Tag Archives: motorcycle touring

An American Wereboy in Sudamerica: Year end recap.

One year on the road. Un ano. An excellent adventure and bogus journey. The throttle was turned and old New York was spied in the mirror in June of 2011. Since then we’ve spent most of our time in Latin America, through Mexico, down Central America way, over the Darien and into Colombia, then Ecuador, and now Peru. Patagonia was always the goal, and it still is, but I never really actually thought I would make it this far en serio. And indeed it is far and a long way to come on an old moto and in stinky boots.

Sure, few great truths are revealing themselves, few insights.

But look, it was never that kind of trip.

A great DJ once asked me, “Subcommandante, after all this is over, how will you adjust back to civilian life?”

The truth is that I never really adjusted to it anyway. So it’ll be more or less the same.

I’m just living my life, one peso at a time.

…but never mind that.

We’re in Peru now where the death roads bring new life when you’re staring into the eyes of the beast and crazy, muddy, rocky dirt roads with vertiginous drops blow us away like we’re listening to an old-school Maxwell tape.


On speaking Spanish:
After 8 months in Latin America I can faithfully say that I am a beginner level Spanish speaker. You hear a lot of people throw out the platitude that they can speak Spanish well enough to order food. The truth is that ordering food is one of the harder things to do while speaking Spanish in Latin America. It’s a process that is entirely different than ordering up a cheeseburger in the states. Every country and every different region of each country has different names for everything and, like an imaginary linguistic wall is set up between them, no one knows the words that other places use for different foodstuffs. Menus only exist in upscale joints and sometimes I don’t know what I’m going to get. It’s cool though and I don’t mind. The set lunch is a common thing down here and it’s something that I think we used to have in the states but disappeared a long time ago. It’s like the menu of the day but it’s super cheap, between $1.50 and $4 for the most part wherever you go and it comes with a soup, main dish with meat, starch and vegetable, a glass of juice, and sometimes a little something for desert. It’s really a great deal and it’s enough food for two people. En serio, my spanish is not that bad. It should be better, but I’m lazy. I never study my notes from Xela and I’m a loner man, a rebel, and care little for small talk anyways. And yet, I get by. Here I am.

But hey c’mon man, you got your whole life riding around in that rubbermaid top-box. What if somebody looks in there!?

Relax Billy, they won’t even know what it is man, they won’t even know what it is.

Che Guevara. Who was Che Guevara?

I dunno, some dude I guess. Latins and hipsters and gente the world over love their romantic losers, killed on mountaintops and emblazoned on t-shirts the world over. Best to die, but better to die for a cause.

I’m not going to tell you to go out and buy Che Guevara’s biography. I didn’t. I was going to, in a bookstore in Phoenix, but it was like 900 pages and weighed a metric ton. Couldn’t they have condensed it into a 200 page paperback? Louis L’Amour could’ve done it. I just wanted to know why those dreamy eyes are staring at me from a million t-shirts and car bumpers.

I read the wikipedia article and washed my hands of the whole thing. Fidel won his revolution, but there are no Fidel t-shirts and the reason is obvious. What if Guevara had won?

Che Guevara’s first name is Ernesto, but everyone called him Che because he used the word Che a lot. Che is like saying dude, or man, in American English. If Che Guevara grew up in Mexico instead of Argentina, everyone would have called him Guey Guevara. Because that’s what they say a lot in old Mexico.

I don’t care about dead revolutionaries and It’s not my fight anyway and so the mind drifts to other, more important things.


To go on forever, would be ideal.

The Salton and Camp Zero. One of the last great American wastelands which can never be forgotten.

Lusting for the sun on top of old Tajumulco down old Guatemala way, guey.

I was in Xela, Guatemala for nearly two months and everything revolved around the Miguel de Cervantes School of Spanish. They surprisingly had these neatly constructed ramps to get motorcycles up the two feet of steps and into the narrow hallway. I never fell but the thought of being pinned in the doorway with a hot exhaust pipe burning my leg to the bone was always there.

The Mexican experience summed up in this neat little sign, spied in San Cristobal.

Temascal, or Native American sweat lodge, had down in old Mazunte town.

Brain food baby. I miss Mexico…so long ago.

