Coast to Coast (and back?) with an Italian Supermodel

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by AntiHero, Jul 13, 2012.

  1. AntiHero

    AntiHero Long timer

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    I have to close out Detroit on a positive note before I start on Canada….so here's the final chapter and we can get on with the Great White North! (And then to NY and then back to CDN).

    Having been underwhelmed by museums in more than one or two cities across the US, I wasn’t sure what to expect from my visit to The Detroit Institute of Art. But I needed a sanctuary and there were one, two, three, four paintings I needed to see. Now, the DIA is no Louvre (which is a good thing), but neither is it SF MoMa. (With artwork valued at around 1 Billion you'd think eventually people would stop robbing liquor stores and move in for the big score....)

    One of the most popular 'attractions' of the museum is a large work by Diego Rivera. Though he thought that art should be public (meaning not in a gallery, his best work (a fresco) was painted inside a museum, which was a good call for him....perhaps he knew the spray can was coming?!

    The work consists of 27 panel murals that glorify the city's manufacturing and labor force of the 1930s and celebrate the value of unionized labor (Rivera was a Marxist) that without a doubt helped make the city what it was then, but also contributed a great deal to where it ended up. (Hmmm...Communism in the USSR dies about the same time the auto industry/union power in the US does....coincidence, conspiracy or just the fate of a labor system that's not aligned with a free market economy?)

    [​IMG]

    I'm not a huge fan of murals. But the composition and structure reminded me of Egyptian tomb paintings (which I do have an odd obsession with). The thing that blows my mind about all of civilization is everything we make today comes from the same places we’d have sourced them from 3500 years ago. Not a single material Detroit workers utilized (then or now) wasn’t available to humans thousands (hundreds of thousands) of years ago, give or take an ice age. Metals existed in the same ores then as they do now, petrol was underneath the sand in the middle east, elastic polymers oozed from the same trees in South America as ooze today....the only thing lacking was a vision (The Pontiac Aztec, for instance!), the ideas to turn those visions into manufacturing realities (assembly lines, unions, supply chains, etc) and the effort required to make it all happen (same then as it is now: sweat).

    And then I thought about all of the other technological advancements and industries that are just waiting to be created and assembled through visions and ideas and effort. Everything created in the future exists (the materials at least) for us here and now. Everything is there…everything Detroit needs to regain what it lost is all around them.

    But it's their city and they can do what they want. I don’t have to live there and actually like it exactly the way it is.
  2. AntiHero

    AntiHero Long timer

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    One of the four I came for:

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    One object that's pretty cool but completely, totally useless:

    [​IMG]
  3. AntiHero

    AntiHero Long timer

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    I wanted to go see another museum (The Cranbrook Art Museum, which happened to be featuring an exhibit on George Nelson, Herman Miller's legendary design director), but then got lost and then hungry. I ended up at some restaurant with an outside patio and ordered. The fact that the chef clearly was paying homage to Salad Fingers more than made up for the cultural deficit I suffered missing out on Cranbrook.

    [​IMG]

    I like it when the red water comes out. (And come to think of it, my waitress did bear a striking resemblance to Marjorie Stewart Baxter.)

    And then I saw Mitt Romney:

    [​IMG]

    And then realized perhaps he'd come to see a very special art exhibit with a not-so-secret message:

    [​IMG]
  4. AntiHero

    AntiHero Long timer

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    And then I returned to my bike to find something out of place:

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    Aha. Secret Service. Come on! Dressing up in a suit and wearing one of those tiny earpieces with the minuscule telephone chord would have not been any more conspicuous. Not fooling anyone guys....just sayin'.

    There was a balcony adjacent to the park I'd parked my bike at and up at the top a makeshift bright-light studio for some sort of Romneyrific interview. And oh, look....I guess the Secret Service gets a 2-for-1 at Banana Republic? Same costume, different guy.

    [​IMG]
  5. live2ridetahoe

    live2ridetahoe RN

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    Have you ever seen the Diego Rivera murals in SF?

    http://www.ccsf.edu/NEW/en/about-city-college/diego-rivera-mural.html

    BTW, when you get back, maybe we should open up our own joint. We can call it, "The Detroit". It can be a speakeasy in Oakland.

    Or not. I'm fine with that too. Just wanted to be the first person to toss out that idea.

    JG

    BTW, nice getaway. I always listen to my gut...
  6. It'sNotTheBike

    It'sNotTheBike Banned

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    I am curious -- did the secret service guys instruct you to block their faces in the photos ? It would not
    have occurred to me to do that, not unless they walked up to me with their Uzi ( or is it an MP5K ? )
    lumps in their jackets and told me photos were verboten.

