Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Truth, to a Point


Put your head in the clouds, it's fun and easy to do!


I told you about my last motorcycle trip, and I mentioned that I went on an errand, a 430 mile errand, for my friend, to pick up a part for his ailing BMW which sat, with him, at his brother’s home in Princeton, IL. I was to meet him in Iowa City, IA. When I arrived there on the morning of September first, I reached into my tank bag and grabbed my cell phone. I didn’t hear it if it rang while I was riding, and wouldn’t answer it if I had. But sure enough, there was a message for me to listen to. I automatically assumed it was the message telling me what time my friend left Princeton and when I could expect him in Iowa City. Instead, it was the sound of a distraught pal telling me the trip was off because of the above mentioned part and his ailing bike.

I immediately called him back and found him between calls to bike shops, desperately trying to find this part locally. By locally in Princeton, IL, I mean Chicago and the region around there. Princeton is about 100 miles from the big shouldered city. I hung up, and waited around as Hal was to call me back after he heard from a dealer more south in the state. Sure enough, the phone rang and he had found the part in Champaign/Urbana, IL. This is a college town area, and I knew it to be in a line from Davenport, IA through Peoria and Bloomington.

I offered to go fetch the part. I’d slide East along I-80 to I-74 and head South in Illinois. I-74 took me all the way to Champaign/Urbana, and I’d use I-57 to head South a couple of miles to get to the dealership. I knew this after I called and asked directions, telling them I’d be coming into town via I-74.


Here's a map of the parts running portion of my trip.

I made the trip, all on the interstate, which, by the way, is not my usual route. I strongly prefer the two lane roads less traveled. But this was a mission. This was a special errand to get this part and bring it to Hal so he could install it and we could resume our trip in the morning.

Interstate riding is, to say the least, a PITA. (Pain In The A**), I hate it. High speeds, traffic, heavy trucks, most traffic doesn’t see you on a motorcycle, strong wind currents, dust and debris thrown off from trucks, rocks, construction zones and my list goes on and on. But I persevered and did it anyway. Hal’s only option was a lumbering 4-wheel drive snow plow truck which would have taken him hours and a small fortune in gas. On the motorcycle and already on the road, it would be best and less expensive for me to do it. I sacrificed myself and my pleasure to take this ride and accept the challenge.

I made the run and got to Hal with the part, safe and sound, by 4:15 p.m. It was 9:45 a.m. when I left Iowa City. I had done the mileage in six and a half hours, averaging 66.15 miles per hour. The speed limit on most of the interstate route was 70, with the occasional slow down for construction or going through a large city which backed it down to 45 and 55 miles per hour respectively.

When I left the BMW dealer in Champaign/Urbana and headed back North on I-57, I found myself hemmed in by a group of five motorcycle riders that “stood” in the left lane and were impeding traffic flow. These five bikers all were wearing “colors”, and those were of the Outlaws. The Outlaws have been known to not only impede traffic, but to actually stop the flow with the proverbial we-own-the-road attitude. There was a time on this earth when the Outlaws, in small groups like this, would torment other drivers, especially motorcycle riders that weren’t on a Harley Davidson. You all know I ride a Triumph Tiger. I big orange Triumph Tiger.

Marlon Brando rode a Triumph in the 1950's movie "The Wild One", which also starred Lee Marvin. Back then, the biker attitude was already getting a start with the AMA calling only one percent of motorcycle riders bad guys. The Outlaws took this one percent and called themselves One Percenters. Read more on the links provided, it's history, real Americana history.


Famous shot of Marlon Brando as Johnny Strabler in "The Wild One" from 1953.

I was running pretty good and ran up behind them. There I stayed, close, but not tail gating close. I was eager to pass them and continue on my journey. I thought for sure I’d only have to go the next two miles to the I-74 interchange and I’d be getting off and headed West, but they also wanted to take this route. From the left lane, they lazidazically used arm signals and changed lanes to take the exit. I followed, a little closer as time and distance went under our tires.


