I’m was sitting on my front porch listening to the big wind blow through the trees tonight. Dead leaves were dancing all around with their scratchy scurrying sound. The clouds were blowing by like fast birds in the wind.
Across the street at the elementary school, I could hear the faint sound of the metal clip on the flag pole rope clanking against the metallic flag pole. Farther away, the Catholic Church’s bell also chimed softly, intermittently, but there is no Sunday service to announce, only the wind dancing to the Sacred Earth song and wondering if anyone is still listening.
R. Carlos Nakai’s native flute joins in the celestial harmony from my radio. I hear it all, and the cool night air stills me, slows me down, to reflect on my past and my good friends. Life is precious and short and I hope to celebrate this special time of the year with my Gypsy brothers and family as we end another year and begin a new one.
Let us never forget those Gypsys who have gone before us, and welcome the new members who will wear the Gypsy Gold into the future in never dying new adventures.
I’m was sitting on my front porch listening to the big wind blow through the trees tonight. Dead leaves were dancing all around with their scratchy scurrying sound. The clouds were blowing by like fast birds in the wind.
So the holiday season is here again with all its activities for Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanza, Mayan calendar planning, etc. This time of the year also brings about undue stress in people causing an assortment of maladies such as melancholy, depression, Mad Hatters syndrome, and football game addiction that usually result in you having low feelings of self-worth or thinking that somewhere there is a Gypsy dartboard with your picture on it.
This is totally not true…Only the Big D Chapter plays darts. Just kidding…
Hey come on Gypsy brothers and sisters and really cool independent people who are enjoying this article, you are loved; always remember that you are loved. I don’t care who you are: Someone somewhere loves you. Thank You Mom I promise I’ll call you Sunday… Ahem…
Okay if you ride you know the best thing for the blues is “Wind Therapy”… Can I hear it again brothers and sisters? Feeling blue and wanna feel brand new? “WIND THERAPY.” That’s right. Nothing clears the head better than a two lane back road on two wheels at cruising speed. Breathing in that fresh air, wind blowing through your hair, farm animals everywhere… BUG! BAM! Ewww… squishy… tastes like Grandma’s boiled squash.
Anyways, your bike is running good,you feel good and your spirits begin to lift. Wind Therapy people… Best thing for a bad head. What’s that? Can’t get out for a ride? Is it the weather, work, run over by a jerk, got the flu, cold, or going berserk? Don’t worry cool cats and chicks, Uncle Wango has got the home remedy cure for your Wind Therapy!
First you need a big floor fan with a long chain to change speeds with. Find a recliner or some kind of comfy chair you can use. You should have already put on your riding gear. I know you’re indoors but you need to feel real. Colors, sunglasses, motorcycle boots, do rag, jewelry… ok you can leave your pants off. I want you to be comfortable. Besides, you can be practicing for the Breezy Ride this way.
Next duct tape the long fan chain to your left boot. This will be your gear shift. Low speed, low fan, high speed, high fan get it? You can use anything for handlebars. You may have some laying around. If not, a couple of lapdogs or cats will work fine if they are wind resistant. Most dogs are, and their ears can double as streamers on your handlebars. If not, air handle bars will work, plus this will strengthen your shoulders for the real riding. Ok! You’re going to need some good tunes and a rocking jukebox machine to float them around the room. If you’re really blue and need to shake up those chakras, I would go with “Born to Be Wild” by Steppenwolf… It’s a timeless biker classic that will have you feeling tough and leathery in no time.
Time to get started! Kick that fan on with a left boot pull… Feels good don’t it? Is your motor running? That’s right! Jam to the tune! Make some South Park Biker’s Harley sounds “Brap Brap Brap!” Hell yeah! Now pull back on that fan and kick it up to the next level while you roll that Chihuahua’s head back! Rack out those Vance and Hines pipes… “Bwaaahh Une! Bwaaaahhhh Une!”
I know you’re feeling better…I can see you smiling! Eat some Oreo cookies so it will look like you have Love bugs in your teeth. Now lean back in that recliner and ease off that Chihuahua’s head cuz his eyes are bugging. Imagine you’re riding the Sisters… The roads in Bandera! Well hey it’s your ride… But concentrate! You don’t want to take out the couch.
