Dear Ma, I Joined a Motorcycle Gang and We’re Going on a Trip

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Alexa, Jul 18, 2020.

  1. Alexa

    Alexa I think I don't know

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2010
    Oddometer:
    40
    Location:
    near the sun
    Dear Mrs. Crane,

    Well, today sure was a crazy day as I’m sure Peanut informed you. We started out early in the cool forest, riding along crisp mountain streams and catching the occasional glimpse of snowy Mount Lassen, but that minty fresh air wasn’t to last too long. I guess our summer motorcycle trip wouldn’t be complete without some hot dusty road construction to navigate. We lucked out on this one because we caught the tail end of a mile-long parade of cars, trucks and mobile mansions following the pilot car. Had we been just a few moments later, we would’ve had to sweat a whole hour waiting for the next escort over the mountain pass. Like most parades, this parade crept along at a very slow pace, slower than first gear, like sludge in a slough. We had to exercise our clutches a fair bit and balance precisely so as not to weave all over the road and knock each other over, which we each have done before. I could feel hot air pushing up from my engine and hear the cooling fan trying valiantly to blow fresh air through the radiator since my slow pace was failing to do the job. Poor Peanut. Her bike is air cooled and can’t cool itself other than to expel all that heat right up into her face. She can’t reach the ground from her seat, and besides, she was standing for the loose dirt, and I swear, out of the corner my eye, I saw her balancing at a dead stop for quite some time. I’m not too much in a hurry to mind a little road construction now and again, but today was different because today was the day we had to cross the Central Valley, and as you know, the Central Valley is as hot as Hades.

    In Red Bluff, I pulled over to check my cellular telephone for the whereabouts of a grocery market. A man walking his dog on the sidewalk stopped and asked me if I was having mechanical troubles. I looked up at the man, and well, let’s not tip-toe around, he was a bum, one who is willfully unemployed, or possibly he was a hobo, defined as an impoverished migrant worker (as opposed to Peanut and me who are “tramps” because we work only when forced to by our hunger or the need to buy a new motorcycle). I shook my head, eyed his tattered knapsack, which most likely contained all the food and belongings he possessed, and asked him if he knew where a grocery market could be found. Damned if he didn’t know the exact location and directions to the particular store we were hopeful to find. And then of course, we got into a conversation about motorcycles, old motorcycles such as BSAs and Nortons, and turns out, he once was the proprietor of a motorcycle shop. He asked me for a dollar, and I gave him five, and we moved on. As we crossed over the Sacramento River on our way to the grocery market that the bum had pointed us towards, the thought crossed my mind that the bum’s lot could be the destiny of all us riders addicted to motorcycles. I fear, or maybe I’m just accepting the reality, that I might end up on Skid Row talking to future generations about the classic gasoline-breathing KTMs and Hondas and BMWs we once freely rode across the land and worked on with our bare hands.

    Best,

    Skinny Beans
    #41
  2. dano619

    dano619 Long timer Supporter

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    Sep 4, 2011
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    sunny san diego
    This is gonna be a classic.......more please!!
    #42
  3. WPaulson

    WPaulson n00b

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2020
    Oddometer:
    2
    Location:
    Atikokan, Ontario
    Keep them coming, that's some fine writing. Its It's not often I snort my beer laughing while reading a travel post.
    #43
    dano619 likes this.
  4. chudzikb

    chudzikb Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2016
    Oddometer:
    1,209
    Heat stroke is no joke, careful out there. We sure want to hear the story....
    #44
  5. Sevoman

    Sevoman Ever Vigilant

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2006
    Oddometer:
    929
    Location:
    Indian Shores, Fl.
    IN. Familiar with Red Bluff. Mount Shasta is spectacular if you are headed north.
    #45
  6. RW66

    RW66 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2012
    Oddometer:
    854
    Location:
    Central Mexico
    This is better than a one legged man in an ass kicken contest. Keep er commin.
    #46
  7. Alexa

    Alexa I think I don't know

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2010
    Oddometer:
    40
    Location:
    near the sun
    Dear Ma,

