Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Interim Blog Message...

New Twisted Roads stories are posted every Monday and Thursday...
To read the Monday, June 27, 2011 Twisted Roads story post, please click here.

To read the announcement regarding the recent literary scandal over Jack Riepe’s epic work Politically Correct Cigar Smoking For Social Terrorists, please continue below.

Cigar Book Scandal Rocks Social and Literary Circles...
• Book's magic properties are disputed
• Many women think the author is a prick

Amish Curse, Pa (June 28) —
In a tearful statement to the world press, his family, and a number of former wives assembled for the occasion, the embattled author of Politically Correct Cigar Smoking For Social Terrorists ended 11 years of rumor, and “came clean” about the book that redefined manly behavior. Jack Riepe today admitted that three of the more astounding characteristics attributed to the book are unsubstantiated.

Politically Correct Cigar Smoking For Social Terrorists was never printed on paper made from the burial bandages of the Pharaoh Imohotep IV,” said Riepe, “And just holding the book will not channel the cosmic power of the god-kings of ancient Egypt into an individual’s hands.” The author also discredited claims that the book had cured athlete’s foot and prevented stale gasoline separation in motorcycle gas tanks over the winter.

“For all practical purposes, it has the physical properties of any other paperback book,” said Riepe. “These outrageous claims were always nonsense. I never said anything linking cigars to Imohoteo IV, athlete’s foot, nor the separation of lousy gas with ethanol. And I defy anyone to show me where I did.” Despite the author’s obvious passion and sincerity, these comments caused several of his former wives to snicker and even spit into the water pitcher on his podium.

When asked about bizarre reader claims that the book liberated men from the emotional enslavement of women, gave some a new direction in life, and even provided a few with raging four-hour, rock-hard erections, Riepe responded, “You’ll have to ask my readers. I am not the source of these statements, but I am proud to be associated with them.”

Politically Correct Cigar Smoking For Social Terrorists is about life, love, cigars, science, nature, cigars, how to get what you want for Father’s Day, how to avoid household chores, cigars, and relationship building in third and fourth marriages, with an occasional story about cigars. “It was written for the man who thinks he knows who he is, and for the woman who intends to tell him otherwise,” said Riepe.

Many women were present for the announcement and a lot of them weren’t happy.

“The biggest mistake I ever made in my life was giving my husband of 12 years a copy of this book,” said Christie LeTart, a dental technician from Sioux City, NJ . “For six months he followed me around the house, reading aloud from that damn book. I eventually had to leave him, and he’s been lending that book to all his friends ever since.”

“The man in my life was gentle, sweet, and fully predictable. He read two chapters in that book, sat down at Thanksgiving dinner, and said to my mother, ‘Pass the salt and shut the hell up, you ugly bitch,’” said Constance Fonger, a professor of woman’s studies at Taughtlip University. “Now whenever I try tell him something he can do to improve his personality or his career, he just picks up the salt shaker and smiles.”

Not every women present regarded Riepe’s book as threatening, nor did all find its impact on men objectionable. “I was on the verge of telling my boyfriend, an accountant, that we were through, as the life and magic had gone out of our relationship,” said April Timmons, a lingerie model from Atlanta. “Then he read Politically Correct Cigar Smoking For Social Terrorists. He bought a motorcycle, started pissing off the back deck, and got a new job as a steelworker. Yesterday, he told me he’d do all my friends within two days of us breaking up. I find this new side of him utterly fascinating.”

To some, the most shocking part of today’s announcement is that the global supply of this cigar book is running out, and may never be reprinted. Experts claim there are less than 2 cases of these books left, and most of these may be reserved for Riepe fans at the BMW MOA Rally in Bloomsburg, Pa, next month. Cigar aficionados, those who smoke only occasionally, and others with an appreciation of scalding humor — who want to own a cult book selling for as high as $187.26 in the collector’s market (Amazon) — should order their copies now.

For Only $25
plus $5 shipping and handling

To Order Your Copy of
Politically Correct Cigar Smoking For Social Terrorists:

Email your full name, address, and phone number to:

Put: "Book Order" in the subject line
Each book is shipped with an invoice and a stamped, pre-addressed payment envelope. Write a check, and slip it in the mailbox.

To Order A Gift Book For Someone Else:

Email your full name, address, and phone number to:

Very Important:
Also include the gift book’s recipient’s full name, (First and Last), and tell me something about him. (He plays golf, he rides a motorcycle, he hunts, he smokes cheap cigars, tell me something.) Your name will be included in the inscription on the book.