    You're a talented writer. As others have mentioned, the gestation of a book is right before our eyes
    in this ride report, which is so much more than a report about a ride.

    Thanks for sharing, and I look forward to more.

    By the way, Route 100 in Vermont and the Kancamagus Highway in New Hampshire are roads
    very much worth riding on a bike like yours.


    .
  7. Mike_drz

    Mike_drz Banned

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    Detroit closed down mostly due to pollution, I could see that from the outskirt of chicago. now the problem merely just simply shift to its neighbor. there is a price for industalization


    ____________________________________________
    from where I am just warehouses, so you can't feel it
  8. Blader54

    Blader54 Long timer

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    Hmmm....I had to google "salad fingers" to get the ref -- gives a whole new shall I say twist to the term 'black comedy' -- continued congrats for the excellent RR:clap

    Detroit.....where to begin? I'm sure there are many PhD dissertations out or pending on this.....Your first-hand report was a good read. Where are you off to next?
  9. AntiHero

    AntiHero Long timer

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    I'm guessing MP5Ks. But fortunately I didn't have one stuck in my face. As for the blue dots....not sure what the protocol is for pictures of them and I definitely don't want to find out!


    Salad Fingers is totally disturbing and totally awesome. As to where I am now.....uploading pics as we speak. :)
  10. LWRider

    LWRider Been here awhile

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    One of the main ideas I got from Shop Class as Soulcraft is that mechanical work puts a bigger cognitive demand on the worker than "office work" usually does. This is some of the jist of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, also. The irony in that is that generally society thinks of "office work" as more intelectually demanding, and manual work less so.

    It is interesting to compare Shop Class as Soulcraft to the things Mike Rowe says in his speeches on work.

    Cheers,

    Mike


    ^^^^^^^^^^^
    Sorry. Don't know how this ended up here. I was trying to post it in "The Miracle of Fixing Stuff" thread.
  11. dmweder

    dmweder Back on the Bike

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    Keep it coming!
  12. AntiHero

    AntiHero Long timer

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    Once the World War Z landscape of Detroit was behind me I was again surrounded by lush, manicured farms, blue skies and red barns off in the distance. I stopped to get some petrol, but instead found myself in the scene of an X-Files episode (will it ever end????).

    [​IMG]

    It was the perfect setting for an alien abduction or the supernatural and mysterious death of your dear protagonist. I even tried performing the kind of innocuous tasks that provide filmmakers a perfect opportunity to both introduce the homicidal villain AND kill off an unsuspecting, hapless victim at the same time.

    Such as pumping gas from an inoperable pump at an abandoned gas station:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    ("What could be wrong? I do not understand.")


    Relieving a full bladder on the wall of a building:

    (not pictured)



    But even the one activity that never fails, failed. Yes, I'm talking about obliviously taking pictures that, upon inspection by the investigative detectives who arrive in the first scene, reveal no clues:

    [​IMG]



    You know...the kind of pictures that towards the end of the episode reveal the true identify the perpetrator during the shocking penultimate scene:

    [​IMG]
    Hey, what's Mulder doing in a bear costume?

    But no matter how much I tempted fate with the kinds of activities that always lead to a crescendo of suspense and horror (I just wanted to hear that eerie and ever-so-mysterious X-Files theme song) Flukeman didn't emerge from primordial radioactive sludge via a manhole cover, nor did an argument between Darin Peter Oswald and myself lead to spontaneous human electrocution while a particularly awesome version of "Ring the Bells" not available on iTunes played in the background on a non-functioning radio.
  13. It'sNotTheBike

    It'sNotTheBike Banned

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    This latest installment reminds me of something Hunter Thompson ( I am betting you know who he was ) said :



    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro"




    At this time I'd like to cast my vote for Noomi Rapace in the female lead role of the film ...



    .
  14. Oldone

    Oldone One day at a time!

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  15. AntiHero

    AntiHero Long timer

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    At this point I'm happy to entertain theories on how I am able to entertain myself for so long in abandoned, people-less parking lots.

    Feeling refreshed I headed across the street to a real gas station (boring!) got back on the highway, passing Woodstock on the way

    [​IMG] Next stop: Border Crossing.

    I've actually never done a border crossing before (airport customs doesn't count) and was looking forward to replacing the complicated idea of what it would be like with how simple and efficient it would be in REAL life.

    Approaching the border looks just like a regular bridge toll crossing. I got up, paid, and was through! WTF? They didn't even ask for my passport. Way easier than I thought. And then a mile or so later I hit the REAL border crossing. It was slow going, with lots of Dead-Stop traffic. (Imagine a toll booth where everyone paid in pennies and dropped half of 'em on the ground in the process and you get the picture.)

