Tuesday, October 5, 2010

“Go To The Light... At the foot of the stairs”

It was either Benjamin Franklin or Cotton Mather who claimed that just looking at a stack of firewood, piled high, made a person feel “warm and prosperous.” I have looked at firewood piled as high as an elephant’s ass in early October (when I lived in Lake Placid, New York, where winter can break a saint’s soul), and in the middle of the following April, when nine cords had been reduced to a handful of sticks and the snow on the roof was still two feet deep. It never made me feel wealthy one way or the other.

Nothing makes me feel wealthier like looking at all the riding gear I have purchased over the last 6 years. In a pile, it takes up less than one percent of the space consumed by 9 cords of firewood, and cost 25 times more. Sometimes I imagine all this stuff (2 rain suits, 2 mesh jackets, 1 ballistic jacket, 2 jacket liners, 1 Gerbings electric liner — plus all the connectors — 2 helmets, 4 pairs of gloves, 4 pairs of boots, and 4 pairs of Diamond Gusset Defender jeans) as loose $50 bills. Then I jump off the stairs and roll around on it.

Above: Regardless of what gear I wear, I look like the "Stay-Puft" Marshmallow Man masquerading as a S.W.A.T. team member. Photo from "Ghostbusters Franchise 1984."

I bought this stuff to protect myself, to add to the enjoyment of riding, and to look more like a true BMW rider. It has protected me. And the right gear does add to the enjoyment of riding. But as far as the image goes, all I have managed to do is look like the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man masquerading as part of a S.W.A.T. team. Yet there is a certain satisfaction in having the right gear for each season, and in knowing where it is in time to use it for the current season. For me, knowing the location of my gear is like knowing the Ganges River is in India. It is quite another thing for me to put my hand on a specific part of it. (Dedicated Twisted Roads readers will recall I thoroughly organized the garage, cataloguing all the gear out there. But my riding gear is not kept in the garage.)

Summer became fall here last weekend with all the subtlety of a car accident. The temperature at dawn had been a routine 69º, before falling to 44º Fahrenheit without prior warning. (For the benefit of my readers in Texas, Key West and Hell, I consider 69º to be frigging hot.) In a perfect world, the change of seasons would happen gradually, with each day losing a degree or two until motorcycle riders experienced a conscious need for warmer gear. Under these circumstances, riders would gently be reminded to check the location and condition of the next season’s gear, before having a sudden need for it.

Here it was, barely ten minutes before kickstands up, and cold to the point where the crickets were no longer chirping, but stamping their little feet and muttering “Fuck this, I’m going to get eaten by a bird today.” I had just opened the garage door and realized that a short-sleeved tee shirt under a mesh jacket wasn’t going to cut it. There is a windproof/waterproof liner for the Joe Rocket mesh jacket that I wear, but the thought of cold, clammy, plasticky sleeves on my bare, muscular arms was equally unappealing. What I wanted was my Joe Rocket Fall Meteor 5.0 Jacket, with the zip-out vent panels in the front.

I just hadn’t seen it in about a year. (In fact, I remembered getting a note from it... The jacket was in Las Vegas and getting laid just fine without me.)

A mad search through the closet produced a rooster tail of shirts, blazers, and dress pants flying out behind me like tunnel detritus generated by a digging badger. The very last item, of course, was the object of my search. “Aha,” I gloated. Then I realized all of the vents were open and the two zip-out panels in the front were gone. “Muthafuck,” I whispered to the pitch-black interior of the closet.

“Leslieeeee...” I shouted up the stairs, where the Evening Star of my life had yet to deal with the reality of dawn (considering it was 6:30am on a Saturday morning). “Do you know where the two zip-out vent panels for my Joe Rocket fall jacket are?”

“I traded them for milk and bread at the supermarket last week,” she groggily replied.

There was a moment of silence while I thought about the horror of this, when she lovingly said, “How the hell would I know where you left the zip-out vent panels for your Joe Rocket fall jacket?”

“Then you didn’t trade them for bread and milk at the supermarket last week.” I said with obvious relief.

While she didn’t actually respond to this, I swear I could hear the sound of a silencer being screwed into the barrel of a 9mm Browning semi-automatic pistol.