A member of the Outlaw Motorcycle Club showing his "Colors"

I followed them through the cloverleaf and was headed West on I-74. They got into the left lane again and with truck traffic and other auto traffic a little heavy, I found myself stranded behind them, and here I wanted to make time. I found my opening, a space between two semi trucks. I could pass them all, in one fell swoop, on the right and get back to the left lane in front of them before I came up on the rear of the leading 18 wheeler.

I twisted the throttle and dropped down into third gear. The Triumph roared to life and when I looked at the speedo, just a few seconds after attempting the maneuver, I saw it at 107 mph. I twisted it a little harder and got it up to 114 and counted to ten in my head, then I let off and let it coast back down to 80. I looked in the mirror and didn’t see the Outlaw bikers. I resumed my ride and mission along the interstate and found light traffic after a time.


Here’s that POINT I mentioned in the title.


I’m going to write three endings to this story. You decide which one is true. It may be obvious, but I also found which one would be the most adventurous or the most daring. All facts and descriptions above this are true as told. Yes, Virginia, I did break the speed limit law. As my by line suggests, only the truth is spoken here. So, read the three choices and let me know what you think.


1st Ending) An hour later, I had taken off from the interstate and was traveling North on a two lane county road. The desolation of the rural road was wonderful compared to the frantic hell bent for leather pace of the freeway. I was enjoying the ride, but nature called. This might be the only time when I wish I could have pulled onto an exit and used facilities at a convenience store. But here, there were acres and acres of corn, corn standing over ten feet tall as it was September and near the end of the growth cycle, getting ready for harvest.

I pulled off the roadway and onto the shoulder, getting way over into the gravel and a level spot. I took off my gloves and helmet and set them down on the seat. I walked the short twenty yards into the corn and went in three rows deep. Three rows in a full grown corn field will hide you from the road, yet allow you to see the road. A few more rows in and you could get lost if you forget your bearings.

When I was doing my business, one large semi blasted by. The noise was still dopplering out of range when I finished and I heard a rumble. The Outlaws. They had found my path and finally caught up with me. By the time I zippered and returned towards my bike, they were all dismounting around where I was parked.

I came towards them. I raised my hands in the air and said, “Hey, guys. I’m an old man. I was just doing an errand for a friend, just like you’d do for one of your brothers. I was in a hurry, I meant no disrespect.”


One of the bikers, the leader no less, also put his hands in the air and said, “No man, that’s cool. We just saw your bike on the side of the road and thought you had a breakdown or were in trouble. We just wanted to see if we could be of help.”

I said, “No, I just had to take a leak. I told you, I’m an old man.” A smile had shown up on my face and I saw where they were smiling too. The anxiety went away as before this moment, I thought them to possibly be a threat to life and limb, my life and limb.

As I was getting ready to ride, these bikers looked over my steed closely and asked me, “What you got in that thing? It goes like a muthafucka!”

I answered,”It’s a fuel injected 1050 triple. The chain passes out 115 horses at the rear wheel.”

“Cool. I watched you go around us and you were gone in like, three seconds flat!” another said.

I waved and got on the road. The bikers mounted up at the signal of the Outlaw leader, and made a u-turn and headed away from me in the opposite direction. I completed my journey and delivered the part to my friend.


Here's a couple of folks in traditional stereotypical biker garb exhibiting traditional stereotypical biker behavior. Must be in Wisconsin, I can see a "Cheesehead" in the lower right of this photo.


2nd Ending) An hour later, I had taken off from the interstate and was traveling North on a two lane county road. The desolation of the rural road was wonderful compared to the frantic hell bent for leather pace of the freeway. I was enjoying the ride, but nature called. This might be the only time when I wish I could have pulled onto an exit and used facilities at a convenience store. But here, there were acres and acres of corn, corn standing over ten feet tall as it was September and near the end of the growth cycle, getting ready for harvest.

