SCIENCE’s Buell reviewed by Regular Car Reviews

in mid-summer, I offered up both of my bikes for the Regular Car Reviews YouTube channel.  Mr. Regular, who is based in the Kutztown PA area, was glad to have my 996 to review. But…

He thought it was a Porsche 996, not a Ducati 996. I get that all the time!

once I corrected the confusion, he opted to do the Buell, since he had just reviewed a Ducati 900ss (a bike I once owned).

so here it is:

If you watch Regular Car Reviews, you know he can be pretty brutal. IMO he was fairly complimentary to the Ulysses. I pretty much agree with the majority of what he says.

Note that he threw me a HUGE favor on the tires. I had not bothered to look at the tires since Catskillcade 2015 (write up still pending). My rear tire was bald to the cords, victim of harsh Catskills roads and owner neglect.  Mr. Regular lied for me, saying something about commuting every day, which is the kind of thing that will mollify rabid internet bike complainers.  Thank you!


Cars & Croissants Cedar Knolls NJ November 7, 2015

Non-ride Report: Cars & Croissants Nov. 7, 2015

Shop Rite parking lot, Cedar Knolls, NJ

As usual, there was an amazing variety of vehicles at the Cars & Croissants meetup. These pictures are only the ones that I deemed “interesting.” There were tons of pedestrian Porsches, BMWs, etc.


Lamborgini Countach


Pantera 1

DeTomaso Pantera. This was my dream car when I was in high school. Mid-engine American V8 meant to show those EuroTrash how an exotic car could be built.


Pantera 2

The Pantera’s wing is a beuty of 1970’s excess!


American 1

The Morris County C&C has everything, not just european exotics. Here is something ‘Murrican. There were a lot of Corvettes, Mustangs, SRTs. Oddly not a single Camaro!



Not only “modern” cars either; this Stanley Steamer was driven in from 20 miles away under it’s own power. It burns Jet fuel! (closest thing to the whale oil it was originally designed to use, apparently)


Panoz 2

This is a Panoz… Roadster? Not an Esperante. They use a Ford V8. There was a Saab dealer about 10 minutes from here that actually sold these things new a few years ago.


Panoz 1

IMO the Panoz is so ugly it’s cool.



Obligatory Cobra. This one is a Superformance.






What is this? It looks a bit too long to be an…



An MG? I guess. Is it stretched?


Holy crap! Yes, it’s stretched. To fit a Jaguar 4.2L V12! No wonder it sounded like Satan’s Chariot!


This MG is an unbelievably beautiful FrankenCar. THIS is why I come to C&C!






Ferrari… (yawn) there were a few others… not worth posting photos.


(snore) another Ferrari WAIT WHAT?!?!?


This is apparently real. Not a replicar. That is an honest-to-god ~$3 Million original Ferarri… ummm… Daytona or something? Sitting in a Shop Rite parking lot along with other more pedestrian cars.


Obligatory Ferrari motor shot.

Below: a bevy or britcars. By no means a comprehensive photo list. There were several Austin-Healys.

IMG_1949 IMG_1950 IMG_1952 IMG_1954 IMG_1956




Noooo. It’s actually a Superlight sometin’ sometin’. Made in the USA and shockingly street legal in NJ.


Engine bay shots. Forgot to ask what was inside.

More British Iron:


That’s a TV-fookin’-R


TVR Engine bay.

No Britcar section would be complete without a batch of Lotii (Lotuses?):


Early Esprit


Later Esprit Turbo




Who brought this POS 2007 Elise Type 72D with a Sector111 Katana-2 Supercharger? It looks filthy, like it was autocrossed two weeks ago and not cleaned.


Aston Martin Vantage


The Aston has a gorgeous leather interior. I want to roll naked on those seats.

Here are some of the other cars I found interesting. This is by no means comprehensive; the turnout of diverse vehicles was truly amazing!:


Something American that I didn’t identify, but it had…






Lancia. There was at least one other Lancia and a few interesting 1980’s Alfa Romeos (one GTV6 that I recognized from previous C&C events, that had been race-prepped)


Something old I didn’t identify. Scott Colby said it was a Rolls, I think.


Another Unicorn: Tesla Roadster, pre “Model S” era


Tesla batteries.

What is more American than a Dodge Viper? I Dodge Viper with a fuckin’ squinting eagle painted on the inside of the hood!



Nicely race-prepped BMW M3


Fiat X-1/9. I have a soft spot for these. Love mid-engine 4-cylinder rust buckets.


That’s it. It’s amazing how many interesting cars live in the Morris County NJ area, and how cool a plain C&C event can be, even on an overcast November day. Sure, when they run it at Paul Miller Porsche they get a bigger turnout, but it’s mostly plain-jane Porsches and Ferraris.




Ride report – Samosir Island, Indonesia




In March of 2013, Stevadoo (who was living in Jakarta, Indonesia at the time) took a trip to Lake Toba.  Moto content:  He rented a scooter there so here is the trip report.

Lake Toba is in Sumatra, it’s the donut-shaped lake just above the words “North Sumatra” in this map.  It’s known for beautiful clear water and great scenery.

Screen Shot 2015-09-27 at 5.53.00 PM

Here’s a close-up of the lake.  We stayed on Samosir Island in the middle of the lake at the area called Ambarita.  The ride took us to the south and then up the mountain in the middle of Samosir.

Screen Shot 2015-09-27 at 5.50.44 PM

Here is an aerial view.  The ride started at the central top of this map and continued south while climbing the ridge.

Screen Shot 2015-09-27 at 5.51.19 PM


Mrs. Stevadoo came and seemed to like the trip.



A ferry dock.


The village market.



In the foreground is our trusty steed, a 125 cc something-or-other.  It was adequate.  But the picture shows a warung or combination market / cafe sitting on the top of the mountain.  Great views!





The roads were ok but at times you had to watch out for the rutted edges.




The further up you went, the more the roads were washed out.


By the way, this was our hotel.


Here are some traditional houses we saw.


And the mountain we climbed.




It was beautiful.  You should go.

