I was somewhere between Tate Springs and Kyle’s Ford, TN, when the smoky aroma of a country ham nearly pulled me off the 1995 BMW K75. The source was a tavern that was old when bands of cutthroat preachers used to lie in wait hereabouts to rob and annoy solitary Indians. While New York City restaurant guides would have described this place as “intimate,” it was tighter, darker, and smokier than the last cigar I had out of Jamaica. There didn’t appear to be an open table, nor a seat at the bar. Now while only one thing in the world has a more seductive aroma than country ham, nothing ignites the short fuse of my impatience like waiting in line. (I don’t wait in line for the other thing either.) I turned to leave when a voice dripping with colloquial welcome said:
“Pull up a seat, if you don’t mind sharing a table.”
The speaker half rose, extending his hand. “Louie,” he said, taking a pile of ballistic gear from the other seat at his already cramped table.
“Jack,” I said. “Most folks call me “Reep.”
We exchanged the usual pleasantries and in the course of disclosure I told D.H. “Louie” Wendland that I was the publisher of Twisted Roads, in seasonal exile at Cape May, NJ.
“Keep your voice down,” he hissed. “These are are polite, God-fearing people... Yet they have limits. Who knows how they’d react to having a fast-talking, K-75 ridin’, snake-oil merchant from New Jersey moving among them?”
The waitress arrived with the local specialty, ham that had taken the “cure” in a spa of an adjoining smokehouse, surrounded by vegetables made popular in novels like Steinback’s Grapes of Wrath (collard greens and black eyed peas). As to emphasize Louie’s point, she arrived in time to hear the two words “New Jersey,” which was enough to make her wince.
“Some things are best left unsaid,” said Louie, “unless there is no avoiding it.”
Above: D.H. "Louie" Wendland, with his 2008 ZG 1400. Photo submitted by Louie Wendland.
D.H. Wendland is a man of eclectic tastes. At one time, his stable held a 1989 K100RS, a R1100 S, then a R1150R a 2007 K1200GT max loaded. He has just acquired a 2006 Triumph Tiger. “Louie” had read Twisted Roads once or twice and believes my work will improve with age. I believed my New Jersey reflexes would enable me to stick him with the bar bill.
“I have a story for you,” he said, looking me dead in the eye, with the gaze of a man who has a story to tell. “You can use it in your blog. But I’m going to change all the names to protect the innocent few.”
“That’s fine. I’m going to change all the facts so it will end up reading like the federal register anyway,” I replied.
“It involves a group of close friends and a ride in which two motorcycles get too close to each other... By a foot,” said Louie.
“Does it involve a tanned blond, who gets a tramp stamp tattoo of her boyfriend’s name, not realizing the artist has misspelled it?”
“No... it doesn’t,” said Louie, after thinking a bit.
“You might be surprised,” I replied.
On this particular day, a pride of metric sport bikes (sans a representative from Munich) assembled in a county of East Tennessee, known to favor the antics of Hooligan riders. (“Favoring the behavior of Hooligans might be a bit strong,” said Louie. “It'd be more truthful to say ‘They’re slow at making an actual arrest for anything less than murder.’”)
“The Hooligans rode in a loose phalanx formation, not endorsed by any particular riding discipline, which occasionally required participants to raise their front wheels from the pavement. One of these individuals was known in local riding circles as ‘Cyril The Gimp,’ owing to a previous miscalculation regarding the need to make an abrupt 270-foot stop in a 30-foot long blind alley,” said Louie. “He used to be known as ‘Cyril The Dope,’ but that was before it was discovered he could still kick the shit out of the unwary.
“Well Cyril had just raised his front wheel in salute to all the free spirits of the world, when the rider in his left front quarter, suddenly slowed and pulled right, into a convenience store. In hindsight, this action made it something of an inconvenience store, as the bikes slammed together and flailed to the ground,” said Louie. “Both riders were tossed to the pavement, where Cyril slid for bit before coming to a stop against a handy tree.
According to the story, it was here that a passerby, an elderly lady who tends bar at church bingo, noted that Cyril’s left foot was twisted all the way around, with the toes pointing behind him. She called this to his attention by gesturing downward and screaming.