Okay now you’re nearing your destination. Slow the fan, I mean your bike down… Give your pooch a little forward head roll and pet it to lessen the trauma its feeling. So here you are… Cruising through town, all the babes or (dudes for the sisters) are watching you. Let your sunglasses slide down a little and look over at them and do your best Matthew Mcconaughey impersonation “Alright alright alright.” Good job, they’re digging it, and you’re looking good now… If you feel really confident maybe throw a Gypsy Big Jones one liner at them like “How Yeww doing?” Don’t confuse this with Joey from the “Friends” TV show…It’s totally different.
Let’s take it to the next level and add aroma therapy and live action riding effects. Change the tune to “Riders on the Storm” by the Doors. Setup a spray mister in front of the fan and have the mister hitting you mostly in the face, so you can only see out of one eye while you spit out the side of your mouth. Keep saying to yourself: “If I just follow the tail light in front of me everything will be alright.” Dump a glass of water down each boot if you want to go hardcore.
Next take a sunlamp and put it directly above your head. Change the song to “The Weight” by the Band. Imagine one of those summer rides where your butt turns to grilled cheese on the bike seat. Good times right? Just keep saying to yourself, “I may be cooking but damn I’m good looking.” This will make you feel one with the Texas heat. Clint Eastwood would be proud of you.
If you want to take a sea cruise then simply make a tuna fish sandwich, take a bite, and rub some of the tuna under your nose. You’ll be on the Galveston Seawall in no time. East Texas or Louisiana ride through the pines? Easy, when the significant other isn’t looking, break a branch off the Christmas tree and stick it in the fan. You’ll be riding the high lonesome and smelling the evergreens before you know it.
If you’re single, you probably don’t have a Christmas tree so you’re screwed. Yipes! Did I say that? Ho ho ho Uncle Wango was just kidding… Besides you now have three extra hos to hangout with los lonely boy… Have some Eggnog and Fog, it’s Party Time! You bad whammer jammer!
Well I hope by now that this easy to follow at home instructional motorcycle riding enthusiast scenario type article has made you forgot all your doldrums, regain confidence, feel vibrant, refreshed, and happy! Why? Because Uncle Wango wants you all to know you are loved and you rock with your socks on Brothers and Sisters! Also you really cool independent riding type people who are enjoying this article, may the force be with you as well!
So remember when it’s impossible to slip away from the holiday festivities, get your knees in the breeze, with a Chihuahua or Pekingese, and put your mind at ease with some Gypsy Holiday Wind Therapy!
Good Karma, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah, Happy Kwanza, and Happy New Year to you all!
Gypsy Wango Tango
It was exactly one year and one week ago that I put on colors. What a great feeling. My prospecting time with the Houston chapter was great. I never had to do anything stupid; it was all constructive, aimed at making me a better Gypsy. The brotherhood we shared (and still share) was/is one of the best things in my life.
This past Saturday we hung Prospect colors on our two hangarounds, thus continuing the circle of brotherhood. It made me feel downright sentimental, especially since my road name patch finally came in. Last night, as we sewed on the road name to my colors—(“we” meaning my wife)—it was a true feeling of completion, no longer feeling like something was missing. Any other patch from now on will just be icing. But the road name… well… that was cake.
To those on the outside this probably seems like just another organization. A guy at a restaurant last Friday commented on my “jacket.” To him, it looked like a fun decoration. But my Gypsy family knows better. Sure, we have people on the fringes thinking about leaving. Some people are more committed than others. But to many of us, this is not just another club. After all, we don’t call it a “Gypsy Family” for nothing.
It had been one of those days where I was out of my comfort zone. Things were stressing me out that normally never did. I was nervous and jittery like I had consumed a pot of coffee. I hadn’t of course, I had just woke up and it was 11:30 a.m. I was wondering if I had some strange affliction like cold Chihuahua syndrome. I carried on and rode on in to my job.
