I don’t know who I’m writing this for, since most of the actively riding maggots attended Bingcade ’07. Maybe it’s for Evil Bill, stuck in Ireland, a place that probably has less rain than Deep Creek Lake Maryland this past weekend 🙂
Steve Gets A Nickname
The build up to Bingcade this year was quite melodramatic. Plan B Sober had to be cajoled, peer-pressured, and dragged kicking and screaming into the trip because Weather.com showed a 40-60% chance of rain all weekend. Eventually he chose to ride out to Bing’s, leaving much earlier than the rest of us in order to avoid predicted afternoon showers. Little did he know that it would not be rain that caused him grief this weekend… it would be Cheesie-Poufs. Evil, evil Cheesie-Poufs.
A Late Start
The rides of the Maryland maggots are not that interesting anyway, for two reasons: 1) they only have to ride about 2.5 hours, and 2) I didn’t ride with them. Plus, Bing takes the truck & trailer anyway, which is by definition no interesting.
The rest of us rode out using the “High Noon” method. In the High Noon method, the farthest out rider starts first, stopping at the home of the next closer rider to join up, then on to the next closer rider and so forth. So MJ and Thinker rode to BOTA, then the three of them rode to me, then the four of us rode to Scrounger and Fudgie. Since we were in no hurry I took us via the back roads from my house to Scrounger’s virtual house (the Turkey Hill roach motel in Easton PA). This turned a 45 minute highway trip into a 90 minute tour. That wouldn’t have been such a problem, except we got started almost an hour late, so Scrounger and Fudgie were waiting, and waiting, and waiting…
From Easton we took highways to Harrisburg. Just as we turned off the highway for gas we got our first dose of rain. We did maybe 500 yards in the rain to get to the gas station, and another mile to get to lunch at Perkins. By then it was a late lunch, since it was around 3 PM. Continuing with our theme of “no hurries,” we acceded to Thinker’s request to “not eat in a fuckin’ fast food place” and spent over an hour in a leisurely dunch.
By the time we were heading back out on the road, the rain had stopped. Still, it was a unanimous decision to climb into rain suits in order to appease the Moto-weather Gods. The rationale being that the trouble of climbing into rainsuits and the discomfort of riding in something that has all of the breathability of a Hefty bag will amuse the Moto-weather Gods enough that their chuckling will cause them to forget to drench us.
The Weather Gods Will Not Be Appeased
At this time it might be worthwhile to point out that I had specifically chosen to wear completely inappropriate riding gear for this trip. I chose this of my own free will. I KNEW that it would be better to wear the waterproof, breathable one-piece touring suit that I had gotten through Scrounger, but I just HAD to wear the leather pants so that I could show off the brandy-new skull knee sliders. Mmmmmm…. skulls! Problem is, the leather pants have huge knee and hip armor, on top of my already huge girth. This makes my rain pants a tad snug. As in can’t-spread-my-legs-far-enough-to-swing-over-the-bike snug. Fuk it. It’s the price I pay for skulls.
For a while the moto Gods are appeased, and we ride PA Route 15 over rolling hills towards Gettysburg. Scrounger figures that if he waited for two hours while the NY maggots took the long way, then we can goddam well take HIS long way too, so we detour through Maryland’s Catoctin Mountain Reservation, famous for a little summer camp for politicos known as “Camp David.” Nice, twisty roads up and over the mountains, with one problem: a Black Wall of thunderclouds directly over the mountains, stretching like a castle wall from horizon to horizon. Like the fools that we are, we rode directly into the pregnant clouds and on to our soaking doom. Periodically lightning bolts would strike the foothills on either side of us, reminding us that the highest point on a motorcycle is your head, so at least it would be a quick death from electrocution.
Up and over the mountain we went, directly under the thundercloud. It got headlight-dark but dropped no rain. On the far slope we could see the sky turn much brighter as abruptly as it had turned black. Hah! The moto Gods taunt! THAT’s where the drenching rains were. And howling winds. Sidways rain like Hollywood special effects went on for maybe 15 minutes. My raingear held up, and so did the other guys’ I must assume since nobody had to wring themselves out later. In particular the Sidi Tepor lining of my boots and the Aerostitch two-finger overgloves are amazing. Not a drop of water got through. About the only problem was poor visibility due to rain and fog on the visor.
