Posted on April 9, 2012
200 Miles of Therapy
Maybe due to recent events, I can’t seem to make myself feel comfortable anywhere lately around most people and in most places. I start getting anxious, can’t concentrate, can’t sit and relax. My back feels like a physical question mark regardless of where or how I’m sitting, and I just don’t feel right most of the time. But maybe because of this, I’ve started to feel more and more comfortable on my bike. Knowing that my fucking back is going to feel like I just finished a chiropractic appointment with a team of burly construction workers regardless of what I’m doing, I have started riding more and more. I figure – it’s going to hurt if I sit in my truck and drive anywhere, and being out in the open is so much more fun…
It’s one of the things I told myself I wanted to change recently. Seeing as how I have recently acquired a whole new degree of freedom in my choices (although not necessarily by choice), I decided I was going to start riding my bike every day. I’ve always had motorcycles, usually more than 1 at a time, but I was just riding them occasionally on weekends. So one thing I decided when I started thinking of some things I wanted to change in my life, was to get on the damn bike every morning at at least ride to work. My initial goal was to just do it for a month straight, but I’ve already blown waayyyy past that. Plus, seeing as how expensive gas is, and at $5 per gallon my 35 gallon truck is about $150 to fill up – I’d say the Ninja is a more economical alternative. I’d like to say I’m also doing this to do my part in reducing my carbon footprint and helping the environment out, but seriously – if I gave a shit about that would I have the biggest, most badass F-150 ever? haha
I guess i just found that I really enjoy riding every day, and in some small way it’s providing me with some therapeutic sense of relief. I’ve started to really enjoy crankin some Skynrd, CCR, or Motley Crue and just ripping down the highway. Maybe some other part of it has to do with “Fuckin’ Polito” rolling into town a month ago and getting me really amped up to do some serious riding. This guy is kind of an inspiration (dare I compliment this shiftless hobo?) because he’s rollin’ around the country with nothing more than the belongings strapped to his KLR. Eventually I’d like to do the same thing because I’m getting closer and closer to needing to get the fuck out of dodge for a while, and the open road seems to be calling my name.
Which brings me to a current event. On Sunday, Polito and I woke up and just the road with no real goal in mind. He needed a good shakedown run on the KLR after rebuilding most of the engine post head-gasket disaster which brought him back to town, and I was needed a good ride to call the “Case of the Failing Starter” closed. Well after tearing my bike down all morning and pulling the starter, not figuring out what was wrong with it and putting it back together, we set out to see what else we could break. A quick shot straight out east on the 8 led us to one of my favorite little rips through Harbison Canyon. We took this detour and hit the twisties until it dumped us back at the 8 again. Eager for more mountain fun, we tore up more tarmac until we passed the turnout littered with dual sports at Pine Valley and then turned off on Sunrise Highway on our way to Julian.
We ripped up Sunrise Highway like bats out of hell, eager to get knee deep in the shit and rip some twisties. I have been watching and reading Keith Code’s “Twist of the Wrist” and have been really trying to focus on throttle control and steering techniques, so I figured this ride would be a great opportunity to rubber-fuck some twisties as we laid tread. As we were mobbing up that mountain, we got in the groove, leaning hard into turns and dragging knees (I’m lying. You know. I know it. But it’s my blog so fuck you). Anyway, we had a great ride up there and stopped to take a few awesome shots at one of the most epic turnouts.
What you don’t see in this picture was with Polito and I were doing right before we took it. That’s right, prior to this, us two dirtbags were standing on this rock screaming obscenities as loud as our smoke-addled, oxygen deprived lungs would allow. I gotta say, there is nothing more satisfying than screaming:
At the top of your lungs across a huge canyon and hear it echo back. After tweaking our approach and employing some advanced techniques, we had some pretty interesting echoes coming back to us – something about Evan gumming balls and/or some other similar content.
What really put the icing on this cake was the realization that somewhere deep in that valley probably was a family who was out on a nice Sunday picnic. Unpacking the minivan, I envision that they set up a huge blanket and a big spread of lunchables and capri suns, and were eagerly looking forward to a nice day out in the sun and enjoying nature to its fullest. I can imagine little Chip Junior trying his darndest to poke that shitty yellow straw through the bottom of his Ecto Cooler, when he hears an odd sound come rumbling through the valley.
“GUM MY BALLS”
mmm mmMom, what’s that? he asks. “nothing honey, here, have a cracker.” His mom answers, right as
“POLITO FELLATES MARTIANS”
thunders across the horizon, the booming echo making tiny ripples in mom’s plastic wine glass of half chilled chardonay like the T-rex scene in Jurassic Park.
I suppose there is a special level of hell reserved for assholes such as we, but at least we’ll be roommates, and I’m sure shit echoes down there too.
Anyway, from there it was time to saddle up and hit the road again. We rode hard all the way to Julian, hitting that one sweet straightaway stretch right before the Julian turnout or Left to lake Cuyamaca where I had the ZX9 pegged in 6th gear and broke the land speed record hitting 145mph with an epic sonic boom who’s reverberating shockwave tore Polito’s tires to shreds and was instantly incinerated into a cloud of hobo dust.
I’m sorry, my mind wanders when I’m trying to focus on creative writing. Anyway, we hit Julian and had some awesome Bison burgers. I’ve never had Bison before, but it was actually delicious, and I would highly recommend visiting Bison Bobs Bison Shack or whatever such eatery we tried. It was here that I witnessed one of the most interesting phenomenons of my motorcycle-riding life. We pulled up into Julian which is chrome heaven. There are $20,000 Harley’s parked everywhere. There was so much chrome around there that we couldn’t take our sunglasses off at risk of needing immediate Lasik surgery to counteract all that shine. This place is like where these fruit cakes go to practice spit-shining their bikes for Sturgis. It was pathetic the amount of weekend warriors that crowd the streets of this town – accountants by weekday, douchebag’s covered in every piece of Harley gear imagineable by weekend. Ugh, it makes me sick.
Anyway, Polito and I pull up on our raggedy ass rides. Well, my bike is pretty badass, but his has a tractor muffler. Come on.
And get off in search of a Bison Burger. Within seconds, Polito’s bike is mobbed by a crowd of people. I overhear snippets of conversations and words like “Mad Max”, “did he just escape from the Thunderdome”…”Is it on fire?”…..”is this a joke?”….”How did it make it up here?”….. by this point we had walked away a few feet and were just acting like we were tourists and watching people swarm his bike in awe. I seriously could not believe we were surrounded by douchebag chrome show bikes and no one was giving those trailer queens a second look as they were all drooling over Polito’s road warrior. Alex pulled out his camera and snagged a few pics of this phenomenon, and I couldn’t stop laughing. No joke, check this out:
We walked around trying to stay out of the way while taking candid pics of people swarming his bike. Of the most interest was the rope wrapped around the desert tank. Everyone wanted to know what the hell this was for. Most had the same initial guess I did – tow rope – but apparently Alex just has such a passion for crashing, he wound it around there to save his IMS tank.
Check out another cover shot of the mob:
Finally, after an entire afternoon of shenanigans, we decided to head out of there and make our way back to coast. I really wish we had a picture of the guy we passed at a gas station in Santa Ysabel who was wearing a complete Easter Bunny outfit while riding around on his BMW Adventure GS. hahahaha
Overall, it was a great trip that brings me full circle to my initial point. I’m really stoked on riding every day, and it’s something that I plan on continuing into the foreseeable future. I don’t want to deal with all the bullshit going on, or people bitching at me, or ungrateful people dragging me down. I’m just gonna pull a Polito and get the fuck out there and ride.