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Old 08-27-2012, 06:49 AM   #346
AntiHero OP
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So even though I missed out on Sugar House, here's a couple snapshots of Slo's:





And here's where I downed some rather incredible libations in memory of all the crushed dreams I'd seen throughout the day.





Art Novelty Company? Ah yes, it's a speakeasy, and the sign on the door, just like the old, genuine speakeasies of the past, was meant as a ruse. Once within I was blind. It was bright outside and DARK inside. Everyone who'd came in behind me experienced the same issue, which began to get more and more amusing. But as eyes adjusted the senses were treated with a rich, dazzling, darkly-opulent Boardwalk Empire interior.



The cocktail menu was spectacular--lots of reinterpretations of old fashioned standards and no vodka! (Ok, they have it, it's just listed as a substitute....the idea being that Vodka is only for those who haven't refined their alcoholism to the point where they want taste, too.)

I got about half-way through the menu before I spotted "ghost pepper syrup." The name of the drink? Kaizer Soze.

3/4 oz Gin, Ransom
3/4 oz Aperol
3/4 oz Orange juice
1/4 oz Bénédictine
1/2 oz Ghost pepper syrup
(Served with ghost pepper salt on the rim)



And it was amazing. Prior to finishing the bartender offered me a taste of a couple other drinks, too, served in miniature-sized tumblers. All equally sublime.

In SF these drinks would set one back double what they did here. Like Detroit I do. Fortunately/Unfortunately, I was on my bike (drink limit: 1)....otherwise this was a place I could have stayed at all night.

Up to this point I've covered what my reaction to the city was. What I failed to mention was how the city reacted to me. During daylight hours everything was reasonably normal. People on the street and people in cafes and stores were polite and friendly. And as I drove around, the Ducati got a lot of attention. Heads turned, staring at stoplights was common and little kids went nuts as I drove by, smiling and waving. Everything was overall fairly positive, despite the backdrop of decay.

I'd rented a place in the middle of what was a fairly common Downtown Detroit street (meaning it was pretty sketchy). Again, I'd heard stories of racial tension, but figured that was decades ago. Besides, I'd gone to a high school with more inner-city black kids than white, worked at an inner-city school in SF and mostly got on well with everyone. At the very least I learned survival skills from working/living in bad areas and know when to shut up, when to chat and when to run like hell. So how bad could it be? I had already checked in and dropped my stuff of prior to heading over to the Oakland speakeasy. And when I asked the bartender if she lived in Detroit, her reply was: "oh yeah, we (meaning white people) live in Detroit, but it's METRO Detroit--not downtown or anything. The people who live in Downtown Detroit are hardcore--or just f'ing crazy."

You know when one of those light bulbs goes off over your head, then pops and shatters shards of glass into your eyes before electrocuting you? Well that was what happened to me right then and there. This wasn't someone from NY or Galveston telling me about the city, this was someone who lived here who knew better.

I started putting 2 and 2 and 2 and 2 together and got to about 34 before I stopped counting and figured I needed to leave, now. Some of what flashed through my head?

*The owner went over the alarm system instructions VERY thoroughly
*He curiously emphasized "shouldn't" in between the words "you" and "have any problems" when discussing the neighborhood
*Both the gate and fence in the backyard had more boards missing than not
*The 'emergency' key that opened the locks to the bars on the windows (combined with all the burned down houses in the area)
*How I hadn't seen one white person anywhere near I was staying (except the guy who owned the building who confessed he wouldn't be there at night)
*How the front door didn't have any door handles on the inside (had to use a wrench--good luck trying to get out in a panic!)
*Large handwritten signs on the corner hardware store advertising pesticides that "Kills Bedbugs Good" and "Roach Bait"
*Kids may play in inner-city parks when the sun is shining (they don't), but at night parks are where everyone meets to drink and do drugs. And there was one right across the street. Did not help that it was right next to a liquor store (where a guy was urinating earlier in broad daylight)
*Oh yes, can't forget the "Crips" tags on the boarded up house next to the liquor store. Do Crips actually spray 'Crips'? In LA they just tagged signs. Perhaps a gang-sign-translator with a spraycan was just doing a good deed for people like me who were too stupid to stay away?

