East Coast Tour 2013 – Day 2 – South Orange, NJ

Today I was not riding. I spent the day with my girlfriend Nicole and her two kids. I woke up early and started clacking away on my computer in bed. Nicole brought me a huge cup of coffee as I worked. She is such a caring and giving person and although she has been going through some tough times, she still finds a way to give to others. She is truly a generous person like few I have met. She also cooked me a big breakfast of eggs and chicken sausage that really hit the spot. Such amazing gestures for a traveler.

We took a trip with her two kids to the Turtle Back Zoo. When she first told me she lived nearby, my brain spun. My mother used to take us there as kids. One of the unique elements of the Zoo back in the early 70s was that you could actually ride the large Galapagos tortoises that were roaming freely. I remember seeing one chew on a woman’s shirt in a jealous rage as she stroked the chin of another tortoise. These deep memories came flooding back to me as we entered the zoo. Looking around I don’t seem to recall much of anything else except the train. I believe it was coal powered back in the day but now appears to be propane fueled.

We had a nice time at the zoo and after arriving home I worked on a song for Nicole’s class as she made macaroni salad. She teaches Pre-K at a private school and every week she writes a song for the spelling words the kids need to learn. We write the song together or sometimes I write the whole thing. She played me a video of the kids singing one of the songs I wrote. They screamed and laughed as they sang. Although hearing them is surreal, having a positive affect on children is amazing.

We went to dinner at Nicole’s friends house who also have two kids. She is lucky to have many nice people living near her. Over dinner we discussed various topics as the kids launched styrofoam rockets into the neighbor’s yard. I remember these times living in New Jersey. I actually lived only 9 miles from Nicole’s house from when I was born until I was 12-years-old. I recall backyard barbecues and the neighbors coming by and sharing our pool. The focus was on family and just being together.

I feel somewhat disconnected by the suburbs now. I have no kids of my own, and my one attempt to marry into a family failed. Since I have been single, I have become a creature of the city. Do I live in NYC for convenience or have I become a hunchbacked rat in an overpriced shoebox so I can emit the aroma of coolness? I always try to get in touch with the purpose of doing things. My best friend Tylor advises me to find meaning in everything. I am on the quest and it is a noble one.

Being with Nicole gives me a strong sense of family. Her kids love me and affection they all show towards me is limitless. But I am gun shy. I don’t want to mess this up. For one reason or another I always fall short in relationships. As a friend once told me, “I don’t play the lottery because then I never have to lose.” I was sort of following this advice but it is such a hopeless outlook. Nicole gives me hope. I have a feeling of growth on this tour which is nice since my last trip was all about licking wounds.

Posted in East Coast 2013, Travel | 3 Comments

East Coast Tour 2013 – Day 1 NYC to South Orange, NJ

One year has passed since my last big tour. Up until a few days ago, I still had not finished writing about the trip. I realized on my journey that the writing was consuming too much of the experience, so I put the documenting off until later. I could lie and said I had a busy year, but the truth is I lost some interest in writing. I went back to school to chase my creative writing degree, but my first anthropology class was not very good. I liked the material, but the idea of studying for tests and doing homework was not enjoyable. Doing group projects with 19-year-old kids was frustrating as well, so I bailed. I juggle so many interests that I can’t seem to keep more than one ball in the air at a time. I write music, I build amps, I build effects pedals, I skateboard, I ride my motorcycle, and I write.

After returning from the trip, The Hornrims‘ bass player, Brian, was too busy to practice with the added responsibility of his second baby. I started up a new band with my two best friends, Tylor (drummer from the Hornrims) and Shaugn, called Plasma in the Ukraine. I played bass and even goofed around on a Theremin in the group. We played a few shows and came up with some cool material, but I left the project a few days ago to return to playing guitar. Bass is ok, but it’s not in my blood like the guitar.

I decided that this year was going to be the year of pleasing myself. How could I love somebody else if I couldn’t be at peace with who I am and what I am doing? I wanted to do more solo acoustic shows. My Taylor guitar that was cracked in four places didn’t inspire me to play, so I made plotted to find a way to get my dream axe – the Gibson J-200 maple jumbo. I had lusted after this guitar since I saw Pete Townshend play “Won’t Get Fooled Again” in a video of The Secret Policemen’s Ball. I attended an event at the Gibson showroom and one of the features of the space is a guitar room loaded with incredible Gibson electrics and acoustics that you are encouraged to play. I picked up the J-200 that was resting in a stand and after playing it for what seemed like hour, I knew I had to find a way to own one. I ended up selling my reissue skateboard collection, my old bass, and the cracked Taylor. This gave me the funds to buy the guitar for cash. It is everything I expected.

The J-200 kickstarted my solo acoustic career, and after many years of only playing with bands, I started booking quite a few shows. A local promoter and I, Chris Andrews struck up a conversation at one of my favorite bars, The Ding Dong Lounge and now he books me as often as I want to play. I am happy to be out doing solo gigs again and the guitar is simply amazing.

I also realized I hate unfinished business, so this is going to be the year of finishing projects. I scored the dream guitar and I needed to start mixing some of the records I had piled up with The Hornrims. I almost have the prog inspired album Song of Dystopia in the can after nearly 3 years. I also need to mix the band version of Pericles, a show I recorded back in 2009 with the ‘rims but only mixed the cast version. I will finish that too this year.

On the relationship front, when I initially returned I tried to date, but I really needed to be totally free. I wanted to live an efficient lifestyle and responsibility seemed too much for me to handle after all of the relationship woes over the past 5 years. I did this for a while but low and behold, a girl from my past came back into my life. Her name is Nicole and we worked at Busch Gardens together. She was a singer in the show Latin Heat and I was in the marching steel drum band, Sounds of Steel. She has two kids and is going through a divorce. We started dating again after 20 years after she found my song writer page on the web.

I made the same mistake I always seem to make. I dove in headfirst and gave too much of myself. She needed help and I wanted to give all I could. But shortly into the newfound relationship my anxiety shot through the roof. I thought I needed to leave her, but after a great talk she told me we could take things slower. She actually said, “What do you need?” I was amazed at her unselfish concern for me. She didn’t need me to move in or to be the father of her kids. She also understands that I require my free time and doesn’t need to see me every weekend. I want to stay in NYC and she lives in South Orange, NJ. I love New York and I need to retain an efficient lifestyle – at least for now. I also need to keep my anxiety at bay by having few pressures. She understands these needs and our relationship is great. I love her and her kids and I am sure our relationship will grow strong and steady.