Work was slow and my co-worker didn’t show up, so I was elected to cover his area as well (Thanks Dave!). I managed though, taking my ginkgo biloba pills that are supposed to enhance your memory, and washing them down with copious amounts of industrial strength coffee. That may not have been a great idea for soon after that, my mind awoke with the fury and passion of a drunken poet. My thoughts were racing against each other like a mental quarter mile drag strip.
Covering two areas at work caused me to miss lunch, so I ate a Three Musketeers bar with a bag of spicy pigskins. I was sure all these wonderful preservatives and sodium would probably enhance my mood, so I washed them down with another cup of the shop’s coffee that resembled used motor oil. I also had to stay over an hour to finish all the extra reports . Mental fatigue had begun to set in accompanied by over caffeinated thoughts pinging around in my head.
Finally I made it to the parking lot and climbed on my Yamaha Stratoliner. What a great bike… (I hope it’s listening.) I had recently bought a Harley Road King though, and I could feel the rivalry between the two of them, when parked next to one another in the garage. Of course I understand the rivalry was just my imagination, but the thought had snowballed into a complete ideology and repertoire between the Stratoliner and myself on the ride home. The Stratoliner was my original bike and does have a larger engine, but hey, cut the Harley a break, he is older and is still acclimating to his new home. Also, while some people prefer to think of their bikes as female, I’ve always viewed mine as male iron stallions.
It felt good flying down the road at 80 mph on the Yamaha, wind in my face and letting all thoughts blow out of my ears like bubbles out of a soap pipe, I’m feeling better.. I’m feeling hungry! There is no place to go this time of the night where you can sit down to eat and still see your bike, except the Waffle House. The one by the airport is always slow after midnight, with only the occasional truck driver or strange people with multi-colored hair and body piercings.
I exit the freeway and turn onto the road leading to the Waffle House. The Stratoliner hesitates and sputters momentarily. I speak to it telepathically “Are we going to do this here? I thought we’ve been over this… I’m not sure if I’m really going to sell you.”
“Then why did you let my battery run down?!” the Yamaha seemed to retort. “Do you know what it’s like being the original wheels of fire, bad boy motorcycle, and being stuck in that hot, dank garage going no where?!” “ Do You?!” “Well you know…” I stammered, but my words were cut off by the now enraged bike “You and that stupid Mr. Road King!” he growled. “Don’t talk about him like that! I shouted. “He’s old school!, He’s got skills!”
“Skills!” snorted the Stratoliner, now running hot. “ Who took you up through the Colorado Rockies with power to spare, and oh let’s not forget automatically reset the fuel injected air fuel mixture when we stalled all alone at high altitude?” “You did,” I muttered. “And who did a sling shot around a half mile long caravan of 18 wheelers and RV’s going to Del Rio at a buck twenty with a big bore roar?!” “You did!” I replied louder. “Who has the aftermarket vibrator in the back, ready to share backseat bunny love at the flip of a switch?!” “You do baby!” I shouted “Cock of the Walk!” “That’s right my man! And don’t forget it!” said the now thumping Strat, growling menacingly. “ Now show me some love, rack my pipes and rack ‘em hard!”
“Hell Yeah!” I replied as I pulled the clutch in and rolled back on the throttle hard two times in a quick motion. The Yamaha Stratoliner roared like a nitro fuel burning funny car, sending an adrenalin approval through rider and machine as we sat at the red light. It also caught the attention of three policemen parked across the street at the Exxon gas station. They walked to the ends of their cars and looked at me, like three junkyard dogs staring through a fence at a fat cat who had just meowed too loud. “It’s your ass now,” muttered the Stratoliner with a low wicked laugh.
You know, it’s bad enough to contend with the “Old School vs. Modern Metrics” bike debate in my head, but to be setup by a freaking ricer at a traffic light really makes me question my late night delusions!
The light turned green and I hung a quick left, leaving the officers behind , allowing them to return to their doughnut revelry, probably discussing important topics like “Night Stick vs. Taser” and ”Top Ten Handcuff Take Downs for the Week”.
