My Trip to GIBMWRWOTOTB’s Late Fall Rally – Part 1
By Jerry Atrichs
Apollo 11 and Me – Part 1
Ever since I received the January ’95 issue of the BMWMOA ON I have wanted to regain my strength enough to attend the Geriatric Internet BMW Riders With Orange Triangles On Their Backs Late Fall Rally, December 5-7 in Ishpeming, MI. Thanks to a new liver from a 14-year-old girl from Nova Scotia, 1997 was my year!
It all started at 8:00 sharp Thursday morning. I had just picked up my K1100LT (1100 lb Light Truck) at International BMW (Hi, Mikey, Bob and Jerry! Sorry they’re shutting you down soon.) and shared 3 cups of FREE coffee, got FREE advice as to attaching reflective markings on my new 65-litre tail trunk, and FREE tire air rotation for “Apollo 11”, my K1100LT. My wife, pillion, and used parts source (since she donated me a kidney in ’89), Dale, dropped me off as I began putting on my lycra bicycle shorts, my Pricey Brand Deluxe Exclusive model electric vest, pants, gloves, truss, and socks, my silver and blue BMW one-piece riding/pressure suit with special modification to attach my colostomy bag, my insulated neck brace, my goretex SensiBoots with the lift in the left heel, my cataract protectors, and my welder’s gloves. Just as I was about to put on my BMW System III helmet with intercom and oxygen, Mikey came out to the parking lot to tell me Dale just called and wanted to know where the heck I was. She had been locked out of the house for 45 minutes. I forgot I like to keep the only key so she can’t go anywhere. I let my bike warm up for the recommended 20 minutes and was on my way.
When I pulled up, I saw Dale asleep on the porch in my electric sleeping bag. She had been waiting 3 hours for me. My orange triangle fell off and I had to go back and look for it. I let her in the house and kissed her good-bye, then locked the door again. Dale isn’t going this trip. Just me and “Apollo 11”. I finished loading my saddle bags, 65-litretail trunk, BMW tank bag and pockets with all my provisions and prescriptions, and pulled out of the drive way just as it was getting dark. I rode to my next door neighbor, Fred’s house and decided that was a good place to stop for the night.
I set up my tent and Therma-rest and drained the colostomy bag, settling down to a nice slumber at about 7:30. I was sound asleep when I was rousted by two policemen and Fred. After Fred found out it was me we had a laugh and headed into the kitchen for some FREE coffee and Mary’s Pecan Pie (for FREE). A small explosion resulted from a combination of the gas-purge valve not working on my colostomy and Mary’s lit Vantage Ultra-lite, so I was looking for an excuse to evacuate to some fresh air.
I noticed it was 4:30 in the morning, so I broke camp to get an early start on the 700-plus miles I’d be riding to get to the Rally before Sonny and Red. Red would be coming from the Mayo Clinic, and Sonny would be coming from University Hospital in Pittsburgh. I was the farthest away in Toronto. I had the advantage of having not had radiation treatments lately like Red, or chemotherapy like poor old Runny Sonny, but I was going to have to haul some backside to beat them to Ishpemming.
I stopped for my heart medication and three more cups of coffee (I had to pay for the first one, the other two were FREE) at the BP station on the corner (Hi, Mohammed and Saeed!) I looked at the clock on my defibrillator. I had been on the road for 15 hours and had gone a little under 6 miles. A new record! I got out my journal to record the event and had Saeed take my picture. I topped off the tank with a half gallon of Plus and whined down the sidestreets like a Hummingbird. No, an arrow, except for the turns. No, it was more like a cow or other bovine. The asphalt ribbon opened before me and life was good. I had just hit 39 MPH’s and something happened. My defibrillator was beeping! Had I forgotten to turn on my oxygen cylinder? Should I have
taken a liver pill instead of my heart pill at the last stop? As I pulled to the side of the road, I noticed the beeping subsided, so I
poured myself three hot cups of coffee from the thermos I had filled when Mohammed and Saeed were picking up “Apollo 11” after it fell over at the pumps. I checked my orange triangle, my oxygen, and emptied my colostomy. I was off again! I had some serious time to make up. I was still 650 miles from the Upper Peninsula line and it was beginning to get dark!