We pushed through the worst of the rain and stopped at what would turn out to be our last gas-up right at the ramp for Route 81. A grizzled, semi-toothless truck driver from South Carolina wanted to ask questions about Biff’s bike. He liked the color, which immediately makes me suspect siphylitic brain-rot. Who gets to chat with him and make nice to a brother biker? Biff? Of course not! I end up being the one to encourage him to get a ‘Glide. Probably could have sold him Biff’s bike on the spot if Biff had been willing to ride Bitch the rest of the trip.
The rest of the ride to Bing’s is uneventful, except for the fact that I’m the one leading and my speedometer is so far off due to a sprocket change that I don’t even bother to look at it. The result is that we do 90 mph for much of the trip, or so they tell me. Fine. I wanted to get to Bing’s before dark. It only drizzles and mists for the rest of the trip, and the raingear continues to work just fine. The last 20 minutes on Route 495 and Glendale Road are the worst because A) the fog sucks, B) the rain picked up just enough to do that “speckle the visor without beading and running off” thing, and C) Fukin’ Scrounger right behind me WITH HIS HIGH BEAMS ON. Scrounger: high beams do not work in the fog. Did you notice that whenever you put them on I immediately contorted on the seat to hang halfway off the bike so that the lights in the mirror didn’t blind me and cause us all to run off into the woods? Next time, just follow my taillight. I was going slow anyway.
Karaoke DJ Bitch
Thursday night at Bing’s was all about Rum, Sodomy, and The Lash… no, wait that’s a Pirate ship. Thursday night at Bing’s was all about Bourbon, Scotch, and Jerky. Riding through the rain earned us the right to park the bikes and take the truck (all 9 of us, with MJ riding doggie-style in the way-back and BOTA with his face in Biff’s crotch). Went to the bar under what used to be the Silver Tree for food & karaoke, but after Biff put on a masterful performance of the B-52’s “Love Shack” the worthless whore of a DJ never called up any of our songs. Bitch! She also let her 3-year-old son run around shoeless until 1 AM in the bar, playing pool. Future toothless redneck gonna chat me up about motorcycles some day in my old age, perhaps?
Today… We Ride!
The next morning dawned to semi-crappy weather and the opportunity for certain maggots to practice their passive-aggressive behavior. She “Is there nothing sacred in this house?” He: “Uh… no?” 🙂 Fejj & Cindy show up, and Doppler showed the crap weather passing, so we got out at the crack of 2 PM for a quick Red Rocks ride. I traded bikes with Plan B and rode the Hayabusa out to the Dark Bar. I pronounce it Busaliscious. After the Dark Bar we make for the traditional twisty Route 50 ride up the mountain, only to find that the road is blocked off. They’re only letting one direction through at a time (Yay!), but you have to follow a truck and creep along (Boo!). On the way up you can see why: The pavement has turned to total crap over the years, and they are doing some major patching. Hopefully this is a precursor to a full repaving job. Otherwise, this awesome stretch of road won’t be hammerable in the future.
Curse of the Cheesie-Poufs
On Friday night, the Cheesie-Poufs claimed their victim.
But first the Maggots all head out to this fancy steak joint. Now there are 12 of us, and we all can’t fit in the truck. Luckily, once one maggot volunteers to ride there is a cascade and about half the crew decides to take bikes. The whole crew heads to the steak place except me & Scrounger because Scrounger is feeling poor and wants to avoid a $50 dinner tab, so instead Scrounger and I grab pizza and ride (through rain!) to meet the rest of the crew for dessert. Note that at the pizza joint Scrounger and I were discussing motorcycle industry stuff and scooters in NYC and things like that when the couple next to us got up to leave. Before they left they apologized and informed us that they had been listening to our conversation and that they were sometime-riders and were really pleased to hear us talk about the moto industry. Scrounger’s head grew two sizes that day 🙂 Afterwards we check out the Black Bear, but it’s not hoppin’ and they want $5 just to run in for a drink so fuk them.