“From the time he was a boy, Cyril has always associated screaming pedestrians or pointing bystanders with the arrival of the police, and regained his wits quickly,” said Louie.
“Reaching down, he spun the prosthetic foot — his trophy from the alley incident — back into the proper alignment. Then he picked up the fallen bike with a familiar resolve,” said Louie. “The poor old woman was utterly speechless, and that was when one of Cyril’s riding buddies told her, ‘He can do that with his head too.’”
“Are you absolutely sure that story is true,” I asked Louie.
“As sure as Rocky Mountain oysters come in shells,” he replied.
“I’ll use it in Twisted Roads...,” I said. Then I mentally debated if I should send Louie a free box of Big Jim’s “Insanely Delicious” Chocolate Chip Cookies or a copy of my book. “Fuck it,” I thought. “The cookies are really special. He’ll get a copy of Politically Correct Cigar Smoking For Social Terrorists — for Cyril.”
“Great story,” I beamed. “But now I have to take a piss, if you’ll excuse me.”
There is a distinct advantage to locking up your gear on the motorcycle, especially if your exit entails climbing out the men’s room window. I knew the joy of reading his story in Twisted Roads would be more than ample compensation for sticking Louie with the meal ticket as well as the bar bill.
I heard the sobbing seconds before I saw her, a beautiful blond in a halter top, sitting on the ground next to my K75, crying her eyes out.
“Whose Cupcake are you,” I asked, “and why are you crying?”
“My asshole boyfriend just dumped me, over a tattoo — that I got for him,” she said through a flowing curtain of tears.
“Well that can’t be reasonable,” I said. “Tell me what happened.”
The blond — whose name was Charlotte — had just gotten a rather elaborate tramp stamp tattoo, complete with French curves and little bears, around her boyfriend’s name, which was “Teddy.” But the tattoo artist, who got drunk as a lord working for six hours inches above her flawless ass, spelled “Freddy” instead. The boyfriend automatically assumed she was cheating on him, and stormed off in a huff.
“I think that tattoo is absolutely beautiful,” I said, brushing it with my eyelashes. “Allow me to introduce myself... My name is Freddy. Do you like red motorcycles and insanely delicious chocolate chip cookies?”
There were two winners of Big Jim’s “Insanely Delicious” Chocolate Chip Cookies this month. Each was a reader who submitted a superb letters to the editor.
• The first was Colin Cronenberg, whose genuine letter was used in the last “Dispatches From The Front” column.
• The second was SnowQueen, a reader of significance who has been intriguing everyone with her comments and insight regarding my early riding career. (There are some who are going to yell “foul” at this one... Too bad. It was a judgement call from the publisher. Note to SnowQueen — The Valentine’s touch was very sweet... I wasn’t expecting that. Do not give Stephen any of the cookies.)
• Big Jim stated that cookies were shipped February 21, 2012.
• Get a Letter Posted on Twisted RoadsSend your letter to firstname.lastname@example.org, marked “Dispatches From The Front...”
• Get A Story Published on Twisted Roads
Win A Prize!
• Get A Story Published on Twisted Roads
Win A Prize!
Send your story to email@example.com, marked “Fifteen Minutes Of Fame...”
Moto Gear Annoucement:
I got this from a friend tonight, who is listing a pair of BMW Touring Cases for twin-shock airheads with BMW or Krauser mounts.
Alleged to fit: R75/6, R90/6, R80/7, R100/7, R100, R80, R65, R65LS, R100RS, R80RT, R100S, R100CS, R100RT (Not Krauser)
Above: These are the lucky bags that have gone round the country, and have successfully gotten my friend laid in 23 states. (I guess he didn't rub them hard enough in the others.) Photo supplied by Twisted Roads reader.
The seller states:
These have working latches with keys. All straps and hinges work.
Bags are heavily customized with stickers, decals and emblems including Porsche, Barracuda, Mercedes-Benz, Helix, Malibu, Bettie Page. Left bag has bottle opener.
There are repaired cracks and logos bolted through the plastic. Owner bought these bags used 20 years ago and customized them while traveling America.
