Gut Rumbles

October 18, 2003

easy rider

I made some microwave popcorn and watched Easy Rider on cable TV last night. Damn! I went spiralling back in time.

I first saw that movie when I was a jockstrap football player in 1969 and it depressed the shit out of me. I was down in the dumps for days afterward. I thought that the movie made the South look bad but I had to admit to knowing a few pure-assed red-necks who WOULD have fired a shotgun out of a pickup truck at some long-haired hippie on the road. I had never smoked marijuana at the time and I never expected to in my life.

Two years later, I had a Fu Manchu Moustache, hair that I could gather into a pony tail and I watched that movie again at a drive-in. I was in a 1962 Dodge Dart and the dope-smoke was as thick as London Fog in there. The movie still depressed the shit out of me.

I haven't smoked dope in years. My hair is short now. But I took an adventure on the Wayback machine last night and I have a few observations that I want to share.

* That movie is terribly dated. Nobody says "groovy" anymore.

* That movie also has the best fucking soundtrack ever. Period. I will brook no argument on that fact. Bejus! Just listen to it!

* Jack Nicholson was outstanding as the drunken lawyer in his gold football helmet. My drinking buddies and I STILL do that chicken-wing wave with one arm and go "NICK...NICK...NICK... SWAMP!' when we're hitting the tequila bottle. We talk about Venusians beaming back at us, too.

* Dennis Hopper had the best role of his life as "Billy." He brought just the right amout of craziness, suspicion, hostility and loyalty to that part. He was so good that he DESERVED to die in the end.

* The idea of dropping acid at Marti Gras in a cemetary with a couple of hookers has always fascinated me.

* I thought Karen Black was beautiful in her scenes. I just wanted her to get nekkid.

* I never wanted to own a motorcycle, but I HAVE wanted to make a cross-country trip after watching that movie.

Maybe now's my chance. I'll be going east to west, but WTF? I've never seen the Grand Canyon and I've never stared up at the top of a Giant Redwood. I've never thrown my body into the Pacific Ocean. I've never seen the Golden Gate Bridge.

Life is short. If you don't get it while you can, it's gone forever. I am over half a century old.

I need to get busy.


"Groovy " is now replaced by " tight ".
I know this because my son's been using it to describe anything " groovy ".
It's gotten so bad, the family couldn't watch a movie the other night from all the " that's tight " we kept hearing every other minute.
I told my son to at least slip in " that's cool " or even the last one he just got over, " that's sweet " at least now and again.

Posted by: siso on October 18, 2003 07:36 AM

At least he's not saying "KOOWWELLL" the way Quinton does. Or, "Dat's Da BOMB!"

I am so out of touch with the youth of today.

Posted by: Acidman on October 18, 2003 08:06 AM

A couple other great suggestions:
1. Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons
2. Devils Tower, not as cool as it was in Close Encounters of the Third Kind, but still impressive.
3. Mount Rushmore.

I've also taken the train from Denver to Sacramento. The Rockies and the Sierra Nevada ranges are really quite beautiful. Especially the Sierra Nevada. The train route is not right next to the interstate, so the land around it seems unspoiled and a treat for the eyes.

I hear Idaho has a lot to offer too, but i've never been there.

The great redwoods in Northern California are very impressive. I used to live up there.

Sounds like a great trip. Hell I have two weeks of vacation, maybe I should do something like that. LOL

Posted by: Marc on October 18, 2003 08:46 AM

Yes, Acidman you need to come West. You're missing out on half of America. I've been all over this great nation, and the southeast has its charms, but you have to experience the breathtaking "rawness" of the West (I mean the Rockies and westward). I have a guest bedroom, and you're welcome to stay overnight here in North Texas on your way through... as long as you don't mind 3 boys under the age of 6 bouncing off the walls.

Drive West until you hit LA on the Pacific, then turn North on Highway 1 and take in the Pacific coast, stopping at the redwoods and "Big Sur" and then continuing until you hit Seattle. You might want to turn back South before you hit Seattle actually... the place is full of asshats.

Stop at some parks with hot springs whenever you can and take a dip, and hike around in the hills and beaches in California. California is absolutely gorgeous, it's really too bad about all the fuckwits who live there.

