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.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Still alert, yet unable to feel my hands or toes, I called it quits in Las Cruces, NM, after riding for 13 hours. The ride had been the best night of the trip so far, I had felt focused yet peaceful, attentive yet relaxed. I pulled over to a Super 8 and waited for the fat blonde dude working the desk to unlock the door and let me in to the lobby. This fella was not in the least bit friendly. I was talkative and hyper and happy to be in out of the cold, and he was glowering and dismissive. I suppose I should cut him some slack though, it was 4am and I probably either woke him up or interrupted his internet chat with his favorite east european adult webcam girl. He checked me in, I got up in room 215 and stripped immediately in order to take a hot shower. After 20 minutes, I finished shivering and crawled under the covers. It was late and I was exhausted, yet I couldn't manage to doze off because I kept hearing noises outside the window where I had parked Josie. I kept jumping up to look to see who I was going to have to maim for trying to steal her, but of course, there wasn't a soul around. A couple paranoid hours passed and I finally slept. ..until 930, which is when I woke up to take a shower and shave and get back on the road. The first couple hours were difficult due to my level of fatigue but the countryside through New Mexico is gorgeous and I'm glad that I had stopped the night before, so I didn't miss it. I took quite a bit of breaks, riding casually west on 10. At a gas station in Lordsburgh, NM, I watched a group of dirty barefoot good-for-nothings push an old RV into the parking lot, so I ran over and helped them push it to the back of the place. The plates on it said Colorado and they all kept referring to it as "Hobo." They didn't know what was wrong with it, had no tools, and no money. I imagine that they've never performed maintenance of any sort on the vehicle, yet were still thoroughly surprised that it wold break down on them. They asked me if I had any booze, drugs, or cash, and since they had a child running around with them, I gave them the 7 bucks I had. The child was so dirty, it was impossible to tell what gender it was, but it was still pretty cool. It kindof looked like the kid off Beyond Thunderdome. Right around the Arizona line, I started enjoying the day. Josie was gnawing on speed and I was wiggling in my seat to the music in my ears. Its been a day dream of mine for quite a while now to ride through the desert listening to my favorite jazz songs, and thats exactly what I did. Peppered with a little Eagles of Death Metal of course. In Willcox, AZ I watched a 3 legged beagle cross back and forth the only road in town. The whole place looked abandoned except for myself and the gas station attendant, and it made me wonder why she cut off her dogs leg. My destination for the evening was Gilbert, AZ, a small suburb of Phoenix where Emily Harry had moved a few years back to attend Dental school. I hadn't seen or communicated with Emily in years, and it was great to see her and catch back up. She hasn't changed and I felt comfortable and content around her immediately. After we chatted, she took me to meet her new beau Joe at a bar called the Boulders. The Boulders was a rather nifty spot. I particularly liked that they had an indoor place to put your bicycles, and they also had all sorts of patio games, such as a giant Jenga. I was introduced to Joe and all of his friends over the course of a couple beers. He is a friendly, boisterous guy who seems to have a good sense of humour. He also seems to know what he has in Emily and thats something I appreciate. We didn't hang out too late and all rode back over to Emilys to call it a night. I had felt a hint of anger behind my thoughts all day, and when I laid down to sleep, it became much more than that.. I stared at the ceiling so fucking pissed at my loneliness. Ill never see Josie again. Ill never watch her sleep with her eyes half open. Ill never catch her passed out in the bathtub with some young adult book about vampires. Ill never wrap my arms around her from behind and kiss the back of her head. Ill never calm her down again after a stressful day. Nothing. None of it. I eventually did fall asleep, and I dreamt for the first time in 3 weeks. It was a meaningless dream that involved comparing back hair with Charlie Sheen and an umpire at home plate, but it was a dream nonetheless. When Emily and Joe woke me early, I felt refreshed, and we went to watch the sun rise over the Superstition Mountains.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