    [​IMG]

    Though I've always breezed through customs, the conversation at the border didn't go so well. Apparently "on my bike" isn't a confidence-builder to the question "where do you live?"; they do not like it when you bring weapons in and get seriously suspicious when you're not sure where you're going or how long you're staying. My 'Kwai Chang Caine' replies got me a yellow 'go straight to the principal's office' citation. Really? To get into Canada? Then again, Canada has a "Strategic Global Reserve" of Maple Syrup they have to protect. With this weeks maple syrup heist (not kidding), I can only imagine that future border crossings are going to get even more difficult--especially if your last name is Jemima!

    Once inside their little 'detention center' there's a lot of waiting around and not much to do. What sucks is one minute you're excited about rolling into a new country and then the next you're going through a DMV like experience soaking up valuable time. I kept thinking--if they send me back, will I get a refund the toll they made me pay?

    [​IMG]

    Once they ran a background check (I assume), they called number 66 (that was me) I got the same 20 questions, answered them the same way (not good to change stories during a second interrogation) and got the green light to enter. One of the first signs on their freeway? 50km over the speed limit = Roadside Vehicle Seizure. 90mph and they confiscate your vehicle for good? 5 over it is....

    Anyhow, made it to Fort Erie, a sleepy Canadian town about 30min. south of Niagra Falls.

    [​IMG]
  16. AntiHero

    AntiHero Long timer

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    Not much to do in the town, which was exactly what I needed.

    Drove around, took a few pics and, well, that's Fort Erie.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    The gas station attendant did tell me that cops aren't permitted to chase motorcycles, btw....not sure if it's true or not and I'm not going to try to find out.
  17. AntiHero

    AntiHero Long timer

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    To break the litany of Fort Erie, I went into Buffalo, NY--which meant I had to cross the border again. I won't spend much time writing about Buffalo because there's not much to write about. Did have the best f'in Rueben I've ever had, though.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    What? No "People Love us on Yelp" sticker? Must not be very good.

    [​IMG]
  18. AntiHero

    AntiHero Long timer

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    Ha! Funny, I've gained a much fonder appreciation of Hunter Thompson while on this trip. So far there isn't a female lead role to play. I am tempted to add "unfortunately" to the end of that last sentence, but as soon as a woman gets involved, I'm guessing this R/R will have a rather lackluster ending....."settling down in Vermont, wife made me sell the Panigale and buy a minivan.....thanks for watching."

    Oldone--get out to a Ducati dealer and take one for a ride! You only live once.....
  19. max384

    max384 Bandaided

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    You bastard! It's 1:30am and I've got to be up early tomorrow morning. I had planned to get to bed two hours ago... But your story really sucked me in!

    If you come through northeast Pennsylvania, I'll buy you a beer and show you some local roads to ride... and if you turn out not to be a complete weirdo, I've got a spare bedroom as well. Seriously though, if you're gonna be coming through, post up on here or pm me.

    Having done a couple trips on sportbikes (though my SV650S is no Ducati, as far as ergos are concerned), I love that you're touring on a sport bike... and not just any sportbike, but a finicky Italian bitch! Kudos.

    Your writing style is fantastic. I know it has already been said before, but it really does remind me of 'Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.' However, I found that he went a bit too far with his philosophical ramblings and didn't concentrate enough on the ride. I think you have done a far superior job to Mr. Pirsig (and no offense to him) in this regard. I love the philosophical input... But I'd much rather read a ride report with some philosophy thrown in than a philosophy lecture with some ride report thrown in. Excellent work. Seriously.
  20. AntiHero

    AntiHero Long timer

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    There might not be a lot going on in Fort Erie, ON. That is, until you pop a bag of some of this shit open:

    [​IMG]

    But instead of livin' la vida loca in my room with a bag of pickled Doritos, I walked to a restaurant just a couple blocks away, past a quiet, neglected cemetery. The worst waitress in the world works there (at the restaurant, not the cemetery), but the fact that she was a creature straight out of a Tim Burton movie (really), more than made up for it.

    This guy was a local.

    [​IMG]

    He was reading, eating dinner alone and drinking wine. I felt sorry for him; then thought, "I hope that's not me in 30 years."

    Then I realized, "That's not me in 30 years. That's me right now."

    Cheers, dude.


    I walked 'home' (not even noticing the cemetery), only to be examined by someone else who dies very much alone, surrounded by walls painted the same shade of yellow that appears in cheerful works of fiction such as Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment and Charlotte Perkins Gilman's The Yellow Wallpaper.

    [​IMG]

    And then the circle of coincidences came back 'round full circle. The chair. The fucking chair.


    Cheers, Vincent.

    [​IMG]