Five miles down the road I hit 39 and I heard my defibrillator go off again. I began to look around the roomy interior of my K1100LT, “Apollo 11”. The electronic tire pressure monitor-OK. GPS-set for “stealth”. Oxygen-normal. Colostomy-1/3 full. Then I noticed the light in the third row of indicators flashing synchronously with the beep. Oh, yeah! The Sleeping Policeman Automatic speed monitor’s threshold was set for 40 from the last time I was in a 45 MPH zone. Since I was on open interstate now, I could bump it up to 54 MPH.
The sun crept down, but I rode on for another 25 minutes. I was in downtown Hartford, so a campground was out of the question. I pulled my K100LT “Apollo 11” into a bus stop shelter next to a dented, but healthy R75/6 and set up my tent on a steam grate next to my new friend, Melveeta who was huddled under a box he had taken away from a homeless woman. As I closed my eyes I reflected and re-lived every second of a 10 hour, 17-mile day in the saddle.
My Trip to GIBMWRWOTOTB’s Late Fall Rally – Part 2
Riding with Melveeta
The third day of my odyssey began with raindrops hitting my face. During the night, my tent was stolen. The hose popped off my colostomy, and excrement had saturated my sleeping bag. Two vagabonds were kicking a man about ten feet away. At first, I only could thank God above it wasn’t me. But, as I sat up, one of the street urchins noticed my shiny things and approached me. The man who was being stomped then was able to overpower his lone attacker and crush his windpipe with the heel of his engineer boot. As I struggled to extricate myself from my fece-incrusted cocoon, the second attacker was stabbed from behind with a funny, flattened teardrop-shaped screwdriver like I had never seen before.
“Thanks for the help, Medicaid,” the ruffian sneered. He quickly wadded up his blanket, cigarettes, and tool roll, and tied them to his seat with a length of clothesline. Since I no longer had any possessions, I shuffled over to hold up “Apollo 11” as he kicked his slash six. After six or more kicks, he hit the electric starter and it managed to turn it over. When it fired, it sounded like thunder in the bus shelter. I then noticed the factory BMW mufflers were replaced with Volkswagen Beetle pea-shooters. Enough smoke belched from his left tailpipe to make me wish for my oxygen tank that I see has been ripped from the mounts on my K100LT “Apollo 11”. Luckily, the perpetrators weren’t able to open my 65-litre tail trunk. I put on my riding/pressure suit and helmet, switched to a new oxygen cylinder, and locked the colostomy bag onto its hose. Locked and ready to load.
I hit the starter on my K1100LT, “Apollo 11” and asked my new riding buddy if he minded waiting for the recommended twenty minute warm-up. Just then, he ran out of gas. He helped himself to a gallon out of my tank. I was happy to oblige as it gave me the required time for proper warm up. He got his mighty blue boxer started again, and I asked him his name.
“Melveeta, with three e’s,” was his reply. As we took off down the street, I nervously scanned for someplace to get free coffee. After three blocks, I spied a funeral home with a viewing in progress. Melveeta showed no signs of slowing. In fact, as soon as traffic got lighter, he actually sped up and weaved in between cars, passing on the left and right. Well, if he wasn’t experienced enough to recognize free coffee, I just had to let him go. Melveeta, warrior of the morning, blazes his own path without free coffee. What a martyr! Farewell, Melveeta! Another day, perhaps.
Griswell Funeral Parlour (Hi, Elizabeth, Larry, and Bill! Rest in peace, Arnold!) is a first class place to be dead or alive. They even had sugar cubes instead of packets. How long has it been since you’ve seen those? I chatted with the widow, and remarked how natural Arnold looked. I got a price list from Larry Griswell, and will probably be using his services soon. I had my three FREE cups of coffee and filled my pockets with muffins and sweet rolls.
