Thursday, June 27, 2013

A Biker Caught Betwixt and Between

I've been on the road now for three years... Which fits pretty fine, since I've been a gypsy spirit since as long as I can remember. My only regret is that I didn't just change my life to this "way" of going a Long, Long time ago.

Buuuut... There's ALWAYS a but...

I also have a very big "scheming" gene that never rests. To many it carries a face that looks just like indecision or at best a short attention span. In reality, it's more akin to an open mind mixed with a hyper active curiosity and seasoned by a hunger to try a bit of everything; all compounded by the very strong realization that my scrawny ass sits on the shady side of the mountain.

It's a lot like one of those; "If I could" grunt, grunt "just get this" gruuuuunt! "pushed into pla.... Oh Look! A Butterfly!" Clank!! as the tool in my hand falls forgotten on the ground and I go wandering off following my new interest sort of mental meanderings. ;)

Too bad all those psychological deficiencies are financed by the wallet of a gypsy biker cowboy disabled vet! :)

So anyhoo, wandering across the country, riding roads all over the west and having a warm dry bed and a refrigerator for my beer in the fiver right behind me, is absolutely fine! If I get to not liking a neighborhood all I gotta do is hitch up and move my house to a fresh place. No shortage of new places to flicker past my wandering eyes.

The ONLY drawback is there are things I want to do, things that really grab my imagination, that just don't fit into that gypsy living.

I have in my head a vision of a one of a kind camp catering specifically to traveling bikers. Keeping that company are visions of several versions of a "vintage/hot rod/classy "rat ride"/survival" sort of a bike... I'd like to carve the tooled leather seats for those bikes with my own tools... since I used to make my living doing custom leather for several years.

...then there's several, looooong... Rides I want to make that a wife, two dogs and a fifth wheel just don't fit well with... especially a wife that enjoys the occasional 200 mile day with me... but not 40 300 mile days in a row... or longer!

All of those are nestled amongst plenty of other schemes that float around behind my eyes when my vision clears after just a few miles out there on the two lane. 

So... though I am as happy as a biker with new tires with the life I have... I am one of those lonesome souls that's never fully satisfied. I'm always pushin' for the horizon... reachin' for the stars... and dreamin' way beyond the world I'm in.

Ain't that what it's all about in the first place? Dreamin' the dreams... and then seein' how many of 'em we can chase down before our odometer ticks its last mile... Living Life and Chasing the Wind!

Grab Your Handles and Ride!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Bandon By the Sea?

Or... the lost City of Harley.

Along Hwy 10, south of Coos Bay and North of Port Orford, sits Bandon by The Sea, from the perspective of a casual count of two wheelers, it just could be the most popular spot on the southern Oregon coast... for Harley Riders.

Every rumble you hear coming into or leaving out of the lil' burg of Bandon by the Sea, seems to be a Harley... or nearly so. I did see one BMW, and a couple of unidentified Dual Sports... along with one or two each of Kawisaki, Suzuki and then there was my Yamaha nearby...

... but for the most part, it looks to be one of the premier spots for the Harley Davidson Travel guide for Coastal Oregon. 8 of 10 rides here is carrying one version or another of a Harley Badge.

Something else that caught my attention as well... Was the number of "Matched sets".

* His and Hers Harleys *

* Ha! The turn signals are different! *

* a His and... His... Set ;) *

Geeze... I guess you gotta remember which one you parked where.  To each his own, but the identical twin thing doesn't work for me. Too much trouble trying to remember my plate number so I'd know which scooter was mine Before I had the embarrassment of having to climb off and switch to the right bike! ;)

The greatest difficulty a rider's gonna have in this town...

 Is choosing 'tween all the Coffee and Espresso huts, Cafe's, pubs, chocolate shops...

Crab shacks...

Chowder houses...

... and restaurants for where to take their break from the road.

Best thing would be to get a room for a few days... or park your rig in the state park just up the road... and try out a few of  'em before you moved on.

In between loads of beer and chocolate you can walk off the calories checking out their Art...

*Sea Trash sculptures*

The lighthouse...

