Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Day 3 - Meeting Jack the Riepe

So just what is one supposed to do while on the New Jersey shore?  Sight see!  And how does one do that?  Call and request the personalized tour guide services of Jack the Riepe.

Oilburner and I arrived at our hotel around two-ish after navigating the construction zones on the Garden State Parkway. Once we were settled into our room Jack and I touched bases on getting together.

While Jack had been up since 5 am, and driven to and from Pennsylvania that morning to spend time enthralling the MacPac, he was still quite willing to come pick us up and go out for dinner.  We settled on a time that would give us all the chance to relax and cool down.

When the anointed appointed time came, I requested Jack pick us up at the back entrance to the hotel.  I was worried about the paparazzi entourage following him. Either that, or all the women near the lobby would swoon upon seeing his visage.  I was worried of some Beatles or Justin Bieber affect of women sniffing out the star and start throwing their underwear at him. (For his part, I am sure he worried about meeting two deranged, sun-stroked people that might strangle him slowly and throwing him out for whale bait.  Meeting at the back entrance would limit how many people saw us associate with him.)  Truthfully?  The distance between our room and the front doors was about a mile of maze-like hallways.  Where as our room was directly next to the back stairwell.  Two steps to the stairwell, one flight of stairs, and the back door was right there.

When we emerged from the hotel a bright red Ford F-150 was stopped, nosed into our neatly covered bikes.  Jack sat there contemplating the unidentifiable bikes.  I'm sure wondering if they really belonged to us, and if we were on the level.  Despite all of the warning signs we shook hands, made our introductions, and he allowed us to climb into the pickup.

His concession to safety was a heavy wood cane nonchalantly leaning against the front passenger seat.  I'm guessing he was planning on using it as a beating stick if I started going crazy.  (He sure was taking his chances...)

We started towards the "real" Jersey shore, heading to Seaside Heights.  I had to bring up something about New Jersey that had baffled, but impressed, me.  On the main road we had ridden in left turns from the roadway were not allowed.  At intersections, instead of turning left, one had to turn right after the intersection onto a "clover leaf" (also known as elbow or jug handle in NJ) that dumped you onto the cross road.  I found this intriguing and wonder if it cuts down on left turn accidents.  Wondering, as well, if traffic flowed faster without that signal time in the routine.

Crossing over the Thomas A. Mathis Bridge we started swapping experiences of riding over metal "cheese grater" bridges.  Jack's involved a scantily clad woman riding pillion, having to stop for the raising of the bridge.  Mine mundanely regaled my experience yesterday riding through Norfolk, encountering a curve in the rain on one of those horrid things.  He educated me on his cure by riding with the MacPac: they laughed at his trepidation and just rode faster.

We were treated with a great driving tour of Seaside Heights., admiring the architecture, while discovering Jack's favorite house.  Why is it his favorite you ask?  Well, it obviously has something to do with some smoking hot woman.

We ended this portion of the tour in front of Berkeley Fish Market, where we were headed for dinner.  Apparently it is the most expensive place around...  Of course, nothing is too good for Jack.

This is where we learned more of the cane story.  In addition to making a great weapon, it was very hefty and solid, it was a working weapon.  Jack's use of the truck hood, bumper, cane, planter, door handle, support column, and any available waitress wasn't feigned.  (OK, maybe the waitress leaning was a little contrived.)  That cane was a well regarded extension of his arm and it was heavily used thanks to the latest medical problems.  He took it in stride and just used it as an opportunity to solicit a little more help from friendly waitresses.

As the Fish Market is a fairly regular haunt for him we were seated at the best possible table with sticky chairs, horrible views of the parking lot, and a mean waitress that we had to bribe to talk with us.  (Maybe that was another use for the cane, snagging them so they couldn't get away.)  In discussing our dining options Jack learned that we were poor waifs uneducated in the culinary perfection that are Ipswich clams.

We were soon to be instructed.  A bucket of "steamers" was ordered and Oilburner and I began our homage to Jack's instruction: pry the clam open, extract the clam by the faintly phallic appendage called the foot, remove the "sock" from said appendage, dip in clam broth to remove sand, then dredge in butter before devouring this delicacy.


The "foot" was a bit rubbery, or chewy, for my tastes.  Oh, but the rest just melted on your tongue.

Dinner soon arrived.  I believe the waitress only drug his soft shell crab across the parking lot once, to collect a bit of sand and roughage for him to chew on.  He was really turning the charm on, though I didn't once see his battered baby seal look!

