Monday, December 19, 2011

yall dont want me to beg

I flew back into Richmond, VA last Monday. My return had a glaring contrast to it, sitting in a metal tube, dozing in and out of consciousness, listening to music. It was the first time I'd ever appreciated the comfort of economy airlines, simply compared to weeks of cold anxious rides, of course, the plane ride was far from as enjoyable or therapeutic, but it did have its perks. The last week or so in San Francisco with Bean was highly eventful and persistent. That boy and I didn't stop for a breath. Spent a day wandering Spooky Stairways with Denise, gave Bean the worst haircut I've ever dealt out at Sunset on Ocean Beach while he read Finnegan's Wake aloud. There was a wind advisory out that afternoon and it made giving Bean a trim that much more difficult and fun. But the haircut couldnt have been that bad because he had a  interview in the morning and he got the job. We entered a talent show one evening down the block from his house, got ousted from the lineup due to time constraints, but decided to barge onto stage after a guy finished a  poem. Bean had deja vu twice within an hour and we both thought that was a good reason to perform. The evening had been filled with guys sporting expensive haircuts and cardigans singing soft songs about being lame and the Weatherford brothers and I got up on stage and stomped out a song about the Devil, Bean on the banjo all singing at the top of our lungs. The crowd got to their feet and began to dance. Even though it was a talent show and not a contest, We Won. We spent a day treating San Francisco like Mary Tyler Moore and another like Lewis and Clark. Motown Monday weekend edition was a hell of a surprise around nine the last Friday I was there. 4 more hours of solid dancing to the tally. Went out to Baker Beach to the nudist part and there was only one other guy out there, older fella doing stretches, I approached him and asked him to lead us in a routine, and though he was a bit hesitant at first, he agreed. He explained to us that he was about to begin a 45 minute dance ritual that he had learned in Bhutan while living there for an extended period of time. He showed us the preliminary stretches involving the elements and we all loosened up in a circle. The Pacific was chilly but refreshing. We skipped halfway across the Golden Gate, watched the sunset, then went and had a feast at a hibachi steakhouse in JapanTown. Each night had its peculiarities, two nights in a row involved a seperate stumbling drunk birthday boy named Eric, both of them lived a few blocks from Bean. Sunday we found a place called Gussies on Filmore St. that had bout the best Southern food I've ever had, laughed for a few hours straight at a matinee of the Muppets, then Bean and I set our black little hearts on writing a punk rock album. We christened ourselves The You Go Girls, and recorded 7 songs. Got up the next morning and caught a plane. I had planned on being out in CA until mid-January, but was beginning to get the itch for a place of my own, and to slow down the speed of life for a while, so I booked a plane ticket back to RVA, met a Greek guy on the shoulder of an Interstate, loaded Josie up on his tractor trailer and walked the miles back to town. Richmond's been good. Serge showed up Saturday with the bike, but she wouldnt run well, so I left her North of Richmond in a Walgreen's parking lot, and on the return trip to get her Sunday morning realized I'd lost the key the night before. After a long day in transit, I finally got her to Theresa's house and felt as if I'd completed something. Tomorrow I gotta take off the ignition and get a couple new keys made (im learning) then get her cranked up and tuned. The battery needs a charge, gonna give her a oil change, wash all the 18 wheeler dirt off, and see if I can get some of the gunk out. Hopefully I'll be ready to ride down to Myrtle by Thursday, it's supposed to be in the 60s, set up shop there until next summer when I plan to take the Northern Route across the US, hopefully not alone, cold, or crying.    until then.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Although tears didn't manage to form, I did have to stop dancing and just stand and sweat for a few moments last night at Madrone. 3 separate songs got me, all old soul ballads about love lost and missing someone. I imagine Ill have these flickers throughout the rest of my entire life, caused by a phrase or some particular shape, color, smell, sound, time of day, or temperature. Bean and I had been enthusiastic about returning to this bar for Motown Monday since last Tuesday morning when we woke up. Last night was the third time I had been there. Each time I had not even left the dancefloor to piss, let alone get a drink. We had danced a nonstop dance of maniacal calculation for hours every evening we'd been. Last night was no different. We walked back down to Beans house after they kicked us all out and sat out on his stoop talking until we were tired enough for sleep. This morning I looked up a top-rated chinese restaurant, went and had bland dumplings and a satisfying spicy eggplant dish. After that I walked the 4 miles to the beach, sat and read The Rosy Crucifixion for a few hours until I started dozing off and headed back. I feel as if some part of myself is in concrete for much of the day. A part thats involved in reaction and involvement. Ill have to think of a way to drum up a rectifying shock to apply.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