It instantly became clear that I needed to get back and either pack up and run--or tuck in and hide.

And as I got closer to the house it got darker. And the Detroit I knew during the day changed. The one or two black dudes chilling on the porch at 4pm grows into a small mob of black dudes, often spilling out and blocking the street. Now, for the record, I don't have any problems with black dudes. But I got the suspicious feeling that they didn't feel the same about me coming into their neighborhood. If it makes it more clear--imagine how a black dude on a Harley driving through a town full of skinheads would feel....only that black dude was me and his heart began beating at a rising rate as I neared ‘home’.

Had I been on a CB550 or an old Suzuki GS (or in an innocuous rental car), I could have gone through the city almost anonymously--except when the entire street is blocked by bruthas. But the Ducati is as subtle as a raging bull that's just been scalded with 7 layers of 220 degree candy apple red lacquer, obnoxiously announcing both its (and unfortunately my) presence with a beastly rumble. Figuring sneaking in through the back would be my best option, I turned down the alley adjacent to the backyard to find some shady motherfuckers doing something that I preferred not to know what. So rather than screw with the barely openable gate less than 10' away from them, I cruised around to the front. Big mistake. Huge. The park across the street that was so charming by day (not) was hosting a house party for all the 17-25 year old neighborhood gangstas. Not only did I swing by unannounced, I had forgotten to bring a gift. Remember that scene in Animal House? Well instead of stupidly yelling “Otis, my man,” those 107db pipes on the Panigale growled, "hey guys....stop what you're doing and look over here" right before the 1199s LEDs shined right into their eyes as I parked perpendicular to the curb, in between two of their 70s era cars" I felt like a scrawny greyhound who'd nonchalantly wandered into a den of hungry lions, started barking, took a leak and then realized where he was and what the fuck was about to happen next.

AntiHero screwed with this post 10-28-2013 at 07:56 AM
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Old 08-27-2012, 07:03 AM   #347
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Detroit...

I grew up in Michigan, Grand Rapids, so the West side of the state. I have family in Grosse Pointe, and the drive down the Lodge Freeway ane then through parts of the north end of Detroit are nothing if not sad. Old houses that were once the pinnacle of design are now boarded up shacks that are crack houses at best and downright safety hazards at worst. Again, of course the sweeping generalizations are not meant to mean everyone on Detroit is bad. I am sure there are houses on that route that are simply low income people who have no other options. But the stark line between Detroit and Grosse Point is just unbelieveable and an example of how the area still has life, but the City itself has for so long been subject to corrupt politicians and police, that the people ahve little hope. Go North on Jefferson, cross a drainage ditch (I jokingly refer to it as the Moat) and you will find yourself in Grosse Pointe. No way to describe it other than surreal.

I am not going to claim to have spent a lot of time in the D, or to be "from" there as so many do (no reference to you DGraham, just know some people who claim to be and certainly are not from Detroit). But I have been trough there and, like AntiHero says, ther is life there, you just have to find it. I would love for Detroit to return to a great city. It will never be what it once was, nor should it. Cities should always evolve, its how they survive. Detroit will take a while with its legacy infrastructure, but hopefully it too will evolve back into a great city.
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Old 08-27-2012, 12:20 PM   #348
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It is amazing to see such place in a country to which the entire world is looking up to...
If not for a differently looking buildings (if you can call them so) one may think it is war torn town in South Lebanon.

Great report and writing.
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Old 08-27-2012, 02:01 PM   #349
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Back to the other night....

I got off the bike and up onto the porch without removing any gear (an armored jacket might not stop a knife or deflect a bullet, but armored gloves are like brass knuckles, armored elbows are like sledge hammers and a helmet will take blows your brain could not.) More importantly, the helmet gave me an excuse to pretend I didn't hear things like, "white boy," "yo, you gonna let me take it for a ride? (he's GONNA let me take it for a ride,)" "what the hell," "who's he think," etc.

