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.


redlegsrides said...

Great tale Jack, and good segue into a pitch for your book for Father's day....great idea actually.


Redleg's Rides

Colorado Motorcycle Travel Examiner

RichardM said...

Another great story. While reading, you never know what direction the story will take.

And thank you for adding the info for your talk. For some reason the BMWMOA doesn't publish a schedule for the rally. We'll be there.


RoadTrip said...

Wow, you must be having a great time re-living the summers gone by. Great story.

When I read your description of your "women of your youth" I picture Shannon Woodward, who plays Sabrina on Raising Hope (http://www.imdb.com/media/rm3302079232/nm0940990). Whether or not that is accurate or not, I'm good with it!

RoadTrip said...

Link was truncated:

ADK said...

"You, Snake,.....", is right.

I have 19 copies of PCCSFST, my next $25 is going to Roxanne.

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Charlie6 (Dom):

Thanks for rwading my blog, and for posting a comment. My new adventures for 2011 are now in the works, and should be appearing next week. I am going to make a living as a humor writer and I am matketing what I have. The cigar book continues to sell, and with two motorcycle stories in it, opens the door for the motorcycle book.

Fondest regards,
Jack / reep

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Richard M. :

I put 50,000 to 60,000 miles on that Kawasaki H2, and pronounced it pretty much beat when I sold it. That was probably wrong. But I rode that machine like mad for four summers and went everywhere on it.

I will be revealing more info about my seminar each week. I am thrilled to hear you are coming in from Alaska. I will be providing you, and other Twisted Roads readers contact information on how we can get together at the event.

And thanks for reading my latest adventure, and leaving a comment.

Fondest regards,

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Radar:

The weekends of my misspent youth are flashing before my eyes, as I am working on my first motocycle book. At present, the working title is "The Biker's Guide To Eternal Youth and Jack Hammer Sex..."

Your choice of Shannon Woodward for the brunette of my youth is close... But a more accurate assessment might be Olivia Wilde, "13" in the House series.

It should be noted that in my 40's, I found a blond and hung up my spurs.

Fondest regards,

Jack Riepe said...

Dear ADK (Chris Wolfe):

Mike Cantwell is right... You are a son of bitch. Chris, my presentation for the BMW MOA Rally is shaping up nicely. I will be calling for volunteers from the audience. Do you own a bright yellow shirt? I want to be able to find you in a hurry.

I feel sorry you bought 19 copies of my book... I never should have told you I mentioned your name in Chapter 31.

Do you remember that day at the book signing in Keene Valley? I was chatting up a hot blond in a Corvette, and you walked up, handed me your beer, got into the car with the beauty, and told her to hit it. (I think you were hitting it the rest of the day... Wasn't that Kelly?)

You are still a prick.

Thank you for reading Twisted Roads and being the thorn in my cardiac massage.

Fondest regards,
Jack R.

Headlines, Ihor said...

, being a one time specialty of mine, I think your working title needs work. I offer,
"Two Wheel(ed) Youth",
"Moto-re-cycled Memories"
"Pillion Recollections"
"Faded Fairing Fantasies"
"Helmeted and Ridng Down Memory Slab"
"ATGATT,It's So I can Remember"

I do this so some editor or publisher doesn't just make you cry. And if you want to sell books, the phrase - jack hammer sex - should be avoided. Cigar book, remember 9/11?

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Ihor:

Used copies of the cigar book are selling for $240 on Amazon.

Fondest regards,

ADK said...

Yes, that was Kelly. Another rose in the company of thorns, now lost to good memories. I think her old man Til still owns the Corvette.

I might still be a prick, but I make my living honestly.

You'll be able to find me easily enough.

Anytime - and thank you for reading my comments, and taking them to heart.

Dan Mckenzie said...

Great story, as always; right up there with the demonic squirrel story (http://www.vtwinmama.com/demonic_squirrel_riding_story.htm) I still snort Mountain Dew out my nose reading that one...