Free waffle breakfasts at the Roadrunner Hostel in Tucson taste alright to the desert drifter. Plans to dip south of the border materialized here. Who opens a hostel in Tucson?

Worlds tallest flag pole (it isn’t) in Calipatria, California. It was well over a hundred degrees that day and I was alright with that.

Saguaro cactus at the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. Just south of Why, Arizona and bordering old Mexico, thousands of Saguaro reach and twist towards the sky in all sorts anthropomorphic shapes. I was camped out here, under a million stars, awakened by a Black Hawk border patrol helicopter hovering over my tent.

The Cabazon dinos and the end of the road for the great American adventure.

The Alvord desert. We had finally done it, reached the true West after the Alaskan adventure. A memory never fleeting, the Alvord will always reign supreme.

Dude, the Arctic Circle. Way up North. An incredible day really. I would do the Dempster in the rain and in the mud all the way up to Circle and back without pause. Over 500 miles and skies that stretch forever.

Hyder, Alaska. No small feat indeed. Hyder is this little thumb of America reachable by road that juts into British Colombia off the Cassiar Highway on the way to real Alaska. It felt good to be back on American soil, if only for an hour or so, and out of stinky ol’ Canada.

Ah, the melodious mambo beats of Captain Louis Prima. Who can forget lil’ Kevin and his homestead up in Northern Maine? I can’t, what with all his pianos and what not. This guy was a real surprise. An original.

It’s hard to beat Abi’s Adirondack cabin for a first night’s lodging’s. First day out was cold and wet and awful and my rain pants ripped to shreds, a harbinger of things to come.

This weird tomato from Morelia still makes me giggle and the memory of seeing a little girl that looked like French actor Jean Reno just minutes after purchase will forever be intertwined.

Ceiling of the LA Metro. Thousands of real reels line the ceiling for as far as the eye can see. I thought this was a nice touch. Each station has something different adorning the ceilings or walls.

Canyon of the Gods. No great American road trip can ever be complete without visiting the Grand Canyon. Check it off the list dog.

Teacup terrier shots are the thing to do on one’s 29th birthday in Los Angeles.

Why, Arizona. A great campsite under a great tree. The CB looks so cleeeeeean, a handsome ride.

Where’s the beef? The food in Mexico was amazing, inspirational even, the best in Latin America and the best I’ve seen yet in the world. I haven’t seen anything like it since, not even in Ecuador where they gobble down guinea pigs for breakfast. Sure, that’s different, but I don’t really want to eat guinea pigs. I just ate one because it’s the thing to do. But I could eat head tacos everyday. American food is boring, bland even, but the things we do we do well. New York pretzels and pizzas, a cheeseburger at any diner in America, a cheap fat steak, and a good beer are the things I miss most here in Latin America. They sell pizza in Latin America, but it’s universally terrible, and usually expensive because of the price of cheese. Most of it is sort of like Elios type stuff. The pizza place I used to work at on Long Island would cut the good cheese with the cheap to save money, the good sauce with the bad. I don’t want to know what they do here. Beef is expensive here too, and the hamburgers and cheeseburgers are always thin joints, all slathered in sauces and messy, salty, and disappointingly small. They use “super” a lot to describe the ones that come with cheese but they’re never super, and I always feel just a little bit sorry for my latino brethren because their super cheeseburgers aren’t super at all, but sad. Pitiful even. Maybe  as we inch closer to the pampas the beef situation will get better. No se che, vamos a ver.

But yea, I just miss the regular stuff about being an American in America. Bacon and eggs for breakfast, taking a shit in a clean bathroom, being comfortable and warm and snug, and even the law and order of it all I miss at times. Les extrano mis amigos and amigettes.

But I wouldn’t be here in Latin America if I didn’t want to be.

I’m going to miss Latin America wherever I go next. A lot. The people here might be xenophobic dicks sometimes(who isn’t?) but they are unpretentious and you can ride a motorcycle nearly anywhere. On the sidewalk, through buildings, or down one-way streets and no one cares. Motos are looked at here kind of like the way bicycles are in the states. And go ahead and climb a live volcano if you want to because no one will turn you away.

