Fucking Freedom Manifesto by Jon Hansen

Jon wrote in about his cross country move so we put it in the magazine. It’s long. So we didn’t print the whole thing. The rest is here. Unedited.

“Fuckin Freedom”

A 2013 Cross country voyage


Being that I am the forgetful sort, I’ve decided to take a good record down of my epic CA to NJ ride of 2013.

I believe that every man deserves to be free, as long as he feels he needs to be.  This lust for freedom, I do not believe will ever go away, I feel it is at my core, my soul.

I thought my mother would be proud.  Her delinquent boy having a “legit” job, paying taxes and the whole 9.  Her boy, at first was pleased, having a job in the field he wanted to be in, and a “powerful” position at that.  I have always been intrigued by electronics and music, the combination makes me crazy.   So what would be better than building them and being able to learn?!  In California! Where you always wanted to live!?  Well…. Tasty places often require hard pills to swallow.  In this case, It was working with a very dedicated man, Who to this day, I still do not fully understand.

I never went to collage because I didn’t want a job “working for the man”.  Still rethinking that….  Being a production manager for an up and coming audio equipment manufacturer at first was very exiting.  Interfacing with the kind of shops I wish I had, getting money made, making end users happy, loved it.  But what was behind that?  Who was motivating?  Like I said a very dedicated man, hell bent on getting his piece of the pie.  Now I love success as much as the next Joe, but A master must be connected with his slaves, such is the failure of capitalism.  I was putting in my all for the “my way or the highway” sort. 

The more I heard “My way or the highway”, the more the highway sounded good.

I was unhappy for a long time, grinding away, lying to myself.  My good friend who moved to Cali with me had gone back east, there was not much left for me.  The women were not my style, and my living to work situation became more and more lethargic.  The only woman I felt any connection with helped me realize I was giving my all for someone else, not me.  I felt no connection, no passion.  My lust for freedom grew like a wild fire, sparked by the cigarette on a California freeway.  I realized I was in a stalemate.  I had to get out.  Sure, most would say I was just working a job.  They would say that’s the way it goes.  It was not going to go that way for me, I was not having the grind, I needed a dream to work for, something I could call mine.

In a tequila soaked confession, I explained to my boss, and “Big Willy” that I was not going to work for this company any more.  My expectations were not met.  My boss blamed me, I blamed California.  Regardless I started my withdrawal.

Leaving is a weird vibe, tying up the loose ends can be strange. I recall the Ice cream man. We had some good times, I thought him about dope growing and he got me dope from the skate park.  He was a genuine good guy.  Was really fond of his woman and his dog, Jody.  Dog was a Cute lil girl.  The girlfriend’s mom was kind of a wet blanket, living in a stoner house hold with a grow tent in the bathroom… weird vibe.  Anyways, a key component to my California exit was an ipod mini “creek street mo fucka” that some kid traded him for weed…. Ice cream man gave it to me, as a thank you.  Solid Ice cram man.  By the way, We called him the ice cream man, not because he was cold like ice cream, but because he always wanted to start a vegan ice cream cart/ truck operation.


I had a ruff plan. I wanted to put my two Harleys in the back of my Toyota truck and drive them with my trailer across the country,I80,straight up hauling style.  However the Toyota was showing signs of cylinder head failure.  I loved the truck, but the cost of the motor rebuild was more than the value of the truck.  So, I sold it for 2Gs and some club weed.  It was suppose to be 2gs and some Harley parts…. But much to my chagrin, ended up being weed.


So the plan defaulted to my usual:

Find people to stay with, connect the dots, camp in between.

I looked at maps at night after work, sometimes at work, for some quick research.


I put the other Harley, a ‘73 Sportster and the trailer in a storage unit and shipped it.  You are not suppose to ship vehicles in the containers, But mine was in pieces, slammed in a locked trailer.  I had no worries.  Shipped My Monte Carlo SS too.  So with a 2007 Sportster XL50 named Sally, a shit load of gear, and a vague plan I set off for the land of my birth and the last place I was happy, New Jersey.


Chap 2: Go time


I remember having an awesome going away party with my big homie Edwin, “The Big Win”.  He was a cool ass mother fucker.  So was Clay, mah, main man.  Big homie.  We had a BBQ and burned many blunts.   East coast steeze.

So I sold the truck in a deal.   Give me 5 hundo and its yours for the rest, on Sunday. Had a contract written out and everything.  So dude buys it, after many many phone calls, the truck was sold off craig’s list in about 45 min.  For more than 300$ over my asking price.  Plus the weed.  And I got to use it for the remainder of my moving needs.  So the last night was the epic go away BBQ and passing out on the floor. 

In the morning I was waiting on money to be dropped off, then, running late as usual, headed to the pier.  This was for my Coast to coast legitimacy.  Took a picture of the bike over the ocean, and headed south.  This is where my Gmap starts.

The wind was intense around sand city, north of Monterey.  After seeing the REI was closed, I pulled over for lunch in Monterey and to adjust my packing.  Got Mexican food and a real coke.  Checked the weather and saw gale force winds, over 40 knots, all along highway 1 in big surr, my destination.  I remember seeing a warning for small watercraft, stay out of the water.  But no way was I going to make this trip without Highway

I had bought a new pair of Carhartt double knee pants and I had my good Ben Davis work pants too.  My Alpine star jacket with the liner and some riding pants summed it up.  I ended only wearing my “riding” pants in the rain, the rest of the time I used the work pants with long johns under them.  I went out and tested the gear previously in Monterey, where the wind is really cold.  Passed the initial test…..

The wind was kicking my ass.  Blowing really hard and moving me around the road.  At first I thought there was sand on the road, to realize it was just blowing around.  I stopped and grabbed a beer at Julia Pfeiffer state park.  They have a bar on the side of the road, plus you can put your feet in a creek if you want.  I had a Local Big Sur blond and as I was having it, saw the first news of a bomb that went off at the Boston marathon.  I was just fed up with the world. I decided I needed to get more removed. So I adjusted my handlebars back to lean more on my backpack as a back rest.  After that it was back to the wind.

The wind almost blew me off a cliff a few times, not joking.  I had to slam on the breaks more than once because the wind would just redirect me randomly and I had very little to say about it.  I ended up stopping of a “safety” break a few times.  I had a bunch of joints rolled up in a Harley Davidson tin that a zippo came in.  I never had the zippo though.  I was given the case by “sweet baby Jay” because he would often pull a dick move, usually while drunk, and try to apologies with some material bull shit later.  Any way, this was California, I had a medical card.  No big deal.  The wind, however, was a huge deal.

I only made it a little south of Hurst castle.  I saw a sigh for a campground (also saw it on Gmaps when I was able to get service) My nerves were shot, I wanted to set up camp.

I made a round around the camp ground.  I have camped in the state of California several times, I know how it works.  Find your spot, fill out the envelope with your spot number on it and pay.  So I found a spot out of the wind.  Problem was, I only had $100 bills.  Why carry any more weight than you have to?  Plus, I pretty much emptied my bank account before I left, leaving enough to handle a serious emergency via debit card.  I’ve never had a credit card.  

The guy who sold fire wood would not break a hundred but I was able to find some older folks drinking beer, they helped me out, then I was able to make almost exact change with the wood guy.  I think the spot was $45 and the wood was $10.  This is the California I pay for…. The drinking public was a riot though.

Rite as I was filling out the envelope, a group of hippie dudes roles up in some beat ass Toyota corolla.  One was looking shady, the rest were genuine California hippies, stoked on life.  I chatted them up for a sec, enough to break the ice.  We bitched about the price of camping and then paid it and set up our respective camps, in different areas.

I had my Hammock that I had made, plus a tent.  I set up both so I could lounge and eat in the hammock, but sleep completely out of the wind.  I cooked some cheesy rice over the fire in this bitchin’ pot I got for super cheep at an army navy place.  It was soooo cool.  You could lock it and it had a handle too.  I was planning on just using that the whole trip.  So I eat about half of the rice, full, and I start walking towards the beach to burn one and watch the sun set.


On the way I pass the hippies, it was almost dark and they are just getting their shit together, I bull shit with them a little more and make it clear that I smoke weed.  They say we should hang out later.  I figured they would say that.


So I head to the beech, watch the sun set as the wind whips the sand.  It was intense.  There were local nesting birds, sitting in a big puddle created by a stream that was washing to the sea.  I think something about being in the water, protected them from the sand.  I headed back to my camp to grab whiskey to drink with the hippies.  I got the whiskey in Monterey, at the Mexican food restaurant, that was also a liquor store.  Awesome combo.  I remember seeing a guy sitting in the restaurant, just drinking Bud Ice.  That’s it.  No food, I think he had hit shabbily brown bagged.


I drank the whiskey.  Shared some with the boys.  It was still really windy so I smoked a joint with them, too windy for the giant bong they were traveling with.  They were very grateful. As they cooked whatever they were eating, we heard noise in the woods, We were high, so at first we thought, Oh, were just high, But no!  There were Raccoons!  I had a red head lamp so I could see their eyes really well.  There were a mess of them, bold mother fuckers too!  I wish I had my .22, that’s why I bought the Damn thing.  Damn Raccoons have no respect for man, who is suppose to be the apex predator.   We were throwing shit at the coons, whiskey bottle, rocks, sticks, anything.  The hippies were getting violent, I was pleased.  It was very Us VS them acid trip kind of shit.


