Category: Motorcycle

Blog posts about motorcycles.

See Rock City Barns

See Rock City Barns

While riding in North Carolina and Tennessee last fall, I saw three See Rock City barns – one of which was entirely serendipitous.

Isn’t it funny how that happens? Something becomes of interest to you and it begins to show itself in unexpected places – sometimes on a path which you’ve already trod. Maybe my dad was right, water rises to its own level. Do we become magnets for things? Do we disperse our energy into the world and watch it fall like glitter on the air, dusting those things that are supposed to sparkle for our attention?

This Rock City barn in Grainger County, Tennessee was gorgeous. I was graced with a big blue sky, vibrant red barn, and green grass just waving in the wind. Seeing this baby was like being inside of a postcard.

On my way north along Calderwood Highway heading to Marysville, Tennessee, I passed this Rock City Barn. I’d had a vague recollection of seeing it several years before on a trip with friends to the Dragon.

Marysville, Tennessee
Google Maps

This super-fade was a stone throw from where I saw one of those menacing Giant Chicken Army soldiers in Robbinsville, North Carolina. One minute you’re contemplating your next move in a global war game against fowl beasts and the next thing you know, BAM! Rock City Barn. Life is nothing if not mysteriuos.

See 7 States from Rock City
Robbinsville, North Carolina
Google Maps

Interested in seeing some barns yourself? Well, you’re in luck. The Rock City website happens to have a location map for ya.

Not Much Doin’ in Esmont, Virginia

Not Much Doin’ in Esmont, Virginia

Have you ever heard of Esmont, Virginia? I hadn’t until I found myself passing through on the way towards the tiny Rockfish post office.

How had I even heard of that? Really, what’s a suburbanite from Long Island with no connection to Virginia and whose only recollection of The Waltons was, “Goodnight, Johnboy” doin’ knowin’ about such things? …the Rockfish post office. I mean, c’mon. Surely this space in my brain was meant for something greater like quantum physics, time travel or how to will my legs to stop growing hair. That’d be useful! But, no. I’m cerebrally filing away rickety old post offices.

Oh well.

Were it not for the backroad whims I follow, I’d miss out on a lot of quiet moments in out of the way places. I s’pose that’s part of the beauty of not planning the fun out of everything. You find yourself meandering through places you wouldn’t generally have cause to be in otherwise.

I know I’d miss out on the wonderin’ about the life lived in those tucked away corners of the world if I didn’t slow my roll through places like Esmont.

Who was Miller? Where’d they go? I’ll just have to keep wondering.

Stumblin’ Upon Some Backroad Petroliana

Stumblin’ Upon Some Backroad Petroliana

In October of 2018, I spent some time bumming around on the Bonneville. My meandering route took me down through Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee and Kentucky before I started making my way back east to New York through West Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania.

Not having a set route or a plan is my usual road trip vibe. I leave home with a general sense of where I want to go or things I might want to visit. But, other than that I try to leave myself wiggle room to add and subtract along the way. After all, it is a big gorgeous world out there. You never know what wonderful thing is waiting for you around the next corner.

Not long after visiting the husk of the Underwood & Petty Service Station in Strawberry Plains, Tennessee, I had to slam on the brakes and pull a quick U-y to get a good look at this building:

I can’t say for sure whether this was an actual business or just the trappings of a collector-type. Looking at the details on the building and the “fire door” sign through the window, maybe it did operate as a store of some type. Whatever the case may be, it was nice to stumble across it.

Sadly, I have no stinkin’ idea where it is. I’d be only too glad to share the location. For now, it’ll have to remain a mystery.

Last Night I Dreamt of Ravens

Last Night I Dreamt of Ravens

Last night I dreamt of ravens; ravens hiding amongst a murder of crows. Try as they might to unassumingly blend with the other corvids, I saw them as clear as day. True greatness cannot remain hidden. Like water against rock, it fights it’s way free.

Raven, did you come to warn me of misfortune or perhaps betrayal? Was your prophecy that of wisdom? I want to take heed but as in so many matters, I simply do not understand. In the off chance you are taking requests, a message from the god of truth and healing would be nice. Living with the knowledge that I know so little is a new paper cut each day.