And when all this is said and done, I don’t know where I’ll end up. Probably America. There are no jobs down here in Latin America anyway. You can teach English and make $5 an hour and scrape by, or rent out your abs to washerwomen for less, but neither is a real option; maybe for a little while.

Just remember that wherever you go, people are going to be the same, no matter the tongue.

Predictable.

There are scant originals out there, though it’s been told that but a few hooligans still roam the roads, searching for something that they will never find.

strangers in a strange land

…with thoughts of the West continuously swirling inside their heads.

That’s it yo.

No regrets…well, maybe a few, but the trip isn’t over yet and they will be made up for.

The heat is on and it’s never been hotter.

See you in Patagonia putas.

Meet me across the sky.

Mayan Dreams in the Banana Republics – Muy Norteamericano

Hey Richie, you got change for a Quetzal?

El Gringissimo

…if this leg goes I’m going to miss it. Man, we’ve had some good times together. I think what I’ll remember most is playing soccer with it.

Shit, this looks and feels awful, a puss-filled skin volcano that’s ready to erupt all over my right leg. My favorite leg. It’s cute almost, with conical shape, and reminds me of all the volcanoes I’ve seen thus far on my travels. Another trip to the doctor yields another round of antibiotics. Dont touch it! But, I can’t help it! Stop poking at it! Nein! Well, we’re in the third world and it’s all part of the game now. I guess.

Why don’t the guidebooks ever give you real information? You know, the important stuff. Tell us all about the thousand yard stares, the mangy dying dogs in the street, the souless ninos begging for quetzales, the glue-sniffers. Tell us about the leishmaniasis baby. Inquiring minds want to know.

Leon, Nicaragua

Travel Tip: Don’t drink the water in the 3rd world and don’t eat the food, ever. It’s crawling with worms and parasites. It is rumored to be that I ate once in Guatemala and was violently ill for days. Fortrue, it had been a really long time since I had ever been that ill, halucinating and shivering in bed with a dangerously high fever. I was really sick, man! I had to poop in a cup and have it tested for cholera and typhoid, diseases fazed out in the states a hundred years ago. I remember my characters getting these while playing Oregon Trail on an Apple Macintosh, lo so many moons ago; and they always died. Terrible deaths that lasted for many screens. The lab tested for parasites too and when the results came back negative for everything I was elated and raised a weakened fist in triumph. I’m still here; a small victory in a battle barely fought. But it’s just another thing to add to the list, another notch in the Mexican leather belt. The truth is that it is incredibly easy to get sick down here and when you do get sick or have an infection it’s hard to get well again. The climate, I guess, has a lot to with it. The heat, the dampness, and the alternating heat and cold cycles of the highlands weaken the immune system I imagine. No one washes their hands. I’ve had several fevers, a bunch of weird infections with bubbly puss that wouldn’t go away, and pink eye. And there is always the leishmaniasis.

Max Headworm (Johnny Gusanic): My spanish teacher told me a story about her friend who was walking down the street one day when she suddenly went blind. It was only for a few minutes, but then she started having other symptoms, like problems with her balance. Apparently the amigette had eaten some undercooked pork which contained a parasite which then burrowed into her brain. The little gusano will be with her always, because you can’t kill it. She has to take medication which puts the worm to sleep instead of killing it, but also makes her tired all the time. Believe it or not, but be warned. I wonder what that worm be dreaming of yo. Brains probly. Un paraiso de sesos.

Travel Tips: Look it’s all fun and games but If you have to eat something in Central America just be smart about it. Eat at a place where other people are eating already. The ciudadanos of the 3rd world don’t drink their own tap water and they don’t really possess any special abilities to ward off germs or parasites so they’re not going to eat at a place that constantly makes them sick. This is common sense advice, but it’s important because sometimes people don’t always use common sense. I meet a lot of palefaces who think that by drinking just a little bit of tap water each day and then increasing that amount the next, say a spoonful and then a cupful, that they will gradually adjust their bodies to it. Un poco retrasado, no? Right? I dunno, maybe that works, but I doubt it. I didn’t follow my own advice and thought I’d be safe by just ordering up a slice of pizza somewhere. Pizza is safe right? I was hungry. An empty restaurant and soulless, million mile stares from behind the counter should have tipped me off.