Looking at my watch I realized it was now close to eleven-hundred hours, Ishpeming loomed over 645 miles away. I expressed my condolences, checked my orange triangle, and was on my way. After sixteen blocks, my colostomy was full and tank nearly empty, so I pulled into a BP station (Hi, guy who wouldn’t talk to me!). I put one-and-a-half gallons of Plus in the tank, emptied my bag, and managed to gulp down another 3 cups of coffee (paid for the first one, the other two were FREE!). I called Dale and told her I wouldn’t be home until Tuesday. She told me to take my time. Still a little over 640 miles to go, and not much daylight. I mounted up.
After the last fuel stop, I realized the GPS was acting up. The indicator continued to make circle after circle and the altitude climbed higher. I fixated on the glowing green dot and pressed on for nearly and eighth of a mile. I looked over the windscreen and realized I had been riding in a parking garage. Fortunately, I discovered this before reaching the top floor. After a half hour of some of twistiest roads I’d ever ridden on, I reached the parking attendant and paid him for the full two hours, even though I’d only been in there an hour and a half.
As I left the city limits, I was afflicted with white line fever. Three full hours and 70 miles later, I decided I’d be best off finding a place to stay while it was still light. The sun was low on the horizon when I pulled into the Super 8 Motel (Hi, Latifa! I hope your cold sore is better!).
I was ready for a little barley therapy. I checked in and changed into my Sansabelt Slacks and loafers. Latifa told me the closest bar was a gentleman’s club across the street. As I neared the front door to Nasti Jack’s (Hi, Jack, Brandi, Mindi, Sandi, Cyndi, Cathi, and Suzi), I notice a blue, dented but healthy R75/6.
Nah. Couldn’t be.
My Trip to GIBMWRWOTOTB’s Late Fall Rally – Part 3
Those can’t be real!
The wrinkled, abbreviated exhaust of the slash six glistened in the light rain of the evening. When I looked at the odometer, it read 9,853 miles. Hah! Hardly a mileage slave! Even my K1100LT, “Apollo 11” has more than that! It did appear rather worn, though. The pilot of this machine doesn’t know what Turtle Wax and Gummout are for. On the glass of the speedo were 12 hash marks from the grease pencil attached to the S-fairing’s right mount by a string. Several receipts, a map, and a few condoms were wedged in between the windshield and the dashboard of the fairing. It looks as though I will have someone to drink with after all. I entered the club and immediately ordered a Guinness. The topless bartender informed me that only American was spoken there, so I instead opted for something called a Pabst Blue Ribbon. I surveyed the room looking for my road-brother, and finally spotted him in the corner. I walked over to the dirty couch he was sprawled on and said “Hello.”
Melveeta didn’t respond. He was mesmerized by the busty red-head strutting on the stage. As her heaving breasts jiggled and slapped together, Melveeta dashed for the empty seat at one of the tables at the edge of the stage. The other fellows at the table gave Melveeta a wide berth, abandoning their ring-side seats for the safety of the bar. The red-head began lifting every can in reach of the stage as if to check for the volume of beer. When she lifted Mel’s beer, she nodded. He quickly laid on his back on the table. The red-head lifted one breast and inserted the Budweiser can into the space underneath. Then when she let go, the can was supported in much the same manner as the pencil would be in the infamous pencil-test. She then dumped the beer into Melveeta’s mouth no-handed! I suspected Melveeta had not been breast fed as a baby due to his delight at this development. After Melveeta righted himself, the red-head pulled out her garter as if to ask for a tip. Melveeta declined causing her to make a secret gesture to the bouncer who quickly ejected him. I went outside to see if he needed any assistance. There sat Melveeta, the warrior of the morning, in a puddle of his own bodily fluids.
“You probably don’t recognize me without my riding suit,” I suggested. “We camped out last night together.”
“Step off, ya ‘mo! I don’t camp out. I pass out,” was the response.
“I notice you don’t have too many miles on that bike of yours. It’s really cherry.”
