WanderlustBy Sam Lepore

Subject: Wanderlust 2000.6 - Goodlettsville, Tennessee
Date: Mon, 03 Apr 2000 20:26:08 -0700

    The head sucking and tail pinching went on with limbs flailing for 30 or at most 45 minutes. When the orgy was over, exhausted men and women wiped their dripping bodies and settled down to rest. Ummm, before you go gettin' any idea of a wild biker party, sucking and pinching is how you eat crawfish. As Corky explained, assuming you do the preparation yourself, every food source has a certain amount of energy necessary to capture, render, and make ready for consumption. Every food also produces a certain amount of energy for your body. Corky, remember, was a real college perfesser, so only he would think of charting the relative cost to return of the energy involved in foods. He drew a line across the table and said crawfish rate somewhere out there near the fence for their ratio. So he wasn't going to bother with them. BUT what he meant was, he wasn't going to bother to get up and go to the shuckin table to get them ... he had people bring them to him!
    In separate conversations with several riders who have rebuilt replacement bikes after a crash or major failure, I began to sense a pattern of the riders emotional involvement in their machine. Without actually saying it, they clearly feel there is a soul of the machine. Not in their specific bike, necessarily, but that a spirit of riding is carried from one bike to another when parts are transplanted. This reminds me of the forms of reverence seen in many skill segments of human society, from the honor given the buffalo spirit before a hunt, to the indoctrination rituals which honored the tools (rather than the masters) of the medieval guilds, to the overtly superstitious bonds held today by professional sports players for certain talismans or pre-game rituals. But the long distance rider of today is not honoring the bike's spirit *in case* it works, he or she is honoring it *because* it works. The longer you ride - and the longer your ride is - the more you come to realize you are merely facilitating the spirit of the bike. A symbiotic state is reached. It is a religion.

    Early this Sunday morning, most of us who are true believers in the religion of motorcycling were practicing our faith and reaping the rewards of our piety. Some only had one or two hundred miles to go, for them a short sermon. Others were headed to either coast for a full gospel. A few, like me, were headed nowhere. Well, 'out there' but with no specific destination for the day. An open prayer.
    I am off to make a 750 mile side trip to visit a friend I have known for over three years but have never met. That's the other most amazing revelation that comes out at gatherings like the Crawfish Boil - how the Internet is still just beginning to change our lives. People who did not know there was anyone else with interests like them are finding their personality-doubles ... and when the personality trait is LONG rides on slim excuses, well, this tool of electronic connection is just what we need to keep in touch with a wide community simultaneously. Heck, look at me. I write from who knows where ... and you are practically there.
    Carol (Skert) was particularly effusive about how powerful a web page can be in getting her story out to people she's never met. She teaches people of all sizes and sexes how to pick up a fallen motorcycle. She is not tall. She is not big. She can pick up just about any bike, you name it: cruiser, sportbike, or luxobarge. I helped her put a page together, and now she has people across the continent seeking her out to tell her how it helped them. See her at    http://www.ibmwr.org/otech/pickup.html

    Jeff Johnson and I were reluctant late starters in the motel lot long after everyone else settled into the pew of their motorcycle seat. We chatted about our respective routes, and I commented again that I expected my rain-free streak to end this day. Not a full day of rain for me in the last 40,000 miles, but the reports were saying heavy storms from Mississippi to Ohio. So although the day was cloudy but dry, I suited up and rode "into the storm". 500 miles later I had a total of about 11 raindrops on my face and I decided to stop. It has been raining all during dinner and into the night ... tomorrow morning it looks like my rain-free streak will end. :)    (See, Jeff, it wasn't a jinx.)

    500 miles of Interstate is homogeneity of pavement. There was traffic, there were trees. Exits have numbers. Unseen towns nearby pass by. Minutes and miles become interchangeable, time and space adapt to each other in a special relativity Einstein never knew, for he did not ride a motorcycle. The pavement is an unmoving mass traveling at high speed, generating an irresistible force which draws the rider onward.

499 miles
McComb I55 I240 I265 I24 I65 Goodlettsville
Sam Lepore, San Francisco

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