Examining the jacket in the first rays of dawn, I found the vent panels tucked into a pocket. “Never mind,” I said, stepping over the pile of clothing on the hall floor.

Joe Rocket makes very good gear, at great prices, in sizes large enough to actually fit the motorcycle, so mega-fat riders like me can wear effective, official-looking biker apparel. More than just a question of buying the first garment that fits, Rocket gear is well-thought out, well-made, and comes with little clasps for your keys and waterproof pockets for an MP3 player or a cell phone. (It is with the deepest regret that I did not see the "Meteor" Jacket in the 2010 Joe Rocket line-up. The closest thing they offer is the Ballistic 8.0 jacket. This comes in a "5XL" size, which I swear to God, I will never need again. But others might. Not all Joe Rocket jackets are available in this super, fat-assed sizing.)


The change of seasons also calls for a change in the gear I carry on the bike too. My Sigg water bottle is now replaced by a Nissan Silver Bullet stainless steel vacuum bottle. I am fanatical on the subject of coffee. Unlike New Jersey, where the state legislature has passed a law requiring a Dunkin’ Donuts every three miles or where most diners serve excellent Joe, coffee sold in greasy spoons and gas station convenience stores throughout Pennsylvania generally tastes like shit. (Signs at the state Line that read “Welcome to Pennsylvania,” should have a line added that cautions, “Home of the shittiest coffee.” Riders will also concur that hot coffee is never available at the most spectacular views, the most beautiful forrest glades, or any of the other places where one is likely to stop and get off the bike.

Hence I recommend carrying the Nissan Silver Bullet stainless steel vacuum bottle.

This clever, tapered design goes nicely into my top case, keeps coffee warm for about 4 hours, and fills easily from the Nespresso Coffee-maker I have in the kitchen. The stainless steel interior won’t explode into a million pieces in a drop or a tip-over either. But it had been a year since I’d last seen my Nissan Silver Bullet stainless steel vacuum bottle and it had inexplicably moved from the last location of record.

“Leslieeeee...” I again shouted up the stairs. “Do you know where my Nissan Silver Bullet stainless steel vacuum bottle is?”

Her reply was preceded by a long sigh that was actually more like a “hiss...” The kind of sound a python makes when deflated by a mongoose. “Yes, I do,” she said in a hoarse whisper. “I will tell you if you step into the light at the foot of the stairs.”

Now I have watched every Alfred Hitchcock movie ever made, and I can tell you there is a time to step into the light at the foot of the stairs and a time to give it the pass. This was definitely one of the “pass” moments. I grabbed a little pillow from the easy chair in my office and tossed that into the light. It had no sooner landed on the floor when it jumped to the accompaniment of two loud popping sounds, and began leaking feathers from a couple of closely-spaced holes.

“Never mind,” I said from the shadows. “I’ll find it.”

It turned up in the garage, in a plastic bin marked “Ancillary Riding Gear.” Picking it up was just like shaking hands with an old friend. But It had a slightly unbalanced feel to it, like it was partially filled with a gelatinous substance that slid from top to bottom as one solid, quivering mass. Opening it in the kitchen sink revealed a year-old shapeless mass that smelled like coffee, but resembled penicillin-streaked yogurt. (For the BMW-riding engineers reading this story, I will end the suspense by saying the brownish gunk was no longer hot.)

Above: The 16-ounce Nissan Stainless Steel Vacuum Bottle — order it from Campmor and save a bundle. Photo from the internet.

I filled and refilled the vacuum bottle with boiling hot sudsy water, leaving the stopper to soak in a sterilizing agent overnight. The stainless steel liner emerged sweet-smelling and clean after a few treatments. (I have been through this before.)

Above: This is my idea of the ideal ride destination — the outdoor "Tiki" bar at the Chesapeake Inn, in Chesapeake City, Md. The ladies were walking around in bikinis and tiny little shorts in July. I thought a BMW K75 was a babe magnet, but the Beemer is not nearly as effective as a 65-foot boat. Photo by the author.