Conversation lingered over motorcycle stories tall and short and I was finally able to call him out on his purported snail paced riding capabilities.  With a twinkle in his eye he didn't exactly admit I was right.  Instead he told another tale that just proved my hypothesis. 

Dinner was over much too soon.  And the waitress was genuinely happy to see us on our way.  Out the door.  Away from her station.  We didn't move far though, as we worked our way to standing around his pickup continuing our conversations.  There was a discussion of the BMWMOA rally starting up in a few days time.  We discussed his frustration at having to cancel his attendance and seminars at the rally.  While he had really wanted to attend, so as not to disappoint all his fans (those holding tomatoes as well as pens), his recent medical backslide and associated immobility was preventing it.  I was just happy to be having personalized attention, not having to vie for it amongst a crowd of adoring fans.

We also palavered about dream rides.  Once Jack gets back on his feet (HA! Literally) he is purchasing his dream bike and having the appropriate spider and skulls stenciled on it and taking it across the country.  I would gladly volunteer to accompany him.  But somehow I just don't think I will be able to keep up with his speed, unless I am on some rocket-propelled motorbike.  I believe his thinking is to peg out and never let up.

Unfortunately, we overstayed our welcome and our waitress came out into the parking lot to shoo away the riff raff; accusing us of running off incoming customers.  So we climbed into the truck and turned our attention to more classic New Jersey landmarks along the shore.  Now...growing up in Southern California I am not accustomed to permanently affixed amusement parks.  Amusement parks are those fold up rides and carnival games that come in and set up in the middle of the night, and leave just as quickly.  Leaving candy wrappers blowing in the breeze, getting stuck in the trampled grass. The amusement park along the sea side was complete and authentic to the ones I remember while growing up.  However, these are permanent structures and a large attraction for tourists.  So I sat in wide-eyed wonder as we slowly drove past the boardwalk.  I was enamored with the flashing lights, bells ringing, and sordid carnival goodies.  I was drawn in like a moth to light.  But there was no way Jack could get me to set foot on that boardwalk.  I know about those electric murder-death-kill mosquito zappers that will harm moths too.  I was not going to be sucked in.

(Though I was thoroughly fascinated with the "ski lift" that ran the length of the boardwalk.  Affording people views of their next selection for entertainment, or giving lascivious boys the opportunity to sneak peeks down tank tops or throw spit balls into aforementioned tops.)


The sun was setting and we turned back towards the hotel.  Not wanting the conversations to end we raided a Dunkin Donuts for dessert and coffee and continued the talks.  We ranged all over from Bregstein to Canadian Geese to Land's End.  As a final push, Jack was trying to convince us to take a ride into New York on our way out of town in the morning.  To ride those beautiful cliffs over the Hudson that he has written about on more than one occasion.  As much as a yearn to behold this sight for myself, there is no way I am going on a Monday, during a work week, when he ends the directions with "but it has to be done between 11 and 12 o'clock".  Uh-uh, no way!  That is a sight that I will only ever try either following him down those roads so that I don't have to figure out proper turns.  Or when Stephen King's Captain Trips comes to decimate the world and I am one of the few riders remaining.

Jack drops us off at the back of the hotel, quickly speeding away into the darkness.  The clouds are quickly gathering and we will have one heck of a light show that night.  It was then that I realized he had kept me so busy during the evening that I had failed to take a picture.  My camera managed to take one of his legs in the cab of the pickup.  But since it didn't show any garters and hose, nor the cane, I'm not posting it.

SSsoooo....what part is truth and what part is fiction??  The waitress was actually very nice.  She put up with our gruff and scorned the nickname Jack tried to give her.  Though she did shoo us from the parking lot.

Jack, thank you so much for the fantastic evening.  I wish we could have gone back through New Jersey.  I just didn't want to scare the Jersey drivers on the Parkway again.  I hope we can continue our conversations over alcohol and donuts along some shoreline, bike headlights illuminating the ocean soon.


  1. Sounds like a wonderful evening. I was wondering how it went. No post makes one wonder if there were no survivors. I'm not going to comment about the lack of pictures as I am guilty of forgetting to take pictures.

    Thanks for sharing.

    1. Yeah, I got backed up. :) I don't know how you pulled off blogging from the road. It's difficult!

      We had great fun and I enjoyed hearing some stories that he has alluded to in posts. And other situations that have never seen the light of day. I really wish Jack were riding. That would have been a sight keeping up with him. Though I look forward to a trip to Centralia,

    2. iPad with Verizon 3G/LTE with the Apple camera connector kit...