beans new beachview

some art in the mission
some art we all did        

stayed busy for a week, teased from within to keep moving, long walks, aimless rides, a good deal of dancing in place, there was some manner of photography crew near a fountain and i got excited because i thought they were going to tape my reaction when josie jumped out, got my hands on a few different pairs of shoes, got down to the Y on Buchanan, sore somewhere most days, josie and I slapped the ride to Davis on Thursday with a well hung gauntlet, she growled up a hell of a parade the whole way there. they almost eat too well at Jason's, I went up there with my intentions on the Wizard party they were throwing Saturday night. Jason drove me around in a car listening to the shondells to shop all day. we all got pretty good costumes and spent the afternoon preparing the butterpat house for  a good ol stomp spell, a cast of characters descended upon the invitation and we showed each other how to shake a groove for hours. If its nice and sunny out tomorrow I think I might take  Josie out for a bath, tighten and tug on her till shes struttin in heels.I pulled the broken turn signal lense cover off and got her a new one on the way. i been missing my home all these days so bad my belly  hurts.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

born worshippers

We woke up slowly and got ready quickly Sunday morning. Adam W.s friend Adam F. arrived punctually and we loaded the two surfboards into the pickup he had rented and strapped them down. Coffee was mentioned and we began making our way down Mission until Adam W.  remembered that he'd forgotten his camera or vanity mirror or something. We went back and grabbed it, got coffee and headed south. I sat up front with Adam F.  and chatted with him a good bit throughout the ride. He's a young guy that worked with Adam W.  at some tea shop a while back, seems he's from the area but has moved around a good bit. He's got a calm confidence about himself that I like and enjoyed talking to him throughout the day. It took us a couple hours of fiddling with the radio before we got to Santa Cruz. Adam F. had spent some of his college years in Santa Cruz and was knowledgeable about the town. He also had made the acquaintance of a gentleman by the name of Joe, who is 65 and some manner of surf guru from what I gathered. We went directly over to Joe's house upon arriving in Santa Cruz. He resides 2 blocks from Cowles, a famous Santa Cruz surf spot, and about 4 blocks from Steamer's Lane, another world famous spot. Joe had a garage full of surfboards of various sizes, and enough wetsuits for a football team. He greeted us all warmly, and informed us that we had a few hours before the waves would be worth venturing out into. He helped me pick out a wetsuit that would fit, a board that he thought would be a good one to start with, and was generally encouraging. We walked down the coast to the Surfing Museum, a tiny little hut with a bunch of old pictures of guys in short shorts, and then made our way back to the truck to go get some lunch. We went to Santa Cruz taqueria, another staple I was told, and had some hispanic food. It was rejuvenating. Bean had a hankering for some beer, so they bought a six pack and we went back to the ocean, crawled down in a little cove and hung out for a little while. A guy was there tossing the ball into the water for his golden retriever, who went at it hard for an hour against some good waves, a family also showed up, husband, wife and son, all in wet suits and all began jumping off the rocks and boogie boarding and having what looked like a blast. There was also a guy who looked to be in his early twenties passed out on a rock nearby, Adam F. gave him one of the beers because he looked hungover. Adam W. and I stripped down and ran and got in the water and it was as icy as I'd been told. Bean and Adam W. were getting restless to get on their surfboards, so we made our way back to Joe's and suited up. I enjoy the way wetsuits feel. They feel like the hug that Ive always been looking for. Joe told us that he'd see us in a few hours when he speculated the waves would really be going off, and we carried our boards down to the cliffs to get in. Cowles was still flat, so for my first time surfing, I was taken