Monday, October 18, 2010

The Misadventures of Michael Beattie and Mr. Toad

The aura of excitement hung about the house like those dense fog banks that occasionally surround the Golden Gate Bridge. The cause for this heightened state of anticipation was the pending visit of Michael Beattie, the author of that widely read and respected blog "Key West Dairy" and a hard riding Triumph motorcycle enthusiast. For those who have been in prison or literary exile, Key West Dairy provides a daily look at life in the center of the “Conch Republic,” a seething hotbed of cultural preservation, artistic revolution, architectural conflict, and odd local traditions designed to siphon tourist dollars into the municipality’s coffers.

Beattie was out to break his personal best on his second Iron Butt riding endeavor. The Iron Butt Association is dedicated to safe, long-distance motorcycle riding, and features a number of carefully certified events and programs that are prerequisites for participation in this 50,000-member international organization. On this trip, he was out to score 1500 miles in 36-hours. Sanctioned rides fall into the “Saddlesore” and “Bunburner” category, and require strict documentation to qualify. I refer to Beattie’s most recent run as a Glowing Red Butt ride, in honor of a rite of passage I suspect he undoubtedly enjoyed as a boy at a British boarding school.

Beattie’s original research produced an arc of travel encompassing San Antonio, Saint Louis, Albany (NY), or Montauk Point (Long Island, NY). A more precise study of the weather, traffic, and road conditions led him to choose Binghamton, NY (the sister city of Singapore, I think) as his final destination.

I took a personal interest in this ride for several reasons; the first of which was the mentor/young grasshopper online friendship Beattie and I have forged over the last two years. He has come to rely on my judgement for all kinds of things ranging from politics to the proper focus of photography. (Politically, Beattie stands somewhere between that great philosopher Michael Moore and that rascally government reformer Stalin. His photographs used to be dedicated to dumpy tourists, spilling out of brightly colored Bermuda shorts, but now does offer the occasional infusion of hotties, of which there should be no shortage in Key West.)

Other reasons for my interest in this ride relate to the basic charter of this blog: raw motorcycle adventure, research in two-wheeled transportation, and a commitment to exploring the performance parameters of various motorcycles. (This ride would provide me with an in-depth look at how certain marques dissolve upon impact with dampened leaves and highway runoff.)

The clock officially started at 9:50pm (2150 for my European readers) on Saturday, October 9, 2010, with a call from Layne, Michael Beattie’s long-suffering spouse, who informed me that the sideshow was about to hit the road. You could hear the distinct sound of a Triumph Bonneville in the background, and a bellowing voice that reminded me of the late Benny Hill. Michael is a descendant of Italian royalty (castle and all), who was educated in Britain, and who settled in the US, once he determined that most Americans regard anyone with a British accent as a kind of James Bond . He has had a remarkable career as a yacht skipper, a journalist, and a civil servant. His native Italian accent has yielded to the equally worldly tones of a Cockney cockle-monger. (Cockles are a kind of shellfish and not at all what the gentle reader was probably thinking.)

By 10am on the following Sunday (all times are approximate), Beattie was in the mountains of South Carolina and claimed to have frozen his ass off. Real adventure seldom happens when you are at the top of your game and every sense is fine-tuned to the task at hand. And so it was with Michael Beattie on this last Glowing Butt Ride. He arrived in Binghamton in time to qualify for the Iron Butt criteria, and felt good enough to go for a ride through the Catskill Mountains. The next I heard from him, he was exploring the limitations of room service in a discount hotel where the hourly rate exceeded the weekly charge for the same accommodations. (Beattie had never before stayed in a hotel room that had a coin-operated sink.)

My original plan was to ride my K75 and meet him at a rest stop on the Northeast Extension of the Pennsylvania Turnpike (Allentown)... But a last minute writing assignment started to squeeze my schedule and a nasty flare-up of my arthritis in my right knee began to seriously hinder my already limited mobility. We pushed back the meeting time to later in the day and I decided the smart move might be might be to take Leslie's SUV. And then it happened...

Michael Beattie went down.