“Odometer’s busted, nib-shit. I’ve been using the trip and marking the thousands with a pencil since spring.”
“I have some Turtle Wax in my 65-litre tail trunk at the motel, if you want to use it before we head out tomorrow. Some Windex for that windshield? A little Armour All? I brought a chamois.”
Melveeta threw a leg over his slash six and kicked it until it started. “Sure, sounds good.”
He popped the clutch and shortly disappeared around the corner of the motel, not before I heard his bike sputter and die. Poor lad must have run out of gas, and not a filling station in sight.
Adieu, pedestrian warrior of the morning. Till we meet again.
My Trip to GIBMWRWOTOTB’s Late Fall Rally – Part 4
All Dressed Up and No Place to Go
I woke up in the motel lobby soon after that. It seems I forgot my insulin which had resulted in a mini-coma. Some industrial chemical salesmen (Hi, Denny, Jim and Dennis!) who were staying at the motel found me in front of Nasti Jack’s and brought me to the desk clerk (Hi, Latifa!) after attempting to revive me by kicking me and urinating on my face. Luckily, one of them was also diabetic and just enough sweetened pee got in my mouth to bring me around. Thanks, guys!
I asked Latifa if I could sleep in the lobby in case I had another seizure. She refused so I went back to my room with my colostomy in tow to vomit and shower. I sure coulda used some coffee then! Instead, I settled for some well-deserved shut-eye. The next morning I washed my socks and underwear out in the sink and left them to dry on the heater. I went down to the FREE continental breakfast with FREE rolls, FREE donuts, and FREE coffee. I sipped down six cups of FREE coffee and ate four FREE sweet rolls. I need strength for the 638 miles I’d be riding today. I returned to the room to put on my damp but clean underthings and my other riding gear. I put on my lycra bicycle shorts, my Pricey Brand Deluxe Exclusive model electric vest, pants, gloves, truss, and socks, my silver and blue BMW one-piece riding/pressure suit with special modification to attach my colostomy bag, my insulated neck brace, my goretex SensiBoots with the lift in the left heel, my cataract protectors, and my welder’s gloves. I gathered up the rest of my provisions and prescriptions and headed out the door. “Apollo 11,” my K1100LT, shined majestically in the morning sun, but I noticed the pavement had all but dried everywhere except underneath of him. Just as I was about to put on my BMW System III helmet with intercom and oxygen, I saw the hole about the size of a funny, flattened teardrop-shaped screwdriver in the side of the gas tank.
I called Penny’s BMW (Hi, Penny and Stewart!) and they came over in their van to pick me up. Luckily, they had a red tank for “Apollo 11” back at the shop and only charged me $1100 plus my damaged one for it! I got them for 5 cups of FREE coffee while I was waiting for them to install it for FREE.
I still had about 635 miles to go and there wasn’t much daylight left. I thought I’d be best off getting some gasoline, so I pulled into BP (Hi, other guy who wouldn’t talk to me!). I had three cups of coffee (Paid for the first one, the other two were FREE). I filled my new tank for the first time. Dang! I never knew BMW tanks held so much! I put pretty near $11 in it!
It was close to supper time so I went into the Burger King next to the gas station (Hi, Rachelle, Scotty, Bruce, and Wendy!). After gumming and swallowing my BK Broiler, I decided it would be best if I stopped here for the night. Since they were open 24 hours, I locked myself in the handicapped stall in the restroom and put my colostomy tube directly in the toilet.
I closed my eyes and reflected and relived my three mile day.
K1100LT “Apollo 11”
My Trip to GIBMWRWOTOTB’s Late Fall Rally – Part 5
Who says I’m not hip?
Day five started like day three. I felt water splashing my face and I realized Scotty was hosing down the men’s room. I was already quite wet, but after sleeping on a public restroom floor, I found it refreshing. I walked out and ordered a sausage biscuit and coffee.
After my second FREE refill, I realized I had left my colostomy bag in the restroom and the hose had been leaking all over the floor (Sorry, Scotty!). I shuffled back to the men’s room and quickly found it in a biohazard bag in the corner. I had just reconnected it when I slipped on the wet floor!
