A friend wrote this story and posted it on another group. Thought some folks here might enjoy it since Roger was a frequent HTT poster.
In August I was at Eddie's birthday party in Ohio. One of the folks
there was Roger TCW, who as you probably know lost his battle with cancer shortly thereafter. Now Shaggy notifies us of a friend of his that is gone. To say it is all a bummer is an understatement. Anyway, I told you that so I could tell you this.
Shortly after I heard of Roger TCW's passing I read a story written by my favorite author, Patrick F. McManus. He writes humorous stories about hunting, fishing and camping. In his latest book, "Kerplunk," he wrote a short story called, "A Creek To Far." It struck a chord with me, so I sent an e-mail message to Mr. McManus and asked for permission to use his storyline so I could write a similar story about motorcyclists instead of anglers. He blessed the idea and I sat down at the 'puter.
This is what I came up with. It isn't professional by any means, but I think it gets the idea across. I wasn't sure what I was going to do with the story, but when I read Shaggy's post I thought I'd share it with the folks in here.
<clink> To Roger, to Shaggy's friend, and to all of our friends and
family that have gone before us.
Crank and JB met at the gas station as planned, and once they filled up, they lit their bikes and headed west on the rural blacktop road. A handful of clouds and a warm sun greeted them as they roared into the wind. JB marveled at the lack of bugs that normally plagued riders this time of year. No big splats on his forehead to wipe off on this trip. The air carried the scent of fresh mowed fields with the occasional aroma from a passing thicket of cedar trees. He watched Crank ahead of him as they cruised through the sweeping curves. Back and forth they leaned as they wove their way along the snaking highway. After a couple hours of pleasant riding, JB pulled up next to Crank and indicated that he'd like to stop. Less than a mile later they came upon a little home-grown gas station and they pulled in.
"Dang, that was handy. Kinda like it was put here just for us." Crank said as they dismounted.
"No kidding. I don't really need fuel, but I was thinking about
something to drink. You want something?"
"Yeah. Let's go."
They sauntered into the building and found an old chest-type pop
machine, the kind where you open the lid, maneuver the bottle you want to one corner and pull it out after depositing your coins.
"Well I'll be!" JB said. "They have Grape NeHi! That was my favorite
when I was a kid. I didn't think they made that stuff anymore."
He pulled it out and downed a good 1/3 of the bottle in one swig. He drifted back to his childhood and the days when he and his buddies on their bicycles would ride to the gas station on a hot summer day, much like this. Crank found his favorite soda, as well. Together they stood outside and sipped their drinks as they silently reminisced. Their thirst satisfied, they threw their legs over their saddles and got ready to ride. Looking at his gas gauge, Crank said, "I'm getting the best mileage I can ever remember. We musta rode a hundred miles and I'm barely off the full mark."
"Me, too. Let's just head out and keep riding. It's a perfect day,
ain't it?" "Doesn't get any better, if ya ask me. This is the best riding I can recall."
They motored on for another few hours, taking in the sights and scents of the countryside. They finally arrived at their campsite and rolled in. The grass was green and cool, trees provided shade, and there was a fire ring with a stack of firewood piled up next to it.
"Somebody was thinking of us when they put this place together." Crank said as he looked around. "No kidding. It's perfect. I'll pitch my tent over there." Within about 20 minutes they both had their tents up and were ready to relax. Crank got the cooler that was bungeed to the back of his bike and they both popped the cap off a beer.
"Ya know, JB...that was the easiest time I ever had putting up that stupid tent. Usually I have to wrestle the thing for an hour, and then it still sags and blows around in the wind."
"Yeah, me, too." Crank added. "I guess we're just lucky today. Seems like everything is going our way. You notice how cold this beer is? Sure tastes good, too."
They had a couple more brews before starting the fire. Once it was a good, roaring fire, they sat back and watched as the sky began to
darken. The smoke was carried away from them, yet the aroma of burning cedar filled their heads. JB grabbed a couple thick steaks from the cooler and tossed them on the grill. He sat back on the picnic table and thought, "This is the life!"
