Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Epitaph.....Part One: THANX!! do I write this?

Considering that, in the six weeks since I've gotten home, I have had -

- several pub quizzes

-several nights catching up with people from my homeland (and I still haven't caught up wiff all of 'em yet)

-one shit-kicker stomach flu (brought by the Portlandia drought season's three days of 100+ degree temperatures)

- too many trips to the ocean

- ten days hangin with my mum (who flew out here from Buffalo)

- a week in Reno and Lake Tahoe

- spent time hunting for a job for the past four months and have a huge stack of rejection letters to show for it and nothing else....

- watched The Buffalo Bills go 4-0.....and then promptly collapse!!

......and I'm trying to return things back to normal here in The Hills of Cedar.........

....I sincerely apologise for the lateness of this communiqué.

So where do I start?

Let's start as to how it was done.

How was it done???

Honestly? I didn't do a Goddamm thing!!! The Helix did it ALL! And this entire trip....this entire story? I believe it is more about the people who made it possible, and there were a lot of 'em.....and I wanted to write all about these people. Because, otherwise, you're reduced to writing about fucking landscapes and weather patterns. Wow......I don't think I could handle the excitement in writing about things like that, and besides, taking fotograffs eliminates the work in having to come up with whimsical phrases and droll anecdotes to describe an approaching cold front or a hill, sooo......

.....there's NO WAY in highest hell that it would have EVER gotten done if it weren't for the help of a lot of souls.......there's a lot of people to whom I owe a great debt, and I would like to thank, so let's go chronologically.....


Starting out, let's begin with
Action Motor Sports in Gresham, Oregon. Yeah, I wasn't terribly pleased with the grand total of the tab I paid, but they gutted the Helix, ran it through a severe once-over, and put it back together.........

......and, 'cause of them, I was not stuck on the side of the road until literally ten thousand miles later (and even then, a clutch is gonna go eventually....mine just happened to last longer! And they weren't supposed to check the clutch anyways.). Great job, guys......

Here's thee big thing about Action Motor Sports, though. A year or so ago, I was looking for routine service on The Helix. I had phoned two official Honda dealers in the Portland Area. At the first one in the Western suburbs of Portland, which is owned by a guy who likes to stick his nose and his wallet into local politics, the service person told me - "Uhhh....yeah. We generally don't work on older bikes....uhhh...."

"Oh? Why not?"

"Uhhh.....welllll.....uhhh, they're tough to get parts for"

"Oh, well, it IS a Honda, and being an official dealership, I'd imagine that, worst case scenario, you'd have 'em shipped in!"

"Errrmmm.......yeah....well, it's just that....uhhh.....well, we have done service on them, then we end up with the owners abandoning them on us, and we get stuck with these older bikes, sooo......."

"Wow....really? So, like, people would bring in 1993 model bikes or older, and have.....let's say.....a brake job done on them, and abandon the bike on you guys? Whaaaaa? I don't get it. Unless you charged, like, $750 for a brake job or something like that......"

"Well....uhhhh......yeah......well, we've had a lot of older bikes dumped on us after we've serviced them, sooo....."

"Right, ya want me to buy a new skooter from the picture. Yeah...thank you - bye!"

Called a second official Honda Dealership in far North Portland.....same thing.

Action Motor Sports was MORE than happy to work on The Helix.......THAT meant a lot to me....


'Pitz and Beia. - West Hollywood, California.

'Pitz and Beia pretty much ensured that I ate like a porker and drank like hell. And this was WHILST THEY WERE IN THE PROCESS OF MOVING ACROSS THE COUNTRY TO NEW YORK CITY!!!

Most people??

"'s not really a good time right now. We're moving across the country in less than two weeks, and things are kinda messed up right now, an'.....well, you know....."

NOT 'Pitz and Beia!!!

Souls to the end!!!!

YET STILL, after that hospitality, they'd again come into play later.....


T.J. - Denver, Colorado

Ya know......I really have a tendency to bug people at the wrong times. Much like 'Pitz and Beia, T.J. had a lotta shit on his plate and still gave me the run of his home. He hadta leave town on a business trip and still said - "E, have at it! Jes' lock it up when you head out."