i dont think wet dream is the applicable word although it does make some literal sense. I woke yesterday  in the midst of mighty sob. I eventually fell back asleep, and when I awoke the second time, I packed my bag, left it on the couch.and went to catch the bus. It took  an hour and a half to get to the moto shop riding the bus, even though it had only taken me 3 hours to walk the same distance. Austin, I'm told, is a mecca for the blind, deaf, and people who have lost the sense of touch. There were numerous folks on and off the bus with white canes and my old inclination to follow them around for the day crawled out of its shallow grave, but i told myself that I didn't have time to be so curious and kept riding down to South Congress where Austin MotoClassics is located.  Dustin wasn't quite ready for me when I arrived though, so  I sat out on the picnic table and waited for him to finished putting back together the front caliper. From what he told me I'm glad that I didn't attempt to change the brake pads myself. He'd had a time getting the piston out and had to heat it as a last resort. It did come out though and he got it all back together, but even with new brake pads and him getting all the gum out of the caliper, my front brakes still don't do shit and it takes me 20 feet to stop even at low speeds. Just another reason to be careful I suppose. He suggested a master cylinder rebuild when I get somewhere for a while, I rebuilt the one on the Honda and it wasn't very difficult so I think I'll take care of it in San Francisco. One of the only tools I didn't pack in my bag was the snap-ring pliers, though, and that tool is key for these master cylinders. Getting those rings out without one is an absolute pain. He put on a new starter relay, new tires, said brake pads and did a number of other small things, and  Josie is once again a goddamn flowering wheelrocket.. Austin Moto Classics did a great job, and it was only 1 dollar more than I had guessed I was going to spend there, which is also a dollar more than she cost in the first place. They gave me a free t-shirt and I rode back to Zac and Laceys to get my bag. After some goodbyes, I made my way down 35 to 290 and rode that out to the 10. 290 passed through Fredricksburg, which is a town that alot of the organic produce and products that fill Austin come out of. There were well-off looking middle aged couples strolling around everywhere, windowshopping all of the mom and pop storefronts. It looked like a place my mom would like, quaint as they say. The sun set about a half hour before I hit 10, so I stopped at  Dauna's General Store and dauned all my cold weather gear. As I was suiting up, an fat elderly woman stood next to me and told me the ins and outs of making cupcakes all day. I never asked her why she had to make so many cupcakes, and she eventually got in one of the pickups in the parking lot. I would guess that there are more pickup trucks in Texas than horses, or even people for that matter. They're everywhere, along with SUVs. I wasn't aware that they made SUVs as large as some of the one's that blew by me. It was dark when I got to West 10, 487 miles from the New Mexico border, and the speed limit was 80. I made it my goal for the night to make it out of Texas, stopped for gas and some caffeine, and barreled towards the Pacific with a purpose. The fellas at Austin MotoClassics had warned me about hordes of mentally handicapped, suicidal deer that prowled the shoulders of 10, just waiting for the opportunity to prove themselves but I didn't see the first live deer, only piles of entrails and blood smears. The night ride was wonderful. Ive always been a fan of traveling at night and it was no exception. I didn't see very much of west Texas but I did catch of whiff of all the small towns I passed through. Most of them smelled like horseshit and tortillas, but El Paso smelled distinctly of fresh cut green peppers.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


I haven't been able to recollect my dreams for weeks. Under normal circumstances, I can recall them vividly. This morning when I woke there was blood on my pillow. I don't know where it was coming from. I got the bag of tools and drank some water in the backyard while I read over electrical diagrams. Starter button ain't causing a flicker or a peep, neither is the neutral switch light. I push started her and realized that I'm getting better at it. My legs have gotten stronger. She's running from bees when she's going, sounding good, feeling vivacious, idling a bit better. Clutch switch still needs a bit of tinkering. Think it's gonna be on the motors end, not at the handle. Cable looks a bit slack though, so it could probably use a new one. Messed around a bit more with her pretty parts and then rode Josie to get her first good look by a professional since we've been together. Dustin at MotoClassics made me feel confident in his care for her, and I started walking back in the direction of Zac and Laceys. I estimated it to be about 10 miles but straight through the heart of Austin, from one side to the other. I walked from sidewalk to sidewalk, watching everybodys day go by. Zac and Lacey were sitting in their car in a small parking lot about a mile or so from their house. They had seen me and thought they'd offer me a ride. Back at the house, I began reading Richmond Macabre. Josie had interviewed the two editors/publishers and they had both signed the inside cover. I haven't picked up a book in weeks, and I was breathing more coolly while I read, enjoying the escapism, even during a story set within yards of where she died, although it did make that story much more powerful in its horror. I believe that I have a few of Josie's recorded interviews somewhere in storage. I want to hear her say my name. I want to hear her say anything. The night it happened, they let me back in to see her. She was alone in Trauma Bay 1. A young doctor let me through the curtain and I heaved and moaned on Josie's chest. When my weight would push down on her, air would come out of her ET tube and I would get excited briefly that she had started breathing again miraculously. It happened every time, and every time I would feel hopeful. I still do. I still hope it's some elaborate joke. I'll hopefully get her back tomorrow and she'll be all dolled up and ready for me to ride her out West, might even make it a midnight ride if I keep feeling the way I do.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