Leon Cathedral

Boxed-text Travel tippet – Caca en una bolsa: It’s all the rage in the 3rd world. Another story. Kids who can’t afford glue to sniff will shit in a bag and leave it in the sun for a few hours and then huff the contents. The rotting sewage produces methane, which evidently gets you high. Is it worth it? No se. These are lives snuffed out before they even began. Welcome to the Promised Land dog. I’ve never seen this before and never ever want to, although we’ve run across some glue sniffers, who are not as ubiquitous as you might imagine.

All this nonsense makes me pine for the states at times. One more thing, for those who haven’t been down south, know that you can’t put used toilet paper in the toilets in Mexico and beyond and instead have to put it in a garbage pail. This means that there’s a big stinking pail of used toilet paper in every bathroom, even in the choosiest of places. It’s gross man and you face this stark reality every time you go to the bathroom. It’s always there, sometimes out of sight, but siempre within arms reach and you can’t help but think about it. The heart reels for the high school nerd, face down in that mess and forced to inhale, requisite Mexican bully gripping the neck hard.

Alegria, El Salvadorable

Subcommandante Dickie, you been doin’ all this dope bloggin’ you aint had a chance to show ‘em what time it is.

It’s Eastern Standard Time pibe, same as old New York and we’re doin’ it live.

I’m in Panama now, looking for a way out of Central America. I wan’t out. I’ve had enough.

…which is not to say that the badlands south of the border and stretching all the way to the jungle are all that bad. They’re different indeed and, at times, exceedingly beautiful. But I’ll never be able to reconcile the crushing poverty and class dichotomy with all the rest; the smiling caras blancas and the dead inside ninos and street dogs. Some can. But to turn a blind eye to all of that wouldn’t be…honest.

OK, 1…2…3 everybody jump at the same time and throw your hands in the air  with big smiles *click*

zany!

yea…memories

I dunno che, I’m just calling it like I see it.

We’re just looking for the Promised Land right?

Right!

Crossing the border into Panama from Costa Rica

Mexico: It was a weird weird world then, full of cacti, when the CB nosed towards old Mexico and indeed, it’s a weird world now. The hysteria surrounding travelling through Mexico is un poco surreal, mythic even, inspiring real fear in even the most intrepid, and tepid, of souls and souless wanderers. The reality is that the situation is entirely worse in every nation south of Mexico and one stands a far better chance of experiencing something truly awful in, say, Honduras, than New Spain. The media has been hitting old Mexico hard as of late. The drug mafia. The swine flue. You’re gonna die, dog. All that stuff has put a huge dent in the number of estranjeros pouring into old Mexico. Believe what you will, but remember that it’s always best to stick to reliable sources of info, like this blog, and then make up your own mind. I won’t lead you astray, I promise. No mames, Guey. Anyway, Mexico is great and will always hold a top-secret special place in mi corazon. Goat heads, tacos, culos, pyramids, cacti…old Mexico has it all. Personalidad, guey! Le extrano, mucho.

Pyramid of the Sun: Awe-inspiring if only for its size and astronomical precision, which I wasn’t able to verify, having left my collapsible travel-astrolabe at home, next to my bulky life jacket and pantalones that convert into pantalonetas. A strange place to say the least with a decidedly negative vibration. Bad things went down here; you can feel it. But don’t tell that to the large group of new age palefaces humming and chanting and being urged on by their spiritual guide to feel the engergy! They won’t listen to you anyway and I bet they all went home with terrible sunburns. The urge to roll heads down this thing was strong. Powerful strong.

