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Preview: Twisted Roads By Jack Riepe

Twisted Roads By Jack Riepe

Raw Motorcycle Adventure • Romance Like Broken Glass

Updated: 2018-03-07T16:26:58.813-05:00


Glacial Melt And Ball Drop...


Standing here on a New Jersey beach, a placid Atlantic Ocean before me, the news is not good. Two of the most relentless forces of nature are robbing me of sleep, reason, and the bonhommery that is my trademark as a moto writer. Those forces are glacial melt and ball drop. The leading experts on glacial melt say the oceans are rising at the rate of 3.2 millimeters per year (approximately .13 inches annually). My testicles are dropping at the rate of .13 inches daily. Calculations conclusively prove that a rising Atlantic and dropping testicles will make contact at 2pm, next Thursday.Above: In one year, the rising Atlantic Ocean will claim another .13" of this doomed New Jersey Beach. Photo by the author. A biker’s testicles are the second most important thing in his life. The first is the other thing, which makes all of the significant decisions, and the third is his motorcycle. Scientists have concluded there is a significant link between testicle size and motorcycle horsepower. While neither is critical for the perfect romance nor a great ride, nobody really believes it. A comprehensive study conducted by the Wilmington Institute (Wilmington, NY) indicates that BMW “K” bike riders have the hugest testicles on average, and this includes the women too. (A number of BMW “K” bike riders carry their testicles in a single-wheeled trailer behind their bikes.)Huge testicles can give a motorcycle rider two competitive edges. The first is on the track. Racers are required to throw their weight from one side of the bike to the other when taking high speed curves. Many times you can see them leaning on a puck-like device attached to their knees. This is known as a “testicle receptacle” and serves as a pocket for the same. It allows the rider to get an extra three or four pounds into the lean, while taking the strain off the extended knee.The second is at the bar, after the bikes are parked for the night. Many riders will thrill the ladies in the crowd by hammering a spike into a railroad tie — in four shots or less — with simple squat thrusts. (I didn’t believe this at first until I heard a beautiful woman say, “That BMW rider must have some balls to come into a joint like this. I bet he could hammer spikes with them.”)While huge testicles serve a primal purpose, they are often targeted by divorce lawyers as trophies for ex-wives, who are seldom satisfied to get the lungs. The worst of huge testicle reversal occurs when a man in in his early sixties, and his nuts begin to hang like the bad guy in a 1950’s western. They don’t decrease in size or bulk, but start to swing like twin wrecking balls (which of course was really cool when you were 19, and the arc of swing was a lot less than three feet).I ignored the early signs of tragic testicle trajectory. Then one summer night, I had 52 drinks while plotting my editorial career’s high-points and went into the garage to confer with a noble BMW K75. I fired up the bike until it spoke in fluent conspiracy. Some say a K75 whines like a mother-in-law caught in a leg-hold trap. (It doesn’t. I compared the two in an experiment and discovered you can listen to one all night.) I was wearing a pair of Kevlar-lined, loose-fitting biker comfort shorts, designed to go under armored mesh riding pants, which ended six inches above my knees. I climbed on the bike with gusto, and without realizing it, slung my lowered pinecones onto the hot cylinder heads (or what passes for the same on a flying brick).My right cojone now bears the legend “BMW” as a sort of brand, which it is. Thank heavens there is no roundel on the cylinder heads or I’d get caught up in that whole licensed logo thing. Leaping from the bike, I made it to the kitchen and thrust my pineapples into an open carton of fudge swirl ice cream. It was at that moment the love of my life de jour walked in. She said, “Whatever the hell you think is going to happen next simply isn’t.”It is possible for an aging rider to work around Thor’s hand grenade drop, but it takes a little planning. I notic[...]

Measuring Up To A Hard Woman...


The old lady looked awful. She was as pale as a sheet and barely animated. She wasn’t able to speak. Her skin was cool to the touch and her face bore the distress of inner torment. On her best day, she had a personality like a bag of snakes. Her hatred for me was part reflex and part instinct. Though there had never been any love lost between my mother-in-law and me, I certainly didn’t want to see her like this. I never wanted to see her at all, but circumstances intervened. And now she was here, hovering in the gray area of life on our little vacation to the mountains.My plan had been to escape to the Adirondacks (the savage mountains of New York), to skinny dip in the creek; to sip wine in the moonlight; and to fool around with my wife in between... Then she asked, “Can we take my mom.” I would rather have taken poison. Her mother was getting on in years and becoming reclusive as well as abusive. The old bat never really came out of her room but her presence was like the shadow of plague. I could deny my wife nothing, and her mother had accompanied us on trips before. Yet this place was nowhere like anyplace we’d ever been before. It was personal solitude for two. I didn’t want her presence coloring the mist. The old lady in the narrow bed hadn’t moved in 24 hours. I didn’t like the looks of this. We were tucked away in a remote Adirondack cabin, where the primitive road dissolved forty feet before the driveway began. It was the last house on a power line that stretched 11 miles through woods where desolation was the fifth season. We’d be on our own if the lights flickered. They flickered now, and went out, as a deafening clap of thunder shook the house. A low moan escaped my mother-in-law’s lips as she clawed her way back to consciousness. Then the storm broke and the house was enveloped in the drumming of a maniacal rain.There was an hour left to sunset, but the cabin was high up, on the western end of the valley, in the shadow of the Sentinel Range. It got murky fast in the center of the clouds, and my wife of seven years lit candles. Only one of them was for light. She was the first to speak: “I’m going to call the doctor.”I said nothing. The unspoken question “What can he do?” hung in the air. As savage as the Adirondacks can be, there are remote communities of artists, musicians, and craftsmen scattered throughout these mountains. Among them are the deep forest retreats of scholars, philosophers, and medical people. By chance, the leading expert in my mother-in-law’s condition summered in the hamlet of “Beaver Creek,” about 9 miles distant. He’d come, if he was home. He might reach us in 20 minutes.  I knew we didn’t have an hour to wait for the inevitable.“The phone is dead,” said my wife. Cell coverage wasn’t even a thought.“I’ll go get him,” I said. The physical action of doing something would be better than just being in the gloom of the cabin, knowing what was transpiring in the loft bed, though I was pained to  leave my wife alone with her mother in this state. The rain poured off the porch roof like a  liquid curtain. I got thoroughly soaked stepping through it.You get used to some things working the same way, day-in and day-out over the years, and there is a second of disbelief when they don’t. Turning the key in the Suburban’s ignition produced only silence, made more poignant by the drumming of the rain. I tried again. Nothing. Then I yanked the headlight switch. Nothing. I’d left the courtesy lights on. All twelve of them. The battery was dead. There might have been one or two ways to jump the truck, if I’d had time, or access to a phone. But I had to go — now. Parked under the eaves of the back shed was the 1986 K-75 (with the rare Sprint fairing) known as “Blue Balls.” I grabbed my jacket and helmet from a peg inside the shed door. The K75 growled into life as soon as I’d touched the starter, but it would take a minute the old lady couldn’t spare to warm up.The driveway[...]

Debunking The Pre-Ride Meditation Myth


I have received numerous requests for a blog episode dealing with the spiritualism of pre-ride preparation — and why it should be avoided. Many of these requests came from women, who asked that I include a lesson in relationship building, illustrating how a man should always take direction from the woman in his life. Specifically, I was to avoid any reference to getting laid (or expecting a trombone solo) as an incentive in the direction-taking process. I believe in accommodating my readers whenever possible (except for the  BMW “R” bike group in Minnesota who insisted I drink poison). This is the requested blog episode. I apologize to my readers who were expecting humor. This is sophisticated science. # # # The face on the clock condemned me with a sneer, and read 2:45 A.M. It was set to detonate in two hours and fifteen minutes, when the first light of day would soil the sky. My eyes felt like I rolled them in cat litter and there was a dull throbbing in the pit of my stomach. These were the symptoms of holistic motorcycle pre-ride planning.I was supposed to lead a breakfast ride of close friends and associates through a hostile Amish settlement. (The Amish were pissed over a steel vent fan that mysteriously fell from the heavens, stampeding a herd of chickens.) Arrangements called for me to meet the usual suspects (Bregstein, Frechi, Clyde, Gerry, Ron Yee, and David Hardgrove) in the parking lot of a local Starbucks. These hooligans are punctual to the point of pain. If I was ever more than an hour late, they’ll ride to house and rev their BMWs in the driveway. (They’d make more noise rustling a newspaper, but to these guys the symbolic gesture is everything.)I should have been ready to spring into the saddle. My preparations were straight out of the holistic rider’s manual. The day before — Friday afternoon — I stopped work four hours early to meditate in a sweat lodge. An authentic sweat lodge is a yurt-like structure made of animal hides stretched over a frame of willow rods and bone pinions. I got plans for one on the internet but Home Depot was out of bone fragments, so I just sat in my old Suburban and smoked a cigar as big as my ass. The cigar was potent and filled the vehicle with a dense cloud of rich, robusto haze. A wasp had followed me in from the driveway and had just begun to realize its peril. It tried stinging its way through the windshield, but to no avail. The nicotine fog enveloped it like an evil spirit and the insidious little fucker’s head exploded with a micro-pop. The appreciation of nature is a critical part of the cigar/sweat lodge experience. It takes 40 minutes to enjoy a smoke as dense and as perfectly rolled as an Arturo Fuentes Anejo Shark, in Maduro. (Maduro is a country in which the days are long and hot; the rum drinks are fruity and cool; and the women are dusky and seductive. I go there every time I light one and close my eyes.) The dense smoke of a great cigar presents a joint-like Nirvana (or so I’ve read) in the close confines of the rolling sweat lodge. I smoked so many cigars in that old truck that the windscreen was tinted yellow. When that cigar was smoked to the point where I needed a roach clip to hold it, I tossed the smoldering clincher into the neighbor’s flowers. (Her cat had been pissing in our garage for years.) Then I looked to the parked K75 for spot maintenance. This ritual began by sitting in a Kermit chair and looking over the bike while sipping something restorative. I recommend a “Planter’s Punch,” made with Myers Dark Rum. These are the squeezings of a whole lemon, a whole lime, a tablespoon of sugar or simple syrup, and an ounce and a half of Myers dark rum, in a tall glass, topped with orange juice and ice, plus a squirt of grenadine. If you are riding the next day, limit yourself to seven or eight of these. I discovered a loose mirror and set about tightening it. These mirrors were an aftermarket afterthought that turned this 1995 K75 from a bowling shoe into a glass sli[...]