There are at least two times a year during which the motorcycle rider is likely to be slightly uncomfortable. One occurs after a touchy swerve and panic stop, when an unscheduled bowel movement is most likely to appear between the rider and the seat. The other is when the day starts out cold and ends up hot — or hot enough to break a sweat — when the rider is swathed in cool weather gear. This happened to me on a recent lunch run from West Chester, Pa to a seafood joint on the water in Chesapeake City, Md. Once the sun was up, the temperature climbed into the high 60’s. I ended up opening every vent in the jacket. There is one for each sleeve, two removable panels in the front, and two zippered openings in the back.

Above: The object of this phot, taken from the shadows, was the background — The Chesapeake and Delaware Canal. These boats are a classic example of how the rich pull up for lunch at the outdoor bar of the Chesapeake Inn, in Chesapeake City, Maryland. Photo by the author.

The vents do not pass through to the rider’s shirt, but circulate the air around a windproof inner liner. (I know this works as I have opened the front vents, leaving the rear ones closed. This causes the jacket to inflate like a life raft.) This vent design is very clever. You could be out riding on a marginally cool day, and get caught in quick rain shower. The interior liner of the jacket prevents rain water from passing through and soaking the rider. I could have carried my mesh jacket in one side bag, while wearing my fall jacket, but I get tired of planning each ride like it’s a space shot.

Above: This shot was taken from my seat at the outdoor "Tiki" bar of the Chesapeake Inn. This view looks west toward Chesapeake City. That is the Route 213 (Md) bridge in the background. It is high to accommodate the ocean-going ships in the canal.

My first cool-weather riding day was not without adventure. I met “Leather” Dick Bregstein, Pete Buchheit, Clyde Jacobs, Dave Oehler, Ron Yee, Gerry Cavanaugh and Tony Forsberg, “The New Guy” from Colorado for an early fall run to a seafood joint on the water in trendy Chesapeake City, Maryland.

“Anyone care for hot coffee,” I asked, holding up the Nissan Silver Bullet stainless steel vacuum bottle?

“Not if today was the first time you’ve opened that in a year,” said Gerry Cavanaugh.

“Suit yourself. Do any of you have clap or a respiratory ailment that would benefit from traces of homegrown penicillin?”

There were no takers.

Above: Gerry Cavanaugh, a confirmed BMW GS rider, does not support the modern trend toward penicillin for curtailing contagen. Photo by Dick Bregstein.

This was the first day after a 24-hour period in which our area had received between 7” and 9” of rain. I had planned a gentle ride along heavily wooded roads that paralleled streams and rivers. This was a mistake. Most of these were still covered by washed-out gravel, fallen tree branches, and hundred-yard stretches of river slime. A whole section of my planned ride, in Delaware City, (De) was still underwater. We ended up taking the most direct route, a mix of interior back roads and highways. My joints were so creaky, I could hear them grinding over the sound of the engine whenever I moved on the seat.

Bregstein could hear them too. “I think your swing arm pins need lubricating,” he said.

“Dick, this is a BMW. It doesn’t have a swing arm.”

“Don’t mention it,” he replied.

The day was sunny and bright enough to sit on the water... But the breeze made you wish for a long-sleeve shirt. My pace was so slow and awkward on the way down, that I actually had to pull over to relieve the cramping in my hips. I waved the other guys on. Ron Yee was good enough to hang around and ride in with me 20-minutes later. HIs role was assumed by Clyde Jacobs on the way back.

Above: Pete Buchheit rode up from Baltimore on a 2003 K1200S to join us for lunch. Photo by Breg Dickstein.

Above: Dave Oehler, a K1200LT rider, first led us to this saloon last year. Photo by Dick Bregstein.

Clyde and I took it easy, and stopped off at a couple “performance artist” exhibitions on the way back. These artists are so poor that many perform wearing only panties, or less. Admission to these events are free, but one is compelled to give the artist a dollar every few minutes, especially if they are performing on the bar in front of your $11-dollar Diet Coke.

Above: Another great picture of Jack Riepe, taken by Dick Bregstein, the author's most frequent riding partner and occasional friend. Photo by Dick Bregstein.