©Copyright Jack Riepe 2011

Monday, June 27, 2011

Sometimes A Person Is The Destination...

There are times when the ride is the destination. And there are times when the destination is not the end of the ride but the begining of the next. And then there are times when the people you meet along the way become a destination unto themselves.

The headlight bobbing in the right mirror was Dick Bregstein, holding the wingman’s position as we cruised down Route 9 in Delaware. I have written about Route 9 several times... It is a one of kind road that spans some of the most beautiful real estate in the eastern U.S. A stone’s throw away from the largest cities in Delaware (Wilmington and Newark), plus the madhouse that is New Jersey, it is a marvel of repose seemingly designed for motorcycles. Tucked away in preserved salt marshes and tidal farms, Bregstein and I refer to this as our “Anti-Amish Run.”

Typicially, Dick and I will head off to Lancaster for more sedate society: horse-drawn buggies, on narrow, high-banked farm roads that wind their way through quant-sounding places like “Intercourse, Bird-In-Hand,” and “Silent Wife, Pa.” (which is close to “Paradise”). But there comes a time when you just feel inclined to exchange the sweet manure-scent and the cackle of crows for the pungent bite of the salt marshes and the screech of gulls. This summer day, four years ago, was just one of those occasions.

We had already passed the cast-iron back-range lighthouse, the town of Taylor’s Bridge, and the nature preserves. We’d run our tires through the high tide seeping over the roadway where the low bridges carried the road over the inlets, and buzzed by the nesting ospreys. We’d seen the huge ships coming up through the mouth of the Delaware, and the huge transport aircraft taking off from Dover Air Force Base. And we’d cruised 36 miles of inland coastal roadway, virtually free of traffic and northing in the way of local police. Yet in truth, I had no desire to speed. It was as if we were touring a bayside version of Mayberry RFD, in 1962.

It’s not enough for me to ride through a particular scenario... I have to taste it. And the farther Dick and I rode along Route 9 that day, the more determined I became to taste the ocean, or at least part of the bay for which Delaware is famous. Yet If Route 9 has a fault, it is a shortage of watering holes where the average biker can pull in to flush the road grit from his throat, or to sample the local cuisine (which in Delaware during the summer is crabs and crab cake, the market price of which is similar to gold).

There is a joint in Port Penn, but that is too near the beginning of the run to stop. (I have never been in there.) A very famous bar and inn patronized by Teddy Roosevelt used to be at Augustine Beach. (He has not been there lately and the place has closed.)There is a fish joint on the water in Leipsic, called Sambo’s. It is alleged to be big on local crab flavor, but the ambience here falters. The bar is unassuming, but not particularly chummy. I’ve had a few snorts there, but didn’t feel inclined to stay.

Bregstein and I were debating cutting over to Chesapeake City, in neighboring Maryland (where the crab and seafood places are shoulder-to-shoulder), when we passed a bar called “The Three Cavaliers.”

“Let’s give it a shot,” I yelled, to which Dick (in his customary good humor) simply nodded. We were backtracking two or three miles when I passed the strangest vehicle on the shoulder. It was a trike, built entirely of wood, including the forks and handlebars, pulling a trailer, also of wood. At the controls was a man, who was apparently 200-years-old, dressed in worn seafaring garb, with a look on his face that clearly said, “Today is another day in my life and go fuck yourself.”

The trike didn’t seem to be making any noise, but was moving along at a good 20-25 miles per hour. I was watching this machine in my mirror, when the old guy waved. I waved back. So did Bregstein.

The Three Cavaliers met my expectations all the way around. The bartender, a gent named Chuck, hustled me a Myers and Coke faster than I could drape my jacket over the back of the barstool. He also recommended we try the crab bisque, the specialty of the house. Now wherever you go in Delaware or Maryland, the specialty of the house will be steamed crabs, crab bisque, or crab cakes — if the place is a seafood joint. And the waiter or the guy behind the bar will swear the place has been famous for this specialty for 90 years, and that people come from Iowa or Rumania, and stand on line in the rain, just to get it. And nine times out of ten, the crabs will just be okay, the bisque or chowder is tolerable, and the crab cakes taste like shit. Now I love crab, clams, oysters, and all kinds of fish, but I used to think great crab cake was a mythical thing, thought up by the Maryland Chamber of Commerce.

The crab bisque at The Three Cavaliers was a signature chowder that could have hung in the Louvre. It was thick, creamy (with real butter and heavy cream), that seemed to act as a lubricant for chunks of crabmeat. And while there seemed to be a hint of Old Bay spice about it, nothing overpowered the taste of the crab. So within the space of 15 minutes, I was immersed in the fragrant aroma of crab, Old Bay, and dark rum in the air conditioned atmosphere of a well-kept gin mill.