Memories Of A Bike, Straight Whiskey, And My Father — On Father’s Day...


Parts of the following blog were first run on Twisted Roads in 2008. I have revised certain parts of the story below, to make it more accurate, and to reflect the memories writing it awokened in me. This is a day late for Father’s Day, but so what? The creative process is working very oddly in me these days, but it beats the alternative of not working at all. The most challenging moments I have ever had behind the wheel were when driving with a super critical driving instructor — my father. I’d been driving for two years and now heard a sound that was neither a compliment nor a criticism. Nor was it a function of the motorcycle. The bike “yingggggged” its way through curves like it was in a tractor beam. My starts were smooth. The Kawasaki didn’t stall. Stopped at a light, I heard the distinctive click of a Zippo lighter opening, and smiled when I realized my pillion rider was using this lull in the action to kindle a cigarette.The guy on the back was my father.Many kids have wonderful memories of unique moments with their dads. The most common of these take place at ballparks, where little league games were played and cheered, and at major league stadiums, where legendary players whacked ‘em out of the park. Fishing is another great Norman Rockwell type activity shared by fathers and sons. Who doesn’t remember the first bass or trout taken in the company of your dad? And working on the engine of the family car with your Dad is yet another source of prime memories for others.Above" The classic Zippo lighter... My dad's lighter of choice. I hated baseball almost as much as my father did. I assume he hated baseball because he never once mentioned it in conversation, nor watched it on television, nor ever gave any sign that he had heard of it. Fish came from Russo’s Fish Market on West Side Avenue (Jersey City). I never knew him to walk by a stream, nor to express the slightest interest if anything lived in one. He hated bugs, the sun, and the heat. As for working on the car, my dad had a great collection of tools. He would let me use any one of them provided I did so without his knowledge and concealed such activity while he was alive.  He was a classic example of the World War II veteran who could do anything. Basic carpentry, general plumbing, and rudimentary wiring were all in his repertoire. While his mechanical ability greatly exceeded mine, it was not something he attempted to hand down. In fact, he once told me that it was his greatest hope that I would one day make enough money to always pay somebody to do the things on my car that he had to do on his. This advice was lost on me at the time because I was four years old and had just dropped one of his tools down a sewer grate.I learned to drive when I was seventeen. At the same age, my dad learned how to assemble, maintain, and fire a .50 caliber machine gun at unpleasant Nazis, who were shooting at the B-17, in which he was the tail gunner. (Despite the fact this position required frequent filling, my dad asked for it as the B-17G had a separate door for the tail gunner, facilitating exit. He had started out as a ball turret gunner, but did not trust to the good intentions of his fellow crew members to crank the damn thing up in the event the aircraft became disabled, as the majority of them might already be dead.)Above: Profile of a B17-G. My father's position can be seen under the rudder. He told me the most amazing stories about the war, a few of which did not put him in the best light. This because I was 15-years-old at the time, and the light in which I saw everything was rose-colored. As a man, I now think my father showed great restraint in certain circumstances. I freely admit I will never be half the man he was on his worst day. I found some of these stories to incredibly sad. My dad lived in a tent for a bit between missions, which must have aggravated him no end. But he explained to me that living in a tent far behind falling [...]

Making Women Smile By Going Down Under...


Dick Bregstein and I were in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, rattling the picket fences of the Amish with the thrum of our BMW exhausts. Yet things weren’t right on this day. We had the doldrums. Not the kind that come from the occasional hard time at home or in the office, but the devils that mock you from the inside out.Dick had savage biker doldrums. His BMW “R1100R” had a recurrent stalling problem that manifested itself with a kind of wheezy chant. His bike seemed to say, “I think I can... I think I can...” whenever it tried to pass my K75. The slide-hammer relief valve, which squirts whale oil on the Johnson bar, was sticking. (This was the story Dick gave me. The week before he’d blamed a shift in the earth’s polarity for the same thing.)Above: My riding buddy and Mac-Pac pal, "Leather" Dick Bregsein. He is seen here in one of his many disguises. Some folks cannot recognize him as the motorcycle is upright. My doldrums were of a more intense nature. I suspected the tide was running out on my all-consuming love interest. A woman cannot hide the little signs her heart has turned. Just that morning, the most stunning beauty I had ever held in my arms said to me, “I dreamed I stabbed you 37 times.”That’s not quite the same as “Don’t touch me and get the fuck out,” but it’s not good. According to a book on dreams, the knife can mean a number of things. Not one of them was a symbol of romantic longevity.“You don’t seem your usual, happy-go-lucky, eat-shit-and-die self,” said Bregstein. “Woman problems?” We were pulled over by a field where two Amish gentlemen in straw hats were antiquing ladles — to be sold at a roadside stand — by spreading manure with them. I nodded.“I figured,” said Bregstein. “We all figured. In the Mac-Pac pool, I have 5/23-23. That’s May 23rd for the day she stabs you 23 times.” (The Mac-Pac is the premier chartered BMW riding club serving southeast Pennsylvania and the world.) “My riding-club buddies are running a pool on when I’m going to get stabbed by my girlfriend?” I was incredulous. “Everybody but Clyde,” said Bregstein. “He told her he’d kill you for a flat fee.” “What was the fee?”“Ten bucks and a six-pack,” said Bregstein. “He wouldn’t get that much if he won the pool.” If I’d had the doldrums before, they were really bad now. The best way to beat the doldrums is to go into a motorcycle shop and buy farkle. Nothing makes a man feel as good as holding new farkle in his hands. Seeing the farkle installed on the bike runs close, but that feeling passes. This is because new farkle gets absorbed by a motorcycle within a day or two. Then more farkle is required to keep flagging spirits elevated. This is the same business model for heroine.By law, there cannot be a BMW dealership farther away than the planet Mercury. Dick and I rode to the one in the northern hemisphere. It was there I fell in love with a beautiful BMW factory LED stoplight bar. At first I thought it was “retro,” and then I realized it was just “German” stodgy. That made me love it even more. It cost $18,467.00 and my heart broke for the second time that day. Bregstein found a “prescription” windshield for his “R” bike. The prescription was so strong that he could see three days into the future. This accessory cost three dollars less than the Louisiana purchase, and for the first time ever, I saw Dick burst into tears. BMW riders are not afraid to show their emotions and the dealership was filled with crying riders. But real riders harness the power of their emotional frustrations and get on with life. Bregstein and I did what all men do when confronted with the actual cost of farkle: we looked at gloves instead. Disillusioned men can never have too many pairs of riding gloves. The current style of riding gloves was apparently influenced by Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtles. They come in flamboyant colors with protruding armor on the[...]

Dispatches From The Front...


Twisted Roads will routinely publish readers' comments or respond to questions seeking advice about technical riding, maintenance, relationships, sexual dysfunction, or motorcycle accessories. While advice is given freely, you get what you pay for. You might be better off with the services of a professional bartender or a truck stop sexual surrogate."Death On The Prairie" Dear Twisted Roads:I was crossing the North Dakota prairie on my 1975 Harley Davidson Iron Head Sportster with my mother-in-law on the pillion. I have been married for 22 years and have avoided giving this old bitch a ride until now. My wife recently agreed to a threesome — with a pole dancer from a local moto watering hole — if I would just take the old bat out for a good high-speed run. This Harley’s got straight pipes that roar as loud and as ceaselessly as summer thunder, and I could still hear my mother-in-law bitching about my shortcomings. She started with the usual horse shit about how her daughter could have done so much better than the guy who mops up the containment room at a nuclear facility... How none of her other high school boy friends had “Eat Me” tattooed on their foreheads... And how none of her other guys drank beer from bullet holes in the beer keg. I was about to go deaf when a wild turkey flew across the road and swacked her dead-center in the open-faced helmet. I glanced in the mirror and saw the remains of a huge Tom jammed into her gaping maw. Suddenly, all I could hear was growl of the bike and wind whistling around my goggles. It was the first time the old bag couldn’t talk in 30 years. For a minute, I thought she was going to fart herself to death. Being out on the silent prairie at 90 miles per hour was like finding yourself  between pure thought and raw speed.  I realized she might choke and thought about getting her some medical attention. We were about 25 miles west of Fargo, North Dakota and I took her to a clinic — in Billings, Montana. I got there too late, though. The turkey was dead. My mother-in-law had nearly chewed through the 45-pound Tom by the time we got into the emergency room. I bought a turkey call for the ride back. Here’s my question: do those turkey calls ever work?Sincerely,Stanley “Sturgis” SlankowskiLutefisck, MinnesotaDear Stanley: As a dedicated BMW GS rider and an engineer, I will attempt to give you a highly technical explanation that implies I actually know something about the subject. While the noise of a moving motorcycle may seem constant to the rider, the Doppler effect (named after Franz Doppler, an engineer who thought he was a huge cockroach) creates a moving barrage of sound to anything ahead and on the side of the machine. *Therefore, the full impact of the turkey call will only hit a stationary bird for a second, causing great confusion as to the call’s exact source. It won’t work well if at all. Next time, try duct taping the turkey call into your mother-in-law’s mouth. The constant high-pressure discharge of sound should draw turkeys up to ten miles ahead of the speeding bike. Of course, it may also succeed in attracting one 700-pound turkey. If this happens, pull over immediately and use the video camera app on your cell phone to tape the resulting mating ritual. Keep the bike running in case your mother-in-law wins. * When a BMW-riding engineer uses the word "therefore," it means you are dense if you don't understand the conclusion. Thanks for your question.Ted DillmanOutdoor Editor/Twisted Roads"When In Washington, DC" Dear Twisted Roads: On a recent tour of Washington, D.C., prompted in part by a TW blog episode in which publisher Jack Riepe haunted a cemetery, I discovered there is a discernible lack of cosmetic surgery options in the nation’s Capitol. There were no facilities to get a boob job west of New York Avenue. No one would do a nose job on Pennsylvania Avenue. Oddly enough, I could get a [...]