Twisted Roads is not offering this gear, but is doing so as a favor to an old friend.
Please contact the seller directly through here:
Public Service Announcement — On Behalf Of The Working Man!
It is common knowledge that I am in exile in Cape May, NJ, this season. And as a writer, I frequent the dunes, the salt marshes, and the lighthouse — at all hours of the day or night. On one of the worst nights of the year, I watched a black-hulled vessel, with a white superstructure, claw its way into the Atlantic, rocking in the swells. I could see it for a long time, as the working decks were ablaze with light. I had no idea that 65% of the nation’s clams passed through New Jersey... Or that some of the most succulent oysters — Cape May Salties — are taken from here.
The wind was fierce that night, and rocked the truck like crazy. I could only imagine what it was like to work the machinery on the exposed decks of that fishing boat. But the next evening, Twisted Roads photographer Roy Grothing and I split a dozen Cape May Salties and a dozen clams (accompanied by scarlet Negronis in Martini glasses) at the landmark Lobster House,in Cape May, and toasted that crew.
Twisted Roads is the blog of working men everywhere... And no one is more deserving of your support than Garden State fishermen. Jersey seafood runs all year and you should treat yourself by asking specifically for New Jersey produced fish, shellfish, and processed clams. It’s like candy without the sugar. Any riders interested in participating in a New Jersey Seafood Night should contact the publisher of this blog at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I got this letter today from Gef Flimlin today, and thought it was worth a mention.
In addition to being a Twisted Roads reader and a BMW “R” bike jockey, Gef Flimlin has worked since 1978 as Rutgers Cooperative Extension Marine Agent in Fisheries and Aquaculture and is also a Full Professor at Rutgers University. He helped form the NJ Aquaculture Association, East Coast Shellfish Growers Association ,sits on several national extension aquaculture committees, is currently on the Executive Committee of the National Shellfisheries Association, and two subcommittees of the US Aquaculture Society where he was recently on their Board of Directors. He has worked in many phases of shellfish and shellfish aquaculture including field experiments, disease tests, new species trials, production gear design and implementation, seafood handling to reduce food contamination, shellfish marketing and post harvest processing. He has over 40 extension publications focusing mainly on shellfish aquaculture, given over 90 class presentations, over 95 professional conference presentations, written 40 articles, 4 peer reviewed journal articles, and 35 published abstracts. He has worked with all extension personnel listed through USDA/NRAC.
Above: Gef Flimlin, Professor/Marine Extension Agent, Commercial Fisheries and Aquaculture, Rutgers Cooperative Extension — and his flawless BMW "R" Bike.
Communication from Gef Flimlin...
Each summer we in New Jersey seek out Jersey Fresh fruits and vegetables because we know they are locally produced, are of high quality, and our purchases support NJ farmers. But what to do during the winter?
Even when our farmers are planning next year's crops, the NJ Commercial Fishing Industry is still working through the tough months of the winter. During this season, some folks think about eating fish on Fridays, others eat it all year because they like it, think its good for them, and enjoy cooking it. Presently over 85% of the seafood consumed in the US is imported. We actually spend way more money supporting fishermen's families around the globe than we do our own domestic fleets, and it certainly isn't locally produced.
Above: One of Cape May's proud fishing boats comes in from the Atlantic. Photo supplied by Gef Flimlin.
So when you go to the supermarket, your usual fish market, or favorite restaurant, specifically ask for Jersey Seafood. At this time of year, you can get clams, oysters, scallops, porgies, fluke, sea bass, skate, maybe tuna and swordfish, as well as frozen squid or canned clams and scungilli. Try something different, seek out a new recipe. Just say, "What do you have today from NJ?"
And if you think that locally produced food is important, if you like to eat seafood, and if you think that this idea has merit for NJ's fishermen, their families, and our economy, buy NJ Seafood, and then share this idea by forwarding this to your friends. The fishermen will appreciate it, and it might surprise them that you want to support them.
Thanks very much,
Professor/Marine Extension Agent
Commercial Fisheries and Aquaculture
Rutgers Cooperative Extension
1623 Whitesville Road
Toms River, NJ 08755
©Copyright Jack Riepe 2012
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