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.
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 handlingThis 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.
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.