The garage door went up on my return to reveal that Leslie’s car was gone — indicating she was out and about with friends. I stepped into the house to find “Scout,” our 100-pound white rescue mutt (with aspirations of being a Labrador Retriever), running around with the tattered sleeve of one of my Armani shirts in her mouth. In the next room, Atticus, a 150-pound German Shepherd, was laying on the pile of clothing I had left earlier. One of my silk ties was neatly knotted about his neck: a message from Leslie.

I will be avoiding the light at the end of the stairs for the next two weeks.

Addendum:
It's been a few weeks since I last published a new blog. I allowed myself to get distracted by a lot of insignificant stuff. This happens every time I try and take the safe route through life. You would think that after years of riding a motorcycle I would have realized that the best aspect of life is experienced from its edge.

For those of my readers who are members of the BMW Motorcycle Owners of America, my column in the ON (Owners News) resumes with the November issue, with a passionate love story guaranteed to inflame the coldest soul. There was some doubt as to whether the conservative nature of the publication would lend itself to such graphic literary depiction... Yet such was the emotional tone of my prose that men and women of all ages are tempted to place themselves within its context. At least one boy-toy is definitely in its context... Again and again.



©Copyright Jack Riepe 2010
AKA The Lindbergh Baby (Twisted Roads)
AKA Vindak8r (Motorcycle Views)
AKA The Chamberlain -- PS (With A Shrug)

55 comments:

RichardM said...

I was wondering about the coffee in PA. The last time I was there, many places had really weak or very concentrated coffee. Fortunately, I don't have to deal with the temperature extremes on any single day, and we don't have the high humidity either. Enjoyable reading as always.

Richard (my blog)

Colin said...

It was 49 deg on my way into work yesterday. You are right, fall hit this year like never before. Glad to hear I'm not the only one who can't find gear at season's change, even here in Texas.

Charlie6 said...

Good to see you writing here again Jack....we missed you. Well, your writing anyways. : )

I've got a thermos just like the one you described and it really does come in handy while pausing for a break on snow-covered roads, gazing at nearby snow-covered mountains.


As to your avoidance of the light at the bottom of the stairs, I congratulate your better half on good "gun control".

dom

Colorado Motorcycle Travel Examiner

cpa3485 said...

I have learned (been trained) over 31 years of marriage not to even ask the question as to where something is except if I am looking for that certain pair of pliers that I am certain that she didn't return to its proper place and then only if I am damn certain that it is her fault. I am wondering if you will ever learn this technique in marital relationships.

BTW: I have a client friend that I found out yesterday owns a '79 R 80 that has sat in his garage for over 10 years now. It only has 15,000 miles on it. He said it pings a bit because it really likes high octane fuel. He used to try and run aircraft fuel in it sometimes. It could possibly be a nightmare project bike, but also could also turn out to be a very sweet classic bike. Haven't seen the bike yet, nor have I informed the spouse.
Question: If perchance I might eventually own a Beemer someday, would I have to get all new gear so I could look as good as you?

Jimbo

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Richard M:

Thank you for reading "Twisted Roads," and for leaving a comment. I one pulled into a roadside coffe joint and demanded a cup of coffee. What I got resembled bean soup, and smelled like old coffee filters. I asked the high school kid who poured it if she drank coffee. Of course, the answer was "No."

And that is part of the problem. People who sell coffee should be made to drink a cup from each pot. The temperaturtes changes are coming in for real now, and I have a firm idea of where my gear is — for the time being.

Fondest regard,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Colin:

I think 49 degrees is perfect riding weather, as long as it doesn't warm up beyond 60 degrees later in the day. I have a friend coming over this aftenoon to set up the pig-tail for my electric gear. It is a simple job that will take him a minute, but take me two hours. I plan to ride as long as the road is dry. Cold yes, but dry.

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

Fondest regard,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Charlie6 (Dom):

I used to spend a lot of time in the woods, either huinting, fishing, or camping, in a lot of marginal weather. And there is nothing like a great cup of coffee to enhance the enjoyment of a setting.

My thermos arsenal includes heavy artillery, like a Stanley Bottle, and others. But for the bike, nothing beats a Nissan Silver Bullet Stainless Steel vacuum bottle. But... One is compelled to charge the bottle by pre-heating it with roiling, boiling water, before filling it with coffee.

Thanks for reading my trip and writing in.