Now just to be fair, it could be that they were just having conversations about their bosses or their coworkers and I was just delusional in thinking their words were directed at me. That's what people who don't deal with (or think about) danger and violence every day say to themselves. That's how our neocortex responds to threats ("this isn't happening!"). But my reptilian brain knew my white ass was about to get fucked. Spider-sense--we all have it, we just have to to listen each and every fucking time we hear it.

Once inside (and upstairs) I had a good view of what began to unfold below. And immediately I thought "GTA" as two guys walked over to look at my bike. Before they got there they veered off towards the people in the car parked in the middle of the street. That was my chance. I hadn't unpacked when I had checked in, so I grabbed my shit, hooked the Kriega to my backpack, ratcheted my helmet down tightly, secured my gloves and jacket, checked to make sure my folder was in place, and was out the door again.

Once outside I was committed: I had left the key to the house on the dresser and had locked the door behind me ("all to avoid a $25 lost key charge, what the fuck was I thinking?"). Then, as I hit the sidewalk I thought, "please don't have a starting seizure now. Anytime in the future, fine--BUT NOT NOW! One fluid motion later I was on the bike, ignition was a-go, the kickstand was up, clutch was in, first gear engaged and the starter button depressed. Two or three high pitched servo whirrs later and the Panigale fired back up before anyone could react to me being back. I paused momentarily, as if frozen by the feeling that I had done it. There was a ten foot radius of empty space around me and I was in the clear. And just as I released the clutch I heard a loud pop, a flash and then the bike died. Ignition was on, lights were off, no response.

No, I kid! The Panigale fired up angry as ever, and I rocketed the fuck off the street FOREVER. FOR FUCKING EVER! (Ok, I'd love to go back during the day, but at night it's the real life version of Escape From New York. for a white boy on an expensive piece of Italian metal.

Lesson is: there are some ideas worthy of validating with real-life experiences and there are some things that are not. This particular episode was idiotic and I should have known better.

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Old 08-27-2012, 02:16 PM   #350
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dang!
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Old 08-27-2012, 02:41 PM   #351
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Hey AntiHero, where do you usually leave your bike when you are on foot/in a bar/in your hotel sleeping? Only really considered it after your posts around Detroit...
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Old 08-27-2012, 02:58 PM   #352
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[QUOTE=AntiHero;19457912 I felt like a puppy who had nonchalantly wandered into a den of hungry lions, started barking, took a piss and then realized where he was and what the fuck was about to happen next.[/QUOTE]

And you leave us hanging here?
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Old 08-27-2012, 04:35 PM   #353
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Holy shit! And...?!....I hate suspense.
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Old 08-27-2012, 05:55 PM   #354
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OneBall View Post
Antihero, your empathy with the com con guys, knowing it was a Darth Maul light stick thingy (my first thought was M82 Barrett/massacre) and the lack of totty shots from Indy has got me slightly worried about you.

Are you feeling alright?
He's more than alright ;-)

And totally correct. It's only the truly strong who are able to be comfortable in being weak. Humility is the act of aligning yourself with reality, of saying "I don't know, but I'm so excited, grateful, and glad I don't know!" Not knowing, ironically enough, is where you come to when you learn a thing or two. You learn enough to learn you don't know enough to know. But you find yourself totally OK with it. In fact, it's freeing!

I really respect how he was able to empathise with the com con guys. And the introspective extrapolation of the pattern evidenced in their search for identity and meaning, projecting that outward and inward at the same time, then seeing that pattern all around - delightful. That's why *I* spend miles on the road in solitude; these kinds of things percolate to the surface - you find yourself observing life around you from this place of abstraction, YET, somehow in this process the observations become so much more personal, almost a journey of self discovery into your own patterns, your own foibles, flaws; a journey of becoming aware of your Ego as a part separate from yourself. A construction that was once so much a part of who you thought you were, and now is an enemy in your journey to a grounded place where you just Are.

