I will have the other modules and relays pulled and the contacts cleaned as part of this year's "Big Maintenance." This should take about 15 minutes.

I'm taking an interesting 2-day run this weekend. I should get some very cool pictures. Hopefully, I'll not have any problems.

You too have been entered into the Twisted Roads EZ Tire Pressure Gauge Giveaway for September. Thanks for reading and for commenting.

Fondest regards,
Jsack • reep • Toad

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Rick Sorensen:

Thank you for reading and for writing in. Morality ebbs and surges according to times. I am the agent of perception. On the other hand, K75 motorcycle preservation has become my new life's obsession.

You have been entered into the Twisted Roads EZ Tire Pressure Gauge Giveaway.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Charles Scott:

You have hit upon the secret to great tasting corn: cooking it ASAP after it is picked. In that regard, it is like fresh trout. (But I like corn a lot more than I do trout.)

I am thinking about planting three or four rows of corn in the yard next year. I have a bare patch along the back fence that would do well for corn. And for a brief time, I will have corn minutes from stalk to pot.

I was at Pete's Produce the other day, and got some lovely tomatoes, watermelon, and sweet potato squash. Pete's is a great place, and close by.

Thanks for reading my tripe, and for writing in. Your comment qualifies you for the Twisted Roads EZ Tire Pressure Gauge Giveaway.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Rita Leppert:

It is a rare pleasure to find a note from you in my blog comments. How is my old pal — the original Mr. Happy — Ricky doing? I am eating tons more salad and have cut back dramatically on the shit I used to shovel into my gullet. I am going to make this work this time.

Your comment makes you eligible to win an EZ Tire Pressure Gauge, though Mr. Happy will say it is a total piece of shit.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear John Claus:

One of the most delightful delicacies that I enjoy every time I can find it in a great Jewish deli is beef tongue. And the thought of that in its originsl state is utter disgusting. I also eat squid and octopus.

I had the local sushi joint make me a special sashimi plate — octopus, squid, and eel. I call it the Congressional. I never think of food in terms of its personality, but of the taste.

Your comment has enterred your name in the Twisted Roads EZ Tire Pressure Gauge Giveaway.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Scott Miller:

New Jersey used to have a lot more going for it... But it is the victim of its own success in many ways. And when the best parts have become over-built, they are gone forever. I have yet to sample Jersey peaches in their prime. But I always smile, even when I think of New Jersey traffic and congestion.

I've gotten laid about 2 million times in New Jersey.

Thanks for reading my blog. You're entered into the September EZ Tire Pressure Gauge Contest.

Fondest regards,
Jck • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Charlie6 (Dom):

Yes I did get the email with the picture of Tom Cutter in his alleged youth, and it is him!

The alternators on the K75s are damn-near bulletproof, and this one is of the mighty 52-amp variety. The bike went from full voltage and charging to zip in a second. Th only thing that could have really blown like that was the voltage regulator (and I haven't yet checked the connections on that)!

I was pretty sure it was a connection... And a loose relay is a good possibility. There is a small instruction booklet with the multimeter, and reading the first three paragraphs made me bleed from the ass.

Thank you for being a loyal Twisted Roads reader. You comment got you entered into the EZ Tire Pressure Gauge Giveaway.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Steve Williams:

You are so right in your assertion that corn, regardless of the variety, must go from the field t the pot in hours. A reader mentioned a place called "Pete's Produce" close by here. The cornfield ends where the counter in the store begins.

I have added your name to the growing list of well-wishers, who can hardly wait to read that my bike left me sitting on my ass by the side of the road. If I am within 50 miles from home, I will call Leslie to run me back to the house, where I'll pick up my trailer and get the rig myself. Beyond that, I'll call a flat bed truck and have it picked up.

But I'm betting we found the problem, anf fixed it.

You are entered into the Twisted Roads EZ Tire Pressure Gauge Giveaway. Thanks for reading my blog and good luck.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Conchscooter:

Your arrival has already been anticipated in the local press, along with West Nile disease. Local officials are preparing accordingly. I am looking foprward to leading you on a local run through Amish country, where archaic machiniery is venerated.

If I could make a recomendation, do not reserve a coach seat for your ride home. You will arrive in Orlando stiff and grumpy, with a 350-mile ride ahead of you. Get a roomette and damn the $300 expense. And book a roomette on a lower level. It will be closer to the bathroom... Easier for hauling your overnight bag... Free of the carriage sway... And you will get a full night's sleep from 9pm to 7am the next day, in a emblence of a bed.