Ride Report: Stevadoo’s Saddle Sore 1,000

Here is the story of my Saddle Sore 1,000 ride on September 25/26, 2015.
I wanted to do the ride 100% inside Texas because hey, I live in Texas and there is a lot of the state that I haven’t seen.
But first, here’s my bike.  It’s a 2005 Yamaha FZ6 that I bought second-hand from someone I work with.  When I purchased it, it was 9 years old and it only had 3,996 miles on it, an average of 444 miles per year.  That’s not nearly enough miles per year!
It’s not the most exciting bike out there, but I didn’t want to drop a lot of money – I paid $3,000 for it.  And I wanted to try a smaller, nimbler lighter bike vs. the larger, heavier BMW I had before.  For day trips around Houston, it’s just about exactly what I wanted.  A Saddle Sore 1,000 is not what it’s designed for, but it’s what I got so it’s what I rode.
I learned a lot from my previous Saddle Sore attempt in 2009 when I was living in California.  My plan was to leave the East Bay (Dublin, CA) and take I-5 north until the southern suburbs of Seattle, then turn around and come back about 250 miles to get 1,000 miles.  This route would also cross Washington off the list of states that I’ve ridden in.  But I hit massive traffic in Portland, OR and lost probably 2 hours and a ton of energy.  By the time I got to the turnaround point, it was 8 PM, pitch black, and raining hard.  I was tired and worried about dumping the bike, so I got a hotel room and gave up after completing about 800 miles.
So for this ride, I vowed to stay away from metropolitan areas, especially around rush hour.  I didn’t think this was a big problem because the secondary roads (FM and RM; “farm to market” and “ranch to market”) in Texas are fast.  Most of them have posted limits of 75 MPH and in reality you can go as fast as you want.  They connect the small cities which seem to be spaced every 30 to 50 miles, so slowing down to 35 for a bit when you pass through them is not a big deal.
Screen Shot 2015-09-26 at 9.29.53 AM
The route I chose was US 59 / 77 south past Corpus Christi, then west to Laredo.  From there it was 300+ miles on US 83 north to Ballinger and then on some smaller roads in the hill country back to Houston.  The distance from Google Maps is 1,028 miles which seems like an adequate margin to make sure I got my 1,000 in.  The bike gets 51+ MPG and has a useable tank volume of just over 4 gallons so the range is just over 200 miles but I planned no more than 140 to give me some margin.  When planning the route I scoped out all the gas stations to make sure there was actually a gas station in the town that I needed to get gas in.  Plus I checked them out on Google StreetView to make sure that they were modern stations that would have card access, be open 24/7, and print nice receipts.  Believe it or not there are still plenty of podunk mechanical gas stations in rural Texas.
The week before I did all the maintenance I thought I’d need:
     -Clean and lube the chain
     -Replace headlights
     -Buy spare bulbs for marker and brake light
     -Check the tires with extreme prejudice
     -Verify all the fluid levels.
I figured that losing a headlight is one of the things that could immediately kill the ride, so I bought new PIAA bright white bulbs for the low and high beam (H4 and H7) to carry as spares.  And then I thought ‘why should I carry the new, brighter bulbs when I can just install them?’  So I did, which is a good thing because the PIAA’s were a lot brighter than the 10 year old original bulbs.
I solicited feedback from the Maggots and packed everything up.  I don’t have any luggage for my bike except for an Ogio tail bag. I know that tank bags are preferred by many (and very practical because they often have a map pocket), but quite frankly I don’t like to look at it when I’m riding.  I like to see a nice, clean gas tank in front of me.  So I’ll give up the utility to suit my personal aesthetics.
Screen Shot 2015-09-27 at 9.20.25 AM
Here’s a list of everything I carried / wore:
  • The standard Yamaha tool kit, supplemented by a bunch of cable ties, a Leatherman multi-tool, an adjustable wrench, rags, and an LED headlamp with fresh batteries.
  • A spare headlight bulb, spare brake bulb and spare marker / turn signal bulb.
  • A clean shirt, socks, and u-trou in case I needed to spend the night somewhere.
  • A bandana.
  • My iPhone, cord, and Battery Tender USB power supply that hooked into the bike’s SAE charging connector.
  • Paper copies of my directions, list of gas stations, the Iron Butt Association witness forms, insurance card, registration, pens and note paper (sealed in plastic bags)
  • Four half liter bottles of water, four bags of trail mix, and a bag of Jolly Ranchers.
  • A spare key for the motorcycle.
  • A 1.5 liter hydration backpack which I wore the whole time.
  • Advil and Tylenol.
  • Two throttle control devices (an Omni-Cruise and a Throttle Rocker)
  • Ear plugs.
  • My trusty BMW Gore-Tex motorcycling boots (11 years old now but still going strong)
  • My Joe Rocket Phoenix mesh jacket and rain liner.
  • First Gear leather gloves.
  • Shoei GT Air helmet.
I set out everything I was going to wear (helmet, jacket, etc.) in the spare bedroom the day before.  The night before I took an Ambien to make sure I would sleep.  I tend toward anxiety so without it I probably would have been tossing and turning and not getting a good rest.  On Wednesday I started getting up earlier so that it would not be as much of a shock to my system to get up at 4:55 the day of the ride.  I set two alarms and entered a chemically-assisted blissful sleep.
I got up on time, made my grumbling wife sign the witness form, and hit the road at 5:15 which was 15 minutes before the plan said I should, and stopped at a gas station near me to get the starting receipt.  Then I jumped on I-610 which took me to US 59 heading southwest.  Getting out of Houston was no problem at this hour and the roads were very familiar.  The weather was perfect, about 72 degrees and dry.  Of course it was pitch black but that wasn’t a problem since the roads for the first 90 minutes were Interstate or Interstate quality.  Not much to see in the dark, though.  But there were a hell of a lot of bugs out.  At one point, just south of Ganado, US 59 crosses Lake Texana on a 1- or 2-mile long causeway.  I must have picked up 10,000 mosquitos on my face shield on that bridge.
The first gas stop was in Inez, which was chosen because it was the halfway point between Houston and my first turn at Riviera.  The bike might have been able to make it that full distance but a Saddle Sore is about reducing risks, right?  No problems there and I cleaned off the bugs which made a mighty bad smell.  The planned time for this stop was 7:13 but I got there 12 minutes early.  The rest of the way to Riviera via US 59 and 77 was uneventful, and I’ve made that drive several times before.
One of the things I’ve started doing when I ride is take pictures of water towers in small Texas towns.  It’s interesting to me because much of Texas is so flat you can see the water tower from miles away and it’s by far the largest structure in town, except for maybe a grain elevator.  So when I see a good water tower, I stop and snap.  Here is Refugio and Driscoll.
At Riviera (8 minutes early now) I gassed up and turned west for points unknown, at least to me.  Bad situation – Texas 285 had construction and the road was down to a total of 1 lane for both directions.  So I had to wait 10 minutes for the incoming traffic to stop and the pilot car to guide us past the paving zone.  After that it was smooth sailing, it’s very flat in coastal Texas so the roads are straight and you can go pretty much as fast as you want.  Since the traffic was light, it was very easy to pass any slower-moving traffic.  I went the speed limit because it was 75 and any faster than that wears me out quickly on this bike.  It’s only 101 miles from Riviera to the next turn point in Laredo so I didn’t need to gas up on the way.