You’ve come to me many times in the last year, Raven. More times than in the sum of my whole life. You have been calling out on well-worn paths. But, until recently, I never saw you, never heard your voice. Were you always there while I was busy sleepwalking?

One autumn afternoon, I heard you before I could see you. You were invisible, or my eyes were blind. I know not which. There was only your call carried on the wind. Though we’d not met, I knew your voice, I knew it was you on the far side of my sight. The omniscient voice told me that there was something more beyond my reach. But, the first step was to believe.

Do you remember when you called to me from the leafless tree over the river? It was just you and me. I stood listening as the sun reflected on your blue-black wings; you told me a secret. The knowledge was only for me. When the strangers came to see you, you said nothing more and I knew it was time for me to go. Were you there to guide my soul towards a new life?

That morning in the rain, you perched exposed, silently watching the fog. There were many places nearby in which to seek shelter, to shield yourself from the harshness of the elements. But you sought them not. Head down, you did not turn away from discomfort. You met it head on, diminishing its power over you. My wish for you was a laurel wreath.

Was that you, Apollo? 

Well, Would’ya Look At That. It’s Tuesday.

Well, Would’ya Look At That. It’s Tuesday.

Except, now it isn’t Tuesday anymore. It’s Sunday. And if you’re reading this in the future it might be neither one of those days, or maybe it is. The future is so unpredictable.

Though I’ve thought about it a good 150 times since the calendar turned the page, this is my first official post of 2019. And, I’m here to report there are still no flying cars, I never see anyone wearing a silver unitard, and worst of all, I don’t have a robot maid. So far, living in the future ain’t all it was cracked up to be in the cartoons and Victorian postcards.


Incidentally, I have many questions about this postcard depicting what life would be like in the year 2000. Firstly, why is everyone in a lake and why is there so much traffic? And how is that walking stick gonna help Mr. Top hat if he is in said lake? And… the horse? AND, not one of these people look like they’re getting royally chafed in the armpits even though their full bodyweight is being suspended with rope.

The waterwheel penny farthing looks pretty cool though, you have to admit. What could possibly go wrong with that design?

Here on Long Island, 2018 threw deuces and 2019 swaggered in asking if it could get a “what-what,” with a 60-degree day. Given the circumstances, it only seemed right that I did, in fact, give it a what-what and welcomed the new year on two wheels. My hope is that it that it sets the tone for the months to come.

But, I haven’t been out for a ride since. It’s been too damned cold. My chill tolerance seems to have diminished, even with heated gear. Instead, I’ve been keeping myself busy with other stuff and junk and am feeling pretty good about it.

Maybe I should be more judicious about giving out those what-whats, all willy-nilly-like. My first lesson of the new year.

Happy New Year 🙂

Motorcycle People are the Best People

Motorcycle People are the Best People

Recently I’ve become acutely aware of how hard it is to make friends as an adult. Thankfully, enjoying the same hobby or pastime makes the process easier. But, beyond the initial introduction, there is so much more involved in opening yourself up to people to the point that you can make a friend.

By the time you reach your 40’s, you’re likely set in your ways with regard to interpersonal relationships. Your past and the baggage dragged forth shapes everything you do. 

When it comes to trust, are you the type of person that gives it easily? Or are you someone who hangs back and requires someone to earn it over time?

Today I asked myself whether or not I am a trusting person. And interestingly, I was not able to confidently answer. My immediate reaction was, yes, I am. But, then I started to consider all the ways that I hold most people at arm’s length. It is but a few that get a glimpse of my tender underbelly. All of them happen to ride motorcycles.

The truth is, I don’t know what I’m really like. After all, there is your you and the you that is viewed through someone else’s lens. Is that all there is to measure with – your you and their you? Is there a third you, something like a real you? Or is there nothing “real” and only the perception of the observer? Is the cat really dead and alive simultaneously?

Thinking about the people I call friends, all of them are motorcycle people or spouses of motorcycle people. Is that a common truth amongst those who are passionate about something? It would make sense, really. You can only befriend the people you rub shoulders with.