According to eye witnesses, Beattie’s Triumph Bonneville (estimated to be moving at 2 miles per hour) lumbered out of control across the parking lot of a topless joint. Michael desperately attempted to execute what would have been a very snappy gradual stop — with the engine barely ticking at idle. Yet the complexity of the maneuver must have confused the rider... Or perhaps he was thinking of huge derrieres attached to dumpy tourists spilling out of brightly colored Bermuda shorts... But his line of travel took him through a half-inch deep drainage slough, lined with mud from the weekend’s rains, covered by a layer of fall leaves.

The Triumph reared like a Shetland pony, hurling Beattie to the ground, then coming to rest atop his right ankle, pinning him under the wreckage of smashed motorcycle parts. Beattie found himself on all fours, in the muck, screaming like a debutante on prom night. An elderly couple lifted the bike off him, got him out of the mud, and refused his 25¢ tip.

But the damage had been done.

The force of smashing into the ground sheared the rider’s peg from the kick plate. State Troopers would find it a quarter of a mile away, embedded into a 234-year-old pine tree, planted the day representatives from Pennsylvania signed the Declaration of Independence. (There are some who believe this is no coincidence.) The right front turn signal lens was also shattered. Oddly enough, the lens was colored “amber,” which happened to be the name of the topless dancer performing at that moment in the bar. (Another coincidence? You decide.)

Beattie called me at once. He sounded seriously rattled.

“Michael,” I said, using the same tone that has proven effective on stampeding cattle, “Calm down. Are you hurt?”

“My right ankle. I think it might be shattered,” he stammered. I knew exactly what he was thinking: that free healthcare in Canada was only 350-miles to the north. (As a Bolshevic in the classic sense, "free" stuff from the government, like in Greece, really appeals to him.)

“Forget the ankle. It’s fine. And just remember, you don’t speak French. The flesh-eating French-speaking zombies of Montreal would tear you apart.”

That got his attention.

“Now tell me,” I asked. “What is the damage to the bike?”

“I’m trapped here,” Beattie wailed. “The rider’s peg is gone from the bike. I’ll have to make a stirrup from an old shirt and hang my foot from the handlebars.”

“Don’t be absurd,” I said. “Pop out the passenger’s peg and use that one. It should fit fine. All you need is a pliers and a screw driver.”

“Will you talk me through it,” Beattie asked.

“I just did.”

“But what about the turn signal?”

“The bike will start without having a lens over the turn signal,” I said.

“Will it,” asked Beattie, the skepticism dripping from his voice. “It’s not a BMW, you know.”

“Trust me,” I replied. I promised Michael that I would find a local Triumph dealer and get the parts he needed to make a permanent repair for Wednesday. He stopped crying almost immediately.

Two hours later, we shook hands in a rest area on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. Michael Beattie and the Triumph Bonneville make the perfect couple. It is a retro bike and he cuts a retro figure, despite wearing contemporary gear. He pulled up to the SUV and dismounted, displaying only a touch of a limp. His 2007 Bonneville represents the height of the retro motorcycle-builder’s craft. The elegant understatement of the Bonneville is extraordinary. It is to motorcycles what the Jaguar XKE is to sports cars. Slightly mud-scarred from its encounter with the ground, the machine bore superficial scratching on the windscreen, and a smashed turn signal lens. We agreed it could have been much worse. The ride back to the house was fairly uneventful, except for the stretch where Beattie passed me in excess of 80 mph and gave me the finger.

Above — Leslie Marsh, my significant other. Seeing the initial extent of Michael Beattie's limp, Leslie thought he'd be grounded for a couple of days. A multi-media artist, "Stiffie" is seen here holding a soldering iron. This photo is a self-portrait.

Michael’s limp got worse before it got better. He admitted it felt like a lightly sprained ankle (which is like describing a lightly delivered kick in the balls). Over a fragrant dinner of Stiffie’s/Leslie’s (my red hot squeeze) Hodge Podge soup and freshly baked pumpkin bread, Beattie regaled us with his most recent tale of the road. Headed toward Binghamton, the threat of rain caused him to take a three-hour snooze under a low-standing shelter in a field. Daylight revealed it to be a cow. And a visit to a local sheriff’s office to get his Pepper Butt papers signed resulted in him getting a good going-over by night stick wielding cops.

Above — Michael Beattie unsuccessfully attempts to activate a force-field to defeat this photograph, as he puts a bag of ice on his right ankle. Photo by the author.

