Showing posts from February, 2016

My First Whale Sighting Was In The Desert

Oddly enough, my fascination with humpback whales began in the desert. The year was 1970 and I was a 12 year old living with my mom in Tucson, Arizona. A bio-acoustician by the name of Roger Payne used what was cutting edge technology at the time to record humpbacks singing and then put those songs on rotating vinyl for all of us to enjoy.

I discovered the record during one of my trips to the public library. The hypnotic call of whales was a far cry from my usual efforts to blow the wax out of my ears with rock music played over the headphones. The librarians there were gentle with me, but they would not allow me to drum along on the counter to such delightful songs as “Earschplittenloudenboomer” by Steppenwolf. We had a stereo at home, but there was no way mom was going to allow the likes of Steppenwolf to be played on it. Additionally, the sound from our stereo cabinet paled in comparison to the sonic bliss of the cranked up headphones available at the library.

As I looked through t…

Camping In A Crapper - More Than Once.

Most people would be deeply offended if you asked them if they had ever spent the night in a public bathroom. Yours truly has slept in a men’s room on more than one occasion. Twice, to be exact. And I have never been elected to public office. Yet.

My purpose today is to offer up not one, but two completely plausible explanations for my bathroom lodging. I assure you this is being done without the aid of a handler or PR firm. The fact of the matter is that both instances of my having to seek shelter amidst toilets, urinals, and sinks came on successive days. It is only now, after decades of time and hours of therapy, that I can discuss these nights without breaking down (or cracking up?). Two completely different bathrooms for two similar, but different, reasons.

As you may have read elsewhere, I decided to cross the country at 19 on a Honda 750 motorcycle. My plan was to stay at KOA Campgrounds, so I could enjoy sleeping the outdoors and still have access to a bathroom with a shower. …

My Bullet Proof Honda

“Get a Honda - they are bulletproof,” was pretty much the response from anyone I talked to about my desire to cross the country on a motorcycle. The words “low maintenance" also came up a few times. Music to my ears.

Please join me in flashing back to a time, 1977, when people had to actually speak to one another about such things. There were no chat rooms, forums, or online communities in which to consult the entire cyber world about a motorcycle purchase. As a soon-to-be 19 year old with a hankering to see the USA from the vantage point of a two wheeled motorized contraption, I was serious in my research. The main motivation for said inquiries centered around the fact that I was, and remain, pretty much mechanically inept. I spoke to people who sold and rode motorcycles at every opportunity - either in person or on a telephone.

[tele-phone: noun, ancient device using a system of wires which connected homes and businesses all over the world. Were used to for the sole purpose of…

Be Careful What You Assume - Another Hitchhiking Story

Five Angels In The Panhandle

The tale of some very nice folks in Texas coming to my aid begs for inclusion in my treatise of hitchhiking. This adventure falls under the sub-heading: Forced Hitching as opposed to the tales classified under Voluntary Hitching or Hitchhiking; Picking Up Others.

Like many others of my vintage, the lure of motorcycles was aided and abetted by the movie Easy Rider. I know for certain I did not see it when it came out in 1969. As an 11 year old who lived with his born again Christian mom, attending an R rated movie about selling drugs, tripping on drugs, and crossing the country on two wheels was not even a remote possibility. However, once I did see it after having circled the sun a few more times, my cycle lust went up a couple notches.

The longing for two wheeled travel was initiated by my older brother Les. He had a bitchin’ Kawasaki Big Horn 350 Enduro and he would take me for trail rides. It is worth mentioning that said bike had no rear pegs for a pas…