So it’s back to Cat Rocks for one Scotch, one Bourbon, and one Beer (really!). It’s the usual stuff, except late at night, maybe 2:30 AM somebody gets the munchies and remembers that the giant barrel of Cheesie-Poufs is back in the game room. Gallantly, Plan B heads out to bring back the golden nuggets of trans-fat. He must have made it back, because the Cheesie-Poufs did indeed appear and were consumed. Still, I’m not quite sure if I remember him hanging out the rest of the night. From events the next morning it seems unlikely, but then again Steve, like the rest of us, was heavily anaesthetized at that hour.
The Next Morning…
Once again, crap weather in the AM. While sitting in front of the tube watching Old Trek (the one with Abraham Lincoln), Scrounger comes out from the back bedroom and beckons to me. “Mike, I think you need to come back here,” he says gravely. “Wha?” I say. “*Seriously*, Mike, you need to come back and see this.”
Uh-oh. Scrounger NEVER gets serious like this. He’s got a look that says “We’re dog-sitting and the hound done died.” Two thoughts go through my head: First is “Omigod Steve’s dead in the back bedroom and we have to come up with a story for the cops!” The second is “Nah… much more likely is Steve power-blew all over the room and now we’ve got to clean it up before Brenda sees it.”
Upon entering the room I immediately see that Plan B is awake and alert (whew!) and I don’t smell any nasty bodily fluids (whew!). Relief is short lived. “I broke my foot” says Steve. The next thought that went through my head was articulated best by Katsoff: I didn’t say it, but I thought “Do we need a doctor or do we need a mechanic?” Instead, I think I said something like “which foot?” which to Steve must have sounded retarded. He said “the left one” and left off “you idiot!” It’s probably a tribute to Steve’s skill with a prosthesis that I still wasn’t sure if we needed a doctor or a mechanic, and I had to think something like “motorcycle brake on right, shifter on left… probably can’t operate shifter with plastic & aluminum foot… A-ha! Doctor!”
Actually, I think I said something cruel like “Pffft! Quit whining.”
It turns out that when Plan B had gone to fetch the Cheesie-Poufs he had “stepped on a rock” and hear a loud pop followed by pain. A break/sprain/bruise debate ensues among the maggots. Consensus is that it’s better for recovery if it’s actually broken, but it’s probably “just a sprain” (JUST a sprain? Any doctor will tell you a bad sprain is worse than a break and takes much longer to heal).
After a little more debate, and after it becomes very clear that Plan B is not fucking around with us, it is determined that Plan B should visit the emergency room. Since we were planning to go on a ride, Bing just hand’s the keys to the logical best choice to babysit Plan B and says “He’s YOUR brother. Take him to the hospital. Call my cell if you have a problem.” It’s pretty cruel to send your wounded comrade off to the medics with only one bodyguard, but WTF did you expect from the Maggots?
A Better Ride Than Expected
The ride plan is very simple: Stop at the Suzuki dealer so Pagan can buy a new rain suit that has a better chance of fitting, then get gas, then stop at the liquor store for supplies, then visit Steve in the hospital, then ride to that dive bar on Route 40 (big surprise there!). By the time we’re done at the Suzook dealer Bing contacts Gglen and finds out that A) Steve’s foot is definitely broken, and B) They’re on their way back to Cat Rocks.
OK, so we’ll just ride then 🙂
The first dive bar is the usual beer & chitchat thing, except that Scrounger notifies us that he’s going to ride out past Hancock MD to visit his mom for the night. Sure, cheapie-boy. Translation: “I’m afraid you’re going to do another expensive reatuarant run.” Well, Mr. Tightpockets, you missed out. We went cheap and fun that night. More on that later.
Bing takes us on a remarkably fun ride given that the plan is to stay close to home in case the weather turns total crap. A lot of it is on Lower New Germany Road (or something like that). Perfect road for the crap weather; fast but not too fast, twisty but not a problem with wet pavement. Me likeee!