“I fail to understand your fascination with women who lift up their shirts when you pass by on your bike,” said Beattie. “It happened to me in Virginia yesterday and I think it’s an overrated thrill.” As it turns out, the woman was about 92-years-old and had ridden a Triumph to Woodstock, when she was 56. Michael’s classical riding style convinced the woman that she was saluting a contemporary. “She could have used knee braces for a brassiere,” he concluded.

Above: Beattie in metamorphosis... Michael holds up his "Inflata-Pants." These are the actual size of the rain pants that Beattie will stretch over his ass and inflate by some mysterious means into form-fitting raingear. Photo by the author.

I was amazed at lightly Michael had packed for this trip. Both of the Triumph’s sidebags were stuffed with maps, cans of kippered herring, and biscuits (which is the British word for hardtack “cookies”). His other change of clothes, and his rain gear were tucked inside a bright yellow duffle bag, upon which was stenciled, “Contents: Human Organs.” Beattie explained that he’d gotten the bag at an auction of surplus gear held by the Key Fungo Coroner’s Office. “I paid two dollars for it in 2005,” he said, with obvious pride. "And it came with a gallbladder."

Beattie was limping so badly at dinner’s end that he was using one of my canes to get around. Leslie was convinced he was likely to be grounded for a couple of days, but Michael was putting a good face on it. A dog person from the inside out, he formed an instant bond with Atticus (our German shepherd) and Scout (the rescue mutt).

“I am impressed by the size of this dog,” Beattie said, standing on the kitchen table to pet the Atticus as he passed by, with the Triumph in his mouth. “And the smaller white one has such sharp teeth. What is the command for getting her to let go of my ass?” (Scout is trained to release perceived burglars when they say. “God I wish I had a K75.” But they have to say it sincerely.)

Shortly after breakfast on the second day of his stay, I introduced Michael to Dick Bregstein, a fellow BMW rider and a celebrated member of the Mac-Pac, our charted BMW-riding club. Dick ran us up to Hermy’s, the local BMW and Triumph dealer, so we could get the replacement parts for the damaged bike. Hermy’s is located in Hamburg, Pa, a scant 65 miles from the house. Beattie was astounded to find a full-service dealer, in the middle of nowhere. While utterly taken aback by the long row of lethal-looking BMW motorcycles on display across the front of the shop, Michael swooned when he saw the five current Triumph models parked toward the rear of the showroom.

We had no sooner stepped through the door when the parts manager held up two plastic bags, containing the replacement peg and the turn signal lens. They even extended to Michael the Mac -Pac riding club discount. Hermy’s is a great place to run into riding friends and acquaintances. Paul Paradise, a rider from Delaware, was trading in one 10-year-old BMW for 6 new Triumphs, which utterly astounded Beattie. Michael was chattering away at Paul, regaling him with stories of life among the cannibals in Key West, as Bregstein and I made faces behind his back. Before we left, Paradise told us he nearly pissed himself trying to keep a straight face. The trip to Hermy’s has a way of taking up the whole day, especially if you stop for lunch. I’d often said that if Hermy’s had a bar, I spend the night there.

Dusk found Beattie and I drinking beer in the driveway, making slight adjustments to our bikes and wiping the grit off the easy-to-get-to spots. A crescent moon rose and basked each machine in a dim glow.

“May I share something with you that I have have told no other person,” asked Michael.

“Certainly,” I said, conscious of the fact that while my reply suggested confidentiality, I had actually promised nothing of the sort.

“You know how I make fun of people who name their motorcycles? Well I feel like something of a hypocrite.”

“Go on,” I encouraged. “There are no secrets between men here in the driveway.”

“Welllllll,” he stammered... “I do have a name for my bike. It’s Neville... For that great British statesman and Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain.”

“Peace in our time.”

“Exactly,” said Beattie. “I knew you would understand.”

“You bet,” I said, with my best Iscariot smile.

I showed Michael the more subtle operating points of the vintage BMW K75. Chief among these is the self-retracting side stand. It comes up if you pull in the clutch. Beattie was like a cat with a ball of yarn. "Can I make it come up one more time," he'd ask.

"Now, Michael," I replied. "This is the 30th time you've made the kick stand retract."

