I apologize that so many of you read the previous post before I got the pictures up. I was tired and started to run out of steam after only two were posted. Likewise, there were more typos and missing words per square foot in that initial text than anything I have ever posted before. I’d like to thank long-time friend and reader Ihor Sypko for sending me the corrections. For his efforts, Ihor will be presented with a “Twisted Roads” tee shirt.
I wanted to write a fairly serious ride report about the Blue Ridge Parkway for the longest time. The preceding post on this blog was intended to fulfill that objective. For some reason, it took a long time for me to figure out what it was I wanted to say. Then I realized the work would only appeal to new or intermediate riders, who had never experienced the Blue Ridge Parkway. I was surprised to hear from so many experienced BRP ride veterans, who either related to the things I felt, or wanted to share different perspectives of their own.
“Serious” for me is a relative term. Considering so much of what I write is pure nonsense, my meaning of the word “serious” is “true.” While I have written about this particular trip on the BRP before, previous references have focused on the pure fun side of the trip. Dick Bregstein and Pete Buchheit are fun magnets in that they attract hysterical situations worthy of comment.
For example, Pete Buchheit was heading north on the BRP that same weekend, when a passing bird targeted his face shield with a huge dump.
“If I hadn’t known that ostriches and emus can’t fly, I would have sworn that this was the signature work of either species,” said Buchheit. “It had the consistency and volume of a large milkshake from hell.” There was the initial splat and then it spread out across the face shield, leaving him a small peephole through which to see the road. Naturally, this happened at about 50 miles per hour.
Now this could have been very dangerous... But Pete has extensive experience handling shit. He immediately switched into bird shit reception and evaluation mode. Since there were no bad consequences, all other riders can do laugh like hell. Especially when I point out that the bombardment effect splatted this avian greeting on his Aerostitch and the inside of his windshield -- before seeping into the helmet.
In the previous story (Hubris and Friend Green Tomatoes On the BRP), I described our relaxing lunch at the National Park Service concession at the Peaks of Otter. If you glance back at this piece, you will see that my exit from this restaurant involved extricating my bike from a beautiful Honda Shadow cruiser (painted in a great forest green and buff color scheme) as part of the typical motorcycle parking puzzle. You will also see that I mentioned a hot-looking woman appeared to be approaching this bike with purpose. This is what happened next.
Pete and Dick took off as soon as we got on the road again. I told the boys that I was going to do my own ride. Their ride was squeezing the most out of the curves. Mine was just doing the Parkway and taking it all in. They’d wait for me at some point up ahead. That point could easily have been 50 ot 70 miles off. So what? This was a bikers’ weekend with thousands of machines on this road. If I got into trouble, two dozen people would stop in a pinch. Besides, what biker rides with his buddies in anticipation of trouble?
An hour passed in which I covered about 40-45 miles, where the terrain seemed to be more wooded and agricultural (on slight hills) as opposed to the dramatic cliff and mountain stuff. My knees were starting to throb and I pulled over by a mill stream that offered a nice little stone wall to sit on. I took a bottle of water that was cold some 60 minutes before out of the top case and noted it was now room temperature. I considered cooling it off in the stream, but that was room temperature too.
I wasn’t there ten minutes when the green and buff Honda pulled in behind me. The rider shut it down and pulled off her helmet, releasing a cascade of brunette hair over her shoulders. She bent down to hang the helmet on one of the passenger pegs and I studied her ass like it was a winning lottery ticket.
She came over and introduced herself as “Angie.”
“I saw you looking at my bike at the restaurant back there, and you pulled out before I could tell you that I had been admiring yours. What kind of fairing is that,” she asked.
“It’s a Sprint Fairing,” I said truthfully. “There were only two made and the other one is owned by a descendant of the Kaiser.” I looked into the greenest eyes I have ever seen to see if the greatest falsehood I have ever told had been detected. “Basically, it is a design more typical of a Triumph.”
I told her that the Honda had one of the most appealing paint schemes that I had ever seen on a bike and asked her if it was custom. (It wasn’t.)
I directed the conversation toward the BRP, riding in general, and the fact that I was a writer and almost as exotic in nature as the fairing on my bike. I offered her my other bottle of water, which she accepted, and spread out a clean bandana on the stone as a kind of tablecloth. This earned me a smile and twin emerald sparkles out of the tops of those eyes.
I learned that she was 44, divorced, and a resident of Maryland. She had treated herself to the Honda as a marriage escape reward. I was just about to warm up the “Battered Baby Seal” look when I heard the familiar whine of an F800S coming up the road.
It was Dick Bregstein... The same Dick Bregstein of the Buchheit and Bregstein “Every-Man-For-Himself” school of riding. For the first time in 20,000 miles of riding together, he was coming back to see if the turkey vultures were picking at my broad dead ass.
Dick swung into the rest area, popped up his face shield, and yelled, “Are you all right,” over the buzz of his Rotax engine.
“We’re fine,” I yelled back.
Dick looked at me, then at Angie, then at the two bottles of water on the bandana. “I got it,” he replied, before pulling out and heading back in the direction he had come.
“What was that all about,” asked Angie.
“The National Park Service has volunteers riding up and down the Parkway this weekend, making sure riders aren’t struck. Apparently, that was one of them.”
“But that was an odd thing to say,” said Angie.
“They probably don't train them well. Besides, I heard there’s an ax murderer on the loose. His name is Buchheit.”
Angie rode with me until we reached the North Carolina state line. It was here, at the driveway to the Blue Ridge Parkway Motel and Camp Ground, that the volunteer and the ax murderer were waiting for me. I pulled in, Angie rode on. This is the story of my life.
©Copyright Jack Riepe 2008
AKA The Lindbergh Baby (Mac Pac)
AKA Vindak8r (Motorcycle Views)
AKA The Chamberlain -- PS (With A Shrug)