Forbidden To Discuss... What All Bikers do!


There is a great little Mexican joint just off the corner of Downingtown Pike and East Lancaster Avenue, in Downingtown, PA. It takes 25 minutes to get anything on the menu because the folks who run the place make everything from scratch. And while there are two or three things listed that anyone would recognize from a Mexican chain restaurant, there is no comparison with the bill of fare here. “Rincon Tarasco” has the best Mexican food I have tasted north of Acapulco. You could almost make a meal of their Guacamole and fresh corn chips. The kitchen is an open book. You can look over the counter and watch your entree crafted from the freshest ingredients in the most authentic way. If I had a complaint,  it is that this place is “dry” and you cannot get a great Mexican beer — like Negra Modelo. They serve those fruity Mexican sodas and I am partial to  the pineapple and lime flavors.  The restaurant is intimate (small) but biker casual. The bikers that had just casually left this place  were Breg Dickstein (not his real name), Clyde Trotsky (not his real name), Gerry Cavanaugh (his real name), and me. The bikes were strung out in a line as we headed north to Strasburg. I was in the lead with Dickstein not more than 3 seconds behind me. It was a warm spring day and paving cutbacks gave the run a bumpy aspect. The gentle up and down motion of the bikes, coupled with the afternoon heat, set the Mexican meal to percolating. Riding a motorcycle is the ultimate freedom. You can talk to yourself or even sing as the thrum of the road and snarl of the engine drown out everything else. All incriminating sound evaporates in the celebration of forward motion. I raised myself in the saddle and let fly with a mighty anal bellow. Had we been in a closed environment, like a zeppelin hanger, the resulting noise would have been the equivalent of material ripping. And not ordinary material, like a bed sheet... but something far more substantial, such as the tarp used to cover the outfield at a ball park. I counted “One second... two seconds...” and glanced in the mirror. Dickstein has the personality and reflexes of a cobra. He’d seen me rise up in the saddle and guessed what was coming. Before I could reach “three seconds” in the count, he swerved to avoid an invisible obstacle. Unfortunately, the subtlety of the moment was lost on Clyde, who rode into the vapor barrier with total oblivion. The humor of the moment was almost lost in the horror of his expression. Trapped in the confines of a full-face helmet, his eyeballs popped out and pounded against the face shield like two little fists. Dickstein and I kept going. What else could we have done? Seasoned rider Gerry Cavanaugh claims to be above these puerile antics. Getting the bloated feeling common to politicians about to give a campaign speech, he dismounted by a lake, bent slightly, and brought down a flock of low-flying Canada geese. “Once you get the range and windage right, the rest is easy,” said Cavanaugh.While accredited studies of biker flatulence are rare, many anecdotal observations are attributed to “meat loaf night,” hosted by various riding clubs. There are always one or two stories of “R” bike seats bursting into flames or Harley’s accelerating to the speed of light, leaving comet-like trails behind them. Yet there is very little statistical analysis or scientific data to support these claims. Consensus acknowledges that biker flatulence increases in potency and frequency as age advances. According to one medical expert, it takes less than 15 minutes for a 58-year-old man to convert the mass of two chili dogs into 200 cubic yards of nerve gas. A 68-year-old man can convert a dish of apple sauce (or anything else on a diner’s “early bird special” salad bar) into an explosive vapor capable of causing a mine disaster. Worse in both cases is the sudden cha[...]

Kiss No Asses...


I am hopelessly delusional from time to time. The allure of doing something becomes so strong in my mind that it overpowers my instincts to flee and I do it anyway. This explains two of my marriages. It justifies my love affair with 1975 Kawasaki H2. It accounts for that episode with the redhead. It vindicates my adolescence. It is the only reason I can give for wanting to ride my motorcycle from bucolic Pennsylvania to Washington, D.C. A buddy of mine from a misspent corporate affiliation had joined a division of the federal government. He rides a cost efficient, chrome efficient, and noise efficient Harley Davidson. It was his suggestion that we meet in the Oyster Bar of the “Old Ebbitt Grill,” and bestow sneers upon those who wear red ties and kiss asses. I winced. I wore a red tie the last time I was in the “Old Ebbitt Grill,” as I kissed the ass of a potential client who would hire me to write congressional testimony. Ass kissing is an important part of the daily business ritual in the nation’s capitol and I was good at it. I would apply ChapStick to my lips with a paint roller, often going as far as three coats (but only in the center to conceal telltale wax build up). The ritual entailed springing for lunch, laughing at tedious jokes, and shrewdly implying that I too hoped to be a cockroach when I grew up. The client would then present his, or her, ass, and I would kiss it. Sometimes I did this with a loud noise but etiquette generally required a quiet bullseye on the buttocks. The lip balm would form an instant bond and I would  be attached like a lamprey. It should be noted that it was a point of honor to be attached to an ass of some consequence.  Washington, D.C. is a target-rich opportunity for thousands of inconsequential asses.Above: This is the newest feature at the US Capitol Building. It is called the "Speed Connect." US citizens can now enter the little white booth and leave a message for the elected official of their choice. It allows the average American to give back to Congress what Congress so liberally bestows on the rest of the country. The warning light indicates when Congress is in session. "Red" means the dome is filled with scalding hot gases. The “Old Ebbitt Grill” is an extraordinary place. It has been the source of great dining, potent drinks, fresh oysters, political schemes, conspiracies, and scandals since 1820. The decor is manly, with mounted trophies on the walls, some alleged to have been shot by Teddy Roosevelt. It is intensely popular with the eloi of Washington society and some 800 diners are turned away daily. Above: "Old Ebbitt Grill" —on the corner of 15th Street and "G," with the blue awnings. It was my thought that we could meet on the high ground outside the city, tour the monuments, then eat a couple of dozen oysters, washed down by a couple of Bourbons. (Yes, I know what some of you are thinking. Get your ChapStick out.) I wanted to have my 1986 K75, known as “BlueBalls,” photographed against the Lincoln Memorial and the Jefferson Memorial. These are two of my favorite Presidents. Jefferson believed that the federal government was a necessary evil, to be limited in its authority over citizens. Lincoln believed there should only be one necessary evil in North America and that he was running it. Both men were incredible political manipulators with their respective character cast in stone. One doubled the size of the country. The other held it together and managed to get a train running through it. Politicians today can’t chew gum and scratch their asses at the same time. But this run was not to be. My friend was called away and the grim reality of this ride began to sink in. Old Ebbitt Grill is close to the White House and parking can be a challenge.  You can get oysters in places with a nicer view. Traffic in Washington, D.C. is based on the logic o[...]

Purple Mountains Mystery...


Prologue:The following story is absolutely true, with a few alterations in places where it is not. The untrue parts are those that imply I was thin, rode my motorcycle with precision, and didn’t sweat while riding in the deep south. The true bits are those claiming southerners (US) will eat anything fried in enough lard, that there is mystery in the purple mists of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and not everything can be easily explained. (For example, can anyone explain why the English version of the 1986 BMW K75 owners’ manual has the photos captioned in German? If this can be explained, can it be explained in a way that doesn’t sound sinister?)I was sitting in an Adirondack Mountain bar with Chris Wolf (a Honda rider with a yellow bike named “Hepatitis”), when he bet 10 rounds of drinks that he had a more mysterious motorcycle story than I did. I studied Chris’s eyes for sincerity, and would have been startled to find any. Chris is English, and came to the United States because he heard a British accent will get a guy laid here every time, even if the accent can only emote sarcasm. Chris Wolf — Accomplished rider of the yellow Honda known as "Hepatitis."(Photo by the author)  We pulled our chairs closer to the fire and Chris gallantly sneered, “You tell yours first.” To the waitress, he said, “Bring us ten rounds of drinks and stake the tab to the mantle.” This was a local tradition in which the wager, a whopping huge drink tab, was stuck into the hewn timber mantle using a Revolutionary War bayonet said to have belonged to a Hessian deserter.“This in the bag,” I thought, “as I will be shortly.” I drew a deep breath, and began.My Most Mysterious Motorcycle Story: A little heat, a little fatigue, and a lot of miles can play tricks on a rider. It may seem as if motorcycle’s serenade has gained something: a note of wear or a ping that wasn’t there before. You may detect a momentary vibration that suggests something is loose. You’ll think you may have imagined it, just as you imagined that redhead in the convertible gave you a long, sweet smile. But you can’t be sure. This level of extrasensory moto awareness is usually magnified by a hangover or sleep deprivation. It has been my experience that a hangover, and a night of Cupid’s gymnastics, are not mutually exclusive of each other. Some experts even suspect a “cause and effect-type” relationship between the two. But it is almost guaranteed that you will be doing 95 miles per hour when you think you hear something amiss on the bike. A legendary rider — Horst Oberst — once said, “A motorcycle makes two kinds of noise, the cheap kind and the expensive kind.” At speeds over 95 miles per hour, all strange noises are the disturbing kind.Horst Oberst — Accomplished rider and authority on both kinds of strange motorcycle noises. (Photo by the author.) I was clawing my way up I-81, through “Old Virginia,” when I heard the “buzzing noise.” I distinctly thought the three-cylinder mill on my 1986 BMW K75 was gnawing something. Then I wondered if I had “felt” the noise more than heard it. It could have been a tire shredding, or the head bearings hanging up, or anything. I’d been six hours in the saddle, on a hot day, running on three hour’s sleep, with a prison riot raging in my head. I’d spent most of the night before in a Tennessee strip joint, where you could have intoxicated the on-stage porkers with barbecue sauce. (I am not attempting to be unkind here, merely accurate.) There is an old expression that goes, “Honey, I’m going to drink you pretty,” but there wasn’t that much liquor in the state that night. That doesn’t mean I didn’t give it a good try. My decision to set off at dawn, about three hours later, was not one of my better ideas. I thought the cool mountain[...]