My right goretex SensiBoot lost purchase, which surprised me. Usually it’s the left one with the lift in it. I bounced off the sink, ricocheted off of the urinal, but still managed to shatter my brittle hip when I impacted the floor. I landed on my bag and injected the residual waste and gas back into my rectum. The doctor says it helped maintain the shape of my pelvis and kept it from splintering like my hip. Thank you, Baxter Medical Supply!
I was rushed to Mercy Hospital (Hi, Manuel, Jeff, Missy, Mrs. Edwards, Calvin, June, CeCe, Fred, Jerry B, John, another Manuel, April, and Father Ciccone!) in downtown Akron. Dr. Ortiz examined me and my insurance card, and decided the hip would have to be replaced. They had three models to choose from, so I picked the one with the softest ride, though handling would be compromised. As the gas started to take effect, I reflected and relived my 15-yard day. While they had me on the lift, I had them retuck my colostomy manifold, make my outie an innie, and remove my prostate. He said the lymph nodes in my right armpit wouldn’t last much longer, so I had them removed as well. I also got a FREE enema, a FREE paper dress, and a FREE sample of steroid that gave me an erection that lasted a fortnight.
Sixteen days later, I was hobbling around like a 56-year-old! I called Penny at Penny’s BMW (Hi, Penny and Stewart!) and had them bring my bike to me. They were kind enough to go pick it up at the police impound lot for me. They said the 65-litre tail trunk was damaged so they replaced it with an exact duplicate for only $900 plus my old trunk. I reimbursed them for the $600 towing, storage and the fine, and was about to head home. I didn’t have a chance of beating Red and Sonny to the Geriatric Internet BMW Riders With Orange Triangles On Their Backs Late Fall Rally in Ishpeming, MI. After all, I still had 632 miles to ride and less than a week to get there!
K1100LT “Apollo 11”
My Trip to GIBMWRWOTOTB’s Late Fall Rally – Part 6
The Race is On!
I called Dale and she said that Sonny had run into a little trouble outside of Wheeling, WV. As he was descending from Dallas Pike into Elm Grove, his legs fell asleep and he was unable to operate his foot brake or gearshift on his Yamaha 1500 Gold-Wing-looking thing, “Enterprise”. His speed was approaching 70 miles-per-hour when he suffered a stroke. His right side was completely paralyzed.
Since Sonny has had nine strokes, he kept a cool head and utilized the left side of his body to operate the clutch and deliver himself safely to Ohio Valley General (Hi, whoever!). However, his stroke was serious enough to lay him up for 2 weeks of learning to walk for the eleventh time.
Red hadn’t faired much better. It seems he was black flagged by the EPA at a random checkpoint due to excessive radiation emissions. He was taken to the Vandegraf generator at Ohio State University for decontamination. The boredom of lying in the MRI day after day brought on an attack of his Alzheimer’s disease. When he was discharged form the lab, he couldn’t remember where he was going and sat in the parking lot for two days. Fortunately, he had the foresight to leave himself a note on the dashboard of his Suzuki 1500 Gold-Wing-looking-thing with a mural of John Wayne on the tank, “The Duke”, for just such an emergency. This put him some 13 days behind schedule as well. I may have a chance after all! We all had left messages for each other on the GBMWMOA (WOTOTB) message board and decided to press on despite our failing bodies. I put on my lycra bicycle shorts, my Pricey Brand Deluxe Exclusive model electric vest, pants, gloves, truss, and socks, my silver and blue BMW one-piece riding/pressure suit with special modification to attach my colostomy bag, my insulated neck brace, my goretex SensiBoots with the lift in the left heel, my cataract protectors, and my welder’s gloves. I gathered up the rest of my provisions and prescriptions. I emptied my colostomy, changed oxygen cylinders, and downed 3 cups of coffee from the hospital gift shop (I paid for the first one, the other two were FREE!), checked my orange triangle, put on my BMW System III helmet with intercom and oxygen, and mounted my K1100LT, “Apollo 11”. After I found the entrance ramp to the Interstate, I twisted the grip and began racking up the miles. It was hard to believe that in the next 8 hours, I had traveled nearly 150 miles – more than twice what I had ridden the preceding 21 days. I pulled over to record it in my journal, but I was unsuccessful at flagging down a passing motorist to take my picture. Ishpeming loomed 480 miles ahead.
