American Road Runner, Chapter 8

Chapter 8

Bon Jovi, “Wanted Dead Or Alive.” Slippery When Wet, Mercury Records, 1986

I met Ella several months ago through a group of meetings that her and I both attend. These meetings are the type that assist one with their loss and attitude towards not being able to change or control situations.  Similar to myself, she was having issue with family and friends and one day she called me to talk something out. I was at work painting an office or something and I just let her talk away. Then she invited me for coffee a few days later at my favorite coffee house in beautiful downtown Riverside. Cool I thought, Back to the Grind is my favorite coffee spot and who doesn’t like coffee? Standing out front on University Avenue while leaning against a light pole and thinking to myself, ‘what is this beautiful young lady doing meeting you of all people?’ I am sure she just needs to talk and we can share and learn from each other. I mean I was technically a single man as my wife had been gone over a year now but that’s no reason for her to ask you out to coffee, is it?

She was of course fashionable late and dressed casually wearing something that looked like a summertime onesie. She wore it well with a light sweater and 2 inch black heels. She was tall, medium to slender build with a large set of breasts that hit you before her smile did if you weren’t careful with your eyes. 5’6 maybe without the heels but 5’8 with them and her long straight flowing black hair complimented her very well. Myself being 6’2, I had always enjoyed a tall woman making herself taller in my presence but, also learned not to judge a woman by her height or any of her physical attributes if you know what I mean. We got coffee and Chai tea and sat inside the coffee shop at a large round and, not to intimate table placed towards the front door (my choice) and we’re there for hours. She cried a lot, we laughed a little, talked, shared and all in all it was a wonderful delightful experience. When I walked her to her car she asked if she could see me again?  See me again, I thought to myself, was this 2 people SEEING each other? I agreed she could call me sometime and we will see what works out. I walked back to my skoot in front of the coffee house mumbling to myself, what the fuck Bob? This young woman has got to be 15 years younger than you,12 years I figured out later. She was 26 and I was 38, why would she want to see me again? A day or 2 later she called me and we were out for coffee at another downtown coffee house. Sitting in front large glass windows watching the traffic creep by, laughing and talking, talking and laughing as 2 people on a “Date” do.

I told her of my 2 beautiful children, my funny little house and of course my skoot racing. She told me of her time in college, her new job as a Family Therapist, and the bad issues she had with her own family.  As her questions led on and her curiosity peaked about my funny little house, I agreed to just take her there and show her.

Back at my place, I showed her around my property telling more of what I do in my land speed racing and cross country chopper racing, showing her my beat up, well used and loved skoots and the funny little carriage shed I use for a Laboratory to wrench in. Then she attacked me and well, I did not resist, I kind of attacked her back. Here was this young, beautiful and apparently seemingly intelligent woman attacking me, yay for me right?!? As we fumbled our way to the bedroom and slowly removed our clothing, I could tell something was a little off. I mean the first time hang sex with another woman will always be a little funny and weird or uncomfortable but this, seemed really uncomfortable. Eventually she told me that she had very little experience with this.  

“Well that’s ok” I proclaimed, “let’s take our time with it, be good to ourselves about it.”

“I mean’” She stated hesitantly, “I have not had actual sex before with a man.”

So there I was with this Beautiful naked woman in my bed and I could not believe what I was hearing. How is it, a 26 year old seemingly outgoing and beautiful woman like these proclaim to be a virgin?  I instantly felt like that dirty old man, what was I even doing here? A person will always have crossroads in their life where they have to stop and ask themselves if they should go left, right or straight or back on a road? These decisions are always what seems to make or break a person. Setting boundaries and stating moral principles of who they are and how the world will remember them. For me, this was definitely one of those crossroads, and a big arse crossroad at that!