The Dragon Is Loose On Twisted Roads...


I love the feel of naked women, motorcycle handlebars, and the keyboard of an Apple computer. I do not regard these wonders as things to be possessed, but things that possess me. Nothing in life has brought me greater satisfaction than wild romance, wild rides, and writing the story of both. Yet it appears my luck has run out lately. I am giving up on women until the summer and possibly longer than that. I had thoughts of hitting on one in particular but have decided to give her the pass. Like a surfer on the beach in Hawaii, where the waves are four stories tall... or like a skier peering down a near vertical drop, ripe for an avalanche... or like a S.Q.U.I.D revving the guts out of a crotch rocket at the beginning of Deal’s Gap... I look at her and my mouth gets dry. She is stunningly beautiful in a cultured pearl sort of way, full of charm and sophistication. Her perfumed embrace could be heaven’s prelude or the portal to an emotional chipper. There was a time when I would have danced on the edge of that challenge— with a drink in my hand. Now, I think, “One false step and it’s in the chipper for our hero.” I think she can only take me in micro-doses before throwing up anyway.This is a bad sign and I have decided to concentrate on “Plan B.”"Plan B"is a emotionally rewarding relationship with a sensitive, semi-retired, slightly tanned, 45-year-old pole dancer, who can look at me in that sizzling way, and say, “I decided to do a proper tune-up on your ‘K’ 1300GT.”My Favorite Things: ApplesShe’ll be perfect if her tramp stamp reads, “K Bike Postage.”  I hope to meet her on a ride between the Jersey Shore and the Pacific Coast this summer. The odds are slightly better that a more understanding woman like this won’t take offense if I occasionally fart without filing an environmental impact statement. It would be really cool to end up with a petite redhead who was an expert welder and an authority on the Chicago Manual of Style. Then again, I wouldn't mind meeting a demure blond who knows how to keep a low profile at bike events. I used to think nothing could match the breathless excitement that comes from undoing a brassiere for the first time. Then came the day I opened up the throttle on a BMW K75 and passed a long line of trucks on a curving stretch of Pennsylvanian interstate. I was doing 70 mph as I went by the first rig at the end of the line. The speedo read a cool 108 mph as I eclipsed the eighteen-wheeler at the front— 12 trucks later. You have reached a certain level of maturity (wisdom) when you’d rather twist a throttle than massage a breast. One is a lot less dangerous than the other.There was no vibration. The engine growled with Teutonic confidence. The tires were new and perfectly round. Handlebar inputs were as subtle as telepathy and the bike banked on a suggestion. Molecules of wind toyed with the bare skin at the collar of my jacket as my transformation became complete. I was no longer a man but an emotion. The kind of emotion Patti Smith oozes in Because The Night.The trucks were in my “No Zone.” In fact, anything that was mundane or rooted to the earth was now in my “No Zone.” This included one job, one relationship, one stalled writing project, and anything that wasn’t on the stretch of road in front of me. By vibration-free I mean the rage that was the engine output found its way to the back wheel instead buzzing through my testicles. Still the ride was far from smooth. The surface of the road was marred by half-assed repair and outright neglect. While thousands of jolts were swallowed by the forks and a Works Performance Shock on the back, the larger cracks, heaves, and seams gave a spicy flavor to the ride, reminding me why I was a god above the sheep in the cages around me. Though there was a good three-q[...]

Che Guevara And I Have Two Things In Common...


I deeply regret the long absence from this blog. The hurricane thrust me into a week of darkness that seemed to last long after the lights came back on. Quite frankly, the life and the laughter just went out of me. Hundreds of thousands of people had it much worse than I did, with homes and businesses smashed. Hurricane Sandy put a dramatic dent in the distribution of my new book — Conversations With A Motorcycle — but I have managed to get a handle on it. All book orders taken prior to October 15th will be filled within a week or so. Most folks have their books now. Some got two. Orders taken after that will be filled before December 18th. I thank all of you for your patience and support.  I remember a sentiment expressed in the Revolutionary Spirit of the workers who rose up against the Czar: "That which does not destroy me makes me stronger." Many shouted this as they were cut down by Cossacks, proving the point. In that spirit, I now commence the publication of this blog with the following story about socialist moto- love.  The woman had a reputation for tedious discussions on the politics of protest, the enslavement of the worker class, and the benefits of the collective. Her life was dedicated to exposing whatever the hell it was that kept the proletariat in their accustomed chains. Lithe, with unrestrained breasts that bounced beneath tee shirts that were always a couple of days past clean, she had an an urban earthiness that was anything but urbane. Her name was Louise Enwright but she called herself Lenochka Lyubov. She wore a beret and an expression that permanently indicated her disdain for make-up, deodorant, mouth wash and other excesses of western thinking. She was a genuine red... a real pinko... a Communist — from Long Island. Her mother was a doctor and her father was a stock broker. They had so much money that her maid was a Republican. I met her in my last year of college, in a class called “The Literature of Revolution.” She was always reading “the Russians.” These were authors ranging from Tolstoy to Dostoyevsky, who understood life to be a pointless endeavor suffered in frozen, desolate train stations while waiting to be arrested by the czar’s secret police. (For comic relief, key characters occasionally fell in front of the train or froze to death. They were envied by those characters who survived.)  According to the word around campus, Lenochka liked two things: criticizing the bourgeois and a good straight hump. I generally overlooked belligerent proletariat ladies, whose pubic hair extended to the tops of their knee socks. Yet I was going through a self-inflicted romantic dry spell, largely caused by annoying every female within 400 miles. I had heard that the women of the local fifth column were the least discerning on campus, and most likely to respond to vodka-flavored paint thinner and the promise of breakfast. I wandered into a Soviet-friendly poetry reading wearing a tee shirt that sported a red star on the front. (It was an advertisement for a brewery.) Most of the shirt’s details were concealed under a green G.I. field jacket that I wore when on my bike. The motorcycle was an insidious 1975 Kawasaki H2. Under my arm was a green (metal flake) helmet, with black trim. When the ensemble was complete, I looked like a militant candy apple. Lenochka had been hitting the vodka all night. To her, I looked like a Communist super-hero. All I needed was a red cape and hip boots from a plumbing supply store. But I had the next best thing. I clutched a dog-eared paperback copy of Nikolai Karamzin’s “Poor Liza,” printed in Russian. The pages had yellowed  and some had simply fallen out, only to be stuffed loosely back in. I had liberated it from some obscure shelf in the campus l[...]

Reports Of My Demise Are Premature...