So life is good for me but what about the Brick? After my long trip I did a few more rides and right after I got back I even had a date with a girl that had a little Honda Rebel. She was a novice and we drove up to Storm King Art Center on a very cold day. She drove so slow it wasn’t very enjoyable. I realize I like to ride alone because I am in control. I can go my speed, stop when I want, and change directions on a whim. So from now on, I either ride alone, or with my newly aquired passenger Nicole.

Winter came and the Brick sat in my parking garage. The circuit my Battery Tender was plugged into shorted out and my battery died. I just left the bike through the winter unstarted and abandoned in the garage. I felt bad, but as in the Shel Silverstein’s manual for life, The Giving Tree, I knew I would return to the Brick. Spring came and with a fresh battery we were back to our upstate runs.

Nicole was the first one to brave a ride with me on the Brick since I got the bike. I had a brand new Arai passenger helmet that she has commandeered and we have been taking rides all summer. I like having her on the back. We have no communication devices so we just ride and think. She says she enjoys the peacefulness.

So what’s next? I just left my place in NYC and I am at Nicole’s house in NJ. I am doing a 3000-mile East Coast tour during the next 2 weeks. The purpose of this trip is to visit every member of my family. I am going to see my sister Ann in Boone, NC, my brother Tom in Atlanta, my brother John in Jacksonville, FL, And my sister Catherine and my Mom and Dad in St. Augustine, FL.

The purpose of my cross-country trek last year was to find myself. I don’t think I actually did that on the trip, but during this following year I have come closer to happiness. The tour was the start. This year’s journey is about family. The greatest start is spending time with my girlfriend and her two awesome kids, Duncan and Shaw.

I am finishing my projects. I have new goals and dreams. Most importantly, I am opening my heart to others but only after making sure I am taking care of my needs first. One of those needs is this road trip. I’ll be hitting some excellent roads up and down the East Coast, most notably The Tail of the Dragon. Hang on for the ride.

My path for the 2013 East Coast Tour - 3000 miles

My path for the 2013 East Coast Tour – 3000 miles

NYC to South Orange, NJ - 28.1 miles

NYC to South Orange, NJ – 28.1 miles

Posted in East Coast 2013 | 2 Comments

Cross Country Day 24 – Pittsburgh, PA to New York, NY

Today was the last day of a trip I have dreamed about my entire life. I have been through rough weather, run-ins with the police, scrapes with death, and even a crash. Through all of this turmoil, the Brick has performed flawlessly. She has started at the first press of the starter button. She has used almost no oil. She has used no coolant. I am stunned that this 25-year-old motorcycle has performed so well. People said I was crazy to take such a bike out on a ridiculously long a trek – especially in the heat of August through the Mojave Desert, but we both survived. The Brick has proven herself a worthy companion. I swore I would never refer to the Brick as “she,” but we have a relationship now, one forged with the thousands of miles we plowed together. We are two against the world. Few friends would tolerate this amount of time spent together, so the old bike has earned the “she.” Why are ships, cars, guitars, amps, and motorcycles referred to in this manner? I guess because every man’s goal is to have a woman by his side that will stand with him through thick and thin. I have yet to find this mythical she. When times get thick, the mates I’ve had to this point have fled. I stand guilty as I have fled them as well when my needs aren’t met. We are all seeking the perfect fit, and to this stage of my life, the partner that many have found eludes me.

I crept out of bed at around 8am. I decided against breakfast, as I wanted to get the miles under me. Alyson had been the best host and saved me a lot of money. She also showed me the coolest spots in town. I fell in love with Pittsburgh and I vow to return someday. It was nice to catch up with an old friend and have some laughs at the end of such a long trip.

I took a shower and tried to get my ears working to no avail. They had been clogged since my return leg through Colorado. I knew they would open up eventually, so I decided to not worry about the muffled dullness. I clipped my bags onto the Brick and rolled out of Alyson’s garage. The feeling was surreal. Is this really the last day? I had been out for over three weeks and lived a year of memories. I spent many serene hours buzzing down the highways of America. I only tried to listen to music while driving one time during the trip, but the distraction interrupted my concentration so badly that I never drove with music again. A lot of people think this idea is unheard of, but being on the bike alone with my thoughts was exactly the medicine I needed.

I twisted the bike out of the driveway and felt a certain sadness. Time is such a fleeting thing. The minutes and seconds slip through our fingers like sand. As I age, the passage of time has seemed to accelerate. I never have enough hours during a day to do the things I want to do. I have talked to my friends and they have confirmed this phenomenon. Days are packed with problem solving and bill paying. I no longer have the luxury of irresponsibility. As a young man, I had no concerns. I needed no creature comforts. I remember being 16 in Florida and my car air conditioner stopped working. I could not have cared less. I simply rolled down the windows and enjoyed the hot breeze. My true concerns then were getting to the beach with my friends, or finding tickets to the next rock concert. How I long to get back to those days.

The drive towards home was relatively uneventful – just calm miles to think. I stopped in for lunch at a place called the Cottage Family Restaurant in Mill Run, PA and got an open-faced roast beef sandwich. It was tasty and delicious, almost like a home cooked meal. I downed a few cups of coffee to keep alert. As I ate, I recalled some on the experiences during the trip. I thought if I had the money would I just keep driving? I decided I couldn’t. I am a guy that needs a home base. I like to make things therefore I need a workbench and tools. I like to play my guitar and although driving around on a bike with a guitar is not impossible, it is not ideal. Weather concerns are an issue as well. No, being on the road non-stop would not suit me. I have acquired a new sense of respect for people that live on the road. Not a respect only for the musicians, but for the salesmen, truck drivers, and technicians who travel constantly. This is not something I want to do for a living.

I loped through the miles and as I approached New York City, I knew my journey would not be complete unless I touched the water. I could have easily just parked the bike by the Hudson River, snapped a picture, and called the trip done, but I needed a real beach – a bookend to the Santa Monica Pier. The answer became obvious – Coney Island. This would add a few hours to the trip, but my concept of an hour being a long time has been altered by several 14-hour driving days on my trek. I punched in Coney Island on my iPhone map and headed easterly.

Coney Island has special meaning to me. As a kid I remember hearing it mentioned often on the TV show Welcome Back Kotter. We never visited there during my childhood in New Jersey, but I knew even then, the place had a seedy attraction. When I moved to New York in 2000, my good friend Mary took me there for the first time. We went to the now famous Mermaid Parade and had hot dogs at the original Nathan’s. I now visit Coney Island at least a couple of times a year. I have watched the area go from nearly closing down to the current newfound renaissance. The place has even rebounded after the viciousness of Hurricane Sandy. There is now new construction and the iconic play land seems to show no signs of passing on anytime soon. I am glad that one of our country’s oldest amusement parks has survived the test of time.