"You're right." Crank said.
"Whadya mean, 'You're right?'" JB said.
"The life. This is the life."
"I didn't say that."
"You did too. I heard you say, 'This is the life.'"
"Nuh uh. I just thought it."
"Well, that's stupid. How could I hear it if you just thought it?"
JB shook his head and laughed. "Maybe you read my mind."
Crank said, "Yeah, but it was light reading."
They both got a chuckle out of that one. Crank could come up with a
good one like that every so often. They ate, consumed a few more beers, told a few more lies, and they both decided it was time to hit the sack. They cleaned up their campsite and then retreated to their respective tents. The next morning they gathered at the fire ring, which was still a bed of hot coals.
"You have some breakfast in that cooler?" JB asked.
Crank retrieved some eggs and bacon and tossed them into the frying pan. After a few minutes of listening to the breakfast sizzling, Crank said, "I didn't hear you snore last night. Usually you snore like an old grizzly bear."
"Man, I slept good last night." JB replied. "Haven't slept like that
since I can remember when. The ground didn't seem as hard as usual, either. Almost soft. Kinda weird."
"Yeah, I know what you mean. I had probably the best night's sleep in decades. And do you notice that the weather is so nice? I mean, it hasn't been too cold or too warm since we took off yesterday. It's always been just right."
"Hey. Don't jinx us. Let's just take advantage of the perfect weather. If we talk about it, it'll surely turn bad on us."
Crank giggled a bit and said, "Well, it hasn't been a perfect trip.
Remember yesterday when we started out and we rounded that curve and met the logging truck coming at us in our lane?"
"How could I forget!?!? I'm still picking bits of my saddle out of my
butt." Crank paused, then asked, "How in the heck did you get out of it's way so fast, anyhow?"
"Don't know for sure. It happened so quick. I remember throwing out the anchor and doing some fancy maneuvering, then the next thing I know we're past it and cruising down the highway again.
It was obviously due to our superior riding skills," JB said with a chuckle.
"All I can tell you is that is scared the life out of me."
After a few minutes of silence, JB said, "Too bad Roger didn't come
along with us. He always enjoys a trip like this, with the good food and drink and all the lies we tell around the fire."
Crank looked at JB. "You mean Roger the Chrome Whore?"
"Yeah...why do you ask?"
"He died," Crank said. "Roger died."
"No kidding? Why didn't somebody tell me? Geez, ol' Roger's gone?"
"Roger was a magician on that bike of his. And it was loud, too. You
could always hear him a mile away and know he was almost here."
"Damn," JB muttered. "You sure he died, Crank?"
"Well, pretty sure. It made it a whole lot easier to bury him."
JB asked, "What happened to him? Was it the Big 'C?'"
"Well, that's what the doctors claim, but I think it was really a
deficiency of riding," Crank said.
"Uh oh," JB stated firmly, "I'm not going to let that happen to
me...the deficiency of riding thing, that is."
Crank raised his cup of coffee and said, "To Roger!"
JB did the same, and then they were silent for a short while.
Finally JB spoke up and said, "Man, I don't think I'd ever get tired of
this. Good roads, sunny skies, good food and good friends. This is my idea of heaven."
Crank raised his cup to JB's and they toasted again. He finished off
his coffee and thought to himself, "JB's right. This is the life."
JB looked at him and said, "I'm glad you agree."
Crank sat up and pointed at JB.
"There. It happened again! This time you heard what I thought! Now this is getting weird."
JB whistled a few licks of the theme song for the Twilight Zone before he said, "Actually, there is a perfectly good reason for all this. We've hung around each other for so long that we know what the other on is gonna say before he says it. We've said it all a thousand times before."
They both heard another motorcycle in the distance getting louder and closer, but JB continued. "And for the rest of it, like the great roads, good mileage, lack of bugs and the perfect weather, I'm sure there's a simple explanation for that, too."
They glanced towards the road and the approaching motorcycle.
"Hey, look," JB said. "Here comes Roger."
Andy aka Big Stinkie BS#252 SLOB#3