I pull in the Waffle House, park and begin removing my helmet and riding gear. I decide to leave my colors on and walk inside. “Hi and Welcome to Waffle House !” all the workers yell. “Jeez do they really force them to say that?” I thought to myself, as I acknowledged their welcome with a half hearted smile and a wave of my hand. One waitress was staring at my colors and asks” Are you a Boy Scout Leader?” Now I got to hand it to her, that’s the best one I’ve heard in awhile. I’ll put that one right up there with “Are you in the Lions Club?” or when the lady at CVS Pharmacy asked me if I worked there.
“Boy Scout Leader?” I asked, “Why yes I am,” I replied sarcastically. “Well I thought you might be because you have all those cool patches,” she replied with a smile showing her slight overbite. “Oh,” I replied “Good catch”. I really didn’t feel like explaining myself right then, so I stayed a Boy Scout Leader for the time being. “What would you like?” the all knowing waitress asked. “I will have a tuna fish sandwich with fries,” I said. “We don’t have tuna fish here,” she said. “Well ok I’ll take a steak burger with fries,” I replied. “We don’t have fries either,” she said in a slightly saddened tone. “What do you have from the potato family?” I asked as the stress began to build in me again. “We have hash browns,” the young waitress said cheerfully, as if it were a Christmas surprise. “You can get them dropped, chopped, smothered, covered, and browned.”
“Maybe they should call them the Jeffery Dahmer hash browns,” I joked. The waitress seemed unimpressed with my humor. “I’ll just have them regular, Darling,” I said with a weak smile. “Oh, and I’ll take a bowl of chili,” I added. “Ok,” said the waitress. “Do you want your chili chopped, dropped—” I cut her off mid sentence. “I’ll just have it plain too thanks,” I said smiling feebly again. She seemed perturbed that I had so rudely interrupted her listing the serial killer M.O.’s again. Was it just business for her, or was there a darker side to this waitress chanting the assassination add-ons?
I looked around the diner, it was empty, but for two other customers at this surreal time of the night… creepy… perfect scenario for a psycho slasher moment.. I could see tomorrow’s headlines: “Biker Killed at All Night Diner.” Victim found “Chopped, Dropped, and Smothered” face down in a bowl of chili. Witnesses state, he had interrupted chatty waitress in the middle of her descriptive diner lingo. Sources later revealed waitress suffered from obsessive compulsive disorder and had heart shaped tattoo on her upper arm with the word “Dahmer” tattooed inside of it…
The waitress’s name was “Cha Cha,” or at least that was the flash name on her name tag. She wasn’t Hispanic, so I guess the name was derived from the culinary sound of a pepper shaker shaking, as a smiling cook shook it over the grill, while listening to some top forty song by the Temptations. Or the name tag could have belonged to a Hispanic girl that worked there before her and she had reluctantly inherited it. I’d like to think it had to do with the pepper and the Temptations because I’m crazy for that kind of rhythm!
Cha Cha had beautiful dark eyes covered by jet black eye brows and thick dark hair in a braid. She had a weak chin with a pouty bottom lip, that accentuated her slight overbite, giving her a sensuous young female beaver look. As she looked at me and I gazed into those lovely eyes, she smiled and giggled, which sounded like a lovely little beaver giggle as well.
Suddenly I felt myself being transported back into the old west, long before the white man came. I could hear the rushing water coming from the stream gurgling, bubbling, and I was standing there, a young strong lean beaver, slapping my muscular flat tail on the water, calling for Cha Cha and her back wood beaver love. I could hear the melody to the song “Running Bear” stoking up my beaver testosterone, as I bit through saplings with a wanton passion to take Cha Cha back to my beaver dam and slap some hard tail on her as “Be Bop A Lula” by Gene Vincent was pouring out of my quadraphonic beaver dam stereo that the Hamm’s Beer bear had hooked up for me.
“Hey” “”Hello?” said Cha Cha, which brought me quickly back to Waffle House reality. “Huh?” I said. “You have my finger,” she said. I looked down and realized I had been playing pinkies with her. “Oh I’m sorry,” I said with a red face. She laughed and said “That’s ok, you were spacing out and I think you were just trying to take your check I was handing you.” Her eyes lit up a bit and I think she was kind of digging it too. “Will there be anything else?” she asked her bright eyes and smile now shooting volts of electricity through me.