I began to close in on my destination and crossed the fabled Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. It is a beautiful structure and such a nice way to approach Coney. I wedged the Brick into a tight parking spot right near Nathan’s and walked over to eat the last hot dog of my trip. I had literally eaten hot dogs across the country and the extra 15 pounds I had packed on in three weeks was evidence of my poor dietary habits. I lived as a bohemian hedonist during my journey, yet standing at the counter of Nathan’s I had no regrets. This was comfort food and I needed comfort.

I saw a few cops and asked them if I could pose for a picture. I told them about my journey and they smiled wide. They told me about their excursions, the Harleys that they owned, and the near brushes with death we all experience when on two wheels. I walked down to the beach in my long pants and jacket with my helmet stuffed under my arm. People in bathing suits looked at me like a sea alien trying to return to his ocean home. I touched the water and felt extremely emotional. I made it against most odds. I had an idea and I saw it through. Touching the water I realized I would probably never make such a journey again. I walked back up to the boardwalk and shuffled around for a bit. Folks were having fun and playing games. The din of children laughing and the clattering rides and games made me feel welcomed. People were celebrating life and it was a wonderful scene for a homecoming.

I threw my leg over the Brick for the last time of the trip. I patted the gas tank like Valentino Rossi does when he wins a race, which unfortunately hasn’t been in a while. I pressed the green button as I have done countless times and the 3-cylinder power plant rumbled to life. I plunked the bike off of the center stand and looked toward the ocean one last time and smiled. I thought about never taking this trip, but now that it was completed I am the better for doing it. I am wiser. I grew. I healed. I started to let things go.

I approached my apartment and stopped at the parking garage entrance. I dug out the plastic door opener, pushed the button, and rolled into the cavern where I park right beneath my building. I was weary, but at the same time somewhat energized. I parked the motorcycle and walked towards my apartment. I looked back at the Brick one more time before I got through the security door. She was dirty, had a cracked turn signal, a twisted mirror, and small scrape that now adorns her valve cover. But even with all of the road weariness, the sturdy bike sat as ready to go as the first day we left, prepared for the next adventure I would throw at her. What a bike. Who could ask for a better cross-country steed?

I entered my apartment that had been vacant and the first thing I noticed was a mint condition Gibson SG electric guitar sitting on a stand in the middle of my floor. I went over to the fridge and opened the door for a glass of water, and standing at attention were two ice-cold Miller High Life beers in their iconic clear glass bottles. There was no question what mastermind was behind this handy work. It was my band mate and best friend Tylor who also lives in my building. Saying he is a good friend falls far short of how to define the man. He has done every graphic and show poster for me since I have lived in New York. He stood by me through deaths, a divorce, a broken engagement and more breakups than I can count. He is the human version of the Brick – steadfast, strong, honest, and ready to spring into action whenever I need help or get a crazy idea. He has served as my drummer for the last 5 years and will follow me blindly into any musical project I want to do. People say, “I don’t know where I would be without this guy,” in a very light-hearted way. But for me, I can use those words authentically when describing Tylor.

Tylor looked after my place and picked up my mail when I was gone. The SG was a loaner from his cousin that he thought I would enjoy playing, and the beers were a much-needed welcome home card. I plunked myself down in my swivel chair and cracked one of the Millers. It was probably one of the best tasting beers I ever had in my life. I picked up the SG and strummed a few chords. It is an immaculate instrument. I hadn’t played at all on my trip, so the strings felt good under my fingers.

Once again the concept of time being fleeting crossed my mind. I was planning this trip in what seemed like second ago, and now here I am 6975 miles later, back in my desk chair. I learned a lot about myself on this trip. I’m not a cookie cutter kind of guy. I have quirks and odd perspectives that many people don’t have. This trip has taught me about people and what matters, most importantly, making use of your time. Don’t make a bucket list. Go do what you want to do now because the day on your list may pass you by faster than you will notice. Or worse, it may never come. I also learned the value of friendship. I stayed with old friends and people I didn’t know all too well. But I have affected these people in a positive way, and for that they enjoy my company and want me around. They accept me for my shortcomings and faults and I am lucky to have them in my life. Because of these realizations, I wasn’t upset that there were no wife and kids to welcome me back. No hand drawn posters of stick people. No arms wrapped around me. Where I am now is just fine.

I thought about selling the Brick right after my trip, but that would be like shooting a horse before it’s time. We have miles to cover and problems to think through over the roads of America. I highly recommend driving cross-country if you get the chance. Not everybody has the luxury to take 3 weeks off and leave all responsibilities behind. But if you do get the time, take the trip. The appreciation you will gain for your life will be exponentially increased. For all of the money I spent on therapy over the years, I am amazed to realize wisest mental expense to date has been the $2400 I spent on a 1988 BMW K75.

Click Images for larger versions:

From sea to shining sea – 6975 miles

Starting mileage Cottage Family Roast beef
Verrazan-Narrows Coney Island The Cyclone
Just saying hello The original Last dogs
Gibson SG

Pittsburgh, PA to New York, NY – 410 miles

Posted in Cross Country 2012, Travel | 1 Comment

Cross Country Day 23 – Pittsburgh, PA

Today is the last day I will be away from home. Tomorrow I will be back in NYC. Time is such a relative concept. I feel like I left yesterday yet I stare at the odometer of the Brick and almost 7000 miles have clicked by on the gauge. Einstein once said, “Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. That’s relativity.” Old Al hit the mark on that one. When we are enjoying ourselves the seconds pass so quickly. Pain on the other hand, hangs on forever – the hand on the stove. This trip has helped me to let go of a lot of accumulated pain. I never let myself heal from relationship missteps I took. My heart was broken and I in turn broke others. This was not a conscious effort, but the effect is one that is commonplace. We tend to inflict the pain on others that was inflicted on us. Only through hard work and self-examination can one interrupt this pattern.  I tend to dive in to quickly. I’m a committer. I don’t think this is a bad technique regarding relationships as long as the other person is a committer as well. Truth is another piece of the formula. I’ve been lied to and mislead. I say what I mean, but I realize few other people do that.

