by Zeke Wedgewood
I finally made it to Austin. It’s been lightly drizzling, but my need to stay moving is outweighing my need for comfort at the moment. I decided to explore downtown and search out an urban camping spot while I still had plenty of daylight to work with, but after a very minor fender bender (I don’t wanna talk about it), and then bending my front fender back away from the tire (I said I didn’t wanna talk about it!), and a quick weather check revealing four more days to come of this bullshit cold drizzle, I decide to at least drive by a local hostel and check it out. Being stuck in a tent for the next four days alone doesn’t sound too appealing right now, and I could use a warm shower, dry bed and a place to wash my clothes. I smell like the inside of a fake leg.
I soon met my fellow road warriors Scott and Bloss. Bloss has his own bike shop in Los Angeles. This dread-headed hooligan has been riding since he could walk. I watched him surf his bike going 40 in the rain while smoking a cigarette with his hands in his pockets… fucking psychopath after my own heart. He’s on a short pilgrimage just to get out and smell an adventure before heading back to the grind. Scott is from Canada and, like me, has no solid plan or schedule. They’re both near my age and disposition, and soon we’re chugging rum and telling pussy fart jokes on a nearby pier. I ended up waiting out the shit weather for the next two nights here with these guys, and we became fast friends while perusing local dive bars and rock shows.
I ran into the Austin roller derby chicks on one such night, and long story short, I rode a mechanical bull doubled up with one of these chicks and ended up dancing/stripping on a pole… on stage in some lesbian dive bar no less… yeah, I’ll miss that shirt.
Bloss tells us that a nearby bike shop has a kit for electric grip warmers for twenty bucks, and we made a rainy afternoon of installing them on each of our bikes. Fucking game changer.
The weather starts to break and Bloss has to jet back to the west coast. By now Scott and I have decided to ride together, and I’ve got him in on the construction job I have lined up south of Houston. But right now we have itchy feet and need to kill time for the next week before we start that gig, so we decided to ride out. Scott notices a fellow Canook plate on a car in the parking lot, and we picked up one more travel mate on the way out. We found a park an hour west that was like $5 a person split three ways, and it wasn’t until we had set up camp that I got a chance to even introduce myself to our new Canadian sidekick. His name is Hart, not “heart”, so he’s cool.
My dirt bike riding, assault rifle toting, bad ass land having, side of road ass saving buddy Matt called me to let me know that he is nearby. He came out to hang around our illegal camp fire (fuck a burn ban after three days of solid rain) and brings a case of beer and an old clip-on windshield he ripped off of one of his choppers and doesn’t want anymore! Fucking score!
The next morning we head south to a camp spot where we won’t get shit for having a fire, but after a cold night there we decided to head even further south to the beaches of Mustang Island, just outside of Corpus Christi. Mona (my bike) didn’t seem to like this idea.
Forty-five minutes into the ride Mona starts misfiring like crazy. I pulled over and peeked up her skirt but I couldn’t see anything wrong and I had no choice but to continue limping along. Then, almost to the beach, I break one of my highway pegs off on the interstate, which almost killed Scott behind me as the peg bounced down the highway. The worse part of this is that the peg is attached to an engine mount bolt which is now trying to slide out while I ride. So now I’m hunched over my tank holding this bolt in place with my hand and going 70 to keep the pace of traffic. Once again, the whole caravan pulled over so I could Jerry-rig my shit well enough to make it through to the last of the day.
Hidden amongst the dunes, pissing distance from the gulf, we found a sweet camping spot where we wouldn’t have to pay anyone for the privilege of sleeping in their dirt. We stayed there for the next five days, which gave me the opportunity for some much needed motorcycle maintenance.
I scammed a local YMCA for a free days pass, telling them I was thinking of joining but not before I check it out. This little ploy allowed me to catch a free shower.
I changed my oil, replaced the engine mount with a piece of all-thread, replaced and tightened the stripped bolt holding the front pipe on, and threw the remaining highway peg (the one that didn’t break off at 80 mph and almost tore my friends face off) into the ocean… then I peed in that ocean. It was the only way I could think to travel over seas with Mona.
But I still haven’t fixed the misfiring issue. Some days are just better than others. I changed the plugs, adjusted the fuel/air ratio, cleaned the clogged crank case breather system, changed the fuel filter, patched a small crack I found in the air intake hose, and cleaned the air filter. And yet she was still being a bitch, but I learned a lot about her in the process of trying to cure her of her cold.
Motorcycle maintenance is a lot like making love. You undress her, explore her, listen and learn what she likes and dislikes, what makes her purr. And when your finished, your sweaty, filthy, sometimes bleeding, hungry, and tired…. and she’s still not done talking.
Anyway, the local bars and bands weren’t very impressive, but our campsite was rad and the sunsets/sunrises were beautiful. We ate, drank, relaxed, and were merry. Although by day five I think we were all a little tired of sand being in and on everything we owned. You know how we all eat too much salt? Well I ate way more sand than salt that week. I ate almost as much sand as food, so we all decide to bail in the morning. Hart was headed… somewhere? And Scott and I were going to out-run a storm front by jetting up north to Houston for a final night of debauchery with a friend I know from Nashville before we start working. Too late.
We woke up to a sand storm. I’ve never been through one before. They suck. In fact, I had to put my helmet on with the visor down to pack my gear. In the process of packing I found a way to drop everything into the ocean, so by the time we got on the road I had almost as much sand and sticky, drying saltwater packed as I had gear. Then it started to rain… and it was cold. We might have made it an hour north, when we finally pulled over at a gas station to try to warm up with some coffee. I dug out all the hand warmer packets I brought and we opened them all and split them between us, Even Stevens.
Scott had a great idea: Gooch warmer! Warm your balls and the rest will follow, right? Twenty minutes later I was really starting to think this was a bad idea. This shit is hot! The only reason I hadn’t already pulled over is that I thought there was a chance that this is sterilizing me, and I’m too poor to afford a vasectomy. Then Scott pulled up next to me looking frantic and hiking his thumb, signaling to pull over. So there we are, a couple of filthy bikers on the side of the interstate, in the rain, digging in our pants with the crazed fury of a mother bear protecting her cubs.
Balls safe, we leaned back on our bikes, smoked a dart, and laughed. For a minute that’s all there was. It wasn’t pouring rain. Traffic wasn’t roaring by. My balls and gooch didn’t have second degree burns on them. I wasn’t soaked and freezing. There was just sweet relief, good company, and the overwhelming realization that everything was ok and always would be.. even if it wasn’t.
Twenty minutes after that it stopped raining, and by the time we made it to Houston everything had dried out. We cleaned up and partied for a night in Houston before heading to West Columbia, Texas, where cowboys won’t tell you where they got their spurs, historians are cool, construction workers are white, and the lawyers buy you breakfast……………
To be continued… probably…unless I die… or my laptop gets fucked…. or I break both of my hands…. which might happen when the laptop slams closed on them while I’m vigorously fucking with it, resulting in a lethal electrocution.