The CA-4: Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua comprise the CA-4, a loose conglomerate of nations in Central America that are supposed to share some sort of trade agreement or something. When you enter Guatemala, you get a stamp in your passport that is supposed to be valid for 90 days in all four nations but this is never the case and the only country that seems to be somewhat aware of this is El Salvador. I spent 2 months in the highlands of western Guatemala more or less trying to learn Spanish, which proved harder than I thought. It’s my own fault mostly. I spent a lot of time badgering my teachers into teaching me slang and bad words. I’m bad with languages on the whole I think, even English, and it all just reminded me of chemistry class. Lots of memorization. I have no patience for it all. Mamame la, puta! Guatemala was an introduction to the third world. Scenes of striking natural beauty punctuated by garbage everywhere. Mayans on every street corner in colorful dress. Volcanoes blowing their tops. Everyone is really short. A weird scene. El Salvador was surprisingly orderly and clean for the most part, at least coming from Guatemala. Everyone, it seemed, spoke English, having worked in the states for many years. It’s a small place and you can ride it in a day and get to know everyone there if you really hustle. I saw a dead guy in the road. A motorcycle accident no less. I spent an extra day there checking out Laguna Alegre, a sulfurous lake set in the ancient cone of a dormant volcano. Within the cone is also a soccer field, a true field of dreams. Encuentrame there, para un partido…porfis? Honduras is a forgotten place and dangerous, at least up through Tegus and on through to Nicaragua way. It’s everything you’ve ever been told Central America is. Nicaragua was surprisingly clean and safe, with great roads and the best food since Mexico. Behind the ancient church in Leon, a couple of ladies man fritangas and sling all sorts of delectable barbecued meats and other fried edibles of which I could not identify. Muy saludable. Nicaragua was a total surprise and it was even full of nerdy backpackers. I predict it will become the new Costa Rica. I’ll remember Granada for the seedy market behind the main square. There’s a carniceria (butcher shop) there, the worst I’ve ever seen. We’re used to buying meat that gets sliced off hunks on hooks that are hanging out in the open air by now, unrefrigerated; this is the norm from Mexico on south, but this was different, with great stinking stalls of gray meat idly hanging in the stagnant tropical superheated air beneath a tin roof, flies buzzing everywhere and foul smelling street dogs lining the floor, children racing about up and down screaming, the thousand yard stares of the women tending the stalls, and the sun streaking in casting weird light and giving it all a sickly pallor.

Crater Lake – Alegria, El Salvadorable

Old Xelatown. Te extrano.

Tajamulco – Central America’s highest point down old Guaemala way, guey.

Changing tire in Leon, Nicaragua – 6th tire of the trip

Isla de Ometepe looms large out in the middle of Lago de Nicaragua and sports two volcanoes

One of the rickety boats that ply the lake. I didn’t want to put my motorcycle on it.

Isla de Ometepe tambien

The gente in Central America unaminously hate Mexicans and Costa Ricans. Too arrogant they say, but it’s just an obviously veiled form of jealousy. And America too, is universally hated, although everyone wants to go there to work and make money because there’s none to be had here. All of these nations are desperately poor. There is no money here. The halloween head I have strapped as a masthead to the CB has been doing a great job for diplomacy though, and is universally loved everywhere. People love to touch it, especially Hondurans.

Costa Rica: Sort of second world now. I’d been here before with lil’ Marlo some time ago and wasn’t really looking forward to it. A shock-intro to Central America maybe it was, but I was put off by it. A second chance was given and the most was made of it, although I was in and out in a few days and I’m used to all the dead-doll eye stares by now. I hit up some old haunts down in the Carribean and was pleased. Completely idyllic tropical beaches studded with palms and empty and alone, stretching as far as the eye can see and then evaporating into jungle. Pura Vida ineed son. Food and gas and beers are expensive here, the stapes of life with New York prices. It was here that I would become Coconut Hunter M.D., scaling tall trees and trepanning even the most resilient coconut husks with my small, yet practical knife. I forgot how hard coconuts are. Once you get one out of the shell a couple of really hard smacks against a tree trunk or rock will crack them open but man, I couldn’t imagaine having to crack one of them open against someone’s skull like Rowdy Rodrigo Piper did to Jimmy Snooka so many moons ago. It would kill a man. That had to be a trick coconut. Was there milk inside? Rewind the tape. Piper is still trying to sell it after all these years. Muy profesional!

The rains come in Costa Rica

 Washed out bridge on the way to the Carribean – Costa Rica

Idyllic tropical paradise at the end of the road in Manzanillo, Costa Rica

Jungle meets the beach – Manzanillo

Panama:

…getting lost in the banana fields

In my arsenal now is a recipe for turtle.