to Steamer's Lane. The board Joe had given me was a huge, heavy, bright yellow foam board and it was a chore carrying down a wall of slippery rocks but I made it down there and then fought the tide for 15 minutes learning how to paddle out. There was probably a hundred people sitting on surfboards, demonstrating their patience. I guess the waves at Steamers Lane are somewhat consistent and these folk all knew just about where to be to catch the good ones. Needless to say, I was a hundred or so yards from the crowd, paddling around, practicing sitting up, trying to knee paddle, paddling along with waves that were coming in, and falling off alot for no reason. It was so much fun being in the ocean for an extended period of time. After an hour or so, I was exhausted and fought my way back to the cliff. I got a good laugh out of trying to make it the last 20 feet to shore and there was just kelp everywhere and rocks cutting my feet and I kept slipping, it was just so funny to be doing that at that moment instead of so many other things that I couldve been doing. A treacherous ascent up the cliff and I was done. Bean and the Adams followed me up there and then decided to try out Cowles because it looked like it was picking up as the sun set. I sat and watched them surf some mellow looking waves for an hour or so, then we went back over to Joe's, got out of our wetsuits and got into his outdoor hot tub for a while. It was just what my body wanted, and I relaxed to the point of slumber, but caught myself, got out and toweled off. Adam F. had to have the car back in San Francisco by 830 so we had to go. We all thanked Joe numerous times, loaded up and hit the road. A quick stop for pizza, and I dozed in and out on the way back to San Francisco. We listened to a show on NPR about a lady who interviewed the people in the New York town that she'd just moved to. She asked them three questions:   what do you live for?   what would you die for?    what would you kill for?      Almost all of the people gave the standard answers that youd expectd. Love, family, Jesus, integrity, honor, and alot of other fluff that people use words to smooth gaps over with. The last people she asked was a couple who'd been married for 30 or 40 years, and they were each others answers. They were each others purpose for being around and doing anything. Hearing this made me grit my teeth and force myself to make some more bad jokes, like    I live for  the opportunity to die for the chance to kill somebody.    and other silly things like that. We made it back to the city and Adam F. only had about 10 minutes, so he stopped to gas up and Bean, Adam W. and I grabbed our things to walk the rest of the way, so Adam F. could get back in time, which I imagine he didn't. Bean and I caught the bus back to his place from Adam's and I was out like a light.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Ran around Davis, after a good stretch the next morning. We'd just had coffee and snacks at a Black Bear Diner, and Jennifer, Emily, and Bean were browsing a thrift store's black friday sale, so I took off down the railroad tracks. There was hardly even any trash around the tracks and what there was, still looked useful. After all of them were done, we rode back over to Jasons. I cleaned myself up, got dressed, packed and got Josie smiling in the first sunshine we'd seen in 48 hours. Bean got on back and we rode down to Berkeley. We had made plans to take the 680 off to check out Mt. Diablo, but not 20 miles down the road, the sky was a very low overcast, so we just finished up the ride to Jennifers house. Only there a moment, Bean, Emily, and I walked up to the Berkeley Rose Garden and ate some hummus and veggies. The garden path was a labyrinthine loop and enjoyable to walk. After we all leaned on each other for the sunset, we made our way back to Jennifer's, this time walking through the campus. Belted on, booted up, Bean wearing the big bag, we bolted down the rest of 80 to the Bay Bridge. I sat in traffic at the tolls for 30 minutes, ol' man hand cramps creeping down the road in single file, Id noticed people going between the cars and felt temptation, but I held steady and paid the toll. The bridge was a fun ride. I imagine its the least busy sometime early in the morning and would like to ride her down hard. I locked Josie up out front of Bean's beside his stoop on a busy street, and decided that I didn't like her there. She's too inviting to have on show without people understanding not to touch. Bean and I both got more comfortable and he showed me around his 3rd floor apartment. Adam began making his way to Beans and we met him on the stoop with some beer. We all had a few, Emily and her friend Julie arrived, and we all danced up the wetness on the soft hunt for hours. Everyone went home, and I fixed Bean breakfast and he fixed me coffee the next morning while we sat around his