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Part 3 Margaritaville


Why do you ride ? Personal satisfaction ? The adulation of others ? Respect from peers ?


Neo: “You’re saying that I’ll be able to dodge bullets”.

Morpheus: “No Neo, I’m saying that when you’re ready you won’t have to”.


Spock: “After a time you will discover that having something is not the same as wanting something.

It is not logical but it is true”.


“We spend our lives in the pursuit of happiness when we should spend our lives in the happiness of pursuit”.


 After adulation ( The Dragon ) and dis consolation ( Less than Zero ) it’s well time for a little reflection. The day after the BRP PG-13 crash ,my Interceptor sat in the garage looking a bit rough around the edges. I proclaimed that I would be back in the saddle the day after but the bruises hurt enough on the day after to postpone. So, I mapped out a ride (for the day after the day after ) that would be less than 300 miles, start early and have me back home before the heat cooked me. Getting back on the bike is the best solution for me when tough times arrive.

 The day after a big event  lends itself to taking stock in ones situation. Do you still want to ride ? Yes. What important lesson or lessons did you   learn ? Stay focused and try to learn or train how not to freeze in a similar situation. Don’t take your attention off the task unless you are stopped.     Reality Check: Honda is not going to call about that Moto-GP test rider position after all.


 James Bond typically deals with the aftermath of disaster differently. He holes up on a small Island in Tahiti with an awesome beach bar. Every night he drinks all contestants under the table, eats scorpions and takes a new winsome lass home. Of course no one knows his true identity. Hunks have it tough battling depression.

 Let’s see how I rate on the Bond scale.

1)      I don’t drink a lot of alcohol...does sweet tea count ?

2)      I’m afraid of scorpions ...won’t be eating any soon.

3)      The winsome lass ( one night stand ) thing is a fading memory from the 1980s...

4)      I’d rather be in the mountains breathing clean air ( and low speed crashing ) instead of the beach

Based on those answers  I might get to be a grip on the set if I’m lucky and hard pass on the fluffer job.


 My life has been spent trying to be cool because everyone likes cool. Because the cool guy gets chicks. Cool is a funny thing. You can’t really buy it    ( although many try to ) . You have to be it. The same applies to the modern interpretation of swagger. I think ones actions in life establish who and what one is. I don’t want to be cool. I am cool if you can understand the subtlety of that. Cool as in comfortable in what I do and say with myself and others. That’s what cool means to me.



Wasted away....and many can fill in the rest of that line. Something about salt shakers right ? What in the hell does this ( even obliquely) have to do with my current state of VFR purgatory ? Wait for it ...here it comes. In North and South Carolina we have a name for the scooters that DWI recipients are forced to ride. Liquor-sicles. Yes, this is a story about VFR pilot numero Uno ( me) vs a scooter.

 There I was....back in the saddle aboard my trusty albeit  battle scarred VFR. This was not a challenging technical ride. This was a confidence- is- developed- by- jumping- back- in- ride. Not challenging didn’t mean that some curves wouldn’t be included. My route took me near the base of Hwy 181 outside of Morganton and not that far from the site of the last story.

 I was waiting at the intersection of Hwy 128 and Hwy 321 outside Lenoir. The plan was to cross 321 and continue straight to whatever the highway is named that goes though Colletsville on the way to 181. As I waited for cross traffic to clear, I noticed a scooter turn off of 321 onto the road I was about to travel. By the time I could cross, several cars filled the gap between me and the scooter.

 The scooter pilot seemed to be doing a good job staying to the right to allow the cars to pass. When my chance to pass came up we were in a few low speed turns with some sand and gravel so I waited. As I passed him I extended my left arm down and gave the universal rubber side down gesture. I also noticed a few details. The scooter rider ( from now on let’s refer to him as JB ) had on a dayglow orange shirt that said Deal’s Gap Hwy 129 The Dragon . Below the shirt he sported cargo shorts and his feet were encased in white rubber fishing waders. I should have known something was up.

 ATGATT All The Gear All The Time. NGMOTT None of the Gear Most of the Time. I started riding at 14. You had to wear a helmet in my sweet home Alabama but, that was about it. By the time I was riding a Gen 1 750 Interceptor in South Carolina I’d usually have on a helmet but, my tight budget would not allow for good gear like gloves ,jackets and boots. Those were the bass wee jun no-socks Miami Vice Days for those of you who are a certain age. When I could finally afford to go ATGATT I was all in. My weakness is Italian gear.

 It would seem there is no downside to being properly attired/protected while riding but there is. For some ( especially members of Genus Squidus ) seeing ATGATT is a challenge. This guy is wearing all this cool racer looking sh$$$t....let’s see if he ( or she ) has the goods. Combine too much cool gear with a bright red VFR that is not a Ducati and you’ve got yourself a combustible mixture just waiting for a bit of accelerant. I seem to be a magnet for challengers who want to know “Are You A Poseur ?”

 I don’t think JB was aboard a Liquor-sicle. After my friendly pass I noticed JB was not fading into the background. The road ahead was loaded with some tight turns,some blind,others with gravel and I had more familiarity riding this stretch of road in the opposite direction. Would I be up to the challenge ?

My VFR can rock a corner. The suspension is not stock, Jamie Daugherty mods front and rear and the Metzeler Roadtec 1s were fresh. So if the bike handles good ( Great ) it’s all about what’s in the pilot’s head right ? Despite ( or because of ) the BRP humiliation being  48 hours old, I attacked the corners with my version of gusto and JB started falling back. Of course good things come to an end so around the next corner I encountered a slow moving local. Slow as in 10mph below the speed limit. JB started erasing my hard earned gap. The local didn’t block me for long and then I ripped a few long straights until there was no longer a small headlight in my mirror.

 JB was just a guy on a scooter wearing an interesting ensemble. What if he actually was an old 500GP factory test rider who never got called up to the show because he couldn’t kick his weaknesses of drinking beer and fly fishing ? Or maybe this VFR pilot sucks and is super slow. Perhaps the truth lies somewhere in between. ‘Tis one thing to be able to brag about slaying a Porsche or Ferrari ( or a Camaro SS LE1 for that matter ) but, a scooter ?


Life is but a dream.


Being cool might just be about understanding that your ride doesn’t have to be a race  if you don’t want it to be.


Those bullets aimed at you just fall to the ground in front of your hand.



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