Then he would stare at the side stand one more time in utter amazement while pulling in the clutch, as unseen forces would bring it up. (The purpose of this is to prevent the rider from pulling away with the kick stand down. The system predates micro-switches that kill the engine under the same circumstances.)

That moon became a ghostly galleon a few hours later, and we awoke to a grey overcast. A bitch of a cold storm-front was moving through with more than an inch of precipitation expected in the next 12 hours. It was my plan to ride with Michael down to where Route 222 hits I-95, in Port Deposit, Maryland. I wisely decided to take Stiffie’s Subaru, as my left knee was as stiff as Farouk’s dick. Michael’s destination was the AutoTrain station, in Lorton, Va., a three-hour run. I took Michael down through a series of beautiful back roads that ran through horse country, passing the last stable of that racing legend Barbaro, then through Amish farmland. There was absolutely no traffic outside of West Chester, Pa. The sun was out in places, and many of the trees were gearing up for their fall colors. We bypassed the snarled traffic of Wilmington, De (all of that state in fact) and eliminated over a third of the slab in Maryland. We crossed into Maryland at a sign that indicated we’d also hit the Mason-Dixon line.

The first fat rain drops splattered on the pavement when we were 8 miles from I-95.

Pulling into a gas station, Beattie topped off his tank one more time and slipped into his rain gear. He admitted he was wearing more layers of clothing now than he had ever put on in his life. The crowning touch was a pair of over-gloves that had a claw-like look to them. (The last time I had seen anything like this it was on the midway of a cheesy carnival in Trenton, NJ. The act was “The Amazing Lobster Boy.”) Now wearing his costume, the Beattie sideshow took to the road.

Above — Cold but not yet raining... Beattie is wearing the warmest riding gear he's got, anticipating ambient temperatures as low as 54 degrees, at the beginning of his run to the AutoTrain. This is the famed Triumph Bonneville named "Neville." Photo by the author.

The rain had become a horizontal torrent by the time Michael Beattie banked out onto I-95. I sat and watched from the overpass as he faded into a murky dimension of dense rain and tire spray. Triumphs are all about tradition. The running light on the back of Michael’s Bonneville is patterned after the stern light of Lord Nelson’s flagship. It was clearly visible in that fading light for a good eight feet. The next time Beattie and I spoke — three hours later — the trainmen had just strapped his bike down for shipment to Orlando. Michael had changed into dry clothes, but decided to still wear his lobster claws as they really scared little kids.

Above — Early for "trick or treat," Lobster-Claw Beattie, the mutant Triumph rider, sets off on the first stage of his victory run to Key West. Beattie's policy is to never buy a helmet if the manufacturer's logo is larger than his eye glasses. Photo by the author.

I had been waiting for this historical run for two months. Yet I felt gypped that this damned arthritis prevented me from getting at least one good ride in with Michael Beattie. It had been my attention to take him along some of my favorite Amish roads around Lancaster, but circumstances worked against us.

Beattie is a genuine pisser of a guy and I do look forward to doing that Amish run with him next year... And also riding through “Alligator Alley” in Florida with him on my tail, studying the configuration of a real running light. He is a conservative rider by nature (certainly in Key West, where distances are limited by traffic and water), who recently discovered that his Triumph likes to run at 85mph. He also discovered that he likes to accommodate it too.

Few are those guests who leave a void that is hard to fill after they depart. I found myself hoping that Beattie could have delayed his departure by at least one day, but his schedule was unforgiving. Before he mounted up, Michael came into my office and presented me with two priceless gifts: A palm tree coffee cup, and a snow globe designed to look like the southernmost point on Key West. I am delighted with both. I've had my coffee from the palm tree cup every day this week. (My daily coffee is a cross between the ancient Japanese cha ceremony and the annointimg of the Dalai Lama. It's the perfect cup for it.)

42 comments:

Buster C said...

My last cat came from Lorton. She lived 21 good years and then just conked out. I was counting on you to write some Truth about at least part of this vicarious journey, but had a pang of heartbreak to read that you weren't able to ride together.
Cheers, Cindy

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Buster Cindy:

I'm sorry about your cat. If you want, I can recommend a really good taxidermist. I only write truth, whether the story is vicarious or not. This piece was perfectly truthful.