kitchen. Adam headed back over, and we took Bean's housemates dogs, Mark and Tag for a walk around Alamo Square. Adam and Bean both bombed some hills, making it look casually thrilling. We eventually took the dogs and skateboards back and got Bean's Radical Fun Disc. We took it over to the Panhandle, which is a long block wide strip of park in central San Francisco. We chased the Disc around all over the park, getting excited when it got stuck in trees, throwing rocks, sticks, and bags of poop at it. Bean threw the Disc at a huge hawk, sitting there all majestic. A short ways in, we noticed that many of the trees had small metal tags with three digit numbers on them. We began searching the park for 230, while we tossed the Disc around. Left the Disc in one of the tallest trees, gave up on 230, and walked over to Haight St. for coffee, vegetables, and peanut butter cookies. We planned on grilling over at Adams for dinner and began making our way to that part of the city. Adam biked, and Bean rode on the back of Josie. Adam's got a gated back yard and figured I'd leave her over here at least until I got tags back on her. She is a 15 minute bus ride from Beans and that makes me anxious, though. We got corn, mexican cheese and mayo, potatoes, peppers and onions and mixed it all together on the grill, which we had a hard time keeping hot. After 2 hours though, dinner was ready and we stood in the dark and talked about how good it was. We called it a night early on, Adams friend Adam was to pick us up at 930 to head down the coast for a day of surfing.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

three times, but lord i'm only coming up twice

spent a couple days in  Corona Del Mar, Dave and Tom's house is probably the nicest one that Ive ever been in, and still manages to feel like home and not a museum. They live a block from the beach in an extremely affluent neighborhood a little south of LA. I got some clothes washed, stretched on the beach, walked for 7 or 8 miles, ate two delicious meals with Tom and Dave, one prepared by Dave and one at the Rock n Fish in Laguna Beach, slept a good deal and showered alot. Dave and Tom are a hoot to talk to, and I found Dave to be very encouraging, they're a good couple and I hope to see them again. Wednesday morning I got up early, packed up, put a bunch of layers on and began heading up the 5. I didnt get very far before traffic had a different idea about my schedule. I sat in line for a couple hours, Josie cut out once, and I couldnt get her started, so I had to pull off  the side and tinker. Despite my quick frustration, she got right back in the vehicular crawl in no time. It finally all cleared up North of LA, and I hit the mountains. The scenery was something to write a blog about, and the sun was treating me like a lady. Josie was running like a bitch in heat, and she only presented the lurch/pop problem once, and I stopped and drained a bit out of the floats and she quit. I'm guessing something in my carbs need to be adjusted? Probably the floats themselves? Ill have to see what the viragotech guys say. The day went by and by, and 9 hours later I was in Davis, CA. Jason greeted with me with a hug, as did the rest of his housemates. He has one of the best living situations I can imagine. It culls the best from community living without having any of the bullshit that I feel accompanies it alot of the time. They had dinner ready when I got there, and I sat down at a large table with 7 or 8 other people while Charlie served us all of the food he'd prepared. It was all worth putting in my mouth on a daily basis. The spicy brussel sprouts, the spinach, the gnocchi, the homemade bread, all of it was exactly what I needed after a long cold ride. I noticed my hands were shaking during the meal, and my eyes were adjusted to the lack of wind and lights yet. After these long rides, Ive found that it takes a few hours of me opening my eyes wide and blinking alot before they start feeling normal. Thanksgiving morning, we got up early and rode in Sara's bike-laden minivan over to Sacramento to the 24th annual Appetite Enhancement ride. Even though it was overcast and raining somewhat, a couple hundred people were there by the time we arrived around 1030 or so. It was 10 dollars for all the food and beer you could consume. The food involved alot of fruits, breads, vegetables, dips, and grilled fresh mussels and oysters. The beverages consisted of about 6 or 7 different draft beers, 2 different types of wine, 3 or 4 different types of hard cider, and a variety of coffees. There was a soul DJ playing by the name of Larry the Flower. He'd also been djing at a bar we'd visited briefly the night before called G St. He had some talent and all the people were squirming with some rhythm in the mud. We stood in a small circle and chatted for a few hours until the bike ride commenced. I rode a collapsible bike that was about