The Fightin’ Jerseys!  These apparently are my people since I am from New Jersey.  They would definitely not be referring to Jersey cows because fighting cows would be very strange.
Ah, Laredo.  Laredo is a bit of a shit hole.  Starting about 10 miles out of town, there are dozens, maybe hundreds of junk yards lined up one after the other.  I can’t fathom why one city of only 250,000 should have so many junk yards.
I planned to ride into the center of Laredo so that I could see it – after all it’s not likely I will go to Laredo again.  But this was the first planning mistake I made.  Even though it was only maybe 3 miles where the speed limit was less than 50, it was stoplight after stoplight.  My guess is that I lost 20 minutes by doing this vs. taking the bypass.  Also, Laredo is sketchy as hell.  It seems to embody all the negative connotations of being a border down.  I got my fill up and got out of there.  I was now 20 minutes behind schedule.  It was warming up but not so bad, maybe 85.  I was drinking water from my hydration pack all the time, especially about half an hour before the gas stops, so that I would stay hydrated but not have to stop and piss all the time.
I left Laredo on I-35 for about 10 miles, then split off onto US 83.  I considered this to be the “meat” of the ride because I was going to be on 83 for 324 miles (nearly a third of the trip) and I had never been in this part of Texas.  As soon as I got on 83 I could see the signs of the Customs and Border Patrol everywhere.  There were hundreds of pickup trucks and SUV’s patrolling the side of the road.  On the left (Messican) side they cut a dirt road parallel to 83 and you could see that they were occasionally dragging what looked like a section of chain link fence along the ground.  I think this is so that they can tell when and where someone has crossed the dirt road on foot.  I knew that there was going to be a border checkpoint on 83 and was a little worried because the Yelp review of it said that there were often delays.  But there wasn’t much traffic yesterday.  I rolled in, got sniffed by a German Shepherd, and a CBP agent asked me if I was a US citizen so I was on my way.  As my wife said “well, you look like Whitey McWhiterson so they’re not going to hassle you, are they?”  True, I guess.
Screen Shot 2015-09-27 at 9.39.22 AM
The first part of 83 was a combination of ranches and oil.  I had thought that it would be more desert-y here but it was fairly green, even given the recent droughts.  So there were lots of ranch entrances although I hardly saw any cows.  It was noon by now, so maybe they were taking shelter from the sun.  There was also a lot of oil and gas activity, this is the heart of the Eagle Ford shale play, which is partly responsible for your lower gas prices now.  So from the oil industry: you’re welcome.  All that drilling and fracing took a ton of labor and machinery and it was all over the place on 83 – oil service company warehouses, machine shops, etc.  Interestingly they must have had big trouble finding housing for all these people because there were new trailer parks all over the place  However since the price of oil collapsed a year ago most all of this activity has stopped and the people are SOL.
I stopped for lunch, a 6″ Subway sub, in Asherton. It was full-on hot as fuck now.  The weather forecast said it wasn’t going to hit 90 today but my bike said it was 96.  So I drank and drank and when I stopped I poured water all over myself.  I felt I was keeping up with it, but just barely.  The first gas stop after Laredo was in Uvalde.
By this point I was getting tired of seeing flat countryside, ranches and oil.  A few minutes outside Uvalde (now 58 minutes behind schedule) I got briefly drenched by rain.  It was a short storm and I was initially annoyed by this but I realized that the temperature had dropped to the 60’s so it was actually exactly what I needed.  But it was very intense; I was wearing a Joe Rocket mesh jacket and the raindrops hitting me at 60 MPH stung pretty hard.  Also, north of Uvalde the scenery changes.  Instead of being flat as a pancake it gets hilly.  This was the best part of the ride so far.  Sunny, cool (I think that the road climbed up 1,000 feet or so) and no traffic.  US 83 from Uvalde to Junction would make anyone’s list of great motorcycle roads.
It’s the Leakey water tower.  Maybe they should fix it, ha!
Just before Junction, TX US 83 joins Interstate 10 for about 10 miles, and while the twisties are nice you realize how easy and fast it is to be on an Interstate highway.  In this neck of the woods the speed limit is 80!  I gassed up again in Junction, where I was now 1:03 behind schedule.  This didn’t worry me too much because the schedule was just a guideline and I knew I didn’t put much time in it for stops.  But this was the heat of the day, so I figured it was ok to stop for 15 minutes instead of 5.  I still felt good.
Water tower in Menard, TX.
The next 90 miles to Ballinger were nice but not as nice as the previous section.  Ballinger was one of the ‘corners’ of my ride so I made sure to get a good gas receipt there.  Now it was 5:45 PM and I was 1:12 behind schedule.  I was starting to get tired (muscularly, not sleepily) so I started the Advil / Tylenol regimen prescribed by Dr. Science.  It immediately helped and I probably should have done it earlier and not waited until mile 686.  But hey, I was at mile 686!  That’s 2/3 of the way done!
From here onwards it was just a trip home.  That positive news was tempered by the realization that 314 miles is still a pretty respectable day of motorcycling, and hmmm 314 divided by 60 MPH is…nearly 6 hours.  Shit that’s a lot of riding left.  Also the ease of navigating the previous section (just stay on 83) would give way to lots of turns, maybe one every 50 miles.  Also since I would be getting closer to San Antonio, Austin, and Houston the towns would be getting bigger and instead of 5 minutes at 45 MPH it would be 15 minutes of stop and go traffic.  My second, although minor, strategic planning error.
The next leg (from Ballinger) was to Gatesville, and now things started sucking.  I was getting dark and I was in the Texas Hill Country, known to support a very prolific deer population.  That was my only real worry on the whole trip, and I was starting to play out the scenario in my head – if I see a deer that I can’t avoid, should I duck and cover, try to swerve, plow into him and hope that the snout of my Yamaha will bifurcate him?  This is not a good mental state to be in.  That leg was 134 miles and it took me almost 3 hours.  I missed a turn in Brownwood / Early and had to backtrack.  This was probably also a sign that I was losing my focus.  I hadn’t had dinner yet under the assumption that all that digestin’ would steal blood from my brain.  But I had some trail mix and I think that’s exactly what I needed.  It sharpened me up almost immediately.
It got pitch black at about 8 PM, but there was a good moon that provided some ambient lighting.  Now the speed limit out there was typically 75 but the road was one lane each way without much of a shoulder so I was afraid for the deer.  Looking back I can say that I never saw any dead deer on the side of the road, so that means that the deer are too smart, too sparse, too well hunted – all good things.  Or they get picked up as roadkill before they get cold…
From this point on, riding became a chore.  I got gas in Gateville at 8:41 PM, now just under 2 hours behind schedule.  I got seriously lost in Temple, TX and got stuck behind a freight train for 10 minutes.  This was the emotional low point for me and I was seriously thinking of getting a hotel room and calling it a day.  That was tempting in Temple because it’s a big city which actually HAS hotel rooms.  Many of the places out there don’t!  But I snacked some more and pushed on.  I mentally chopped the ride into 25 mile segments – “all I need to do is get to Cameron.  Once I’m in Cameron I’ll decide if I want to go further.”  That kind of reasoning helped me overcome the sisyphean task of riding for 4-5 hours in the pitch dark.  Finding US 190 outside Temple was a big mental boost, because I knew 190 would take me to 290 and that was terrain that I knew.  I can’t say anything about the countryside because it was dark.
I finally arrived at my last gas stop (other than the finish) in Brenham at 11:34 PM, 3 hours behind schedule.  But I knew it was only 80 miles to home, on an Interstate-quality road.  My mental state was improving with every mile.  By now there was nobody on the road which was really nice.  The last segment was on US 290 which is being rebuilt in Houston, and I hoped that the road wasn’t going to be closed, because it occasionally has been on nights and weekends.  Well the road was open but the ramp I wanted to take (for I-610 north) was closed so they dumped everyone on I-610 south.  Not a big deal now, but at the time I considered it a tremendous insult by TXDOT.  So I went to the next exit, banged a uey, and made for the Texaco station near my house for my final gas receipt.  But that Texaco was closed.  DAMN YOU TEXACO!!!!  I violated protocol and got gas at a Valero because it was the only station directly between where I was and my house.  I arrived home at 12:57 AM after being on the road for almost 20 hours.  I made my grumbling wife sign the witness form and I was done.  The trip odometer said 1,058.1 miles.
I should mention that the bike was completely flawless.  It never gave a hint of trouble.  The Yamaha engineers should be proud.
I’m writing this on Saturday morning and I feel pretty good but certain bits are sore (hands, ass, back).  I should have taken three Advils just before I went to sleep because I was so achey that I didn’t get a decent sleep even though I was exhausted.
A big shout-out to MJ for telling me to get a throttle lock.  I never had one before and if I didn’t have it on this trip I would have been completely miserable.  I’ll submit the paperwork to the IBA this week.
Appendix 1:  Directions
Screen Shot 2015-09-27 at 1.50.42 PM