    Something funny happened today. It was one of those things that’s funnier after it happens than while it’s happening. It was bound to happen sooner or later to one of us, and just between you and me, I figured it would happen to Skinny Beans first, and also just between you and me, I am glad it happened to Skinny and not to me. Well, you are probably wondering right about now what it is that happened to Skinny and not to me, and I sure hope I have not build this up too much because all that happened was that he left his lights on and killed his bike’s battery. We had taken a rest at the South Fork Mountain Pass on Highway 36, about 60 miles from the Pacific Ocean, in order to put on our thick leather gloves and gaze a while at the white fog rolled up on the horizon. It is no small feat for me to get on my bike, and I will admit that it causes me a fair bit of anxiety to be in the saddle at a standstill, and normally I might have been a bit vexed at having to get off my bike again, but I was relieved that I was not the one who this thing had happened to, so I was in good spirits over the whole thing. Anyway, Skinny wanted to roll his bike down one side of the mountain or the other in order to give it a good bump start, but I was concerned that I would never see Skinny again, so instead, we pushed his big KTM motorcycle up a nearby sidehill. This hill failed to produce enough speed. We tried over and over and failed again and again. Each time, we scratched our heads and then pushed his bike a little higher up the hill. Eventually, Skinny pointed to a steeper hill across the highway, and that was where we finally brought Magnum back to life. The funniest part was watching Skinny try mightily to accelerate his motorcycle like he was Mr. Fred Flintstone. His legs flailed about in the air like a colt on a spring pasture. I have attached a photograph, so you can see for yourself just how funny it looked.

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    We made camp alongside a nice river protected from our general dirtiness by poisonous oak. We had to pay money to set up our camp, but I guess that’s how they do things at the California Coast. The fee did, however, include a nice wooden table, but the shower required a stack of quarters. Even though I had not washed since those nice folks poured their ice water on me, I refrained from taking a quarter-operated shower because I did not believe I possessed enough skill to handle little slippery pieces of metal and soap at the same time, and I feared getting soap into my eyes, which you know how much I dislike.

    Upon setting up our kitchen on the wooden table, both of our heads twirled around toward the unexpected rumble of a dirt bike. It was, in fact, not a dirt bike, but rather a dual sport motorcycle not unlike our own. We watched the pair—rider and bike—thump slowly past our campsite like we were watching a ship pull into harbor. There was something different about the motorcycle, and Skinny Beans wanted to check it out. We didn’t want to come off as too eager, so we gave the fellow some time to set up his camp, and then we strolled on over to say hi. We had a good talk with the fellow about motorcycles and tires and traveling and where to camp. When the fellow pulled out his map, I rolled my eyes and settled in for a long talk because maps are Skinny Beans’ catnip. Finally we got around to talking about the fellow’s bike. It was indeed a motorcycle unicorn—also known as a Husqvarna Strada. Again I rolled my eyes when Skinny realized what the bike was as he knew a fair bit about it, and I knew he would want to talk about every last detail, and I also knew the fellow would most likely want to oblige since I have never met a rider who did not want to talk at length about his own motorcycle. I don’t want to bore you with the details, but the short of it is that it was a Husky from Husqvarna, a Swedish-Italian-German-Austrian company that was founded by the Vikings, a little known fact. Skinny Beans recognized the motor as the very same motor that was in his BMW 650 X Challenge, which he loved dearly. Anyway, we thoroughly enjoyed sharing stories of the road with the nice fellow, and I sure do hope our paths cross again.

    Thank you for offering to send me a care package of clean underpanties; however, I do not think the postman would be able to find me out here as we do not stay long in any one particular place, nor do I think it prudent for an unfamiliar gentleman to be carrying around my lacy unmentionables. Do not worry that I might get hit by a bus wearing dirty under-britches as I have overheard a fair bit of advice regarding extending the life of my undergarments. I will share this with you now. Such items of clothing can simply be turned inside out and worn for any additional number of days, but that’s not all; the underpants can then be reversed and worn backwards; although, to be honest, I do not see how this is helpful, especially if one has fallen victim to beaver fever. Anyway, since most motorcycle riders are of the male breed, I have yet to hear advice on how to extend the life of my upper under garment—you know, that apparatus uncle Buck’s German wife, Aunt Gertrude, calls a schtopemfromfloppen. After a few days of riding, such a garment does begin to feel greasy and lose traction—and the roads are bumpy out there. It can, like underpants, be turned inside out; however, unlike underpants, it cannot be worn backwards—effectively, at least. After much experimenting, I have discovered a little gem that solves this problem nicely, and I will share this with you now. A brassiere can be worn outside of the shirt. Genius, I know.

    Lots of love, your Penelope

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    #47
  8. Dumphead

    Dumphead Errand boy (sent by grocery clerks) Supporter

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2017
    Oddometer:
    272
    Location:
    NY
    Wonderful.

    But did you know that even typing "poisonous oak" will induce, in certain readers, an irresistible urge to scratch one's own skin off? It's true, and that reader is me. Hope you steered clear.

    Eagerly looking forward to reading and seeing more!
    #48
  9. ag_streak

    ag_streak Tiene Ruta Cuarenta? Super Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2006
    Oddometer:
    7,272
    Location:
    Blue Ridge, GA
    "...talking to future generations about the classic gasoline-breathing KTMs and Hondas and BMWs we once freely rode across the land and worked on with our bare hands..."

    "...Husqvarna, a Swedish-Italian-German-Austrian company that was founded by the Vikings, a little known fact..."

