Detroit to San Diego, Zen and the art of motorcycle negligence,

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by vermin, Sep 9, 2007.

  1. vermin

    vermin unrepentant thinner

    Jan 20, 2007
    If you are going to do a decent job at ripping a hole in the space/time continuum you should have comfortable accomodations for your guests.


    A) Nebraska cornhuskers coffee cup that I paid way too much for because I get dizzy and weak kneed around diamond plate.

    B) Soft Plastic Hot Wheels lunch box bolted to trunk for Passengers I-pods, game boys, cd players and 1000 AA batteries that will fail the moment an excellent scene is in the viewfinder of the camera

    C) Dual feed hydration bladders, my only modern acommodation, failure in the desert equals death. Lack of water equals buzzards feasting on your eyeballs I take this very seriously.

    D) Copious amount of lumbar support for the drifter. This is a brutal trip, comfort must be attempted.

    E) More water.
    JB2 likes this.
  2. SwellsRides

    SwellsRides Been here awhile

    Sep 13, 2007
    Kathmandu, Nepal
    I can't stop reading this! This is a most excellent adventure, and a suburb write up! Not sure if I would have had the balls to attempt it on that moto. My hat is off to you, and your brave son!:super
  3. scumshine

    scumshine Hershey bar & a brick

    Sep 9, 2003
    8 miles from Graceland
  4. TexasPrairieRider

    TexasPrairieRider Texan

    Dec 10, 2005
    6 hours to the border lands
    :lol3 :lurk :thumb

    Your work truly inteferes with our enjoyment. Quit your crakin' and get to slakin. Your public awaits.
  5. vermin

    vermin unrepentant thinner

    Jan 20, 2007
    New day.

    We wake up, I half forget where I am and what I doing. The old man eye phlegm doesn't help matters. I shake off my slumbers and remember where we are and get excited all over again. I recreate the wretched gruel experience for myself and the drifter and we start breaking down our camp.


    Of course on my way back from the bathroom I meet bikers and we regale each other with tales of daring do, once we have exhausted ourselves with lies about amazing motorcycle feats, I return to an exasperated Drifter who has had to break camp pretty much alone. I assure him that this is an important part of the suffering/redemption cycle I rambled on about earlier and it is for his own good. He doesn't buy my line of B.S. and continues to give me the hairy eye for quite some time.

    Pack up, strap up ready to roll. We do a 2 hour hike along the South Rim. It really is beautiful.



    The little brown things on that cliffside trail are mule trains

    I am really impressed with the National Park Service, the experience was top notch. All of the facilities where clean and well organized and easily handled the huge volume of people that come through there. I am sure the Euros left with a good impression. I am proud to be associated with this country at this exact moment. We walk along the rim away from canyon city toward the west for 2 hours then hop on a convenient shuttle and it whisks us back to the bike.

    Roll Vermin Roll,


    Southbound and down, loaded up and truckin'
    we gonna do what they say can't be done.
    We got a long way to go, and we don't know when we'll get there,
    We're south bound just watch o'Vermin run.

    My hats off to Jerry Reed and Burt Reynolds for creating a movie that I still sing the theme of today. Smoky and The Bandit, I force my kids to watch this movie. It is one of the sacred triumvirate of film.

    In order of importance to Western Civilization.

    1) Caddy shack

    2) Smoky and the Bandit

    3) Any which way but loose

    Citizen Kane put up a good fight for 50 years but this 1,2,3 punch of genius brought it to its knees.

    I can't think about the Buford T. Justice line, 'boy when I get home I'm gonna punch yo momma in da mouf cause there ain't no way a boy as stupid as you come from mah loins", without laughing myself crosseyed.

    When the screen writer penned that line of genius Shakespeare gave up writing and started making fishin poles.

    We cruise south to Ash Fork, Arizona


    This is a town that has jumped on the route 66 bandwagon. Cool song, crappy obsolete road that was replace by a freeway 10 feet away, I don't get it.

    Mini rant warning
    I understand the business case for nostalgia, as Americans get old and crabby they cling to the past, I occasionally suffer this malady. Young Americans could be deceived into thinking there were good old days. Harley makes a lot of hay in this grey field, as does the, not as big as they used to be, but still fairly big three automakers. Well I am afraid that while we all are comfortably numb looking into the past through the rear view mirror in this country we are going to rear end the future and get our insurance cancelled.
    Rant over


    We cruised south out of Ash Fork aways and I pulled over to the side of the road to put on my helmet and for Drifter to pretend to take a picture of some grand vista. We where about 100 yards behind a cop that had someone pulled over. Just as I set the bike on the kickstand I looked back and saw a truck pulling a large travel trailer coming down the road. So far so good. As it approached I could see that the awning bracket on the side of the trailer had pulled loose and was sweeping the shoulder at 65mph headed right at us about neck height. There was no time to react. I immediately understood the ramifications of my situation but didn't have enough time to do anything except stain my diaper. Whatever gland kicks out adrenaline figured this was its last big show so it swamped me. A wave of metallic coppery taste came into my mouth. The gomer in the truck was unaware that his rig had turned into a 15,000 lb scythe fixin to harvest my melon. (MOM, come to dammit I'm here typin ain't I).