I got it when I was camping behind the bombero station in Almirante, waiting for the ferry to Bocas Del Toro. A lot of the coastal blacks in Central America speak English, descendants of slaves they are, and I was able to gleam this gem from Burton, one of the bomberos. Look, I could have hashed it out in espanol but it was a treat to speak English again to someone other than a tourist.

What the hell is that?

It’s turtle mon.

Dame la receta.

DAME LA!!

Receta para tortuga:

Ingredientes:

Costilla Criolla (packet of spice)

Caldo de Pollo (chicken broth)

Camaron(shrimp) seasoning

Gallinita con sabor y calor (another packet of spice)

Vinegre (vinegar)

Salsa de China (soy sauce)

BBQ sauce (if you so desire)

Adobo seasoning

Hot pepper

Curry

Onions

Celery

Fresh thyme

Sweet peppers

Garlic

First wash the turtle meat with some lime seasoning and a little water. Then dip the turtle meat in boiling water for 15-20 seconds and remove. This will clean the meat and help even out the flavor. In a large bowl, mix the meat with the aforementioned spices to create a marinade. After marinading, brown the turtle meat in a pan, next adding your vegetables, thyme, and garlic. Best served with coconut rice and pigtail. Boil up some coconut milk, then add rice and simmer with a piggilytail. Easy. And if you want to be a real hero, fry up some Besks, little delicious hotcakes. Make them with flour, a little baking powder, salt, sugar, water, and a couple of eggs. Delicious. Receta by Burton.

Camping out in garbage-strewn godforsaken Almirante, getting the turtle recipe from Burton, and watching Chiquita banana trucks rumble by in the dying sun while drinking beers in my tent and getting leishmaniasis from a mosquito was my favorite part of Panama and what I’ll remember most about it. All this happened my first day there, more or less, and was punctilliated by getting lost in the banana plantations that morning (there aren’t any signs in Panama either). Banana trees stretch for what seem like a million miles, tended to by the modern day slaves of the banana barons who sit behind desks supping besks in distant lands. Bocas Del Toro, the supposed turistic mecca and paradise, was overhyped and full of garbage too, partying tourists and opportunistic locals alike.

Banana truck to banana boat bringing bananas to hungry Americans

Outside of Panama City, the rest of Panama is desperately poor; lots of people living without dignity; rude and angry. Something I did not really expect. I didn’t like it and it was a weird way to put a cap on Central America. But so be it, the time had passed for me to move on and I began counting the days…

On the road in old Panama

Helmet cam

Suicide Showers: For those not in the know, hot water heaters rarely exist south of the border. What you have instead for taking hot showers are electric shower heads. Almost all of them are sloppily wired and spliced to an existing wire and appear deadly to anyone from the first world. They’re safe I guess, but only some of them make the water truly warm. I bought one the last time I was in Costa Rica. The novelty hasn’t worn off yet and I love them very much.

So there we are, goodbye North America.

We’ve come a long ways yo. We remember the rains of Alaska, the stink of the Salton, the food and the drink of ol’ Mexico, and the dead souls of Central America, although we must keep moving and push on. Adios North America. I’ll see you in my dreams if you’re lucky.

But don’t be sad because the time has come now for Incan dreams, with colorful frocks and bowler hats.

I’m going to the Sun, putas.

Photo montage of ol’ Mexico:

Chapulines -Fried Grasshoppers down old Oaxaca Way. Not bad, really. I was figuring them to have a peanuty taste, but they just taste like whatever they’re cooked in: garlic, limes and chile, and other assorted flavors.

Mexico City’s ancient cathedral

Zocalo dreamin’

Enter the Zocalo

The frenetic beehive of humans that is Mexico City

Top of the Pyramid of the Sun – awe inspiring and massive

Pyramid of the Sun

Facing the Pyramid of the Moon

Top o’ the ol’ pyramid o’ da mooooon

Top o’ the ol’ Torre Latino, once the tallest building in Central America – spying Mexico City

Pyramid of da Sun, son

ol’ Cathedral

National Teater in Guadalajara

Baroque church in downtown Guadalajara

Oh shit, the fuzz

Party Down -Oaxaca

Party Up -Oaxaca

Eh…eh…yo tengo miedo! Yo tengo miedo!

