Friday, April 4, 2008

April Fool's Day 1993: part 2

First a little about my traveling companion, Johnny. A friend of mine had a roommate who'd adopted Johnny at the pound. I'd gone over to their place a few times, and when I did, Johnny would always come to where I was sitting and put his chin on my leg. He'd sit like that as long as I'd sit in that chair. They would always joke about how he was in love with me. I guess it got to the guy, because one day he asked me if I wanted him. I did. He had some issues, but we worked them out, and he was great company and made me feel safe sleeping in the back of the truck with me.

On with the trip. We left Virginia and we headed through West Virginia on our way to our first stop, Columbus Ohio. I had an old Army buddy living there with her girlfriend and planned to spend that night in a comfortable bed. While we were passing through the mountains in W.V. storm hit us. It was raining like crazy. A car passed me on an incline and the passenger pointed up at the roof and shook his head. Huh? What the hell is that supposed to mean? I wondered. I looked in the rear view at the roof. My bike, where was it? I pulled over and got out. No bike, it was gone. Oh my God! That bike was my only mode of transportation for two years. This truck wasn't going to last, I need that thing, and loved it. Huge 18 wheelers were flying up the mountain, I had this sick feeling I'd find it completely destroyed. I got in the truck and backed down the shoulder, all the trucks blew their horns at me, I didn't care. I kept going, then a transportation dept. vehicle with his yellow light flashing pulled up behind me. He was all dressed yellow rain gear from head to foot. He told me I shouldn't be backing down the shoulder, it was very dangerous. I told him I knew that, but my bike fell off, and I needed it. He smiled, I picked it up for you. He went and got it. It was alright. It hadn't been run over. The forks were bent from the fall, but I could get that fixed! I was so happy, I hugged him, and he laughed. I put the bike in the back, in my sleeping space, and decided I'd let it ride there instead. At night I could move it to the cab.

The rest of the drive to Columbus was comparatively uneventful. When I got to Pat's house, she was happy to see me. I met her girlfriend, we went out to dinner and then to a women's bar for a beer. It was my first time in Columbus, I liked it. In the morning I set out for Memphis.

I didn't stop to see any sights along the way. I only stopped for gas, restrooms and food, usually taking care of all three at the same place, or at least the same exit. All I remember about Memphis, was I found a hotel parking lot, slept on the plywood in a sleeping bag, and it was uncomfortable, and I was cold! The next day I made it as far as Amarillo, when I hit some snow flurries. I didn't want to mess with it so I found a fleabag hotel, the most rundown cheapest place on the planet. I took a hot bath, and sprawled out on the queen size bed and had one of the most restful and peaceful nights I can remember. It felt like sleeping on a cloud. The next morning it was off to New Mexico where I planned to spend the day, and the night.

Pat's girlfriend's mother lived in Albuquerque and she offered to put me up for the night when I came through. I had a short drive day. By lunchtime Johnny was running around in a park in Albuquerque, and I was sitting on a picnic table enjoying blue skies and a beautiful day eating my lunch AL fresco. I traveled up to Santa Fe and spent the afternoon and into the early evening there. I loved it there, all the art, the restaurants, the people were pleasant and happy. The Coyote Cafe was there. I was so excited to actually see it, I had the cookbook and it was one of my all time favorites. I thought about staying, not finishing the trip. That night I met up with Alice, she was gay just like her daughter. We had dinner at her house, we talked and I really enjoyed her company. She loved Johnny. I told her about my inclination to stay, and she told me employment was really tough in that area.
"Basically, you have to wait for someone to die, to get their job, and you'd better like it." she said. I decided to stick to the original plan, besides I'd already sent money to Jeff. The guy who owned the house I was renting a room in.

I was getting close, I would arrive at my new home tomorrow night! I was excited. The next morning I headed out over the mountain, through Flagstaff and then down the other side towards LA. That night, when I got close enough to see downtown Los Angeles all lit up, I couldn't stop smiling...almost there.

To be cont.


Ben said...

Ah the road trip story. Is there ever a bad one? No...they're all good. Can't wait for the rest. Pics of Johnny?

TheWeyrd1 said...

I lived in Columbus from 1982 to 1985 and went to OSU. So what bar did you all go to? If you can't remember the name...describe it, I'll bet I know it or know of it!

RED MOJO said...

Thanks ben, about the pics: see rant

theweyrd1, You're asking a lot. I'm old...I think there were booths, does that sound weird?

TheWeyrd1 said...

Red...if it was kind of a neighborhood place with a pool table and a small raised dance floor, then you might have been at Jack's. It is/was located next to a straight neighborhood bar in like a really small small tiny strip mall (seriously, like 2 or 3 it could have been just the two bars side by side in the same building). Anyway the sign outside would have read Summit Station. It was called Jack's by gals in the know because in a previous incarnation the bar was called Jack's A Go Go. Like it was a Go Go bar in the 60's or 70's...not sure of the exact history. Anyway, back in the early 80's there were a handful of regulars that had come out in the 50's...hardcore butch gals with punched out front teeth (without the front teeth actually) and sideburns and a few HIGH femmes. They were pretty much in their 50's and 60's at the time. On the other hand the place got a lot of closet case types (particularly sorority girls) from around the Ohio State campus that was nearby when they had beer specials like "Little Kings Night"...50 cent 7 oz. cream ales! And fun was had by all!

Baino said...

This is so interesting. My daughter is doing the reverse trip LA to NY in late April so I can now give her some pointers. Love a road trip, love a dog story! I'd be lost without my Lily labrador she's my constant companion.

RED MOJO said...

theweyrd1, If you say so!

baino, I'm glad you're enjoying it! I've driven across the country five times now. I've gone the northern route, the southern route, I'd be glad to make some suggestions...My number one would be, tell her to stop and see the Grand Canyon. That was the most religious experience of my life! It's amazing!

heartinsanfrancisco said...

You were amazingly lucky to get your bike back.

And you're right about the Grand Canyon, although I've only seen it from the air.