Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Jumping The Shark


Elvis Cafe Racer on Ferry Over Danube River in RomaniaThe day started out, let me rephrase that, the day didn't start. I got on my bike, put it in neutral, pushed the start button, and... nothing. Shit! I would say 'shoot' but this is the Internet. I need to get a reaction and express myself accurately. OK. Flick the key back and forth and toggle the stop-run-stop switch.

Try again...

“wrrrr....wrrrr...wrrrr...wrrrr....wrrrr”, no chitti chitti bang bang.


(Editors Note: Trust me on the fact that Elvis didn't say 'Frick')

It wouldn't be such a big deal but my bike always draws a crowd, which seems to be dissipating now. Time to push start. I've done this before and I have to say it never took me as long to get my motorcycle to start as it did today. Probably the new exhaust. Speaking of which I'm exhausted. It took my over half and hour of pushing to get it going. I was starting to worry, but when do I stop worrying?

I bid farewell to the Romanian town of Constanta and I got on my way. The route was easy I had two choices and I knew which one to choose. Plus I cheated with a little Google map action in the hotel earlier. Needless to say I head out in the right direction feeling good about the day. The wind cooled me off quickly and I wasn't sweating anymore. As I was turning onto my main route a couple of Greeks on BMW G series bikes zipped by. I decided to catch up with them... yeah right. I pushed my bike to the limit and they just kept getting further and further ahead. It was only traffic that allowed me to catch up one time and then they were gone again. I hit 165km/h on a road I should be doing ninety so I gave up. It was a valiant effort but the machinery was just unequal. I'll catch them when their fuel injectors clog up or their electronics go haywire.

The game of chase did get me motivated to move though. I really opened up today. I was far more aggressive than normal and I blasted the tunes and watched kilometers roll on my odometer. It was an absolute blast. As I reached the northern Romanian border the villages I went through were amazing. Like something out of the 40's or 50's. Horse drawn wagons were the main form of transportation, the roofs were thatch and the young boys ran out to the street when they heard the song of my engine. They would twist their little hands hoping I would give them a couple of high pitched revs of the engine and I did oblige every one of them. What a treat it was for me and them! I even passed a village where the Gypsies were living in Yurts. It's truly a testament to how much ability we have lost due to what we call progress. The average Westerner would have a terrible time trying to cope like these people. It actually gives me a sense of hope knowing that there are people like this to carry on after we have destroyed ourselves.

I made great time. I should be at the Moldovan border in no time. What's that ahead of me? A river? Where's the road? I must have taken a wrong turn. I better stop and have a beer. I mean I should turn around and find my way. Nah... let's get that beer. Maybe ask someone how to get on the right track?

As I pull up to the little cantina ( I call it that because I'm so reminded of the rural areas of Brazil, in the north near the Amazon rain forest) and I'm greeted with a “Heyyyy.... Mad Max”, and some laughter. The one fellow also pointed out that my license plate was hanging by one bolt. I sat down and took off my gear. Half way through my beer I got out the tools and fastened my plate. I also took the time to secure my new exhaust. It had shifted a little over the day. I didn't have to ask anyone directions as the ferries running back and forth were pretty self explanatory. Thanks Google maps, you missed on that one. Not like it was a big river or anything. I mean... It's only the Danube!

The guys at the bar were the ferry traffic controllers though they seemed an awful lot like gangsters. Fortunately, these gangsters liked me and the helped me figure out the ferry lines. I took the truck ferry across and I have to say, I've never been on a vessel like this one. To load they get one truck to move back and forth across the deck to make the boat list to and fro. As the boat teeter-totters back and forth you have to gun it to get across while your ramp is higher than the boat deck. The unloading is identical.

Unfortunately I was a little over enthusiastic and timed my departure poorly. As the boat listed upwards I gunned it and launched myself four to six feet in the air and maybe seven to eight feet forward and landed on a surface so bumpy and worn you couldn't call it a road. I was dead. I mean dead dead dead dead. There was no way in this world that this was going to end well. Yet, to everyone's shock I landed perfectly and when I reached the top of the hill I hammered the back brakes and skidded myself sideways. Much like my muffler back in Turkey I decided I would leave well enough alone and leave my soiled underwear back on the ramp. I was so frightened I could barely dismount, but people came over to hug me and I wanna say 'high five' but it was more like groping. Which is kinda creepy because everyone was in their Speedos. Needless to say I don't think any of these people ever saw Fonzie jump the shark and I gave them the best show ever. As a matter of fact I was impressed with myself. I looked like something off a “Saturday, Saturday, Saturday!!” motocross commercial. How I survived I don't know but I've always held one thing about myself to be truer than anything else.

It's way better to be lucky than skillful!


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