i hope she's haunted by her

Yesterday I paid various women around Austin to take care of my body in different ways. I started with the backwaxing, then rode Josie out to the only publicly funded nudist park in the States. A place up in the hills called Hippie Hollow. It's on a lake and surrounded by mansions. The ride out there was something else. I undressed, stretched, broke a good sweat, and then went for a swim. The water took my breathe away it was so cold, but it was just this side of tolerable. After about an hour of floating on my back, I went up on a rock and took a nap. I had an appointment for a massage at 6, and had an hour or so, so I went into a nail salon and received a pedicure from a young asian girl. It was very nice and I plan on treating myself to them on occasion from now on. She didn't say a word about my orange toe. Or at least if she did, it was in a language I failed to understand. I declined the manicure because my hands would be covered in grease and dirt all too soon. An hour massage was next and it was great. I did completely relax briefly, physically and mentally, but I caught myself and couldn't repeat it. The ride back to the house was just what I'd been waiting for and made me feel better than any of the things I'd had done. Accepting that there will be no easy fixes for the way I feel is difficult, but there's rarely any easy fixes on Josie either. 7 things usually get fixed before I figure out what the problem is. She sucked up that SeaFoam and jumped back in the ring with fight in her eyes. The starter is still giving me issues, think I'm going to have to go through that entire circuit and see what I can surmise. It could be related to the speedometer troubles. The motoshop got her new rear tire in, the front should arrive tomorrow. Still waiting on the brakepads to be delivered to Zac's so I can hit the road. Austin is amazing, Zac and Lacey are incredible, but its time for me to move.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

all my stories start with -we-

 I spent the morning in a place called the monkey nest. just sat and watched everyone, grazing over an apple and a pot of coffee for a couple hours. the ride yesterday was a gusty one but the best one so far, probably due to the fact that it was only half as long.         Texas          puts on a grandiose parade of space and size. Stopped at an army/navy store and found out that the helmet law isn't enforced. Felt great to ride around without one after so many recent hours encased. Zac and his girl Lacey have a hell of a setup and I'm incredibly lucky to be their guest. I have probably been to parties a dozen times with Zac but have never really just sat and talked, and I like the fella. I like his voice in particular and the fact that he smiles alot. Lacey's awesome as well. Her and I left in the early afternoon to find her something to eat. We went through numerous neat neighborhoods and much of urban Austin until we reached a parking lot where a lot of food carts sell their goods. She ate. There was people everywhere. A lot of expensive looking thrift and antique stores surrounded by bars and restaurants and other places with clever names to spend your dollars. I'd purchase something but I don't think there's even room enough for a capri sun in my bag. We rode over to  Barton Springs, a large city park,it's namesake being a spring to swim in that feeds into the river. Everyone was riding around in a canoe and I saw that it was only 12 bucks, so Lacey and I took off our shoes and got in Canoe 50. I couldn't ever remember being in a canoe and found it wonderful. We paddled out to the river in a stumbling zigzag and floated around. After a bit of this we headed back to meet Zac when he got home from work. Stretched alot throughout the day, tried on a pair of Zac's shorts and was surprised to find that I can wear a 34 now. I still thought I was a 38, and to just pull my belt good and tight. I think I'm going to begin exercising in the morning. It will undoubtedly heighten my mood. I only spent bout half an hour with Josie today. Thought she needed a nap. She cranked up and I let her run till she was cozied up and alert. Adjusted the throtte cable, idle, and clutch switch in small increments. Im gonna get her a little SeaFoam and let her soak it up around town, so I can see how it treats her while I'm not on the road. She has reacted badly to the stuff in the past, but usually once I get her cleared up she's a little more hearty than before. I decided last night that I'm not ever going to get rid of this motorcycle. She'll have to get rid of me. I wanted to marry Josie because all of the things I saw in her. She would at least consider anything I could come up with, most of the time be right there laughing with me. I asked Josie to marry me one afternoon on Allen St. We were laying in each others arms watching Mad Max and I told her I loved her for the first time and immediately asked her to marry me on Halloween during the parade. She said "yes" without any hesitation. I approached marriage in preparation to love and simply try to get along with Josie for the rest of my life. I had to make myself talk when I was upset, which I have a habit of not doing. It was hard, but I have come along way with her help. I also made myself go along with her constantly. Do things her way without any protest or reaction. Her hands were on the reins of Our life as much as mine were, and I reminded myself this frequently. I put all effort into it and she did, too. She had just a hard of time admitting she was wrong as I did, but she learned with me. Like everything else in life, we knew our relationship only took two things:

                           1. skill
                           2. determination.

I'm resting in Austin for a few more days, waiting on some parts. Tomorrow, I'm going to take care of myself like a gentleman would. Ive a massage, a shaving, a pedicure, a manicure, and a back waxing all planned, the first time I've ever had any of it done. I also plan on visiting another Army/Navy store to pick up some good rope, a gag, and a knife. I've heard rumors that West Texas is a tough place and I plan on riding out that way hoping someone tries something.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

babys got her teeth back (sortof)