The news reports were confusing.The ocean was slamming against the dunes. The tides were running heavy. Minor flooding was being reported from various shore points as dire warnings were being cited  by weather experts. Looking out the window, conditions seemed not much stiffer than an afternoon pushing a thunderstorm. It had drizzled for a bit and the litany of reporters (one of who showed us a line of six sandbags against a pizzeria doorway) kept talking about the doom that was crawling up the coast. I thought, “This is a piss poor excuse for a hurricane. I’ve been to union meetings that were rougher than this.” I was under the impression we’d been in the storm for hours. Then the reporter said, “The hurricane is expected to make landfall in about 5 hours.” It was still a couple of hundred miles away. According to the weather map, landfall would be between my bathroom and kitchen. The gentle Twisted Roads reader will understand that I thought that this was one of the longest build-ups I had ever seen for a weather event. Star War: The Empire Strikes Back didn’t get this kind of hype. The wind was shortly gusting to 50 and 60 miles per hour and the house was considerably noisier than my preferred Nolan helmet. The rain started but never reached the frenetic levels I had been told to expect. There is a brunette friend of mine  who occasionally captures my fancy (isn’t there always), and she races sailboats. Her description of the wind whistling in the forestays and her stories of heeling a boat on the edge of a knife-like breeze fascinate me. I was working on a story in which I thought to compare the gentle moaning of the wind on a moonlight Atlantic night with the raging anguish of K1300GTs engine, balls to the wall in a horizontal interstate Messerschmidt power-dive, when the lights began to flicker. A brilliant flash bathed everything outside in a micro-second shade of electric blue as a pole transformer exploded outside. The lights came back on and wavered again, as another pole transformer blew up minutes later. In that second of darkness, I remembered I had bought the cheapest surge protector the store had, and I yanked the magnetic power cord off the Apple. The lights made one more attempt to stay lit and ran the the gamut from dim to brilliant — as the last pole transformer on the block evaporated in sparks and loud “boom.”The room was not totally dark. The screen on my faithful Apple laptop still glowed with the thrill of whatever the hell it was I had just typed. It was 9:55 pm and wind gusts were pulling the ton (100 mph). I switched on my Coleman LED camp lantern and called it an early night. While an LED lantern is the ultimate in disaster convenience, it’s not much for ambience. The sterile light is ideal for finding the bathroom but not conducive to reading.  Stretching out in bed, I thought the wind like sounded passion on a sailboat. Then something blew into the side of the house. It happened two more times, and I plastered my face to window. Far above the hell of the storm was a full moon and it wasn’t real dark outside. I expected to see zombies staggering in the street. What I saw was almost as amazing. Wind gusts were blowing deer into the siding. “Good,” I thought. “Fucking rats on stilts.”I put my head on the pillow and closed my eyes. There was nothing romantic in this howling of the wind. I would lie awake for the next 5 hours. The wind did its best to twist my balls. It counted the tiles on the roof. It tore at the siding at the house. It shook the tree on the lawn. It even peered in the window and made fun of my comparison of the noise of made by a racing sailboat and the classical music cadence of a finely-tuned Teutonic motorcycle. (Sorry, brunette c[...]

The Hurricane Got Nasty...


Dear Twisted Roads Readers:

The storm activity became noticeable around 2am today, as the wind started moan. Everything grew silent at 5am, as the wind and the rain stopped... And then it started with a vengeance. I am 15 miles from the ocean, but a scant 20 or 30 miles from where the hurricane is expected to make landfall. Wind gusts are expected to top 90 mph, but I am beyond the storm surge, I think.

The wind is a constant 50 to 65mph now and the rain is bullet-like. It sounds like a jet engine screaming over the roof.  The house is sound and tight. The utilities are taking a pounding, however, and the lights are flickering. Power is out all around me. The electricity is expected to go down by 7pm and may not be up for a while. Meaning days. Some utilities are claiming a week.

If I do not answer my email, it means I have no access to it. It means that charge is gone in my phone. I have food, water, gas to cook on, and the neighbor's lawn on which to take a dump. I have cigars and rum. I plan to mail another batch of books on Wednesday. Nothing is going to move tomorrow.

I'll post a update to this at 7pm tonight.

This Quiz Could Save Your Life...


Do you live on the east coast? Are you prepared to deploy and sustain an extensive emergency program as a result of a catastrophic natural storm predicted for Monday, October 29, 2012? This simple quiz will help rate your preparedness for what could be the storm of the century. Senior meteorologists are predicting tidal surges as far inland as Flagstaff, Arizona, accompanied by winds capable of blowing sailors who are not actually on leave. Resulting power outages are likely to go unreported for weeks as residents find a certain calm and solitude in the absence of stupid campaign bullshit currently flooding television, radio, and internet information sources.On Sunday, supermarkets across the northeast will resemble prison riots as people fight over the last three “D” batteries, the final gallon of milk, and the one remaining pair of Spanks in aisle “8,” in anticipation of life as we know it coming to an end. Millions of men and women who presently share the same house will rush to buy quarts of gin, vodka, and rum to get through 24 hours together, without the escape of the internet, e-mail, “Dancing With The Stars,” or porn. In one house, a frantic spousal unit waved a book in the air, yelling, “How do you reboot this fucking thing?” One family planned to get through the crisis by simply going to a different restaurant each night for dinner. When told the restaurants would probably be closed, the husband and father of three football players broke into tears and wailed “We’ll starve without the microwave.” He collapsed against the eight-burner, gas grill in the yard. One woman, a blond, remembered the last power failure, and how she sat in her car for three days, waiting for the traffic light on the corner to resume. Houses with pumps for the well may discover a shortage of water for drinking and flushing the toilet. When told she could fill the tub with water for flushing the toilet, one individual — an elected official — stated, “Things would have to be pretty bad for me to start shitting in the bathtub. I can get by shitting on my constituents for at least a month.” She claimed her husband used to piss in the kitchen sink, but it was eventually easier for him to lift the seat in the bathroom than it was to remember to put the dishes in the drainboard.Democrats and Republicans blamed the weather on each other. According to the Liberals, the storm is the result of rich scumbags not spending an extra 50 cents on sunshine and fleecy clouds. (Amazingly enough, there is not one rich Liberal in the United States.) Conservatives believe that Liberals have given away the sunny weather in exchange for a better interest rate from China. Many in both parties agree that no debate moderator should be named “Candy” if she has a face like a sack full of jowls. Please take the following quiz to gauge your level of emergency preparedness:1) Would you be able to find the best bottles of wine in your cellar, if you had to grope around for them in the dark? A) Yes...B) No...2) Assuming you found the wine and drank it with a lover by flickering candle-light, would you: A) use the last two good “D” batteries in the house for the flashlight;  or B) use them to power up that amazing sex toy?3) There is one cup of milk left in the house and a crying baby in the next room. Would you: A) pour the milk into the baby’s bottle; or B) Make a pot of coffee on the gas grill and get the kid used to the taste of quality Java?4) The wind is raging outdoors and your mother-in-law is wrapped around a tree, about 30 yards from the back door. Would you: A) Send your wife out to tell her to shut up; B) Comfort your wife with the knowle[...]

Stolen Gloves And The Veal Sandwich...


The first raindrop materialized in the lower left-hand corner of my face shield, and left a tiny snail trail of moisture as it angled diagonally upward across my field of vision. I wiped it off on the back of my glove. “Could be anything,” I thought. “Bird piss, bug guts, condensation from a passing vehicle, spittle from a blond... anything. Anything but rain.” I hadn’t seen any birds. It was the first week of fall and there were no bugs. Traffic was light. And I hadn’t been close enough to a woman to get spat upon lately. That left one possibility, and if I had any doubts, a smattering of raindrops hit the clear plastic like birdshot fired at a grouse.  The day had matured into a solitary shade of gray, unaltered in its intensity from an hour past sun-up well into the late afternoon. The forecast had been for a 47 percent chance of rain, a statistical coin toss. Would I have ventured out on the bike for a 47 percent chance of getting laid or a 47 percent chance of winning a lottery? Who wouldn't?I called my riding partner, Dick Bregstein, to ask if he felt like joining me on a run to Centralia, PA, the remains of a town sitting atop a coal mine fire that has been burning for 60 years.“There’s a 47 percent chance of rain today,” said Bregstein. “If it was anyone else, I’d have my gear on and be out the door in a heartbeat. But it’s you and that virtually guarantees a downpour. No offense, Jack, but you have the luck of the damned.” Bregstein had a point. Anyone else might have had a 47 percent chance of getting laid, but I had usually had a 53 percent chance of getting fucked. So I rode out alone on the legendary K75 known as “Fireballs.”The weather had held all the way up to Centralia, with temperatures in the low 60’s and light breezes, despite the murk. Centralia  was pretty much as I remembered it: vacant lots with the occasional wisp of steam and toxic gas rising from the ground. Yet now that I was 90 miles from home via indirect roads, my chances of getting soaked seemed more like 100 percent. The insinuation of rain became a smattering of drizzle as a motorcycle shop close to my heart  hove into view. I usually knew 20 people in here and couldn’t think of a better place to wait out a passing squall.The weather had eliminated the crowd. The parking lot out front had only two machines in it, and neither was familiar to me. One was a Suzuki that oozed speed, even on the side-stand. The other was an old rat bike of a Triumph. This almost guaranteed some grizzled rider would be leaned over the counter inside, bullshitting about the good old days, when all motorcycles sprayed oil like it was champagne. These riders invariably sounded like Gabby Hayes, dressed like Wallace Beery, and had an aroma like Henry Grajewski's pig farm.   Neither of the two customers in the shop met that description. The Suzuki rider was a Brad Pitt look-a-like, who dropped by to pick up two quarts of herb-scented motor oil ($37.50 each) in logo-branded bottles. He was leaving as I gimped in.The Triumph biker took me by surprise. Scuffed boots, worn leather riding gear, and hair shaped by a scratched helmet that had seen too many seasons, she was Asian, with dark, hypnotic eyes. I am sucker for brunettes but I am a lost soul to Asian brunettes. She moved through the gear aisles with the kind of indifference that comes naturally to women whose innate sensuality has been bending light since puberty. It didn’t matter to me that I was 20 years her senior. In my mind, I was thin, tough, and edgy. She’d see my red K75 outside and bite her lower lip in anticipation of a sexual union that would astound mating sea ot[...]

The Unwritten Second Law Of Bikers...