Then the door to the bar flew open and in stepped the specter of the misplaced Ahab from the wooden trike. He paused in the doorway, and took stock of the clientele at the bar. Then despite that only two of the 14 or so seats were occupied by Bregstein and I, he sat down next to me.

And my first unkind thought of the day was, “How do these people find me?”

“Hello Captain,” said the bartender to the apparition-like character. “The usual?”

Not only was the guy well-known, but he was respected enough to have a usual, which turned out to be a pint glass of beer.

The “Captain” had a fascinating story. He was not a fishing captain, but a retired captain of infantry from WWII. He lived in a shack on a nearby beach under the most amazing conditions. The shack was on property that had been acquired by the federal government, or the state government, or some fucking government. The captain was grandfathered into this living arrangement. When he died, or left, the shack passed to whatever government agency had brokered the deal. The shack, which had been his home for years, had no electricity or running water.

The “Captain” made a kerosine run twice a month, with his trike and trailer, carrying 25 gallons of fuel out to the shack to boil water, to cook, and to fill his lanterns. He also made a water run once a week too. He had lost his license at some point, and built the trike himself. It was powered by an electric motor he got someplace, and by eight car batteries hooked up in a series.

And then this amazing individual cut me down a notch.

“Please give this gentleman a drink,” the Captain said to Chuck.

I was astounded, and clinked his glass ceremoniously.

When my glass was again empty, I tried to buy him one.
“The Captain is limited to one drink per day,” said Chuck, with a knowing smile. “He is a man of excitable temperament.”

Dick and I left the Captain at the bar, where he and Chuck were ruminating like Republicans. Outside, we examined the trike and the trailer. It was a rough-hewn piece of work held together by a lot of basic hardware.

“This is one tough old guy,” said Bregstein. At the time, Dick was riding a BMW F650, painted in a dignified Howard-Johnson’s orange. “Think he’d take your bike in trade for the trike?”

“He sure as hell wouldn't take yours,” I replied.

I regret to report that the Three Cavaliers did not survive the ongoing economic slump. It was closed and listed "For Sale" when I last went by, a few weeks ago.

Twisted Road Readers Check-In:

From Ed Zachary Wright

In a warm personal note to me, Ed Zachary Wright said, “I was describing your prose style to the S.O. (who is also a writer, but of the grant-getting variety) and summed you up as "Dave Barry meets Hunter Thompson and they go pick up P.J. O'Rourke and all go out for and drink and to get laid."

Of his new Ducati Diavel, he says, “That Diavel truly is the most astonishing motorcycle I have ever ridden since I got my first Honda Mini Trail 50 in 1968. It has all the intuitive competence of the Ducati 848 Superbike I traded in, but with much more power, and luxurious comfort. It really is a superbike for old farts like us. You need to seek one out and ride it. Then sell whatever it takes to buy it. PLUS they've done whatever it took to push the dreaded valve adjust interval (which costs a left nut) out to 15,000 miles. Life just keeps getting better and better...

Ed Zachary Wright and his BMW GS and new Ducati Diavel.
The GS is the yellow one in the background. The two are often confused.

From Robert Haskins

This dedicated Twisted Roads reader has been following my work for years. Robert Haskins wrote, "You certainly tell a fine tale and can sculpt a phrase as smooth as a coed's ass, or a well turned pool cue. Speaking of asses, I'm through kissing yours, now."

Robert Haskins as he appeared to me in a dream.

Robert Haskins and his 1985 Yamaha Virago, still looking like it did right out of the showroom.

From Carl Carlson

What is it about New Hampshire where they seem to give folks the same name twice? Carl Carlson was good enough to write "I have been enjoying your blog ever since discovering it via the BMWOA mag articles… it’s actually quite addictive! And, I also love the positive reinforcement for my K75 which, as you have probably experienced, draws stares of disbelief from many of our riding brethren."

Carl Carlson on his 1993 K75, with Russell saddles.

A closer look at Carl Carlson's 1993 BMW K75RT. The older-style Russell saddles provide a unique look to this bike, while dramatically boosting rider comfort. The fairing on this RT is in pretty good shape, though Carl agrees the civilian version of the crash bars are not as functional as the authority bars, though sleeker.

From Stu Goodall

Everyone knows that Canadians cannot tell a lie. Stuart Goodall confesses, "I have not read your blogs in a long time." (He doesn't even pretend to like them.)