Suddenly I was thirteen years old again in the city pool, blissfully happy as Cha Cha and I bounced up and down with the water splashing around us, accompanied by smiles and innocent laughter ,in some sort of pubescent courting dance. “Hellooo?”… “Wow you must really be tired,” said Cha Cha as she giggled her sensuous beaver giggle. “Do you have jet lag or something?” “No,” I said pausing… “I”… pausing again… “Yes?” she said smiling and waiting for me to seal the deal. “What do you want?”
I looked at her close and slowly said “I think I’ll have a waffle,” “Oh,” she said, “You sure you have room for that?” suddenly putting her game face back on and sounding like a Lean Cuisine consultant. “Yes, I missed lunch and I’m really hungry,” I said. How could I explain that her simple beauty was melting my heart, much like the cheese on the restaurant grill, and I wanted to stay a little bit longer near sweet Cha Cha. “One waffle drop,” she said to the cook as she smiled at me and walked away.
Warm wholesome waffle, covered with sensuous blueberry syrup, the melting butter smell, reminding me of popcorn at the cinema when I first saw Elvis in the movie “Roustabout.” The King was so cool, much like this waffle of love.. the first taste was so good, that Elvis suddenly appeared in spotlight standing on the bar, gyrating and singing the passion I felt for Cha Cha the Young Beautiful Beaver Queen of the Airport Waffle House.
As the King walked towards her singing, he bent down and let Cha Cha wipe the sweat from his brow with the white silk scarf around his neck. When he stood up the scarf slid off his neck in the now screaming Cha Cha’s clenched fist. The King looked at me and winked. I gave him the thumbs up sign and said silently with my lips moving as to not disturb the moment “I’ll save you some waffle”. He grinned his half sneer and gave me his famous double pistols hand signs as he disappeared into the lights…. Damnitman!…Waffle House syrup is a powerful drug!
We had our moment Cha Cha.. and now it was gone. I wanted to whisper “Waffle” softly in her ear, and give her a sweet blueberry syrup kiss and feel her sexy overbite cut into my lip much like Cindy Ford’s braces in junior high school.
Bittersweet like the chili and waffle syrup combining, our chance at romance came and went with the sounds of the night, but thank you again, sweet Cha Cha Young Beautiful Beaver Queen of the Airport Waffle House, for making a bad day turn into a beautiful night.
That north wind was a cruel opponent. Coming home from the League City run was a chore. Every time we crested an overpass the wind jabbed at Mouthpiece and I like a patient boxer, jabbing over and over again, throwing an occassional right. The traffic was thick, so we held our ground in the fast lane, hoping beyond hope that the tires revolving beneath us would remain faithful until we pulled into our respective garages.
That day had been the revival of a fond memory for me, some of which was relived through our two hangarounds. This time last year, my stay at Fall Down was that of a hangaround longing to be a Prospect. I remember it well. Volunteering for menial tasks, not merely to impress, but more to have any opportunity to get to be around those I hoped would some day be my chapter brothers. I wish I could say that time passed quickly, but it didn’t. But pass, it did. And here we are.
I saw Timberr and Bobby Jo last night before I left, and we talked about this very thing. “Hey, you were just a hangaround this time last year.” Yep. Whole lot happens in a year.
Last year on the poker run I rode with them, Bill the Cat, Wango, and a few others while I was still sizing things up, and certainly being sized up as well. It was a beautiful day of riding with people I would come to know as Gypsy family.
Fast forward a year when BigJew and I took one of our hangarounds to the same place where I ate with everyone last year. Noah’s Ark in Bacliff, Texas is a place of good food, and even better memories. For two hours, the three of us sat on the deck and watched the water, motorcycles, and a few pristine classic cars.
We got on our bikes after a long, relaxing lunch, and rode back to the run site. Hit the throttle hard when the light turns green like a drag racer at the end of the countdown. Dance through the twists and turns as the road winds along the coast, peaceful marshlands, and an obligatory oil refinery scattered here-and-there. Change lanes together as one.