After hanging with the hippies and fighting the raccoons for a while I had a buzz on and was tired from the road.  I said my peace and before I went away they started getting shady again.  Then I knew why.  They had a bunch of blotter acid.  They gave me two hits to say thanks for sharing my whiskey and weed like a cool dude.   Solid hippy move.  Hippies are not good for much, but they are certainly good for that!  I was just looking for company, but ended up getting a cool going away present from California.


I headed back to my camp and, for the life of me, could not find my cooking pot with the rice.  I was in need of a snack before bed.  Where the fuck did it go?!?!  Then I remembered, The Coons!  Fuckin little bastards stole the whole fucking pot and were somewhere in the woods with it, trying to figure out how to unlock it.  I bet they were beating it with rocks or something.  I was so pissed, but tired, so I went to bed.  Pissed


That night I had crazy dreams that the raccoons were trying to attack my tent.  Some how, in my dream, I was able to see clear through the tent with my red head lamp.  When I would look the coons would snarl and hiss at me (I don’t know if they even do that in nature).


In the Morning I saw a sign at the bathroom that looked like a wanted poster for raccoons, basically telling you that they are going to fuck with you so watch out and hide your food.  It was a well done poster, but it just rubbed in the fact I had to get another cooking pot.  The wind had died down the next day, so the morning ride to LA was awesome.  I stayed on highway 1 the whole time.  Except when I got coffee and breakfast, and when I went to the army navy store to get another cooking pot.  It was overpriced and had a plastic coated handle that melted away first use.  It had a neat heating design to the bottom, but plastic was wack.  I said “isn’t that plastic going to melt when it gets hot?  I’m cooking over a camp fire, not one of those little gas burners.”  They lied to me like California bitches and I bought the ting for like 45 bucks.


Highway 1 was hard to fallow some times, It would turn through fields and towns that looked like Mexico.  Wild dogs, abandoned cars, and all.  Also went by a military bass or two.  I was told about this killer dive bar in Morro bay, but it was early morning so I just passed on through.


Once I got through a mountain pass, I was back by the ocean, north of Goleta.  I decided to call some LA people to see if I could score a place to crash.  It was harder than I thought.  But I left some messages, and put my headphones back in, got back on the bike.  Riding along the Pacific is way better with low wind.  The water was blue and I could see oil wells in the distance.  Made me wish I had time and nerves to really take it all in when I was further north.


Stayed on 1 through a killer stretch before L.A., North of Malabo.  I think I was just running on trail mix munchies and breakfast at this point, so once I got into L.A. around where a shitload of highways come close to the ocean, I headed to Venice beach to try to get some good Mexican food, before it became a thing of the past.


I parked somewhere shady in Venice.  Totally back alley illegal, But you could see it from the beach so I figured my gear was a little safer from all the Venice bums.  After walking around a bit, checking out the weirdoes and the skaters, I walked back to a restaurant I was parked by.  Went in, and sat at the bar.  Nothing happened, for about 15 min.  I left and went to the bar/ restaurant across the way that served basically the same thing.  Beer and Tacos.


When I went in there, I sat next to two girls that hade obviously been there for a while.  They were wasted, bought me a shot!  Very flirty, they had just gotten tattoos.  Totally underage.  I was like a pig in shit, these bitches were rockin’!  We bullshitted a bit while a fight between the bartender and one of the local homeless dudes escalated. 


 It started with the bartender having to ask this older, seemingly a bit off, black man to leave.  He looked like a local homeless crazy to me, and after other homeless crazies came to back him up, I feel my suspicions was substantiated.   Dude was bothering the girls I was talking to.  If I thought he was a real threat, I would have stepped to him.  I had a huge knife on my side.  He didn’t really acknowledge me.  He was aggressively hitting on the girls.  They were trying to be typical, nice, passive, California girls.  Bartender tuned in on it and asked the guy to leave.  After Homeless dude heard that, he flipped out.  Now there was a situation.  The bartender, after raising his voice and stating his authority at the dude’s rebottle, proceeded to walk around the bar and approach the man in a big prick waving dick fight.  Macho shit…


Some other regulars stood up in the bar and the dude backed down.  Finally at this point I could order from the dude in the back who came out to see what the noise was about.  I ordered two quesadillas(nothing like norcal btw) and some local IPA.  I think it was wave themed…..  


At this point the girls explain to me that they were scared of the guy, but wanted to be nice so he didn’t freak out…. Guess they got the situation better than the bartender did… 


Meanwhile the fight escalated outside as other homeless dudes came and the original dude came back, tried to make it a race thing, and then took off his shirt.  The cops were called at that point.  Then more time went past, more shouting, crowd gathering, threats flying.  Finally, just before the pigs got there, it came to fisticuffs.  The homeless dude struck first, then the bartender hit him solid.  They both got a few in, but it was mostly the bartender calling his bluff and waiting for him to swing.  After some blood was drawn, the cops, who were watching the fight, stepped in and tackled the black guy.  They took him to jail, the bartender gave a statement, and then after talking to all the regulars, he got me another beer.  I thought it was entertaining, accept for the fact it interrupted my bar service.  The girls had had enough at that point, and in a small way felt responsible, so they wanted to leave.  I bid them farewell, and finished eating, while the regulars were giving themselves the post game wrap up.


I got a text back from my buddy Marcin! He gave me his address and said we should meet up there for beers, but I should sleep somewhere else, his studio was way too small.  I had heard back from a friend who had a wedding party in town, and another who’s sick father was in town.  Finally I heard from a guy who replaced me at a previous gig.  He was in Hollywood and said he would call me after a party he was going to.  Spoiler alert, he never did.


So I burned one on the beach with those chicks, and Headed for Marcin’s.  


Splitting lanes in L.A. is one of those thing you have to do before you die.  I was moving pretty good, but had to let the real pros pass me.  One was a dude on a killer loud old chopped out iron head.  Suicide shifting his chopped out rusty bitch, I let him pass.  He was thinner than me with my bags of death hanging off the side of my loaded down sporty.  I rubbed a few cars, but they are soft bags.. Its cool….


Then, after getting a bit lost, I burnt a J to cool down, on a hill overlooking Marcin’s hood.  He got back and found me chillin, with a beer in his hand, and another for me.  He had a friend with him, who, by chance had also road his motorcycle to L.A.!  They were drinking Miller light, what the fuck?  Anyway, we headed back to his pad, half a block down.  I unloaded some sensitive shit into his place.  I had a gal. of gas strapped to the bike, that would have been stolen in a fucking second in L.A.


The guys drank a bunch, not me though, I thought I would still have to ride to this other dude’s house to sleep.  After we went out for drinks and brought back some Carlsberg elephant to Marcin’s pad, we decided I could cram into a small spot on the floor and crash there, after all, I was camping equipped.


There other biker, I forget his name.  I remember he was an old time friend of Marcin’s.  working class dude.  Really fun to drink with.  He was going bare bones.  No CELL! No Nothing! Camping pad, change of cloths, knife, I don’t really know what else.  I think he had a jacket and helmet.  Little Honda 750 4cyl. Black.  Nice shape.  But damn was he riding light.  He came from Seattle and going to Florida.  What a mother!  Marcin said he could email him for me or something, or he checks in via phone, yeah, I think that’s it.  So I told Marcin where I was so I might be able to meet up with the guy on my east bound leg.  Never happened.  I really hope he got there OK, he said one thing he would do is sleep in trailer parks/ KOAs in empty lots….. I really hope he made it… He got too dunk and not enough fed.  He faded out while Marcin and I drank scotch and listened to records.


Marcin was a big influence on me when it comes to record collecting.  I knew him from audio school.  It seemed like he was making it in the audio world.  He had a mastering setup and was also working in a studio.


Chap 3: Down to Beer Town


After leaving Marcin’s and spending a solid amount of time on the interstate type L.A. highway, I headed down south to the land of the pines…. Not really.  I was going to San Diego. 

Highway 1 sucks in LA!  Long beach is worth skipping, but at least I was there.  Things opened up around Hermosa beach.  I raced a Tesla sedan.  It whooped my ass, and the driver said that was nothing.  I need one.  Played a little on the road with a chick on a pink ninja, she was cute, said she was heading to the next city where she lives, I had my mind on the road and she could tell by the way I was loaded down.  But we raced a bit and played around splitting lanes for fun.


After we went out separate ways, I stopped to smoke a J on the beach and eat some trail mix.  I knew the road was going to become a big interstate through no man’s land south of LA.  The town I stopped in was quaint, no one gave me any shit.  Bull shitted with some surf fisherman for a sec.  Then back on the road, so the wind could say “hey, I haven’t forgotten about you ”.  Saw two big Concrete tit looking things that were in “the naked gun” pulled over to take a picture, even though, the signs on the side of the road said not to stop.  I later learned from my buddy Joe that it was a nuclear reactor, that’s why they said not to stop, not because the highway comes to a craw from people taking pictures of giant concrete tits.  I tried to remember how to get to the Green Flash Brewery from memory, but ended up on an island in a bay in San Diego.  The wind was blowing the sand, that sucked.  Otherwise the island was cool, and I got better directions.


