Sunday, July 27, 2008
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Sunday, July 20, 2008
Saturday, July 19, 2008
Friday, July 18, 2008
No matter how many times I come here, I just haven't ever gotten an understanding of it. I think that is changing this time since I have had a few days of walking with some riding thrown in. Before I have stayed in Midtown and never strayed much to places like Bleeker Street, Battery Park, Brooklyn, Harlem, SOHO, Greenwich Village, etc... I was usually here for just a weekend so it was some show, a little dinner and a few bars. Not this time.
NYC turned out to by my 6k Service point for my bike. (Can you believe that I have 6500 miles on it in less than 3 months? 4800 on this trip alone) I had to rush through Washington, DC and miss catching up with friends because I couldn't schedule my service for later in the week or the beginning of the next week. It was a good thing that I called to schedule - might not have worked out otherwise. I suppose that I could have done the service in Jessup, Maryland or Frederick, Virginia. I suppose that I will have to spend a day in a few of those little backwaters without wheels for a couple of days, but it seemed better to walk around NYC than Jessup.
After dropping my bike off I caught a cab to SOHO and started walking around looking for a breakfast restaurant. Perhaps some of you have the same issue that I do... Whenever I am here, I want to find the most hole-in-the-wall-gem restaurant and not just anything will do. So, with the quest for a a great breakfast (it is 10am by the time I caught the cab) I just started walking. And walking. And then I found Bleeker Street. Wow, what a great little street with lots of choices. Too many choices! By this time I was really ready for breakfast and all the lunch restaurants were opening giving me more choices. I stumbled into a little Thai restaurant and was the first to sit down. There is something disconcerting about being the ONLY PERSON in a restaurant in New York. In NYC you are never the only person. Being the only person in a New York restaurant usually means that there is something wrong. All this was going through my head when the door swung open and two girls came in speaking Japanese. Then three more people came in and then two more and two more and another three. I stopped worrying about something being wrong as more people came in and it started getting crowded, I started to become bothered that this little gem I found was now full of people.
I don't know if I could ever find my way back there, which would be a shame. Not a great shame since it wasn't the best Thai ever, but it was good and wasn't a chain. (see following story called "Chains"). From here I continued up Bleeker until I veered off onto another street and then up another to another and about this time I was wishing for a city map. I didn't feel lost, but I didn't know where I was until I stumbled across Broadway and then it became clear that I was not even close to Times Square. At the time I didn't realize I was close to the Financial District and Wall St., otherwise I would have made a u-turn to worship at the "great bull" and hope for a turn around of the stock market. I was able to stumble across this mean looking bronze statue the next day - twice. The first time I had the bull all to myself and pulled up in front only to have mobs swarm it without respect that I wanted to take a picture. It worked out much better later on.
Onward up Broadway through a couple of parks an Irish pub, another Irish pub, another park, up a couple more streets to 34th and then left to get to B&H Photo (Mecca for camera gear). It was then that I stumbled across Madison Square Garden. The history of basketball runs through this arena. I stood in awe for a few minutes... and then the walk signal came on.
If you want to spend a day in NYC, walk from SOHO to the Lincoln Ferry Terminal. It was a great way to see the parts that are equally as New York as the stuff in Mid-town.
Day two in NYC had me lying low for a good part of it. Catching up on some phone calls, bank stuff and other things. After I did what I could, I hopped on the ferry from New Jersey back to the city to get into some trouble. A little walk around Time Square to see what shows I might want to see and a little dinner. What I found were a slew of chains catering to the "Plastic Food People", so I kept walking... and then I found it. Tickets for Yaz (I did say Yaz! As in Upstairs at Erics Yaz). I thought that Allison Moyet was retired.
You know you are in New York when you see a buck naked dude jogging in the middle of the day, or so I thought. He was already halfway down the block as I pulled into it. I couldn't quite get my mind around what I was seeing. I thought perhaps he was wearing all white or cream, but NO! About the time that I got close, the van in front of me was slowing down and then they let him in a the end of the block. Nothing like a good dare I suppose.
I barely got out of Manhattan last night before falling asleep... at midnight! Of course I can blame that on waking at 530 and being on the ferry at 8 to get my bike from its service and spending the rest of the day walking around Battery and Central Park, then the Met, then dinner, then the Yaz concert . I made the mistake of dropping the bike at one side of Central park and catching a cab to the other side. About the halfway point I started to doubt the wisdom in this and then about 3/4's of the way I knew it was certainly going to be a bad idea. I got out of the cab and realized that my feet hurt from all the walking I have already done the past few days, what was I thinking. I can always pop out and cab it back I suppose. One step and another until I am striding past the lagoon, past the reservoir and through throngs of people. It was about halfway to this point that I realized that I didn't bring my camera. I suppose that is not a bad thing - it would have been destroyed by the sweat and humidity. After I had enough I walked out to one side of the park and accidentally stumbled across the MET and there was no line! Wow, AC and a bench to sit on where I could pretend to be interested in some piece of art for a while. Life is good when you are in NY!
Day four is yet to come, but once I get motivated I am going to visit the Tuttles at Orange County Choppers. Perhaps "visit" is not the right word, but I am going up there to check out the crafted scooters and then in bed for an early night. Maybe even some room service.
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Thursday, July 10, 2008
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
Monday, July 7, 2008
Observations on too much right wing religion - don't bother to argue with me...I may not be right, but I am not wrong!
