George Massenburg, EveAnna Manley, & Fletcher pause for photo op at George and Cookie's Most Excellent Wedding 7/27/2001
EveAnna & Fletcher's Excellent Adventure...
Travelog written by Fletcher of Mercenary Audio
Wednesday 25 July: EveAnna had flown into Boston the day before, hired a 2001 H-D Heritage Softail then putted up to Marblehead to visit some family. I left the house around noon, putted up I-95 to the Rte 114 exit. About half an hour into the trip, I realized that the leather lace on the left side of my vest was missing...a sign of the fun to come.
When I got up to the appropriate exit, I found a hardware store, bought some twine, quasi-fixed the vest, called EveAnna on the cell phone. She was across the street at an Exxon station, so that's where we met...topped off the tanks, got a candy bar, and we were off to Portland ME.
After a rather [soon to be thankfully] uneventful 3 1/2-4 hour run to ME, EveAnna pulled out some directions and we landed at Gateway Mastering. Bob interupted his work on an Eric Clapton DVD to give us the nickel tour, but eventually had to go back to work. Simon, the producer of the project was on his way out at the same time EveAnna and I figured that we ought to find a pool hall and beer...as we all left the building Mick G. arrived [he had mixed the project].
After a couple of games of pool, a few beers and a small snack, we headed back to Gateway to meet Bob, Gail, Laurie and Mick for dinner [they were going to see KD Lang after dinner, EveAnna and I were going to hit the ferry]. My scooter ['78 Ironhead] has but a 2 gallon fuel tank, so I needed to top off before we hit the boat, but fortunately there was a gas station across the street from the ferry terminal.
By the time we hit the ferry terminal they said they had already loaded the bikes, but would see what they could do. They got us up to where the rest of the bikes were parked, we parked along with them, stuffed some rubber chocks under the bikes and headed off to see what this boat was about. [the rubber chocks came in very handy as the trip wore on as we 'borrowed' one because my kick stand was having a forward locking problem...damned old/modified bikes].
A few more beers, I lost a couple hundred at the tables [in international waters there's gambling...EveAnna [born in Las Vegas] quickly went up a couple hundred]. The boat was going to dock around 8a, there was a 6a wake up call...so we called it a day somewhere between midnight and 1a.
Thursday 26 July: The wake up call came at 6...staggered to breakfast...EveAnna had a coffee, I went with a Tea and a lemon danish [first mistake of the day]. We had a bit of time to kill before the boat docked so we went outside to see what the day might bring. It was cool and cloudy, and seemed like it might be starting to drizzle, but no big deal.
EveAnna, ever the pragmatic one, had taken the 'rain gear' set offered to her when she picked up the bike, I didn't have any, and frankly I like riding in the rain so it was no big deal [or so I thought]. When the boat docked it was a full on downpour, but again, it didn't seem like a big deal at the time. So I'd get a little wet, wouldn't be the first, won't be the last, no big deal [2nd mistake of the day...and it wasn't quite 10a yet].
We cleared customs [they spent a whole lot of time asking me about drugs, they asked EveAnna a whole lot of questions about weapons. When asked how she planned on defending herself if attacked she said "with my boots"].
We rolled out of Yarmouth and finally found Hwy(?)103 which was to take us to Halifax [about 3 1/2-4 hours]. Still raining, about an hour down the road we stopped for gas [damn 2 gallon tank]. I was a bit damp, but it still didn't seem all that major. We asked how far it was to Halifax, they said it was about 3 1/2-4 hours...we didn't understand how, but that was OK, we'll get there when we get there was the thought at that time.
Another hour and change down the road [by this time we had passed over the river Jordan!!] we stopped around Liverpool for more gas. This time the rain had soaked through my leather, the denim shirt under it, the shirt under that, my jeans looked and felt like they'd been soaked in cold water for a couple hours. There were 2-3 inches of water in my boots, all in all with the like 50 degree F temperature, a recipe for hypo-thermia.
A kind soul at the gas station led us down to a sporting goods store [which we wouldn't have found in a million years without her assistance!!] where I was able to purchase this hideous, yet highly effective Yellow rain suit [I looked like the moron on the 'Gortons of Glouster' Frozen Fish box]. Dry jeans, rain suit, new boots...a little repackaging and we were ready to rock. All except my bike wouldn't start. After locating a cold solder joint [I carry a bunch of tools, you have to with an old bike...including a butane soldering iron]. There still wasn't enough juice to throw the starter motor but a quick kick [another great thing about old bikes, you can 'kick start' them], and we were on our way.