I headed up too the Green Flash Brewery, about an hour and a half before the tour.  So I ate a curry dish, and stocked up on camping food at a really cool store.   Had some real good just add boiling water dishes.  I was stoked.


Green flash tour was Rad!  I first had a beer outside waiting for the tour.  I had my atlas out and an older couple started talking to me about it.  I told them my story and they said, if Im going through Albuquerque, I should stop at the “blue hole” I noted their advice and added it to my itinerary.  


The tour was sweet like I said.  I got to ask a lot of questions about how a full scale steam powered brewery works.  It was eye opening.  They had a triumph inside, and I learned a lot.  Got a long sleeve T that I needed, and had several free beers complements of the tour guide.  The cute bar tender at green flash recommended I check out another brewery on my way out of town.  Alpine brewery.  


Alpine was soooo good, I recommend it to anyone going to San Diego.  They use all natural water from the region.  Way better than green flash who uses an RO system to remove everything from the water so they can add minerals as needed.  Good water comes from the ground and tastes good.  They have the rite idea at alpine.


The food was good at Alpine as well.  The waitress was no slouch either.  I remember the fries the most, think I also got a good veggie burger.  The bad thing was that I was getting drunk, it was dark, and I was going to a camp sight I had never been to.  Fuck.


As I collected myself after the flight of brews (that I did not finish).  I checked my map. Campsite was about 20 miles up into the mountains.  I remember how weird it was being cold so far south, but I plunged up into high elevation to find a closed camp sight.  Fuck.  Luck had it that there was an open ground about 3 miles up the road, and a few others past that. I went up and set up camp by headlamp. Paying the camp sight after I had scoped it out.  Cooked up some food and slept in a cold hammock, next to a camper.


I cooked breakfast in the morning and headed out.  At the exit of the camp ground I stopped to re adjust my load.   A Ranger stopped to question me.  He turned out to be a biker himself.  Told him my rout, he was impressed. Also told him about how I had to pay $10 more than I had to because I did not have change. (California camp grounds are all different prices).   The Mother fucker gives me $10 out of his own cash and says he is the one who counts the money and he had already wondered why someone paid more than they had to.  This was one time, a very rare time, where the law actually helped me.  I took it as a sign of good luck, and headed down the cold road.


It was an awesome curvy road up and down mountains that protect San Diego from the central desert.  Awesome ride.  Horse farms and ranches.  Got gas at a little red neck joint with coffee.  Coffee was bad but I needed it.  The wind, once I got down to the valley, kicked my ass.  I had to pull over just to catch my breath.  I was headed to the Salton Sea.



Once I came down the sandy mountain roads of southern California, into the central desert, I encountered the wind again.  Blowing me side to side.  After a few breaks and a gas stop and redirection (where I found a honey bee hitching a ride on my pants), I decided to proceeded. 


The wind was blowing from the North, so once I got to the sea (on the west side), I was going with the wind (south).  Not bad. Then I hooked around the sea, and was going into the wind.  Sand got shitty some times, but not as bad as being shifted around the road like the last few hours heading east.  I saw farms, farming fruit and salt.  Saw dudes riding on the back of trucks with dogs. Awesome.


After making the turn north, I headed through what seemed like ghost towns. Like Mexico, or an abandoned gold town in Nevada. Old west shit.  Sand, fertilizer mist, and hot sun beamed at my face.  Later, I ended up at the spot I was looking for.  I knew it instantly.  Saw the abandoned campers and jagged fences from miles away.  It was Bombay Beach.


I saw a Vice documentary on this place.  The Colorado river redirected itself, due to sediment.  Thus, creating the salton sea, on a dried up salt lake.  The fishing was world class!  After time passed, the river moved back, and the salt got more concentrated.  Fish died, commerce failed.  I was going to the only bar left in the Salton Sea’s tourist aria.  The God damned ski inn.


I road around the dirt streets and down to the water.  It really felt like Mexico.  Abandoned churches, houses, everything.  Took some pictures of dead fish on the shore.  Then I walked out on some old pilings, must have been a dock at some point.  Anyway, I figured, I could smoke a joint out there and if anyone tried to bother me I could ditch it.  I then encountered a foreign family.  French I think… I then proceeded to the bar.


When I walked in there, it was so real. Way better Than I expected, this was the real thing.  Old man and his woman running the place.  Few obvious locals, drinking out of mugs.  To be fair, everyone had a mug…..


I scoped the place out, got a beer, and started bull shitting with the folks in the bar. They were discussing what little local politics they had left, in a very down home sort of way.  I liked them.


I decided to spend some time in this very unique bar.  Some folks wondered in and out, doing the same ting I was doing. I talked to a wife and her husband, they bought me a beer.  Talked to a guy with a really cool manual camera, he bought me a cheap beer.  That was solid. Took my picture on film outside in front of the sign.  Still have never seen a copy. He sais he was going to send it to my mom, after he developed it.  He was the real old school deal.


After the bar fun, I headed Up to Mecca, where I was sure my shit was going to get stolen, when I went into the convenient store/gas station.  It was shady. Dudes brown bagging tall cans of American shit beer outside.  There was an interstate up the road, but I saw, with my Gmaps, that there was a cool windy local rout through farms.  I took it. Through stone vallies and rocky outcrops I climbed... I had to pull over and take pictures, it was unbelievable.  About 25 miles down the interstate, witch was the only paved pas, besides I8, with gas.


The wind was kicking up a bit on the interstate, Semi trucks were passing me.  80mph was a bit fast for the conditions I thought.  I was also feeling tired.  The desert can mesmerize you, not much out there but the mountains in the distance and the lines on the road.  I pulled over and got gas, called my brother, and had a can of starbucks crack.  The double whatever you get in the little can.  Bull shitted with some motorcycle dudes at the gas station, bench racing, talking about our bikes.  


Then I called Joe Bondley, Told him I was on the way.



Chap 4:

The Empty Desert.



Joe Bondley is a musical genius.  I originally met his acquaintance while going to recording school in phoenix.  He bought me Whiskey while I was underage, and god bless him for that.  We would often drink and play guitar.  I think I found some of my favorite songs because of that man.   Ya see, Joe was in the national guard at some point.  I think he got some kind of head injury discharge he don’t want to talk about.  But with this government sponsored gift of policy, He used the GI bill to keep going to school and getting paid for it!  So he went to school to become the world’s most bad ass guitar player.  I swear he could be a session player in NYC if he wanted to be.


I made it to phoenix before night fall.  I started feeling the vibe again.  I had lived there some years back.  It is always funny rolling back into town, I wanted to go by my old apartment and old school… But I really wanted to find that bad ass chick I had a crush on last time I lived here.  I didn’t though.  There would have been no way to know what happened to her without facebook, and even then, I may never be able to find her.  All I had was a first name and a back story.  No numbers, plus, I had enough trouble navigating the phoenix suburbs as it was.  I took off my helmet as soon as I got into Phoenix proper, my neck was killing me, I would have took the helmet off earlier, but the interstate is high speed and I am in unfamiliar territory.  I first realized I was in a helmet free state once I got to phoenix and saw an old school dude on a softail.  Riding free.


Anyways, found Joe.  He was stoked to see me, Beer in hand.  We had a few beers and caught up at his place, We had a tone to talk about.  He had a nice pool to boot.  Parked the bike in his garage.  We then got some more brews from the gas station and headed to his practice space/studio about 2 miles away.  IT WAS RAD!  I plated drums and bass, it was so good to jam with Joe.  We have a musical click.   Good brain muscle to stretch after looking at all those lines on the interstate.  We drank beer all night and smoked a bit.  Jammin the whole time.  Fuckin love Joe.


The next morning it was 4/20.  Or at least I thought….. I really thought that it was!  I woke Joe up early to smoke with me, I was getting ready to do a celebration on the road.  I road local roads with no helmet the whole time.  It was epic.  I had to pull over again just to take pictures.  Had to make my buddy Red Jealous.  Had to.  I took US60 out of Phoenix, Up through salt river canyon.  It not only was a fantastic ride, with many safety breaks, But was my longest ride without a gas stop.  I had to whip out the spare 1.25 gal tank.  Shot the shit with an older Harley dude at Salt River canyon, said his wife (who was not there) liked it better than the Grand Canyon.  “Less tourists, but you can still take a mule down the gorge”.


Spent a long time on desolate roads that day, music going, helmet off, free, no wind to boot!  I remember going almost 100 miles and seeing no other cars on the road.  I saw some really poor Native American towns, super sad.  I didn’t stop, because there was nowhere to stop, nothing to stop for.  Until I saw the sign far in the distance, “Welcome to New Mexico”.


The sign had bullet holes in it and you could see a town in the far distance.  I was hoping it was Albuquerque, It wasn’t.  It was another Indian town.  I saw a dude on an old sportster with a gun on his back.  We were instantly buddies.  His girl was fallowing him in an old pickup.  They were going camping on his vacant land.  He had bad ass swade chaps.  Probably not the most practical, but I was changing into my riding pants at this point.  The temp was dropping as the sun went down.  I got out of the desert and onto the freeway around nightfall.  Took a sunset pic from the gas station, the first one I could find.  Then I was high tailing it to Albuquerque.  The sun went down and I minded the semis, Hoping over the next hill would be a city glow.  I remember the roar of the Semi Trucks as I wizzed by with my hair in the wind.  Like a bat out of hell, screaming into the night.