I've met and gotten to know a LOT of people during my tenure in Denver......pretty much, T is one of VERY few who will ALWAYS be there for questions asked. A soul if there ever was one.....

As are Taj and Susan The Danser......I am truly honoured to be a member of the
Abundance League of Denver .....everybody has something to give....and everybody has a need.....and I'm a huge fan of how simple basic bartering in large quantities kills Capitalism!


Will and Cindy, Leyland, Andra and Tyler - Edgewood, New Mexico

Will and Cindy.....

....Friends for life....

....I hope, even after eight straight days of dealing with the E.

Leyland, Andra and Tyler.....

Ya know, there's those people you meet for the first time, and you wonder - "What the fuck planet did these people hop off of??"

And then you get ta know them...

And then you begin to hang wiff them a bit....

And then you toss horse shoes wiff them.....

Honestly? Meeting Tyler (Leyland and Andra's son) on the first go, he seemed to really have his shit together.....


....still does.

More so than ANYONE I've met that's his age (19).

But dat's gotta say something about his upbringing.

His mum and pa?

Souls 'till the end!

Ya gotta understand the Geographic and Sociological differences when we all first met. Sorry!!! As much as I like to try to hide it and disdain it, I'll freely admit that I still gotta bit of NorthEastern arrogance inside me.

After a few sessions of hanging out over a few pints, I had discovered..... will never meet truer folk than Leyland and Andra!

Hang out with their extended families forra bit?????

You'll be asked to stay in their homes.

I miss you guys..............I really do!!!!!!!!!!!!!

But I'll be back down there shortly......

....better yet, when the fuck ya'll comin' up 'round these parts???

I'd be honoured ta host ya!! And also be honoured to ride with you!!!

I also don't want to forget Downtown Scooter of Albuquerque. The Helix was feeling worn down and a bit dodgy by this point, and I was expecting to either be taken forra ride or, at the least, get a bit of a dropkick to the wallet. Naw, these guys (and girl) were genuine, truthful and very cheap. Did a bunch of adjustments, gave me a "state of the skooter" address, and The Helix ran fine!


My Cousins: Barrys (Senior and Junior and Trey [Barry Quad is next, I'm certain]), Mary, Jenny, and Kelly - Katy, Texas

The hospitality, conversation, beer, food (all home cooked and probably thee best cuisine I'd had on the entire ride) and just sheer relaxation that my family had shown me during a three-day restful weekend in Suburban Houston was exactly what I had needed at that point. Too many long stretches, too much wears a guy down after a while, and I was not in the mood for, nor in any shape to, dance on tables. The Geography and timing didn't work out where I could catch up with my cousin Julie who is North of Dallas.....but I'll swing by soon......

Thanx so much, guys!! I owes ya!


Chef Bill and the lovely Georgia - Tallahassee, Florida

(Though I had hit Tallahassee twice on the ride, and thus wrote two separate entries, the hyperlink on this goes to the entry that was one of thee top four weirdest and most fun evenings on the entire ride).


I ALWAYS know that, whenever I hit Tallahassee, that -

A) - I will NOT be departing when I say I will be.

B) - Strange, fun events and hi-jinx are certain to follow and

C) - To quote a favourite saying of HRD: "No good can come of this....."

I know I can also count on -

A) - Crashing parties where my friends have an extremely vague connection to one of the invited guests, and may have heard of the host. And leaving at the end of the night in the pre-dawn hours after at least one person in our entourage has managed to offend an invited guest or even the host.

B) - Copious amounts of top shelf food and drink (flame-broiled chicken breasts and local microbrew.....not frozen hamburger patties and Hamm's) being offered to this weary traveler upon his arrival by Chef Bill and Georgia......

When you guys coming up to the Pacific Northwest, so I can show some appreciation for everything you've done for me??


More Cousins: Danny, Paula and Deanna - Oldsmar, Florida

I NEVER fail to have a riot with Danny, Paula and Deanna. This trip was no exception. They presented me with luxurious accommodations, allowed me to grill my famous Chivetta's barbecue chicken breasts for them, chauffeured me all over the place, took me out for all I can eat crab legs, more La Fin du Monde, and a trip to the Oldsmar Tap House.....easily one of my top three microbrew pubs in America. I mean, ya gotta love a place where the proprietor (Tony) hands you, on the cuff, totally as his gift, a bottle of a special 17th anniversary edition Unibroue product that you might have a slight chance of locating in Montreal.....if you're lucky.

