The standard BMW top case for the K75 motorcycle is strong, holds quite a bit, and pops on or off in an instant. It will easily take a container of fried rice and General Tso's Chicken, but it's German design does not lend itself for carrying an extended Chinese dinner. I found this out the hard way.
The saga began on a recent Sunday evening, when a noticeable lack of activity in the kitchen prompted me to ask the haus-frau "what had become of dinner?" A hunting knife hissed through the air and came to rest in the wall an inch or so from my head. Riding pillion on the blade was a menu from the local Chinese eatery. The lady of the house is not one to waste words.
"Never mind," I yelled down the darkened hall that had just spewed the knife. "I think I'll order Chinese."
These are the kind of heartwarming dialogues that inspire me to get on my bike and take a little ride. I fired up the K75 and roared into town. Actually, this town was about 80 miles distant and a place I had never been to before. There were much closer towns with Chinese take-out places (like the one we live in), but the day was coming to a glorious close and I thought I'd make the most of the opportunity.
At one point, I was passed by a stunning Asian beauty on a tricked out BMW GS. "She must know a great place for dumplings," I thought, noting how the tailored look of her Aerostitch outer skin complimented the gentle curve of her butt. (Actually, I was thinking, "Those are curves I could easily lean into.") So I rode behind her for an hour hoping she was headed to a take-out place of distinction. A BMW GS rider might be headed for the local post office, but by the same token, they could just as easily be headed for Tierra Del Fuego. So I pulled alongside and jazzed my engine, making as much noise as a hamster shredding a newspaper. When I finally got her attention, I made an exaggerated chewing motion with my jaw while pointing down toward my stomach. It was my intention to indicate I was hungry, but since my shape is ill-defined, it could have looked like I was pointing toward my crotch. This must mean something else in an Asia culture, as she flipped me the bird and took off.
Great Chinese cuisine is well worth driving for and everybody has a favorite place. Mine is in a memory from 1975, when a smoking-hot brunette rode pillion into Manhattan on the back of my long-gone Kawasaki, and introduced me to chop sticks. My K75 is like a time machine. Twisting the throttle turns back the years. The effect is temporary, but good enough. When BMW Motorrad comes up with a way to make it stick, everybody will ride a Beemer. In the meantime, I rode until hunger reminded me that a knife-throwing woman was waiting for dinner back home.
Every strip mall in America has a storefront Chinese restaurant. It's now required by many building codes. (But shouldn't a strip mall be the kind of place where one goes to find strippers? I can't imagine anyone fighting a developer looking to push a concept like that.)
The restaurant I went into had a sign outside with a dragon eating a child. My common mistake in a place like this is ordering a little of this and a little of that, eventually resulting in a bale of Chinese food. By discarding the plastic sack and individually fitting each item in the top case like a puzzle piece, I was able to accommodate everything.
Unbeknown to me, however, closing the lid had the effect of compacting the containers, and opening their lids.
"Where the hell did you go?" asked the love of my life as I pulled into the driveway. "Honestly Jack, you go out the door and either get lost or come home with amnesia."
I was tempted to ask, "Was I supposed to bring something back?" But I noticed she was boiling water with laser beams coming out of her eyes, and I didn't want the lady to redirect her aim.
"Wait until you see what I got, " I said, opening the top case. It was then I discovered three of the containers had discharged their contents directly into the bottom of the case. While it was still possible to pick out individual dumplings, stray pieces of beef, and the odd water chestnut, it was obvious we'd be eating a huge "combo" dinner in the garage.
Above: Anything is possible when you ride a K75, especially one with a "Sprint Fairing," like the late and lamented "Blueballs." Here I lured the nice Asian hottie back to garage to have dinner with me. Circumstances made it necessary to eat right from the top case. (Note, the author is no longer this huge, but is still a load and a half.) Photo by Leslie Marsh, who is very open-minded about who follows me home and what goes on in the garage.
German engineering thoughtfully provided a sectionalized bottom to this top case, which allows Chinese sauces of various viscosity to run into a little drainage channel, preventing them from oozing out through the connecting pin device. This clever arrangement seems almost made for this occurrence, which makes me wonder if German engineers think all Americans are as dopey as I am.
Above: The combo dinner from hell: Happy Friggin' Phoenix and Dysfunctional Dragon, alá Munich. The perfectly balanced meal... It had to be, as it leaned with the bike in every curve. Photo by Leslie Marsh.
Above: What setting could possibly be more elegant or more romantic? Dinner for two in a K75 top case. Photo by Leslie Marsh.
Thinking quickly, I dropped a couple of handfuls of white rice on two plates. I then used an oil funnel from the work bench as a scoop to bail a pint of hell’s combo onto the rice. Rushing into the kitchen, I said, "This is something new. It's called Friggin' Dragon, Phoenix, and Tiger... Three flavors in a delightful culinary menage á tois."
"So while you were out riding around for four hours, the lids came off in the top case," sighed my gentle beauty, with the implication that one of us was a horse's ass and that it wasn't her.
"Well, yes," I stammered. "But I intend to complain directly to the top people at BMW, " And I did too.
Author's note: The beautiful model in the photograph is "Kim." If Leslie had ever once said "yes" to the highly romantic marriage proposals I make every Thursday at 2pm, Kim would be my daughter-in-law, as she is married to one of Leslie's sons. The look of askance that Kim is giving me was not rehearsed nor simulated. This is how Kim looks at me all the time. And now her kids look at me the same way. It's nice to know I haven't lost my touch.
Copyright Jack Riepe 2005 — All rights reserved.
Copyright Jack Riepe 2005 — All rights reserved.