      Most campgrounds in Canada had decent wireless and in the lower-48, the Verizon connection was usually faster than hotel wireless.

  2. Your narrating style is definitely heavily Riepe-influenced. So he must have happened. I am going to take a guess what might not be true: the F-150 was not red. No wait, it wasn't a pick-up truck it was an average Japanese sedan. Fantastic write-up by the way.

    1. Well...when in Rome... ;)

      Sonja, you are almost correct. Though it isn't Japanese. Here is Jack's rig.

  3. Lori,
    What a wonderful tale and thanks so much for the laughs. Like Sonja, your style is heavily Riep-esque and I worry for you. I worry even more for Oilburner in case he gets discarded in favour of a newer, sportier model.

    If you happen to bump into David Hough at the BMWMOA rally and get into conversation, please give him my warmest regards. We've had quite a bit of correspondence and collaboration over the last year on ageing rider strategies (oh all right.... old farts on bikes).

    1. Sorry Geoff! I am a tad late in my retelling. This took place two weeks ago and the BMW rally has come and gone. I am excited to hear of your correspondence with David Hough. It will benefit me most...since I have yet to age. ;)

      I don't think you need to have any fear for Oilburner. He has been keeping up with, and track of, me for 20 some years. He knows the ropes and how to keep me in line. With a good Double Overhand Knot...

  4. Dear Lori:

    I am astounded at your memory for detail. I have crossed over the Thomas A. Mathis Bridge thousands of times, but never knew it by any name other than the friggin' drawbridge into Seaside. My favorite house in Seaside Park is an ocean-front palace, adorned with gingerbread porches and terraces. Fifteen years ago, a woman and I were going through a rough spot, and I used to walk the dunes at night, wondering who she was thinking of. (I was correct in that it wasn't me.) I paused in front of this beautiful home, probably valued at $1.9 million (with no property other than the footprint), and wondered about the folks who owned it. I could see through the front windows to the kitchen. One of the hottest asses I have ever seen in shorts was fussing around the stove. She had tanned legs like those I use to dream about when I was 17.

    I explained to Lori and Chris (Mr. Oilburner) that the dunes are home to foxes that roan the boardwalk at night, and how I used to see them.

    The Berkley Seafood Market is an institution in Seaside Park, NJ. It has some of the freshest seafood in the area, and offers the best choice of Jersey-caught fish. Despite the state's reputation for being a shithouse, New Jersey offers some of the freshest, tastiest, and cleanest seafood to be caught anywhere. Thirty years of conservation and environmental leadership has produced some of the most exquisite tasting shellfish worldwide.

    I wanted Chris and Lori to try the Cape May Salt and the Ipswich clam. The Cape May Salt is a local oyster, eaten raw, still alive actually, with a spritz of lemon and hot pepper sauce. It is comparable with anything from Prince Edward Island. The taste is the tang of New Jersey, with a slight hint of salt.

    The Ipswich clam takes a bit to get used to. The clam is black-shelled, oblong, and has a dick-like appendage sticking out. Once the shell is open, the clam itself is an ugly, hocker-like blot of life that sort of comes apart. The first step comes in removing the dark stocking-like membrane from the "foot." The clam is dangled into a bowl of plain clam broth to rinse off any particles of sand. Then it is swished in melted butter. It is the sweetest tasting clam to be found anywhere, and far superior to cherrystone or little necks for steaming. (These last two are best eaten raw.)

    Lori and Chris passed on the oysters, which are a real acquired taste. I had a blast with both of these guys, and regretted we weren't riding together. But they alone got to see the extend of my illness this summer. I could barely walk from the truck to the restaurant. In fact, we had to pass on a dune/bay view table to eat off the parking lot because I couldn't handle the stairs.

    Rare is the kind of good time you have where you forget to take a picture. But I am looking to ride with these guys next year... And plan to do that stretch just opposite New York City (Boulevard East). We had a pisser of a good time that night. And two hours of outrageous lightning followed.

    By the way, the waitress was Jeanina, and I am in love.

    I can hardly wait to do it again.

    Fondest regaerds,
    Twisted Roads

    1. Dear Jack,

      Thank you again for a great evening. I'm still trying to separate fact from fiction. And I probably will be for awhile, if I bother to get concerned about it. ;). Nay. Probably won't worry me none.