We made it back to Fall Down just in time to meet up with Wango Tango and Millhouse, as well as our other hangaround, and a few friends and family members of the chapter. We embraced, partied, and then partied some more. And then when Mouthpiece showed up, we partied some more. We talked, watched the goofy shenanigans of the afternoon bike games, ate, and began saying our goodbyes.
By the time it was time for Mouthpiece and I to get on the road, the sun had just made its way beneath the horizon. I put on a sweatshirt since the fall air was helping the run live up to its name. We rolled up Highway 6 with all the ease of a baby trying to sleep through the night. Good heavens, we must have hit every stoplight. When we turned north on 288, it was not long before we felt the north wind. Here she comes. Jabbing and jabbing like that persistent boxer.
But a half hour later once we turned together onto 610 and started getting closer to home, we somehow knew that the day had created more good memories for those of us who made our way down. The day ended for all of us differently. Some had left earlier. Some stayed and spent the night. But a good time was had by all.
Take a deep breath. Do the dishes. Let the cigars burn themselves out until next year. Ashes to ashes… we all Fall Down.
A ride or run somewhere is like a a big yellow onion right out of the produce section at the grocery store… Attendees and riders keep slowly peeling off like discarded outer layers of the onion due to prior commitments or whatever…
Slowly you end up with peeps who only need bare essentials like an extra pair of socks, extra t-shirt and a tooth brush. Those people ride irregardless… and those people are… Hard Core Onions!! Yeah!! fresh out of produce… peeled, chilled, and taking the field! And they return phone calls too! Yeah!! Sure they come back funky fried and greasy… but they don’t mind cuz the hamburger girls are always sleazy and riding the breezy…
Note: Opinions expressed by Wango Tango do not reflect the GMCH Chapter’s overall views unless the overalls are being worn by some really hot chick with ample cleavage… Thank You.
Without a doubt, you would have to be a Gypsy to get the title of this particular article. But if you do, chances are good, it brings back memories.
Remember that time at Cannonball?
Remember that time at Aardvark?
For me, the answers to those questions bring the past year around full circle.
In June 2011 I went on my first run with the Houston chapter. Aardvark. Ride there three hours, do the poker run, hang around, and come home that night. All totaled, 400-500 miles in a day. It was on that day that I first considered becoming a Gypsy.
Fast forward to this past weekend, August 2012. I am now a patch holder in the chapter I love. As a part of my life with the Houston chapter, BIGJEW and I left my house on Saturday morning, just as we did over a year ago to Aardvark. Both mornings provided great riding weather.
Like last year, by the time we got to the run this weekend—Goliad’s Cannonball, if you are keeping track—it was hot. The poker run was a race to the next bar to find the coldest drink. The return to the run site was a time to find some shade to catch up with other chapters.
We visited with our Gypsy family, ate some food, sold some Gyspy hats, ran by Dugger’s house to say goodbye to Bill the Cat, after which it was time to get back on the road. In some ways, the run is my second favorite part of the weekend. My favorite is the ride. Saturday going home was no exception.
BIGJEW and I got on our bikes, started up, and roared home for a couple of hours. Occasionally, a rainstorm would run alongside us like a train. But it was in the distance enough to stay away. Just a show miles away to entertain us.
We parted company once we got back into Houston. I made it home, highlighted the new roads I rode that day on my map in the garage, greeted my family, and went straight for the shower.
Yet another 400 mile day.
The reflection in the rearview mirrors on my handlebars looked the same: An unwholesome wall of gray blackness like a bad aftermarket window tint job on a 70s Trans Am. That’s what those mirrors above my hands looked like. The cheap color in the sky was the opposite of the multiple oranges and pinks of a beach sunset when people talk about the wonders of creation. This was a hue that caused you to pray for a different reason, especially on a motorcycle.
As I rolled northeast on Texas 31 toward I-45, a giant lightening bolt threw down in front of me miles ahead, daring me to come forward. I could not speed to the interstate fast enough so that I could turn south, and hopefully miss the coming storm. And I did. That one at least.
I breathed a sigh of relief as I turned south and shifted my eyes between the road and the mirrors as I watched the darkness behind me turn blue. The sun came back out in full force as it had earlier in the day. My arms continued to sunburn in the July heat. Only a few minutes later, while blasting down I-45, I hit a three-minute patch of rain, which was just enough to cool me off. It did not bother me a bit since the sun was out, and I knew it was just a little shower.