The beaches

... and of course the other bikes. You can always claim to be checking out the flowers...

Even crusty old V Twin riders have a sensitive side ya know...

Grab Your Handles and Ride

Sunday, June 16, 2013

The Un-Solicited Wisdoms of; They Know Better Than Me...

I don't believe I've made it through a whole dang month in the last 45 years that some wise soul hasn't accosted me with the un-asked for burden of their denigrating wisdom.

It's not just a motorcycle thing... it's about just 'bout every piece and part of living.

Where does that sort of arrogance come from?

Now let me say right here, I say a lot here 'bout what I think is good, and what I think is bad... and the ways and trails I've found in my search to find more of the good and less of the bad... FOR ME!

BUT... I figure if a body came here... they were lookin' for my ramblings... my Oh-pin-yun about something or other.

... and I didn't rope 'em off the street and force 'em to listen neither! ... I'm not grabbin' 'em by the arm and squealin' about what weak brained droolers they are... just sayin'.

Now... if I ASK a person what they think of this... or what they think of that... I can't complain 'bout the answers I get... and generally I get enough of a variety of responses that I can sift out the sensible answer I'm lookin' for.

It's all those towering intellects, with their sou-peer-ee-ore brain functions, that stink of pomposity, self appointing themselves to dump their un-soh-lisss-i-ted advisements on me like a tsunami of bovine fertilizer; that I did this wrong or I'm screwin' up that ... that frosts my spleen and kinks my bean in a knot.

Where in the hell do folks find the arrogance to even think that THEY KNOW BETTER what pleases ANYBODY? They know what pleases their own selves. They know what works for them... and they know what they don't like... and that's all they know.

They ain't got the sliver of the shadow of a clue what motivates me... what I need and what I want... unless I tell 'em. It tickles my liver to a rolling boil when they come back at me... after I've filled 'em in with a few of those lil' tidbits about ME... that; "No you're wrong! That's Not true!"...

Seriously? I'm what? Too STUPID to know what makes me smile and what makes my liver flip?

I ride to FEEL the wind, the rain, the cold, the heat, the dust, the scent of the pines... I want to experience life... not get Told what it feels like by those who had the cajones to hang it in the wind and know it first hand.

"No" they say. "You need this and that and the other to protect and isolate you from all those things..."

Thanks... I guess I was too damn stupid to know what I want...

NO... I don't NEED those things you say I do... YOU do.

If windshields and fairings... and grip heaters... and electric underwear... and abs brakes and computer operated instant inflation airbag vests and all such accoutrements twist your throttle, I am as happy for you as a furloughed sailor with a full months pay in his pocket finding a discount whore house.

But please, STOP trying to convince me, by way of self inflation and  ad hominem assaults (didn't know I knew any of those educated words did ya?)  that ya'll know better what I like, what appeals to me... and what is better for me... Than I do.

Guess what? I stop listening juuuuuust 'bout the time you fire off the phrase, or something like it; "You HAVE TO"... or ... "You NEED TO"... or "You'd be BETTER OFF if"... arrrrrrrrrrrrggggggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhh...

JEEEEESUS Cuuuuuurrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrimmmmmineeeeeeeeee! I got juuuuust a few active neurons still zingin' around in the Ol' Brain pan. I've kept myself on top of the grass through things that would kill a heavy percentage of the ones claimin' brighter bulbs than mine... and bailed their types out far more than the opposite... SO... I do believe I'm qualified to choose what I wear... and what I sit behind when I'm splittin' the wind on a scooter... and how I live the whole of my life for that matter.

If I ask for an opinion about this or that, or for a soliloquy about your experience with such or the other... by all means pipe up... but if ya'll just want to bestow on such feeble minded as me the precious jewels of your infallible wisdom about how I ain't got the sense to pee in a bucket...

... Bite your tongue...and Give that sucker a freakin' Rest!

Grab Your Handles and Ride

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Two Wheels in the Wind... A Swirling, Confused Storm Cloud of Reasons...

It's the question often asked... Why?