A lot was going on that week, and I was under a great deal of stress. That could have contributed to the arthritis problem too. My joints scream in advance of bad weather, and we had plenty of that before and after Michael's visit.

Thank you for reading, and for taking the time to draft a comment.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Canajun said...

Somehow Neville seems the perfect name for a retro Triumph. Good choice!

Shannon T Baker said...

Jack,

Another great post for the the Lord of Moto-Bloggers.

I love the Triumphs, if we had a decent dealership within 150 miles I might still have or want one.

My own plans for an iron butt (the 1000 miles in 24 hour "baby ride") fell through this summer as sending my Baby Girl off to college took up all my vacation, cash and required the sale of a couple of organs as wel but I plan to make it next year.

It would be cool to have a Sporty, Bonney and BMW on a run through Alligator Alley but only if it was a "proper" beemer with horizontally opposed cylinders.

Hang in there...

-Buddha

Bryce said...

Key west Dairy???

Niteowl said...

Hi Jack,

The last time I rode a Bonneville was in 1968, while in the Navy and stationed at Key West. A sweet machine. Mostly scooters down there then.

Sorry you didn't get a ride in with Michael. His lost, missing an up close view of your riding skills!

I know about the pain from the arthritis, not fun. Hope to have surgery on one knee in January and Feb/Mar for the other knee.

Not much riding this summer, Atlanta in July and BuRP rally in August. We didn't go to Wisconsin this pass summer, so at the end of September I decided I needed a long ride. Left for Wisc. on 9/28 and returned 10/6. Went alone, as Lucy has no scoot and didn't think she could ride pillion that many hours (bad hip like you). Got a wee bit chilly some days. Have a great ride.

Alway enjoy reading about twisted tales, oops, I mean roads.

Ride safe,

Wayne

bobskoot said...

Jack:

I wished I could have been there too for the Palm Tree mug . Michael has given me the snow globe which I keep at the office as a paperweight. I think of him everytime I have to move it.

I haven't ridden with him either as he was anxious to get on the road after our meeting in Bend, OR last July.

I hope Michael is okay after his unfortunate incident

bob
bobskoot: wet coast scootin

Conchscooter said...

I am absolutely astonished to find out there is an alter ego wandering around who appears to have some similar habits to myself, though as you know I don't name machinery, nor do I fall off motorcycles and my personal attire has led me to be compared more to Gary Cooper than Benny Hill and my riding style to Irondad than James Dean.
I have actually seen you ride ( from the driveway to the garage) and I don't think anyone has lost anything if they happen to miss the display.
yous insincerely
Michael, Count Agusta of Ramrod.
Post scriptum: in honor of your dog I am thinking about naming my Triumph Ironballs but for some reason it sounds derivative.

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Canajun:

I can't imagine why Mr. Beattie is so reticent about him naming his motorcycle after the most notable politicians of the 20th Century. And now his thinking of renaming the machine "Ironballs," after my grandmother.

Michael Beattie is amazing.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Shannon Baker:

You are too kind and generous in your praise of my feeble talents.

A proper BMW is one with a cooling system that alows the rider to touch the engine block after a 4-hour run, and feel only the mildest of warming sensations. This could be a difficult concept for you to understand as your machine is powered by a wedge taken out of a 1922 aircraft engine.

Still, I look forward to riding through Alligator Alley with you as well.

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

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Bryce:

Close enough.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear NiteOwl:

I think of you all the time. I'm sorry about your knee surgery and hop it will allow you to enjoy many pain-free rides in the future. Let's start planning something for next spring. We could call it the return to the Amish Road Apple Tree Ride.

I am sorry to hear about Lucy's hip.

Thanks for reading and for leaving a comment.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Bobscoot:

I cautioned Michael that he should have stayed an extra couple of days as he kept walking into walls and falling off his chair. At one point, he put on his helmet and tired to ride Atticus.

Since Michael got home okay I assume he his in good health. Thanks for reading and for leaving a comment.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad
Twisted Roads

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Mr. Beattie:

In addition to the towel and the silverware setting that appear to be missing since your visit, Leslie claims an ashtray, a dog bowl, and six rolls of toilet paper are also gone. Do you think these could have been put in your side bag by mistake?

My grandmother claims she is flattered you are renaming your bike "Ironballs" in her honor.