Yeah, but the lack of totty shots from Indy, I mean, I'm having a hard time with that one. It would take an epic introspective revelation to get me not to grab a few snaps of the Ducati models...
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Old 08-27-2012, 06:24 PM   #355
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blader54 View Post
Hmmm....roles and role-playing and how much do we all do this? Are we just the sum of all the roles we play? My guess is that things like what bike you ride place you in a community, and like all communities, each one has societal norms. That may be why you're unlikely to see HD guys dressed in race leathers and full face helmets, or why so many adventure riders are either on BMWs or KTMs: because "that's how everyone does it." The norms of adventure riding say you need a certain dual sport bike although there are plenty of people who have gone rtw on all kinds of bikes. That's one of the reasons I am so happy to see this ride report....for once here's someone going on a long ride on a sportbike...my favorite kind of bike. We say "get the bike you really want" and that also determines to a degree how you're going to ride, and who with. No one buys a Sportster so they can run with a bunch of canyon carvers, eh? And look at how many people are amazed that you're doing a tour on a Duc. I am wondering though how much our appreciation for a particular bike is about the bike itself, or about the role we will play when we have the bike. Can these be separated? I'm not sure. But back to roles....we grow up being admonished to act. "Act your age!" "Act like a salesman, engineer, cop, etc." "Act nice." We grow up being told to act, to put on various roles. When we act the role, do we become the role? Does the experience change us? Do we incorporate the roles into our selfhood? I think we can shift into some roles as the need arises. Then I guess the core person is what remains when not in any roles. Sometimes I think that in the times we live in we are asked to don so many roles so often that we lost touch with that core of ourselves, and that core is what people tend to experience when they chuck all the other roles and just ride. And ride. And ride. Then they really only have one role: the traveler, and maybe when they can interact with the world this way it can just be with themselves, without all the other role layers society asks us to wear. Wow, this has gone off someplace I didn't foresee. Apologies to all if the above is boring or stupidly obvious....my only excuse was that the ride report is so good it just made me sit down and ponder for awhile.
Amen.
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Old 08-27-2012, 06:31 PM   #356
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AntiHero, I'm quite confused at this point... What was going through your mind when you decided to rent a place in Detroit rather than staying in a hotel?? Did you find it on VRBO.com ??
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Old 08-27-2012, 06:50 PM   #357
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AntiHero View Post
Up to this point I've covered what my reaction to the city was. What I failed to mention was how the city reacted to me. During daylight hours everything was reasonably normal. People on the street and people in cafes and stores were polite and friendly. And as I drove around, the Ducati got a lot of attention. Heads turned, staring at stoplights was common and little kids went nuts as I drove by, smiling and waving. Everything was overall fairly positive.

I'd rented a place in the middle of what was a fairly common Downtown Detroit street (meaning it was pretty sketchy). Again, I'd heard stories of racial tension, but figured that was decades ago. Besides, I'd gone to a high school with more inner-city black kids than white, worked at an inner-city school in SF and mostly got on well with everyone. At the very least I learned survival skills from working/living in bad areas and know when to shut up, when to chat and when to run like hell. So how bad could it be? I had already checked in and dropped my stuff of prior to heading over to the Oakland speakeasy. And when I asked the bartender if she lived in Detroit, her reply was: "oh yeah, we (meaning white people) live in Detroit, but it's METRO Detroit--not downtown or anything. The people who live in Downtown Detroit are hardcore--or just f'ing crazy."

You know when one of those light bulbs goes off over your head, then pops and shatters shards of glass into your eyes before electrocuting you? Well that was what happened to me right then and there. This wasn't someone from NY or Galveston telling me about the city, this was someone who lived here who knew better.

I started putting 2 and 2 and 2 and 2 together and got to about 34 before I stopped counting and figured I needed to leave, now. Some of what flashed through my head?