There were two unwritten biker laws that needed no explanation in my native Jersey City of the mid-1970’s. The first was: “Never screw around with another guy’s motorcycle.” This specifically meant never taking somebody else’s machine for an unauthorized ride. The spirit of this law also included “never tampering with, sitting on, nor even breathing hard by someone else’s bike — unless it was to save if from pending theft or imminent destruction.” The second unwritten law was a bit more personal. It stated: “Stay away from another guy’s girl, even if she’s giving you that special look that says she’s open to suggestion.”I am amazed at how often this second immutable commandment was either stretched or rendered “subject to interpretation.” All of the guys I knew had one special woman (from time to time), who was regarded as the primary love interest (de jour), to be embraced, cherished, and elevated to a position of exclusivity — on the surface, at least. These same guys cheated relentlessly and never hesitated to pursue the velveteen invitation. The truth is that all men regard each other in a suspended state of nature that is barely removed from the status of rabid wolves. In the bar, it was considered bad form to hold it against some guy for getting into your girl’s pants, as she had to have the final say as to “yes” or “no.” If she said “yes,” it was merely an indication that your relationship was flawed and due for collapse anyway. Either that or you were a douche and the lady was bored... in which case, nature had taken its course.  I had some firsthand experience dealing with radioactive burns on my soul when a buddy laid my serious love interest of some years. It was in the aftermath of this personal destruction that my friend and social mentor, Cretin (pronounced Creetin in Jersey City vernacular), said to me. “Do you think you would act any differently if you had a chance to nail a friend’s girlfriend?”I raised my eyebrows as high as my ethics and said, “I would never be guilty of that.” Cretin assured me that there was a gene in all men called the “pheromone orchid sniffer chromosome” that combined survival, curiosity, and sexual focus into a kind of reflex overdrive that did not recognize social parameters like friendship. “This is the chromosome that enables all men to say, ‘Fuck it. I can always get more friends. Hot, naked ass is something else,’” said Cretin.I can honestly assure the gentle Twisted Roads reader that when this very situation occurred; that when the love interest of a riding buddy cornered me in a remote location (after discovering this-lower-than-whale-shit guy had been cheating on her with a friend); that when this tortured woman quite openly stated her purpose was to discover if my bologna had a first name; I resisted her advances for the length of a hummingbird’s heartbeat. And I am proud to tell you this is ten times longer than the average guy would have held out. (I later discovered that this knockout of a babe called on five or six of this guy’s pals  and made each the same offer. I was the first, however, if that means anything.)Think about this for a minute. This poor guy was sitting at the bar, bemoaning his fate that the romance has left his relationship, relying on his pals for commiseration, when his former girlfriend showed up to publicly describe the genitalia of his six closest friends. She began with, “You know Slick, you have the second biggest dick of these five guys at the bar.” (Later that night, one of the guys said to him, "Well, the news wasn't all bad.")Finally...  It's he[...]

The Last Of Anything...


It is not always clear when you are about to experience the last of something. I used to savor the acquired taste of Liederkranz cheese and Ballantine’s India Pale Ale in McSorley’s Old Ale House (Seventh Street and Yale Place, New York City). Liederkranz is a semi-soft cheese, that when properly ripened, runs creamy when left at room temperature. It develops a soft edible crust, not unlike brie. It also smells like the first whiff of a dead Pharaoh when the tomb is opened after 4500 years. Liederkranz is best consumed in a tavern where the fixtures haven’t been dusted in 150 years (McSorley’s). It should be eaten with slices of a Bermuda onion on crisp saltines, accompanied by mustard so hot that it was used to gas troops in WWI. The original Ballantine India Pale Ale (which I considered to be the best of its kind anywhere in the world) was aged 1 year in oak barrels. It tasted like heaven. When Ballantine’s (Newark, NJ) went belly-up, Falstaff brewed it. McSorely’s offered both of these. Then one day, the cheese was gone. The company that made it threw in the towel. Apparently, Ihor Sypko and I were the last two people on earth who ate it. Ten years later, Ballantine India Pale was gone too. A woman who once loved me got the last case of it on the east coast, and we drank it together. America’s desire to remain fat while drinking light beer (pre-processed urine) eliminated the need for brewing an ale that was more expensive than the current price of aviation fuel. Had I known that either of these two national treasures would shortly become extinct, I would have stretched out those final moments.Above: McSorley's Old Ale House - 7th Street and Yale Place. One of the oldest saloons in New York City. Certainly the most colorful. Will liederkranz cheese return? The same can be said for two women I’ve loved. One twisted my DNA into a Gordian knot that left my balls looking like a pretzel. The other untwisted them, and undid all of the damage done by the first. (I drove both of them crazy and each of these once-in-a-lifetime romances ended in a crash and burn that registered .9 on the Richter scale.) Sinking into the numbing quicksand of their kisses, it never occurred to me that these were finite. Nor did I realize how I’d miss these far more than the cheese and ale.Above: The Atlantic Ocean off Cape May, NJ in the moonlight. Photo by Roy Groething. The ocean haunts and taunts me with a persistence that has lasted for years. I am fascinated by the vastness of the sea, its moods and its color changes. I love the scent of the wind blowing in from the Atlantic or when the breeze carries the pungent salt aroma of the marshes. There are a thousand ways to experience the ocean. You can surf it, fish it, swim in it, and tan next to it. I prefer to ride alongside it, just out of reach. I just never realized that my last run through Cape May, NJ would be a kind of finale for disease-ridden legs. Otherwise, I’d have gotten into a lot more trouble.Above: The low dunes of North Cape May (Lower Township) over a calm Delaware Bay on a gray day, when the clouds dissolve into the water.  Above: On a clear day, Delaware Bay is a kinder, gentler, littler Atlantic... from the low dunes of North Cape May (Lower Township). I was straddling a 1995 BMW K75 fifty feet from where the Atlantic washes into Delaware Bay, in North Cape May. The day faded to gray and it was impossible to see the state of  Delaware only 15 miles distant. The dunes, carefully preserved by a community that has its priorities right, are incredibly romantic. Just like my first sexual experience, I was there alone. Bu[...]

Kim's Hot Little Surprise...


The party was on the periphery of a fashionable southern city, where women spoke in soft accents that made one think of bourbon and mint, and the scent of roses hanging in  the evening air. I arrived on a German motorcycle, preoccupied by the smoke trailing from the starboard engine of a relationship that was locked in an irreversible death spiral. Friends thought the atmosphere of a party, with the potential of meeting one or two women (who had yet to get the memo on me), might be the very thing to bring me around. “Around what?” I asked.“Around the fact that haven’t been laid in so long that a hooker would need cables to get you jump-started,” was their response. I declined and opted to go on a motorcycle ride instead. However, I took a set of cables off the garage wall and tucked them in a side bag. There is no point in venturing out the door without considering every possibility. The gentle reader will not be surprised to find out that my route was s series of scenic loops with the party in the geographic center. While not a biker party, many guests did show up on two wheels. The chrome and leather crop was coming in thick, and the Squidabusa representation was fairly strong as well. This only made my K75 stand out all the more. In fact, it stood out like a llama in a herd of racehorses. But this is part of the BMW mystique.Every woman at this party was a blond. All had blue eyes. And each one was clairvoyant in that they seemed to sense they would never sleep with me in their lifetime. Not that this was the first question I asked them... but my facial expression lent itself to the “DSBUS” category — Deadly Sperm Build-Up Syndrome — common to death row prisoners and reporters afraid to leave political candidates in the event they may say something noteworthy. I was there for two hours, and I must confess my heart was not in working the room. If there is one thing a BMW rider must be prepared to face, it is rejection by the socially perfect. I was not in the mood for rejection.Yet it is the face of overwhelming adversity that Beemer riders come into their own. In a distant corner of this party, three school teachers were engaged in conversation that nearly qualified as an oil thread on a riding club list. They were discussing the challenges of teaching the basics of written communication to the vapid youth of today. Specifically, they targeted rogue third-graders who had already learned to text each other for cigarettes and pictures of naked classmates, in a kind of code that used English only for three vowels and six consonants. “Forgive me,” I said. “But I could’t help overhearing your conversation. I have developed a process that combines the outline and the first draft of a basic composition, in a concept called the ‘Magic 16.’ If a kid can chew gum, breathe, or eat paste out of a jar, than they can write a basic composition in less than a half-hour. “I cut my teeth as a public relations writer crafting press releases for corporate leaders easily mistaken for cardboard cutouts or dead bodies seeking reanimation. Some of them had the attention span and vision of third graders. I was more than qualified to address this subject. One of these ladies had a mood ring that was set to detect DSBUS, and she slipped away when it turned red and started to beep. Another caught a pass from a guy with a tattoo of a dragon eating a kid. But the remaining one, the prettiest one, was interested in what I had to say.  I explained that it is necessary to focus a third-grader’s attention, and that nothing works like starting up a chai[...]

Signals From Dick Breed Confusion...