didnt notice this till after I parked, Josie would love it.
Giving the carburetor a little more fuel did the trick with the lurch/pop, throttle cable feeling a little sticky so I lubed it up and adjusted it a bit, all this got her the go she'd been missing, but over the course of the day a slew of other problems peaked their head out of their hole to see if they could see their shadow, and they didn't see it, so they climbed out, stretched, and starting running around fucking shit up. I got some manner of short or something in the starter switch, the other night at the beach the kill switch didn't turn the engine off and now the starter intermittently doesnt do anything. If I wiggle the wire running into it, itll help it a little bit. Going to have to clean all these connections again, and double check the wires. Hopefully itll be as simple as that. Also realized that the footbrake was sticking and this was what had been taking alot of my power and causing a host of other things to go wrong I'm sure, so I just gotta try to break the habit of using it until I can get to Austin and spend a little time with it. By the end of the day, the bike was idling way too high and the starter wouldn't do a thing, had to push start each time I got gas. Wish the tank was bigger. This morning I got up and adjusted the clutch cable, the idle, and the throttle cable again. Just got to make it to Austin. As I ride I've been trying to focus on expecting nothing though, just watching things happen, accepting them, and reacting accordingly. I can do it for a minute or two but then the mind starts spewing its shit all over my peace and I forget that I'd been trying to focus. Up until recently my future was populated with adventure, beautiful children, and the supportive, encouraging love of an amazing individual. Now, who knows? If I had to guess, I'd say my future involves pushing Josie down the road a few miles in central texas.

Friday, November 11, 2011

frigid miles

                                                     notice the E to the left of his head

only a couple hours sleep at vics and I was wide awake. I dressed and got out the tools I needed to check out the bike. I'm fairly sure I've found the location of the oil leak, on the front half of the left  engine cover, so I took some gasket sealant and rubbed it all over the seam, to see if it would accomplish some sort of quick fix. Ive had this oil leak as long as I've had the bike, so its not terribly important.I checked the spark plugs, both looking good, the oil level, still okay, and the battery charge, just fine. Just a tiny bit of gas in the tank, though. I packed up my  bag tight, and walked the half mile or so to the breakfast spot that my parents had told me about. A place called Martins. I was expecting something akin to a Waffle House or Dennys, but it was more like a McDonalds, a everything homemade Mcdonalds that's super cheap. The line went all the way to the door, but it went quickly, and I purchased a cup of coffee and a giant steak and egg biscuit for 3 dollars and some change. I sat over near the window, and listened to all of the elderly people talk. If I had to guess, they all met here frequently. Some of them had even brought their own breakfast in tupperware, social security check probably wearing thin. I listened to one of them talking about riding a Gold Wing to Branson, Missouri and just how nice a town that was. He was at a table of maybe 8 people, and when he hollered over to ask his wife what the name of some theatre in Branson was, she was 3 tables over, sitting quietly by herself. Then he started talking about Yakov Smirnoff, a comic that was so funny that they saw at the theatre and how ol' Yakov was all american, which I thought was humorous. I havent had much of an appetite lately, and I didn't even want to finish my biscuit. Took my coffee though and walked back to the house. It was around 830, and still much too brisk to ride, so I made some phone calls and wrote a bit until I felt I could stand it. Josie gave me a little trouble getting started, but she's never liked cold mornings, and once we gassed up and got on 20 she was doing fine. 45 miles or so down the road I decided that I wanted to stop shivering so much, so I picked an exit that I thought might have a Wal-Mart nearby and took it. No Wal-Mart, just a Indian gas station clerk that didnt know where anything was, and an ol' black lady that gave me directions that took me back where I just came from, where I knew for a fact there was no Wal-Mart. Keep riding. Picked another exit 30 or 40 miles down the road and found one. Never been so excited to see Wal-Mart in my life, I tell you what. For some reason, whatever town in Alabama this was, Brenham, I think, has alot of attractive women working at their Wal-Mart. An anomaly if I've ever seen one. I bought a set of blue long johns, and a black stocking cap and as I went to pay, I felt the Walmart gift card that my aunt and uncle had given me in my back pocket. I'd forgotten all about it. Once I got outside, I undressed down to a pair of tiny purple underwear and then put the thermals on. A hispanic woman was on her phone in the car parked directly in front of me, and I'd bet a dollar she got a kick out of it. Dressed and a bit warmer, a little boy rolled down his window and waved to me as I cranked up.   The sun yawned deeply and started smiling on me somewhere near Birmingham, and although I was far from warm, each breath no longer was accompanied by a full body shiver. Passed by Talledega Speedway, which surprised me, because I thought it was in west Florida. I was tempted to stop and check out the Internation Motor Sports Museum, but just kept on moving. Near the Mississippi border I stopped at a rest area. The mother of the family that I'd contacted on Craigslist to stay with was celebrating her birthday today, and I didn't want to show up empty handed. I searched the rest area for 30 minutes or so until I found a four leaf clover, but I dropped it and couldnt find it again, so I had to find another which took me another 15 minutes. The second one was prettier though. The entire time I'd been staring at the ground, a person in full gear was laid out on the grass in front of a Kawasaki streetlegal dirtbike that had been heavily modified. Once that person got up I went over and introduced myself. Stefan didn't seem to understand alot that I was saying because he would say yeah, and nod, and then he would catch on a few minutes later. Language barrier, or maybe he just didn't care. Either way, he was a friendly  43 year old fella on his way from Montreal to the tip of South America. He works seasonally as a Chef at Celine Dion's golf course country club and spends the winter riding his motorcycle. Which he'd modified in preparation for the trip South. I think he said once he hits the Panama Canal the roads are shitty for the rest of the continent and thats why he'd rode the dirtbike. It was a very awesome motorcycle and I wish I would have taken a picture of it. Him and I decided to ride together as far as I59 where he'd head South. As we made the turn to leave the rest area, the keys to Josie just popped out and went out on the road. I told him this and he just said "What?" The lurching/popping problem showed up again almost immediately. I had been thinking about this throughout the day, and I believe that I'm running lean. I'm going to let out those screws a half turn and see what that does for me, if I can get to them. If i think its going to require taking off the carbs, I'll just wait until I get to Austin. 50 or 60 miles on, we stopped for gas, and said our goodbyes. It was at this stop that I realized that I no longer had a license plate on the back of Josie. I remember seeing it in SC, but theres no telling when it had either fallen off or been stolen since then. Fuck. Time to go. Nightfall came way too soon and I was shaking to the core for the last 70 miles or so. I wanted Josie's arms around me. Even though I was 230 times her size, she was the big spoon most nights and I would fall asleep with her running her fingers over my head and down my back. She would kiss the back of my neck and ears, tell me she loves me, and this would be the last thing I remember most days.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Futility is easily forgotten running full speed.