I stopped, just laying there in my bed, holding her while we chatted and I reminded her it was ok and we would find our road in this. She cried a little and was very thankful for my patience and understanding in this. We got dressed and went out on my porch to enjoy the evening air before she had to get back home to her parents house, yeah she was still living with her parents in the next town named Rubidoux over the mountain a few miles to the north. I can see Mount Rubidoux from my front porch, the city or township is just on the other side. Before she left, she spoke of all the times with her few previous boyfriends tried to seal this deal with her but she was just not ready or, something else threw a wrench in it all. Then she spoke of her attraction to women and the female body and I completely agreed with her, I’m a BIG fan of the female body myself. She was telling me that she viewed herself as bisexual.  She wanted me, BADLY APPARENTLY and this not being my first rodeo, I had to do the math and figure out that I had been with six virgins in total in my younger life. I had to be confident in the simple statement that I, could be her man and make her comfortable in these fields of relationship and sexuallity. Decision is made, word spoken, my word, to which I will thrive to be impeccable with, as usual.

A few days and dates out for dinner and coffee later we were at it again, and with some success.  “AM I going to hell for this?” I would have to ask myself several times before we got to this moment.  “I mean she is a grown ass woman and I don’t need to be the one handling her. She knows what she is doing and right now she wants to do you, Bob!” I was confident I had given her plenty of opportunity to leave me alone, reminding her she owed me nothing but damn she wanted me so, there I was, 38 and taking the big V from a 26 year old woman, life can be funny sometimes.

We spent a lot of time together right off in our courtship. Almost every night she was at my house where we were cooking dinner or going out to dinner and coffee then back to my house, etc… She had her standard issues like any 20 something year old would have still living with their parents. She would tell me stories of her and her parents fighting about this that or the other and it all seemed a little rough around the edges for a family but, who am I to judge? I even introduced her to my 8 year old Son after a few weeks of dating and we did a few weekend activities together. As a Children’s Therapist, she was very good with him and good to him, that is the most any single man and parent like me could of asked for. She made me very happy and was very attentive to me in all appropriate manners.

As I left her back at the starting line with my Father and Son I was starting to wonder if she got home ok? I am sure she will text me soon to let me know, but if she doesn’t I would have to be ok with that. As communication is the greatest form of compliment I could know, I have learned that sometimes I truly hold it in TOO MUCH regard. It’s a reservation I put on myself, as my Pops taught me appropriately to do so, respond to people and their communications to be as responsible as I can be in this life.    Responsibility is, the action of responding be it phone, email, carrier pigeon, face to face, whatever. I do my very best, and when others around me do not do the same, I have been known to take it personally and we all know, we should never take anything too personally especially, the actions of others. Just because a person does not respond to me in a timely manner does not mean the end of the day for me. Yes, it has been a problem for me in the past, part of my inventory if you will and I, am well aware of it, always working on it.  People will always let you down if you let them but darn if they could get back to me in a few days that would be awesome, just saying.

My phone being mounted in a waterproof case on the handlebars I can see texts and stuff, it just takes me several minutes sometimes with all the riding and navigating I got going on here as the skoot is vibrating violently and my phone is of course freaking out about it and obviously not too happy. One second of time for the phone, 3 seconds of time for the road, it’s a vicious cycle that keeps me entertained. Just a side note, one should never operate a phone while simultaneously operating a moving vehicle. For me it’s no different then changing the radio station in a car but for most of us, well we just cannot and should not do it. I grew up with a business man for a Dad.  I learned to talk on the phone while driving back when his car phone was mounted in his company car, a late 1980s 2 tone Caprice Classic. My phone is mounted on the left of the handlebar, I am left handed, this is the only way I am able to do all I do while riding as I do but please know, most of what I do in this race is not as safe as it could be, this includes operating my phone while racing this chopper cross country.

Some social media posts come in and a lot of new people seem to be follow me but, I will have to wait for a another road or just take a minute when I stop to weed through it all and make sense of it. Above all I know if I post every few hours it will keep my family and friends from worrying about me and that is worth its weight in gold to them and to me. I’m still hoping to hear from Ella soon. Damn how I love a person communicating with me, what a compliment it is, time will tell.

I had purchased Ella an airplane ticket to the other side of the country a few days earlier so she could meet me several days from now when or if I finish this race. Regardless she is flying into Rawlings North Carolina where my friend Heather, F Bombs girlfriend was renting a car and was happy to give her a ride to Rockingham, where the race is ending. I know all that is weighing heavy on her mind, she was very excited to travel to meet me but, was not sure if she could secure a ride to the airport to get on the flight, she’ll figure it all out I am sure. If I finish this race, she would be there with open arms to greet me. What pure awesome that will be to have a partner who shows up and supports you and enjoy the after party with.