 The fog hung down to the road like a curtain, masking oncoming traffic, the hidden nature of curves, and the sinister Amish countryside. It added significant challenge to the second longest day of my career as a re-entry rider —360 miles. (This was in 2006.) The run was from West Chester, Pennsylvania to Summit Point, West Virginia, where a legendary BMW mechanic (and a member of my riding club, the Mac-Pac) was racing. (I would mention his name but he has threatened to beat the shit out of me if he is ever identified on Twisted Roads.) My bike was a 1986 BMW K75 (with the rare Sprint fairing), known to my readers as “Blueballs.” I had posted my intention to make this ride and was joined by two highly experienced riders, David Hardgrove and Jim Sterling. Hardgrove mounted a BMW F650 (thumper), while Sterling sported the iconic BMW “R” bike. (Technically speaking, this was an all BMW run, with all three food groups represented, an “F,” a “K,” snd an "R."  This kind of ride is called a F*#K*R.) As the rider with the least experience, none recently in the fog, I was placed in the center of the line. Hardgrove led with his flashers on while Sterling brought up the rear, giving me a demonstration of how a headlight modulator worked. My own four-ways carved a reassuring niche in the mist. Fog is one of those things that requires a degree of discretion. It can be as dense as Congress in one second as as wispy as lace in another. I closed on the bike ahead of me, and maintained a slower speed when visibility dropped. Even so, there were times when all I saw were orange blurs in the mist. Our route was the old Lincoln Highway (US-30) through Lancaster, PA, which is only one lane in each direction for some stretches. This was only my second experience with riding with multiple bikes, since I’d joined the club. I’d read all the data, however, and maintained my position in the staggered riding formation. I don’t agree with the general consensus on the staggered riding formation when it comes to a personal preference. It may have been the correct thing to do for the immediate weather conditions, but the late, great moto-safety guru — Larry Grodsky — made a good case for the single-line formation. Horrific motorcycle crashes in recent years, in which groups of bikes went down like kingpins, support his conclusions. But I was very confident that day, mimicking technique from two accomplished riders. And as predicted, the fog broke giving us dry, clear conditions, with near unlimited visibility.Hardgrove was a “by-the-book” technical rider, who adhered to posted speed limits. As the pupil on this run, I wanted to impress him by following his every direction. So I broke left when he extended his hand left arm and pointed in that direction. Jim Sterling took up his position on the staggered right. Two minutes later, Hardgrove bent his left arm to the right, and I changed position again. Jim Sterling swung back to the left. I could see him shrug in the mirror. Soon thereafter, Hardgrove raised his left arm and waved me forward. I cracked the throttle and cut the distance between our bikes by half. Jim Sterling was right there with me. And then Hardgrove reached back and scratched his ass. What the hell did that mean?I decided to just fall back and wait for better instructions. At a gas stop, Hardgrove explained he was just stretching his left arm, although scratching one’s ass means “you get the check for lunch” in BMW riding circles. Hand signals between riders are generally self-explanatory. Tapping the top[...]

Three Things Every Biker Should Know Before Spending The Night In A Cathouse


All back roads look alike to me after a day in the saddle. The charm of the small farm, the lure of the bucolic stream, and the spell of the remote valley all begin to blur as the pain in my joints and the numbness of my butt make themselves known. (I have had the pain in my knees extend all the way to my teeth.) The whine of the BMW K75 starts to remind me of dialogues I’ve had with former wives, and calling it a day becomes pressing.My perfect end-of-the-day destination is a 1950’s-style motel, where you can park the bike 7 feet from the door of your room; where the most important amenity is an air conditioner (the size of a harpsichord); where the television gets at least one good weather station; where a comforting country tavern is on the far side of the parking lot. At the end of the day, I want a nice clean bed, in a decent room, where the temperature is zero degrees (Kelvin). I want a hot shower, a clean towel, and a sweat-free body for at least ten hours after the ride. I never worry about crawly things living in the motel closet. After I hang my riding gear in there ( and close the door), nothing could remain alive. But man does not live by air-conditioned motel rooms alone. There is the question of sustenance. A country diner, where the cook is a somebody’s mother, is hard to beat. To enjoy the meal, however, means washing away the accumulated salt (from sweat), fumage (from trucks), insect residue (self explanatory), sintered horse shit (Amish country), and whatever else is in the atmosphere. So if the country diner is a few miles away, it means putting on the riding jacket from hell again, as well as the helmet that smells like mice have been nesting in it. Worse is trying to get my ass back on the saddle. It’s as if the seat and my butt have become magnetized and the polarity of each prevents them from touching. This is why my first preference is for a 1950’s style motel, with a bar at the far end of the parking lot. I love a good saloon with an interesting bar menu. I had been more than six hours in the saddle on this particular run, a weekend in 2006, riding solo through a range of mountains that once played host to four-star hotels and a classy clientele. But those days turned to smoke in the mid-1960’s. The big hotels went into a death spiral and the small motels clung to a hellish survival depending on hunters, fisherman, foliage watchers, and bikers riding through the area. Each of these seasonal categories of guest accounted for minimal revenue. The few remaining open 1950’s-style hotels that meet my criteria are in bad shape. The K75’s gas light came on for the second time that day and the pain in my knees was such that I just wanted off the bike. I felt like I had one more dismount in me. The gas light was designed with a Teutonic commitment to dealing with the bad news far in advance. I still had 90 miles left in reserve and I opted to take the first motel that came into view. I’d worry about gas the next day. The motel loomed on the left and I dropped a gear to take it in. This place had originally been a mini-resort, offering motel rooms and cabins around a pool. A clothes line and trash cans indicated one cabin was occupied as a residence while the others were in tumbledown condition. The pool was filled with pea soup. It’s algae-stained sides leeched a greenish tint into water flavored by leaves, bugs, cigarette butts, and the detritus of summers past. But the 20-room motel unit seemed open. The structure had that down-at-the-heels look made popular by the “Bates[...]

The Best Ever Motorcycle Pick-Up Line?


Oldie But Goodie... This first ran on Twisted Roads 4 years ago. There was a time when I didn't own a BMW K75, or any bike, as money was tight... But I still wanted to enjoy the benefits of riding — like hot women. This story is from that time. It also ran four years ago on Twisted Roads. I found it tonight and it made me laugh again. Middle-age creeps up on a man like a bad hangover. In your 20’s, it’s a rumor. In your 30’s, it’s like the land you think you can see when staring at the ocean’s horizon. But it begins to make its presence known in your 40’s. You don’t look as good in jeans as you used to, and your hairline may start to recede as your gut begins a definite downward droop. And even if you work out and play tennis, jog or pole vault, certain unmistakable signs give your age away.I know a guy who does everything but pack himself in nitrogen every night in a futile effort to keep his stud appeal. He had a handlebar mustache like a moose’s antlers. It gave his face a distinctive character. And while he’s managed to stay fairly thin and keep a respectable head of hair, his signature mustache turned snowy white when he hit 56.“I had to shave it off,” he said to me, crying into a low carb, invisible calorie, no-taste beer one night. “I tried everything. Shoe polish... Grecian Formula... Dye... Everything looked stupid. And without coloring it, I looked like Captain Kangeroo. No matter what I used, it would leave black marks all over the lips, neck, and bodies of cooperative, passionate women. They’d laugh in my face and kick me out.”Since shaving off his mustache, however, he’s cut out the middle man. Without that distinctive mustache, women now laugh in his face and leave without him.This guy — and a lot of others — make the mistake of trying to appear sexy and youthful by clinging onto props that can only weather and wither. They get tattoos, earrings, fake tan dips, and hair implants. And for what? They still look like scarecrows or fatties trying to be high school football stars. I have discovered the best approach to looking sexy and virtually immortal is to be identified with a symbol that is timeless: like a Harley Davidson motorcycle.The Harley is timeless. Once the icon of lawless nomads, it has come to signify enduring youth with an undeniable sense of individualism and coolness. Nothing sounds like a Harley, and nothing generates the throbbing, pulsating power of sexual rhythm (if you catch my drift) like a Harley Davidson motorcycle. The main problem with Harley Davidsons is that they don’t give them away.  Those who sell Harleys understand they are selling Milwaukee Iron manhood extenders and price them accordingly. Induction into the club requires more than a little jack.Successful middle-aged men occasionally have this jack to spare. Since I collected wives in my youth, the only jack I have is under the bumper of a rusting truck in the driveway. And yet I have developed a strategy that puts the Harly Davidson magic to work for me.In the far reaches of Pennsylvania, there is a gentleman's establishment that attracts a certain class of exotic woman. (The type who under normal circumstances wouldn’t look at me twice. One, because I have that middle-aged beaten look; and two, because I am a middle-aged beaten man.) I put on my best pair of stressed jeans (accented with an oil stain and a few threadbare patches), tuck them into a pair of biker boots, and throw on a we[...]

Three Pigs...


The decision to leave the three women sunning themselves by the side of the pool while we took the bikes through the back roads of rural Pennsylvania (June 1975) was an easy one to make, as they were the ones who made it. Each of the ladies, ranging in age from 19 to 21, looked like an ad for French fried derriere, as they stretched out in a buffet line of feminine perfection. They were equipped with books, magazines, baby oil, lotion, fruity rum drinks and sunglasses, ready to tackle the challenges of laying motionless in pursuit of the seamless tan. We had a more aggressive agenda. Our host, Stitches, had uncovered a map dating to the 1860’s and thought it would be cool to locate some of the original roads that ran through the valleys surrounding the upper Delaware River. Obscure roads reveal the  character of a place through the architecture and artifacts that mark the lives of those who choose the anonymity of the path less beaten. By comparing the old map with a new one, we established that two or three of these old byways were now major thoroughfares connecting communities that not only survived the test of time, but thrived. Yet some roads disappeared entirely, as did the communities they once served.One of these was a settlement marked “Landjager.” Landjager looked promising to five Hessian families fleeing the endless pleasures of life under Landgrave Frederick II of Hesse-Kasse, whose primary occupation was supplying mercenaries to the British Crown. (If he were alive today, Frederick II would be supplying lobbyists to the special interests trade.) These Hessian deserters were people of long-term vision. They realized that a tavern and a cider press would be very profitable when a road came through. The dirt road followed 125 years after the tavern went broke. The legacy of the place was alleged to be a few tumbledown foundations on the old Landjager-Oberst Road. We decided to follow the most obscure roads we could find in search of Landjager, always heading away from familiar or popular destinations. Our goal was to discover the most run-down saloon or backwoods tavern, with the last bottles from failed distilleries still on the top shelf. My pal Stitches led on a Ducati 860 GT, accompanied by Fast Freddie on a Norton Commando, followed by myself on a Kawasaki H2. The first road was a nicely paved two-lane thoroughfare with a double yellow line. Fast Freddie referred to it as the “yellow double-dare” line. This led to a paved road that was about a lane and a half-wide, that had received less tar and more cow dung in the past year. There were dairy farms along this road that went from highly manicured picture postcard bovine spas to  far more casual cow flophouses. There were once gracious country houses that needed paint, then some that yearned for clapboarding, and others that craved both, plus roofing.  I cautiously banked down a gravel road, following the other two riders. The first two houses we passed were long since abandoned, with saplings sprouting from the porches. We went by a small house that had a car parked next to it, but the barn roof had collapsed. Many of these places had ponds, some with tumbledown docks no longer connected to shore, and others choked by weeds. The house had collapsed on one old farm and it was obvious someone was living in the barn. There were four rusting Studebaker Larks parked outside, in addition to the hulking remains of an old fire truck. Landjager-Oberst Road was barely the width [...]