Fondest regard,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear CPA3485 (Jimbo):

I bring so much joy to the lives of the women I have haunted that an occasional rough spot in the road is regarded as both educational and exciting.

I spent Sunday morning with a group of riders who mounted BMW's dating from the '50s to the late '70s. Each one was in mint condition. You can buy one like this for $5 to $7 grand. And I know a great group of guys "Airheads" who work on these with a passion.

If you want my advice, go find a K75 with 20,000 miles on it (in damn near mint condition), for $3600, or slightly more. Especially if there is not a reliable dealer with a day's ride of you.

And you can buy whatever gear you like... You'll never be as cool as me and I'm fat.

Fondest regard,
Jack • reep • Toad

BeemerGirl said...

I fancy my own image as the StayPuft Marshmallow Girl when I try fitting into my winter weather riding gear too. Don't even talk to me about rain gear as I once made it only 10 feet down the road before the top slipped up and pulled my jacket with it. The undies were quite wet quickly. I stopped instantly and just took it off. Wasn't worth it!

Our winter is pulling the same stupid stunt of 89F one day, 73F the next. Are evenings are starting to slip into the high 40's. But I know where my winter gear is... :) (evil grin). I might even have two zip-out panels around here somewhere...

Sounds like a nice day in all to enjoy the high afternoon temps!

-Lori

(word verification today: motoded. Phonetically interesting...)

Jack Riepe said...

Dear CPA3485 (Jimbo):

Here's one: $3,200, Denver area.
http://forsale.coloradopeaks.net/index.php?topic=34.0

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr riepe:
please rest assured that when I will be riding alongside you in merino sheep's wool underwear and a tourmaster mesh jacket I will look far less suave than the average James Bond Triumph rider so you will have no reason to feel ashamed. Especially when you whip out that lovely silver dildo.
Yours
Iron Butt Badger.
ps: see in a week.

Anonymous said...

dear Jim
for fuck's sake get a triumph and leave BMWs well enough alone. Following riepe is a path that leads to lamentation, divorce and alcoholism.
Just because he's happy living like that doesn't mean an accountant from wichita will be.
sincerely
Marlon Brando

cpa3485 said...

To: the obviously curmudgeonly gemntleman from Key West.
You are so right about many things considering all your worldly experiences. I should listen to you. The one thing I forgot to ask the guy about the bike yesterday was whether or not it had a tachometer. Not sure what I would do with one.

Nikos said...

Jack

The marshmallow man brought back insufferable memories of my motorcycle journey last week to Cambridge (not MA but England), when taking a crafty new route with my Garmin to avoid Birmingham (not AL but England), I diverted into an industrial estate in Stoke on Trent in which Michelin announced their presence with a 200 ft high rendition of their famous trademark. Spooky that you post this now.


Naturally the weather was shite for my 200 mile return trip but I was riding my GS.

keep smiling
N

Anonymous said...

—— General Notice To All Readers ——

Those who post under "Anonymous" on this blog are usually frisky married women flirting with the ultimate romantic adventure. Not today, however.

Today's "Anonymous" comments preceding this message are from Michael Beattie, otherwise known as Conchscooter from the blog "Key West Dairy." It is Beattie's hope to qualify for yet another of the most basic Iron Butt designations — the famous "Jail Cell Red Butt" — by riding from Key West to Secaucus, New Jersey, and then looping that community 3000 times.

Beattie will be riding a 2005 Triumph Bonneville, which is specially equipped with moped-type pedals and a rear-mounted barbecue grill.

Following the completion of this historical run, Beattie will ride over to Amish country in Pennsylvania, to have a blacksmith reshoe his bike. Twisted Roads publisher Jack Riepe will accompany Beattie on the Pennsylvania parts of his trip, unless a suitable excuse presents itself. The details will be covered by Twisted Roads.

Sincerely,
Emily Bazooms
Editorial Content Manager
Twisted Roads

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Beemer Girl (Lori):

Thank you for reading "Twiated Roads" and for taking the time to comment. While I have two sets of expensive rain gear, I have never worn either. Each weighs about 400 pounds. I bought cheap rain gear once, and it split right up the back the first time I zipped it up. My attitude was "Fuck it."

I seldom start out riding in the rain. And I do not go a long time riding in it, once it has started.