Appendix 2:  Gas stations (I did get gas in the cities listed although not necessarily the actual station shown here)

Screen Shot 2015-09-27 at 1.50.32 PM

Appendix 3:  Totals

Total mileage per odometer:  1,059.1

Total mileage per Google Maps:  1,033.4

Average speed:  52.3 MPH

Gasoline used:  22.510

Average mileage:  45.9 MPG

My Hour-and-a-Half Tesla P85D Test Drive

On Friday I had a business meeting in Princeton, NJ, about 90 minutes from my house. My co-worker Brian had just bought a Tesla P85D – that’s the Performance model with dual motors and over 650 HP (going to 760 HP when the “Ludicrous Speed” firmware update goes in any day now!). On the way home, Brian let me… no insisted that I drive the car all the way back. Brian is a really trusting guy :-)



That’s me, driving the P85D for the first time. The video does NOT do justice to the experience. I have driven or been driven in some very Hi-Po cars. 850-HP Mustang GT500, 750 HP Viper, and some heavily worked Grand Nationals/GNX, all driven very hard by crazy owners (or myself). I have taken a 150 HP motorcycle on the drag strip and wheeled the first 60 feet. NONE of that compares to the feeling of the Tesla. The key thing is that the Tesla produces peak torque from a dead stop, 0 rpm. So the first half second of the launch is like nothing a gasoline-powered vehicle could ever do (except maybe a purpose-built top fuel dragster).

Watch the video: when I punch it, you see the camera jerk. That is impossible to prevent. If your head is not held against the headrest, it will smack into it. You get the same sensation in your inner ear and in your gut as you get on a modern high-end looping roller coaster. I am not kidding when I say that there is a moment of dizziness as the car takes off.

I tried some fast turns, just to see how it feels. The specs on the car put it at way over 2 tons. It certainly does not feel like a sports car. It feels very… Solid. Like a really big Benz. Part of it is that the weight is carried very low. All the batteries are under the floor. So when cornering hard in a fast sweeping turn, there is zero roll and absolutely zero looseness. The car is very tight and the steering has no lash in it so it feels like a high-end GT sedan should.

The car itself is beautiful, in metal-flake blue with tasteful carbon fiber accents:

IMG_1440 IMG_1439 IMG_1441


And yes, here is proof that it’s a real P85D:


It has a roomy trunk!


The interior is absolutely worthy of the rather steep price. Reminds me of a high-end German car. Apparently it’s totally customizable, and the buyer gets to pick what kind of leather, headliner, dash accents, etc. It has by far the largest touch screen I have ever seen in a car for the dashboard management system:


That is at LEAST a 22″ screen, and it controls everything. There are only maybe 4 physical buttons in the dash. The rest is software controlled.

And you can do amazing things. Like, you can control the suspension height and the car will remember the setting for that exact GPS location. So if you have a speed bump in your neighborhood that you need to manage, you do it once and the car will lift it’s skirt over that bump every time in the future.

You can also make changes to things like the degree of simulated engine braking. You may note in the video that I comment on this; Brian had the car set to very heavy “engine braking”, so you drove it like… an electric car (duh!). Lift the throttle past a certain point and it would go into regenerative braking so that for 90% of the drive I never had to touch the brake. And I was reassured that when it brakes harder than a certain degree, it also lights the brake lights so as not to confuse the cars behind you. It was a little unusual at first, but I got used to it quickly and I could see that you might want to set it that way.

If this is the future of electric vehicles, Bring it on! This ain’t your father’s crunchy-granola Birkenstock-wearing hair shirt suffering Electric Vehicle. The Tesla is totally amazing, and I think this was Elon Musk’s plan; build a car that people actually desire. Make it so cool that people see an EV as a thing to aspire to, not something you do because it’s good for you.

The Tesla P85D is like eating your steak, not eating your vegetables. And that is a very good thing.






Autocross Training

by S.C.I.E.N.C.E

I’ve been doing more and more track days and autocross events over the past decade, and there has been one common thread to all of the times that I’ve put wheel to track:

I’ve started the day with a raging hangover.

Why would someone go to a racetrack and risk thousands of dollars in damage to a beloved car (and possible bodily injury) at anything less than 100% physical and mental capacity? Because I have good friends who live reasonably close to all the racetracks in the Mid-Atlantic region. So I stage my travel from a friend’s house, and inevitably there is catching up and drinking the night before.

This time I swore it would be different. No hard alcohol would cross my lips, and I would be at the Starting Line SCCA Autocross training event at Bader Field in Atlantic City fresh as a daisy and ready for action.

Google Maps © 2014

supported by


And so I did as I promised: no boozing on Friday night. I merely stayed up until 2:00 AM catching up with my old friend who I had not seen for at least… a month. Tech inspection was set for 7:30 AM, so I had to wake up at 5:30 in order to have time to shower, shave, eat breakfast, and travel the one hour down the Garden State Parkway to Atlantic City.

My alarm app went off at 5:30 sharp. Shower? Shave? nobody will see my face inside the helmet! snooze. It went off again at 5:40. Breakfast? Overrated! Snoooooze. At 5:50 I dragged myself out of bed, threw on my racing suit (shorts and a t-shirt… this is only Autocross, ferchrissakes) and hit the road. At least I had the sense to top off my gas tank the night before.