Little did I know it was a warning of things to come.
By the time the day was finished, I had ridden 466 miles in just a little over 24 hours, all in order to spend time with my Gypsy family. Three of us left Lake Livingston early Saturday morning to ride up to Dawson for the Cleburne/Gatesville run. (By the way, Cleburne, Gatesville, and Dawson only have one thing in common: They are all in Texas. In actuality, they form a 200-plus mile loop, but who’s counting?) On the way to the run, Eyeball, Raoul, and I (Truck) stopped to see Captain Too High at Woody’s on I-45. All of us have roots with the Houston chapter, and it is a long-held tradition to stop at Woody’s. Always good to stop and see the Captain. If you have never been there, you are missing out.
It is that family love that exemplifies why we Gypsys go on these runs. Although the weather was hot and humid, it was worth it to see everyone. And that’s what being a Gypsy is all about. You ride your motorcycle with those you love, with those who love you, all in order to see others you treat as family. It was a great day while I was with everyone.
But alone, well, that’s another story.
For an hour-and-a-half on that late Saturday afternoon, all I could think about was making it home.
I stopped in Fairfield at Cooper Farms to buy some peach blossom honey for my honey. I asked the girl at the counter, “Where’s the peach blossom honey?” She replied, “Right there,” while pointing at a huge display marked in bold captial letters “PEACH BLOSSOM HONEY.” I must have been getting road weary by that point.
It was nothing compared with what was to come.
As I pulled back onto I-45, it was only a few minutes before the sky turned back into that nasty gray from earlier. Only now, it was all around me.
But when the temperature dropped what felt like 15 to 20 degrees, I knew I might be in some trouble.
I thought about stopping to maybe wait it out. But something inside me said to push on until I could not go any farther. I made it almost to New Waverly, still about 70 miles from home, when I decided to stop for gas one last time. I pumped the gas, put my helmet back on, slipped on my gloves, and watched the sky turn even darker.
Just go. Get home.
And not a minute later, there on the interstate where it feels like you are everywhere and nowhere all at the same time, the sky opened up. Not just a sprinkle, either. I mean the sky went from dry to sobbing in an instant. You could literally see the wall of water a few hundred yards ahead. It was like a bad amusement park ride.
Traffic grew thicker the closer I got to Houston. Construction has piled up 45 for the past 3000 years between Huntsville and Conroe, and tonight was no exception. With every passing mile it seemed a car was dropped out of the sky right before me, cars out of nowhere appeared before me, forming a conspiracy of cages all hellbent on slamming on their brakes. The double red lights on the backs of the depraved iron vehicles flashed their angry eyes at me, warning me not to come any closer. And since they outweighed me by more than a pound, I decided my best course of action was to slow down. But… when the time was right… I bobbed-and-weaved by the disdainful monsters without a second thought. My Brother, BIGJEW, knows exactly what I’m talking about, because we have done it a thousand times.
For miles, puddles pulled on my Fatboy. The rain came down harder. Thank God for my faceshield and the gloves on my hands to wipe the shield clean every few minutes. The fatty, my faithful steed, seemed to encourage me to keep going. “Come on, Truck,” she would say, “We can truck this out together.” (Like I said, I was getting road weary.)
By the time I made it to the Hardy Toll Road in the Spring/Woodlands area, I was immersed in a baptism of filth. (You should see my bike as I write this.) It felt like these last miles would go on forever. I kept praying, in some ways to talk to God, in other ways just to encourage myself.
“Please, can it just stop raining for a minute.”
And you know what… It did.
Just past the old house of Millhouse on the Hardy Toll Road, the sky stopped crying. The roads even seemed dry in some points. The speed demon in me cheered an internal “Yalp!” that would frighten away any gremlins for miles, and the fatty cheered louder as I twisted her throttle as hard as it would go.
We danced through the curves on a road we practically had to ourselves. Each bend in the road might as well have had a makeshift posterboard decorated with the words “Welcome Home!” So good. So good.