I woke up not overly early and skyped with my boss. He was happy I was out on the road having a good time. Summers at my job are pretty slow, so he was in no rush for me to get back. He has always been an inspiration to me when it comes to dividing life and work. He does both very well. I’m great at work, but trying to get better at the life part. I am learning to let things go and trying to relax. My boss puts no pressure on me but my work ethic is such that I always want to be efficient and a good value to the college. I extended the trip a few days so I could attend Pittsburgh Banjo Club with Alyson again, so that was a little bit of relaxation and living life in action.

Alyson brought me coffee and banana pancakes that were delicious. We did the crossword puzzle together and had no problem knocking it out quickly. After breakfast I lazed around a bit and eventually showered and shaved. I G-chatted with my best friend Tylor and he was excited for me to return. He has been the most supportive friend in my lifetime. He has talked me down from many a ledge, and respects me as a musician and a creative. He is a true renaissance man and is a pure and authentic soul. I often wonder where I would be without him.

Once again, Alyson hopped into her Chrysler 300 and headed into town. Today was a day of sightseeing and relaxing. There was not a lot of pressure at this point because even though I was leaving for NYC tomorrow, I had no time frame to get there. I had no hotel to check into, no race to attend, a no specific time to meet anybody. I felt loose and not pressured. We parked the car and started to walk. We passed by many beautiful buildings landmarks. Pittsburgh is really is beautiful, and although I love NYC, I could see living here, which is more than I could say for many of the places I visited.

Alyson is more than slightly familiar with my love of hot dogs, so she made it a point to take me to most famous hot dog place in the city dubbed The Original Hot Dog Shop also known as the ‘0’ or to locals as The Dirty ‘0’ for it’s seedy appearance. The hot dogs were good. They had a nice snap but not the best ever. Libby’s in Paterson still ranks king of the hot dog hill for me. The fries were very good and the portion was huge. Some people say they are the best ever, but again, I’ve had better. The benchmark being the now defunct Bertrand Island Amusement Park in Lake Hopatcong, N.J. where my mom used to take me for cheap rides and amusements as a boy. She would get a paper plate full of ripple cut fries and we would share them with plenty of salt and ketchup. I believe the flavor of the food is derived directly from the joy we are experiencing as we consume it. Does anything taste better than a hot pretzel at Yankee Stadium? Or a cold beer on the boardwalk at Coney Island? The answer is obvious. No.

After the fried gut-busting feast we ventured over to the Grand Concourse and looked around. The structure is amazing with high ornate ceilings and expansive hallways. We had some beers and a half-dozen oysters. I felt decadent, but this was my last day in another city. I was living in caloric real-time.

We later rode up the Duquesne Incline which is a mountainside elevator originally used to haul cargo up and down the mountain. It was later used to carry people as well. The view of Pittsburgh was breathtaking. The history of industry is so deep here and riding a cargo elevator put that fact into perspective. The elevator that once hauled cargo is now used for hauling tourists.

We had a few Miller Lites at a place called Red Beards and decided to head home. We had dinner, rested, and then ventured out once again to the Pittsburgh Banjo Club. I felt like I was at a homecoming after World War II as I traversed threshold of the Elks Lodge #339. I saw familiar faces, and our friends Al and Pat from the first time around made a point to sit with us again. The air was filled with tunes of an era gone by. I wondered how long Banjo Club could last before people forgot the music. I guess no matter how long-in-the-tooth a certain kind of music gets, there will always be somebody that it speaks too. The shrill of 20 plus of banjos at full volume sure made a beautiful racket. I remember my father playing banjo when I was a boy. He seemed so happy when he played his Williams 5 string. I feel the same way when I have my guitar under my arm. No problems of the world matter much when a pick crosses strings. The proof of this was the gang of pickers onstage and the folks smiling and listening to them in the audience.

As the night wore on, more Miller Lite was consumed and everybody started to get loose. Al bought a strip of raffle tickets and started rubbing them on his nipples for good luck. Alyson and I could not stop laughing. We danced and enjoyed the sights and sounds of this rare time capsule. A blind clarinet player took the stage and blew out a slew of amazing solos. The band burst into a military medley featuring the theme songs of every branch the armed forces. I welled up a little as men stood proudly as their respective theme played, some saluting as the notes fell into the warm night air. More beautiful moments came as guests sang along with songs long forgotten by the internet generation. I was having a beautiful time. Al kept up his pranks and mentioned that his friend Pat’s cleavage was like a change machine and that he lost a roll of quarters in it never to be recovered.

The night was such a beautiful end to my journey. Hanging out with an old friend, dancing and joking with the new friends we made three weeks ago. Listening to beautiful acoustic music played well by talented people. Cold cheap beer that never stopped flowing. Perfect. Tomorrow I had a short 6-hour drive home and then it would all be over. I’ve lived a lifetime in these three weeks.

Alyson and I headed home with the joyful glow of the night still hanging about us. There are few feelings that compare to seeing an old friend. No matter how many years have passed, time just picks up where it left off. Knowing that makes the time between visits more bearable.

I laid my head down to sleep thinking of my journey. I have done what few people get to do. I am lucky. I have the gift of so many great friends. I am gainfully employed by people who think I am incredible. I play music in a band. I build things that make noise. I fell asleep for once truly happy.

Click Images for larger versions:

St. Paul’s Mellon Institute Cathedral of Learning
Pitt Bridge Pitt Cabin The Other Carnegie
The ‘O’ Decent Dogs and Fries Fryers
Grand Concourse Grand Concourse Oysters and Beer
Grand Concourse Grand Concourse Grand Concourse
Grand Concourse Incline Incline Tracks
Incline Tracks Pensive in Pittsburgh The River
Bridge Bridges Incline Window
Incline Down Panorama Driving on Bridge
Elk’s #339 Banjo Club Banjo Club
Elk’s #339 Singing The Crowd
Singing Cheers! Clarinet Solo
Miller Lite Me, Pat, Al. Alyson Pitt Pride
Maraca Man Guest Singers Banjo Club
Elktender Banjo Beer Holder Big Fake Book
The Leader The Boys in the Band Kiss from Pat
Posted in Cross Country 2012, Travel | 2 Comments

Cross Country Day 22 – Pittsburgh, PA

I was very relaxed knowing I had a full day off to just hang out in Pittsburgh and absorb the local flavor. I slept until 10am and finally crawled out of bed. I checked in on some work emails and prepared myself to return to reality in two days. My ear still had a clogged feeling in it, but I figured it would clear in time. My entire world is muffled and lacking high frequency content. I bought a bunch of over the counter remedies and tried them all to no avail.