Fondest regards, etc.
Jack • reep • Toad

Conchscooter said...

Too bad you haven't found Bregsteins reading glasses and the hornets next either.
love
Neville

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Mr. Beattie:

Did you take a picture of the hornet's nest when you were in there?

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad
Twisted Roads

Nikos said...

Jack
The innuendo stream in this piece was quite first rate - I particularly warmed to the reference to
a British boarding school and that might be known in some circles as a "Public School", not to be confused with a "State school" where all the dross go. The rite of passage might be better described as , no, I had better not go there.

Well done to Michael and he has my fool sympathies over his foot peg issue: I had to repair mine with garden hose pipe.

best wishes from Benny Hill country, N

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Nikos:

I thought you might like this piece, and I am delighted to know it satisfied. I do try to be entertaining. I have noty been able to think of mounting my motorcycle for the past 18 days, due to incredible right knee pain. And as suddenly as it came, it has left me this morning.

I plan to ride this weeknd.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad
Twisted Roads

Raoul Duke said...

Dear Mr. Riepe;

I have been using Mr. Beattie's blog as a reading source for students in my "Statists, Stalinists and Satirists" 200 level class here at the Conch Community College for many years. I was terrified to read of his Caesar's Palace-like crash fearing I'd have to get off my State supported ass and actually work at updating my course material if he were further brain damaged. Now that the truth came out in your blog, I can go back to posing my copius posterior in a speedo outside of the Green Parrot in Kew Yeast, hoping to someday achieve immortality as a cameo in Michaels "Kew Yeast Dairy". In the interim, I will become a loyal reader of your fine prose.

cpa3485 said...

While you and Michael were drinking whiskey, repairing bikes and generally carousing around, I was in the midst of finishing up some tax returns last week for the people that were on extension to October 15th and waiting until the last minute. It's the same people almost every year.
I have to admit to some doubt about all of the truth in your story after first reading, and only was able to independently verify the truths after reading Michael's blog this morning. I was reserving comment until I had a second opinion of the events. I'm like that. And it's not that I doubted you, but then again.....
You had good evidence from that fascinating picture of Michael with the ice pack, but in the back of my mind I thought it could have been staged. (wouldn't put it past either of you)
I'm glad the two of were able to get together and somewhat sorry that a ride together didn't happen but that's okay. I didn't get to ride with him either, but was able to demonstrate to him the superior nature of Chinese scooters compared with scooters of Italian nameplates. He was summarily impressed.
And after he and Layne visited us this summer, we discovered we had some missing dustcatchers from our living room. We thought we had maybe just misplaced them, but after reading the comments, now I have to wonder because I know how Michael loves dustcatchers. We will be launching a further investigation, although (luckily) I don't think we are missing any toilet paper.

I should never have doubted you and hereby apologize for thinking bad things about you. Wish I could have been there to witness the conversations with the 2 of you. It had to be a witty battle of titans.

Hopefully forgiven,

Jimbo

Joe Dille said...

Great job Jack.

Conchscooter said...

Come the revolution you will all be hanging from lamp posts; in Somalia a place where they don't have a functioning government at all and dialling 9-1-1 gets you a visit from neighborhood pirates. Then you'll become a statist like me.

jasiii said...

She could have used knee braces for a brassiere << what a super great line..
Again, you have managed to share a good laugh

Thanks

Jim

BMW-Dick said...

Dear Jack:
Thank you for inviting me to chauffeur you and Michael to Hermy's. Thanks also for that crappy, carb-enhanced lunch; I still have the "waddles" from it. It was a fun day. I wish Michael lived closer, so we could teach him how to ride long distances. Even though he talks shit, it's sounds classy with a British accent, and that would do a lot to enhance our otherwise sullied reputations.
Good write-up, by the way....as if you care what I think.

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Duke Raoul:

To say that Michael Beattie has been skating on his reputation as a humorist is like claiming that Mao Asada and Daisuke Takahashi know their way around a rink too. (It is understatement in its purest form.)

The best way to get a cameo appearance in Key West Dairy is to disguise yourself as Trotsky and pose on a pedistal. I guarantee that in less than 5 minutes, Michael Beattie will take your picture and gush chapters on your virtue.