Ticker-tape thrown by thousands could not have felt any better than that moment.
But it lasted for only a moment.
In a literal flash, it changed… once again. A lightening bolt struck what felt like a mere mile in front of me. The sound outscreamed my beloved Harley. It made me flinch. The sigh of relief turned into a sigh of “Here we go again.” The sky turned a devlish green.
I pulled my feet back from the highway pegs onto the footboards closer to my brake and shift linkage, and hunkered down for the last few downtown miles as the rain started again.
Each exit, each bend in the road, each overpass, included an SUV riding my tail until I lost my patience and waved my hand back, gesturing, begging them to back off in these less-than-wonderful conditions. Most people obliged begrudingly, although a few held fast to their evil ways.
So it goes. So it goes.
I exited the Hardy Toll Road and pulled onto 610, then down 45, then onto another road. Again… so it goes. I am no longer naive enough to believe that I am the only one to have ridden these motorcycle roads. Truthfully, that is quite comforting. I know that this path that I rode today has been trodden by many before me, especially by my Gypsys.
I rounded on to 59 and took the exit to my house. The rain was beginning to ease up as I pulled into my complex, around the corner, and finally into my garage. I turned off the bike gently, thanking the fatty for a loyal delivery.
If you have been on a bike for more than a few years, you know that feeling. A ride well-ridden, involving hundreds of miles… finished.
As my family came out to greet me, I pulled off my gloves and surveyed my pruny hands. I was completely drenched. As I walked inside, up the stairs, I peeled off my Gypsy colors and hung them on the hanger to dry under the fan in the bathroom. And all the while, I thought about my immediate family, my Bering church family, and my Gypsy family.
Family. Work. Club.
Or in other words…
Jen-Cole-Reese… Bering Drive Church of Christ… Gypsy MC…
And that is all…
I kept thinking as I kept giving thanks for being home.
For the Houston chapter members who had to stay home for all sorts of reasons.
For the hundreds of Gypsys scattered around the world we did not get to see this weekend.
And for the group that gathered in East-Central-Where-in-the-World-Are-We… for the run… I was grateful to have been with them today.
When I cleaned up, dried off, and put on dry clothes, I called Super Pickle right after I texted two of my GMCH Brothers that I left back at the run site.
“I’m glad,” Pickle said. “Right after you left came a real turd floater.” (That’s “rainstorm” for the uninitiated.)
“Yep,” I replied, “I got drenched myself. Different storm, but same wind and water.”
“Well I prayed for you, Brother,” Pickle assured me.
“Well I’m glad you’re home. Go hug your family, and we’ll see you later in the week,” Pickle continued. “I love you, Brother.”
“I know,” I told my friend. “I love you, too.”
The forecast for Saturday afternoon was heat followed by waves of hot humid hotness. The idea of sitting outside for hours at a picnic table for our monthly meeting (and after party) was less than appealing. I could not have been more wrong. Throughout the day, GMCH members kept saying, “This is the best meeting ever.”
Our brother Wango Tango offered to have the meeting at his house. When we walked into the back yard and saw the brand new table under a hundred-year-old oak tree, we knew the setting was perfect. Our guests would arrive later in the day. But for now, our chapter would discuss our business in the shade of that old tree in the breeze not quite as strong as the breeze we felt on the ride up.
When we finished talking business and adjourned the meeting, Wango put charcoal on the GYPSY MC grill that somehow survived Mandatory a month prior. (Different story for a different time.) Doused with copious amounts of lighter fluid, the flames shot into the air like a rehearsed pyrotechnic display at a Pink Floyd concert. Before long, burgers were cooking, drinks were enjoyed, and a good time was had by all at “Club Wango.”
Throughout the day, guests arrived. Mr. Fibb from the Alamo City chapter came over to mix the FOG. Rat Bike Willie and Miss Tracy came down from the Moscow chapter. And a few of Wango’s neighbors joined the party.
The truth of the matter about it being the “Best Meeting Ever” is pretty easy to explain: We rode our motorcycles to be with our brothers and other friends. We were together. Being in an MC includes all sorts of things that require our attention. But most important, we ride together, and enjoy good times. Simple as that.