Riding the Oaxacan death roads 2-up

Best to Listen

Zero hour inches ever closer. Soon it shall come and soon it shall pass.

I’ve moved out of my apartment and have been living with my parents for the past week. As wonderful as that is, I am now ripe for departure. Many loose ends have been tied up and yet still many remain left untied, dangling and loose, a testament to my legacy. No worries really, for they’ll be here when I return.

Or will they?

Time will tell.

Or won’t it?

Bah, enough of that; on to more pressing concerns.

My cracked muffler collar has been welded up, thanks to nycvinmoto connections and one Seth Rosko, who welded me up at this little shop in Bushwick and also hooked me up with a set of cb450 headers. Dude did a really good job. Weld was perfect. Mr. Rosko makes custom bicycle and moto parts for a living and races old motos in his spare time. He’s good at it. We talked bikes for a while and discussed the influx of technology and social media into the pantheon of man, for it is ubiquitous and all encompassing. I left inspired to create a flickr account, and then was reminded once more why it is so important that I leave this place as I plodded through NYC traffic in the steamy marroon cauldron that is my Buick Park Avenue for an hour and a half on the way home, the incessant beeping of the parking brake warning chime that has been stuck on for the past four months driving me to the brink of madness.

And alas, I’m sorry Seth, for I will not be using the headers. They require too much manipulation to fit and won’t seal up well enough to the exhaust port, with little puffs of exhaust belying leakage. It’s all well and good though as it will give me a chance to stop worrying and love the CB500T crossover box, which I have thus far so thoroughly maligned. I could try to fit them once more, but I won’t. It is too hot and I am not in the mood. I have come to realize that this is never a good state to work on your moto. Best to be cool and in the mood. Regardless, the CB has received enough attention and I’m already developing an unhealthy co-dependent relationship with it.  Look, this is just the way I am and I obsess over my machines. In the past week, I’ve spooned on a new rear tire, replaced all the wheel bearings, rebuilt the carbs, put in a new heavy duty front tube, and trued that front wheel. It’s as ready as it will ever be. I bought new coils for it, but I’m not going to put them in. I’ll throw them in the saddlebag in the event of failure and replace them on the road if need be. Fuck it, we’ll do it live. The CB will either make it or it won’t.  If you listen closely enough, the motorcycle Gods will whisper in your ear that if it isn’t broke, then don’t fix it.

Best to listen.

Word Up: Mondo Enduro

These guys did it, and apparently did it well!

 

CB500T Metal-bit Reconnaissance Mission Vol. 2

As noted in my previous post, if the CB500T is EVER to be considered as a viable candidate for pre and/or post apocalyptic transport, its original design flaws must be fixed and its appetite for self-destruction quashed!
As such, as any responsible hooligan manboy hybrid would do, I am taking the steps to rectify the aforementioned maladies; and restore the CB to its former glory!

To do this, the first step that one must do is remove the left-side crankcase cover. This will reveal the alternator rotor. It is big and round and magnetic and looks you in the eye. You will need to remove this to get to the starter clutch. To remove the alternator rotor you must first loosen and remove it’s bolt, which holds it fast to the crankshaft. Note that this is a normally threaded bolt and follows the age old paradigm of righty tighty lefty loosey. We must apply counterclockwise pressure here, mind you. To get this bolt out you must either put the bike in gear and stand on the brake so that the engine does not turn…or if this doesn’t work, as it did not for me, apply the two penny trick! Of course, this is a pain in the ass and requires the removal of the right side crankcase cover but thoughtful hooligans truly don’t mind because this entails the double benefit of exposing the oil screen which you may now clean.

Fair enough. Get that right side crankcase cover off and place two stacked pennies between the crank pinion and clutch hub gears to arrest the engine.

The rotor bolt will now be able to loosen without the engine turning.

There is one more step now to remove the rotor.
The alternator rotor must be popped off of the crankshaft. You will either need a special “tool” for this step or a 16mm x 1.5 pitch bolt. Of course, this bolt is unobtanium at most any hardware store on earth.
Fortunately, for owners of 1975 Honda CB200T’s, the CB200T axle will fit into that rotor perfectly.
But, not the CB500T’s axle. It is too big.
Sochiro Honda is an asshole at times, but, we forgive him for making otherwise beautiful and reliable motorbikes.