Stu Goodall's 1993 K75 FX — a former Toronto Police "Authority" bike. Stu really liked the BMW "Taxi" paint scheme and thought it would really add something to the K75. Note the additional authority bars in the back, as well as the broad set in the front.

The business end of Stu Goodall's K75 "Authority Taxi" is big on lights,
with this unique arrangement, also sporting dual horns. With the
black fork gaiters, this bike does have a rather commanding presence.

From William John Woods

Once again, my writing style seems to have appealed to another rider. Bill Woods graciously writes, "I'm looking forward to reading your book. I'm taking it with me on a trip to the Gaspe Peninsular in a couple of weeks. Your sarcastic wit reminds me of the writings of Jimmy Breslin and Howie Carr."

Bill Woods is the genius and crafting hand behind Ogunquit Wooden Toy, a source of beautiful wooden baby rattles and other wooden toys made from selected native and exotic hardwoods and finished with walnut oil and beeswax. These enduring wooden works of art can be seen here.

William John Woods on his Honda ST1300, tearing up the gravel in Maine. This bike is loaded for bear.

From Mike Peters

Mike Peters, a professional photographer who senses human attributes in motorcycles, wrote, "I'd like to take this opportunity to thank you for all of your wonderful stories about motorcycles, friendship and adventure. Although we've never met, I feel like I know you. One of these days.

"By the way, notice how the jugs on the Guzzi are upright and perky like a young lady sans enhancement? Not like those droopy air and oil head jugs, hanging off to the side, all used up and tired looking. I'm sure you can appreciate the difference."

Mike, I ride a "K" bike, which has a dick. I'll wave it when I pass you.

Mike Peters, confirmed perky Moto Guzzi "Goose" rider, and Twisted Roads Reader

Mike Peters's Moto Guzzi "Goose" on a recent run to West Virginia and the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Got a cool picture to share and a line or two to cast into cyber print? Then send them both to
jack.riepe@gmail.com (.) Mark the subject line "Twisted Roads Readers Check In."

A special episode of Twisted Roads will run on Wednesday, in addition to the Thursday post. This is in advance of the BMW MOA Rally in Bloomsburg, Pa, July 21 — July 24, 2011.
©Copyright Jack Riepe 2011 — All rights reserved

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Dispatches From The Front... June 2011

Once a month, Twisted Roads will present "Dispatches From The Front," a collection of letters from our readers, many of whom are writing from the road, the halls of government, pool halls, the Witness Protection Program, and fully accredited mental institutions. Whenever possible, the Twisted Roads Editorial staff will attempt to answer readers' questions or provide some measure of resolution.

Dear Dispatches From The Front:

Can you kindly help us get this message out to your Canadian Readers? While the Canadian Post Office strike has all of us by the short hairs, rest assured your government feels your pain. We have just published a booklet titled, “How To Make The Most Of An Endless Postal Strike In The Workers’ Paradise.” This 64-page booklet — written in both French and the lesser English — is filled with lots of great ideas like:

• How to form a neighborhood mail collective
• 16 things to do each day instead of reading your mail
• How to prevent canine despondency in animals used to attacking the postman.
• When yelling across the street is more effective than not saying, “I love you, too.”
• Why you can't have health care and a postal network too
• Plus more

This beautiful book is printed on high-quality paper, recycled from Asian School Lunch menus, leather- bound (from the hides of commercially-bred zoo animals), and fully illustrated by Native Canadian artists (First Settlers, without a grant from the Crown), who were only fed 100% natural food (fish and migrating egrets, that died of 100% natural causes, while listening to the Canadian equivalent of National Public Radio).

Your book will arrive in the mail soon.
(Merde! We forgot. It may take longer.)

Charles Longdyke
Government Publications About Everything
Ottawa, Ontario, CANADA 2C4 FU2

En Francais
Charlie Longuedeek
Government Livres Sur Toute Pour
Ottawa, Ontario CANADA 2C4 FU2

Dispatches From The Front Responds:
Mange mois.

Dear Dispatches From The Front:

I went to my local BMW dealer and ordered a spare clutch cable for a 1994 K75. Like most BMW dealers, he was able to produce this part for a 17-year-old motorcycle in less than 30 seconds, and he did so with a smile.

“How much,” I asked, getting ready to spread my butt cheeks with a smear of Honda Moly.

“Twenty-one, fifty,” the dealer replied.

“Two thousand, one hundred and fifty dollars?” I screamed. “I’ll eat broken glass first.”