Then you can grab a shower in the train's shower room, and be ready to do 350 miles when you get off.

If you win the EZ Tire Pressure Gauge, I'll shit.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

BeemerGirl said...

AAhhhh!! Electric gear is such a wonderful thing! I am assuming you have heated grips? What about a heated seat? I'm trying to figure out what I can do to warm the posterior up this winter. I'm told that once the tush is warm all else follows...

I enjoy perusing Beemer Boneyards site. Hopefully it will be awhile before I need them in earnest.

Hope you had a great weekend ride! -Lori

Sojourner rides said...

It's got to be good that when you're with others, if something happens, they are there to help or curse you. BTW, that red helmet in the garage--it that a design on its side or evidence of a crash. Is that a souvenir? Sounds like our riding is going very well--you're feeling better, I take it. Good for you!

Classic Velocity said...

Jack,

Don't you just love those unsolved mysteries ? I'm sure that there is some way to combine the tomatoes, corn, and crabs into a delectable sauce that could be applied to your K75's relay bank to cure the problem.

Cheers
Classic Velocity

Colin C said...

You inspired me to install the handlebar risers that have been on my shelf for over a year. Please don't do that again.

Shannon T Baker said...

Aaargh!

Two of my least favorite things in the world bike breakdowns and crabs yet you still found a way to turn them into an entertaining read. I hate/envy you Jack!

-Buddha

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Beemer Girl (Lori)

This year will be my first venture into the world of electric gear. Leslie (my hot squeeze) presented me with a Gerbings jacket liner last Christmas. This is the new microwire unit with full coverage in the sleeves, collar, back and chest. This year, I purchased Gerbings heated Nu-Buck gloves. Fully insulated, these turned out rto be a bit thicker than I like, and I could have eliminated part of the problem by ordering an XL size insted of the 2XL.

The previous year, Leslie gave me a Russell Day-Long saddle with the heatred option. Now here's the deal... My bike generates 52 amps, or about 620 watts, at engine speeds over 1100 rpm. I have a volt meter to indicate severe usage, and will switch off running lights if it becomes essential to power up the heated gear in an extreme situation.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad
Twisted Roads

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Sojourner:

There is nothing better than a couple of pals at hand when the old scoot gets tempramental. It's even better when three of these guys are electrical engineers who can read a wiring schematic like a dime store novel.

I had a setback with pain this past week, and made a short crab run in the car, as I was unable to move my right hip at all. These are the cards we are dealt.

I've had some interesting developments with my bike, but worked through all of them in record time.

It is always a delight to find a note from you in my comments section.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Classic Velocity Blog (Wayne):

I was just thinking yesterday that it has been forver since our paths crossed? What the hell are you up to?
I don't always leave a comment on your blog, as I do not feel qualified to say much when you turn the topic to motorcycle racing, or to vintage cars.

The summer is over. I have a couple of crab runs scheduled as we pass into early fall, but then it will be time to think of my other passion: haiggis.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Colin C:

I deeply regret any burst of inspiration or energy I may have imparted to you... And quite frankly, I can't image how that happened, as the lead in my ass is preventing me from doing the simplest of tasks. I have a Steble/Nautilus air horn in the box, awaiting installation, for over a year now. Maybe next week.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Shannon T. Baker (Bhudda):

Did you mean the crabs you find on Saturday morning after a great Friday night, or the kind shore restaurants serve on demand?

Technically, what happened to me does not count as a "breakdown" as the bike restarted and I got it home. But it was a breakdown in the making. The fix was nothing... Thank God. With a BMW, everything else is a $1000.

Any crabs you don't have to scratch are great in my book.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Nikos said...

Earthing issue? Load shed relay? Windows Vista?

XS N

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Nkos:

Who the fuck knows? I put a couple of hundred miles on the rig overr Labor Day weekend and the damn thing ran like an Apple Computer, hitting triple digits in one stretch, without batting a eye.

What's new with you?

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Chris Luhman said...

Finally got caught up with your blog Jack. Your last three posts were quite good!

I'm not saying your K75 is ancient, but I saw your bike's evil twin in the national motorcycle museum...

Ah, haggis, Ihor said...

But in a pinch, there's always kishka!!

bobskoot said...

Jack:

I think I imagined that I had the most delightful read of your ride to Cape May to visit Ihor, but when I went to click the comments, it had disappeared.

glad you made it home safe and sound, without marking your territory like a Triumph

bob
Wet Coast Scootin