72 mach 1 mustang in the carport of the empty house in GA

                                            gas station wall in Harlem, GA made out of stucco and seashells
I made myself stand and heard Emmy Jo squealing in the her room. Little girl always wants her mama early in the morning. Slowly but surely the dayts oredererd themselves out behind me in red concrete and the wraiths of the future made themselves known. I stared at the curtained window and felt myself awake. I've never packed a single bag for a cross-country ride on a motorcycle before , so I took a moment to focus on the task before me. I've also never be one to prepare for the worst, yet I didn't want to need that ONE tool to keep rolling. At the house back in Richmond, I'd hastily seperated my tools as necessary and unecessary and now I felt the need to do it again. Over the last ten days, I've had to consider the importance of every single item I own, and now I was upon the final filter. I collected all of the things out of Joe's truck and arrange dthem around their dinner table. I then emptied all of the mess out of my bookbag that had tagged along in the last ten years that I'd owned it. 4 toothbrushes, 3 spoons, a set of chattering gag teeth, a bag of smoke bombs, a sling I made in the Netherlands for my broken hand, a dried-berry leopard fang necklace, and a variety of other notions. One by one I filled the pockets as such:

A:   spark plug gappers
      2 quarters
      lubricating tool
       nail clippers
      fang necklace
      vaccuum caps
      extra fuses
      retractable mirror
      electrical tape

B:   allen key
       allen wrench set
      gasket sealant
      fuel line
      electrical wire
      hose clamps
      smoke bombs
      terminal kit
      valve clearance tool
      carb driver
      wire clamper/cutter
       wire brush

C:      3 philliips heads of varied sizes
          2 flatheads of varied sizes
          angle driver
          channel locks
          pressure gauge
          ratchet extension

D:       maglite
          wrench set
          spark plug socket set
          socket set
          yamaha manual
          3 t shirts
          1 collar shirt
           2 pairs colorful underwear
           3 pairs socks
            neck sock
            first aid kit