This road is still a few inches beneath my feet and I can see it is starting to change.  I’ve been riding on this road before and am aware of what it should look like or maybe, what my mind remembers it looking like. All roads have a rhythm to them as well as a timbre that can be quite unique. I always get the pleasure of paying very close attention to road surfaces, how much rock, asphalt or concrete it was made from, how is the maintenance looking on it, etc… On a rigid frame skoot these small details of the road are extremely important not just for comfort but for handling. A few too many potholes or bad cuts in the road especially on a banked turn could easily send you ingulating off into the weeds if you don’t catch it and correct it in a timely manner.  The rear of the bike will get into a hop, skip and wobble that can be hard to pull out of. When I find myself in one of these situations, I simply just have to correct or change the angle of the bike and my speed a little, that gets me out of it, I hope. It’s just one of those tricks you have to have up your sleeve running on a chopped skoot. All this attention to detail really assist me in keeping my mind sharp and awake. That hard road beneath me will hurt if I hit it, best not to find out how much hurt.

The humidity is rising, looking up the sky is getting grey and I think it is going to rain soon but can’t see the heavy dark nimbus clouds that usually hover overhead in this situation but I can definitely feel it and even smell it. Will just have to wait, see what happens. As the humidity rises,the air get thicker and the skoot starts to push more to get through. I mean ya fly over a mountain range or something and all of the sudden, it feels like you are swimming in the ocean, not riding in the air. This is one of my weak points as I live in the well tempered dry air of southern California. Pushing through this humid or heavy air is always a challenge for me, and my machine. Well if it all works out, i hope to see or smell a storm before it hits me, would prefer to put the suit on in the dry weather before the wet weather but it may not work out that way, time will tell.

Looking over to my left, Mrs. Miyagi is passing me again, good for her.  With the concentration of a warrior I can see in her face she is happy to be moving and fast as she passes and waves a little. Most people are passing me though honestly.  At my steady pace most will pass in an attempt to stay at the front of the racers or maybe buy themselves some time for sleep in the future. The animal instinct really comes out of all us racers types at a time like this as we all want to do good and be near the front. As they pass me I can see and feel the satisfaction they have and it makes them feel just that much faster or better. Yes this is a race, and although I am not interested in being last, I am shooting for a more even and steady pace to get me to the finish line, with myself and my machine in one piece.  Occasionally I see a bike or 2 on the side of the road and most of the time, they are fellow racers who are re stowing and tightening their gear or maybe, they have just broken down and are violently fixing something with knees on the ground, tool pouches open and their hands inside the inner working of their skoots. I know most of them but also know they are not on fire so I won’t be pulling over to piss on them. They’ll be ok, they are fellow racers and are extremely resourceful, they can fix or rebuild almost anything on their machine, even on the side of the road. Once or twice I pass someone who I don’t recognize just standing there staring at their machines, competitors who entered this race who may not have the full understanding of their machines maybe, they bought them or just have not worked on them much. I feel bad for these fellow competitors as I can feel their anxiety radiating from them even at my speed because we have all been there. As the few I saw equally perplexed with their machines at the beginning of the race, they might have to rely on someone else or something else to assist them. I see another pulled over to the right side of the road and slam on the brakes.

Mrs. Miyagi is on the side of the road, fiddling with her skoot. I pull over and over shot her by 100 feet or so. Knowing this is against the rules I have to make that quick decision and decide to be chivalrous or just curious maybe. I mean this is my friend, and my friends wife. I turn off my skoot and walk back to her, helmet and gloves still on. She sees me and as we meet, she tells me a bolt fell out of her frame for her pedal board but she used some safety wire to re secure it.  I give her a nod and thumbs up in approval. She thanks me profusely for stopping for her and them reminds me this is a race and I need to go. I walk back to my skoot, start it up and take off merging into traffic. Back on the road and ten minutes later, she passes me again, smiles and waves. Oh how strange this concept of leaving each other on the side of the road the way we do would be for the average American. We are naturally interested in making sure our friends are ok and that we can see them, this is probably why car caravans are so popular as group rides are in motorcycling. For us cross country chopper racers we all know the best thing we can do is leave each other alone unless it’s your friends wife of course. Between all of us, it would not be uncommon to fly by the person you just spent Christmas with. Not on fire, not waving me down, not stopping. Oh how strange this is for most as we like to have that control, even over our friends but at the end of the day, we have not much control over anything and this afterall is, a race!