“No... No.” he stuttered. “You misunderstand. Its only $21.50.”

“But I wanted a genuine O.E.M. part, touched by the elves in Bavaria.”

“This is a genuine, O.E.M. BMW part from the elves in Bavaria.”

“You’re not shitting me?” I asked.

“No sir...” He said. “This cable has all the real Black Forest elven magic.”

“For $21.50.”

“Yes sir... For $21.50.”

“Then give me 100 of them.”

“You want 100 spare clutch cables for a 1994 BMW K75?” the dealer asked.

“Yes,” I said. “Right now.”

“But that will only leave us with 250 in immediate inventory,” he said.

“That is not my concern,” I snapped.

He counted out 100 cables, and charged me $2,150.00. I then took the 100 cables to a local tailor shop and had them woven into a stainless steel jock strap. Now whenever I go for a ride, I slip on my armored Bavarian “scrotum-saver.” It is to remind me of the day when I bought a BMW O.E.M. part with a pricetag didn’t break my balls. Do you think there would be a market for this level of rider protection?

Martin “The Beeve” Sullivan

Dispatches From The Front Responds:
Riders of the Harley Davidson persuasion have been wearing something like these for for years... Except is it woven from barbed wire and installed by their woman, who use only their teeth in the weaving and in the installation. Once the barbed scrotum “tickler” is tightly interwoven around the rider’s balls, it is sent out to be chromed.

Dear Dispatches From The Front:
I belong to a group of Harley riders that adheres to the ancient rituals of our order. Each of us is an expert on road survival, metallurgy, basic and advanced mechanics, electrical theory, long-distance riding, the martial arts, and one or more major religions (plus a meditative discipline). We are also gourmet cooks. Yesterday, a new guy (from San Francisco) tried to buffalo me into adding caraway seeds to the rough batter for traditional Irish Soda Bread. I bitched slapped him out of the kitchen with a set of tire chains in a pillowcase. Was I right?

The Squid Sucker
Key West, Pa

Dispatches From The Front Responds:
That depends. Was it a clean pillowcase? Or was it one headed for the wash after a six-month tour of road humping duty? A purist would tell you there are no caraway seeds in the most traditional versions of Irish Soda Bread. Let me guess... This guy rode in on a Sporster, didn’t he?

Dear Dispatches From The Front:

What is the difference between me sending out pictures of my erect penis on Twitter and you choking the chicken of cyberspace with candid shots of yourself astride a dated BMW K-75? “Not much,” according to 51% of my constituency, many of who are Twitter subscribers and do not hold my throbbing, athletic Johnson in contempt. Yet where are the former porn queens demanding your resignation? I don’t see any bloated Republican dork diddlers claiming Twisted Roads is a major moto-industry distraction when it clearly represents a radical departure from established standards of motorcycle writing. Am I the only one who realizes that the simple phrase “©Copyright Jack Riepe 2011” is nothing less than literary penis-waving on a vast cyber-scale?

Tony “The Hand-Held Baloney Of Capitol Hill”
(Last name held upon request in the event someone has not yet heard it)

Dispatches From The From Front Responds:

Dear Dispatches from the Front:
Not only was I passed up for promotion at work — again— but I was forced to take a cut in pay. So I stood on a chair, announced I was quitting the shit job that has imprisoned my soul for 22 years, and took a long, satisfying piss on the desk of my boss. This douche is the largest uncharted black hole of managerial incompetence and corporate disingenuousness in the history of fucking business. Then I went home early and caught the “Bitch of the Baskervilles” nailing the pizza delivery guy. I had married her in a parody of emotional suicide two decades earlier. She took two vows that day: 1) to make my life an endless hell on earth; and 2) to never again give me another blow job, even if the last remaining oxygen on earth was condensed in my balls. She has never broken either vow.

I wiped the garage dust off my blue V-Strom DL1000, holding one of her toy poodles in each hand. One was “Wax on,” while the other was “Wax off.” (Go watch the original “Karate Kid,” with Pat Norita, to get the full impact of this image.) I threw enough gear for three weeks on the back of the bike, and headed for Alaska. It has been my dream to ride through Alaska until the pavement yields to gravel, and until the gravel yields to whale blubber and Eskimo farts. I raced across Minnesota, North Dakota, Montana, Idaho, and Washington. I crossed into British Columbia, where the Department of Homeland Security is waging a war against British Columbian Cheap Prescription Drug Cartels. I then got to “Shove-It-Up-Your-Ass-Pass” in Dawson, and saw the most horrible thing in my life: an endless stream of BMW GS motorcycles, stretching all the way from Dawson to Prudhoe Bay on the Arctic Circle.

