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Common Tread

2015 Lowbrow Getdown: A not-so-serious ride report

Jul 27, 2015

Sometimes, ol' Spurgeon ain't too bad. I love riding with the other ZLA host who's not also my boss. He's a good drinker, an excellent conversationalist, and bitches almost as much as I do.

Our destination for this ride was this cool music venue-quarry-hippie enclave called Nelson Ledges Quarry Park. NLQP is the site of Lowbrow Customs' annual Getdown, a huge chopper shindig I've gone to for a few years. Here is a chronicle of the trip. I cut out all the interesting parts and only included the boring stuff. Brace yourself.

July 9, 12:33 p.m.: Realize Indian Scout review is coming up. The Scout is inbound for July 10, and I need initial riding notes by July 13, which is over a weekend. I don't work weekends.

July 9, 12:36 p.m.: Decide to go to Lowbrow Getdown to "do research." (Read: con Revzilla into paying for the massive alcohol bill I rack up at these little soirees. The tab's big enough I don't ever want to pay it, but small enough they don't fire me over it.)

July 9, 12:38 p.m.: Lean over to Spurgeon's desk and inform him he will be going with me. I encourage him to put some test miles on the Tiger that's currently in the stable (that also happens to have panniers and a top box). Spurgeon realizes he is being used as A) a pack mule to carry my camera gear and B) my personal photographer to begin working when I am too drunk to shoot photos. He refuses.

July 9, 12:39 p.m.: I remind Spurgeon that he has no love interest or life, and order him to go. (It should be noted that Spurgeon in no way reports to me, hierarchically speaking.) He looks defeated. Spurgeon perks back up when I tell him I might take pictures of him that could be published. He begins arranging his hair.

July 10, 2:33 p.m.: Pick up Scout. Blow off returning to work due to "Scout testing and bike prep." Spend time creating fender bolt extensions so I can lash gear to the fender. Adjust preload, swear off macaroni and cheese.

After a few thinkin' beers and a handful of hardware, I figured out how to carry gear. Hell, the Scout is damn near a touring bike now! Photo by Lemmy.

July 10, 10:12 p.m.: Meet Spurgeon at his folks' place. (It's close to Lemmy Mountain.) Tip his mom a sultry wink. Spurgeon appears enraged. I drink all his dad's expensive beer and his brothers' cheap beer. Tell Spurgie to bring swimming stuff. He says he has none at his parents' house.

July 11, 5:42 a.m. Text Spurgeon to come meet me 15 miles in the wrong direction so he can pack my camera. He refuses. I order him to get on his bike. (For the record, I am still not his manager, unless RevZilla gave me a promotion on the half-a-Friday I blew off.)

July 11, 6:03 a.m.: Spurgeon shows up.

July 11, 6:09 a.m.: Agree to lay down some miles before we stop for breakfast.

July 11, 6:16 a.m.: Stop for breakfast.

July 11, 7:02-11:11 a.m.: Fart around. Ride scenic route, take dorky pictures. Talk to everyone we meet at the filling stations. Generally waste time.

The first thing I like to get done on a long run is nothing at all. I try to squeeze in drinking and screwing off, too. Photo by Spurgeon Dunbar.

July 11, 12:10 p.m.: Stop at Harley dealer. Get mobbed by people checking out the Scout. Tell everyone it's Spurgeon's so I get out of having to talk to anyone. Spurgeon glares at me, then remembers he loves being nice to people and does so.

July 11, 2:13 p.m.: Come upon rider on side of road. Pull over, ask if we can help. He says no. Tells us he needs fuel. Wait, we have fuel! Pull MSR bottle out of my pack. He gets bike fired up.

July 11, 2:14-2:17 p.m. Argue with rider. Refuse to accept cash for gas. He finally realizes we are fighting over $1.26 of fuel and jumps on his now-running bike. I am repacking as I talk to him, and am kind of sidetracked.

July 11, 2:22 p.m.: Feel something hit my back.

July 11, 2:23 p.m.: Pull over and realize my crappy bungee straps are lying on the highway. Attempt re-pack. Re-pack looks shaky. Spurgeon offers fancy, expensive ROK Straps. I scoff. Spurgeon returns to the Tiger. I re-pack again. Still shaky.

July 11, 2:33 p.m.: Walk to Tiger and get ROK straps. Spurgeon now bubbly again. I am surly. These things actually work really well. Spurgeon reminds me that cheap bungees that last a third of a trip are probably more expensive than pricey straps that work and do not leave gear on the highway. I give Spurgeon the finger.

July 11, 3:15 p.m.: Nearly run out of fuel due to distance between exits. Make it to gas station. Refill bike and MSR bottle. No good deed goes unpunished. Text Sean MacDonald to tell him that I was being a turd when I made fun of his ROK Straps review. I do not mention this to Spurgeon.

July 11, 4:17 p.m.: Realize if we don't get moving, we are going to miss most of the Getdown. Actually hammer down this time. Test Scout top speed. Scout passing with flying colors. Scout passing nearly everything around it, really.