Also, be sure to take in Arizona and New Mexico on your way through. Unbelievable mountains, desert, cactus, etc.

Despite all my travels, I still prefer the middle of the country to the coasts... people are just more down-to-earth "out here in the middle".

Posted by: asm on October 18, 2003 08:50 AM

Get a crotch rocket. The wimmen attracted to them are (generally) younger, uh.. shall we say "tighter", and more fun. They also wear less clothing, which is also a plus.

I recommend a Suzuki GSX-R 750, or if you're willing to throw caution to the wind, get the 1000. Just take it slow at first. :)

Posted by: Mr. Lion on October 18, 2003 11:41 AM

"Easy Rider" trivia time: There's a reason why they shot that segment in New Orleans at Mardi Gras. Peter Fonda, who produced the film, has freely admitted it in interviews. The reason: 100,000 outrageously costumed extras that they didn't have to pay for. All they had to do was show up and turn the cameras on.

Posted by: Steve Teeter on October 18, 2003 01:47 PM

Forget the crotch rocket and go with big iron made for cruising, something on the order of an Electra Glide. I got all my adventures in while I was still young and filled w/piss & vinegar and I ended up lucky by not getting snagged by any bc's. I wouldn't live anywhere else but the west 'cause there's just so much of it. I liked living in California mostly for the scenery and am damn glad I escaped to the Texas Hill Country. My momma gave me some good advice when I was young which I took to heart: "Life is short; death is long." If you're ever down this way, you'll always have a place to stay.

Posted by: Joe on October 18, 2003 03:28 PM

You say "shooting hippies" like this is A Bad Thing...

Posted by: Kim du Toit on October 18, 2003 04:40 PM

If you decide to make the trip, kick me an e-mail. I'll put you up for a night in the SF area.

I can attest to the beauty of the coast ride. A few years ago I rode the coast up and eventually ended up in Coeur d'Alene.
I definitely recommend doing it on a bike.

I don't recommend a GSX-R or any other crotch rocket. I did it on my Ninja, and I hurt like hell for it. You can probably find a used KZ1000-P in good conditiion (meticulous maintainance) for not too much. On long trips, the single most important aspect of the bike is being able to sit upright.

Posted by: Dishman on October 18, 2003 05:58 PM

If you go to California and don't visit Yosemite, you'll have missed the most beautiful place I have seen on this Earth, and I've been around the world. I lived about 80 miles from the entrance and we'd often go over just for a Sunday picnic or just to look. It's not far from King's Canyon and the reaally big, old trees (I think the Grant tree is the oldest at 2000+ years and one of the biggest in the world,. You should see it even though it's named after that dam yankee general.) in Sequoia Park.

Something about the "big sky" gets right down into your gut in the American west. Every time I visit, I question why I live in Florida, even though I'm minutes from wonderful beach and have a salt water canal in my back yard. Oh, and stop by any fruit stand in the San Joaquin Valley and find out how peaches are supposed to taste. Big, juicy and delicious, not like those all-pit Ga peaches/rocks.

Posted by: Larry on October 18, 2003 06:46 PM

The rocket suggestion was one based on all around fun, not practicality.

If you want to do a 1000 mile comfy cruise, rent a convertible cadillac or jaguar. Anyone that tells you long distance cruises on any bike are comfortable is full of it.

Posted by: Mr. Lion on October 18, 2003 07:16 PM

If, on your way to the Grand Canyon, you happen through Tucson, I will be more than happy to lend you a couch to sleep on.

Posted by: Kevin Baker on October 18, 2003 09:31 PM

I only recently found out that Karen Black's hooker girlfriend was Toni Basil who went on to record one hit single: "Oh Mickey (you're so fine)."

Posted by: sm@rt@ss on October 19, 2003 01:22 AM

If you take the southern route west, I'm about 40 miles south of I-10, about 400 miles from you. You're more than welcome to spend the first night here.

Posted by: Larry on October 19, 2003 09:39 PM

Instead of going Seattle, hang a left at Olympia, cross the new Narrows Bridge (the old one did a dance one windy day and tore itself to pieces; maybe you saw the movie) and check out Olympia National Park.
You would want to do this during May-August, the dry season.

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