Bader Field is on the bay side of lovely Newark-by-the-Sea Atlantic City NJ. It’s a disused airport that now has a minor league baseball park and acres of empty tarmac just begging to have cones sprinkled about for automotive fun. Which is exactly what the South Jersey chapter of the SCCA does, at least once a month during the racing season. This weekend was to see one of the regularly scheduled Autocross races on Sunday. But I was there on Saturday, for the all-day Starting Line Autocross class. For $325 I was promised a full day of training that would slash many seconds off of my pathetic dilletante’s lap time, plus add a year to my SCCA membership and give me free entry to one South Jersey SCCA autocross. Presumably they were expecting that the students would stick around for real event the next day, but I was on a time-limited kitchen pass because my elder child’s high school graduation party was on Sunday, and if I was not there grilling for the relatives I could pretty much kiss all my motorsports privileges goodbye forever.

So there I was, sleep-deprived and looking forward to a long day of hard driving followed by a 2-hour slog back home before a major life event party. Irresponsible, you say? I say “what kind of a father would I be if I did not demonstrate PASSION for automobiles to my children?”

I had enough time during tech inspection to break out my trusty 12V “Taurus SHO Spare Tire Alternative” and up-pressure my tires from the factory spec 29 PSI to an Autocross-hard 38 PSI. Note to self: remember to drop the pressure back down before going home on the GSP!

The driver’s meeting was the usual stuff. Blah blah blah safety blah blah blah have fun blah blah blah volunteer based sport so all of you will be doing cone duty when you’re not actually driving blah blah blah…

WHAT?!?! Cone duty? Fookin’ CONE DUTY? When you pay $300-odd dollars for a track day at a road course, THEY provide the corner workers and send someone to turn down your seatbelt and put a mini mint on your driver’s seat between sessions. I have done occasional Autocrosses before, and normally you do one session of cone duty to support the racing. Today we were going to be doing more or less constant cone duty. In the summer. Thank God it was about 73 degrees and overcast… for now. Also, this was a class made up mostly of Autocross n00bs (like me) who were undoubtedly going to be punting cones across the pavement right and left.

But I jest! Cone duty is part of the charm of Autocross. And you should always suffer for your passion.

And so the training began. The schedule was to do slalom, skidpad, and figure-8 drills in the morning, followed by a full-on Autocross (at least 14 runs each) in the afternoon. All sessions would start with the student at the wheel for 2 runs, then the instructor would take over for 2 runs, then back to the student driving for the rest of the time. This was an excellent approach, IMO. It gave the chance to first feel the exercise, then see how it’s really done, then spend the lions share of the time working towards matching what the instructor had done. For the morning exercises, there was an instructor in the car giving pointers the whole time.

I started on the slalom, and it looked like this at first:

Okay, so the camera takes 15 mph off the speed but even so I was slow. My instructor had me work on rythm, setting up for the next turn, and feeling the loading on the tires shift from left to right so that I was maximizing grip throughout the rapid waltz through the cones. After some pointers and seeing the instructor do it, it looked like this:

See how much faster that looks? No? Well, it was. My instructor was elated. She said that I “got it” and that I had mastered the slalom.

Next up: Skidpad & figure-8. The drill here was to feel the limits of traction, find out how throttle can control over/understeer, and for the bold, some controlled power sliding.

Watch closely. I am power sliding on the exit to many of those turns. I’m so proud. So was my instructor. I get another gold star for mastery. And one of the best parts of the skidpad? Hardly anybody launched a cone into the grass!

The figure-8 was the same idea, but with left & right transitions added, and a mix of sharper turn radius for complication. The GoPro ran out of battery, so no video for that.

NJ cuisine lunch was provided: submarine sandwiches… I mean “hoagies” (this is SOUTH Jersey, which aligns with Philadelphia vernacular). I set up my folding camp chair and table to prove that a Lotus Elise can travel in STYLE. I also applied more sunscreen, because our 73 degree overcast day had turned into an 80 degree cloudless day with a UV index of 11.


I must admit that I was feeling both eager and whipped for the upcoming full-on Autocross. The lack of sleep was catching up with me, and the slalom cone duty had involved some fair amount of sprinting to replace cones before the next student ran you over. The hoagie helped, as did about a gallon of water and Mountain Dew.

For the Autocross session the drill would change to 2 runs behind the wheel, 2 runs observing the instructor, 5 runs behind the wheel with the instructor shouting orders, and finally 5 runs solo, honing your skills and chasing the instructor’s lap time.

We were divided into two run groups. I drew short straw and ended up in group #2… cone duty first, race second. But first we walked the track…

Although walking the track was not behind-the-wheel practice, it was a very integral part of the training. We walked the track with a group of instructors who took us through the thought processes of  reading the course. They pointed out that although there were over 200 cones on the track, there were only 12 cones that mattered. These were mostly cones at the apex of turns, but even the apex didn’t matter on some turns. The trick was learning how to identify the high value turns where you could make or break your run, and differentiate them from turns that merely kept you from short-circuiting the course. After we walked the track with the instructors, we walked it again alone. I would have walked it a third and fourth time if they let me. It was clear that memorizing the track was going to be a key to good lap times. There were also pointers about starting out with a fast run, and then building upon that. This because in a real Autocross you do not get 14 runs. You get maybe half that many, and so you need to start from as high a position as you can in order to maximize your lap-to-lap improvement.

And so I baked in the sun while the first 10 students did their laps. I noticed that this was about a 40-second course. Meaning the instructors were doing it in the 37-second range while the students started around 46 seconds. Uh oh. It was 2:30 by then, and I was beginning to feel we might not get our runs in.

Then disaster struck. From my cone worker position I was facing the intercoastal waterway and the casinos of Atlantic City. My fellow student on the other side of the track was facing the entrance to Bader Field, and he suddenly got agitated. I turned to look and saw five (5!) police cars slowly driving the taxi ways. They were certainly coming for us.

Things ground to a halt for an hour. We were in the dark, reluctant to come in (because, y’know, police) but feeling silly just standing around. Eventually someone realized that we had cell phones with the email from the Starting Line people in them, so we called their number. The cops had arrived because they did not see the paper permit for the use of Bader Field on file. This was a bureaucratic screw-up that they should have been more accommodating about fixing. They KNEW that the field was used for these events fairly frequently. Eventually they got to the right assistant deputy mayor and we were allowed to continue, but now hopelessly behind schedule.

Starting Line stepped up and made it work. They really kicked it into gear and started running 3 cars on the track at a time. A little nerve-wracking for us cone workers, but it got the first run group done in short order and it got me on the track.

While I was waiting for my instructor, the Starting Line people allowed us to take hot laps with the non-instructor volunteers, who were all very good Autocrossers. I rode several laps with Nicole, the wife of one of the Starting Line guys. This was an excellent thing to do since it gave me more time to memorize the track, and see how it should be done. Nicole drove a prepped Honda Civic, and she was hella aggressive!

Finally, it was my turn. My instructor, my LADY instructor was an SCCA pro running in the fastest, most competitive class at a national level. She had been giving me gold stars up until then.