I've heard them all. I've said most of 'em. I ride for the Freedom; I ride for the Meditation; I ride away from the pain; I ride for the exhilaration; I ride chased by demons; I ride to be "cool"...

It's one and it's all... Who knows what it is... in the end it's mostly just un-answered, un-answerable questions...

There are so many reasons to put it in the wind that anybody who claims they've got one single reason or even possess a clear and complete understanding of the motivation behind their hunger for two wheels on asphalt is likely either riding in denial or such a good bull shitter they've even deluded themselves.

All I know is that when that thundering cloud obscures the sun, when the demons of the past are howling and calling out for vengeance... when music fails to calm the storm, when a quiet retreat to a dark woods can not dim the screams... when my soul is hurting with the sorrows of dark history...

... something in two wheels on an open road; a fresh wind curling under the visor of my helmet; Only the rush of the wind and the rumble of the motor under me... eases the pressure in my chest that threatens to choke me and crush my heart.

The tears of a melancholy joy run down my cheeks to be lost to the wind... Nothing is healed. The wounds remain... they always will. What I seek is a respite... a joyous, restoring, respite.

Maybe for others it's floating under nylon wings high above the ground, or crawling up a rock face onto the highest point of the highest peak they can find, or feeling the ragged breath of another soul lost in passion writhing under them...

For me... that escape from the beast is most often found on a naked motorcyce... ripping through the wind on an open ribbon of asphalt.

Grab Your Handles and Ride

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Two Hundred Miles in the California Sun

We took advantage of a hole in the fog over on the coast at Fort Bragg last week and made a 200 mile circle from our camp in Middle Creek campground above Clear Lake in the Mendocino National Forest.

*Elk Mountain Road north of Upper Lake, California*
We'd found the camp on the Mendocino forest website to lick our wounds from the beating we took with the broken truck back in Lincoln...

The first leg of the run took us north from where Hwy 20 hits Hwy 101 just a couple miles north of Calpella. Then it was rumble up 101 through Willits to Leggett. That's a nice and easy run with plenty of sweepers to keep life interesting... and warm you up for the unknown that lays ahead.

Our first stop was right there as we turned  off U.S. 101 onto California 1. I mean... you Can't ride PAST the drive through tree... Right? ;)

The tables on the edge of the meadow behind the gift shop made for a pretty fine lunch break spot. We sat in the sun eating our crackers, cheese and summer sausage... checking out the nice rides that were passing through as we ate...

... and then captured a portrait of one of the croakers hiding in the shallows of the lake that shares the meadow.

Hwy 1 is a narrow, twisting asphalt ribbon that tests a man's patience. Especially when the urge to scrape the pegs is strong... and you've got a gal sitting on the pillion. ;)

*California 1 above Fort Bragg*

Short straights dump into tight switchbacks on the roads that wind through the coastal range. It's often that you find them tighten up halfway through. I misjudged one later in the day after we'd turned back east onto  Hwy 20 south of Fort Bragg going toward Willits...

After cranking the bike around several dozen 15 and 20 mile bends it started to feeling pretty routine...

...until I caught one that was apparently a bit off camber... so that I ran out of lean at the same speed I'd run cleanly through all the others...

Herself on the back seat reeeeallly don't like the sound of scraping pegs and pipes... as the bruises on my back attest.

... and I'll admit... this time... when the bike wobbled a touch as the weight came off that back tire a mite... it kinda got my attention. :) Good thing I tend to ride within' my ability to "cope" ... another couple of miles an hour and she'd have been a whole lot more upset with me...

All the roads that branch out from Hwy 101, such as California 1 and Hwy 20, 128 and the myriad of other Ribbons of Asphalt up and down the coast could keep a biker exploring all summer... for more than a few summers...

Just keep it cool. Rock fall, branches off the overhanging trees, tightening radius turns and broken pavement aren't uncommon finds along the PCH. Keep it easy and the ride will be one of the best you'll ever make. 

I keep seeking out ever more tantalizing tunnels through the trees...

They tease me on as much as a far distant horizon fading away in the haze of miles...

Grab Your Handles and Ride