I eventually got there.  To southern 505, Lauren’s crib.  After getting a little lost and firing up the GPS, I found her unnumbered house. I was able to figure it out.


Ya see, Lauren and I have a little romantic history.  While I won’t bore you with the cross country details of love, lust, loss and lament, I somehow got the impression she wanted to get in my pants again.  I was wrong, she was just being friendly.  Hey, it happens.   As the miles rolled by I would think of her.  She has a fantastic smile that never leaves the back of my mind.  Super cute ass bitch.  California had left me disappointed and longing for some kind of female connection, worse than I was aware of.  As it turns out, my lust for it had caused me to get to ABQ a whole day early.   It was not 4/20.  It was 4/19.  I was smoking a joint by myself on the walk to the bar and everyone was like “what are you doing?” After consulting my cell phone I realized the error of my ways.  I would have hung out with Joe more!


It didn’t take me long to realize Lauren was not “into” me the way I was hoping.  A sweet girl none the less, I was just not on her literal list of dudes to bang before she moved to Colorado.  I didn’t want to wait around.  I had planned for this, I’m not stupid.  I know not every time I think a woman is into me, she actually is.   


My cousin was coming onto ABQ to see William Fish.  I’m pretty sure, she had fallen in love with him and at this point.  About a year and a half later, they are going to get married soon.   That was farther in the future than I thought, I mean, I was a day early.  I was not going to bum around Lauren’s with no Sexathon!  You can only hang out with someone you are ridiculously attracted to so long before it just starts killing you.  So after giving it another day, a bunch of good beers, and a concert in the park (on 4/20 with Murs, a hip hop artist who’s sticker was on my old bicycle years ago…) I felt the road calling.  No use to sit and watch a girl I had a soft spot for, talk about other men with her girlfriends.  It was time to go see John Henry.


The John Henry story


My buddy Red had told me to go see his dad.  I had never met him, I only had stories:

“My dad was literally born with three testicles.  He didn’t know it was weird till some chick freaked out on him.  He always heard men talk about their balls, but who says my two balls?  You talk about your left nut or right nut sometimes…”

“He keeps his revolver on his end table, right next to his papers, pot and remote”

“Whatever drugs you think you can do, my dad will do you under the table, I have never seen a man drink that much beer and still function”

“My dad lives in weed New Mexico and he can shoot out the engine block of a car before it gets up his driveway.”

“Since he loads his rounds so hot, he can liquefy a parry dog before the varmint hears the shot”

“When my dad was in Vietnam He……”


All of this was usually fallowed with “You have to meet my dad, he’s the shit!” 

 “Sounds like it” I would reply


I had made contact with John Henry Previous, on the phone, to confirm with him my arrival, his address, and so on.  I was told not to just show up, because he might shoot me.


That morning I left Abq, I felt the call of the road hardest yet.  I had to ramble on.  I had nothing to stick around for, My Cuz was days out and hearing Lauren talk about fucking other men while I was at a personal low drove me crazy.  I was almost all packed when she got up and out of her room to find me packing.  I made my peace, as honestly and collected as I was able to. Threw my hangover over my shoulder, and proceeded to head out into the desert, south toward Mexico.  Tom Waits was on my Ipod, early Waits hit the nail on the head.


“Goodbye.  So long, the road calls me dear.  There your tears will not find me anymore.  And farewell, to the girl, with the sun in her eyes. I kiss you and then I’ll be gone.”


As the road, wind and sun started to beat me up, I switched to a long sleeve T and no helmet.  When I did so, I stopped at a rest stop and smoked a joint in a shady little hut.  It was shady for sure, I had to wait for the state troopers to leave, but the wind was strong enough I was not afraid of the smell.


Went through some long stretches that day,   I was totally hung over.  I stopped for gas in some super small, not even a town really.  More like a gas station that was also a small weird middle of nowhere diner, where the casher would cook for you if you wanted to eat there.  Must get a lot of truckers.  Anyway, they only had regular gas and diesel, So I put my extra gallon of emergency premium sea level octane fuel.  Topped off the tanks with regular, and after a lot of water and some truck stop food, cliff bar, and a piss,   I was back on the road.


There are not many towns between Abq and El Paso, not many at all.   One was named Magdalena.  The name of an old sweet heart of mine… I had to take a cell phone picture of a sign for the town, and send it to her via cell.   There was not another car in sight, off the free way(do they still say that here?).  Safe to just stop in the middle of the road, take my gloves off and phone out.  Snapped a photo.  Sent it next gas stop where there was service.


I was far away from anywhere I could call home, Going to meet an insane man I had never met and I had already forgotten what day it was.  I think I was removed enough from the rat race at this point.  Just out there, Looking for a good time, cursing large.  Packing drugs and fat stacks of cash.  Not to mention survival gear.  I had everything I needed!  Water filter, Gallon of stored water, Cliff bars and trail mix, sometimes a dinner, Tarps for myself and the bike, Hammock, tent, cooking supplies, medical supplies, charger for phone and iPod, fire starters, everything.  I was only missing a hand gun.


I stopped for gas and a sandwich in a small farming town.  I remember it being weird.  The vibe was just bizarre.  I ate outside, the wind was starting to kick up again.  Saw a couple fighting in a car, some bad parenting, yep, I was out there…..  I actually saw the place where the Rio Grande river stops!  We have sucked it dry people!  It doesn’t even separate Mexico and America any more.  In El Paso, the boarder is a ditch.  Lauren told me not to sop in Las Cruces, Its where dreams go to die, or something like that.  New Mexico is weird.


I called John Henry when I got into Texas.  I stopped at the welcome center, but the were  closed.  No free map for me. Fuck!  Huge Texas flag flying and enough wind to keep it up!   Any way, John Henry informed me that the road I was going to take to go see him was closed and his son is a big dumb ass or something like that….  I had to drive through more of Texas, around the mountains, and not through the cool mountain pass my buddy Red had told me to take.  That pass was closed due to construction, John Henry says its traitorous on the way back down the mountain, guess they are fixing that…. Anyway, Texas drivers were a little crazy, I thought. Ive driven in mexico and I could tell I was getting closer.  Is that racism? I duno, Is it?  People in Mexico drive like trained chimps.  Like its some other country or something…


After missing John Henry’s trailer park like three times, I found it.  Found his lot, He was on the porch.


It was one of those aquard moments where I have to get my headphones out and helmet off and gloves off, before I can hear what someone is saying.  I hate that shit, No one realizes you have tiny ear buds in.

“You must be John’s friend”

John Henry I presume?

Yeah……So Jon, You drink rite?

Yes.

Well, Cocktail hour around here starts at about four o’clock.  So, I’ve already had a few, get you bike inside the fence.  Can you fit it over here?

Yeah sure!


I maneuvered the bike through the gate and away from his cars and on to a paved space.  He had a little scooter in the back, he rides it around the park, apparently.  He asked me if my Harley leaked, which I notified him that it did, primary.  He gave me some news papers to put under the bike, secured them with bricks from the garden bed.  After that we started drinking.  He showed me the “house”, I met Mommy Bonny, who was awesome.  Instantly wanted to make me something to eat and tell me where everything in the kitchen was.  I brought my bags in and decided to smoke out my new buddy with some of that Cali shit.  He obliged, we hit it off.


After a long cocktail hour, watching El Paso news, and John Henry notifying me that “in 1976 (I for get the year, check up on this..) the US gov’t declared me Legally insane. Ok?”  He then went outside to lock the gate, check the perimeter, and lock the trailer door.  Then he told me, “Don’t worry about anyone messin’ with this place.  In Texas, If someone breaks into your house you can shoot them dead.  I keep a .357 Magnum next to the bed.  And its been a long time since I’ve killed a man”.  I slept well that night.  I felt like the biggest bad ass in Texas was watching my back.  Or that he was just one of the bad asses around who survived Viet Nam, either way, slept good. 


Next day John Henry told me at breakfast he was surprised how much I could drink.  He asked me How long I was staying again.  I told him I was spending the day and then leaving the next.  He said “Aww Hell!” and preceded to tell me he had to go to the V.A. to do some shit and He wished we could go shooting instead.  I don’t remember the details, but we ended up going shooting.  And Mommy Boney makes some bad ass eggs and coffee. She was a waitress at one pointing her life.  She lived out of her truck and traveled the country.  She is a super cool lady.


John Henry loves his Buick.  He says it’s an old man car, and the reason the car company is going out of business is because their clients keep dyeing.  He loves the air ride.  Granted, It’s a smooth car, even on a dirt road.  Which we ended up on after John Henry thought he was lost.  There are not many land marks out there.  So we went too, what seemed like a public shooting range, out in the desert.  There was a state sign notifying you that it was a shooting range, and telling you to pick up after yourself.  Responsible of them, Don’t ya think?


There was another party there when we arrived, with a seaming cornucopia of guns!  I remember mostly rifles.  Way more rifles than I would imagine three people going out to shoot.  We gave the guys a nod and a “hey how are ya” when we rolled up and backed the Buick up to the range.  It was a small valley, man dug to have hills on all sides but the one you were shooting from.