Thank you for reading Twisted Roads. Send me a picture of yourself feeding a chicken perched on a Triumph seat and you'll get star billing in my blog.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad
Twisted Roads

Jack Riepe said...

Dear CPA3485 (Jimbo):

Your apology is accepted... But don't let that stop you from sending me an expensive gift just to make sure. Beattie is just low enough to say that I had crashed my bike, but I got the drop on his limping business and the smashed motorcycle bits. His goose arrived pre-cooked.

I am still lightly offended that you felt compelled to check my facts against Beattie's fancifdul statements. It should have been obvious to you. Haven't you heard the expression "Beattie-little eyes?" They suggest untruth. Do you think that's a coincidence?

Don't let it happen again.

Fondest regards,
Jackl • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Joe Dille:

One does the best one can with what one has to work with. Thank you for your note of sympathy and support.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad
Twisted Roads

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Conch:

Your revolution is dead on arrival. Do you honestly think men your rally to you wearing those stupid rain gloves?

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Tod
Twisted Roads

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Jasiii:

The truth is painful, but it will eventually set us free — or so some say. I thought you'd appreciate my filmy attempt to record all of Mr. Beattie's remarks.

Thank you for reading, and for writing in.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Dick:

What say we ride down to Key West and kick some advanced middle aged Triumph-Thrown lightweight ass?

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Advising prudence, Ihor said...

Do ride to Key West, but do so by buying a round trip fare on the Auto-Train. It will be cheaper, and leave you covered in case you decide not to "ride" back. Enjoy the overnight compartment and then spend a long weekend riding around the Key and have a more enjoyable trip. Or skip the trip and hoard dollars for that new knee and hip!!
K75 for sale?

Raoul Duke said...

Mr. Riepe;

Your offer of posing a chicken on a Triumph to achieve immortality seems too trite to satify the Taoists credo. Posing as a trotsky in Key West would blend in too much with the locals to get a photo op in Michael's blog. Instead I'm going to don my Dan Quayle mask this halloween and go door to door in Kew Yeast handing out singles of Bushmills (in honor of G.H. and G.W.), Jelly Belly beans (in honor of Ronnie)... and hire a stipper to videolog the whole affair.

With great admiration for the one last true Americans north of Stock Island, I remain yours -

Forest hoag said...

This post really inspires me, not just to do some ironbutt events, but also to watch my step in the local gentleman's club parking lot, it looks bad in your buddy's blog. Wonderful prose, as always.

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Ihor:

The rountrip ticket on the Auto Train and the sale of 3 K75s wouldn't cover one day in the hospital.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Raoul Duke:

Your plan just reeks of merit! Carry on!.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Forest Hoag:

Thank you for reading Twisted Roadsand for leaving a comment. I derive my strength from reader satisfaction. As per this epic crash, the drainage slough was about the size of your pocket.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad
Twisted Roads

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Forest Hoag:

Thank you for reading Twisted Roadsand for leaving a comment. I derive my strength from reader satisfaction. As per this epic crash, the drainage slough was about the size of your pocket.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad
Twisted Roads

Clarifyingly, Ihor said...

I meant that a ticket to and from Florida would save travel time and off and back on the K75 time. And you'll need many days in the hospital, best to start planning a Telethon or a bank job.

Noteworthy typo - "Twisted Roadsand"

Conchscooter said...

Go to canada or get a government job to get your knees fixed.Actually better not- the knees provide the perfect excuse not to attempt to ride your clockwork "motor" bike.
Hey did you see stiffie left a comment on my blog? I nearly had a heart attack. It didn't sound like you- it actually sounded nice.

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Conch:

I think I'll hold out a bit longer. As a famous writer, I'll be able to afford all kinds of excesses... The trick is to close your eyes and take that first step.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad
Twisted Roads

Michael Evans said...

Jack,

While your story was quite enjoyable, I must say I am shocked that you schlepped your guest nearly twice the distance necessary to find a full service Triumph dealer (there is one about 30 miles from West Chester in Boyertown, PA). This was an obvious ploy to reinvigorate feelings of horror associated with tales of the Blitzkrieg on London.

mtlcowgirl said...

Jack,

Michael doesn't have to go all the way up to Montreal to encounter flesh-eating, French speaking zombies. They live among us.
In New Jersey. (That would be moi.)

Great stuff as usual.