Thursday, September 30, 2010


Headed out of Wet-Pampers-smelling Perry after a breakfast of local cuisine in a "family restaurant called Pouncey's and you can try and guess the pronunciation. Here it is: Smoked Ribs and Cheese Grits and Hush Puppies and Dump Cake, with a big Mason jar full of iced tea. They claimed to "butcher their own meat", but I cant say I really liked the ribs... smoked... nice taste, but too chewy.

Across the room middle-aged women seemed to be stariung at me curiously... maybe iot was the ponytail... and eventually a man about 60 came in wearing huntin camoflage and a stiff ball cap and I don;t theink thius guy had smiled in a very long time. He looked like all of your worst Deliverance nightmares.. who knows,. he was probably the nicest guy in Christemndom... but he gave me a chilly feeling and I paid up smoothly and exited smelly Perry. (Oh, PS... the waitresses in Pouncey's were very friendly and smiling).

Ouyt across the neck of Florida, and boy, is it ever the Heart of Dixie. Very serious church-goers for the most part,... but also a lot of very opionated... I'd have to say uneducated... folks as well. Really, I must say again that almost everyne I met in the South was simply kind and friendly... but for sake oif that I kept my Yankee Tongue toi myself.

Lots of Southern Povery apparent, and the economic problems in this nation hit the Poor the hardest. All the "little", foo-foo businesses dry up as people begin to save for Basics.. so hobby shops and nail salons and Special Bar B Q places foild and disintegrate,.

Across the flatlands... pretty countryside ... tree-lined and green... ruural, agricultural. Churches and anti-government messages all over. Numerous police cars... sheriffs and State Patrol and a few times I found mysel;f being tailed for a while. But I was being extra cautious with my spoed; 75 was no problem with cruisers on my ass. in a 70 zone (most of Florida).. I generally kept a careful control because they certainly poipped up unexpectedly at times. Generally though , trasffic controls were lax and Florida people kept up 80 mph most of the time.


I rolled over the bridges into Daytona Beach proper, and from the beginning I noticed and felt the run-down edginess oif the place. Daytona ois obviously in the same straits as say, Virginia Beach and other places where reduced tourist revenues have resulted in urban decay and an up-swelling in the minal element. I rolled aorund the road closest to the beach until I found a motel just across the street, (there were many) that advertised $35 rooms... bought one from the young ((yes) Indian woman. No Wifi... dark, well-used room... tattered carpet and squeaky bathroom faucets... another grim, drug-dealer's motel. But it looked safe enoiugh, and I went out of the bike, eager to explore what Biker Mecca Daytona had to offer. I left my helmet home for a change..s Florida doesn;t require one, and I knew I;d be just gouing to Main Street eight bloicks away. I did need to weasr sunglasses though (eye protection rule) and the dakr shades made it somewhat difficult for my eyes to adjust eadh time at night.
Down to Main Street and I found there were half a dozen bars with numerous motorcycles out front... not all Harleys, but a majority anyway. I went to the famous Boot Hill Saloon... nothing so imposing as coloirful. The whole inside looked like someone had beaten it with a ball-peen hammer... then painted it black and covered it with clever bumper stickers. A few dozen biker types present... and some wannabees. I had a couple of beers there and a shot... then over to Froggies where I chatted wit a couople of large-bodied local Florida women in too much make-up... then one open aor place where a band was starting up. I probably had a handful of beers and three shots or so.
Decided to take a quick spin back to my roiom for a moment to make soime adjustments. On the way back I was looking half-heartedly for somewhere to eat and saw an interesting Barbecue place. I turned in quickly and came to a stoip in the empty parking lot... saw that the place was closed, unfortunastely, started to put the bike in gear when WWWWEEEEEEEEE-WWWWWWWWW!!!! A white Daytona Beach police car comes screaming in and stutters to a stop just inches from my bike. WHAT THE.....
 Cop jumps out.
What the HELL...
"I was just SITIING here!" I blurted out.
The young officer looked a little confused for a moment.
"Do you knoiw why I'm pullling you?" he asks. "You ran that red light when you pulled into this lot."
I peered backwards and didn't see anything. But he still had his hand out so I fished in my wallet for my license. I had no registration paperwork (left it home) so instead just gave him a copyt oi my insurance card. This is it, I thought grmly. He's going to ask iof I've had anything to drink and I'll be screwed. I had no choice but to stand tall and breathlessly waited for the Wave.
Officer clicks his shoulder mike and radios me in. "New Yawk Alpha Mary Alpha One.
That curious plate again... AMA1.... in a serious AMA motorcycle racing town.
He looks at my license card and flips it around in his fingers.
'i like the way New York makes these lecenses flexible like this," he says distractedly.
"Heh heh... yeah,... uhh they arte kind of nice... err  ehh" I stuttered.
long pregnant pause ensues. Bullets of sweat are springing from my head
"Well I can see that your from out oif town," he says quietly. "We get a lot of problems around here.. and well, you ARE on a black bike."
"Oh, ahh.... really? I mumble.
He looks thoughtful for a second, sees the short distance between my bike and his strobing patrol car.. looks suddenly sheepish. Hands my liucesne back.
"uhh... sorry I came in so fast... uhh, lots of black bikes around here... umm. Well, you be careful and have a good night".
He got into his cruiser and pulled back onto the beach road.
I simply coul;dn;t believe it. The break was unbelieveable... but truly kept in keeping with the absolute Divine Intervention that I have felt so celarly ever since I took off on this highkly risky adeventure. As soon as I started breathing again I dredged up one of the most profound THANK YOU GODs that I've ever uttered. Did so repeatedly during the night... especially as I was parking the bike at my motel and heading out on foot.