The Sunday Harley Ritual...


The detritus of a middle-aged coupled lined the garage like exhibits of an abandoned museum. Boxes of stuff (books, china, clothes, and faded pictures) joined old lamps, rolls of carpeting, and left-over lumber jammed against the four walls. A disused canoe, covered with dust, had been hanging undisturbed for years. A set of shelves, once precisely organized, now held a random selection of garden chemicals, misplaced tools, partially-filled paint cans, jars of loose hardware, and Christmas lights that hadn’t made it onto the house in 10 years.  Each layer of past living was like the ring on a redwood tree, accumulating to the point where it was no longer possible to park the car inside. Standing in the bay’s last remaining cavity was a 1990 Harley Davidson Fat Boy FLSTF 1338. The motorcycle dully gleamed in the subdued light that filtered in through mostly blocked garage windows. And while stuff was piled all over, nothing came close to touching this two-wheeled crown jewel. He stood in the doorway connecting the garage to the kitchen, sipping a cup of coffee. It was impossible for him to look at the bike without remembering long runs to horizon, wild weekends with fallen friends, flights from the police, and nights lost to the arms of limber lovers. The last of those lovers dozed upstairs, making the most of this Sunday morning’s quiet hours. Yet it was these quiet hours that he liked to spend with the bike, thinking of they great open spaces they’s roamed together. Now the two of them were alone in the last open space of a cluttered garage in an equally cluttered life. He triggered the button that raised the creaking bay door and the early sun’s rays ricocheted off flawless chrome pipes and accessories. Despite the 95,000 miles on the Harley’s clock, there wasn’t a scratch, a dent or a blemish in the silvery finish of this semi-precious motorcycle. The advance of arthritis and other assorted aches and pains kept him from the wild rides of his youth, but this bike was no garage queen. He was still up for a few hundred miles here and there, blowing past the younger wolves who tended to gather in short-run packs. Sometimes the squeeze came too. More often than not she preferred to hang back with the grandkids.Grandkids... He never thought he’s be sharing his bed with a grandmother. She’d been coloring her hair for years, but he recalled the shock of watching her shower (one of life’s timeless pleasures) and catching a glimpse of gray pubic hair. His chest hair and piss-python pelt had been going gray for years, and he never gave it a second thought. It was something else though to see his age reflected in the woman he loved. He thought of an old television series, “Highlander,” in which an immortal found himself loving women  who aged before his eyes. He sometimes felt that way when astride the Harley... That he was immortal and the ride was ageless. Then he’d get the joint pain. Who was he kidding? It was easier these days to throw a leg over the Harley’s 25-inch high seat than it would be to mount the pole dancers that were the delight of his youth. Pushing some crap around on a shelf, he put the coffee cup down and picked up a can of chrome polish. A rag, well mired in the sweet chemical mix of solvent and buffing agents, was just under the cap. He began the familiar ritual of smearing the polish on the pipes and rubbing it in with with short, circular, methodical strokes. Then with a super-s[...]

Dispatches From The Front...


Twisted Roads will routinely publish readers' comments or respond to questions seeking advice about technical riding, maintenance, relationships, sexual dysfunction, or motorcycle accessories. While advice is given freely, you get what you pay for. You might be better off with the services of a professional bartender or a truck stop sexual surrogate. Dear Jack:  I've been reading your blog and articles in BMW's ON for a while now. Thanks for the many chuckles.  You and I are similar in many ways: born in '57 here, and my bike of choice in my late teens/early 20's was also an "uncool" steed — a 1977 BMW R75/7 with the huge barn door Luftmesiter fairing and the black briefcase styled saddlebags.  Sexy quotient: 0 percent.   But I loved it anyway.  I rode it like is was a crotch rocket of course. And being that age,  I was indestructible with no sense or fear. Above: Jim Surgent with his classically beautiful BMW K75RT. More riders have gotten laid on BMW K75's than any other motorcycle in history. In fact, the K75 was known as the "Condom Sales King" of Motorcycles.  Back then the "R" bike foot pegs did not have the spring hinge to fold up like your K75. They were solid, so as not to allow the cylinder heads to touch on hard leans.  I wore them down far enough to do just that.  Sliding around corners on the cylinder head became my favorite game.  I finally gave it up when I met a VW Rabbit head on in a corner on a one way road in a city park in Pittsburgh.  I was going the right way.  He wasn't, not that it would have mattered.  We missed each other by a fraction of an inch, and my riding has been much tamer ever since.  But I digress...Above: Jim Surgent with his flawless BMW R1200RT. Contrary to public opinion, "R" bike riders are not required to carry a commercial zeppelin pilot's license in on Federal roadways. The "R" bike is the iconic BMW machine. The first new bike I ever owned was a 2011 BMW R1200RT.  I had a K75RT for 7 years. I bought it used with 21K miles on it and parted it out after getting rear ended in a low speed wreck in rush hour, with 125K miles on it.  I first rode the R1200RT in 2006.  I was torn between the "R" and the K1200GT, and the local BMW dealer had an open house where I was able to ride both.  I rode the "K" first.  It was fast as hell, stopped on a dime and gave you 9 cents change. It was even smoother than the K75, and was as comfy as a stock BMW seat gets.  But it had no soul.  "Then I rode the "R."It was slower, vibrated more, seemed heavier, but it spoke to me.  My old R75 bit the dust in the early 80's and while the new "R" was much different, it still had the same soul.  The analogy that will resonate with you is this:  Remember that one girl you had the crush on in high school?  Well imagine that you ran into her 30 years later, and she was even hotter and more attractive now that she was in school.  Even better, now she liked YOU!  That's how I felt about the new RT.  Life got in the way though, so it took a few years until I got it.  In any case, the reason I tell this last tale is to prime you for what's to come.  Imagine if you will, that YOU got to meet YOUR high school crush (the Kaw H2) 30 years later, and she's hotter than hell, and finally...SEXY.  I'm not[...]

One Blond... One Swerve... One Ride... One Day


I used to think that there was no greater pleasure than to be standing alongside a gurgling trout stream as the first gray light of dawn filtered through the woods. Then I discovered what it was like to lay alongside a naked blond as dawn gently illuminated the details of her lithe body. While these two activities still remain high on the list, nothing compares with riding into the first glimmer of a new day on a screaming motorcycle. There is a coolness to the dawn air that transcends temperature. The atmosphere is still heavy with the mystery of the night, which slowly dissolves into an opaque reality, that gradually overpowers the bike’s headlight. It is like attending a religious service in which the benediction is read on the tachometer.This time of the day is so special, that it is easy to understand why the concept of “60 miles” before breakfast is embraced by so many riders. What better way to start the day than to race the dawn and celebrate the daylight with a plateful of fragrant eggs, bacon, and home fries? And so I found myself rocketing along an interstate (binding rural New York State to Pennsylvania) in the sacred hour before daylight is established. My bike was a 1986 BMW K75 (with the rare Sprint Fairing). The needles on the tach and speedo were parallel in 5th gear, indicating a smooth, steady pace slightly above 80 miles per hour. The sky behind me was brightening as the gray, pre-dawn darkness before me gathered in pockets to make a last stand.Technically this ride had begun after loading my gear onto the motorcycle in front of a chain hotel at 4:30am; but I was on my way home after ten days on the road and the scent of a woman was tightening my DNA. It wasn’t the actual aroma of a delicate perfume warmed by the heat of her body, but something much stronger: the memory of the last night we’d scorched that perfume together. A motorcycle is the ultimate escape vehicle, freeing a rider from the constricting bonds of daily life. Yet there comes a time when the ultimate escape is in the arms of a tanned, flaxen-haired blond, standing in that same driveway that launched the adventure in the first place. And it is the motorcycle that takes you there. Advance Sales Of Riepe's  New BookConversations With A MotorcycleAre Going Like Smoke!!!! • Lower Numbers Are Already Gone! To reserve your copy, email your name, address, and phone number to, Mark the subject line: “Signed Moto Book Offer.” You’ll receive an invoice in the mail. Your book(s) will be shipped shortly after August 19, 2012. At present, book orders are limited to 10, which the author will gladly inscribe as individual gifts, as per your instructions. To hear the author speak about his new bookConversations With A Motorcycle,Click Here: So I found myself wide awake an hour before first light, in a chain hotel, barely 200 miles from home, dealing with a hunger originating from a point below my stomach. “Time to go,” I thought, though there would be nothing to dull these pangs within 60 miles. The three-cylinder engine on the BMW K75 is known for more of whine than growl when the throttle is twisted. That is the sound of the Valkyrie winding up for the pitch. It is the sound of an engine that will run at 95 miles per hour all day, without burning an ounce of oil. I didn’t need all day to get to where I wanted to be. At a comfortable [...]