Now, screw the CB200T axle/special tool into the alternator rotor and turn, clockwise. Keep turning, add some pressure, and the rotor will pop off.
Heed this warning: Go slow.

CB200T axle mmmm

If you are elderly or infirm and desire to keep your electric starter mechanism, you must be careful when removing the alternator rotor, for behind it is the starter clutch with all its various bits and pieces. These will fall and scatter and bounce all over your garage floor should you not take care.

Note: Hooligans and boy adventurers care not for electric started mechanisms and prefer to kick start all machines. As such, the electric starter clutch of the CB500T will be relegated to the dustbin of history.

sheared bolts, ovaled holes: no better than scrap!

As it now stands anyway, it is worth less than scrap.

Camp Zero Hour

The Hooligan obsession with forlorn and forgotten places continues with a recent visit to Long Island’s very own cold war relic and rumored site of ultra top secret government experiments, the infamous Camp Hero.

For those not in the know, Camp Hero is located at the easternmost tip of New York’s Long Island. Take route 27 Sunrise Highway all the way east past the Hamptons and the town of Montauk and keep going all the way to the point. The turnoff for Camp Hero is reached just before the lighthouse.

Now, excluding its supposedly sordid past, Camp Hero once played an important role in our nation’s defense. Huge concrete bunkers that once housed massive 16 inch cannons remain as monuments of protection from an old-timey forgotten age. Things were simpler, back then, when our enemies consisted of easily identifiable nations and mal-intentioned dark-skinned gents with boxcutters. The huge concrete hulk and rusting dish of a SAGE radar tower dominate the park and give testament to another era represented by our icy psychological battle with Mother Russia.

It is speculated that weird things went on at Camp Hero. These happenings are collectively referred to as the Montauk Project. As with any government related abandoned military base that is sealed up tighter than a drum and turned into a state park, there is bound to be controversy. There is too much written about the Montauk Project than to go into detail here.

However, take these morsels of truth from someone who has been there and someone you can trust.

  • The Montauk underground is sealed up tighter than a drum, as stated above. There are likely ways into the underground, however you must be a truly ambitious sort. Be prepared to get covered in asbestos, grime, and cave crickets. That is, of course, if there is a way.
  • All abandoned buildings above ground are defunct, including the radar tower, which is falling apart and is extremely dangerous (as noted in the video). However (again, as noted in the video), the “church” has a new lock on it. All other buildings are nailed and/or welded shut. We did not gain access to the church.
  • The Camp Hero underground is extensive. This was verified through conversations with locals who explored the underground system after the base was decommissioned and before it was designated as a state park. Many of the buildings are linked via a system of tunnels. The tunnels go quite deep underground and are host to an odd assortment of bizarre reliquary such as rooms plastered with psychedelic wallpaper and what appear to be interrogation rooms.
  • An October 2010 exploratory venture (as noted in the video) to Camp Hero revealed that this site has not been forgotten by the U.S. military.
  • Long Island East is or has been home to many governmental, quasi-governmental, and all-around bizarre institutions and happenings. See Nicola Telsa’s Wardenclyffe, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Plum Island, TWA flight 800, etc. among others.

Hudson Valley Chronic

Enjoy these vintage snaps from a little upstate New York shakedown run circa April 2009:

“History fades into fable; fact becomes clouded with doubt and controversy; the inscription moulders from the tablet: the statue falls from the pedestal. Columns, arches, pyramids, what are they but heaps of sand; and their epitaphs, but characters written in the dust?”
-Washington Irving

(Note: due to arcane New York vehicle laws, all motorcycles must be inspected each year to prove their safety. Hey Gov. Patterson, keep your filthy mitts off my bike!)

top secret location in upstate New York near Bear Mountain Bridge: For vintage motorcyclists only!

Saugerties, NY

Esopus Creek and Saugerties Lighthouse, one of the 7 wonders of ancient New York.

1975 Honda CB500T juxtaposed with $million dollar$ Harley. Now ask yourself, just who is winning the Karmic Wars?

Feeling horny? No? How about now? Give it a minute…

Required reading for all Hudson Valleyites.

Never forgive.

Never forget!