    "...however, unlike underpants, it cannot be worn backwards—effectively, at least..."


    :jack Bravo! :super
    #49
    Davidprej and CharlestonADV like this.
  10. CaptCapsize

    CaptCapsize Long timer

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2012
    Oddometer:
    1,574
    Location:
    Corrales, New Mexico
    Don't forget, according to redneck protocol, after underwear frontward, backwards and inside out, remember you can swap with a friend and repeat. This makes for 8 day skivvies. :topes
    #50
    ag_streak likes this.
  11. bike

    bike Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2010
    Oddometer:
    179
    Location:
    Central VA
    10/10
    #51
  12. Dragonflylily

    Dragonflylily One Women -Two wheels

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2008
    Oddometer:
    388
    Location:
    Upstate NY
    Penelope, you are flat out brilliant!
    Skinny can really swag, the swag master!
    Serendiptous people live such fearless and carefree lives!
    You’re a biker rock ⭐️
    #52
  13. PhactoryFil

    PhactoryFil Adventurer Supporter

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2017
    Oddometer:
    59
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    And now I'm going to have to get a "beaver fever" sticker made up.
    #53
    ag_streak likes this.
  14. Alexa

    Alexa I think I don't know

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2010
    Oddometer:
    40
    Location:
    near the sun
    Dear Ma,

    Wind is a four-letter word. In fact, I dislike it even more than getting soap in my eyes. I can tolerate a headwind, and who doesn’t love a good steady tailwind? However, I am not keen on riding in a chopped-up blustery crosswind. I guess the reason I‘m getting bucked around like a cougar on a bull’s back is in part due to the large amount of luggage strapped to my bike. I don’t believe I brought too much stuff with me as everything I brought is important. It is important for me to sleep well, and so I brought a four-inch-thick foam mattress and a big warm sleeping bag. They pile up nicely behind me and make a very comfortable backrest, but as I discovered today, they also make a very good sail, which would be desirable if I were out on the ocean water, but I am not; I am on the road trying to stay between the yellow line and the white line. I tried not to fight the wind, but it’s hard to relax when an invisible hand is slapping me toward an oncoming semi-truck.

    The Internet contained in Skinny Bean’s telephone informed us that the campgrounds north of Arcata were open for business. They were not. It was getting late, and hunger raged inside my belly like a tornado of bees. I was tempted to camp in the bushes alongside the highway where I saw other tramps had set up camps, but I am unfamiliar with the bylaws and customs of the coastal tramps, and I admit I had concerns about turf wars, famine, disease and pestilence. Plus I sometimes find it difficult to distinguish a tramp from a hobo or even from a bum, and I find it’s best not to make assumptions for risk of stepping on a hobo’s toes or offending a bum or getting myself killed in a gruesome grizzly way.

    Anyway, we pulled off on the other side of the highway and took shelter from the wind behind piles of yard waste and wood chips. We set up our portable kitchen on a tree stump and commenced to cooking a meal of arugula salad with Myers lemon juice, tomatoes—folks here call them “heirloom” tomatoes—and topped with grated Parmesan cheese—what folks back home call “old hard” cheese. This was followed by Fettuccini with pepper cream sauce—hold onto your hat, Ma, but this we bought frozen from the TV-dinner aisle. It was quite good. Skinny Beans pan fried up a steak, rare and bloody, just like I like it. Even though we were on the side of the highway, golden sunlight graced our plates.

    Your loving Peanut

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    #54
  15. smalls78

    smalls78 Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2017
    Oddometer:
    409
    Location:
    NC/SC
    Dear Penelope,

    First time caller, long time listener...big fan. Onward. Gang Gang!

    - fellow enthusiast
    #55
    eaglescan, BrockEvan and Hannda like this.
  16. Alexa

    Alexa I think I don't know

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2010
    Oddometer:
    40
    Location:
    near the sun
    Dear Ma,

    It’s only been ten days on the trail, but it feels like more. Maybe this is on account of how much changes between each day—save for my under garments. Every morning when I wake up—in that place between knowing I’m me and wondering what I am—I have to ask myself where I am. Then I lie there and wonder what new landscape is outside the tent—pines or sage, valley or mountain top, chippies or rattlers. The only constant from day to day is when I mount my motorcycle... and of course Skinny Beans, but after all this time together, he’s more like half of me, and I bet if I asked him how he feels, which I try not to do because he doesn’t know and doesn’t like to be pressured into figuring such things out, he too would agree that the only constant is when he gets on his bike. Anyway, I sure do relish the feeling of slipping into the saddle, knowing that all I need to do all the day long is ride and that everything I need for living is tethered to my motorcycle and that my place in the world is here next to Skinny Beans. Still, sometimes I feel like Alice in Wonderland with her changing perspectives on the world. Some days I feel positively large, confident and in control of my big bike and the direction my life is heading. And some days I feel quite small like I do today hiking among these giant redwood trees in the Giant Redwood Tree National Park. Well, I feel the need to go get back on my motorcycle now.