    At the last minute the guy pulled wide to avoid blasting the cop. I looked at the cop he seemed unfazed by gomers makeshift guillotine and went back to serving and protecting all over his original perpetrator.

    I realized that this could have a much worse affect on any future roadside person so I stood the bike up and told drifter to hold on and blasted after the guy. It took me a ways to catch him because (no offense to my bike) my bike sucks and with all this stuff on it is not terribly responsive. Don't you hate it when birds pass you?

    I caught up to the guy and passed him waving wildly trying to get him to look in his right mirror. It was the goofiest high speed game of charades ever seen. The guy was reluctant to pull over in the middle of the desert for an epileptic vagabond with the hi-vis psychodelic Sherwin Williams special. Eventually he realized he had the mechanical advantage and pulled over and cracked his window. He look stricken when I told him what happened.

    Just another day at the office.

    We cruised on down to Prescott and motored right through town. It has a lovely downtown, gotta remember to tell Sweet Thang that this may be a viable option for habitation should the grocery spigot dry up in Michigan. My family has been in Michigan since 1912 but it might be time to punt. I still hang with the people that I grew up with. I don't know how difficult loosing those ties would be.

    We keep on cruising down a gorgeous twisty highway through the mountains. I have been informed it is the Deals Gap of the west. I don't remember what the number was I know the fun is in the looking for it anyway. Any way we are cruising and grooving down this sweet black empty ribbon When I came around a corner and saw a cross on the side of the road with a full face helmet on top. A shiver ran up my back when I realized someone had lost their only begotten son, who died for his own sins, on that stretch of road. It creeped me out made me nervous in the service for about 2 or 3 miles when all of a sudden


    MOM/Sweet Thang please notice he is smiling The large blurs in the picture are hail this is after the worst of it has died off.

    The skies opened up. I was already tense because of the cross and once again I was in a situation where pulling over and seeking refuge under anything was not an option as high voltage random organic vertical electricity was everywhere. I finally found a cliff with a shrub sticking out the side that we huddled under. The shrub only slowed down the marble sized hail.

    It is an interesting sensation to have pan fried arms being pelted by 80 mph hail. The intensity of the storm died off and we moved on.

    The aforementioned storm. (The Indians call these mountain storms whipalotta which means gods vomit.)

    We were in the mountains and then came around a corner and could see out over this huge valley below.

    As we came down the hill it was obvious we weren't in Kansas any more. I had gotten used to 100-105 degree heat over the last few days but this was ridiculous.

    Is this hot enough?

    We started seeing these bone fide Wile E. Coyote Super Genius shrubs

    We cruised across this plain for a fur piece until the afternoon sun made me stupid.
    I had to pull over and seek shelter and sustainance while I still had my wits about me. We pulled into Werden AZ. And had our choice of 2 restaurants one was a typical local bar/grill where the odds of doing intricate verbal jousting was high and this other cinder bock joint that looked more family oriented. We chose number 2 and I am glad we did.
    The place was the CACK of the restaurant world except way more elegant. It is called "Ingredients" I think.

    The food was great and the women were real good company

    Inside shot


    omnisex bathroom


    Great service

    Outside eating

    It was a blast eating here the women clearly took great pride in the food they presented and it showed. The ingredients were fresh and delicious and the conversation was excellent. In the grand scheme of things it wasn't much but on this particular afternoon it was just the perfect antidote for heat stroke. I wish these women all the luck.



    Drifting tech tip:
    Even though it looks cool to go helmetless in this kind of heat I pour cool water in my helmet and it slowly evaporates cooling my head while the helmet insulates it from the heat.


    Finally pull into Quartzsite AZ and find a not so Super 8 I was a little crazy from the heat looking forward to a cool shower. Well guess what ? The cold water is the same as the air temp. 115deg, no relief so I laid down to sleep.