Alyson and I took her car (Sandy the Chrysler 300) into town. She was showing me all of the famous spots and today’s was Primanti Bros., known for their sandwiches. It was delicious and perfectly made. I guess the problem was that it was a little too perfect. It wasn’t gooey or greasy enough for my dive bar tastes. This was great restaurant food, but I’ve learned to live so much grimier now and I can only seem to appreciate the seedy underbelly of the food business. Yes, I am sick. Very sick. Maybe I’m just tired of food? Either way we had a few beers with the sandwiches at Primanti’s and then headed over to the Carnegie Science Center.

The museum had an exhibit called “Guitar: The Instrument that Rocked the World.” I must admit this title bothered me more than a little. Rocked? As in the past tense? As if the guitar were an artifact of some ancient civilization that some archeologist just exhumed from a dig. I was already rubbed the wrong way. The first piece I came across was a corny lion-themed axe that looked like something out of the film Avatar. I doubted I would be enjoying this installation if this were par for the course. But my pessimism subsided once we rolled into the displays and happened upon the world’s largest Gibson Flying V. Now we are getting somewhere! Alyson took a few goofy pictures of me with the enormous six stringer and we continued on into the museum.

The display was actually a very well put together historic and informative collection. Filled with Gibson’s, Voxes, Fenders, Martins, and other assorted oddities that I’ve never seen before. A few pieces grabbed my attention. One was a Vox Phantom, as the first electric guitar I ever owned was of the same brand. My father traded a set of custom van chrome side pipes from his muffler shop to score me the guitar – a 1968/9 Vox V260 Thunderjet.  I still have it and it is at my parent’s house in St. Augustine. It is a great instrument, and even has a built in distortion effect and a tuner in the body of the guitar. Another cool feature is the Bigsby vibrato arm used for dropping the pitch of the strings. I played that Vox for many years until I was able to save up enough money to purchase a Fender Telecaster some 5 years later. That Vox was rite of passage into the world of electric guitar and like your first lover, you never forget her.

Another guitar on display that always grabbed my eye was a beautiful Gibson J200. I have wanted this guitar for so long and never have been able to scrape together the money to purchase one. With a list price of over $5000 I sort of have given up. Granted the actual selling price is around $3800 and there are many used ones to be had for less, so perhaps I may figure out how to purchase one someday. Until then I just stare longingly any time I see the fabled wood. The love affair for this instrument grew from listening to the concert album The Secret Policeman’s Ball that featured Pete Townshend from my favorite all-time band The Who. I didn’t have a steady band in high school, so I related to Pete in the way he could make the acoustic guitar rock. I played a few talent shows in school and performed two of his famous pieces from the Policemen’s Ball recordings, “Won’t Get Fooled Again” and “Pinball Wizard” on two separate occasions. My admiration for Pete was and is still enormous. He is eclectic and strange. He writes more than just straight ahead rock songs and has a sense of style I relate to. He wrote Tommy, the greatest rock opera ever penned. He can write sensitive ballads, or full on destructive maniacal rock anthems. As a budding musician I appreciated this diversity and it is represented perfectly in the Gibson J200. “Someday,” I muttered as I passed by the sunburst beauty.

Alyson and I ambled around more of the museum. There was a robot section that featured famous movie robots. I have also always had a love of robots. I even wrote a rock musical based on a robot called MAXWELL that was produced by Jobsite Theater in 2001 and 2002 in both Tampa and in New York. I of course had to pose with every movie robot like a tourist goofball. I am sure I get my participatory tourist gene from my mother. Whenever she travels she has to go to every nutty tourist trap the town has to offer. She once made a pilgrimage to see the grave of the famous Siamese twins! I love my mom. As a mother of 5 kids she was decidedly strong. She would load us into the car and take us to all kinds of crazy places in New Jersey when we were young. She was always up for adventure even if our coffers could only afford small local day trips. She had emotions like any other parent, but she wore a smile more often than not, and can still make me laugh like nobody else. When I visit, we end up having long talks long into the night about everything and anything. She never let not having a lot of money stand in the way of us having a great time. I keep that idea close to my heart. Besides the day trips, she would help us make things and shuttle us around to any lesson, cub scout meeting, baton instruction, etc. that one of her children always seemed to be attending. I recently started babysitting for some of my friend’s children and I have a newfound respect for the amount of energy this woman must have had with 5 kids very close in age. Cheers to you mom!

We wandered around the rest of the museum. I lost to a robot foosball machine. I blamed sticky rods, not my ability for the loss. Alyson and I both rode a fixed unicycle high above the lower level. We also tried a roller coaster simulator ride. On a few of the turns one of my ears actually started working! I was excited by this fact because I knew that whatever was clogging my hearing would eventually clear. All in all we had a great day just acting like kids. I think I will always have that quality no matter how old I get. We left the museum and walked around. We poked our heads into The Rivers casino. The sad feeling I had in Vegas returned and we quickly left. I don’t want to enter another casino – at least not with any dreams I want fulfilled within their walls.

We drove home as rain began to tumble down. Tonight was a perfect night to cook at home. I appreciated the idea because I have been eating every meal out and home cooked food would be a welcomed gift. I peeled shrimp as Alyson prepared the jambalaya ingredients. As we cooked together Alyson joked we were like a married couple except for the sex. I retorted that my marriage didn’t have any sex. We both howled with laughter at that statement. As we ate we talked more about our broken relationships, slowly figuring out that everything was going to be okay. Time is the great healer and we both just needed more. I headed to the basement to bed. As I slowly fell into the clutches of the Sandman, I realized that at the age of 47 years old; hours, minutes, and seconds are a precious dwindling commodity.

Click Images for larger versions:

Primanti Bros. Famous Sandwich Peroxide wash
The river Carnegie Center Brain Maze
Performances Lion Axe Rock out!
The biggest… …ever B.C. Rich
Armstrong Oddball Gold Oddball
EVH! Phantom Silvertone
Firebird Amp Anatomy Tube Amp
Someday Clear 412 Cabinet Transformer
Build-a-strat! Burned image Yup, it’s big
Model Railroad Model Railroad Model Railroad
Model Railroad Model Railroad Model Railroad
Model Railroad Model Railroad Model Railroad
Maria Gort Robby
B-9 ECR HAL9000 Duey
C3PO R2D2 Robot Control
On the track Robot Foosball The Enemy
Unicycle The Rivers Heinz Field
Yellow Bridge Bronze Batter The best chair
Posted in Cross Country 2012, Travel | Leave a comment

Cross Country Day 21 – Indianapolis, IN to Pittsburgh, PA

I had a great time at the mecca of speed but it was time to put rubber to asphalt once again. I walked down the Econolodge steps and towards the Brick. I was again reminded of a cowboy’s trusty steed lashed off to a hitching post. She was more than slightly worse for wear. Bug pelted, dirty, with a cracked turn signal and a clutch lever forced towards the triple clamp. We’d been through so much and now it was all winding down – one more stop in Pittsburgh and then home. I have never spent so much time away from people I know. If I travel, I usually have a friend in tow or my destination involves family. No, this was a unique journey with most of the miles only witnessed by a 25-year-old motorcycle. I knew I was being anthropomorphic by giving my motorcycle the power of vision, but I think the technique was needed to keep my sanity. I recalled Tom Hanks talking to his friend/ball “Wilson” in the film Castaway.