I wanted to take a bunch of pictures because I was exited. I saw a Beatles 45 with shot holes in it!  What!  Got a pic of that!  But John Henry told me not to take any pictures of him or his guns.  He don’t want the man to know what he’s got.  We fired the .357 first, after asking the other dudes to hold fire for a sec to setup liquor boodles full of water to shoot at.  He let me shoot first with the most minimal explanation of fire arm operation. How to load and how to shot, I think that was it.  He truly did not give a fuck.  We realized we forgot earplugs as soon as we hit the dirt road, I immediately regretted it as soon as I fired the S&W .357. RING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


It was fun though, and I shot pretty good.  Really, really nice hand gun.  Then we did some shotgun.  Just still targets, mostly bird shot.  Then at the end of the shot shooting, John Henry put in two rounds of “bubble odd Magnum Buck”.  Whoooo! That had some kick!  He got his own kick out of seeing me shoot those rounds.  Then we did some long range with the rifle.  Cool mag fed beast.  It was really rad, but I was not so good at 100 yards. He was way better than me.  After we fired away a bunch of rounds, My host loaded the rest of the rounds into the guns and locked them in the trunk.   Guns are useless unless they are loaded, everyone knows that.


On the way out of the dirt road John Henry pissed me off, Mother fucker took two cigarette buts out of his ears that he was using as ear plugs!  As my ears rung the whole next day I was secretly hating him a little, for not letting me in on his secret plan.  To give the guy some old man points, he was probably deaf enough he didn’t really need the ear plugs.


We went back to the trailer.  At some point in the day I checked and topped off my primary fluid with a little extra.  At another point we got drunk, at another point we went shooting.  I forget the order.  Anyways, while we are hanging out we call Red over skype and tell him about our day.  He later confessed to me it was really weird seeing me on the computer screen where he usually only talks to his dad.  I had a good time with that.


Through out the trip John Henry and Mommy Boney were warning me about the Man around El Paso.  Specifically about a checkpoint out in the desert, a few miles from the New Mexico Boarder.  This was a no rights Zone.  You were going to be dog sniffed as soon as you entered the checkpoint, no rights, nothing.  It was because of this I gave John Henry the last of my pot, some things I was carrying Pot in, and My Medical Tincture I had for times where I could not smoke.  I really wanted to hang on to that, but they convinced me it would be a bad idea.  What ever the case may be, John Henry, Where ever you are, I still want my tin back, and my tincture that, I told you! Not to drop on your weed to smoke!  I downloaded some Hank Williams, and Willy and Waylon. And hit the road.  I showed John Henry how to listen to it, hope he likes it.  


Texas was mellow on the start of the day.  Took some more eastern roads back up to ABQ.  Through the desert, cool music, I was really happier than a pig in shit.  Grinning ear to ear.  Until I hit the checkpoint.


I was immediately searched by dogs, even before the federal agent asked me any questions.  The whole ordeal was short, probably because I was going to have a sober day…. Besides the fatty I smoked before I left, thank Christ. I think at one point the federal agent said “well you have a lot of shit strapped top that thing, but I don’t think you could fit any people in there”  It took everything in my power not to make jokes about it, I just wanted to get through it without any additional questions.


After a hassle and some bull, I was back on the road.  Some wind fuckin with me, but mostly a beautiful ride.  Getting a bit cold as I climbed the elevation,  I stopped in an old railroad town to get gas and lunch.  I talked to a dude who was driving a long distance to get to a job he was going to start.  I think he was going to LA from … Texas or something.  I am not really sure, But he noticed my travelers’ load and we started talking.  He said the wind was fucking with him a little but it was getting better, I hoped that was true, being that I just started heading west.


  I got a cliff bar and some water from the gas station and hit the road, after taking a picture of the “welcome bikers” sigh next to the little eatery on the side of the road next to the highway crossroads.


The wind was really bad once I was headed west. It may have been a sign…. Or something.  Saw some cool Igneous rock formations, apparently passed by the sight of the first atomic bomb test, and saw a note from “biker boy” on a rest stop table.


It said “Ride on”


Once I was headed back north, the wind was at My back, it was good.  I was cruzing 90 easy.  Almost forgot how fast I was moving.  The civilization seemed to slowly come back as I rolled into ABQ again.  Smooth…..


I had to go back.  My Cuz was coming in town and I could not let her down!  As I told you, she fell in love.  Aw careless love….  It’s cute, when we picked her up from the airport, I think it was an hour late.  We had to head south to get some shit involving one of Lauren’s Boy friends or something, I was not trying to pay attention, I just wanted to see My Cuz.  I was not driving, I think I had been drinking….  Anyway we scooped her up, she was smoking and stressed.  Mostly about sushi, Her dog.  She is such a mom.


We cracked a Highlife in the car and headed back To Laurens and drank a bunch.  It was good times.  She has a superior camping hammock. Puts my DIY hammock to shame.  For a trip more than a year later, I would buy one just like her’s.


I left in the morning.  So Happy to see a familiar face the night before.  But this was Laura’s time to chill.  She was going up to Santa Fe with William.  She told me she was scared about how much she liked William, and that she was sooooo into him, and that she thought it was weird that she was so far from home to see a guy she had just met.  I guess It was a good to see you too situation.  Welcome back to earth.  I had to fuckin go.


Chap 5?:

Old 66


Remember, some old couple at green flash, told me to check out the blue hole in Santa Rosa NM.  So On my way east I did.  I road old 66 out of town, got gas, saw my first waffle house (warms my heart for some reason) Around town it was mellow, but as soon as I hit the highway, over the mountain it was FREEZING!  I had to pull over because I simply could not feel my face or hands.  I bull shitted around a gas station till I regained feeling, and switched to my full face helmet.  Not because of the law, Because it was so fucking cold!  When I ware the full face, I feel like I’m in a fishbowl, fucking hate it except in the rain.


I stopped again at a truck stop.  I figured they might have some cheap gloves so I could double up for warmth.  Cool truck stop, Other bikers were there, We did not talk or anything.  They sold little gloves that kind of fit.  But they were only sold in 6 packs.  They were called “Jersey gloves”.  In New Jersey, we just call them cheap gloves….


Anyway, after doubling up on gloves, I hit the road and was a bit more comfortable.  Still went num by the time I got to Santa Rosa.  I stopped at a gas station on old 66 and got coffee.  I snagged a few little creamer packs that were extra caffeine.  I figured I might need that down the road.  At the moment, I just needed something to warm my hands.  I watched the guy unloading cases of beer into the store, bull shitted with him a little.  Then I got directions to the blue hole, and road there without the fish bowl.  


The blue hole was cool.  Crystal clear water, going down a considerable distance.  It was like a natural open well.  Well, spring technically.  People dive there because of the magnifying effect of gravity.  If you are at a high altitude you don’t need to go as deep to experience deep sea pressure.  People also get married at the bottom and shit…. They had a sigh warning divers about a bunch of things, I really wanted to write the word Muff in front of the diver warnings, But I did not have a marker.  Shit.


Things got warmer as I dropped down out of the mountains.  I saw a sign for a dinosaur museum so I had to go.  Signs were good, helped me out.  I got there and went in, to the gift shop.  The whole museum entered and exited through the gift shop.  I took some pictures of early human skulls and some neat stuff.  Then I had a lady take my picture on this fake dinosaur that was made for kid’s pictures.  I put my riding goggles back on so it looked like I was riding the dino like my bike, it was a good laugh.  I think the old lady had me take a similar picture of her.  I sent the photo off to some people, Magda especially, but I have can not remember her reaction. I thought it was a hoot!


Back on the road with no helmet this time, the weather was better and I was sick of the fish bowl.  I remember the mountains disappearing, showing the wide open nothingness of the central planes, I thought to myself “shit, this is it.  Get ready for suck time”.  I pulled over at the next fuel stop off, and that’s all it was.  That, and some road that lead off into nowhere.  I walked into the truck stop to get some food.  It smelled fantastic!  Turns out, it was also an Indian food restaurant! In the middle of fucking nowhere!  I was saved!  I was even able to buy a small microwave Indian mean! Rice and all!  It was what I needed.  I was feeling road weary, the long, flat, boarding road ahead was not helping.  I ate and mellowed out a bit.  


Texas was shitty.  Nothing for as far as the eye could see.  Mostly I road past cattle processing plants, smelled like shit! The wind was blowing me around again, so I put my Helmet back on.  I stopped someplace to check the weather, due to ominous cloud cover.  Got gas, and called my dad and uncle to regale them with tales of the road.  Saw a few Texas Douche bags at the gas station, but had to hit the road to beat the rain.


Second worst day, wind wise.  I pulled over at a rest stop to get my bearings, tired of riding straight but having to lean into the wind.  I saw a BBQ grill at the rest stop that looked like the state of Texas, I was impressed.  They also had an old 66 museum built into the place.  Cool old facts about Rt66 and old school metal signs.  I did not know that when 66 First opened it was mostly dirt, and you had to open and close gates so the free roaming cattle could not get out.  I got a free map, took a piss, and ate some trail mix.  The weather was still looking crappy.


