The bike was buzzing along pretty well. Traffic was moving increasingly faster, and I was averaging about 80. You might understand that I was listening ravenously to every single noise and vibration I could hear (or imagine), as NOW was the Acid Test for my rebuild operation. There’s been a slight buzz around 3000 rpm, but otherwise all has been steady, and I keep training myself to relax. I was expending too much energy on every direction.
Sometime in the mid afternoon I passed through twenty miles of West Virginia and down into Ohio. The sun was baking; I had a sleeveless t-shirt on with sunscreen. Suddenly I began to feel increasingly … dizzy… tingling in the arms and face, like maybe I was going to pass out. The Mp3 music was loud in my ears above the huge roar of wind buffeting the bottom of my Arai helmet. There had been a fast 15 degree increase in temperature after coming off the Allegheny mountains, and the tension involved in maintaining a steady 85 mph in aggressive traffic around the curving highways was getting on top of me. As I became increasingly distressed, I had to veer off suddenly onto a very handy exit ramp into some nameless ‘burg. For a few moments I was actually a little frightened; wondering what was happening and if I was having a stroke or something. I pulled into a convenient store in Patalooka or somewhere… and sort of tumbled into their air conditioned shop. My hand was trembling as I paid for an apple juice; I was praying that the problem was attributed to either de-hydration or low blood sugar, and I hoped that I wouldn’t pass out directly at the counter. I slumped down heavily at an indoor Dairy Queen table; even with the AC sweat was running off my arms, I was breathing shallowly, brain in tunnel-vision mode.
I sat there quietly, and after about 20 minutes I started to feel ..a little more human, and felt the need to keep going. I drank a bottle of water and before mounting up I switched over to ear-plugs instead of Mp3 phones, took a few deep breathds and then headed back out onto Rte 70 West. This time I slowed down it to a steady 75, (letting many people pass me), and I began to relax. RE-LAX, Webb. This ain’t a RACE. Pace yourself and put it into low-energy mode.
Soon afterwards I stopped in another small town to get a big water, a pre-fab chicken sandwich and a hunk of iced banana cake. The sugar/water mixture seemed to revive me, and after hitting a little patch of rain east of Columbus, I arrived in Pickerington around dusk and dug up a Motel 6 for $42. My plan was to hit the famous American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) Motorcycle Museum the next day.
That night I went venturing out into the drooping sunset and found a place called “Texas Roadhouse” on a gritty commercial road… lots of closed-up strip mall stores. The restaurant was, once again, coporate… but had a great New York strip for $14 and a couple of very large & cold PBR’s. Burp. On the way back to the hotel I spied some red-lit joint called Rachel’s, which turned out to be a ...gentlemen’s club, and the very black bouncer at the front door almost apologoized when he asked me to pay a heady three bucks at the door. Inside, I ordered a $3.50 draft Bud and peered out throught he gloom at the paunchy dancers trying to flaunt their not-so-svelte figures in some kind of a lascivious manner. Eventually one rather rotund broad approached me from behind with her hands across my eyes and asked if I’d ever been in there before. She then carefully laid out the down-and-dirty ground-rules, as if I was the horniest dog on the planet and would be woofing down any flirty shuck they palmed out: lap dances were $25 and if I wanted to buy her a drink it would cost me a cool twenty. I shrugged gleefully and said I wanted neither… but instead just clammed a five dollar bill into her paw and said thanks for the attention anyway. She looked pleasantly surprised, (I don't suppose many of the five paying customers in the joint were tipping her much that night), and ended up sticking around with me for half an hour, telling me about growing up in the middle of rural Pennsylvania and how her sister went to jail and left her to take care of her four kids. While I listened to all this glab I peeked downwards when I had a chance, and made a resolute decision not to get any more involved with this dame, either monetarily or romantically.
meat shakin' off the bone
gonna make this little nigger boy f*&% her
until her old man come back home
- Junior Wells
But, at least she was friendly enough to hang around and chat with me long after she realized there wasn’t any chance of getting any dough from me.... and I was happy to have someone to chat with. Get's lonely out there on the Road by yourself. She actually gave me a big hug and kiss on the cheek when I left, wishing me a good, safe trip. Worthwhile experience for a total of $15, in any strip club.
Now I’m exhausted and must sleep heavily.
Time, and the Road, March On.
THE AMA MUSEUM
I spent the first part of the day over at the famous American Motorcyclist Association’s museum. It was a neat, tidy place, a mile off the Interstate, in the middle of a tract-home suburb. You go through these stone gates and there’s this short drive…like a tiny golf course, then you get to the AMA offices. Two buildings; one for administration, one for the museum. I paid five dollars at the front door as a member… I was hoping someone there would be interested to see my license plate, but it was Monday morning, and just one woman was working the front counter, price-stikering t-shirts. I mentioned that this was my first time there, and that I was on my way from New York to Oregon. She seemed less than impressed. Must come through every day like that…
The museum was cool… fresh and modern, but actually a little less impressive than I’d hoped. The upstairs had some neat shit, including various historical race bikes and Evel Kneivel’s helmet… but really, it was less than grandiose. Nice, though… and I bought one of those freshly-stickered shirts on the way out.
After brunching at a Waffle House that had some extremely friendly waitresses, it was back out onto red-hot Interstate 70.