This land is wonderful, Zion is off to my right and the scenery is just above anything man could ever conceive or manufacture. God’s painting on this beautiful landscape and I am in the thick of it, with no cage or windows around me to obstruct my view, wow, just wow.   

Beaver Utah is in front, the junction to interstate 70 is only 25 miles or so north of that, a town called Cove Fort I think. That’s my road, i need to make that right turn and not miss it. Beaver is a bigger town and may have bigger fuel stops off to the right, easy in and out, faster for me but, if I push it 25 more miles to somewhere around the junction it could all equal up to less stops or even one less stop and a faster race time. I slow a few miles an hour and go through Beaver and there it is, a big shiny truck stop right off to the right, crap, I’ll take it, I am out of coffee anyways.

I pull off and find my fellow competitor Caleb again at this stop and now he is chatting it up with another fellow competitor. I nod and wave as they hold a casual conversation on an issue Caleb seems to be having with his skoot.  Good for them I think, I mean really, they know what this race means to them and they are exercising it well. They want to go fast on the road and enjoy the speed of their skoots. Unless they wear their skoots out from the speed wear and tear then, awesome for me as I might end up finishing before them, only time will tell.  

I slide my card, unhook and move my tank bags and begin fueling with the rest of my fueling dance with my skoot as my dance partner. Done fueling I grab the bike and throw it upright to check my oil site glass on the side of the engine. It’s a little low so in a very efficient manner, pull the funnell, rag and oil from my right side rear tote bag. I remove the oil fill cap from the top of the engine. Mind you, it’s hot as hell and does not always cooperate, the rag is used as insulation, as well as a riding glove. Setting up the funnel and opening the oil bottle, slowly pour in a few ounces of the magical lubricating, life giving mythical blood to the engine, ok there is no magic to any of it, it’s simply science. After finishing, the cap screws back on, and tightly. I replace these items in the tote strategically then grabbing my chain lube from the same tote, I spray the rear sprocket and chain a little. This will be done or tried to be remember to be done every time I stop from now on alternating between chain lube and chain wax as I see fit and the weather allows.  If it rains, lube, if the weather is clear, then wax so the answer should be, mostly wax. Currently I am starting with lube because I am sure I forgot to lube the chain at the beginning of this race like I wanted too, shame on me.

Now for some exercise, damn my legs will wear out quickly just sitting like they tend to do while riding. All of our bodies are different but I know stretching and working my legs will keep me going longer as needed, like all that crap my Pops told me would happen in older age is coming true,damn I really hate that guy sometimes, or just hate it when he is right, as usual, crap. I pick up the bike, kick the kickstand up and push the bike 50 feet or so to a parking stall in front of the convenience store. I am sure this looks ridiculous to other motorists at the station, they all seem to be watching me as I am watching them to make sure they don’t run me over.  This one action, this minute of pushing my bike will do wonders for me in keeping my body moving and happy in this race. Alternating which side the skoot is pushed from is a big help as well but mostly, like most of us, I push from the left side, where the kickstand is and can be kicked up as needed.