    Good night
    JB2 and MNimum like this.
  6. Lornce

    Lornce Lost In Place

    Aug 17, 2003
    Way Out There.
    "I abbreviated/eliminated my instrument cluster when my speedo broke. The logic being that I had not been pulled over for speeding since 1987 and even then I had a speedo so it didn't help. Bye Bye speedo. Tach who needs a tack it is a Honda twist the handle until the noise quits getting higher there is your redline. A side benefit of this arrangement was that without a temp. gauge it would not overheat. I would have liked to have kept the gas gauge but my mallot was not that precise."


    Great style, attitude, priorities.

    I love it. This is gonna be good. :thumb :thumb
  7. Kyber

    Kyber Steve Supporter

    Jun 5, 2007
    Davis California
    This has got to be one of the best threads I have ever read. Flee from the cubical and write books.... you got a gift.
  8. flatblack

    flatblack n00b

    Sep 6, 2007
    I just got my first bike at the beginning of the summer, and have been riding all summer long dreaming of a trip like this.

    Can't wait to read the next installment!
  9. Lornce

    Lornce Lost In Place

    Aug 17, 2003
    Way Out There.

    Yes, it's true. This is some of the wittiest moto-scribblin I may have ever read. A real gem and a very rare treat.

    Vermin for president!

    Oh yea. You've already got vermin for president...
  10. vermin

    vermin unrepentant thinner

    Jan 20, 2007
    The fuselage

    Nothing practical here, it is all showbusiness.

    A) Elvises TCB lightnin bolt (takin care o'business in a flash) given to me by fat bastard after a pilgrimage to graceland (I think).

    B) Cool indian bead belt I found in the trash, hides drywall screws to C

    C) Lincoln Incontinental hood piece salvaged from a buddies wrecked luxoboat. Thanks Neil. It is to bad such a fine piece of Wixom Michigan iron had to die for my art.

    D) Scrubby sponge for cleaning oneself and dishes in creeks.

    F) I can't get enough Homer

    F) Satans own sphincters, the fork seals from hell I hope whoever made these burns for eternity.

    E) 1970 Honda cb350 foot pegs welded to something.
    JB2 and MNimum like this.
  11. mudinureye

    mudinureye Bertie

    Dec 2, 2005
    N. Ireland
    Rant warning
    That was a time when people did not live in mortal fear of their neighbors. Around that time the Motorcity (Murdercity) was still smouldering from the race riots, the Oakland County child killer was on the loose, John Norman Collins was stacking coeds up like fire wood in Ann Arbor, we even had a local serial killer killing lovers parked on back roads. These were all real threats but a practical precaution was to go with a buddy. The risk to life and limb has remained constant but the fear has exploded at an exponential rate. Who is profiting from our fear?

    Damn governments, that's who. "Keep the scum living in a state of paranoia, at all costs", is their battlecry.

    This is the most informative and entertaining thing I have read in a long while :clap Hats off to the pair of you :freaky !

  12. vermin

    vermin unrepentant thinner

    Jan 20, 2007

    Drifter and I flee just before dawn as we want to get some miles before the cosmic cauterizer appears.


    This is our last day in the saddle but the terrain and the route are unknown and exciting so there is not much time for the traditional last day introspection. This day is more alive with opportunity and excitement than most. My general direction will require one more drop south toward the border. I decide this is as good a place as any so I head down toward I-8 in Yuma AZ. The highway is as straight as, pause, something that is really straight (fill in with your own witty analogy, a fine chance for some do it yourself wit). I am not sure but I believe this is the northern part of the Sonoran Desert that starts down in Mexico, famous for killing people that want to come to our country to cut our grass and hang drywall.

    It is I don't know how far to Yuma so I gas up. The air is 95deg as the sun rises on our left.

    Profiles in cartage

    Last day introspection warning
    By this point in the trip all of the tension of our roles has vanished. No homework to be handed in, beds to be made, bills to be paid,
    I have seen my son for what he truly is a kind, intelligent, beautiful, tough young man and I love him more than ever. I hope that the transmogrification has allowed him to see the man his momma fell in love with in 1982 not the grumpy old man I have become. I pray that when he is tested by the future he does it with more grace than I did.
    Last day introspection over.

    Drifter introspectin

    The ride toward Yuma was beautiful, we where in a valley between two ridges. The sun rise to the east was lovely, painting a cool flame job on the mountains to the right.

    Yuma was a little different than the rest of the desert, lots of agriculture.

    Do you really need a picture of cotton? Oooookay


    We stopped for victuals at Brownies Diner. I usually look for old diners to eat in not for the homey ambience or a look into a simpler past but to keep my immune system at full alert.
    You people that eat at the tidy, sterile restaurant chains are gonna drop like flies when the big bug hits and I will be the last Vermin standing.