    Bye for now, Penelope

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    #56
  17. BadgerND

    BadgerND n00b

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2020
    Oddometer:
    9
    Location:
    Bismarck, ND
    I'm a fan. Keep your Ma informed.
    #57
  18. BertieBassett

    BertieBassett RustRider

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2014
    Oddometer:
    182
    Location:
    Orkney, Scotland.
    Great writing! Keep on keeping on, ( but don’t cross the bums,tramps or hobos).
    #58
  19. Alexa

    Alexa I think I don't know

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2010
    Oddometer:
    40
    Location:
    near the sun
    Dear Mrs. Crane,

    I thought you might be interested to know that Peanut and I have been listening to stories for our entertainment in the evenings. Recently, we have been enjoying Richard Proenneke’s “One Man’s Wilderness,” broadcast in our tent digitally, wirelessly, remotely and transcending both time and space. Last night, Dick ruminated on viewing chores as “small pleasurable tasks to be enjoyed” rather than viewing them with dread. Now, I am guilty of viewing chores with a sour face, and packing up camp is one such dreaded chore. Every morning, I seem to get caught up in some sort of chicken dance, moving things from one place to another and turning in a whole lot of circles like a dog about to take a nap. All I want to do is get on my motorcycle, but all these chores can’t be avoided unless I want to eat the energy bar aging delicately in the bottom of my tank bag and sleep on a bed of cold dirt tonight, possibly alone. Now, I am not a morning person, but I believe I might be missing out on some of the joy the morning has to offer, so I heeded Dick’s wisdom and this morning, I was mighty grateful to have a camp to pack up. And by 7am we were on our bikes and on our way. Thanks, Dick.

    A ways north of Crescent City, we found some lonely back roads paralleling the coastal Highway 101 and which offered occasional ocean sightings. Somewhere up in those hills, we came upon a road construction sign proclaiming, “One Lane Road Ahead.” It was a very quiet road that we were riding, and the flagger-person lady looked quite surprised when we showed up on bikes loaded up, down and sideways like we were headed for the Himalayas. After quite some time on the radio, a conversation we could not overhear, the flagger-person lady waved us on through. The “road construction” turned out to be just a tree trimming operation; however, as we rolled slowly past, all we saw were a few men standing about on the road and two men up under the tree canopy in the cherry-picker basket, one holding a chainsaw. They all seemed quite surprised to see us. I don’t know why exactly, but something seemed off about the whole scene, and later Peanut told me she believed them to be FBI agents posing as arborists. She said she noticed there weren’t any cut tree limbs lying on the ground, only a lot of leaves and sticks as if the cherry-picker operator had slammed the two men in the basket up into the tree repeatedly. And plus, she said, all the workers had watched us ride by, which she said road workers never did; construction workers did, but not road workers. I should have looked at their shoes; that’s how they do it in the movies. Anyways, she is usually right on such matters, and I believe this was no exception. The only question is, what were they doing out there? Actually, I do not want to know. I was never there...

    I am happy we finally made it to a new state, that being Oregon. A man can really control his destiny out here in Oregon as there are many roads to choose from, many turns to take. After Gold Beach, I chose to bear right, away from the ocean and head up the Rogue River and into the mountains. Now Mrs. Crane, if you were a motorcycle rider, which I imagine you are not, a paved backcountry road through the mountains can only mean one thing: twisties, tight bends of pure motorcycle hedonism, but watch out for the potholes; I’ve been swallowed more than once. Some thoughtful fellow has up and spray painted the edges of the potholes so that I can see just how big and deep the holes actually are upon crashing into them. Of course, I would avoid them if I could, but I can’t for I am riding partially blind due to the constant flickering of sunlight through the many many pine trees. Well, I suppose it’s a good opportunity for me to sharpen my dodging skills, on a motorcycle at that. One never knows, I might one day get the opportunity to participate in a game of motorcycle dodgeball.

    From the road,

    Skinny Beans

    P. S. I have included a photograph of Peanut‘s blueberry-nectarine-apple crisp with fruit we bought from a local mart. I was lucky to snap this picture before it was all gone.

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    #59
  20. ricksax

    ricksax Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2013
    Oddometer:
    63
    Welcome to the Oregon back country. Out where you are, there are plenty of grow operations, and also meth labs. It is an industry. So be careful. Yes, marijuana is legal and sold in State stores, but the homegrown stuff is cheaper, so it thrives. Just sayin', if you come upon a single-wide off the grid with lots of No Trespassing signs and big dogs, move on quickly. And don't tell your Ma about this post. I don't want to worry her.
    #60