The Brick fired right to life and we rolled out of Indy. The trip was a shoestring east on 70 for just over 5 hours, an easy haul compared to some of the days I put in on the beast. I decided on Waffle House for breakfast. If you’ve never been to a Waffle House you owe yourself the experience. When I traveled with my old bands the joint was a common stop mainly because of the consistency from location to location. I’m not just talking about the food, but the actual operation of the familiar yellow building. When you place an order, the waitress shouts the order to the line cook. The funny thing is that he is standing approximately 2 feet away. As I ordered my food and heard the order repeated, my mind flashed to an imaginary Waffle House waitress training meeting with the handbook cracked open and read like a psalm from the bible. “Speak in a loud clear voice when giving orders to the chef. This will assist in avoiding mistakes.” I popped back into reality realizing that the chef actually heard my order and the waitress shouted it out as to reinforce my words in waitress shorthand. “Whiskey down!” I have learned over the years is rye toast.

The meal was filling and satisfying. I looked down at my gut that had swelled over the past few weeks from eating my way across the country in every dive and greasy spoon I could happen upon. What was this about? I purposely went out of my way to not eat anything healthy the entire trip. Was I trying to kill myself with cholesterol? I already take simvastatin and I know the risks of eating greasy food, but that didn’t stop me. I kept pounding buttery nails into veins. I was loose. Nothing tied me down and for once I was going to do whatever the hell I wanted to do. I can lose weight fast and decided that my no holds barred method would stay in place until I dipped my feet in the Atlantic Ocean.

I pulled onto 70 and just gunned my way towards Pittsburg. I was going to stay with my friend Alyson again. I extended my stay with her so we could see the Pittsburgh Banjo Club again. The ride was uneventful but pleasant. The skies were a bright blue and the temperature was perfect. Great weather makes for easy miles and I sliced through the Buckeye state in record time. I only stopped for gas and just kept moving.

After a few hours I made it into Pittsburgh. There was a traffic snarl on 28 in PA, but I eventually got the Brick to Alyson’s garage. In the driveway was her tank of a car, a Chrysler 300 that she calls Sandy. I used to name things. I named my guitar amplifier I built myself after my ex-wife and I got a tattoo of an old flame on my arm that I later had to get lasered off after we broke up. After these events occurred, I stopped branding things. The practice was obviously a jinx, so when I got The Brick I made a definite decision to not to name the bike a human name. But on this trip as I mentioned before, the salty bike has grown on me and I’ve lowered my defenses a bit. I now refer to the two-wheeled beast as “she” and “her” – the failings of a hopeless romantic.

Alyson cooked me up a nice spread of enchiladas and salad. “What’s this green stuff?” I joked. A home cooked meal was a welcome treat after eating in nothing but fat laden dives for as many miles as I can remember. We sat and chatted. Many things have happened that the vastness of my journey was hard to communicate. “How has your trip been?” she asked. “Do you have 2 straight days to talk?” I answered. The statement wasn’t a joke. I had driven roughly 6000 miles since I saw her just 18 days ago. I crashed, almost got arrested, was propositioned, saw things I’ve never seen, almost got stranded, and made it to California and back. I decided that when people ask me, “How was your trip?” my response will be a simple, “Good.”

We finished up dinner and Alyson had a meeting with Ambit Energy, a new company that has formed since the deregulation of public energy. The speaker was an exciting guy, but the entire conversation seemed to focus on making money. I thought about my financial situation. I was going deeper into debt by taking this trip but to me I couldn’t imagine not taking the ride. Life is about opportunity and sometimes the almighty dollar must take a back seat. I have friends that worry about money and security. They are saving their bucks for when they are old. My response to this methodology is always the same, “What if you don’t make it to old?” I looked on as my old drummer Jeff Wood passed. He was one of the most in shape people I have ever met and I remember his bluster as he bragged about doing 2000 sit-ups a day. He had the abs to prove it and he drummed harder than any person I’ve ever met. But that didn’t stop that bastard the grim reaper from swinging his mighty scythe and delivering him not one, but two brain tumors back to back. We have no idea when our last day will come. I could have met mine during the swirling double gusts that nearly snatched me off the Brick on the Tonopah to Green River stretch. So I live like I live. Stretching funds beyond their limits, refinancing with loans against my retirement account in order to take part in the adventure before I check out.

In the last verse of his song “Moving Out” from The Stranger album, a 1977 gift from my 7th grade girlfriend Joan, Billy Joel sings:

And he’s tradin’ in his Chevy for
A Cadillac ack ack ack ack ack
You ought-a know by now
If he can’t drive with a broken back
At least he can polish the fenders

This is how I rationalize going into debt for doing things I want to do and buying things I want to own. The time is now. I’m a driver not a polisher. The bell tolls for thee.

Alyson and I returned home after the Ambit meeting and talked about our past relationship woes. I couldn’t seem to bounce back. Even though I knew my ex wasn’t the right one, something ached that I could not release. I looked out on the long road during this trip and found few answers. We talked for over an hour. I believe the act of discussing the past can help one release the associated hardship. I felt a slight part of the weight of the past had lifted after our discussion. She is a good friend to listen to me and share her feelings too. She had known pain. I hated to see her have to go through the tough things I did.

We decided to head up to Mt. Washington that overlooks Point State Park where the three rivers of Pittsburgh join. We walked along and became hypnotized by the panoramic vista. A young couple asked me to snap a photo for them with the stretching scenery in the background. I saw the innocence in their eyes, a grain that had not been lost yet due to the torture of heartbreak. I handed their camera back and they thanked me. I became a little part of their lives. An aging adventurer wandering with an old friend captured a moment of their lives that was filled with promise and hope for the future. Where was my promise and hope? I drove 6000 miles and even while squinting, I couldn’t see the tiniest dot of light.