I miss you guys....git up here soon!!


Mehala - Hollywood, Florida

A debt I can never repay, to an absolute angel of a girl. First off, after wanting to destroy all of Florida's highway system after a very fucked up and frustrating ride from Tampa Bay to Hollywood, Mehala comes to greet me at the front door of her pad with a freshly killed and grilled steak and a Corona. THEN introduces me to what would become probably one of my top two all time TV shows (a show in 2001 on FOX called Firefly - the other of the top two is Veronica Mars)....and then takes me out on what would be one of thee coolest adventures on this entire ride - kayaking on Biscayne Bay. Really wished I had bought a water-resistant disposable camera for that one......


Ivanna and Jerry - Canton, Georgia

Souls to the core. Played shuttle driver for me back and fourth whilst The Helix was in the hospital for a new tyre.....accommodated me in their basement which was basically the lap of luxury......fed me like a porker as I got one day of badly needed rest. Though I only had time to hang for 24 hours, I DID manage to catch up with the entire family yet again a couple weeks later in Buffalo.

And....ya know?? I'm STILL wondering of Jerry ever found his keys......

Motorhome trip to the Pacific NorthWest is in order for you guys shortly, eh??


Coqui and Mary - Virginia Beach, Virginia

Great home cooked food, delicious vino, and fascinating conversation from two of thee sweetest, most caring friends I have ever had the privilege to know, along with their two wonderful niños (Alejandra and Andres) and multiple gambling pets (Poker and Blackjack). Put it all together and that's why I always make Virginia Beach a stop whenever I'm anywhere near the Eastern Seaboard. Bless this family!


Morseyboy and Kathy - Arlington, Virginia

Capital people in the Capital City. Whilst there for less than 24 hours, Morseyboy and Kathy fed me much quality vino, then proceeded to take me out all over the southern Capital District and get me a good night's sleep for a painful ride to Brooklyn the next morning ( afternoon, as the case was).

ALWAYS fun to catch up on the whereabouts of long lost friends with Morseyboy and to tell Kathy legendary stories of our delinquent youth. (It's always fun to do the latter....especially when you're in the very beginning of a very bizarre story from the glorious days of misspent youth....and then Morseyboy begins to realise what story you're leading to wiff this......and then you casually glance over and read the subtle, yet pained non-verbal facial expressions on Morseyboy of "Change the Goddamm topic NOW.....Jesus!! Fuck, do you really think I told Kathy about that???!!??"


'Pitz and Beia Redux - Brooklyn, New York

Ya know.....I wear out my welcome with my hosts very easily....and rather rapidly. So, during the segment between Washington, D.C. and Montreal, P.Q., when I was offered lodging at 'Pitz and Beia's new crib in Brooklyn.....I was ecstatic!

Besides being two folks who I truly enjoy spending time around and talking to, this would give me a chance to FINALLY see a part of New York City BESIDES Manhattan (I'd been to NYC about 13 times between 1988 and 1993....ALL of which were spent on the island of Manhattan).

But this was after 'Pitz and Beia had BARELY gotten settled in to their digs! I mean, they had arrived in New York on a plane just a few weeks before I got there after selling EVERYTHING THEY HAVE (including their car.....which only makes sense for New York City, actually) and just planning to re-accquire what they truly need later on.

I mean, I dunno about most people....but it takes me a good month or two or so to really be set up in a place. But 'Pitz and Beia were unfazed and really didn't care.....they were just glad to have me over at their place during this segment of the ride.

I literally don't know ANYBODY, who, in basically the middle of moving accross the country, would extend an offer like that to me.

That's why they're two of thee most amazing people I know.......and it was just hangin out with them that really made L.A. and New York probably my two favourite stops on this trip. Hell.....literally?? I coulda cared less if I had never even set foot out the door......

'Pitz......Beia.......ya need a rainforest vacation! Git up here now!


This is Part One of my acknowledgements - Ppart two coming up in a couple days....


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