I had arrived in Dawson for the annual migration of BMW GS motorcycles.

Every year, millions of GS riders sprint north for the 36-hour window between the great thaw and the hatching of billions upon billions of mosquitoes. The thaw signifies a 98-degree (F) rise in surface temperature (at which point gasoline becomes a liquid again), allowing BMW engines to run flawlessly for yet another season. Yet at 33 degrees Kelvin, the mosquitoes wake up. Each is capable of sucking a quart of blood, per day, through the hardened antlers of a moose. The GS riders have 36 hours to ride from Dawson to Prudhoe Bay, staying in all three of the same shitty hotel/trailers built to accommodate 46,000 pipeline workers in 1968, to hump the same three hookers that have been romancing the pipeline workers since 1968, and to have their pictures taken in from of the same three signs that read “You are now crossing the Arctic Circle... Don’t steal the sign,” erected in 1968.

I just can’t catch a break. When does the BMW GS motorcycle migration to Tierra Del Fuego (via the Road of Death, in Bolivia) start?

Horst “Elvis” Sashimi
Ogunquit, Maine

Dispatches From The Front Responds:
When the starter fires his pistol into the air, the last day of the BMW MOA Rally, in Bloomsburg, Pa. July 24, 2011.

Dear Dispatches from The Front:

On behalf of flat-chested brunettes who are routinely ignored by motorcycle publications and blog sites (that always emphasize silicon-bazoomed blond bike fraus, straddling gleaming choppers), I would like to thank you for the elegant detail in which Twisted Roads continually portrays our end of the feminine spectrum. Your literary endeavors probe far beneath the micron-thin realm of blond-dom to explore the silky, sultry, darkness of brunette petite body poetry. Your last five blog episodes were nothing less than love stories to modestly endowed women like Kate Moss, Milla Jovovich, and Kate Beckinsale. (I’m told I look a lot like Kate Moss, while my friend DeeDee is the spitting image of Milla Jovovich, and her cousin, Crystal, could pass for Kate Beckinsale in a police line-up.)

I would love to meet you.

I was thinking it might be cool to get together over something spicy, in a place where the mystique of the far east blends with the austere reality of German motorcycles. There is a nice Indian restaurant — the Himalayan — in the sad little mall where Route 401 runs into US-30, in Malvern, Pa. Can you meet me, DeeDee, and Crystal there at 1pm on Friday, June 24th? Would it be an imposition to ask you to bring a couple of other guys for my friends?

The bad news is that we might have to bring DeeDee’s blond sister Margot “Melons” with us. She’s graduating pole dancer’s school on the previous Thursday, and DeeDee promised her a rode trip and a ride on a hot motorcycle as a graduation present. Margot’s really sweet, but she drinks straight gin whenever she eats Indian food, and then she goes right into one of her pole dancing numbers.I can’t guarantee that she won’t get half looped and start juggled her tanned melons. Would that be a problem?

And could I have a ride on your K-75? I won’t take up much room. In fact, I’ll sit astride the gas tank... Facing you... With my mesh jacket zipped halfway down... So you, and only you, can see inside.

Valleri “Steamy” Vapor

Dispatches From The Front Responds:
I’ll be there, but it might be hard to find a few guys to come with me — especially on short notice. Look for my red K75 parked out front.

Author’s note:
I regret having missed the past two blog deadlines, but I was recovering from something that peaked yesterday, leaving me exhausted and drained in a chair for over 24 hours. Please look in again tomorrow. Twisted Roads is celebrating the BMW MOA’s rally in Bloomsburg, PA — now only a month away — with bonus blog listings every week! Right up until the Rally!

©Copyright Jack Riepe
All Rights Reserved!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A Motorcycle In The Catskill Mountains...

The sun has a way of baking the green out of everything by the third week in August. Trees gradually acquire that "tired look" that comes with the dog days of summer, and never quite shake it, regardless of how much it rains. For those camping, the night air brings only a little relief from the stagnant heat of the day; and for those camping by motorcycle in the Catskill Mountains of New York, the heat of the day becomes a hellish breeze at 60 miles per hour.

I was exploring back roads through sleepy Catskill Mountain communities, north and west of Margaretville, NY, on the back of a Kawasaki H2, during August of 1977, in the company of a woman who was equally beautiful in jeans or nothing but candle light. The hard-core Twisted Roads reader should know that I met a girl when I was 17, who scarred my brain so badly that every woman I dated for the next 35 years could have passed for her carbon copy. They were all 5'6” or thereabouts, and flat-chested with brunette hair. Flat-chested women drive me crazy. They stay young-looking forever and appreciate a man who looks into their eyes instead of their shirts.