Now… I brought shame upon her, upon my dojo, and upon the spirit of Emerson Fittipaldi. I was not fit to the laces of the pilotis of the lowliest experienced Autocrosser. “I saw you do the slalom PERFECTLY before! Why do you dishonor me by screwing it up so bad now?”  I was running 45 second laps :-(

I wanted to tell her that it was because I could only perfect ONE part of the course at a time right now. That I had just improved these skills but they had not yet become muscle memory. I wanted to, but I did not. I just begged forgiveness and tried again.

Eventually I went solo, and this is what I did:

There are two runs in that video. The second run was my fastest of the day: 39.04 seconds. Not too shabby, given the instructor had run 37 seconds. Here is my final run, with the instructor coming out with a clipboard to tell me the good news. Now sensei was HAPPY:

I was elated. I felt that I “got” it, and that with a little practice I could shave a second or more off my time. I knew where I hadn’t pushed it hard enough, where I was dogging it, and which turns had room for the most improvement and HOW to get that improvement.

The day ended with hats for everyone, another gallon of water, admonishments to come back and redeem your free racing coupon. Also a caution not to hoon it up when leaving the field, lest the cops be even less friendly in the future. I hustled out of there so I could do my familial duty.

Around 20 minutes up the Garden State Parkway I remembered that my tires had +9 PSI in them. I didn’t want to know what happens to Toyo R888 grabby-grab tires when run on the highway at that pressure, so I pulled in to air them down and get a Red Bull to keep me awake and alive on the way home. At the Parkway service area, I had  “Lotus Moment;” While sitting on the ground with the tire pressure guage, a very pretty woman in a black tube dress asked if she could take a picture. “Sure,” I say “give me a second and I will remove the chubby troglodyte from the frame.” She laughed, and got what she wanted. A picture of a gorgeous car without it’s less-than=gorgeous driver.

Made it home before dark. Sore. Exhausted. Supremely satisfied.


Ride Report – Texas SoloCade

Stevadoo got back into the MC world earlier this month by buying a 2005 Yamaha FZ6 from a coworker.  It only had 3,996 miles and cost $3,200.

Stevadoo’s wife was in Maine for her sister’s *surprise* second marriage, so he took the opportunity to go west.  The plan was to head towards Fredericksburg and the Texas hill country.  But first he had to negotiate the Katy Freeway, aka I-10.  Recently expanded, I-10 is big – really freakin’ big.  26 lanes big.  That is not a typo; in each direction there are 4 service lanes, 6 main lanes, and 3 HOV lanes.  Getting to an exit from the HOV lane is an ordeal that looks like this:

Signal, look, turn.

Signal, look, turn.

Signal, look, turn.

Signal, look, turn.

Signal, look, turn.

Signal, look, turn.

Signal, look, turn.

Signal, look, turn.

Signal, look, turn.

Signal, look, turn.

Signal, look, turn.

Signal, look, turn.

Turn right onto your cross street.




Luckily the I-10 was pretty empty at 7 AM on a Saturday, so Stevadoo had the HOV lane to himself (motorcycles count, yay!).  But needless to say, riding on the superslab sucks.  Even if you are going 75 MPH minimum (that’s the speed limit!) dodging the F-350 duelly super cabs is not fun.

The first destination was 135 miles away:  Buc-ee’s in Bastrop, Texas.  Buc-ee’s is a Texas institution and was voted the #3 best awesome roadside eats by Jalopnik.

They, like Texas, are big.  The newest one has 60 (count ’em sixty) gas pumps.  Inside it’s 68,000 square feet.  Note that most large Wal-Marts are less than 99,000 square feet.  It has all your normal c-store goodies and sodas, plus a slew of Texas memorabilia up to and including $1,000 smokers and BBQ grills.

Stevadoo just had a sammich.


photo 1

Just past the Bastrop Buc-ee’s the plan was to get off the beaten path.  This side of Austin is not really the Hill Country yet, but even highway 71 is basically an interstate highway.  But at least you get to drive by La Grange.  I do not mean Joseph-Louis Lagrange, the scientist who developed Euler–Lagrange equations for extrema of functionals.  This was the city in Texas where there was a really good brothel, as heralded by the musical “the Best Little Whorehouse” in Texas and ZZ Top’s eponymous song.  The Chicken House, doncha know.

Anyhoo, Stevadoo took route 21 which was a pretty good motorcycle road to the southwest.  There was a little rain, but nothing more than a few big raindrops that soon stopped.  Stevadoo was surprised to see signs for the Circuit of the Americas, where he will be going in October to watch the Formula 1 event.  And hey, they were giving tours!  So he ponied up his $25 for a 1 hour bus tour and got on with the show.



photo 2


The first thing he noticed was that at turn 1, there is a huge elevation gain.  He’s seen both F1 races that happened on this track, and this wasn’t really shown.  But it’s a big hill!




photo 3

Stevadoo’s seats will be in the turn 12 grandstand, just to the right of the tower.  In the foreground is turn 1.

photo 4

View from the tower.  You can see above the red stripe that there used to be some Texas stars painted on the pavement.  Well it turns out that Bernie Ecclestone didn’t like them, so he forced the track to paint them out.  Jackass.

photo 5


Next up Stevadoo continued south on 21 to San Marcos.  Fortune smiled on him again has he ran across a Commemorative Air Force (formerly Confederate Air Force, but the Northern Aggressors Yankees PC patrol didn’t like that name and they forced them to change it because hey, didn’t we win that fucking war?) hangar.  They had a bunch of interesting planes, none more so than a flying B-25 Mitchell. You know, the kind that Gen. Dolittle bombed Tokyo with.  There was also a pair of AF trainers that had been painted up to look like Japanese zeros for the film Tora! Tora! Tora!  Some very nice guys there, too.  If he had $425 to blow, he’d go for the B-25 ride on July 4th weekend…but he doesn’t.

photo 1 photo 2 photo 3 photo 4 photo 5


Next up was a little stretch on I-25 South to Braunfels.  This is one of the larger towns started by Germans who emigrated to Texas.  As the story goes, they came here and saw tremendous fields of waist-high grass, so they moved with their cattle and pigs.  Turns out that the soil was very fragile, and after only a couple years the animals had trampled it down to the limestone.  Whoopsie.

Route 46 over to Boerne was nice, but route 16 up to Kerrvile was sublime.  This was the real hill country with actual hills.  Worth all the super slab riding.  Route 16 up to Fredericksburg was fast and scenic, but at this point Stevadoo was over 300 miles for the day and he’s fragile, so he was getting pretty tired.  The finest room at an EconoLodge was procured and he slept the sleep of a tired, happy motorcyclist.

Sunday AM he headed out to Johnsonville, the town near President Lyndon Baines Johnson’s ranch.  It was founded by his uncle, Mr. Johnson.  It’s not very big so Stevadoo didn’t get to see a big Johnson, other than the one in his trousers.