Left Gulfport after another nameless fat breakfast... gassed-up and headed for the Alabama line. I'd started using my special little FM radio that I'd bought for this trip, and was picking up a lot of interesting Country channels.
Lot of crazy Redneck stuff going on Out There. Across America one thing became clear to me: THE PICKUP TRUCK IS KING. Bigger the better. I thought we had a lot up in the NY area... Zheesh.. anywhere south of the Mason Dixon a man DOES own a pick-up truck. Total Waste of materials... pick-ups seem to be mostly used (in REALITY) for pulling horse and / or people trailers. I rarely saw another legimimate usage... the rest were simply empty.

I'd had a fun night the eveining before over in the Bucksnort Grill or whatever it was. That place was heavy with real Southern Crackers and recently-retired Gulf Vets. Across the South from Texas onwards I've overheard lots of anti-"Liberal" cracks... and, well, far be it from ME to interfere with the Yucks... heh heh... not the best time to be waving my New Yawk Yippie viewpoints.. Met one jovial Gulf War vet who gleefully told me jhow he'd been shot four times and has a plate in his skull. He was a cheerful sod; I bought him a shot and he gleefully jumped out into the Karaoke stage that was blaring classic C&W music, and started yelping out Hank Williams at Volume 11.  Happy seeming bloke... drunk like a monkey before I left.

On the Road...
After an hour or so of smooth sailing I came up to Mobile... lots of signs and indications of Air Stations and Naval Bases. Mobile looked ... neat.. as I was passing through. Just modern corporate office buildings visible from the road... wonder how much the Armaments industry is keeping this part of the country alive. Lots of signs of poor blacks in shack houses and trailers with broken machiunery in a scruffy yarrd.. also high percentage of toothless-whites babbling GAWD and FOOTBALL... many Mexican/Latinos who seemed to be sort of avoiding attention. ENDLESS PICK-UP TRUCKS.

Country-western tunes coming in .. sort of broken wisdoms about how "Grandpa taught me God is Great, Beer is Good, and Life should be lived without trying the be very clever. Or Educated... or something. Definite strong signs of Ignorance in many places... but much more "modern" than  I'd perceived.. like, even farmers have computers these days... and cable TV and mobile phones... but still need to believe in SIMPLE solutions... answers that, Wellsir... just seem right. No need for thankin' too hard... Granpda had that wisdom now, didn't he?
More songs about chasing the local tan Farmer's Daughter.... weepy tales of Love Gone Away and happy tunes regaling whiskey fun and an occasional dust-up...
Then we get to the AMURICAN patriotic songs, and lookout, brother... IF YOU DON'T AGREE WITH THE SILVER AMURICAN EAGLE, BOY, THEN YOU GONNA FEEL UNCLE SAM'S BOOT UP YOUR ASS.. Yes, that's an actual song, (if not a perfectly duplicated).