After that it was get the fuck to Oklahoma.  I had to get out of Texas, no way was I going to sleep there, plus rain at my tail.  When I got to Oklahoma I saw hills and trees! Holey crap!  I felt better already.  Also, I had been checking out the truck stop hotels with cheap rates.  I saw one for 35$ per night, I was sold.  I had camped for more money than that so I was into it!  However, I could not find the hotel…. I needed whiskey.


Since I was All out of weed, I headed for the liquor store.  It was not safe to smoke around there anyway.  Hick country.  They ladies in the liquor store told me the hotel I was looking for did not exist anymore.  I humored them with conversation; you could tell that noting happens there… ever.  They were telling me all kinds of shit I did not care about, I jotted it down as a cultural experience.   


Per the advice of the liquor folk, I headed two exits down and found a hotel for $45 a night.  Totally worth it.  The camping alternative was 30 miles off the interstate, and it was starting to rain.  I paid in cash and got a room.  My first hotel of the trip.  I think the microwave Indian food was worth the room price alone.  I took a picture and sent it to my Cuz.  I then proceeded to look around the hotel for an ice machine, with a plastic cup of whiskey.  I found it, and also found out that there was a super cute waitress that worked there.  We traded a few looks, meanwhile I was getting looks from some of the locals…. Not nice ones.  I made sure my hair was tucked under my hat, but I think the lip piercing was setting off some of their conservative red flags.  I walked around, found a pool table, and an empty swimming pool.  The center court yard of the hotel had a bunch of indoor plants, a patio, all kinds of neat stuff.  It looks like it was a normal courtyard and then they put a roof over it, with some serious AC.  Whatever, I went back to my room and jerked off, I needed it after my disappointment in Abq and just being on the road, staying with other people, and having restrictions on my road mojo.  I played some super loud internet porn and wallowed in my freedom.  Between the masturbating, Indian food, and protection from the elements, $45 well spent.  That morning I ate at the little diner they had in the hotel.  Eggs with hot sauce, hash browns and toast.  I got a bunch of dirty looks from the locals in there.  I didn’t see a cash register, so I left the money for the check on the table.


The Ride sucked for a while.  In and out of rain all the way through Arkansas.  Nothing good.  Oklahoma City has horrible roads, worst of the whole trip.  Rain was no help. Best part of the day was waiting out the rain in a Harley dealer, where I got parts, and having a Mexican coke at a gas station.  That’s it.  Ride sucked.  I had an interesting experience with a traveler girl.  I let her use my phone.   She was stuck with her boy friend and a bunch of dogs.  They were staying out of the rain under an overpass.  She was cute and I wished her the best.  I on the other hand was looking for a hotel and a way out of the rain.  Thank you smart phone for showing me all the hotels and letting me call them to get rates.  I found one about 40 miles away, so off I headed through the rain.


I was dry for the most part, except my feet, soaked.  Good thing it was above 60 degrease out side, or it would have been even worse.  Got stuck in traffic, so I was splitting lanes until I road up to a couple on three wheelers.  They were better prepared for the rain than I.  I stayed with them until I saw an exit.  Then I was out!  Spent some time guessing where I was, based on a map I looked at earlier.  Got most of the way, checked the map again, then found the hotel.  Checked in and went to get some Mexican food across the street.  No sidewalks down town by the way, weird.


The Mexican food was honkey, but they had Beer!  I had two Tecates and proceeded to try to find a 6pack.  Those beers were awesome, just what I needed.  So I walked through the rain to the nearest gas station, where I was informed I was in a dry county.  Son of a bitch!  The nearest place to buy booze was 40 miles down the interstate with bumper to bumper traffic, in the rain.  I said fuck this.  Whiskey reserves.  


They call Arkansas “the natural state”.  I ask you, what is natural about outlawing booze!?  I bough it in the restaurant!  Way to promote drinking and driving Pope County!  Idiots.  The hotel was shitty, lots of fisher men drinking shitty beer.  Next day I hit the fuckin road, in the rain.  I remember hitting a waffle house and an old man telling me I was living the dream, and to be careful.  After an awesome breakfast, at about the Tennessee boarder, the rain stopped.  I was looking for non Ethel gas.  Did not find it.  After checking all 5 stations on the exit.  Fucking Government subsidies.  Again, idiots. I did meet another biker who’s jacket said “Old Dawg”


Old dawg was the man.  He had been on the road for a while.  Killer beard.  Nice bike, no trailer queen for sure.  He had a lot strapped down, but was much liter than I.  I got talking to him after his phone call.  Turns out he got started in Alaska! Road down the Al-Can (my dream ride). Down to… Key west I think… then up to Maine, then “toolin around the south for a while”.  He had been on the road for over a year and a half. He said he would stop “when it felt rite”.  He was the real deal, a look into my future if I stopped caring about life, or recognition, or status.  He was living it. I have no idea where he got started or where he was headed….besides LA, where he had a friend.  We talked about riding, and weather.  Wholesome stuff for bikers.  Then he split.  Off into the sunset, forever in memory, never again in person.  He still feels kind of like a ghost.  Some strange friendly biker ghost.


After that I stated out, around all the huge pot holes, to head to Nashville.


I remember the bridge I got to.  I thought the Mississippi was way larger than it was, and I was rite.  It was flooded from all the rain.  I thought I was over it, then realized I was only in the flood pain.  After crossing over mud island, I took the first exit to grab a Tennessee map and get some caffeine, and a cliff bar.


The welcome center was rad.  They had all of these old Memphis photos, Sam Philips was looking sharp.  I wish I got to see my friend Chris out there, but he was out doing other things.  I think he had some family shit to take care of. I asked the lady at the center for a good ride thought the city, I wanted to go down Buel St. and everything.  Get some food.  She gave me a rout that was just a cut through to the interstate, bogus info.  I talked to some older Harley dude in the parking lot, said him and his wife were loving the big Harley they were on.  I think it was a road king, another dream of mine.  They were staying at camp sights with cabins.  They were loving it.  Camp, take a ride on the nice days.


Anyways, I was back on the highway, the rain at my back.  I was moving.  The land was flooded all around.  I got a sub at a jersey themed sub shop, then headed back out.  I hit some spit but nothing bad. Some sun even!  I think I took both hands off the bars to prey to the sun got at 80 mph.  I was headed to Nashville to see Pepper.  


Pepper is a character.  I met him at audio trade shows, the kind of guy who is there to party.  And he is so fucking good at partying you want to buy shit from him.  He is truly blessed by Satan in the best way.  We talked a bit during the day, got an address to his pro shop.  Told him I was heading there, I tried to remember the directions in my head.  That failed.  I pulled over, on the south side of the beltway by a pawn shop, and turned my GPS on.  Got there in about 15.  Pepper was happy as shit to see me and recommended I take the wet shit off my bike and lock it up in the back yard so nothing would happen to it.  Ah, east coast mentality.  We immediately started drinking cheap caned beer and smoking, telling stories, it was sweet.  He introduced me to the devil’s night radio, an internet radio station I still listen too.


We hit the town that night.  We got some food with some friends and did karaoke.  It was fun, I think we hit two bars.  Next day I was stuffed up.  My nose was plugged, I thought I Was hung over, Pepper was like “no Man I get that shit too! Its seasonal allergies!”.  He gave me a few musicnex and we went to his property he was selling.  Did laundry, recovered, I think I napped, showered.  Then we went out again!


Next night started with a bar that over 100 whiskeys.  I think it was called the pour house.  They had a killer live band and were next to a HUGE liquor store called frugal mc’ Doogal.  I got some awesome 15 year old, and turned out talking to the sue chef who was sitting at the bar.  He invited Pepper and I to brunch the next morning on him.  The south sure can be friendly some times.


So after a few rounds at the whiskey bar, we headed to Santa’s.  It was a super cool joint.  A triple wide trailer in the middle of berry hill, with Santa riding a Harley on the side of it, spray painted.  Apparently the owner was a Harley enthusiast.   We got a 12pack of PBR and did karaoke.  I sang Oaky from Muskogee.  It was so damn ironic.  I remember inside the bathroom someone wrote a Bruce lee quote on the wall “don’t think, feel.”  It was a hell of a good time.  Pepper was hitting on some busted looking girls, but it was fun. He did some horrible singing, on purpose.


Next morning we went back to the pour house for brunch.  There was another band playing, they were also kick ass.  Nashville rocks like that, always music, always good, all the time.  I got a breakfast burrito, it was slamin!  The sue chef we were drinking with the night previous, came out to take our order.  He said just get whatever you want.  So, being from the east, but living in the west, I say, “Yo! Give me you most kick ass vegetarian breakfast burrito you got.”  I got just that.  All the good shit.  Eggs, Potatoes, Peppers, onions, cheese!  So good!  Also biscuits with whiskey butter!  I don’t know how that works, but it is awesome!  It is a must try if you ever see it.


I don’t remember leaving Nashville, Guess that the sign of a good time…

No really!  I can not tell you how many days I spent there.  Another sign of a good time?????


I think so!


 

So, Multiple times in Nashville people told me to take the dragon’s tail.  Someone even made me enter it into my phone as a contact.  So I knew it was legit.