A decade later, when I was in my early thirties, my social life was the subject of a phone call between my brother and sister:

“I got to meet Jack’s new girlfriend over the weekend,” said my brother Robert. “You’d like her.”

“Let me guess,” replied my sister. “She’s about 5’6”, long black hair, pretty face, body like a stick, and her name is something like Cheyenne, Rani, or Prairie Dawn.”

“How did you know?”

“He gets a reconditioned version of the same one over and over again.”

The woman on the pillion that day was Roxanne (known in college as "Foxy Roxy"), who had a personality that was as gentle as her smile was sensuous. We were riding through the Catskills because they were only three hours from home... Because they were alleged to be beautiful... And because we had 70 bucks between the two of us. The plan was to ride no farther than three tanks of gas (about $7.50), to get dinner in a country tavern on one night, to cook dinner over a fire the next, and to camp alongside a stream on both.

The Catskill Mountains start gradually, like a rumor, about 80 miles north of New York City, on the western side of the Hudson River. The peaks rise dramatically in the Mid-Hudson Valley, and trail off to the west, where they are home to some ski resorts, great hunting, and some of the best trout fishing in the northeast. Washington Irving used the Catskills as the setting for “Rip Van Winkle.” Thomas Cole, founder of the Hudson River School of Painting (1825), was inspired by the Catskill Mountains to add romanticism to landscape art. The Catskills were home to legendary Borscht Belt resorts like Kutsher's, Brown's, and Grossinger's. The movie “Dirty Dancing” was alleged to taken place at a similar resort in the Catskills, though it was filmed in Virginia and North Carolina.

Yet the real resort nature of the Catskills is in the dense forests, the mountain streams, the Alpine-like meadows and farms that surround its peaks. For anyone on a motorcycle, there are thousands of miles of back roads, largely devoid of traffic, that meander through valleys, and then snake their way over sharp rises, en route to little towns rich in local color and character. It is one of the few places on earth where the ride is truly the destination.

Since Roxeanne had no destination, one stretch of road was as good as another. We had just run through a nice little crossroads, with a tavern that served food, and were looking for a spot with some seclusion next to some moving water. We found a place about eight miles out of town, where a stream paralleled the road, before meandering into the deep woods. An overgrown path from the gravel shoulder led into the woods. We parked the bike and reconnoitered. The ground was pretty firm and level for about 100 feet, with thick evergreens and brush for privacy. There was a clear spot beneath the trees that would accommodate the small two-person tent, and it wouldn’t be hard to get the bike in off the road, away from prying eyes. The gurgle-burgle of the stream was a plus too, as the tumbling water provided a nice little pool to sit in, while nursing a post-ride cocktail.

“This place looks good,” I said.

“It’s pretty in here,” agreed Roxy, who had just lit up a Marlboro. “I’m ready to stop. That seat is hard on my butt.”

Her butt was perfect... And so was the rest of her. She had waist-length black hair and soft eyes, though she challenged my preference for flat-chested women.

“Let's take the gear off the bike and set up the tent. Then we can go back and have dinner at that little saloon. I’d like to roll the bike in here while it is still light enough to do it without the headlight.”

“Think they’ll have a pool table at that little bar?” asked Roxy.

“I don’t care if they do,” I said. “We are not dancing to the juke box, nor are you going to shoot pool with the locals.” Roxy's ass got real hot when she danced, and she could shoot pool with the best of them, and usually win. She either attracted the local guys like moths to a flame, or really pissed them off.

She just smiled and said, “I have to pee.”

There was a fallen, rotting tree still attached to the stump, which made for a handy bench. She dropped her jeans, leaned against the tree, and commenced passing water. Maybe it was the power of suggestion, or the sound of the stream... But I had a similar inclination. In those days, I wore the first things that were clean and handy. Six hours earlier, I had stepped out of the shower and into a pair of jeans without the middleman of briefs. So undoing the zipper and opening my belt cause my pants to fall around my ankles. This was no shock to the lady, who’d seen me in every variation of that stance.

For any male biker in his early twenties, taking a leak outside is an opportunity to mark territory, to aim high, and to glory in perfect, forceful trajectory. This is a simple pleasure exclusive to the male of the human species. (Any guy reading these lines will know exactly what I am talking about.) I was in the process of making an interesting design when my handiwork set off a buzzing that raised my hackles.