On into Florida. The run was failry long.. the air getting warmer and more humid... I stopped at a Florida Welcome Center and it was mid-Nineties and 86% humid. Sticky... so much different than the desert heat I'd experienced for weeks.

Pensacloa... wanted to run down to the beaches there, but was warned that two militairy bases were about to let out.. and it would be traffic murder. I took a short off-highway trip up a state highway and foiund a giant bike shop... all Japanese brands.. met the owner by coincidence when pulling in... he was magnanimous and told all his staff to take good care of me. Unfortunately I had just bought four quarts of expensive synthetic oil at another shop... needed a p-lace to dump the old.... unfortunately not possible either place... worried about EPA sting ops, supposdely... so I glumly pulled behind on of many boarded-up hulks down the road and, looking boithe ways, cracked my drain plug and let the old hoit oil piss into the scrubby, pebbled sand and weeds. It disappeared from view within moments... I rapped the fiuller bolt back in and using a newspaper funnel drained 3.5 liters back in as fast as possible. Hot... I was sweating profusely.. I hated to do that, but no one wanted to offer me a drainp-pan and dump can... and the place I left it off was certainbly no prisitine parkland.. just hate to do that,. last time was in the desert parking lot by Santa Fe Downs for the Dead in '83.

By Talahassee it started getting dark... I had to decide where to stop... looked at my map and decided to head southwards .. even in the direction of Sarasota, where my MIA buddy lives (supposedly)... hoping somehow that he might wake up out of his boozie revery long enough to check his phone messages; this wasn't to be the case and I sadly had to shallow-up my Southern Dip and plan on doing a Tampa-Key West run someday in the future.

In the meantime I stopped in a little rest area of sorts off the small state highway I was then running on... stopped at a little lake next to a car with a young couple who began telling me about all the alligatlors in such water and how they put up a lot of fencework to keep them at bay. I was peering at my map when a "Florida Law Enforcement" SUV suddenly pulled up behind me and a big cop dressed in paramilitairy garb lumbered out, peers at me suspiciously through black mirrors. It was then that I noticed a small bag of garbage broken open not far from my bike. The cops and I both looked hard at it at the same moment, and it had obviouysly been rained on earlier in the day.
"HA YA DOOO'N," he drawls in an intimidating way., studying me closely. Marine Corps, all the way, fully armed with the latest Tactical Web Gear and big black .45 automatic.
"Fine. Sir".
Looks around. "Y'all know that this's a state park. We generally don' encourage people to come in here... I can see yer outta state. There's a fee for getting in here, ya know..."
No one had been at the tiny booth when I rode in, and no "fee" signs had been evident.
"How much IS the Fee, Officer?" My years in Asia had taught me well.
He hesitated for a moment and studied me , then glanced quizzically at my custom "AMA1" New York plate, emblem and all.
"Well; we don' always need to charge.. I suppose..."
The  clever guy next to me speaks up and says Thanks, we'll check the rules carefully on the way out... we're all just keaving." Big Cop harumphed and sauntered back to his shiney truck.
Just before dark I crossed the Swannee River... real Dixieland now... cars with giant Rebel flags painted in their dusty hoods.... m,any many Jesus signs... towns where there are more churches than businesses. Sort of scary... lots of heavy Confederate sentiment there.. VERY Right and God-Fearing.
But despite all the ominous trappings people I met were hugely warm and easy to talk to... (though often difficult to understand). I suppose if I had been black or Asian it miught well have gone the other way.

Earlier in the day I'd been on the state road and I rolled 70 mph past an old feller lounging comfortably in the shade and the back of a laoded pickup truck. As I buzzed past he smiled appreciatively and gave me a cool, well-timed thumbs up. A hamdmade sign nearby proclaimed, "TATERS". z
I rode past... continued snother mile or so down the road... said WHY NOT... wheeled around and headed back... pulled up in front of the truck and peeled off my helmet and earplugs.
HA YA DOOO'N, I said with a warm smile. "I'm just a tourist riding past on a cross country trip... and I just needed to stop back and say howdy."
That old boy's face lit right up. Sticks his had out purposefully. "Name's Bobby.... Bobby Fletcher,' says with a fine grin.
"Greg Webb! I'm actually from New York... doing 10.000 miles.."
Bobby was quite pleased and I think we gave each other a gift that few moments of experienceing someone very far outside of our respective Boxes. We talked a little about my trip... about this part of Florida... about potato sales. Shook the old boy's hand firmly and we gave each other a God Bless and Vaya Con Dios.. and I motored off feeling that I'd acually accomplished something... somehow. A kindly fellow.. no signs of susicion or concern. Warm and welcoiming without reserve.