E:      deodorant

As I was picking over all my mess, Joe and his family finished their dreams and joined me. Emmy Jo was flashing her get-anything smile, Elliot was absorbed in some colors, and Erica cleaned up the kitchen and made some gravy and biscuits. We ate and hugged and kissed and the last thing I heard as I pulled away was Elliot yelling "Goodbye, Uncle John!"     Over at my folks' I had a cup of coffee and sat in their recliner until I was drowsy. They're the best I could ever ask for and they make it apparent every time I'm around them. More hugs and kisses and I headed down the road. The speedometer on Josie had always been iffy, but yesterday it shit the bed. It went wonky heading down 17 and the needle broke itself off. I investigated the cable with my dad and feel fairly certain that I at least need a new cable, probably need to replace the whole thing. Another piece waiting on me in Austin. The result of all this is that I can't tell how fast I'm going other than to base it on the ol' flow of traffic. No problem. Ive always been good at averages. Right around Columbia on I-20, I finally switched into 5th gear and immediately got the lurch/popping problem that had occurred on the way down from Richmond. This all turned out to be a good thing, because when I stopped to check it out, I filled up with gasoline, and I was almost completely empty even though I was under the impression that I had close to 50 miles left on the odometer. After I got going and compared the mile markers to the odometer, I realized that it was completely unreliable. Looks like I gotta pay attention to distance and time. I always found it incredibly endearing that Josie had no sense of place. She knew no road names, and had to go somewhere a dozen times to be able to return there again. She would get so frustrated driving and I always thought it was so charming. It worked well because I'm quite the fan of being lost because it opens up your day into the realm of mystery, although my laughter did encourage her frustration on occasion. Josie was never upset for long though, 10 minutes was usually her maximum for negative emotions, and then she'd be back to smiling and that darling laugh of hers in no time. I regret not having a recording of her laugh. I would gladly trade all of the things Ive deemed important for it. Down the road I stopped for a stretch and a leak outside of Madison, GA. I wandered around in the grass, glancing without devotion at the patches of clover, until I did spot one. I hadn't found a four-leaf since all this happened and there right in front of my bike was a 5-leaf. The 4th one I've found, all within the last two months. I debated whether to pick it and decided not to. I took a picture and was suiting back up to ride when I noticed a man and a little boy, 3 or 4, walking towards the parking lot from the bathroom. I quickly walked back over to the patch and began searching for it. I've never had to look for the same one twice and for the first few moments I thought it was contrary, but there it was. The man was in the drivers seat of an SUV parked 20 or 30 yards away and I hurried over before they took off. He rolled down the window with the hand that wasn't holding a sandwich and I told him that I'd found a 5-leaf and thought I'd give it to his son. He said thank you, but the elderly lady in the passengers seat exclaimed how sweet that was and how she just knew thats what I was doing over there. I gave them a quick smile, a small wave, and got my jacket and helmet back on to finish up the 2 hours to Atlanta. I don't know if these roads go far enough.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

the first time i ever saw your face

a few days had passed without searing tears, yet today I was riding along, sun shining, and had to stop. I pulled up next to a gas station in Garden City,  went to a little copse of trees off to the side, and wept.

  time for some sleep. tomorrow I leave town.