a third the size that it needed to be, but it got me there. I'd have to guess 500 people did the ride down to the river, maybe a couple miles, with a lap in front of the capitol building. We got down to the river and everyone had  brought the water bottles full of beer that had come with the entrance fee. It was rather cold out and no one was in the water, but all of a sudden, Robby was undressing and Sara and Yumi were already running to the water in their underwear. Luckily, one of my layers consisted of a pair of swimming trunks, so I peeled down to it and took off after them. There was hundreds of people watching the four of us wade out in this icy water, cheering us on. While we were standing out there talking about how cold we were, some sea lions started blowing water up in the air and chasing a school of fish, 30 or 40 yards away. They startled us at first, and we couldn't tell what they were. After we got out and gave numerous people high fives, I stood and let myself drip dry while watching other people in the crowd get motivated to run into the water and right back out. One of the fellas who had started the Appetite Enhancement ride presented Yumi and Sara with some gift certificates for being the first in the water, which was pretty cool. We rode back to the van, loaded it up, and went to sit in traffic. Yumi and I sat in the back and laughed just about the whole time. She smiles alot and it makes her a treat to be around. Jason and I had some cooking to do before the Community Dinner that evening at 530, so we broke out the pots and pans, and he blared some James Brown while we jiggled and stirred. We made pecan pie, lemon meringue pie, and corn pudding. His roommate Charlie was baking lots of his prize bread and there were people in and out the whole time. Some of them being Bean, Emily, and her friend Jennifer arriving from San Francisco. Big ol' hugs and smiles, once everything was baking and all the dishes were clean, Jason gave us all a tour of the complex. I hadn't seen much more than the inside of his house and carport, so I tagged along barefoot. The place is huge. From my understanding of it, a bunch of people back in the 80s decided to by a neighborhood of houses in the middle of Davis , and then took down all of the fences in their backyard and created a community space. They  share all sorts of things, but also give each other plenty of space. Family's live there, with an assortment of couples and grad students. The dinner was scheduled to be in the new community house, more or less in the center of their backyard. We collected the food we'd created and went on over. Everyone was friendly and seemed to use my name alot when they were speaking to me. The dinner was huge, 40 or 50 people sitting at a T shaped table, feasting. They had everything I could imagine and more. Coupled with the meal, my weariness from the last couple weeks rested heavily on my shoulders, so I washed my plate while everyone else was still dining and went back over to Jason's and passed out on the floor for 14 hours.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

out of gas
even though we had left early, it wasn't early enough to get to see a fully prophetic sunrise, yet it was still a rather fetching sight from the mining tourist ghost town we stopped at. we roamed around this place, hours before it was set to open, and then headed back to emilys house. the three of us pitched in and made quite the breakfast. Emily was also headed to San Francisco for a week with her roommate Melanie, to spend thanksgiving with Melanies family and three of us planned on camping in Joshua Tree that night, about a 5 hour ride west, so she said we needed to eat up her vegetables otherwise theyd go bad. So  we had a panful of hashbrowns and onions and eggs scrambled with green beans and hot garlic paste. It was fantastic and we all ate our fill. Joe said goodbye and Emily and I packed up our things and waited for Melanie to show up. Melanie rides a 1980 Suzuki 850 with the front fairings on it. A right pretty bike. She arrived, packed, and we left. I was excited to ride without my 50 pd bag behind me, but my excitement was shortlived. The lurch/pop acceleration problem showed back up quick on the ride, probably because I was giving her more go than usual in order to keep up with Emily. I pulled over and took the air filter off to see if this had any effect on it, and it didn't. We kept on moving, and then I ran out of gas. Putter Putter Stop. Emily was on up ahead and she called and brought me some gas about 20 minutes later. I wandered around the side of Interstate 10, looking at all the junk that people had thrown out of their cars. Lots of car parts, an unopened manual to a wire welder, a shower decoration shaped like a foot, numerous bottles of piss, and so much more. All within 20 yards of where Id parked Josie. There's no telling what you'd find if you wondered