Saturday, September 18, 2010
Riding with Riepe and other things for which I need to atone
At Sundown, September 17th, Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement began. By tradition, Yom Kippur is marked by fasting, praying, and asking God’s forgiveness for the transgressions of youthful stupidity or the practiced bad habits of us older guys who, with years of practice, are more adept at transgression.
I don’t take kindly to fasting, which I only do before being knocked unconscious by physicians seeking to remove dysfunctional body parts. For years I’ve had doubts about the effectiveness of my prayers. I can’t even start to count the many times I’ve said, “God I want her” and instead found myself eating eggs over easy with grisly BMW riders!
Yesterday, as I was sitting on the can reading the local Community Driveway Toss, I saw an ad for breakfast at the Kinzer Fire Company, which is located on Route 30 a few miles West of Gap, PA. All You Can Eat for $7.00 sounded like the kind of thing I could get my teeth into even though my long-since transitioned Grandmother would have preferred I didn’t eat until sundown.
I scanned the ad into my iPhone and emailed it to a few of my primary riding buddies whose understanding of the word “fast” never relates to food, only to miles per hour. I knew they wouldn’t mind riding the Route 30 Bypass to Business 30 through the Lancaster County tourist area to Kinzer for an AYCE breakfast with Firemen. Doing something macho for a good cause is the coolest – especially when you can eat until you waddle.
Riepe posted the event to the Mac-Pac list as only he can, taking seven paragraphs of late-night cleverness to say “Breakfast at Kinzer Fire Co., tomorrow. Meet us at 9am at Starbucks on Route 30.”
At 8am this morning, Jack called me to say that he was “under the weather,” a phrase I’m told that is often used by women who are rejecting male advances. You hear a lie often enough, and you just start to repeat it! The truth is he woke up with “The Mother of All Headaches,” and medication and hot water bottles were not helping, so he was dropping out of the breakfast ride.
I could hear the voices of disappointment shouting in my head. “Riding without Riepe is like riding without a helmet.” “Who’s going to be there when that Minivan cuts you off?” “Screw Riepe; he hasn’t been fun since he stopped eating.” “Piss on Riepe.” “Hang the bastard.” “Tar and feather him.” Those voices get louder when I don’t get my morning coffee, so I headed for the coffee maker.
As far as I knew Gerry Cavanaugh, who had his seasonal medical butt probe yesterday and was “itching” to put that abused butt on his GS saddle was the only other macho breakfast rider. I told Jack I would show up at Starbucks and wait with Gerry to see if any of the other usual suspects arrived. We waited until 9:15am. No other bikers came, but Gerry and I agreed that the Starbucks parking lot on a Saturday morning is a good place to check out the local MILFery. The lot was packed with a continuing stream of attractive young women stopping to pick up their triple snickering lattes and toss the old guys on bikes a bump, grind, and sexy smile. Great for the ego – glad I chose not to atone for what I was thinking.
Gerry and I took a left out of the Starbucks parking lot and shot straight down Route 30 until we connected with the Bypass just before the intersection at Quarry Road. It was 55 degrees when I pulled out of my garage, so I was wearing a golf wind shirt under my mesh jacket. As we pulled on to the Route 30 Bypass, I could feel cool air rushing through the jacket and my mesh gloves. It was a little chilly, but not uncomfortable. The forecast was for warmer weather, so I felt I was dressed appropriately.
I’ll bet it wasn’t a half-hour later that we blew by the Kinzer Fire Company, which is literally hidden in the shadows of the Patriot Manufactured Housing complex. I never saw it and rode right by it, but Eagle Scout Eyes Cavanaugh spotted it and directed us around the block and back to the Fire Company’s driveway. There were two motorcycles and one car in the lot, and no signs of life.
“Waddaya think?” asked Gerry.
“Waddaya think?” I responded.
We often have high-level intellectual discussions when taking a break from laying down rubber on Route 30. I think Gerry said that he knew a diner just down the road “a piece,” but he could have said he had a piece in the road when he was a minor. I was wearing my highly-rated Leight Max Foam earplugs and couldn’t really understand anything he was saying from behind his face shield.
“I’ll follow you,” I shouted, waving my arms like a Bahamian traffic cop. It’s not surprising that former MP Gerry understood every one of my hand movements.
A couple of minutes later we rode by what used to be a diner. The inside was dark. The parking lot was empty. The shrubs were overgrown. “This was a remnant of better times when free enterprise flourished in America before the big government guys took over the country,” I thought quietly in the solitude of my helmet.
We continued down Route 30 and passed some of the touristy stops. The heavy smell of frying bacon wafted across the road from the Miller Smorgasbord Restaurant. Their parking lot was jammed and people were lined up almost out the door, so we kept going.
“That diner used to be a nice place,” Gerry said when we pulled up to the next traffic light. “Before the big government guys took over the country,” I shouted as the light changed and his GS roared off in first gear.
Before long we came upon what looked like a typical 1940s diner, Jennie’s Diner, and we pulled into the parking lot which was packed with cars.
“Waddaya think?” asked Gerry.
“The smell of that bacon down the road made me hungry. Let’s give it a shot,” I responded, decisively.
We parked our bikes and went inside. The place was packed, which is always a good sign in dinerdom. We found a couple of stools at the end of the counter. Before we had even made a butt impression on the seats a guy wiped off the counter in front of us, handed us menus and clean silverware, and told us the waitress would be right with us. As we looked over the menu, a table next to us opened up, and we asked if we could move over there.
The waitress said, “Sure, nobody’s waiting, so that’s not a problem.”
In two seconds we were sitting a booth. With mugs of hot coffee in front of us scanning the many items on the menu. It was then that I noticed that the tip of my right middle finger was yellow as if no blood was circulating in it. The other fingers looked normal – pink with shriveled old skin covering them, but that one finger reminded me of the time I got frost bite while snowshoeing in upstate New York.
I looked around the diner to see if there was some place I could warm the finger. That’s when Gerry with a glint in his eye grabbed my hand and thrust it into the hot coffee. That seemed to do the trick, although it was less adventurous than what I had in mind. Circulation was restored to the scalded finger, and we didn’t have to fight our way out of the diner.
To demonstrate our individuality, we both ordered the same thing, Jennie’s special - two eggs, toast, a pancake and meat.
I ordered bacon, thinking if you’re not fasting to atone for your sins, you might as well make a statement; and Gerry, the Pennsylvania loyalist, ordered Scrapple. Even though nobody really knows what goes into Scrapple, and it often conjectured that Scrapple is closely related to colonoscopies, the Scrapple Gerry ordered looked very appetizing.
Neither one of us could finish the breakfast. For the value driven, the total cost with tip was less than $12 a person. The service was excellent, we never saw an empty coffee cup. The food was outstanding diner fare. Bottom line: I’d go back in a heart beat.
Waddling out to the parking lot, we were greeted by warmer temperatures. Time to “86” the golf wind shirt I thought, and Gerry ditched the jacket he wore under his stich.
There was a little more traffic on the way home. We took Route 340 and pretty much cruised behind Amish watchers through the Intercourse and Bird in Hand area and then headed to Route 82, where Gerry headed home, and I jumped on the bypass heading East.
It was a beautiful day to be riding. I’m delighted that Gerry was able to join me. We were both disappointed that Jack couldn’t be with us, but we thought of him often – each time we’d stick a fork into those Riepe-ass-sized pancakes.