My winter gear is now in good shape and I expect some very comfortable cold weather riding.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad
Twisted Roads

Jack Riepe said...

Dear CPA3485 (Jimbo):

There is another K75 in California with a two-tone paint job that looks balls-ass cool. Naturally, it comes with a tach, automatic side-stand retraction (absolutely true), flashers (2 methods of activation), accessory power outlet, and fuel injection. (You'd have to fall into a drug-induced coma to dream of these options on a Triumph.)

Don't be swayed by the counsel of Key West Luddites. Stop whinning. Drink the German KoolAde and get it over with.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad
Twisted Roads

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Nikos:

"Stoke on Trent" sounds like a bad pornagraphic novel. Whenever you post of rides in Britain, I envision dense fogs, rain drops on the windscreen, and sheep around every curve. Did you get a proper rearset for tha damaged GS yet?

And what became of the K75?

Thank you for reading Twisted Roads and for making me your riding role model.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad
Twisted Roads

Nikos said...

Jack

You envision correctly as expected from a Pro.

GS is in rehab for the winter having a complete brake rebuild and I plan to ride the K on Saturday to Chester to pick up the rubber bits for it from my local Motorrad spares counter.

Life is so terribly exciting here.

Bets wishes, N

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Nikos:

I would take your life in a moment... Mine at present is a bit unsettling. My future is shaking like it has palsy. Yet I know I have been spared a professional fate worse than death... To be associated with a stupid idea that can only go up dogshit.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Cantwell said...

Dear Jack,
Your Nissan thermos is in one of the plastic bins in your garage. I think we labeled it 'ancillary riding gear'. That bin is under the one that is labeled 'other shit Jack doesn't know how to use' and is right next to 'various lubricants and inserts' (purpose for which you are only privy).
Michael

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Cantwell (Michael):

Naturally, your response is as funny as it is apropos. But I did get around to organizing my riding gear in the closet too. The only thing I am missing now is the controller to the Gerbings liner. But I think thsat is in the bottom of the Ancillary Riding Gear Bin. Mouse traps in the garage have revealed no takers.

The shit has hit the fan at the Casa Stiffkins... I had a bad week from which there is not going to be an easy recovery. I will send you a an e-mail when I finish this note.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad
Twisted Roads

Nikos said...

Jack

I'm sorry that life is unsettling for you - I recommend that you acquire a ginger pussy cat: Stupid idea? No such thing....only stupid people. But Casa Stiffkins?

Yours as ever going slowly around the bend, N

Conchscooter said...

I am planning to rearrange your garage while the Triumph and I are sleeping there so you will never be able to find anything ever again.
The Iron Butt people complain mightily about the frequent failures of BMW final drive shaft splines.
They don't complain about Triumphs because none of those nerds ride one.
yours,

IBA 39523

Anonymous said...

Nice photos.
You riding this weekend?
It's sposta stop raining.

BMW-Dick said...

Great photos.
Are you riding this weekend?
Rain is sposta stop!

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Nikos:

Thank God I am a resident at "Casa Stiffkins," otherwise I might be homeless and panhandling from the seat of a flawless K75 in Key West. Life took a turn for the worse last week, but nothing I won't recover from. By worse, I mean less stable. But stability can sometimes be a trap, and an invitation to share in corporate mediocrity. Sometimes being thrown through the air is infinitely better than having the authorities find your body in the wreckage.

Instability in live causes me to focus on my core abilities; and I get damned creative when I focus on my core abilities. Despite the uncertainty factor, it has been a while since life was this interesting.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Conchscooter:

Your bike is welcome in my garage... But you have to pass muster by the canine contingent in this house to get through the door. Atticus has an open mind but Scout does not think highly of refugees from the Benedictine educational system. (She regards St. Benedict as the original party-pooper, preferring the teachings of St. Thomas Aquinas... "Lord make me chaste... But not today.")

For the record, the BMW marque represents the greatest number of bikes to register in the main Iron Butt event, and the greatest number of a single marque to finish. So kiss my ass — when you get here.