MJ, Cindy Get Propositioned
..by a drunk redneck girl! Just before rolling back into Cat Rocks we stop at the most divey of the dive bars so far. It has a name with “pawn” in it that I can’t recall, but Bing and Brenda keep calling it “Steak or Steak.” While we take our traditional single alcohol, a really drunk redneck chick starts chatting up MJ. “Thank God it’s not me” is all I can muster. Then drunk redneck chick tries to chat up Cindy. She’s obviously troubled, and it’s not too long before her really Really REALLY drunk redneck boyfriend starts shouting at her. Over and over again “These peole DON”T WANNA HEAR YOUR PROBLEMS, bitch!” He’s so drunk that he’s in a permanent stoop, with his knees and waist bent. Or maybe not. Maybe he has rickets. Turns out that redneck chick has had enough of men and wants to try the Love That Dare Not Speak It’s Name… she’s propositioning MJ and Cindy. I don’t know whether to giggle or shudder. Instead the Maggots just beat a semi-hasty retreat.
JG’s Is Hoppin’
Hey, Scrounger: We end up at JG’s that night. It’s a plain pub style place that happens to be the first place I ever had lunch at in Deep Creek, way back in 1985 or so. 21 years. Holy shit I’m old.
They have a one-man band (guitar, synth, bogus bongo box, and FIDDLE!) who is going to play “classic rock and country.” Errrm… I’d say that was a 60-40 mix skewed towards the country end of the spectrum. Still, for some reason the Maggots react favorably. Brenda and MJ dance to almost every song. When I say dance, I mean they DANCE. They got compliments from strangers at the bar. Sheeee-it *I* got compliments from semi-toothless redneck strangers! Something along these lines: “You guys aren’t from around here, are you?” (Uh-oh) “You are really makin’ this place jump tonight! You gotta come here more often!” Katsoff dances almost as much as Brenda and MJ (!!!!). Pretty much everybody else takes a turn dancing too, except for Steve who is not on hospital-provided crutches and narcotics. Even Bing danced with his wife!
What made this happen? Well, maybe it’s kismet or maybe it’s the Spirit of Deep Creek, or maybe, just maybe it has something to do with the bartender who has no clue how to pour a JWBOTR, or any other “on the rocks” drink. God bless him, he’s pouring 10 fuckin’ ounces of whisky in each and every glass. Plus it’s $1 beer night! Plus when all is said and done there is NO WAY they charged us for all the food and drink, since the bill comes out to $20 per head for dinner plus a massive amount of pub food (wings ‘n things) plus drinks for like 4 hours. I think we were being comped for making the place jump!
The next morning we take our time leaving, which throws off Scrounger’s plan to meet us on the highway. Sorry. Breakfast at Perkins and on the road. The Moto Weather Gods taunt us by making the weather progressively better thoughout the day, until we end up riding the last third of the trip under perfect blue skies.
Fudgie thinks Fejj & Cindy plan to follow him all the way home, which is why we had to post a sentry on Route 68 at the exit ramp of our first gas stop just outside of Cumberland. By Harrisburg and our second gas stop we’re brave enough to take off the rain jackets but still leave on the rain pants as an offering to the Moto Gods.
On a whim and to avoid construction on Route 78 I take the NYC maggots up Route 81 to Hazelton. Along the way we pass signs for a little-know Pennsylvania town called “Mine Hill.” There is a milk truck broken down by the side of the road, and Katsoff stops just long enought to laugh at the guy and call him names. The driver looked weird, like he might just have been pushed over the edge or something. Fuck him, what’s he gonna do anyway. We roar off down the road.
Route 81 is really gorgeous. It rides the ridge of the Alleghenies and hugs the sides of sliced-off mountains. Trees are just starting to turn. The air definitly feels like fall, maybe 48 degrees and crisp. The clouds in the sky go from solid, to dramatic extensions of the mountains, to cotton-puffs, to gone in the space of an hour.
Last gas stop is Tannersville, the exit for Camelback ski area. I toy with the idea of convincing the maggots to stop in the excellent Pocono Brewing Company brewpub just five minutes down the road. Nah. At that point there was a good chance that even the NYC maggots could make it home mostly in daylight.
A German guy in a Loony Tunes embroidered denim shirt asks us directiosn and I actually know the way. This is a good omen for riding, so we depart in the best weather of the whole trip. Bummed that Bingcade 2006 is over and realizing that we’re quickly getting to the end of the official riding season.