Kickstand down, I think for a quick minute and leave the chain lube spray on the seat. Grab my coffee tumbler and snug it into my back right pocket. Walking inside I hit the head and pee then hit the coffee counter to refill. I stop and grab some more water as I will always be nursing that wetness as I ride. I like the 750ml bottles with the sports top that I can pop with my teeth and they are usually on sale if you buy two. Oh, bananas are on sale, and some beef jerky for lunch, pay the clerk at the counter and I am back outside.  I stow one water bottle in front of me in the netting I use to hold my bag to my bars. This black netting sure does come in handy for holding everything down and then some, sure it looks a little ridiculous and you can and will hang yourself on it if you aren’t paying attention buy it gets the job done for sure. Stow the other water bottle in my red snack bag, oh yes, my snack bag. When I set out on this race, my girlfriend Ella was certain I would need, a snack bag. It’s understood I don’t stop to eat, just snack causing F Bomb to rename my racing outfit Team Snackman Racing. I take it as a compliment from the likes of him. I had an extra metal cage on the right side of the skoot so, an old red back pack was re-appropriated and she half filled it with my trail mix, my trail mix container I consume the trail mix from, small candies and her face shield for her helmet. She was ok flying with her helmet but did not want to bother with her face shield and, I don’t mind having an extra I guess. Actually I could really use it right about now after beating mine up at the start of the race but, I’ll just keep using mine for now, the scratches are making for some interesting scenery, or making the scenery interesting. As I look down in the snack bag I notice, it’s already open, damn. Seems I have already lost a few snacks and an extra soft bag I had for a helmet, I think. Honestly I don’t remember if I brought it or not but whatever, it’s race time, got to get my giddy on. I adorn my helmet and gloves, grab the lube, start the bike and take off to the parking lot where I do a few big lazy circles aiming and spraying the lube on the chain as the bike cruises along at a good 1.3 miles an hour.  I have this great little space between the chain guard and the engine where the lube hits the hot chain well. Stop, stow the lube back in its tote and off I go, down the ramp and north again. That might of been a 10 minute stop, my competitors are still back at the gas station figuring something out on one of their skoots, we all give each other a wave. GO BOB, GO!

 

Lady Gaga, “Poker Face.” The Fame. Streamline, Kon Live,

 

Some music my teenage daughter put on my mp3 player a few years back. Last time I ran this race, she had come to the starting line with my wife and Son but this year, she was busy in college and I think the whole “Dad taking off for another ride across country” is old news to her at this point. I got to speak with her on the phone a few days ago and she wished me well.My daughter is the product from my highschool days. Her Mother was 2 years younger then myself and her Dad was the head of the English department.  Back then I was a long haired, cross country running, guitar playing, old convertible Cadillac driving well built dude. We dated for almost a year when she became pregnant. Don’t ask me how, but there she was, 15 and pregnant and I was sure somehow it was my fault. We continued our relationship with the highest hopes of forever and all the good things of that american dream. I even moved in with her at her Mom’s house and we all lived well as it was a big house. Our Daughter was born, she was the most beautiful and precious thing I could of ever imagined.  There she was this beautiful perfect child, free of sin but full of responsibility that I knew, would all be worth it. It was the best day of my life so far, I was a Dad and damn it I was going to be a good one, My daughter deserved it.

Within a year or so, the relationship I had with my Daughters Mom fell apart and there was nothing to do about it. I moved out and into my rock bands house. I slept in the gear storage closet and did my best to continue being Dad, my Daughter was my world, I worked night and day and went to school. She was the one, that one thing, that one human being who really taught me what love was, what it meant to put someone far above yourself and love without reservation or condition. Yeah, I am a big fan of my not so little anymore daughter.

Several months before this race she had moved back home for a while, to save some money on rent in the college dorms.  I was so excited to have her home and she gave me a long speech of what she wanted to pay me and what chores she would take care of, etc…  Unfortunately none of this really worked out which I was ok with as I remember being busy in college with work and all that important stuff. It was just nice to have her home and know she was safe and comfortable.

When I started dating my Girlfriend Ella shortly after, my Daughter was beside herself with me dating a woman only 5 years older than her.  An argument ensued in which I tried to calm her down with me stating I don’t judge her and wish her not to judge me and my Daughter’s stance was what a dirty old man I am. Typical family drama between a smarter than average Daughter and, her Dad. She moved out the next day refusing to stay. I had to let her be mad at me, her Dad. I had to let her go and find her own way, there was nothing I could say or do about it. Compared to that situation, this chopper racing is a walk in the park on a spring day.

This road race is going well for me, my love life is going well for me, my children are healthy and happy and my skoot is suck, boom, bang, blowing right along righteously.

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