      I did forget to add that the Mathis bridge is a drawbridge. Thank you for reminding me. Your words were in my thoughts the remainder of the trip given the miles of grooved roads I had to ride in Oregon and Massachusetts. I had to remind myself that if you could do it, then I certainly wouldn't have a problem.

      I would take that seaside palace in heartbeat, but you might not get the same view in the future. Hehe. And now you have me thinking you might have a different meaning of "fox" than I was. I was thinking of the four legged animal. ;) (Please don't respond to that as, yes, I went to the dirty side.)

      And dear, "Sunshine" had your number. Wasn't much you could say that she couldn't counter. Good luck with that one, ;)

      Unfortunately we also had to pass on the seedy bar on the boardwalk due to your legs. But that will be next time. I hope the healing is quick. I know it will be successful. And when you are back in the saddle, give us a call and we will come!

      All our best.

  5. Dear SonjaM:

    A Japanese sedan!!!! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

    Fondest regards,

    1. Don't worry Jack. I sent her to the picture of your real vehicle, ;)

    2. What an eclectic taste. Of course! A Smart!

  6. Fantastic to meet some one who is actually known here in NZ by at least two people...and my cat. Always enjoys Jacks true stories and am often seen pissing myself laughing in my office as my annoying staff wonder by.

    I reall y do hope one day I get over there and get to met some of these amazing people....besides I love oysters!

    1. So did your cat introduce you to Jacks blog? Printed out blog posts to line the litter box with?

      You will definitely get to meet everyone. At the latest 2014. Let's see what we an pull together, we almost had it this year.

  7. I can vouch for Jack, the Japanese sedan is kept on davits at the stern of Nimitz (the red F-150).

    I would eat oysters....and drink Veuve Cliquot.

    Happy days, thanks for the write up!

    N from Olympic Theme Park UK

    1. Ring child, I sent Sonja to a picture that someone provided Jack of his rig and trailer. ;)

      But what is this Veuve Clicquot? That is some fancy stuff!

      We are willing to try the oysters. Jack just sneered at us as our experience with with baked oysters on the half shell. Obviously not discerning enough palates just yet.

      How is the circus going in your portion of the map?

  8. Great post Lori. You had your own IMBC (Interstate moto-bloggers convention)

    I am thinking Bobskoot will have more luck with the waitresses if he tries Jack's cane trick.

    1. Thanks Brandy! I had to do something to console myself for missing out on the iMBC. I think it turned out well. More time would have been better. Where is that lottery tree again? ;)

      I'm gonna need to learn about this waitress story, I'm surprised he was able to get away with as much hubris as he did with the statute!

  9. Lori/Jack:

    I can't imagine meeting someone and NOT taking a Photo. It must have been Jack's plan. One day I also hope to meet the LEGEND.

    I was hooked on every word you wrote, I think Jack wrote it for you it was very entertaining. I also had a Waitress Encounter in Baker City who was smarter than me, but what happens in Baker City stays in Baker City unless someone spills the beans . . .

    Jack, I hope you get more mobile as you heal. I know how it feels. I had a sort of relapse when Tuesday morning I could hardly walk. My foot was swollen again for no reason and I couldn't wear shoes, they were too tight. I can't go barefoot to work and all of my sandals are the toe loop type. I must be allergic to work, either that or allegic to shoes. Like you it will heal and I hope to ride with you next year.

    Riding the Wet Coast
    My Flickr // My YouTube

    1. Bobskoot,

      I have yet to have the confidence to stick the camera in some people's faces. You might do well to remember that when we meet up! What comes around goes around. ;)

      So...I'm not sure if I should feel insulted or not thinking Jack might have written this. Aren't my other stories entertaining??? Humph...

      I'm gonna try my hardest to get the waitress story out of someone...

      I hope your own foot will heal quickly as well. I'm just glad it didnt give you trouble on your rides.

    2. Lori:

      You writing is great, entertaining and a delight to read. You have a talent for words, even though you are a bit sassy.

      I don't "stick" a camera in people's faces. I aways ask first.

      OH, BTW just a warning. If Erik tells the waitress story don't believe him.

      Riding the Wet Coast
      My Flickr // My YouTube

    3. Lori:

      Ask VStarLady/Karen. Teachers ALWAYS tell the truth....

  10. Great write up of a great encounter Beemergirl.....someday I too shall meet The Riepe, hopefully with him astride a mighty and new K1600 wunderbike.

    No pictures though......