sometimes you just gotta try

sleep last night was fleeting at best, tumbling, turning. Phlegm stocked itself in my sinuses as I laid in a contaminated little boy's bed. Shaped like a race car and I'm speedin' towards misery. I got up and heard Emmy Jo crying for mama. I was right there with her. Nothing I could do but want my mama right along with that creature. She knew what the score was. Ain't nothing better than mama. Joe and Erica were up soon after and I sat and researched motorcycle parts and routes across the country while Erica and Joe made their morning special. We all chatted and Joe made some amazing omelettes and I plotted out a way to get across America the most pleasantly. Josie's likes and dislikes  peppered the tip of my tongue throughout the morning but I didn't bring up the majority of that lovely spice. She's all that I want to talk about. I want to tell everyone how easy it was to surrender into her eyes. How resting my head on her shoulder was perfect peace. Her lips. The slowest even kiss. Such gradually immediate love right in front of me and mine to claim. SHE LOVED ME. I don't understand. Dastardly ol' despicable me. She made me love life and myself with an accepting calm that I cannot duplicate. There are not motorcycle shops in Myrtle Beach with the tires and brake pads that I need. Being that neither are priortity. I was fine with that. No reason to wait around. Joe put Erica's chili in the omelette that he made me and it was a one-two punch of Stone Fantastic that would leave blackeyes all over the culinary breakfast scene. Hot damn. I left shortly thereafter and rode to the parts store to get a few things. I had a bookbag full of tools on, and when I walked in the door, a multitude of alarms let everyone know. Without being told to, I left the bag sitting by the trashcan at the front door of the AutoZone near 707 and went in. A little help from an old man and I thought I had everything I needed, went out, suited up and remembered that I couldn't find the plug gapper yesterday, so I went and bought another and a cheap little retractable mirror in case I need to get to that mutherfucking carb pilot screw and don't want to take the entire carb off.             Over at my folk's house, I put Josie on her centerstand and unloaded my tools onto the carport in front of my parents house. I had forgotten my ratchet, so I searched all of my dads shit with no luck. Drove their Mercury over to Joe's and grabbed mine, returned. Over the next couple hours, I went through all of the maintenance I had on deck for the day. My  mom sat in a chair and chatted with me while she sipped sweet tea. I got the neutral switch changed, the oil, and the plugs. I had intermittently had a short in the rear left turn signal and it was happening again that morning. It was a start and stop randomly kind of problem so I was sure that it was a short. I checked all the lights and fuses and decided that it was the bulb, but I couldn't unscrew the tiny little panhead screw holding the light cover on. I sorted my bag and eventually my dad showed up and I asked for his help. He broke out the drill and solved my problem. Once we got that cover off, I also took the cover off the other side and switched bulbs. Something about that fixed the problem, so I had turn signals again. I'm fairly positive I chased that little gremlin into hiding. But he's in there waiting I know it. I ate some sushi with my parents that Dad had gotten me. (a california rolll since I'm going to cailfornia he says; daddy's the best) and decided to take Josie for a good ride to check out how she was responding to the changes. Up 31 and around 501, she ran like a a turtledove. I stopped at Redline for a helmet but just ended up buying goggles. 2 hours of cruising around, I saw an 85 (maybe) 1100 midnight special sitting up in Myrtle Beach, I pulled over and checked  it out. Something about four cylinder enginez just don't sit right with me. Bike was mighty pretty though. I continued on, rolling around Myrtle Beach enjoying the weather. It was perfect out, and not having to wear a helmet was becoming more and more of a rare treat. I rode all up and down the coast, finally stopping at N 14th in Surfside, one of my old haunts. I sat on the wooden steps leading across the dunes, and held myself. My body has been reacting coldly for over a week. I shiver and I frequently hold my arms tight against me with my head down. It's as if I'm wounded. I sat and watched the ocean, thinking about all the lazy days Josie and I spent on the beach, how I'd lay on my side and just admire that bod of hers for hours while we were out there. She'd catch me staring and just smile, knowing that not a one of my intentions was pure or clean, that they all would take her body into some harmony of pleasure with mine, right there in the dirt if she'd let me. I nodded off into one of those naps where everything starts off heavy and then just stops. Very nice. Blacky called to let me know that he was going to come up to Richmond and visit me soon, but I told him just to ride the couple miles to the beach from his house and hang out instead. He was surprised that I was around and showed up shortly thereafter. Blacky lost his dad earlier this year and I hadnt seen him since. I felt we had some sort of meeting ground in our tragedy and it was nice to sit by the beach and catch up with him. While we were chatting, I noticed a large pink flower in the shrubs of the dune. I glanced around and couldn't see any other bloom like it, so I hopped the railing and grabbed it. FAKE! I stabbed that disappointing little piece of plastic into the cracked wood of the banister and left it be. Time slipped away from Blacky and I and before I knew it, it was time to head to my parents house for dinner. I rode over first to Joe's, he was heading out the door with the kids. Emmy was wearing a blue princess dress and kept saying something about how she was a pretty girl. Joe showed me where the clippers were and left. I gave myself a good clean haircut and then shaved for the first time since Halloween. Shower and a clean white t-shirt, and it was time to go. Theresa called while I was getting dressed and I talked to her for a minute. I felt like I wanted to talk longer than she did, but when we said good bye, she said I love you and I said it too, and it made me feel nice. I do love that girl now. I probably did before all this, but its glaringly apparent that I care now. Quick ride over to the parents house, dinner was so delicious, my mom's sweet and sour meatballz, pinto beans, fried apples, mashed potatoes, homemade rolls and so on and so forth. After dinner I checked on some of the weather for my travels, and watched the kids running around and playing, but started feeling so restless, so anxious. Just wanting something to feel different. I said some quick goodbyes and got on Josie. She led me all up and down the highway at high speeds, eyes watering from the wind and other things. After a good bit of that, I was down near Pawleys Island and remembered that Shayna worked somewhere in Murrells. I saw the place right off 17, and pulled in. Brent and I used to sing karaoke in this building years ago. Can't recall the name of the place then, for some reason I want to say P-diddys, but thats not right. She was tending bar with a bunch of old golf dudes sitting round. She gave me a good ol' hug, poured me a beer and we caught up in between her filling glasses and handing people plates of food. She had just returned from Plattsburgh, NY, visiting Ian and Darcy with her mother. She told me that they had listened to Midnight Soulstice the week before, and I thought that was really sweet. To think of a mother and two daughters deep in the mountains, sitting around late at night listening to the old Soulstice. Seems like a pretty scene. When Josie and I would both happen to be free on a Friday night, and neither of us felt like venturing out, we'd just get a couple of beers, and lay around in bed, listening to the Soulstice, talking about our week and the future, probably mostly about Nola. Just like everything else we ever attempted to accomplish in bed though, it would inevitably lead to some good lovin' and then us both falling asleep sweaty in each others arms.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