We strolled into a great restaurant called the Georgetown Inn and sat right on the windows overlooking the point. We met the owner and I told him about my trip. He reinforced what an incredible achievement I had pulled off by traversing the country. I did feel proud that I had done what I set out to do. After a few drinks, the feeling of longing was supplanted by laughs and jokes. My eyes refocused to the reflection in the window, which had now been converted into a mirror speckled with the city lights and framing two smiling faces. We helped each other move on – even if in the smallest way.

The night turned even funnier when I had to pee badly and we couldn’t find a place to stop. Alyson ended up parking by the side of a children’s hospital and I ran into the bushes to relieve myself. About midway through, I saw a security guard charging towards me. I quickly cut off the event and ran off as the guard barked at me. I apologized severely on the run, but I wasn’t waiting around for the interview. Alyson and I cracked up the whole rest of the way home. I seem determined to wind up in jail sometime before returning to NYC, if not by speeding then by accidental public exposure outside a children’s hospital.

We had a few more beers at home and watched Top Gear, a show I truly love. The show features 3 British guys all committing incredibly adventurous deeds with automobiles. Alyson went upstairs to bed before too long, and I started to nod off with the television flickering like a moth in a headlight, strobing my basement lair with light. I had a great day and cathartic discussion with an old friend. I realized I couldn’t let go but drifting off to sleep I decided to not try so hard and let the process happen. Time is a great healer and I needed more. Removing my glasses, my subterranean world became a soft focused blur. As my tired eyes closed, I think I did see a light dot of hope appearing – or maybe that was just the TV.

Starting Mileage 70 Yup 70
Waffle House Ohio Can’t steal this
The Point Goodnight Brick

Indianapolis, IN to Pittsburgh, PA – 386 Miles

Posted in Cross Country 2012, Travel | 1 Comment

Cross Country Day 20 – Indianapolis, IN

Race day. Today I would be seeing something that I have never seen before – a live MotoGP race. Beyond that I was seeing the race at one of the most noted tracks in history – Indianapolis Motor Speedway. I have followed motorcycle racing loosely since I was a teenager, but back then there wasn’t much television coverage. There still isn’t a lot here in the US, but thanks to the beauty of the Internet and video streaming, I have been able to watch every single race since 2006.

I crawled out of bed at 7am because I wanted to visit the Hall of Fame Museum at the track before the races started. I was really immersing myself in the race culture that permeates the air in Indianapolis. I drove over to the track on the back roads I had taken the day before. The weather was perfect and the skies were blue and clear. My VIP parking pass for the Hall of Fame parking lot proved more than it’s worth when I approached the track and saw the snarled traffic. The parking attendant was the same one stationed for the whole weekend and knew my bike and my gear so she waved me through without my hand ever grabbing the clutch let alone the brake. I slipped down the tunnel and parked directly in front of the museum. The masses had not invaded the track yet and the museum was not crowded in the least. I paid my entry fee and walked into the hallowed halls.

The vehicles on display were nothing short of jaw dropping. The curator of the museum could have been H.G. Wells because the cars and bikes appeared to be acquired through the use of a time machine, every single one in a new state of condition. I walked among the cars and pondered the notion of speed. What is the common thread of man that makes him want to go fast? Is the need for this sensation a vestigial artifact left from our evolution of birds and we want to feel the sense of flying? Is it the competitive nature of man to beat his fellow caveman to the kill? Whatever the answer is, these rows of cars prove the need for speed is not a whim. We want to go fast.

Each car had a placard that described its driver, year of manufacture, and achievements. Many of the names were familiar to me because of my father’s love of auto racing. A.J. Foyt, Parnelli Jones, Bobby Unser, Mario Andretti, and a long list of other luminaries, all had pictures hanging in the museum. I thought about my relationship with cars. We are all our father’s sons. If your dad is a baker, there is a good chance you will become a baker as well. The language of the family business is in one’s roots no matter how much an offspring tries to deny the fact. My family language is cars. My dad did almost nothing else except jobs related to cars.

In 1977 my father relocated our family to Jacksonville, Florida to open a Meineke Muffler franchise. Our lavish house in New Jersey was sold and replaced by a fixer-upper and the money saved went into opening the new shop. We lived very modestly in order to support this effort. After a lot of hard work and scrimping, my dad opened two more locations for a total of three shops. His plan was to give each one of his three sons a shop. This is the way it worked in the old days. A man built his business and passed it down to his family. As offspring, we are born, raised, and meant to die where our parents did. This was the aging idea of community. The only problem with this faded model was that my brothers and I had other ideas. We are all hyper-creative. My younger brother Tom is a whiz with computers. My older brother John is an expert in electronics and all things mechanical. Back in high school during my father’s ownership of the muffler shops, I wanted to be a rock star. Nothing was ever more clear in my mind from as early as I could remember.

My father never forced us into the work he wanted for us. After 10 years of ownership he got out of the business and over time has sold most of the properties. He has retained and continues to collect rent on single property. My brothers and I all went on to do more or less what we wanted to do. I work for the Music Department at CCNY, and my brothers have jobs in their respected fields. We all turned out ok, but the chain of family business owners was broken with my generation. My younger brother and I moved away, and the sense of family community is now a dusty chapter in an unread book.

I continued through the museum wishing my father were with me. I am sure he could elaborate on the technical achievements and details of mystic cars lined up like sugary dots on paper candy. I smiled remembering all he taught me. The most important being, “never be afraid to take something apart.” I have carried this mantra with me through my life. I am now a tenured Technical Director and a Certified Macintosh Help Desk Technician. I am sure his influence is why I am where I am today. I can figure out almost any problem that crops up in my job with the simple approach of not being afraid. When done carefully and methodically, reassembly is never difficult. Broken things can be fixed.

I ventured out to the track to watch the MotoGP warm up. I got a coffee and an egg sandwich outside the Hall of Fame and sat under an umbrella. I ate with the buzzing sounds of Moto3 free practice as the Muzak to my meal. I was in fanboy heaven. The tension was definitely building at the track and in my stomach. What was I nervous about? I guess it was seeing something for the first time I have dreamed about my whole life. It reminded me of taking the stage for the first time. The air at the track was rife with new smells sounds, and the vibrant energy surrounding the track was addictive. Everybody in attendance was really into racing.