But for historical edumacation, Stevadoo stopped in to see the Texas White House and took the tour.

photo 5 photo 4


LBJ had a Ford that he used for hunting on his ranch.  Note that there is a wet bar in the back seat.  His favorite drink was Cutty Sark and Fresca.  Really!

photo 3

He also had an Amphicar!  As the story goes, he would drive it into the nearby river and frighten his unsuspecting guests.

photo 2

He spent about 25% of his presidency here.  This was facilitated by the runway on the ranch that could handle a Lockheed JetStar.  Not a bad way to commute.

photo 1


After visiting the LBJ Ranch, Stevadoo had to start making for home.  He made some good travel road decisions (route 165 / 2235 from Blanco to Wimberly and route 159 from La Grange to Bellvile), some bad ones (Route 290 / 71 from Dripping Springs to Bastrop) and some terrible ones (route 529 / 290 from Cypress to home – seriously, route 290 is a big fucking road why should  it be ‘closed for the weekend’?!?!)

Home, tired Sunday at 6 PM.  625 miles on the clock.


update:  maps


Fredericksburg Ride

Fredericksburg Ride 1

Fredericksburg Ride 2


Lack Of Creativity Ride

I tried. God knows I tried. Two separate calls for Catskillcade 2014; one in May concurrent with the running of the Kentucky Derby, destroyed by the Alpine Club work weekend. One in June concurrent with the Preakness, wiped out by bad scheduling and a general malaise amongst the Maggots. There was a day when I could rally the Maggots with one well-crafted email. Am I losing my skill?

As a consolation ride, I put out the call for a Saturday day-ride on June 14. Only 4 Maggots answered. Konrad Urban, Thynk3r, Safety Man, and Mr. Furious. Scratch that; make it THREE Maggots. Mr. Furious would not ride, but offered his house as a waypoint on the ride.

A more creative Logistical Officer would have planned a new route that hits strange and wonderful roads, sights unseen, and new adventures to be discoverd.

But I am not that Logistical Officer. This week I am Lazy Logistical Officer so I planned the trip to take the tried-and-true route upw 23 to 97, through Hawk’s Nest, across the Delaware at Narrowsburg, lunch at the Alpine Haus (not Alpine CLUB) in Honesdale PA, then down 6 and 739 to Dingman’s Ferry and Mr.Furious’ farm in Hampton/Newton NJ. Maggots have practically worn wheel-ruts on this route, but we haven’t done it in over a year so it’s fair to repeat it once more.

The meeting spot would be Kosco Harley-Davidson on Route 23. Not a single Harley on this ride, but Kosco has a policy not to stomp any foreign bike riders before Noon on weekends. Plus my Buell gives us partial immunity. I arrived at 8:45, slightly early so that I could walk to Dunkin Donuts for a coffee. Probably the most harrowing part of the whole day because shrubs force you to walk on the shoulder of busy Route 23. How ironic would the headline be? “Motorcyclist killed while walking for coffee?”

Everyone arrived on or close to schedule, and we were off on the ride. An immediate gas stop was called by Konrad because Maggots do not just lack creativity today, they also lack planning skills. At the gas stop we lost Safety Man. Ten minutes into the ride and 25% down! He had a server crash at work, and as a small business owner he had to respond. Buh-bye, Safety Man! See you next time.

Next stop: High Point NJ

Konrad Urban has a thing growing out of his head

Konrad Urban has a thing growing out of his head


Why stop here? Why not! Sure, it costs $5 per vehicle to get in, but I wanted pictures. This time we did the ascent without oxygen, all 2,000-ish feet of it. The obelisk is finally open again for visitors to climb, but aside from lacking creativity and planning skills, today the Maggots also lacked stamina and chose to just enjoy the view.

Fun With Cliffs!

Fun With Cliffs!

After High Point, we went through Port Jervis to the inevitable motorcycle spot for a nice Saturday: Hawk’s Nest on Route 97 in NY.

Buell at Hawk's Nest

Buell at Hawk’s Nest

Somewhere in this picture is a tiny Konrad Urban hammering the Angeles Crest Highway of the NY Metro Area:

Find Konrad Urban!

Find Konrad Urban!

Surprisingly there were only three other bikes at Hawk’s Nest. On a day like today I would expect dozens.

Route 97 was perfect. Empty of traffic to allow lawbreaking speeds up it’s 20 miles of fast turns. We made it to Honesdale PA and the best German food in the Northern Delaware Valley by 1:00

Friendly Bavarian Expats

Friendly Bavarian Expats

Our dirndl-clad waitresses served us wurst platter and the best potato pancakes anywhere. A few steins of Spaten Pils were lifted, but only in keeping with moderate motorcycle safety.

Honesdale PA: home of unknown meats packed in animal intestines

Honesdale PA: home of unknown meats packed in animal intestines

Thynk3r got a bit carried away while ordering and asked for a side dish of “all the different kinds of pickles you have.” The waitress (shown above in Thynk3r’s warm embrace) just blinked, like Thynk3r was speaking Swabian to a Bavarian. “What do you mean?” She asked. “All your different varieties of pickles; bring us a plate with an assortment. If there are too many, you pick ones that go with our wursts” said Thynk3r. Or at least that’s how I heard it.

Rather than making a face or getting surly, our motherly waitress said: “we only have one type of pickle. The best kind. I’ll bring you those.” Konrad mumbled something about this being Honesdale PA, not some Artisinal Pickleria in Williamsburg Brooklyn.

The pickles were indeed the best.

Bloated on Bratwurst, Krainerwurst, Polish Kielbasa, and Goulash (with shared strudel to put a final plug in the esophagus), we head down Route 6 through Hawley PA and along Lake Wallempaupak (spelling?), peeling off onto Route 739 through Lords Valley (and passing right in front of the entrance to Casa de BOTA West), we stop for gas and biology just outside Dingman’s Ferry.

Konrad bio break

And a nicotine hit:

Our Irish friend, Nick O'Tine

Our Irish friend, Nick O’Tine

And to ogle cars returning from the Chatterbox.


Then it’s across the only family-owned bridge that I know of ($1 per bike, please):

Dingman's Ferry June 14 2014

Konrad Urban lead us along county roads (great!) to the a Horse farm of Mr. furious and his life-partner:

Furious horse 2

Furious stop 6-14-2014-2

Furious stop 6-14-2014-1



Furious horse 1Furious-spawn and hand-made Koi pond designed to calm the Fury:

Furious Spawn Koi Pond

Whereupon we were served burgers and chips, given some beer, and allowed to burn tobacco:

Furious burgers 6-14-2014

Thynk3r demonstrates Maggot dessert technique. Hershey’s Special Dark chocolate and whipped cream. Call it “Maggot S’mores”

Building the delicacy

Building the delicacy

It must be contemplated, appreciated... GROKKED before it is consumed.

It must be contemplated, appreciated… GROKKED before it is consumed.