the entire Interstate. I was surprised that neither a patrol car or someone on a motorcycle didnt stop to see whats up. But I probably didn't look like I was in need of help, just a dude wandering along the side of the road, smoking a cigarette and looking at the ground. I found a small lizard running around in a bush, and chased it around until it disappeared down a hole. I also discovered a massive ant colony. The colony  was probably two yards square and the ants themselves were almost an inch long. It was fascinating. There was a pile of something dried up next to the colony and I assume its what they predominantly eat. Emily and Melanie arrived back with gas in a gas can that the gas station had let them borrow. I found it to be a poorly designed gas tank at least for motorcycles, and I was glad that the girls were there, because in my misunderstanding of the way the thing operated I was about to dig out a huge plastic piece with my knife, before they pointed out that it just slides back. I gassed  up, and told Emily that I'd prefer to just buckle my bag back on and them go on ahead since it was only about 2 hours before sunset and we had about 3 to go. They took off and I stopped at the next gas station, only about 4 miles up, to fill up all the way. After I filled up, I decided that I wasn't pleased with the way my bag was attached, and as I was tightening it, I pulled the bike over on her left side. FUCK. I picked her  up quickly before it leaked out all the gas I just paid for and noticed that Id smashed the left turn signal on the front. What a day. She now wouldn't start at all, so I drained the float bowls and that got her going, but she wouldn't idle now. If I didn't give Josie a little love on the throttle, she'd just turn off. God damnit. I thought maybe if I just rode her for a while it might clear up. 100 miles down the road I stopped for gas, and she still wouldnt idle. I checked all the hoses, and a couple of them were loose on the side she fell on, and after I got them back on there good, she idled regularly. The sun set as I hit the California line and I once again got no grief about my missing plates at the checkpoint. I tested out the lurch/pop in 5th gear to see how it was, and it was nonexistent. Maybe draining the bowls did something for it? Im not sure, but she was spitting lightning all the way into CA. About 50 miles from the camp site exit, I thought about how Emily wouldnt have any service in the woods and there wouldnt be any way for me to find her. I stopped at an exit close to the camp and found myself to be correct. I gave Dave a call and asked him if he'd mind if I showed up at his house in Corona Del Mar a night early and he told me that of course he didnt mind and I was about 3 hours from his house. An hour into that ride, I hit rain and pulled over at a Chevron to wait it out. I talked to Moorepants for a while,  and then talked to Larry the gas station clerk for a while before I decided to just see how far I could get. On the radar, there wasnt just patches of green with dots of red, there was Bright blue spots and a little purple here and there, but I judged that it'd passed, so got on the road. 5 minutes down the road, I realized that I was wrong. The rain stung and it was in the 40s. I got soaking wet fast, and pulled over into a Dennys to wait it out again. I ate some food, drank a bunch of coffee, and then put on every stitch of clothing that I had with me. I had an hour and a half to go and decided to just do it. This became two hours by the end of it, and it was the longest two hours of the entire trip. It was still raining, very cold, and I didn't know exactly how to get where I was going. Traffic was tearing along past me, scaring me out my wits. I weaved my way through the last of the mountains at very low speed and received a lot of attention from the horns of other drivers. At one point, I took a wrong turn, and as soon as I realized it and turned around, I saw a shooting star, on a cloudy evening. Pretty rad. I finally made it Dave's house an eternity later and could barely stand. I stumbled down to the beach to look at the ocean and talk to Josie for a minute, then walked the block back to unbuckle my bag and carry it inside. I could barely move from exhaustion and the cold, but I dragged myself up the stairs. Dave woke up as I was going into the bedroom that I was going to be staying in, gave me a hug, and told me to make myself at home. I took off my clothes, got in the shower that adjoins the spare bedroom, and began a long shivering sob in a ball on the floor.. Josie and I had always talked about coming out here to visit her Uncle Dave. She shouldve been in the shower with me, we should be crawling in this giant, soft bed together, but instead, I was cold, exhausted, and alone. I consoled myself with the fact that Id finished the ride across the United States and fell asleep very quickly.