Are most of your friends motorcyclists, too? I wouldn’t blame you. Motorcycle people are the best people.

Peace Out, 2018. I Won’t Miss You. Like, At All.

Peace Out, 2018. I Won’t Miss You. Like, At All.

peace and love, peace and LOVE

Hello, Everybody!

Before the time gets away from me, I figured I oughta check in to see how you’re doing, tell you how I’m doing, and wish you a very merry and happy everything.

I’ve been writing this post in fits and starts for the better part of a week. Most of the writing has been done in my head while driving my car, which I guess isn’t really writing, is it?

Unfortunately, the car-ride, chuckle-worthy thoughts haven’t made it here today. Maybe they’re seeds for a bigger idea that needs to be punched up later. It can require divine intervention to be able to piece together a post that incorporates rogue pubic hairs on a toilet seat along with the juice of unknown origin that spills out of a garbage truck when it goes around a corner. These things take time to percolate.

Over the past couple of weeks, I haven’t done any riding save for our annual Santa Ride. Riding around dressed like the big man is always fun. Seeing the laughter and excitement on people’s faces as you roll up is a beautiful feeling. Highly recommend it!

2018 Can Suck A Bag Of Dicks

Hands down, 2018 has been the worst year of my life. I wish that I could sufficiently express the amount of mental pain I was in when I was at my worst. Many times I was faced with knowing that I would never feel better again; that the rest of my life would be spent tormented by my own brain producing negative thoughts at eleventy billion miles an hour. And then coming to the conclusion that I would not survive if that was all that was in store for me. It was fucking hell.

“The best people possess a feeling for beauty, the courage to take risks, the discipline to tell the truth, the capacity for sacrifice. Ironically, their virtues make them vulnerable; they are often wounded, sometimes destroyed.” 

― Ernest Hemingway

But, There Was Actually Some Good Stuff, Too

On the upside, these past two weeks or so, I’ve started to feel significantly different. On Monday while driving to work, I actually noted to myself that I felt happy. Not happy like my car was suddenly filled with confetti and balloons or anything but, I felt good. It had been so long since that happened, it was startling. That I’m okay feeling stayed with me all day, which was a major milestone.

Generally speaking, my meds seem to keep me feeling sort of flat. I can’t seem to get excited, laugh hysterically, be passionate or be super-psyched about anything. My days are mostly… neutral? That’s rather strange. I’ve always been someone prone to laughing fits and to being rather silly. And for the pièce de résistance? I’ve developed a tremor in my right hand, which is just wonderful.

All things considered though, I’ll take the tremor, insomnia and the neutral days over the hell that I was in. Plus, I don’t have to wash as many spoons these days because I can stir my coffee just by holding the cup.

Though I’ve spent a large amount of time going on about how shitty things have been, there has been sweetness, too. The most eyeopening has been the outpouring of love and support from everyone.

People who don’t need to care, do and have gone out of their way to say so. The cards, emails, check-in texts, messages – all of it has been overwhelming. I’m grateful and humbled.

I’ve been called a lunatic and a maniac many times over the last 6 months. I had it comin’, so I can’t be surprised. And though it really shouldn’t matter what people say, those names always cut me deeply. It’s hard enough to carry the burden of the war being waged within yourself but to know other people see you as defective is rough.

So, if me talking about what’s happened to me can be a benefit to someone else, then I’m happy to have shared parts of my story. Several people have opened themselves up to me about their own struggles with mental health. People I never would have imagined suffering. That just goes to show you that there is a culture of silence on the matter. There needs to be less stigma and more understanding.

And for my two-wheeled brothers? What an unexpected gift you’ve been. All those tacos, group chats, the talks, the gentleness, the support and propping me up without judgment and even putting up with my ugly cry face. I’d be lost without you.

What’s In Store for 2019?

As far as what I’ll be up to in the new year, I really don’t know. I’m not gonna pressure myself to be or do anything. Instead, I’m going to try to keep myself open to trying some new things as opportunities arise.