I pulled off the roadway and onto the shoulder, getting way over into the gravel and a level spot. I took off my gloves and helmet and set them down on the seat. I walked the short twenty yards into the corn and went in three rows deep. Three rows in a full grown corn field will hide you from the road, yet allow you to see the road. A few more rows in and you could get lost if you forget your bearings.

When I was doing my business, one large semi blasted by. The noise was still dopplering out of range when I finished and I heard a rumble. The Outlaws. They had found my path and finally caught up with me. By the time I zippered and returned towards my bike, they were all dismounting around where I was parked.

I trotted, no, ran back to my bike, but I was too late. They were upon me with angry scowls on their faces. They looked mean, as was the point of facial hair, a lot of leather and some chain drive jewelry and spikes hanging from them. They were all big boys. I didn‘t let the big guts fool me. I knew that every fat guy wasn’t a weakling with myself being a case in point. Their reputation of Outlaw lawmen, taking their own justice into their own hands, made me feel like this was going to be a big problem and maybe I shouldn’t have passed them on the road.

The ring leader spoke, “You dissed us man. You made us look bad out there in front of the public. Now you gonna pay, bastard.”

He stepped towards me. I grabbed my helmet strap and swung it in one motion. I caught him good, right on the temple. He went down. Another was close enough for me to catch with a size 12 to the groin, and another to the solar plexus. He went down writhing, trying to catch the breath he lost to my leather boot.

A blow glanced by my ear and I turned and ran into that corn. Thinking I could out smart them and make a chase of it, I went in deep. I knew I took the chance of getting my bike hammered into oblivion, but it was worth it to hike to a nearby farm house to save my own hide and sacrifice the iron. I went left, then right, then left and another right, and right and left. I counted rows when I lost site of the daylight that was the open county road. I heard them shuffling trying to keep up. I went for it and blasted through into the open about 30 feet from my bike. I managed to kick over two of the behemoth Harleys before I swung a leg over my steed and turned the key, still in the ignition, at the same time. I left my helmet and gloves at the scene. The Triumph came to life and I slung gravel and fishtailed onto the hard top. In my mirror, I saw the three bikers left standing shaking their fists. The other two were still on the ground. One knocked out, the other holding his groin. I sped away and made tracks in a totally different direction, heading back East for a bit before heading North and my ultimate direction.


They look innocent enough I guess


3rd Ending) I kept riding down the interstate and never saw the Outlaws again. I had fun thinking of the adventure that might have been, maybe in an earlier time and place, as my mind wandered while riding the monotonous route of the errand. I made it safely to Princeton and delivered the part to my friend a few hours later and told him of my adventure.


The famous Slippery Sam Triumph in its natural habitat, the race track



Authors Notes: Easy to find the correct ending. But I did have fun allowing my imagination to wonder how it might have gone down in, say, 1966, on the road ands confronting a pack of Outlaw Bikers. Here's more information about the Outlaws from National Geographic.

I guess my feeling is that it is 2009 and if they are still alive, they must have stopped drinking and drugging a long time ago. I know I did, and if I hadn’t, well, I just wouldn’t still be around today to even remember as my brain would be fried or my liver spent or both.


Another side note:

I mention in one of the first two paragraphs that I "hung up" the phone. But it was a cell phone. Now I have a problem with this. You really don’t “hang up” a cell phone, do you. The phrase is outdated. You used to “hang up” the receiver of a land line phone. You physically took the hand set and hung it on a cradle of the one you had at home. I no longer have a land line phone. We each have a cell phone, Mrs. Spadoman and I, and these are considered to be our “home” phones.

So, if you don’t hang them up, what do you say. The phone itself, at least my phone, has the words “call ended” come up on the little bitty screen. I know it says this because one time, I actually used my cheaters to see what it said and it said call ended.

Can anyone come up with, or actually know, what the new vernacular would be, or is, when you “hang up” after a call on the cell phone?

“I folded on him” Closing the phone by folding it in half.

“I slid on her” Sliding the cover of the phone back to shut it off.

“I pressed the red button on him” Pressing the red button ends a call on my Motorola Razr

“I ended the call on her” The call simply ended.