I had to take the interstate in the morning.  It was a bit damp.  Met up with a guy at a gas station with a nice clean black Street Glide.  He was riding the same trip as me, but in the opposite direction.  What are the fuckin odds!?  We bull shitted a while, weather, routs, road stories…. You know the usual jargon.  Really wish I joined his Union…  He was a stage worker in NYC, Ive always been interested in getting into that, but I never fallowed through, Unions scare me.  I would never seek to get under a power structure. 

.


After a while headed back south off the interstate, I began to unwind.  I think I was relying on memorized directions at this point.  So…. Not totally unwound.  I stopped at a gas station, called my dad (missed call).  I got some trail mix, possibly a beer……  Anyway, I found my way to the infamous dragon’s tail.


The tail was awesome, as well as the roads leading up to it.  Lush Green Smokey Mountain Lakes.  You should really go check it out.  Im serious.  I lost cell service, missed a call from uncle Jeffro.  He was looking forward to seeing me, we did a bit of phone tag.  But that’s lame! The road was not!  There were vintage race bikes and people taking pictures for money.  It was really a spectacle.  I usually pulled over and let the crowds of same bike crews pass.  Don’t want to be a dick ya know?  I felt  like a large, lumbering obstacle, loaded down with bags of gear.  Not all stripped down and in a race suit like some of the guys I saw. 


Got to a dragon’s tail Inn, where everyone was racing.  They were working on bikes, swapping parts, tools, whatever.   I only had a stop there to get my bearings, but I caught the vibe.  I felt like some of these guys were bringing their kids and wives, real down home. 


The best part was the tree of shame.


The tree of shame is a living thing.  It is alive in two ways.  First it is a living tree, maybe oak, I have no idea.  The tree grows both in height, and in girth.  The girth, however, comes from wrecked bike parts.  Everything is up there.  Rims, Fenders, FRAMES! There were at least two fucking Frames up there! These guys were the real deal.  Hey had horse like stalls where you could work on your bike.  Super cool


The best part by far, the sign.

“Watch for falling parts from the tree of shame”


Better even was the place I camped.  Oh let me tell you about it.  It was grand, the kick stand campground.  Two trees for the Hammock by a babbling brook.  Sublime to say the least.  But the best thing was the organization.  I found a spot, and then looked for someone in charge.  I saw a bunch of bikers drinkin’, I asked them.  They indeed, did know who was in charge and they yelled for her.  She came out of a trailer, I wish I remembered her name. Fuck. Anyways the Jerk offs who were drinkin’ were then questioned by the very nice lady, weather I was cool or not. They said I was and she said make yourself at home.


So I don’t know about you, But when I go home, I have a Beer.


So I asked the guys who were already drinking where they got their beers.  Logical move.  They told me in a very “isn’t it obvious” manner that we were in a dry county.  And immediately fallowed it up with, “but don’t worry! Those coolers are full of beer!”  Apparently people keep the place stocked.  Just strangers passing through, who know the deal because they have been there before, keeping the fridge stocked.  It was like I had come home, if only for a night.  


I spent the rest of the night drinking with the dudes who had let me know about the free beer.  Turns out they were from PA!  And they worked in Jersey City! I was like no shit!  So we had a lot to talk about.  They kept ripping on each other, father uncle and son.  Union boys.  As luck should have it, the open air covered patio was also equipped with a Oven, Deep fryer, and griddle.  The snap-on tools specula was a big hit with me.  I made dinner, used some of their seasonings, drank many a beer and finished my whiskey reserves.  I even smoked a joint, but the dudes did not partake, union drug tests.  However they were really cool with me smoking, and seemed loose about it.


As the morning light peered into my eyes I knew I better brake down camp and head on down the road.  I need to see Jeffro who I had been in loose phone contact with since Nashville.  Jeffro is a blood relative, my dad’s cousin.  We learned how to shoot guns with him when my brother and I were younger.  One of those “don’t tell mom” things.  We would also ride dirt bikes since Jeff was the head tech at the local Honda shop.  And we would fish and go camping, fun stuff always.  I had grown up hearing crazy stories about Jeff and he told me even more than my dad was willing to admit.  I remember we were having a smoke on his back porch when I drove back from Arizona on a previous move.  We really bonded, playing rolling stones songs on the back porch while my Aunt Judy would rest inside.  Judy has been battling disease for some time.  The family never talks about it.  I guess it’s a southern thing.


I was feeling like half a million bucks.  Had a fantastic night’s sleep in the hammock, got up and took an awesome shit.  Beat the bald man for a while then had some oatmeal.  The other bikers were off on their respective bikes.  Mostly Buell and Victory.  The fat uncle was bragging about the tips on his pegs, how when he would grind them they shot bright white sparks because of the metal they were made out of.  I saw them roll off for the day with a wave and a nod.  The hostess was nowhere to be found.  Since she did not charge me to camp, and I had done a good amount of damage to the beer stash… I didn’t want to be a dick.  I read an online review that said it was $30 a night to camp.  So I left $40 and a note saying if it was not enough, don’t worry I would be back.  I left my phone number, and she gave me a text later telling me to ride safe and enjoy. 


The morning was picture perfect.  Mix of sun and clouds, Spotty cell service, but fantastic roads.  I studied the map and memorized how to get to the interstate.  Made a check when I stopped for gas.  Everything was going smooth.  I hit I40 about 40 miles past the Tennessee boarder, rite near Ashville.  I hit a gas station rite past the Biltmore mansion and bull shitted with another bike in traffic.  Slight problem at the gas station, the gas nozzle got stuck on! Gas all over the bike, and me, and the ground.  I eventually stopped it by slamming the nozzle into the side of the pump.  It clicked off and reported the tragity to the attendants, who were baffled.  The valve must haven gotten stuck open, it was a huge mess.  But since I was paying with a credit card, I was charged for all the wasted gas.  Fuck.


Next stop was Harley of Ashville to get some new primary fluid, oil, filter, O-rings, everything to fix my Leakey primary and do a tune up at the Honda shop.  In a message left while I was riding, Jeffro said he would keep a lift open for me, but they don’t work on them Harley Davidsons, so I was on my own.  It was fine.  I brought the shop manual with me.  All ways prepared.


When I got to the shop Jeffro was so happy to see me.  We shot the shit for a while.  He showed me this midget racer he built out of a 1400CC supped up 4 cyl race bike motor.  It was awesome!  Track car.  They don’t compete, they just rent track time and beat the hell out of the car for fun.  The tires were ripped up, I could tell they had a good time.  I pulled my bike in, set it on Jeff’s lift, he synched it down.  I did all the work I needed to get done.  He helped with some tools and mechanic’s knowhow. I was all fixed up and Jeff said he had to take the bike back out of the shop or his boss would get mad.  He took her for a spin around the lot.  Said “she’s a quick little bike, Bo”.


Jeff told me I could not stay with him because of Judy being ill.  I was bummed because I wanted to drink a few beers and hang out with Jeffro some more.  He said “If she passes, and I hope it never happens, hope she out lives me.  But when she goes, Im selling the house.  Everything. And getting a motor home and just driving around the USA. So Ill come see you, you better believe it”. I was cool with that.  I grabbed some groceries for dinner, and headed out to a camp sight one of the guys at the Honda shop told me about.  I fallowed the dude in his truck for a while.  He had to go a separate way, but gave me some directions, witch I totally fucked up.  I ended up at a gas station, bought two tall cans and gas.  Looked up directions, and sage calls me.  Telling me how the job he moved back to Jersey for was really stressing him out and he thought he was going to louse it.  I told him to chill.  Get his head together and carry on.


Not what you want to hear from your room mate “dude I just don’t know man, I don’t know if I can do this”


I eventually found the camp spot.  It was on a huge reservoir.  The gate was open, but nothing else seemed to be open.  No one in the guard shack and the first bathroom I found was locked.  I saw other people camping so I figured it was cool.  I started setting up, with my bike parked at another camp sight, so If the ranger came, he might not see my bike.  I was not so lucky, or was I?  I ran into an attractive woman who, turns out, was the ranger.  She was very nice.  We flirted for a while, I settled up my tab, after she made me change out of her wallet.  She reminded me there was no drinking in the park.  I asked if she would be back and she said another ranger was going to patrol later in the night.  I thanked her for the heads up and started my tall can when she left.


The critters drove me nuts.  Had to chase away a possum, and hang my food on a bear pole.  The crickets were chirping and the catfish were charging the shallows to eat tadpoles.  I slept ok considering.


“I've come from just the other side of no-where,
To this big time lonesome town.
They got a lotta ice an' snow here,
Half as cold as all the people I've found.
Every way I try to go here,
Seems to bring me down.
I seen about enough to know where I belong.

I've got a mind to see the headlights shinin',
On that old white line between my heart and home.
Sick of spendin' Sundays, wishin' they were Mondays,
Sittin' in a park alone.
So give my best to anyone who's left who ever done me,
Any lovin' way but wrong,
Tell them that the pride of just the other side of nowhere's goin' home.

Takin' nothing back to show there,
For these dues I have paid,
But the soul I almost sold here,
And the body I've been givin' away.
Fadin' from the neon nightime glow here,
Headin' for the light of day.
Just the other side of nowhere, goin' home.

