Rules

Just Breathe….

“The true system, the real system, is our present construction of systematic thought itself, rationality itself, and if a factory is torn down but the rationality which produced it is left standing, then that rationality will simply produce another factory. If a revolution destroys a systematic government, but the systematic patterns of thought that produced that government are left intact, then those patterns will repeat themselves in the succeeding government. There’s so much talk about the system. And so little understanding.”

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

I’m not really sure what to take from all of this. My mind today is stuck really on one little minute moment that I brought up in my last post. Brotherhood. I’ve spent the last month or so preaching the love of biker brotherhood. The unspoken rules and regulations that we buy into as part of this lifestyle. Except yesterday I stood on a hot street in almost literally the middle of nowhere and watched three clubs, heading to the same place as me, ride right past without a word or a nod to see if I was okay. You don’t do that. Not as a biker. But what about as a black biker. There something about it that feels so racially biased. Like me, most of them were black, all even if I remember correctly. The reason this quote sticks at me is because of the conversation about the “system”. So many black people I know talk about the “man” and the “system” keeping them from achieving or limiting access and while I can’t say I disagree in full, to some extent we have to look at ourselves. I’m not saying this doesn’t effect others beyond my race, but I can only really speak for myself and my knowledge. I’ve consistently had white bikers stop over the years, including yesterday, when I’ve been on the side of the road. 99% of the time I was fine, grabbing some water or switching helmets or something, but nonetheless they checked. I see this, an occasion where I’m heading to a predominantly, historically black event, to celebrate the culture of black bikers and biker lifestyle in general and not a single black face stopped to help. To me that’s a sign of something so much larger. That’s a sign of a lack of self respect, and respect for your neighbor and in our black communities often the same lack of respect that leads to black on black violence and crime. It may seem like a leap, but I don’t think so. Its a micro-cosmos of the whole. It saddens me deeply, it scares me and makes me lose a little more hope in ever seeing a day where we move beyond our current condition. Sure there may be a systematic method for limiting our access to better lives but what does it matter when so many of us are so concerned with ourselves we can’t see beyond our little world to do the little decent things that make function as a society, as a whole, instead of a gathering of desperate individuals. I’m sorry I’m rambling. My head isn’t fully in this today. I’m still a little jarred from yesterday and how I’m feeling today.

Day Sixteen

Its not that today was uneventful, but it was slow moving. Partly because I feel like I’m still pulling it together from yesterday. I can’t say I feel much better. I still feel like I’ve been chewed up and spit out raw by this whole thing. My energy is drained, I’m angry and frustrated at myself, the trip, everything about it actually. Today I am not in a good place.

A few things did happen today though to move the day along at least. In the morning we went to Waffle House for breakfast. Lisa Lisa, Big Red,Pit Stop and myself all went and took the morning to get a bit to prepare for the day. Afterwards we had to run to the Harley shop and take care of some little things, I needed a new piece of hose for my shocks and to get into my battery compartment and I didn’t have the right screwdriver. We also just tend to end up at the Harley shop as most of my riding family are Harley Davidson die-hards and its like going to church for them. So that was our next stop. Beforehand though Big Red and I rode out to the Tulsa Speedway to pick up my credentials for the rally since it tends to get busy at the gate at night. Then back to the hotel to pick up some stragglers and off to HD. Once there we actually bumped into Chief from the Toros, Lisa Lisa’s bother and hung out for a bit. I took care of my needs and got my charger working.  After that it was back to the hotel once again.

At this point Big Red and Pit Stop decided to go to visit the historic Greenwood Cultural Center and Black Wall Street areas. This was once a central point for black businesses and hub of financial exchange which is now commemorated by various things. I would swing by later but first wanted to take care of some little things. I finally got my hotel room, I unpacked and cleaned the bike and I showered. All things that desperately needed to be done.

A clean set of two's always makes you feel a little better.

A clean set of two’s always makes you feel a little better.

After this I took it easy. I made some calls and got dressed to go meet everyone out at the field at the Speedway. First I went stopped to get a new sd card for the GoPro, and a visit to the Black Wall Street area. As we said, “you have to know your history.” Then out to the field. I usually take pictures like a madman while there. Honestly this year I was too exhausted. I found the Rough Riders tent which is Dirty Red’s club.  We chatted for a bit and I dropped off beers in a cooler and then went over to the drag-strip where everyone was.  We caught up and watched races for the next two hours or so. Some poor man named Pete was embarrassed so bad he may never leave home again. He got beat so bad that in the announcers words’ “Pete was so slow he couldn’t catch himself.” We had a good time though. It was honestly nice to just not have anything to do.