Have a great trip getting here.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Anonymous:

I may ride on Monday, but I am headed out for an in-law function this weekend. My first in a year.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Dick:

I have my booze-free dinner at the Himalayan tonight. Then I have to run to Hagerstown for a family event this weekend, but will be returning on Sunday. I plan to ride on Monday and Tuesday.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Shannon T Baker said...

Down here on the Texas Gulf Coast we only have three seasons. A hot and humid Summer that lasts about nine months, Three weeks oh the most beautiful Fall and the rest of the year is a rainy, nasty cold thing that I would prefer to skip altogether called Winter.

It is currently fall and I don't have the right gear. By the time I work up the nerve to ask Wonderful Wife if I can buy said gear it will be winter and I won't need it...so I will decide to wait until next year...

I have winter gear; a fireplace, a blanket and plenty of rum.

Hang in there

-Buddha

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Shannon Baker:

A blanket, a fireplace, and plenty of rum is all the winter gear a creative individual needs. But it's nice to know that I won't get caught in the cold while riding to a place where a woman would have this stuff waiting for me.

Thanks for reading Twisted Roads, and for leaving a comment.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Electra Glide In Blue said...

Jack,
You wear that hat out here in Colorado and we're going fly fishing.

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Electra Glide In Blue (Jeff):

That is the famous "Tilly Endurable" hat. It ran me $79 and is an outdoor summer/fall classic.

I'm delighted that you noticed.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Brady said...

I just wrote in my blog about my own inability to find my winter gear... my own wife is spending some time in Germany and this makes getting to work with functioning fingers problematic.

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Brady:

Thank you for reading my blog and for posting a comment. It has been my experience that asking the haus frau for assistance in finding my riding gear is on a par with asking her to recommend a dating service. It is so much easier to keep track of it myself.

I read your blog tonight and added it onto my "Destinations" section.

Good luck finding your gear.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad
Twisted Roads

Mad Dog McClane said...

Great photos, great colours.

I look like a Staypuft Marshmallow man even when I'm naked.

Classic Velocity said...

Jack what a timely post. This weekend I went out early and had to decide between the mesh jacket with the liner (that would be freezing now but perfect later), and the fall/winter jacket without the liner (good now, but lousy venting for later). I also had to decide on which gloves, but there I wore the thicker ones and threw the lighter meshed ones in the tail bag. Decisions, decisions....

Why can't they make a single 3/4 jacket with great venting, but with a heated thermal liner, and great armor, and plenty of pockets, and zippers that last forever, and bright yet subtle reflective piping, and a pull-out balaclava, and that feels like its already broken in, and a pull-out cool damp towel for your neck in the summer, and that costs $79 ? Is that too much to ask ?

Jack Riepe said...

Derar Mad Dog McClane:

I am always flattered to find a comment from you on my vlog. One, because you are a real travelogue writer, dashing lines off from the periphery... And two, because I can't imagine anything I write would be of interest to you.

For me, strongly-sewn clothing defines my shape. I have jeans made of Kevlar.

Good luck in Bulgaria.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Wayne:

What is truly aggravating is that these are the best riding days of the year. And while it seems like nothing to just throw abnother jacket, or liner, into the sidebags, it is a pain in the ass.

My mesh jacket weights about 10 pounds with the armor in it. But it magically condenses into the side bags. My fall ballistic jacket, while light, bareley shoves into the side bag (which must be totally empty). Gloves are easy to carry, but offer their own challenges.

Thanks for reading my tripe and for commenting on my blog today.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Mad Dog McClane said...

Jack, you flatter me. You write far more and far better.

Дъняомлн, that's the name of the house. I signed the papers today.

yamyambiker.com said...

Very funny blog Jack, was interesting reading your comments about your gear.

Here in Scotland we have mostly rainy/cold weather, with the rare 3-4 weeks of warmer/sunnier weather from May to July. For this reason most of the year I am wearing cold weather so I don't really have the conundrum with finding my various outfits. I only have one! My problem is finding buffs (similar to scarfs but a tube of fabric you put round your neck to stop bees and small animals hitting your neck at speed). My lovely lady has had many a shout, followed by "open your beepin' eyes" when I realise I am actually holding one...

It would be nice to be able to open any of my numerous jacket vents, but I fear instant frosting to delicate areas of my torso if I did.

