(Written september of 2013 and never posted)
I rode an old honda motorcycle across the u.s. for some months some years ago.
I killed it 3 weeks into the trip after going up the east coast and around Nova Scotia, I don't want to say how. It hurt me to quit and I wasn't broke yet so I got another bike same model with a good motor, that stalled on me just outside the holland tunnel right after I bought it, gunked up carbs and in dire need of an oil change, I'll never ride a bike home from a sale again less its real close. Swapping parts out from the two of them I had a nice running bike again to keep going.
An '84 and an '86 honda nighthawk 700 s, that frankenbike died mysteriously in my friend Sean's garage outside of L.A. when I left it there for a month to get some stuff done back home. Maybe it was the heat, maybe it was the thousands of miles and then the break, valve failure, why? ( I think now if I'd just emptied the carbs before I left it and put some damn fuel stabilizer in the tank...) maybe it was that back road nonsense north of Death valley, going in, when the asphalt turned to gravel, then to big rocks the size of my head, maybe it was that fire road near the border of canada in Minnesota where that ditch threw me and I killed the battery frantically trying to start it again before the fluids could drip back down into its system and walkin a mile down the road I found that old man in a trailer with a portable jumper box like I'd never seen before and he told me how his neighbor froze to death because they didnt plow his road that winter.
Maybe I could have fixed it, i could now, wish i had, at the time I was too dumb to even try.
Bike loss is something like a death of a girlfriend/horse/ loss of your legs. Not that those are all comparable. Motorcycles are also addictive, like heroine they'll kill you sure enough and you'll do stupid things to have one and bleed money to keep one and when your on it you could give a flying fuck about that bus or that eighteen wheeler or that torrential downpour, but thats silly.
But that's what makes you freak out to find a new bike and scrounge up your no moneys from ur new dumb job, cus you can do that u stupid bum living with ur folks still, and buy soemthing at night in the rain, paying cash to a guy that doesnt speak enough english to tell you what awful thing he did to it or whats leaking from where. And that's how you end up with a green meanie '99 kawasaki that stalls out on you on the expressway everytime for a damned near year and half. zrx 1100, replica of a replica, should have been a beefy monster if theyd followed spec on the eddie lawson winner, and it is one, in disguise, like a pro athlete handicapped holding a 40 pound silencer muffler and near solid headers and electronic rev limiter. Whole bands of wrench geeks on the model specific forums following each other like lemmings over questionable performance mod cliffs...tryna get that extra 3 horse powaaah, tryna get that faster throttle response. This bike is a plastic toy with a big motor like all the crotch rockets I guess. did find out now though its got the best pick-up right aroun 90 -110 mph not like thats fuckin legal anywhere in the u.s. but hey, if they cant catch ya they cant cuff ya? right? wrong. they got cameras you know...oh well.
After over a year of fiddling, learning and tooling and lots of web research hours I got the green meanie running fine enough to take it around some, packed with peanut butter and a big box of my comics. Going to have to keep doing this I see, maybe get a wagon...sooooooooooooooooooo i write this all crap hoping no one will read it...
(what followed was a list of shops up the east coast where I'd left my comics, they are no longer available there and I'll never do the consignment thing again, don't think I ever got paid for half of them. It's all right, it's my fault and it's on me.)
***Shortly after I wrote this I had a small accident on the green meanie on the Pulaski bridge, a month later? I think it was October, in any case I remember it was Friday the 13th, 2013, I made a comic about it for Smoke Signal, the one with the Gary Panter cover I think, called "Are You Refreshed Now Scab Farmer?" referring to the post motorcycle accident state where in your rad rash is a continuous source of mucous, puss and crusty pieces. A good buddy of mine bore witness to the harvest and rubbed a greasy fried chicken thigh on my elbow at my request. Thank you buddy, that meant a lot and I know you liked it too.
It was a good wake up call as I figure if I hadn't had that small crash I might have died in something worse a lil' later from getting too comfortable and not aware enough on the bike, you can never forget that you are on two wheels, straddling a half ton of metal, flying over unforgiving concrete slab, bouncin' on springs, and YOU are just a soft sack of bones and blood... RUBBER DOWN BABY! KEEP THA' SHINY SIDE UP!
I have since got back on the green meanie for many miles, a safer and smarter rider, nice surgical scars on my busted wrist and my rough bump collar bone to remind me to slow down and pay attention, good flashes of hitting pavement to keep me cool when I'm getting too wild.