Jack Riepe said...

Dear ADK (Chris Wolfe):

I'm very proud of you and the way you make a living. Not every man would dedicate hours of his day determining what sort of clap the locals have gotten from wayward sheep. And while it was true I built a fragile career out of falsehood and political skullduggery, once I was bought, I stayed bought. You won't find that kind of integrity back on Stowe-By-The-Barley, or wherever the hell you came from.

I will never forget I came to you, concerned about a huge lump on my balls. Your advice was to save lump but tp remove my balls. I didn't think that could be accomplished, but one of my former wives had no trouble.

The only reason I sought a second opinion that day was the manner in which you said, "Put your balls in my hands." It sounded like a well-rehearsed line in the kind of bar I usually avoid.

See you in July.

Fondest regards,
Jack R.

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Dan M.:

The number of riders who have been attacked by ferocious animals is legion. A friend of mine, who rides a yellow motorcycle in the Adirondacks, was recently knocked off his bike by a butterfly. And it wasn't a real big butterfly either. Theses things do happen though.

Thanking you for reading my tripe and not putting in a stick in my eye, like some people.

Fondest regards,

Anonymous said...

The reason I suggested saving the lump and removing your balls was to save you any confusion and future embarassment, as the one item looked sort of useful, and the other two didn't. Leslie tells me that was the correct diagnosis.

Ken said...

I can't decide if I want to go motorcycle camping with a stick or riding in a vette with a blond...winner either way.

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Ken:

Go for the stick everytime. The blond in the Corvette was 18... The car was her dad's... And ADK did nothing but bust my chops. The stick ladies on that Kawasaki were a lot of fun... And real sweeties by and large. The best and worst times I ever had with women on a motorcycle was detailed in the previous four part serial.

I am compelled to point out that ADK, like Cantwell, Ihor, and Bregstein, is one of my closest friends... And as such has license to grow on me "like a boil." He waves that license in my face often.

Thank you for reading Twisted Roads and for leaving a comment.

Fondest regards,

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Anonymous ADK (Chris W.):

The surgery you proposed would have had to have been conducted using a chainsaw. And considering your skill with small engines (1000 cc and under), you couldn't get it to start.

Too bad Burdick's closed... Dale could have helped you out.

Fondest regards,
Your (tor) Mentor,
Fast Jack
The K75 Whisperer

Bluekat said...

lol - great story! Snakes...another good reason to give up camping.

nhdude said...

Having lived most of my adolescence in the Catskills (Woodstock area), this brought back some fine memories. No, not of snakes... managed to avoid those other than the two-legged varieties. And, what is it about skinny brunettes? Married one who ultimately turned on me but now find myself with another such cutie who I'll stick with for as long as she'll have me ;-) Now, time to figure out how to load the bike for camping!

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Dan M:

I just read your Demonic Squirrel story and found it very funny... So I ventured over to your "Contempletive Riding Blog and liked it so much, that I am going t add it to my blog "Destinations List" today, if that meets with your approval.

Fondest regards,

Conchscooter said...

I strongly recommend the book whether you have children or not. It's like having ripe in your saddlebag everywhere you go. When you undress for bed, there he is, you pause at work and look up and there he is. At any scatological moment in your life you can have ripe at your side and you too can hope his wit and humor can rub off on you.

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Conchscooter (Michael):

That was a very nice thing to say... I guess you liked your copy. I use the coffee cup you gave me, the one with the palm trees that look like pot plants, every day. And sometimes, when I am really eager for thsat first cup, I take it into the small office with me... The same one in which you red my book.

Fondest regards,

Classic Velocity said...

Dear Jack,

I wish my encounters - yes, more than one - with NY state troopers were that pleasant. No rattlers though, so I should count my blessings.

Reading your tales is like following a new interesting road. You never know what direction the next corner will take, or what you might encounter on the other side of it, but you always enjoy it!

Classic Velocity