Another hour or so, we went past Brooklyn, Oakland, East & West Berlin, and Lower, Middle, and Upper Clyde [I don't know who Clyde is, but seems he's a 3 exit dude I don't think I want to meet him], as well as the "World's Largest Christmas Tree Farm". We pulled off at 'exit 13' for some lunch (and, of course, gas). Found some parking spots in the middle of a nice little village, it had pretty much stopped raining at this point, had lunch at a local pub (our first introduction to 'Keith's a local brew...another key factor to the trip).
Leaving, again no starter [hmmm, the battery should have charged after the last run...this could be trouble], but it started on the first kick, so off to get some gas and back on the highway. I thought it was going to be a pain in the ass to start the bike again if I shut it off, but the gas station mook insisted. Unfortunately, I was right...after finding another couple of electrical problems, and having popped half my voltage regulator [from the earlier cold solder joint]...the bike started with a "jump start" [like with cables]. I got the number of a place in Dartmouth where I could pick up a new regulator, and directions...off we went.
Found Exit 5 (Hammond something Rd....I just kept thinking B-3), was able to follow most of the directions when the bike died at a traffic light. Somehow, a cop was there [found a cop when I needed one? These things don't happen in real life do they?], he called a tow truck, which came down to give me a jump. Asked the guy what I owed him for the start? He said he dug old Harley's, this one was on him...then he mentioned that the H-D dealership was going to be closer than this 'aftermarket' shop...and I was pretty low on gas again...so off to the stealership we rode.
They had the regulator I needed, I put it on, nothing. Flashed the generator, went to give it another go...dust. Worst of my fears confirmed, time for a new generator. The aftermarket shop closed at 6p, it was pushing 8p at the time, but low and behold 'Mike' said to 'bring it on by'.
The guys at the H-D shop gave me some gas [I almost shit...an H-D dealer actually being helpful!!!] and we rode down to "Toads". Dropped off my bike, doubled up on EveAnna's 2001 Heritage Softail [I was really thankful we hadn't seen any real bikers in Nova Scotia to this point...the last thing I needed to hear right around then was 'hey, your girlfriend needs a shave']. And we rode on to Truro [about 3 1/2 to 4 hours from Mabou].
Hungry, thirsty, and cold we found a pub...but it wasn't serving food. A couple of "Keiths" later, we were discussing our dinner options [Ruffles or Lays] when Laura behind the bar took pity on us, ordered us a pizza, and we continued to meet the rest of the occupants of the bar [there were like 3, not including the incipid "country" band]. To sleep around 2, with a 7a wake up call.
Friday 27 July: On the road at like 8a, it was a beautiful sunny morning (oh shit, I left my 'sunblock' in my saddle bag with my ride back in Dartmouth!!) this time I was driving. I knew EveAnna had said take Rte. 102 to Rte. 104, and saw a sign for Rte. 104 so I took it. About an hour later [we had past the worlds largest "Blueberry Farm" or something like that in the process], I was feeling a bit hungry and saw a sign for McDonalds so I figured what the hell and went to pull off the exit. Right around this time EveAnna started saying something about how we were going the wrong way.
Turned out we were on the New Brunswick border, having traveled an hour in the wrong direction. Still hungry, we had the world's best Egg McMuffins [they damn well better have been the world's best Egg McMuffins seeing as we went 2 hours out of our way for them!!].
The 2001 Heritage Softail was a pretty cushy ride, and seemed to want to do 80 mph, but when we started back in the other direction, it seemed that the 100 km/h signs read 100 mph to me, which is what we did right up until the two lane highway turned to a single lane.
Now with my bike, the odometer hasn't worked for a couple years, so I figure fuel consumption off time. I know it burns .1 gal/5 minutes at speed. And it's not all that crucial to get it right, if it sounds like it's starving for fuel, I just pull the petcock back to 'reserve' and have 20 or so miles to find some fuel. This neat 2001 bike was fuel injected. No petcock. So when I felt a slight hesitation in the motor [after about 3 1/2-4 hours of riding] and realized I couldn't hit 'reserve' on the petcock, I got nervous. These damn things have a 'gas gauge' you're supposed to look at [at 100 mph with a passenger, I'm looking at road--period]. The little yellow "you're in deep shit" LED was brightly illuminated, and the little needle was indeed all the way to the left [E-].