Into the night and ligthning on the horizon as I turned onto oute 27 heading south to Perry. Long, straight runs through the moonlit Dixie pines... bright full moon lighting my way down the beautifully-paved road.. a very smooth, pretty run, except for no one else on the road and a lot of deer-roadkill.

Down through little crossroad towns full of various flavor of Baptists and Pentecostal, etc. churches, now dark. Finally reached Perry.. a tiny town with a handleful of (thankfully) cheap motels and a few eating places, some local some corporate.
Checked into a fine little lodge called the Gandy Motor Inn and sure enough, a nice Hindu innkeeper at the desk, and The Gandy was one of the more comfortable dumps I've excpereinced so far.

Unlaoded my gear and headed back up the road for a tiny dew-drop inn that I'd seen. Now this place was very sketchy... a real tin-roofed, Schlitz-signed good-ol boy joint called the Palmetto Bucket Lounge. Only pickup trucks out front. ... well used ones. Went in and sat at the back corner of the bar; ordered a Budweiser.. big guy next to me about 6'3 and big boned gives me a big grin and a heavy drawl.

"You LIKE this stuff?" he asks me over the din of some cheap metal band playing on a small stage to a crowd of fifty.
"Well," I mumble, trying to mask any traces of Yankee accent, "I'm sort of middlin' on it", Diplomacy, at all times.
'Well, I don' lak it, " he says shaking his head. the he cheers up again.
"Hey.. knoiw what?" he asks with a grin, "I'v been thrown in jail in this town more times than anyone else for fighting. Yep.. jus spent three months in County last time!"
I chuckled softly. "Well, ain't that quite sumpthin'" I offered with a cautious smile.
The situation became m,ore tense when two black men came in, one with (gasp) dreadlocks, and Roundhouse Richie next to me starts to pay all kind of attention.
"Now hwo's going to hire that?" he quizzes me. "I mean, come on.... really! And that basatrd is taking my TAX money!''
Ahh, boy...I started looking for my escape route... but I figured I should give iot at least the Ol College Try..
"Oh I dunno," I says sheepishly, " he may be working for a store or a music shop something, err.."
Pugsly wasn;t buying, and peered at me intensely for a moment. I fidgeted.
"Naw," ha drawls, leaning back. "That boy just taking my TAX money, I'll tell ya?
When he looked the other way I dropped a dollar under my bottle and slipped out the door, half looking over my shoulder as I fired up the bike. On the way back to the Gandy I acttually did go sand dig up a secondary bar deep in the middle of the local area away from the highway. That place was even more scary, and ough no one there gave me any noticeidn;t like the Vibe.... very local.

Returning to the motel (extremely  slowly and carefully) I noticed that the entire town smelled strongly of... wet diaper. Permeated everythiung.. even the lovely Gandy Arms. Right all the way to the outside of town the next day. Swamp Gas, I suppose..

                                                     NEXT MORNING SHOTS


Tuesday, September 28, 2010


Let's call this one GULFPORT MISSISSIPPI.
I'm not actually there of course, and I'm actually a little foggy about Loisiana/Mississippi/Alabama... but I'm trying to give this out in bite-sized pieces for you of the ADD Nation.

Side note: I wrote a section for almost two hours in a restaurant.. had it done... WIFI connection blinked at the wrong moment and lost it all. No worries, it were crap anyway. Now I'm at a plush marina in a yet-to-be-disclosed location with a Strong Connection.
Onwards Through the Fog.

First, here's some photos of the Gulf Coast region.. make it easy on all of us...

Two or three nights were almost exactly the same... a Motel 6, a dew-drop inn for evening cocktails, and a Waffle House for breakfast. On the Screed I just lost, I went on a tirade agaiust how Corpoorate America has pushed-out any kind of real local culture in many places, especially down South, and how the Interstate Crossroads are simply cookie-cutter copies of each other: Arby's, McDonalds, Super 8 Motel, Hampton Inn, Chili's, Applebees, and of course, Waffen SS House.