My single resolution is to take care of my frickin’ eyebrows. What do you think? Shave them all off and start over? That’s always an… interesting look. Maybe I’ll just start having them tidied and waxed again. I’m setting the bar low. It’s only up from here, dear friends.

Love the people in your life. Nothing else matters.


Metal Gear Garden – York, Pennsylvania

Metal Gear Garden – York, Pennsylvania

While navigating my way around York, Pennsylvania to look for murals and ghost signs, I rode passed a metal garden which had giant flowers made out of gears and things. 

Something about the Gear Garden felt reminiscent of the PennDOT Sculpture Garden in Meadville, Pa.  – another great stop. Perhaps the idea of making something lovely out of throwaways is the connection.

I bet the flowers look especially lovely on a bright blue day.
When I Was Queen of My Own Cardboard Kingdom

When I Was Queen of My Own Cardboard Kingdom

Looking back at my youth, like many of you, I carried the knowledge that anything I dreamed up could be achieved. I gave little consideration to planning how I would do something. Instead, an idea would spring into my mind and I went about making it happen. My child-mind was open to endless possibilities. Actually, scratch that. It was fixed on doing and not what-if-ing things into oblivion.

As a kid, if I wanted to ride White Thunder, the fastest horse in all the land, then dammit, I rode White Thunder! Even if no one else could actually see me doing it. And as far as my building of houses, racing cars, or running a “fishing shop” (weird, right?) – to a grown-up the end results might have looked like a heap of garbage, but not to me. No, my child-eyes weren’t yet poisoned by smothering expectations and the lack of imagination possessed by adults.

Where I grew up, the neighborhood perimeter was almost entirely fenced off. There were two designated entry points and a central loop road lined with bungalows. Now as an adult, I suspect that perimeter fence was in place not so much to keep anyone from coming into our ‘hood, but rather to protect the world at large from the dregs seeping out. The community was largely a haven for drunks, wife-beaters, brawlers, druggies, and creeps.

Beyond the fence ran a major artery lined with stores and small shops. Near the eastern entrance was an appliance store called Trader Horn. Think of it as a PC Richard’s-type place.

That’s me in first grade – circa 1980

Because I was small of body but large on dumbness, a gap in the fence behind Trader Horn gave me a shimmy-through access to the outside world. Why didn’t I just walk out of the neighborhood on the roadway? Because squeezing through a metal fence and jumping off a 5-foot concrete wall was safer than walking on the road. Being around moving cars was dangerous.

Instead, the Trader Horn gap was an escape hatch that would spit me out into the safety of a parking lot. And… I could see their trash from there. Those idiots used to throw away perfectly good appliance boxes.

In the world of the cardboard kingdom, sure dishwasher and washing machine boxes were alright, but finding a refrigerator box? Well, now that, my friends, was the holy grail. When I spied one of those, I’d squeeze through the fence, jump off the wall and drag it back to my house – via the road – which was apparently never dangerous in that scenario. Obviously, the box would protect me from an out of control Plymouth Valiant.

In hindsight, I’m sure that I looked like a tiny hobo dragging those big heavy boxes with my first-grade hands. The cardboard would be slick and slippery and hard to keep a hold of, causing me to stop and reaffirm my grip. :::scraaaaaape::bump:bump::scraaaaaape:: as I dragged my treasure home to set up a house in the broken blacktop and dust patch we called the front yard.

As a kid, I pretty much had the freedom to roam and do as I pleased with little supervision. That was the life of a kid in the 70’s and 80’s. So lugging a giant box home, taking a sharp knife out of the kitchen drawer and cutting windows into my new cardboard castle was never challenged. Chances are good, I probably ran out of the house with said knife in hand raring to begin sawing away. Things are different now. My daughter is graduating high school this year and I still ask her if she wants mommy to cut her steak for her. (No, not really.)

Here I am now at the midway point of my 40’s. Gone is the unfettered imagination and fearless pursuit of my whims. My can-do was replaced with what should I do? My dreams are small. And, I waved so long to the ability to function without fear of being judged or observed or criticized long ago. No longer am I a queen of my castle. Instead, I play the fool.

How times have changed.

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