Spring in Cape May is an absolute explosion of color as trees and gardens flower in profusion. Yet never far from the richness of this palette is the enduring nature of the ocean, either slate gray or blue, depending on its mood. From time to time I take a break from the details from writing this moto-book by driving to a spot where I can view the waves against the backdrop of the lighthouse, or from where I can watch the ferries sail over the horizon, following Delaware Bay into the Atlantic.
One of these places is Higbee Beach, once known as the “nude beach,” but which is now incorporated into a wildlife management area. I get a large cup of coffee from a local joint, light up a cigar, and listen to classical music on the truck’s stereo for 25 or 30 minutes. (Paul Pollio, Clyde Jacobs, and Dick Bregstein have seen to it that I have enough cigars to get through this summer. Thank you, gentlemen.)
The unseasonably warm weather has brought prides of migrating motorcycles passing through town, touring the scenic vistas en route to the many taverns and restaurants that are now open and serving the masses. The vast majority of these bikes are from the “Motor Company,” and are huge, squat, thundering examples of chrome and tasseled leather. These machines are moto-art in their own right. They are joined by the occasional sport bike or the wayward S.Q.U.I.D., though I have seen one or two BMW’s in the area of late.
The Harley riders generally fall into the category of the more seasoned, wizened age group, say between 62- and 94-years-old. (They would sit at the “kid’s table” during a BMW rally.) They wear their traditional "rugged individual" costumes, and the chrome helmet made popular by the Wehrmacht is not uncommon. Still, they are doing something that I cannot at the moment, and they have my envy and respect. I followed a Harley rider for about 15 miles yesterday, taking in the muted sound of the bike’s thunder (factory pipes) and appreciating the skill of the rider. She was about 28-years-old, with a spun-gold pony-tail sticking out from beneath her helmet, and had a tramp stamp over one of the most perfect asses I have ever seen. Had that stamp been legal postage, I would have carried her ass in my arms like a Pony Express rider.
At on e point, she turned left from Bayshore Road, onto a lesser traveled side street. I followed. Then she turned right onto the main drag that parallels the bay. Again, I followed. The way she managed that huge machine was pure moto-ballet. There is a “stop” sign at the first big intersection, and she waved me on, to pull up alongside her.
“Fuck off, Jack,” she said. (I have no idea how she knew my name.)
My intended destination was the parking area on the canal, close by the end of Higbee Beach. It is the preferred parking spot of fishermen headed to the surf, and usually deserted at mid-day. There was a bit of a swell running and the odd gust of wind blew the rich clouds of maduro cigar smoke back into the truck, which made the most appealing of aromas in conspiracy with the huge cup of coffee I’d gotten from the drive-up window at “The Donut Connection.” The music pouring from the dash was Wagner’s “Flight of the Valkyrie,” yet it was easily overpowered by the sound of two-cylinder thunder from Vance and Hines straight chrome tubes.
A couple of Harleys (a Silver Eagle Limited Edition, Version IV and a Road Monarch Limited Edition with Special Assembly Line Paint), adorned with 450 cubic yards of chrome, carefully negotiated the dirt road and dropped their three-foot-long side-stands. (What other stands could they have?) The riders removed their helmets and revealed themselves to be two women with the prerequisite tattoos and tiny laughing skull earrings.
The one on the Silver Eagle sniffed the air, got the range of my maduro, and asked, “You got another one of those fine cigars, Honey?”
It was right on the seat next to me. It was one of the last of the special ones that Clyde Jacobs had sent me, rolled with a double pigtail. In the effort of second, I covered it with my Mac-Pac* cap and produced another, one without pedigree nor ring, which had been riding around with me since last October. It was as dry as kindling.
“Right here,” I said. “What have you got for me?”
She glanced around the empty parking lot, then brazenly lifted her tee shirt, revealing a set of honkers that were in their prime the day Lincoln was shot. Her nipples were pierced with little studs that each had a tiny skull on one end.
“I go for skulls and studs,” she said. “You like ‘em?”
I handed her the cigar in mute surprise, and replied, “You have no idea how I wish I could share this vision with my friend Bregstein.”
She dropped her shirt, took the cigar, and bit the end off it. My first thought was that she was going to swallow it in a show of talent. But she spit out the tip and it ricocheted off the tire of the Harley like a bullet from a spent .22.
“Got a light,” she asked.
I extended the tip of my lit cigar and she held it to hers, by firmly grasping my wrist and looking into my eyes with purpose. Around vigorous puffs on the stogie, she asked, “Didn’t we meet on a run to Sturgis?”
I shook my head slightly and said (with the intent of putting out the fire), “Not likely. I prefer BMW’s.”
“Deutschland Uber Alles,” she replied with a wink.
“My name is Jack,” I said withdrawing my wrist. “I publish a blog called ‘Twisted Roads.’”
“I know who you are,” she said. “I recognized you when when pulled in.”
“You did,” I said in genuine surprise.
“Yup,” she replied. “I thought you’d be fatter.”
“Touché,” I thought, with a hint of a smile.
“Does your friend want a cigar?” I said. “You know the going rate.”
* The Mac-Pac is the premier chartered BMW riding club serving Southeastern Pennsylviania, and the world.