Left Baton Rouge after waffles and headed north into the Mississippi Delta, opting out of a full-tilt New Orleans mission after a Hooters waitress and an overall-wearing mechanic named Wink advised me at separate times that Borboun Street might just might be a little too sketchy for a guy riding a motorcycle in.
"As long as you stay out of the Ninth Ward," admonished Wink. He peered at me ruefully. "You're not goiung to the Ninth Ward, 'er ya?"
Well, if I'd had any idea about going to the Ninth Ward before, wherever that was, I sure dismissed it quickly. North to the Blues Country.

The Delta, from the few hours that I rode aound it, was not the table-flat cotton-fields that I'd pictured Robert Johnson trading his crossroads soul on; it was more rolling-hilly and wooded.

So I run it up through the western edge of Ol' Miss towards Natchez... ended up being a few hour ride. The countryside was pretty but not spectacular... skies clear and blue with cotton-white.

Stopped in for gas in a tiny Exxon station crossroads and some large Gangsta came in with chrome spinners on his Lexus and large shiney chains. He was busy yelling at some woman he apparently knew... but the both of them had such heavy Southern accents that I couldn't iunderstand almost anything. "YO, WAS' DA TUMBLE-ONFREE TAKIN' SAS-BRING YAM SO FUGGIN FROOSA STOO"
They peeled off in separate directions and the man was shaking his head, but he had a secret smile as he turned awa and climbed in. The stuff you see going past... the little details that almost can't be communicated with any perspective.. I'm chock-a-block.
Natchez... not much of a town... a mix between Remote-Poor and CVS America. Crumbling pine shacks next to Bank of America. I fell for a sales-pitch at a Suzuki shop from some young guy swore by this certain type of chain-lube that I bought and susequently regretted, (anything without that sticky, black Moly in it is simply useless). I heard these heavy accents around me and I really wanted to mix it up somehow... find out who these people kind of were ..but as I've mentioned, Time and Money are extremely limted on this little expedition, and you have to save-up for places like Yellowstone.. Oregon... San Fran... Navajo Nations. I made small-talk in the convenient stores and gas-pumps acorss the country wherever I could. My Conclusion is that people almost everywhere... but increasingly-so outside the cities, are kind, well-intentioned and friendly, if perhaps a little skittish when confronted with people that are somehow outside their Envelopes. PS.... a full one-third of all Americans live in some sort of mobile-home/trailer dwelling.
I don't know that for a fact, but it sure seems about true from what I've seen.

Pointed her East over past McComb MS and then south for a couple of hours baqck to an intersection with I-10... always I-10. Walking The Plank. But this time I looked at my map and realized that I-10 actually runs directly through the center of the Big Easy... and although it was getting a biut late, I decided that I at least deserved to see the city skyline. The road goes across a 23-mile long casueway bridge that spans Lake Pontchitrain... interestingly for me, I lived next to a 24-mile bridge in China over the Hangzhou Bay. Anyway I began to see the sunlight glinting off the downtown sky-scrapers... pick-up trucks covered with Saints artwork... quickly found myslef immersed in urban traffic flows... saw signs for the Superdome. I flashed through the city on elevated 10, buit I stared deeply into the neighborhoods as best as I could. .chrome high-rise office buildings mixed in with.. peeling wooden houses, painted in bright-but-faded colors...ratty palm trees punctuating here and there...shades of... Panana...Caribbean...Tropical! Ancient French port city...Haiti..
On the eastern edge of the city I saw what was probably the infamous Ninth Ward... a long district below the elevated roadway where many seemingly modern commercial buildings were abandoned; some showed signs of water damage... in many places thick layers of sand still were visible across the parking lots. The flip-side of that coin was that many other businesses, especially around the cross-streets, seemd to be well-lit and fully functioning. Sort of an odd excersize of Apocalypticaly Progress Capitalism. What do I know... I drove through it all in twenty minutes.
Here's a few shots..

Took it east to into Gulfport MS where I completed the Motel 6 Drill and fquickly ound myself in a flat-roofed, low-slung "lounge".. drinking with rednecks who I heard mention the words "Longhair" and "haircut" over the screaming Hank Williams karaoke speakers

Friday, September 24, 2010


Here are photos from New Mexico that I didn't get in before. I'll provide some captions... I expect that most of you find it easier just to look at pictures... eh?
[this is going to take forever to load this list....]

Oh shit.... the thing loaded my photos in the wrong order... okay, ADAPT: