This is Part Two. Part one can be found here.
So we left off as we lost our first rider in Jacksonville.
We moved north, to Atlanta, where we met up with the brother of one of “our gang”. This guy was a huge, furry, biker looking SOB. He was the only one of us that lived the role, instead of just acting it.
His name was “Tiny”. ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s all I can remember him being called. He was at least 300 pounds. He rode an odd bike – it was a Harley, somewhere underneath. But mostly it looked like someone spun you in circles for ten minutes then had you look through a kaleidoscope. It was bizarre. He had crap glued all over it. Peacock feathers, coins, and poker chips. The entire bike was covered in one of them.
And it would cause us trouble. There are just some places you are better off keeping a low profile.
We stayed in Atlanta that day, and slept in a house. On a floor. I would miss that floor soon enough.
The next morning we rose bright and early. We intended to hit the rode my 4-5AM and beat the horrid Atlanta traffic (even then). One bike wouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t start. We waited while the Harley dealership picked it up and looked at it. It took several hours. We finally left Atlanta at about 11am. The bike had been fixed, so we were once again a team of twelve.
Twelve people riding bikes in 1982 were pretty much considered “bikers” or “a gang”. We were treated like it. Sometime for the better (traffic seemed to melt out of our way) and sometimes for the worse (in west Georgia we were not allowed to eat inside a cafe – they made us eat at the tables out back). The phrase “motorcycle enthusiast” hadnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t been invented yet, I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t think. Even though we had a lawyer, two doctors, a respiratory therapist (me) and a couple of cardio-pulmonary techÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s in our “gang”. I hardly fault people for not feeling comfortable around us – we were a very odd lot.
Anyway, I think we pushed to just east of St. Louis before we decided to pull over for the night. We stopped at a picnic area, pitched our pup tents, and had a couple (warm) beers. We were getting ready for bed. We had a rather large fire going (in a well-designed pit, I might add).
We were all beat. We probably were sleeping before 9PM. Sometime in the middle of the night we were aroused by a loudspeaker. The local cops had found us, and they werenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t happy we were there. By three AM they had driven us back out onto the highway. At best we had 5 hours of sleep. Why they didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t want us in tents on the side of the road I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know. WeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll have the same experience again, and again. We were not hurting anything. We just were not welcome. But it would be another three days or so before we really got into trouble with the cops – and before the cops really saved our asses. Someone could have gone to jail. Hell, all of us pretty much could have gone to jail. Discharging firearms to the tune of over 70 rounds total in just seconds is somewhat frowned upon.
We found out over the next few days that no matter how large this country was, there just wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t enough room in it for a bunch of “bikers”. Time and time again we were told to “keep moving”. Time and time again we moved out after just a few hours sleep. You might think this would cause us to make good time. It didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t. We were tired. We were sore. We were even a bit bitter. We werenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t having a lot of fun. Arguments started, people got edgy. Little things pissed people off.
By the time we got to Idaho, it was just a matter of time before we got into trouble. Trouble comes soon enough.
It is apparent to me now that truckers and bikers were not intended to utilize the same roadways. We would meet our trucker friend the next morning.
This concludes part two of what I am now just calling a “multi-part” post. It could be one more part, or three more parts. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m not even sure. There is still a lot to tell – still nothing real significant about our serious involvement with the cops. You donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know what happens with the trucker. You donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know why 8-10 people, including a couple of cops, started firing wildly in what is best described as a melee. To this day I am not sure what caused it. I think it had something to do with “Tiny” and the truckerÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s girl (a big old thing). But it got really ugly really fast – and it ended just about as quickly. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not really that significant, except it lends some suspense to the story. Honestly, I am surprised that with all the machismo we had we only had a firearms problem once on this trip.
Of course, the fact that we all left our firearms in Idaho probably had something to do with that.
Really now – part three will wait for a few days. One at least.