*The owner went over the alarm system instructions VERY thoroughly
*He curiously emphasized "shouldn't" in between the words "you" and "have any problems" when discussing the neighborhood
*Both the gate and fence in the backyard (which my bedroom faced) had more boards missing than not
*The 'emergency' key that opened the locks to the bars on the windows (combined with all the burned down houses in the area)
*How I hadn't seen one white person anywhere near I was staying (except the guy who owned the building who confessed he wouldn't be there at night)
*How the front door didn't have any door handles on the inside (had to use a wrench--good luck trying to get out in a panic!)
*Large handwritten signs on the corner hardware store advertising pesticides that "Kills Bedbugs Good" and "Roach Bait"
*Kids may play in inner-city parks when the sun is shining, but at night parks are where everyone meets to drink and do drugs. And there was one right across the street. Did not help that it was right next to a liquor store (where a guy was urinating earlier in broad daylight)
*Oh yes, can't forget the "Crips" tags on the boarded up house next to the liquor store

It instantly became clear that I needed to get back and either pack up and run--or tuck in and hide.

And as I got closer to the house it got darker. And the Detroit I knew during the day changed. The one or two black dudes chilling on the porch at 4pm turns into a small mob of black dudes around 6 or 7, often spilling out and blocking the street. Now, for the record, I don't have any problems with black dudes. But I got the suspicious feeling that they didn't feel the same about white boys coming into their neighborhood. If it makes it more clear--imagine how a black dude on a Harley driving through a town full of skinheads would feel....only that black dude was me and his heart began beating at a rising rate as I neared ‘home’.

Had I been on a CB550 or an old Suzuki GS (or in an innocuous rental car), I could have gone through the city almost anonymously. But the Ducati is as subtle as a raging bull that's just been scalded with 7 layers of 220 degree candy apple red lacquer, obnoxiously announcing both its (and unfortunately my) presence with a beastly rumble. Figuring sneaking in through the back would be my best option, I turned down the alley adjacent to the backyard to find some shady motherfuckers doing something that I preferred not to know what. So rather than screw with the barely openable gate less than 10' away from them, I cruised around to the front. Big mistake. The park across the street that was so charming by day was hosting a house party for all the 17-25 year old neighborhood gangstas and I hadn't been invited. Remember that scene in Animal House? Well instead of stupidly yelling “Otis, my man,” those 107db stock pipes on the Panigale growled, "hey guys....shut the fuck up and look over here" right before the 1199s LEDs blinded all of them as I parked perpendicular to the curb, in between two of their 70s era cars" I felt like a scrawny greyhound who'd nonchalantly wandered into a den of hungry lions, started barking, took a piss and then realized where he was and what the fuck was about to happen next.
OH FUCKFUCK please tell me the Panigale didn't get stolen?!?!?!? :O

dammit I'm coiled up like a madly tensed spring!!! gggaaarrghh. *tense* :-(

BTW, kinda been there. Got carjacked by Aboriginals in one of our major cities. I drove around for 45 minutes with a guy holding a torn beer can against my throat continually giving me papercuts whilst being extremely unpredictable. Longest 45 minutes of my life, spent incredibly aware of the throbbing of every pulse of my blood through my neck, and how close each pulse was to that razor sharp torn beer can, and of how freely it would be flowing and at what high pressure once it was cut. Then how futile the fight would be to try and stem that flow once that high-pressure stream was flowing. It kinda bent my mind, has made me deeply distrustful and resolved in no small way to run/hit/stab/shoot first and without a moment's hesitation if ever in that place again. Burned, nay, branded into the core of my being that experience is.

I really hope you & the supermodel are OK.
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Old 08-27-2012, 07:26 PM   #358
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Literature, Philosophy, Motorcycles...What Else Do You Need?

This ride report is rapidly approaching the quality (key word, that) of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, which was the best ride report in literary history.
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Old 08-27-2012, 07:30 PM   #359
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Dupe

AntiHero screwed with this post 04-11-2014 at 02:50 PM
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Old 08-27-2012, 07:31 PM   #360
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Well, I'm just going to say a little prayer this guy is just playin' with us, because that was a hell of a place to leave off a thread otherwise..................I mean I'm just sayin'
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