    Survivors of the next pandemic
    These fellers where up bright and early to go blast the feathers off of doves. I felt there was some irony in giving the universal symbol of peace lead poisoning. I kept it to myself as this particular crowd looked like it didn't appreciate subtle irony.

    In the back of my mind I had considered the notion of doing a strategic invasion of Mexico.

    Drifter tech tip
    Ask the locals about the real situation don't rely on prejudice or fear to stop you from doing something.

    I asked the cutest blondest waitress there about the risk involved in travel across Baja and she said it was no big deal. We assimilate the data, weigh the risk and twist the throttle toward Baja.

    Game on!

    Reality check!
    I live in the Detroit Michigan Metropolitan Area we have on the average (I'm guessing, if someone has pesky facts to the contrary please interject) 500 murders a year. I am 49 years old, that is 24,500 mothers, sons, daughters, cousins, buddies, fathers, lovers and friends have violently gone to their reward within spittin distance of my big fat mansion since I was born. I drive by a huge dump every day on the way to my cubicle and I often wonder how many human souls are buried in that pile, it is a great temple to the gods of consumption and sometimes there are human sacrifices.

    In other words Mexicans should be afraid of Michigan.

    We cruise down I-8 toward Calexico as I have decided to enter at Mexicali

    This years cat litter harvest looks abundant

    We pull up to the border and there are several lanes to choose from, some say "stuff to declare"; (I am paraphrasing} and one says "no stuff to declare" I have no items worth declaring and any thoughts I have to declare are best left alone so I pull in to the no declare lane. Do to my unconventional conveyance I expected substantial scrutiny. There was no one there! I pulled up slowly looked around and nobody seemed interested in me so I cruised right on through. I have heard tales of hassle and Mexican insurance and what have you but that was not the case this time. No one seemed remotely interested in my comings and goings.

    Once again there is scant photographic evidence.

    Drifter seems unfazed by the stark contrast between the level of affluence in the US and the chaos and poverty of a Mexican border town. I attribute this to the amount of time he spends in his room which makes a Mexican border town look like Beverly Hills.

    Dead Bronze guys


    Naturally we get lost looking for the cross Baja freeway. I figure go south and west until you hit a wall. I didn't find it for awhile and the neighborhoods where getting worse and worse .

    Drifter tech tip
    Always ride motorcycles and wear apparel that is appropriate to Mexico this is an entirely cack oriented area so I raise no eyebrows. I also do not appear like a profitable target for theft or vandalism. If your stuff is inferior to the locals it is much less likely to be purloined

    Bus butt


    Wry sarcasm warning
    I have spent no small amount of time sucking bus fumes in Mexico as an agent of the great nervous gringo businessman invasion following the historic NAFTA agreement. This was a sweet deal. All we had to do is move all of our manufacturing facilities to Mexico helping to assure that there is no middle class in this country and they would rapidly become prosperous and stop flooding across our borders. That went without a hitch.
    Wry sarcasm over.

    I am hopelessly lost and pull over to a street vendor and say "Estoy gringo estupido, donde esta autopista dos". Which in English means I can't find my ass with both hands would you help. Imagine my chagrin when he points to the on ramp.

    By now I am starting to feel "rode hard and put up wet" I just want to get this routine over with so I start hauling some serious west bound ass. I relaxed a little as I was on a freeway. I came around a corner and saw something in the right lane. Veer, clench sphincter. It was just half a dozen Mexicans, scratching their heads, standing around a Lincoln arc welder the size of a minivan (gross exaggeration used to reflect how things are amplified during a crisis). The heat during this stretch is brutal. I can't imagine what it is like in Julio (Espanish for July, one of about eight words I remember from $300 of tapes, classes and online learning. Meaning that word alone cost me $37.50, enjoy, I offer it to you free.).

    The bumpy part you feel on the globe

    The bottom of this roadside ravine shows the results of the Mexican attention span.
    Are there any Mexican Grand Prix racers?

    Hot ride ride ride hot desolation ride ride empty lake bed.

    ride ride ride.

    Sorry I have no deep introspection on the human condition in Mexico, no one seems particularily upset to be Mexican.

    Awkward moment of the century.

    Americans (people from the Estadios Unidos (sic), that'll be $75 please), tend to be a little more tense about entry into their country. As we sit in the line to enter our great sovereign nation at Tecate I inform drifter that sometimes vehicles that are as beautiful and inspired as ours may get additional scrutiny at the border. We buy water from a cute girl on the side of the road. I then ask " have you ever heard of the law enforcement technique called cavity search? Drifter has a shot of adrenaline course through his veins and his eyes become as wide as saucers. "You are kidding right Dad? "I hope so Drifter'

    We did receive some lackluster scrutiny but not the big glove. I presume they figure no one would be so brazen or stupid to carry contraband on this vehicle with a kidnapped minor on the back.