Fortunately, we found fuel immediately, took a leg stretch break, asked how far it was to Mabou [the answer: 3 1/2-4 hours], then hit the road again. We finally made it to the causway to Cape Breton!! Stopped, grabbed a bite [and a couple Keiths] and were on the road again. The people at the pub where we stopped told me it was about 45 minutes to Mabou, but I told EveAnna that they had said 3 1/2-4 hours. About a half hour later [velocitizion honest...sorry officer] we made it Mabou, a couple minutes later, we found the hotel.
We actually made it to the hotel at 1:40 pm!! I had shipped the suit [haven't owned one since I was 17...the last words I heard before taking it off were "Not Guilty"], it had actually arrived. We doing OK. All we had to do was walk up this little hill to get to the cabin [I believe the hill was called Mt. Kilamanjaro]. Fortunately, George's cousin Jaime and his lovely wife Amy took pity on our ass and gave us a ride up the mountain in the trunk of their 2 seater!
EveAnna had stashed her clothes in a saddle bag, so a little steam later and she was looking most excellent. We got a ride to the ceremony with George's cousin Evan and his lovely wife Meg, and were livin' large!
The Church was beautiful, large steeple, beautifully appointed inside [real church stuff, but wonderfully quaint], georgeous floral arrangements, a fabulous piano player playing softly as we entered. Absolutely perfect. George and the 'grooms' party arrived first, each of the members of the party joined up the bridesmaids in a well choreographed manner, and George's bride appeared. She looked absolutely stunning, while the George beamed with happiness. A truly special moment that will always be remembered.
I'm not big on 'religious ceremonies', but this was quite tastefully done, (and brought in on time). It was more than worth the agita of the journey for the ability to have shared this special moment with these wonderful people.
A reception and dinner followed with wonderful music [this town is really a special musical area, I don't know why, but it is]. Some of the hotel staff that were on when we rolled in were part of the 'reception crew' commented on how "you two clean up real nice", and were wonderful about trying to get us liquored up on champagne.
At one point EveAnna and I slid across the street to the 'Red Shoe Pub' with Evan, Meg, and Mike and Elizabeth [from The Site Recording Studio], and had a couple of Keiths. I was truly impressed with the quality of the stereo in the bar, the music sounded so lifelike, it was then that I noticed that the music was coming from a table where a couple of the patrons had brought instruments and were just having fun!
More music, more Keiths, more dancing, the lovely photo-op at the start of this thread [I'll never forget my damn sunscreen again!], more Keiths, more music...it seemed like the whole town had turned out for the event, a truly magical evening. I can't honestly say when I've felt more privledged to attend an event. [BTW, I was EveAnna's date, being a date is pretty cool].
Saturday 28 July: Up around 8a, hangover wasn't too bad, couple of Tylenol was all that was necessary to keep it at bay, packed up the box with the suit, EveAnna packed up her stuff, and down the mountain we trudged. I had a FedEx airbill in the box when it was sent up so I could leave the box at the hotel and have it FedEx'ed back to my world. Slight fly in the ointment, FedEx doesn't pickup in Mabou, Nova Scotia. They did have a drop off in a place a few towns over. The lovely angel Pauline said she was going by there in a day or so and would drop it off for me!! People are just way too nice in that part of the world. We had breakfast, then went to hit the road. It turned out that Pauline's husband had locked his keys in his car, so we could run down her extra set to him. It was nice to be able to give something back.
Welcome to Mabou
Home of The Rankin Family
We dropped off the keys, hit the highway, stopped for gas in Truro [about 3 1/2-4 hours down the road], called the bike shop where my scooter was...they'd got it running OK, but were closing at 1p...ironically, the guy that ran the shop had to go to a wedding. Well one of the other guys that worked there waited for us, we got there around 2, 2:30...paid the bill, and hit the road.
We found our way back to the 103 [just turn left at the "Chickenburger"] and were off. All of a sudden I seemed to be losing power and heard a loud 'clacking' sound. Pulled off the road, let it idle, it seemed to have fixed itself...so we kept going. This ridiculous process happened repeatedly over the next couple of hours, I was pissed, we were gonna miss our ferry back to Bar Harbor, and what the fuck was this goofy shit going on with the bike anyway. It had been running fine [I'd done a few thousand miles so far this summer without incident, had just changed the oil, check the points, etc.]. So we found a nice little restaurant on a cove, parked the bikes, went in, ordered a couple Keiths and contemplated our options.