Know your history.

Know your history.

Pete took a beating on the pavement today.

Pete took a beating on the pavement today.

My boy Big Red used to live in Denver so he knows lots of dudes from the set out there. Actually most of the guys I know are vicariously through that set as well, other than the old heads from Nap. Which is great because it keeps me diverse in my riding crew. A number of the Denver dudes were in though. DemDamDawgs was running deep and as always came up all the way on two’s. Kaveman and his crew did it as always. We respect those that ride all the way unless you have a valid reason not to. You gotta earn your place on the set. I’ve only towed to one for safety reasons. I’ll never do that again, its just not the life for me. Some of the State Burners from St Louis also came up, Game and Eezy. They ran with us the rest of the night and part of the next day. Those are good dudes, really all my people are. That’s what still bothers me so much about the day before. We’re young on the set, but we know the rules of the game. I credit Big Red, Realwun and Dirty Red for helping me learn it quick. But I also see it in these young cats. We respect it, we live it, we treat it with the honesty it deserves. How it is that whole clubs and others treat the code and the life like a throwaway item yet claim to live it? It hurts.

Reunion Time. Demdamdawgs and the fellas representing.

Reunion Time. Demdamdawgs and the fellas representing.

Then it was back to the tent and a few beers. There was a jazz concert that night out on the main stage and while my friends went over to watch I relaxed at the tent with drinks. You could hear the music wafting through the air and it was perfect. We called it a night around 12:30 and hopped back on our scoots to head back to the hotel. Of course no night was complete without another Waffle House visit. I really don’t think you need to see pictures of my cheddar jalapeno biscuit and hot tea. Needless to say it hit the spot. Today turned out to be not so bad after all.

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The Long Awaited Update

The Decision

So no news is good news and positive news is better news. Unlike my man LeBron I won’t make you wait an hour….

“When I kept silent, my bones grew old through my groaning all the day long.” ~ Psalm 32:3

The reason this has been so frustrating and this trip meant so much I think falls on time. I’m 38… 40 is creeping up and so do I feel the potential for professional shifts at work. Busier summers, running study abroad programs, who knows. That means the endless summers are potentially coming to a close. I’m beginning to get the urge to plant roots and settle, buy a house again. These are real things. They’re ties that sometimes bind you, often in positive ways but different ways than I have now with an almost endless freedom during the summer. I panicked at the thought that this opportunity would pass me by and I’d miss it. That I’d live with that regret.

No more oil leakage!

No more oil leakage!

I prayed on it, I gave up on it. I took it out of my hands and it came back to me. The leak is sealed! Its a quicker move than I planned shortening each location to an overnight instead of two double night stays as planned but this still puts me back on track for the National Biker Roundup on July 31. The repair was almost as easy as I thought, but inaccessible to me with a lack of tools here and should hopefully hold as we replaced the loose seal, but not with a new one. Though if not, I’m now prepared for the eventuality. That being said this has been a hard one in my spirit. It was my friends who lifted me and kept me going forward. Especially the words and kindness of old and new ones. Ultimately I thank you all though. I am blessed.

Day Six is Complete

Bright and early tomorrow I hit the road for Minneapolis. Nothing more need be said.

In all my preparation and running today I didn’t get my reading done. Maybe before bed but I want a good night sleep. We’ll see. Today I’m content to let my devotional reflection be enough and stand alone.

I’ll leave you with this gem. Saw this at the bike shop this afternoon while waiting for them to finish up.

Ummmm... Yeah. That's some shenanigans right there.

Ummmm… Yeah. That’s some shenanigans right there.

A big ol’ Honda Valkerie with a car tire and truck nuts on the rear. This dude was something else.

So it was at some point this summer I decided to do this road trip. Thanks to my brother of the road we prepared to traverse the land via motorbike and have some amount of shenanigans while doing it. Since then its fallen upon me to ride this route solo and make the most of my adventures. It’s an opportunity to see the country, to fulfill a promise to myself, to have an adventure and explore… explore everything.

GROUND RULES:

Begin each day with my daily devotional.

Travel proposed route each day.

Photograph when appropriate, necessary and/or desired. Be bold.

Find a good meal, take more pictures.

End each day with my reading: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.

Contemplate my current state of existence and update my survival via social media and this blog.

Go Fast.

Here’s the route follow along but know that changes will likely come. Already considering a switch a little south to visit the Badlands and Mt. Rushmore… but that’s just really a rock with herds on it, right?

Oriiginal Map

Around the country in 25 days