I walked over to Ducati Island, a section Ducati reserves for owners of their brand and never have I experienced seller’s remorse more than this moment. I saw the lines of vintage and new Ducatis and came across a 900ss that was much like the one I had to sell after my sabbatical in 2009. I restored that bike from the ground up and wish I had it on this day. Yes, my BMW is a sturdy road machine that I enjoy. I am not sure my Duc would have made the trip anyway without a few maintenance stops along the route, but none of this eased my pain of parting with the motorcycle that was my dream bike. I am not a materialistic person, but the attitude of Ducati owners is more similar to the sacrifice of an artist. They see the nuance and tango into ownership with a good set of tools and a high-limit credit card knowing exactly what these bikes cost to own.

I turned towards the track. Out there were the gladiators. Valentino Rossi, Casey Stoner, Jorge Lorenzo, Nicky Hayden, Dani Pedrosa, Ben Spies, Colin Edwards, and the rest of the cast I followed closely for years. They were whizzing by the Ducati Island at speeds that cannot be faithfully captured by broadcast television. As I stood in awe on the lip of the track, the only word that popped into my mind was “crazy.” Over 200 mph on a motorcycle is crazy enough let alone having a competitor inches from the bike’s back tire.

I ventured to the stands to watch the Moto3 Race. This is a lower class of bikes with smaller engines. I wasn’t too interested because the bikes just aren’t fast enough. I admire the skill of the riders wringing the necks of the puny bikes, but after seeing the MotoGP bikes, the smaller rides didn’t interest me much.

I welcomed the next race, the Moto2 category. These are 600cc bikes with a spec engine, so the racing is always close. I met some of the folks sitting around me. Adam was in attendance with his son Steve. We chatted about bikes and races and the superiority of Marc Marquez. I asked Steve if he had a bike. He told me had a Honda CBR600, but had to sell it because he needed to buy an engagement ring for his fiancé. I wanted to tell him that was a mistake, but I didn’t want to dash the young man’s hopes of a life of eternal happiness. I thought about my recent broken engagement and the ring I bought my ex that I never wanted returned. Damn that could have been half of a replacement Ducati 900ss. Note to self: next time, get the ring back, buy Ducati.

I shook the barbed hooks of the past out of my brain and got back into the racing. I had a great seat, a hat, a tall beer, and a ton of sunscreen. The action was great and the fans were so enthusiastic. Marquez won by a good margin as expected, but there was decent racing further down the pack. Steve was happy. He was a fan and at the very least he could live vicariously through his hero even if his ride was replaced by an overpriced rock that symbolizes a ritual that really has little meaning to the broken hearted like myself.

I exited the stands in search of food. I decided a hamburger was the way to go and purchased one from one of the vendor. There were 2 folding chairs that were not being used next to the stand. I think people may have thought they were for the vendors to sit, but I took a seat like I knew what I was doing and nobody bothered me. The MotoGP race was up next. I was getting nervous. I made my way back to my seat.

Before the race was a crackly recording of “The Star Spangled Banner” followed by a flyover of a pair of A-10 Warthog jets. I never understand what the connection is between machines of war and sporting events. Yes, I know soldiers serve to keep us safe and we need a military. But this is not a military event. If anything, sport was designed to replace war. I often imagine if solving international disputes couldn’t be better handled by having a huge Nerf football game instead of lobbing bombs at each other.

The race was getting underway. Dani Pedrosa was on the pole and made one of his signature rocket starts as soon as the red lights went black. Ben Spies who has been having bad luck all season quickly got right behind the diminutive Spaniard. Shortly after the charge, Ben’s Yamaha blew up in a cloud of smoke. I felt bad for him. He rides so hard and can’t get a break this season. Cal Crutchlow, the scrappy Brit, binned his Yamaha as well after Ben’s misfortune. Attrition was taking her toll. The race pressed on and became processional. This has been a common complaint all season. The bikes spread out and there is very little fairing to fairing action. The new class of CRT bikes isn’t helping matters either. The racing is broken up into two sections, and makes for even less competition being that the bikes are 20 to 30 horsepower down from the prototype top-level machines. At the finish, Pedrosa won, followed by Jorge Lorenzo, Andrea Dovizioso, and the injured Casey Stoner.

I was slightly disappointed that the race wasn’t more exciting, but how could I complain? I’m out here on tour living life to the fullest and can’t imagine having a better time. I’ve done and seen things I have never done or seen before. My mind is further opened and my faith in human interaction has been restored. I did leave the track with a small dose of melancholy. I would not be returning for a while. Maybe never. But I forged great memories here at the track, and the fulfillment of a childhood dream made me happy. I vowed to participate in life. I will not make bucket lists, but I will do the things I want to do in the now. The time to live is today.

I went back to my ramshackle hotel and took a nap. The maid was outside of my door screaming at somebody on her cell phone. I politely asked her to keep the noise down and she obliged. I put some feelers out for food on Facebook and an old musician friend of mine John McNicholas recommended a place called the Broad Ripple Brew Pub. I pulled into the lot and parked next to a gaggle of hyper-speed Suzuki Hayabusas, Kawasaki ZX10s, and Honda CBR1000s. The Brick looked absolutely slow sitting next to these over-liter sized machines. I felt like I messed up their display of power sort of like if I had flown a kite when the A-10s roared through the sky over the track. I laughed and walked into the pub. I ordered the bangers and mash and Lawnmower Pale Ale. The food was delicious as John said it would be. I struck up a conversation with a guy to my right. His name was Mike and when he found out I went to the race the floodgates of conversation were opened up. He is an engineer and we talked about a vast array of topics including carbon fiber, Formula 1 braking, tire technology, swingarm flex, and racers old and new. Everybody I talked to in this town knew the language of cars. The language my family spoke.

I called it a night. I had a long trek in the morning and needed some rest. I rumbled through the darkness on the Brick, the exhaust pops reminding me of the day at the track. I was at peace. I didn’t think about what the future had in store for me. I had today. And what a great day it was. Broken things can be fixed.

#2 #66 Wedge
Rockets #61 #1
Wynn’s Friction Horsepower #7
Foyt Lotus Velocity Stacks
Gould #1 Air Cooled Stripped
#34 Ford Ferrari
Vette Benz #54
#16 Hemi Power Motor Bike
Dressed Sparse #193
Norton Indian More Hemi
Trailered Milk Drinking Jet Car
Hall of Fame 900ss On Track
On Track On Track On Track
On Track On Track On Track
Stoner Monster Fast
Sport 1000 Desmosedici Ducati Island
Fans On Track On Track
On Track A-10 Warthogs On Track
Bob loading Denver Nitrous Minibike
On Track Map Parking Lot
Different Broad Ripple Good Eats
Posted in Cross Country 2012, Travel | 1 Comment