I called a friend and got Gary's [the main wrench at our shop] pager number [I'm a partner in a small bike shop, I do mostly wiring shit but I'm learning the wrench part as we go along, I'm not allowed to work there full time or my wife would kill me]. EveAnna had mentioned that she had seen flames coming from my back pipe when ever the problem happened, and between the two descriptions Gary [our main wrench] surmised that it was a pushrod or lifter problem.
Couple of Keiths and a lobster dinner, out came the tools, off came the spring clips, and I was doing a 'roadside McGuyver pushrod adjustment'. It worked for about 50-60 miles...which was when I looked down and noticed the oil all over the right side of the bike. Seems the "O ring" on the intake valve pushrod had split, and I was leaking oil. Pulled off into a gas station, let the motor cool down, pulled the spring clips, reset the "O rings" [hey, at least it was only a bike and not the space shuttle], put the spring clips back on, and it seemed to minimize the bleeding.
That was when the guy at the gas station asked us if we were going to want gas because he was closing in 15 minutes at 9pm. It was then that we asked if all the gas stations on that road closed at 9. He said he thought so, but there might be one in some town that starts with an 'S' open later.
We hit the road, had the 'pushrod problem' a few more times, finally got to the 'S' town [Sherborn, Shelbourne, Shelbyville...who could remember] at about 5 to 11. Pulled into a Motel to ask if there was a gas station, seems the night guy at the motel was partying with some friends so it took him a while to get to us. No big deal. He said there was a gas station at the next traffic light that was open until 11...better hurry.
I took off, turned left at the next light...no gas station! I pulled off to the side of the road, and like magic, a cop appeared who led me to the gas station. It was like 1 minute to 11, just as I put the cap back on the tank, the station turned it's lights out. 2 for 2 for finding a cop when we needed one!! [and several hours of not seeing a cop when we didn't want to see one...this place is heaven on earth to be sure.
A few minutes later EveAnna rode up and we were back on the road. My bike ran a whole lot better as it got cooler out, only problem was that cool got to be cold, which led directly to damn cold. We had to stop a couple of times to thaw out our hands, EveAnna put her gloves on her pipes, I shoved my on top of the cylinder heads.
At one of our little 'warmup' stops two guys in a pickup truck pulled up and asked if we needed help. We said no. Then they offered us a beer [we didn't ask if was a Keiths], we declined. Then they wanted to chat. As nice as the people are up there, I'd seen Deliverance one too many times to be wanting to chat with two guys in a pickup truck at like midnight on a dark deserted road...I grabbed a long screwdriver from my saddlebag, then asked the fellows to move on. Which, fortunately they did, or this story might have had a different ending.
Around 1:30 ish we finally made it to Yarmouth, a couple of Rum and Cokes later [the bar was closed but we were carrying Rum that was made in Mabou, and the vending machines worked]. Sleep around 2:30, 7am wakeup call.
Sunday 29 July: We got on the ferry promptly at 9a, ran into a couple of other scooter tramps including a bro named Jake, and his friend John. Got our stuff squared away, went out on deck to watch the island disappear, saw a seal playing about 100 yrds. off the side of the boat...it was then that the waiter asked us if we'd like a beer. Unfortunately, it wasn't a Keiths, so we were back to Bud and Heineken.
The island slipped out of view, we slipped into the casino, hung and drank and told scooter stories with Jake and the other scooter tramps...around noon EveAnna went to play Roulette and won a few dollars...then a nap.
Got up around 6p, got our shit together, my hangover needed a beer, EveAnna figured what the hell and put down her winnings on the Roulette wheel again...and of course hit a few more times [wish I had been born in Vegas]. Cashed in her chips, we headed down to the bikes, got off the boat, cleared customs, and I met Gary and Bill from our shop who had a trailer to haul my sick little scooter back to the shop.
Gary, who seems to know everyone in the world with a scooter had just been partying last week with John and Jake at Hampton Beach...small world shit. EveAnna hooked up with a Cousin that lived just north of Portland, we all went out to dinner, and the rest of my story was blissfully uneventful. From her cousin's EveAnna is buzzing around NE visiting some other family, but may swing by the shop Wednesday...who knows.
Believe it or not...this was the short version. It was without a doubt, some of the the most fun I've ever had, a memory I'll never forget, and yet something else for which I will never be able to repay George.
To George and Cookie, thank you so much for allowing me to share your day, I wish you only the greatest of life together, today, and always.