Saturday, July 5, 2008
Thursday, July 3, 2008
Mississippi - Wow! Not much to talk about. Nice, fine, white sand, empty beaches. Why are the beaches empty? Why can't you drive along the coast without having to stop at every light? I literally was stopped at 40+ lights that turned red just as traffic reached the next light. Only 3 lights in 50 miles was green. Seems like someone needs to figure out how to get the timing of the lights right. Should save lots of money in fuel costs and would cut down on pollution, but that is just me.
I don't know what to say about Alabama. In most convenient stores you can grab a bottle of water, open and drink it as you are waiting in line. In Alabama it is apparently considered uncouth and against the law. In fact the woman behind the counter, the same one that was gossiping with a woman on my side, yells at me for opening my water before I paid for it. First of all, I was waiting for about 5 minutes before I opened it because I had to wait and listen to what Vern and Kate were fighting about the night before in the bar, secondly it was 98 degrees outside and I was VERY thirsty. I also had my money out and was waiting in line behind little gossip queen - it wasn't as if I was walking out drinking it and whistling Dixie. Alabama can only... Ahh crap! I just remembered the postcard I was reading while I waited. The memory of my great aunt saying M I Crooked letter, Crooked letter (etc...) kept playing in my head while "Vern and Kate were drunk and yellin' at each other"... This happened in Mississippi. That Mississippi-Coon-Assed-Redneck-Cow!
Apparently the only thing I did or saw in Alabama was visiting with my Uncle Ron and Aunt Betty.
Days before I arrived I tried to call them, but the number I had for them was disconnected. Since I would be passing by them anyway, I decided to surprise them and go to the address that I had. I programmed the address into my GPS and rode on down the country road to their house. When I arrived at the address I wasn't sure if I was in the right place. With all the houses spread apart on this Country Road it was hard to determine if I was in the right place. I found the address and found a house, barn, a few trees and a mail box with just a number. Fortunately on the side of the barn was their name. I pulled up the grass driveway and knocked on the front door.
Out of the side door comes a wizened old lady that I didn't recognize. As with all things in life, they change as they age. It had been 20 years since I had seen Betty and at the age of 86 she is healthy and able, but she is still 86 years old and her body isn't as straight as it used to be. Ron, is six years her junior and other than bypass surgery (septuple bypass) two years ago, he looks good. Neither of them have lost any memory or seemed addled by Alzheimer's, which was so very nice to see. That was a big fear as I got close - that and that one of them might have passed on in the five years since I had spoken to them.
It was cathartic talking about my parents, past events and other family stuff. What wasn't cathartic was when Ron brought up politics. One of the things that I never realized about him was that he is a staunch Republican and is, well... he has certain beliefs that I believe should have been left behind 50 years ago (or more). Here are a few examples that made my skin crawl.
-Ron claims that Fox News is the only real news that is unbiased and not tilted toward any direction. It is a fair and accurate depiction of what occurs in the US and world and that CNN, MSNBC and network news is biased towards the liberals.
-Another Ron (ism) was that George Bush has been one of the better presidents and that Obama will be like Carter.
-Yet another... He doesn't understand why any white person would vote for Obama and that they should be ashamed of themselves.
That last one was what struck me as the most reprehensible. I don't ever recall hearing him say anything like that when I was growing up. I just don't understand how people can't have evolved past the 1800's. It was almost as if he missed out on the whole MLK-Equal Rights movement in the '60's. Since I can't recall those sorts of comments from him prior to his move to Alabama from Las Vegas, I would have to guess that his beliefs have been acquired since they moved. If that is the case, Alabama is a pretty fucked up place.
I really did enjoy seeing them again, but these thoughts and beliefs are so much of what is screwed up with our country. Everything is exactly what Fox News foments. Nothing but hate and divisiveness from the Fox folks who feed on those that are weak of mind and can't think for themselves. Even now I am getting worked up! If I didn't love my family, I wouldn't have been able to respect them and their house by not saying something rude.
Florida - Pensecola...
I left Ron and Betty's around 730 pm and rode West looking for a hotel for a bit before I decided to just head East to see if anything was there. I hadn't realized how close I was to Florida, so I just continued. For some reason the GPS glitched and told me that there was a hotel somewhere it wasn't, so I had to press on. I ended up arriving at the Motel 6 around 930 in the dark and then have this whacked out front desk chick try to charge me $80 for a room at this little fleabag motel. When I call her on that she tells me there weren't rooms on the first floor. That wasn't a problem for me, but as I went out I looked around and the hotel was empty. I walked back in and mention this to her and she miraculously finds rooms after I point it out. She then puts me in a smoking room and I have to come back to tell her the room next to me is non-smoking room and I can tell because the blinds are open and it is empty.
Shortly after I get settled into my non-smoking, 1st floor, $45 room, the whole place gets crazy. She is having a party for friends in the empty rooms... a party that lasts until 4 am. Nothing like being awakened by the alarm on my bike when these idiots decide they want to try to sit on it and move it. It was so loud that they freaked out and started running around. Idiots!!! It was a good thing that I locked the steering column and put my alarm and lock on this night. Must've been something about this clerk.
Florida - Panama City
Georgia (okay, this is a 4th sign - not part of the 3 states in 1 day)
If this isn't Murphy's Law. It rained for 3 hours, stopped for the next 2 (long enough for me to dry off), then more rain the last 30 min... just to keep me from being dry when I checked into my motel in Waycross, GA on my way to Savannah.