July 11, 6:15 p.m.: Arrive in Garretsville, Ohio. Find local beer store. Buy beer. Give Spurgeon 12-pack and bungees. Guy with three boxes on his bike unable to move beer. Give up, and just put the beer on the Scout.

July 11, 6:18-6:38 p.m.: Make camp. Spurgeon talking some guy's ear off. For a guy who hates choppers, he sure likes talking to chopper people. Tell him we need to start getting some photos. Walk four feet. Spurgeon meets rider on modern Triumph. Will not shut up about Triumphs.

July 11, 7:10 p.m.: Finish taking photos. Repack camera gear, change into swim trunks so we can take a dip in the quarry. I am terribly sunburnt and covered in road grime. Acquire shower beer, head to quarry for swimming. Remember Spurgeon has no swimming trunks because evidently birthday suits and swim suits are synonyms for him.

The quarry part of Nelson Ledges Quarry Park is for swimming. Photo by Lemmy.

July 11, 7:13 p.m.: Unknown man begins screaming at me. Evidently the lifeguard went off duty at 7 p.m., and he is super-pissed we dared swim in his quarry unsupervised. Scramble out. Finish beer.

July 11, 7:15 p.m.: Realize Spurgeon also has forgotten his towel because he is wiping himself down with mine.

July 11, 7:16 p.m.: Attempt to dry off with my now-wet towel. Avoid drying face-parts for obvious reasons.

July 11, 8:19 p.m.: Begin walking to concert area to see Blue Oyster Cult. Someone recognizes Spurgeon as "the Revzilla guy." Spurgeon beams with intensity of a thousand suns.

July 11, 8:23 p.m.: Order food at food tent. Drink more beer. Tell Spurgeon he has to take concert photos because my lens is no good in the dark. Spurgeon knows I am lying. Glare at Spurgeon as I jam tempeh grilled cheese into my piehole. Spurgeon capitulates. Maybe feel slight pang of guilt.

Spurgeon's dining choice for the evening. Run by hippies, and patronized by the stoned. It was kind of hard not to get in a good mood around the truck. Everybody was damn happy to be there and eat their brand of grub. It was like a bunch of stir-fry options... all of which were wrapped in tortillas. Photo by Spurgeon Dunbar.

July 11, 9:15 p.m.: Drunk enough that sunburn no longer is a concern. Sober enough to know that Blue Öyster Cult has not gotten better despite four decades to practice.

July 11, 9:47 p.m.: Rationalize that I should get more of the beer because I figured out a way to transport it. Spurgeon cheerily agrees. God, how can someone so sober be so chipper?

July 11, 11:15 p.m.: Somehow avoid buying more beer and purchase water instead. Spurgeon and I elect to hit the sack in a fit of responsibility. Ask Spurgeon to wake me up.

July 12, 3:15 a.m.: Wake up to someone doing gnarly burnout.

July 12, 5:42 a.m.: Stumble from tent. Debate huffing gross Port-A-John smells vs. taking a whiz 20 feet from tent. Laugh out loud at own silliness.

July 12, 5:46 a.m.: Park security rolls up in golf cart as I am waking up Spurgeon. Mildly concerned until I realize they want to talk to me about Scout. Unsure if my endorsement of Indian sounds less professional without pants.

July 12, 6:14 a.m.: Finish breaking camp and pack bikes. Tell Spurgeon to use fancy internet phone to find a local Eat'nPark. He complies. (I will give him points, when it comes to food, that boy knows who to listen to. He'll protest sometimes, but ultimately, I think he assesses my belly and realizes I will always be able to ferret out the best chow spots.)

Not in that order, of course. Eat'nPark is my favorite part of trips west that happen before noon. Photo by Lemmy.

July 12, 6:42 a.m.: Arrive at Eat'nPark. Spurgeon still dubious.

July 12, 6:47 a.m.: "Corn fritters! Lemmy, look, they have corn fritters. You were right, I love this place!"

July 12, 6:47 a.m.: "Oh, did you try these fried apple things? They're delicious!"

July 12, 7:12 a.m.: Begin laying down miles. At this point, we're just burning for home.

July 12, 7:15 a.m. - 5:15p.m.: Finally hook up with U.S. Route 6, which is a very picturesque road, but this part of the story stinks. What am I supposed to do, report on all the quaint little towns and the places with curvy roads? We are having fun, but making terrible time. And we added mileage to our route. Decide to run I-80 west to east across Pennsylvania. In 10 hours, nothing changes but the level of fuel in the tanks and the soreness of our asses. We consider taking dual sick days on Monday. Realize that looks fishy. Continue riding.

Heading home. Photo by Spurgeon Dunbar.

July 12, 6:44 p.m.: Arrive home. Unpack bike. Air out tent and groundcloth. Open rucksack. Wife recoils in horror at smell.

July 13, 6:18 a.m.: Climb back into saddle to go to work. Grimace at tenderness of saddle sores.

July 13, 9:12 a.m.: Lie and tell everyone I wish I had been able to put down more miles. Shake head and talk about Spurgeon's endurance improving.