    Hola, Cali

    It never rains in California, girl don't they warn ya, it pours.
    (song stuck in head)

    We pull in to aunty and uncle 's house in Del Mar on the coast. Had I known that Sweet Thangs sister lived such an opulent life I would have elbowed their son out of the garage apartment and been their lawn boy/servant.


    Imagine the revulsion and the sour milk drinking feeling my rels. got when this abomination slunk up the drive way. I took the remaining Stabil and put it in the gas tank (I don't know how much Stabil or how much gas). The original plan was to put the old girl (cack not sister-in-law) in my father in laws barn inland but the Corona fairy waved her wand over us that evening and made plan A impractical. What ever fate becomes her she has been a good and faithful servant and I will always cherish riding her (cack not sister-in-law). Unfortunately now my big shooter brother in law has a piece of crap moronocycle next to his sweet Heritage Softail Classic in his nicely tiled elegant garage.

    Uncles list of things to do today

    1) Make big gillion dollar corporate decisions
    2) Criticize wifes execution of the construction project
    3) Wonder about what to do with the piece of crap in the driveway and resolve to never invite vermin into our home again

    As it stands i think this bike will be a pain in his ass for some time I didn't want it to end this way but you know "The best laid plans of Vermin and men". I am sorry uncle! Hey you shouldn't have given me Corona.

    Stay tuned next year. If big cheese brother in law (who is a hell of a nice guy) doesn't throw the bike away I will fly out and cack (verb) down to Cabo or Costa Rica or Canada or Camden I don't know somewhere with a C name.

    Dear opulent garage livin nephew,

    You fell in it Roscoe.


    uncle vermin

    Dear aunt and uncle b,

    Prepare yourself for a vermin infestation when I retire which could be any day now the way the auto industry is going.

    Love, your opportunistic vermin-in-law

    I am not so proud that I couldn't be a parasitic hanger on.

    The day has exhausted the pair of drifters so they walk to the beach.

    Frolic in the surf.

    Am I thinking of work at this moment?

    strommonster and JB2 like this.
  13. IL8APEX

    IL8APEX Been here awhile

    Oct 16, 2006
    Okay, you've talked me into it. I QUIT.

    Now, what's Aunt and Uncle B's address again...?

  14. btretired

    btretired anal retentive

    Nov 1, 2005
    Blakely, GA

    Vermin-- although drifter's pictures do (ummm how do I put this) lack clarity and focus, your words paint the picture we can all see. I've sat here at my desk for the last 2 mornings chuckling as I've read this. My co-workers keep asking me what I'm reading.. I laugh more..

    Your choice of vehicles seems to fit you well and you really do love it-- we can tell. The decision to take your son was a great one-- this will be something he will never forget. I'm sure much like you, he was sorry to see it end (I think we all are).

    Looking forward to your future Adventures!! bt :freaky
    daslipper likes this.
  15. uli kunkel

    uli kunkel AKA: Karl Hungus

    Aug 22, 2007
    ch-Oakland County, MI
    :roflBravo dude, you are a Detroiter through and through.

    The best ride report ever and, for me, made all the better because it's reported through the same cynical, bead-blasted glasses that I, as a native, see life through. (I believe that Drifter also may have the same fine optics on his camera equipment.)

    I hope to see more of your stuff, if you and Drifter are ever looking for locals to hang out with let me know!
  16. YZman

    YZman Bouncing off Trees

    May 16, 2006
    Hi ya. Fellow Michigander here (west sider)

    Great ride report. Loved every minute of it. Hope to start doing that with my son some day.

    Hey if you do end up offering up Cack on Ebay you gotta post up the link.. That is an auction I want to see.
  17. barefoot

    barefoot Frustrated Rock Star

    May 1, 2007
    San Antonio
  18. jeckyll

    jeckyll Kneedragger

    Jan 20, 2007
    Excellent RR :freaky
  19. Loud Al

    Loud Al .

    Aug 16, 2005
    Just North of the 45th parallel, OR
    I really enjoyed the commentary, the pictures lacked a certin focus, job well done. Hope to read about more of your trips.
  20. Gernick

    Gernick Long timer

    Jun 5, 2006
    Far Western New York
    Outstanding. Beautiful piece of work you made there. It sounded like one heck of a trip.

    Nice bike. :rofl