The old man downshifted, letting the engine brake the big bike down the long hill, enjoying the deep rumble of the exhaust as it echoed through the thick brush and timber on either side of the road. Weaving slightly to miss the broken pavement, holes, and small patches of sand left by the plow trucks.
The area reminded him of rural Michigan….
The dull grays and browns of the late winter forest, as well as the quiet solitude invited the old man to the peninsula on the north end of the lake. He needed the cold air and isolation to clear his head, lay some old ghosts to rest, and be ready for the adventures of the new riding season. The deserted rally grounds awaited.
As he passed the gate area where a large tent would stand in several months, the country opened up, large mown grassy fields flanked by woodlands. Narrow gravel roads winding off to the surrounding camp grounds. He downshifted again and at the intersection with the signposts, turned north. Following the curving asphalt road about a quarter of a mile to the deserted vendor area, a large rectangle of rough, cracked pavement which in the center a large circus tent without sides would be set up. He rode around the rectangle, parking the heavy bike in the corner by the road leading in. Shutting it down, listening to the hot metal popping and creaking, contracting in the cold crisp air. The old man climbed off of the bike, mind starting to wander. The years of memories flooding his head….
The heat and humidity of the early September evening was almost unbearable. The loud music, the constant rumble of the motorcycles, shouting, loud raucous laughter, pandemonium. Partying on the edge….Too filled with lust to even unlace his well-worn boots, dirty jeans and shorts down around his ankles, her panties and jeans in a crumpled pile hastily thrown in a corner. She met his thrusts eagerly, wrapping her legs around his. He held her hands above her head. The small tent smelling of stale sweat, beer, and hot sticky sex. Tasting hot tepid breath, no longer caring about the noise or who might be listening.
The old man was glad he had put on the old green wool shirt at the last minute. Designed for the bitter winds of Korea, it was usually his constant companion in the fall, winter an early spring. Who gave a flying fuck about fashion on the road anyway? He zipped the heavy leather jacket up a bit against the soft, cold breezes of late afternoon. He had left the hat on the bike, wanting to feel the cooling winds in short graying hair.
He walked up the gently curving road, small tufts of brown grass grown up through the cracked and buckling pavement. Thinking of the years of wild partying. Good times and not. Renegades wedding reception, now that was about a wild motherfucker. The bikes, the people….The band, loud but good. Dawn singing lead, belting out her raw version of “Backdoor Man”. Couples dancing, or would one say “the vertical expression of a horizontal idea”. The trailer set up as a bar, a biker being serviced under the bar by a young lady while he enjoyed a cold brew, the blushing bride checking out the action with a flashlight. Goddamn, it was a wild one, too much weed and too much hooch….The old mans lady never let hear the end of it. Until they went to a wilder one….
The old man walked west on the road past where the motorcycle ministry was set up, on past the showers where he had first set up camp. They had set up lawn chairs along the road to enjoy the constant parade of bikes, trikes, all-terrain vehicles, farm tractors with wagons, and about every other conceivable form of transport ( Hell, one dude was puttering around the sky in an ultralight….). All crammed with people in various forms of dress and undress. Tattoos….Pedestrians, the naked women in body paint….The sights and sounds, music, the engines. The stifling heat. The acrid smell of weed, cooking, sweat, the piss stained porta-johns, and all mixed with exhaust fumes. Private acts in public, the lady with the beer bottle. The old man couldn’t fuckin’ believe that one, then they took her down to the beer tent and shaved her….
Whatta goddamn lifestyle, the old man thought slowly walking up the now deserted and desolate road. Which he now embraced….