My Trip to GIBMWRWOTOTB’s Late Fall Rally – Part 7
The Home Stretch.
As part of the postings Sonny, Red and I had left on the GBMWMOA (WOTOTB) message board, we included our coordinates from our GPS’s. When I plotted the positions on the map I found us all to be at least 9000 miles from Ishpeming. I then discovered I had reversed the latitude and longitude. We were all closing in on the Upper Peninsula, with Red in the lead. He only had 400 miles to go. I had 445, and Sonny had 465. I would take more than 1100 cc’s to get to the rally before Red. I would need luck.
Over the next four days, I and my two adversaries closed in on Ishpeming. I was a 150 miles away when I noticed several headlights, driving lights, fog lights, and marker lights in my rear-view mirror. It was Sonny! I twisted the throttle, but Sonny had looked death in the face two weeks before and passed me within an hour going at least 60. I tucked into the wake behind Sonny’s Yamaha 1500 Gold-Wing-looking-thing, “Enterprise,” and, soon joined him at the mile-a-minute mark.
Less than 50 miles from the rally, we saw flashing red and blue lights ahead. Sonny dropped out of warp and began cruising at a very safe and legal 39 mph. As we passed all the emergency vehicles, I looked over and saw a very wrinkled Suzuki 1500 Gold-Wing-looking-thing with a shiny-faced man being pulled from beneath it. I immediately knew it was Red by the mural of John Wayne on the gas tank. I tooted my horn, but Red didn’t hear me over the jaws-of-life. I later found out that he had pulled over to record that he was going to win the race to Ishpeming in his journal, when his kickstand dug into the ground causing “The Duke” to fall over on him. It was just between Sonny and me, now.
Sonny down-shifted, but I got the holeshot. I pulled out in front and within 15 miles I was again at the mile-a-minute mark, with Sonny on my tail. Fly Apollo 11, fly! My gas gauge was below a half a tank, but I couldn’t afford to pit then. I was going to win! As the Ishpeming city limits sign appeared, Sonny made his move. He had been drafting me and at the last possible minute, twisted the grip and slingshot past me. He must have been going at least 63! I tried to match his acceleration, but I had no strength left in my forearm. Oh, the agony of defeat!
Sonny was less than 100 yards from the thrill of victory with me right behind him. He must have been confused while attempting to check his blood sugar. He accidentally hit the switch and turned on his electric reverse! Sparks flew from the pinion as the motor tried its best to reverse his 60-plus mile-an-hour advance. I shot past Sonny and his Yamaha 1500 Gold-Wing-looking-thing, “Enterprise”, and crossed into Marquette County. Victory was mine! In the past 27 days I had traveled more than 700 miles averaging over 25 miles a day! I was exhausted but proud of this accomplishment.
Eventually, Sonny managed to turn off his reverse motor and pulled up behind me. He gave me the thumbs-up. Sonny is a good sport, unlike Red who bit my nose off when he bet me who’d get cancer first and lost. Sonny and I pulled into the first diner we saw and enjoyed several cups of FREE coffee after the purchase of the first two. The fire department dropped Red off after he spotted “Apollo 11” and “Enterprise” out front. The three of us shared our adventures. Red was such a bastard about losing, I didn’t want to let him ride pillion on my bike to the rally. But, I did. What are friends for?
I called Dale to tell her the good news and found that she had starved to death while I was gone. I had the kids put her in the freezer in the basement until I could return to make the arrangements. After three days at the dialysis clinic, I couldn’t wait to get home. I was in such a hurry, I decided to walk.
Ride slow. Ride long.