I had inadvertently pissed-off a timber rattler, quite literally, and was now standing there, snake to snake.

This was my first and only encounter with a snake of this kind. And I reacted like any city person would... I yelled "Rattle snake," at the top of my voice. And then I screamed for Roxy to run.

Roxy gave her finest impersonation of Jim Thorpe, covering the 100 feet out to the bike in 2.8 seconds, holding up her open pants and screaming at the same time. I took two steps back — and fell — entangled by the jeans around my ankles. I got up, pulled my open pants as far as my knees, and chased after Roxy bent over like some kind of evil dwarf.

That was when we met, Ed, the New York state trooper, who had pulled onto the shoulder to look at the plate on my bike, which was at the moment obscured by Roxy’s riding jacket. What Ed saw and heard was a young woman, clutching open pants and screaming while exiting the woods, followed by a guy with his pants open and down.

It didn’t help matters when Roxy pointed in my direction and yelled, “Snake,” at the cop.

“Everybody stop,” yelled the cop, with his hand on his pistol. Then he looked at me and said “You, Snake, put your hands in the air.” That was when my pants fell to my ankles for the second time that day... “Are you bothering this little girl,” asked the cop.

And beautiful, dark-haired Roxy busted out laughing. She was 22, two years older than me.

The cop got everything sorted out in about 15 minutes, but not before he was joined by the local sheriff. The two officers had a good laugh and walked back into the woods with me to look for the snake. It was gone.

“Rattlers are here but there aren’t a lot of them,” said the state trooper.

“They’re more afraid of you than you are of them,” said the sheriff. “What did you do, step on it?”

“He pissed on it,” said the trooper.

“Hell, that would get me mad too,” said the Sheriff.

©Copyright Jack Riepe
All rights reserved.

— Special Notice —

Have you sired children?

Have you paid for braces, cell phones, cars, colleges and weddings?

Have you had thousands of conversations beginning with: “Hey dad, can you lend me (insert vast sums here)?”

Are you tired of receiving the same old ugly ties, dollar store tool kits, cheap tee shirts, hug coupons, and stupid coffee mugs that say “World Biggest Sucker” as Father’s Day tribute?

Of course you are...
(You’re just too good natured to say something.)

Well now is the time to strike back... The ideal Father’s Day gift — the gift of maniacal, derisive laughter — is available for a limited time only!

Additional copies of Politically Correct Cigar Smoking For Social Terrorists have been released by the foundation entrusted with their preservation for future generations.

Absolutely new!

With bindings as tight as a drum!
These are the same books that are selling for $37 to $184
(used) on Amazon.
(Check and see)

Why settle for a used book, autographed to a total stranger, when you can have a perfectly new copy, autographed to yourself....

For Only $25
plus $5 shipping and handling

This is the book that deals with life, love, happiness, cigars, politics, divorce, cigars, what to say to beautiful women with foreign accents selling machine guns, household chores, cigars, dogs, friends who mooch cigars, and the odd story about cigars.

How to get your copy:

Method 1)
Print out this page and tape it to the mirror in the bathroom.
Write on it in big letters, “This is what I want for Father’s Day! There will be no loans, car repairs, rides to anyplace, or assistance of any kind, until I get it.”

Chances of success: About nil.

Method 2)
Order the book yourself.
Put a can on the kitchen table with this note: “I have purchased my own Father’s Day Present. Please put $30 (USD) in this can, or there will be no loans, car repairs, rides to anyplace, or assistance of any kind, until I get it.”

Chances of getting the book: 100%
Chances of collecting the $30: About nil.

To Order Your Copy of
Politically Correct Cigar Smoking For Social Terrorists:

Email your full name, address, and phone number to:

Put: "Rush Book Order" in the subject line
Each book is shipped with an invoice and a stamped, pre-addressed payment envelope. Write a check, and slip it in the mailbox.

To Order A Gift Book For Your Dad:
Email your full name, address, and phone number to:

Very Important:
Also send your Dad’s full name, (First and Last), and tell me something about him. (He plays golf, he rides a motorcycle, he hunts, he smokes cheap cigars, tell me something.) Your name will be included in the inscription on the book.

Delivery for Father’s Day is guaranteed, if your order is received by Monday, June 13, 2011. Books will be shipped on Friday, June 10, 2011, and Monday, June 13, 2011, via First Class, USPS. Books ordered after that date cannot be guaranteed for Father's Day...

Autographed books have been known to increase in value after the author dies. I am feeling pretty good at the moment, but considering the number of women who want to kill me... You get the idea.