The main issue in Scotland is the salt that they spread on the roads at the slightest hint of cold weather approaching. It corrodes your pride and joy at a rate of 4" per minute...lethal stuff and many of my bikes have fallen prey to it.

All the best from Sunny Scotland,

Gordon
(YamYamBiker)

Jack Riepe said...

Dear YamYambiker (Gordon):

I am very familiar with the kind of weather that you have described. New York State's Adirondack region experiences about 40 weeks of heavy winter a year, and the salt is inches deep on the pacvement.

I try to get buy wqearing thin leather gloves for as long as I can before the snow falls, as I like to feel the friction zome of the clutch. Heavier gloves mask this feeling and and cumbersome in heavy traffic.

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

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Mad Dog McClane:

Your blogs have successfully brought the world — and some very exotic parts of the world — to thousands of readers. I present the world "according to Riepe." It's not quite the same thing.

I would allow myself to be influenced by your blog, just as Scooter in the Sticks" was the inspiration for Twisted Roads, but openmindedness doesn't become me.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Meteorologically speaking, Ihor said...

Oh don't make it seem as if the ADKs are further north and double the altitude! Winter there is a third of the year, 20 weeks tops. It just seems longer if you are trapped there, with no job or prospects, each day creeps along and you perceive every tick of the clock as if it were a nail being driven into your personal coffin of hopelessness. Or you go XC skiing and have a beer afterwards!

Conchscooter said...

DEAR JACK,
Thanks for taking care of me and the bike after my spill. I knew that dropping the Bonneville in a parking lot would a) allow you to brag about it b) it would also allow you to be helpful, and c) having me gimp around the house would make you feel less alone.
My plan worked perfectly and after our delihtful trip to Hermy's Triumph (and bmw) my Bonneville is back as good as new.
Thanks also to Dick for driving us as you would have given me a heart attack on that road had you been behind the wheel.
love and kisses
Conchscooter (your house guest)

jasiii said...

Again you reach a new high in writing style. And yes the coffee in PA does leave a lot of room for improvement

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Ihor:

The earliest snowfall that I experienced in the Adirondacks was Columbus Day, though I am aware that life-long residents can recall earlier frosts. In one of the last years I lived there, there was black ice on the roads at Halloween, which led to the canceling of several parties, as people were hesitant to drive.

I also recall the year that ORDA used dynamite to blast the ice off the road up Whiteface Mountain — to open it for the Memorial Day weekend. In 1998, it was 36 degrees below zero (without the wind) on New Year's Eve, which froze the pips leading to the sepic systems of people with older residences.

Winter in the North Country is not for the faint of heart.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad
Twisted Roads

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Michael:

Don't thank me yet. Wait until your read the accurate and fully detailed story in my blog.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad
Twisted Roads

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Jasiii:

Thank you for your kind note of support and agreement. Coffee sold on the street in PA generally sucks big time.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Letting the weather be weather, Ihor said...

I've no disagreement with your facts. My ADK Life calendar is filled with days annotated to shock those who are less than weather-wise regarding the North Country. When shall you and I head there and tempt fate over a couple of pints at the LP Brewery? Soon I hope.

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Ihor:

Mike Cantwell posted pictures today. There is snow on the ground in Ray Brook as we speak.

My calender for a trip north is wide open at the moment.

Sincerely,
Riepe

irondad said...

Alas, I no longer have my Nissan stainless bullet thingy. It happened to be just the right shape to shove up some snob's ass who was touting the virtues of his BMW ad naseum. The coffee in that thermos is also unlikely to be fit to drink by now.

Did you not know that one reason gear is so abundant is that it breeds in dark closets? I'm actually quite surprised that a guy like you hasn't installed a night vision video camera in there, yet.

Jack Riepe said...

Dear IronDad (Dan):

To those who ride BMWs, no explanation of my exhuberence is necessary. To those who don't, no explanation is possible. Hah!

I have now reached the point that with the installation of the airhorn on my bike, I will no longer be spending another dime on motorcycling stuff until I have this arthritis licked.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Rita said...

You make me smile, Jack, and I don't even own a BMW motorcycle. Glad you are still out and riding, though! Happy Halloween!