I've got a mind to see the headlights shinin',
On that old white line between my heart and home.
Sick of spendin' Sundays, wishin' they were Mondays,
Sittin' in a park alone.
So give my best to anyone who's left who ever done me,
Any lovin' way but wrong,
Tell 'em that the pride of just the other side of nowhere's goin' home.

Takin' nothing back to show there,
For these dues I have paid,
But the soul I almost sold here,
And the body I've been givin away.
Fadin' from the neon nightime glow here,
Headin' for the light of day.
Just the other side of nowhere, goin' home.

Just the other side of no-where, goin' home.”


-Kris Kristofferson 


In the morning I burned a J, just in time for the morning round of parole to let me know I had to pay or leave.  Way less cool than the chick from the night before.  I headed north, getting ready for rain, time to see the meat man.


I could feel the moisture in the air, and every once and a while I felt a spit.  I had the rain gear on, I knew I was going to hit something, and within 30 miles of the Virginia boarder I did.  Heavy!  Had to pull over at a gas station to switch helmets and get coffee to warm up.  Good thing only my feet and face were wet.  Well, I think my gloves were getting a bit soggy too.  I road through light rain all the way to the Virginia welcome center where I took the rain gear off and got a map.  


Virginia has a different feel than North Carolina.  It’s weird.  It’s like their more “Sothern”.  Their definitions of “good ol’ boys” are different.  And the Meat man capitalized on all of it.  Smart mother fucker, came up from respectable beginnings, but saw a market in need and decide he would be the one to service that market.  The meat man was a weed man.  Playing a high risk game all in.  Never fazed, never faltered.  Except with drinking...  He had a breathalyzer in his car because he had one too many drunk car wrecks.  Some of them coming home from a West Virginia strip joint.  Baller but still…. Something about that boy ain’t rite.


The day got nicer as I got north, sun came out and I stopped for lunch.  A gas stop had a grill with veggie burgers.  I sat and ate while the fat waitress/cook/casher flirted with me.  She was a sweet heart.  Made good fries, but a shitty veggie burger.


After I was well fed and dry, I headed off the highway towards the Blue Ridge parkway.  A little cell phone research notified me that there would be no gas on the BRP. So I Topped off and filled my spare tank.  The gas station was sweet.  Some good ol boys running the joint.  Old dudes though.  Two of them, talking about fishing, they looked like the two dudes on the Smuttynose Finest kind IPA bottle.  I told them I needed gas, they told me to pump it.  First place I had been to the whole trip where they just said go for it, no pre pay.  On top of that the pump had a sticker reading “100% pure gas” I was stoked, no Ethel.  Finally!  AND! On top of that! They gave me an apple. For free!  They said I had a nice bike and Figured I could use an apple.  They were local and very good, both the apples and the dudes at the station.


I hit the turns hard up the mountain.  Sally loved the 100% pure gas.  Really pounded out some low RPM curves.  The torque on a Harley always does the trick.  Pulled over to take a picture at the gate that marked the entrance to the parkway.  Nice big sign.  I immediately started having a spectacular time.  The road was so well kept.  The views were amazing.  Took pictures of myself at a pull off.  It was epic.  The vistas were lush and green.   Finally back east.  Where the weeds grow tall and the blue bird sings.


I was going about 10 over the whole time.  Finally got pulled over for improper passing and speeding.  I told the cop that the guy waved me around him and he was going under the limit.  I also Let the cop know that he had to make an “improper” pass to get to me and pull me over.  That got me two federal traffic tickets.  When the cop came up to me he asked me if I had any weapons.  I said no, and then he takes the knife out of my belt and said “what’s this then?”  Took my knife and stabbed it into the ground, like a dick.  Then he asked me if I had any guns.  That I did not have.  If I did I would have lied about it any way.  If he searched me I would have gone to jail anyway.


The cop asked me for my address and I kind of smiled and said “well, I’m moving.  I don’t have one rite now”.  He didn’t like that. So I gave him my folks address since my mother cosigned on my bike loan, he already had her address because of running the plate.  I figured what the hell.  He said back to me, after making me wait for a half hour,  “If you decide not to pay these tickets, a federal marshal will show up at your parents house and they will find you, with guns.”  Paid those tickets about three days after they were do, fuck ‘em.  Have not heard shit from that state and plan to avoid it in the future.


Rite before that however, I met this guy from Montreal.  He was biking the PKway and asked me if I wanted to take his picture.  I did in exchange for the same favor.  His bicycle was rad.  Cannondale I think.  He was biking the whole PKWY.  I told him about my trip and it was clear French was his first language.  Even though, we had a good time bull shitting and snacking.  Riding a motorcycle is a different kind of work out.  Not as much as a bicycle, but intense none the less.


Sat in some traffic because the road was being repaved one way.  Not bad, let the bike rest.  The rest of the parkway was amazing.  One mile better than the next.  I dropped out of the mountains, like a bat out of hell. I think I hit 100mph on the interstate, fully loaded.  Hell yeah Sportster!  Just pissed.  Pissed at the man!


Found the meat man, he heard my bike coming.  Called him from a gas station about 17 miles away.  He was out in the street.  Got to meet his mom and sister.  They were ok cats.  We did some dabs in his bathroom before hitting the road.  We went up a dirt road to an overlook to smoke a J.  Meat man told me about the fishing he had been doing, and his drunk driving problems.  It was a cool road, but not for the sporty, to much gravel.  We could see the river make 7 switchbacks.  And we could have hiked up further.  We decided to grab some beers from the ABC store and crash at his place for the night.  Next morning, after I woke up on his couch, we headed to a camp sight his friends suggested by an old abandoned reservoir that the man would probably not parole.


Looks like the time had come to take the hippy acid.  I had it through a checkpoint, and through several states.  It was time.   Meat man had 2 hits he had been saving, so we decided to split them.  Morning of serial, coffee, and several unpaved roads later we ended up, with no cell service, on the road we thought went to the camp sight.


Chapter ????

Intergalactic Trip to Hippy Mountain.


We parked our respective vehicles at the end of the forest road.  It looked like the road kept going but there was a closed gate.  We got our packs together, had a cold beer by the car, dropped a tab each and started walking.


The trail was mellow.  It looked like people road horses back there because you could see the dried up shit piles.  We passed some ponds and streams, plenty of running water for my water filter.  Being deep in the north east really felt good.  I missed the familiar plants and animals.  I could remember the sounds of the birds and the looks of all the critters we were spooking as we walked.  We finally came to a giant house.  It looked like someone might have lived there.  Must be another road in there.  We figured out where the trail went and kept on it.  We tried to use my phone to see if we were on the rite road, enough GPS signal came through for to make a good guess.


As the acid started kicking in we were just arriving at the lake.  It was not that big, but we were the only ones there.  You could tell the lake was man made because of the giant dam that kept the water back.  It did look, however, like nature was slowly taking it back.


We set up camp, had the best spot because no one else was there.  We gathered some fire wood for the night, and realized if this acid is good, lets take the rest.


We spent the rest of the day fishing and bumbling around the lake, looking for wild mushrooms.  I didn’t have a fishing license, so when we saw two dudes roll through on mountain bikes we hid behind the bushes like scared little kids, throwing snowballs at cars.  Thankfully we only saw two people the whole time we were there.  Had a few nibbles, didn’t catch any fish.


We had a good time trippin’ out in the woods, reflection is key at times like this.  I thought about my whole situation, what I had run from.  What I was running to.  Who I was going to run with.  What I took out of it was, make a plan, but never forget to have fun.  You can work yourself to the bone and be miserable your whole life.  Or you can work hard and play hard.


The night was trippy. Winding down with whiskey around the fire.  Also a few beers we put in the lake earlier to keep them cold.


Next morning I took a huge shit in the woods, had some coffee, and hit the road again.  Kind of worried about having enough gas, but I made it back to the interstate.  I cut through a small part of west verginia, before entering PA and taking my helmet off.  Road old US30 all the way to Phili.  It took way longer than I thought, but had plenty of gas stations and food opportunities.  


I Played phone tag with my cuz, just how it goes on a bike.  Ended up getting into Phili just as the sun was setting.  The road sucked in west Phili, but I got through it.  Saw an old man in a pimp ass caddy.   That was cool.  Then found my Cuz’s apartment by memory, unloaded the bike into her house, and took her for dinner at a slamin’ veggie place in center city.  It was awesome to finally get a good vegetarian meal.  We went back to her crib, making instagram videos on the way back. “This is way different than my friend’s scooter” I remember her saying, she was screaming and shit, having a marvelous time.  No helmets, thanks Pennsylvania.  The night wound down with Jim Beam, us sitting in the tiny paved back yard, talking about life.  She kept telling me about how she was done being single, she wanted a long haul man and she thought she had found him.  I’m happy for her, she did find a super rad guy.


Next morning, no need for maps.  I woke up, burned one, left my cuz a note and hit the road.  I was damn near home.  Had to stop by red’s house and smoke a bone and grab some gun parts.  Then I just took my time.  Headed up to Jersey City, avoiding tolls, and got to my apartment.  Next day, road down to Liberty State Park.  Close enough to the ocean, it’s a big ass bay.


So it was official, Coast to coast.


4,620 miles. 13 states. Unknown amount of time.


Worth every bit of it.


Fuckin’ Freedom.




 

Nick Hagelin