i named my motorcycle Josie

slept surprisingly well for hardwood floor, woke up with tasks to accomplish and goodbyes to say, each one stepped out of the way and nodded its acquiescence, It was disheartening to leave Nol behind, today was a traumatic day for that creature  but she's always been stalwart and steady and I have no reason to believe her response to her new situation will be any otherwise, after the house was empty, and all of the farewellers were outside, I went in each room and shed a few tears, told J. that I wish she was doing all of this with me, and to please follow me wherever I go. Hugs shared with everyone, Ill miss them all. I gassed up at the Valero, 13 bucks, turned the ipod on and headed down semmes towards 95, Clarke pulled up beside me at the light (his yamaha was stolen last night! FUCK!) and said something about racing, I thought it was funny that we had just said I love you's and goodbyes and here we were sitting patiently beside each other at a light, not going to see each other for months. I tried to roll forward and turn my head slowly to look at him without smiling, as we have done in the past simultaneously, but he didnt see it. Fail. The light changed and I began heading down 95 shortly thereafter. I had mentioned to Joe stopping and getting some straps and ropes and what not in case the bike broke down, but never felt so inclined. After 50 miles or so, I had gotten pretty well situated. Had my sleeves to the right length, helmet on comfortably, and was beginning to wiggle a little bit in my seat to the music. The spring before Josie and I were married, I was wild for her. Absolutely head over heels.I walked, talked and breathed Josie Varnier. There were multiple nights where I would have drinks after work and get her phone number off the list in the back, and torture myself over texting her until I would finally delete her number. I fantasized about her day and night. She never suspected at the time. I remember seeing her attend to various tasks at work and admiring her form and shape. Always trying to come up with a way to seem interesting to her. I was reading some Horatio Alger novel, probably about some fiery young chap rubbing two pennies together and getting a dollar, and was so thrilled that she had read it. She just seemed so neat, so cute, so friendly, so funny, and so fucking sexy. I had a crush. I'd never had a crush before Josie. I'd always just ended up with the girl, more or less. I'd never pined from afar. and pine for Josie I did. I would usually leave Penny Lane drunk before she did. I'd roll out around 2, and be sure to casually invite her to Monroe Park to ride about the fountain with me. I knew she lived right there in Monroe Park Towers, so thought that she might be apt to walk over one night. My bike had pegs on the back. And I thought if she ever walked over, she could hop on the back and rest her arms on my shoulders, and I would be in Nirvana. She never did. I'd circle that fountain in the park for hours, waiting for her. Counting the circles on my bike, leaving when I reached 230. The only person that was aware of the tenacity of my feelings for young Varnier was Wayne. I worked during the day with him, ostensibly pruning or raking,  but actually just dicking around rich folks yards, I told him all about her, how the night before I'd caught a glimpse of the top of her tight, way up those perfect thighs, or how she'd touched my arm when she was talking to me, and how I knew that she always touched people, but it drove me crazy, and made me feel so lucky. That whole spring was delicously frustrating. Halfway to Myrtle Beach, the bike starting having a bit of a lurch/power issue, began popping more frequently, and the power would come and go in spurts, but never had full loss of power akin to the problem a few weeks back. I pulled over and began pulling all the tools out of my bookbag, I need to organize them before I hit the road to Atlanta, I found the ratchet and right socket and pulled out the rear jug plug, it was black, but not wet as it had been in the past with power problems, I cleaned it up as well as I could, and began looking for the plug that I had thought I packed, I also had an eye out for the plug gapper, just to doublecheck, but could find neither. I gotta organize this bag. Its gotta happen. Joe got out of his truck, and suggested I look up parts stores on the phone. It pointed me in the direction of Mighty Auto Parts, a couple miles out into the country. We rode off looking for it, but just came upon the tiny town of Sims, NC. A place that no one ever needs to go, especially because there was no parts store. We turned around. The bike was running better now. No popping, no issue with lurching/power. I decided to just hit the road, figuring the problem would start up once again when I got up to speed, and I could pay attention to what kind of symptoms lead up to it. It never happened again. I got a new gremlin and this little bastards gonna get me when I least expect it. The ride through NC was uneventful. I enjoyed it thoroughly. Riding fast, listening to some music. I had deliberated over naming my bike for the last 11 months. I always would talk to it, tell it that it's pretty and I love it, but had never come up with something adequate. The thought crossed my mind to name it Josie and I laughed and laughed. I began petting her immediately and telling her that we were going across the country together. We hit the SC line and I stopped at the 38 exit to remove my helmet. Id never ridden helmetless and at first I didn't really like it. Much colder, louder, and I had to use my mouth muscles to keep my cheeks from flopping around. I also can hear way more noises coming off of the bike, which made me suspect a bearing in the front end. I'm going to investigate it tomorrow. Bike needs a little love before we hit the road again. Think I'm going to try and fix the oil leak, change out the neutral switch, change the oil, get 2 sets of new platinum plugs, and call around to see if anybody's got a set of tires I can get put on before Wednesday. I stopped by my folks house when we got to town. My dad met me on the porch with a wonderful hug. It was such a good hug it made me sleepy. My mom had one for me too, along with a bunch of "praise jesus"'s I hung out there for a bit and then came her to Joe's house. Erica was being a beautiful mom and the kids were being beautiful kids. Erica made some of the best chili that I can remember eating. I took a shower and retired here, to Elliott's race car bed to cry a little, write, and hopefully sleep. I miss you Josie. I miss having your body next to mine when it's time to sleep. Today was the closest thing Ive felt to normal in the last 9 days.