We spent over three hours hanging out. Partially to process the beers through our finely tuned liver-factories, but really because maggot camaraderie is just THAT good.

I don’t know which is better; the riding or the company. Like dark chocolate and Redi-Whip, each enhances the other beyond the simple combination of the two.

The ride home happened at sunset and beyond. Konrad led us on the better way back to Route 15, and we zipped up every vent we had for the shivery ride home (68 degrees at highway speed in summer gear).


BOTACade 2014 – Thynk1ng clearly

Its always better after the drugs kick in.  A few bats, a lizard man, each punctuate the surreality of modern life, an inflatable suit to soften the centurion’s spear.  Maggot trip.  Meeting BOTA, but no drugs this time.  I was going to have to slay this dragon, meet this challenge without chemical support.  Soon, I’d be a suit again, trading the currency of my life for plastic trinkets on the Isle o’Manhattan.

Working furiously for the previous two days to finalize my chariot, I’d finally used olive oil to lubricate my over-sized digits penetration between the forelegs of my steed, installing a new H7 night vision subsystem.  No more blinding those who had the misfortune to meet me upon the highway.

Sallying forth that day felt like the 1915 Dawn Patrol, what adventure!  I-95, well known territory, little did I know that I would immediately be challenged.  A late model Altima, a cell phone, and a moron all converge in time and space, trying to bring my day to an abrupt end.  Unsurprisingly, my cat-like reflexes. 40 years on a motorcycle, and an over strong latte served me well.  Avoiding death like a piece of well-chewed lobster roll on a gravel driveway, I persevered, arriving at 32 Carman apace.  Surprisingly, the Prince of Pause,  seemingly having turned over a new leaf, was sans Annie and ready to rock.

Immediately, we sallied forth.  The throbbing bassline of Congo Man punctuated my highway ride, conjuring visions of sunshine and new beginnings in my overactive hippocampus.  Unfortunately, my new reality included all manner of overcrowded roadway.  Finally entering New Jersey, my GPS squawking incessantly as it tried to guide me, it finally threw up its hands, screamed ‘I don’t know,’ and sent me spinning down Route 4 while BOTA helplessly continued down the obvious path.  ‘In 8 miles, continue straight’ it said.  BOTA was going to have to find his own way I figured, and continued, cracking the throttle because THERE WAS NO WAY I WAS GOING TO GET THERE LATER THAN HIM.  This little bit of confusion actually was one of the luckiest parts of the ride, no only did I immediately shed the traffic of the Jersey Pike for a more bucolic thoroughfare, but I actually made Chatterbox before anyone but Mr Furious!

Our destination – always a trip – played true to form.  An initial circuit, displayed a fine selection of decrepit ‘faces of meth’ rejects, guinea tees, and bodybuilders, all strutting with their particular pose near the rides which defined them. Sliding into my personal space, next to a tricked out Ol ’55, with skulls, ‘Perfect’, I thought.  I dismounted and sought a private place to drain a vein.  Emerging, relieved, I spied BOTA dismounting and chuckled softly to myself.  ‘Its gonna be a good day.’  It seems BOTA’s cigar scent overtook Pagan on the road, and these fraternal brothers rolled into the venue as one. Soon, Conrad Urban, with Mr Furious arriving in his Vette, now with gas and our lunch group was complete.  Oh, except for MJ.

Eating at the Chatterbox is like a dystopian nightmare, fueled by the ketamine dreams of Bloomberg’s City Minister of Soda Sizes.  Health food it ain’t.  It does however, provide ample media for artwork.

2014-05-17 13.18.01







‘Where’s MJ?’  ‘Fuck it, lets order.’  ‘She’s a big girl.’  Such was the tenor of the conversation, showcasing the extreme ‘we will leave no maggot behind’ ethos that permeates the maggot mindset.  Shoving lobster rolls and pierogies down our respective pie-holes, we finished, burping and wishing we could fart less circumspectly.  Finally MJ arrives and we kindly suggest she meet some local outside and finish her lunch while we suit up.  Again, its just the care we all take with each other.  MJ don’s Pagan’s mantle, finds the most toothless possible compatriot to bend her ear and wolfs down her medium rare burger standing in the parking lot.  Fine dining at its most elegant!

We are off!  We wend our way through a beautiful scenic, although extremely circuitous hour long ride, the 20 minutes ride to the palatial BOTA estate.

Surprisingly (not!) we arrive and Scrounger and Annie (the two bitches) have prepared a most excellent appertivo, as the hours ride has allowed us to digest our Chatterbox repast, and craving alcohol we proceed to eat for another two hours.  I had selected James Pepper 15 yo 100 proof bourbon as my light accompaniment to the Plan B Cookies.  It was a welcome and effective stress-reliever.

2014-05-17 17.40.24







Feeling peek-ed, we collectively realized that the what we really needed was some divey-bar action.  Driven by passion, I mounted my bike, while all the ladies piled into Annie’s designated driver-mobile. Unable to negotiate the 25 steps to the cars, and seeing that he drove a similar marque, Mr Furious invited Scrounger to pilot his jalopy.

2014-05-17 19.28.53







Maggots Ho!

2014-05-17 19.29.10

2014-05-17 19.29.49












Leaving the bar, and feeling as though there had been of dearth of ingestion, and not wishing to feel weak, we decided to head home to continue the fasting, where we could at least allow Mr Furious to uncurl from the fetal position, and hose the vomit off his chin.  Reminded by his spittle flecked cheeks, punctuated by tiny, tiny bits of carrot and lobster, our appetites returned – luckily as the bitches had prepared a worthy feast – which lay spread before us like the dark expanse of Kansas as you leave Missouri.

More alcohol.

Its all dark, as I lay, heart pounding, headache, a twisted feeling in the pit of my distended stomach.  Fitfully, I turn.  A light.  Turn it off you idiot!  What the fuck!  Its like a glowing section of rebar, heated then shoved into my eye.  Its Pagan.  I knew it!  The closeted motherfucker finally showing his true colors, while I lay helpless.  Thankfully, the darkness envelops me, and I am back in the womb, oblivious to any violation, real or imaged.

6am Sunday.  Time for the news.  Uh-oh, unfamiliar cable setup, and my hungover state allows no inspection nor reasoned analysis…fuck it.  Netflix.  Comedy.  Certainly, one of the bitches will appear and make coffee, I’m still hoping to be rich one day too.

2014-05-18 12.21.38







As Maggots awake, its clear that my dreamed and expected Sunday AM ride will go unrequited.  Barely conscious after our recent fast, we can only think of breakfast.  Time to turn the bike around, move the cars and let the home-bound maggots, eg those with ‘responsibilities,’ make a vain attempt to meet them.  Elegantly, with the wisdom borne of years of riding, I seamlessly navigate my steed as required.

The remaining Maggots, achieve our morning meal, return AB to her support vehicle, and BOTA, Conrad U, and I set out on our our homeward ride.  Another adventure under our belt, our shared experience having strengthened our brotherly commitment.