"I pocketed on him" Putting the cell phone back into its case or into a pocket

"I pursed her" Placing the cell phone back into a purse.

It just don’t have the oooomph that “I hung up on the bastard” has, does it?

Peace.

10 comments:

The Crow said...

In my make-believe world, I pick scenario #1. Sounds more like you, how I imagine you might handle such a situation.

I still say hung up in refernece to ending a cell phone call, even though the expression has become an anachronism of sorts.

:)

Pagan Sphinx said...

I like the ending where the Outlaws are concerned about your safety. I guess I'm a sap when it comes to being peaceful. ;-)

Although from you perspective, I could see where being a superhero would have its appeal!

I like that Marlon Brando look way back when.

Must be fun to be out on the open road like that.

Peace, love and all groovy things,
Gina

Mel said...

I was hoping for the last scenario.......mostly cuz weeing in someone elses' cornfield is just wrong.
Wee in your own!!
*laughing*

Shoulda had you pick up the part in Iowa City. Mighta gotten himself a better price. ;-)

You're a good friend.....I hope you get told that frequently and loudly.
But in case you don't---
YOU'RE A AWESOMELY GOOD FRIEND!!

Spadoman said...

Thanks for coming by folks. I appreciate it greatly!

Crow... After I passed them, I sort of laughed and thought of a time when they might have tried to run me down. This scenario was the first that came to my head in my make believe world. Peaceful, and I am glad of that. I did see a lot of crows on this trip, that's probably why I could do what I did safely, eh? Thanks for coming here.

Ms. Sphinx.... Thanks for stopping by. I had to think about being a superhero. That moniker is not on my list of things to be when I grow up. I don't even know how to beat up 5 people, so I had me run away from them. Ni imagination for something I wouldn't want to do.

Mel... Iowa City was out of this particular part. The only place that had one was in Urbana. It is an older BMW, so the part is not regularly stocked. Price would have been cheaper if I didn't have to ride 430 miles to get it!
Thanks for coming by. Always like to see you around.
The guy at the dealership in Illinois told me I was a good friend to ride all that way to get the part. Maybe I am. Cool! Thanks!

Peace folks.

coldH2O said...

Feeble mind, huh? Even I know that the "boys" are pretty useless, but the bears? What are "the bears." Oh, yes, four interceptions. I'm sorry but I cannot, given my genetic history, root for "the bears", the dirtiest team in the history of football, futbol, or rugby. Good to hear from you, however, hi to Barb. Later. Or volleyball for that matter.

Mel said...

My phone flips, so I've decided on 'Flipped off'.

Now, I know there's another meaning to that. *laughing*
I still like it and I think it's right up there with I hung up on the *******. :-D

Yup--have a nice day--I need to flip ya off now.

:-)
See!
Works!! LOLOL

katherine. said...

flipped off

laughing...

I forgot what else I was going to comment

Kvatch said...

Interstate riding is, to say the least, a PITA. (Pain In The A**), I

Worst ride of my life was a night-ride on the 405 in L.A. The only smooth pavement is the "sane" lane where the speeds are clearly...insane.

Harrowing...but ironically I was also on a Triumph, my T-Bird.

Kvatch said...

Spadoman... Thanks for popping by Ragebot!. I've blogrolled you just so I can keep up with things over here.

Speaking of WI, we were just there to visit my brother in Madison. Lovely state. We expect to return soon and will look you up.

About the T-Bird... Yes, a Hinckley bike that I bought in 1997 (sold it in 2006). BRG&C. It was outstanding. Here's a picture.

landsker said...

Lovely story Mr Spado, thanks.
I doubt that the bikers would want to fight you, more likely they`d want to know more about your bike!
There`s Bandidos over here in Europe too, and Nomads, and of course, the `Angels.
Now and again, they have the odd fight over various things, but mostly they keep to themselves.
Here`s a clip from You tube, you might enjoy, ¬Angels and Nomads celebrating Labour day, in Milan!