Gravity takes over


BEEN A GRANDFATHER for seven weeks and a day now, just look at how the gravity takes over. All I know is, something exciting better happen on this motorcycle run to Patagonia, otherwise it’s the abyss of the rocking chair and the clip-on bow tie. All downhill from here.

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Sure would hate to ride all that South American landscape, the Mars-like Atacama Desert to verdant Machu Picchu, only to discover that the most interesting thing about my last hurrah was the E.coli. With any luck we’ll be invigorated by meeting and overcoming daily adversity; of the manageable sort, not, say, running into FARC renegades out in the middle of nowhere, or a band of Sendero Luminoso dead-enders.

Well, we do have our scooters in that event, and we ride ’em as if we stole ’em.

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Here’s hoping UFOs chase us across the Nazca Lines one night, ancient aliens with big brainpans and a beef with the History Channel.

I’m thinking of having my head 3D-scanned and put on an action figure I can carry around as a totem; a totem not for warding off adversity but inviting it. Bring on the adventure riding! If it were called vacation riding it wouldn’t begin to interest me.


I’m stealing this idea from Daughter #2, by the way. While producing TV commercials for Hasbro, D2 had her head scanned and put on Iron Man. The product line was in beta, I believe, they had only one girl-hero in the line up. “You could be Iron Man, Captain America or Black Widow, but Black Widow was so lame.”

Apropos of nothing, we recently found a chuckle-worthy note D2 scribbled some 20-odd years ago, in which I am alleged to be treating her like a baby vis-à-vis her peers at the Daniel D. Waterman Elementary School.



Notice her avatar is sticking its tongue out at me.


Okay, well, I did manage to get my non-super self up & moving here at the Junction yesterday, and the bride & I made a run to New York and back, 200 miles down, visit for a few hours, 200 miles back, snowing all the way.


This used to be my favorite picture of Daughter #1 and Clark Kent. But as of seven weeks and one day ago, if D1D1 isn’t in the picture, Pfft!



Look how happy she was at our arrival in Jersey City yesterday. Wailing or not, try to pry her out of the bride’s arms!



On the ride home last night, the highway was slick north of New Haven.



It was a 16-hour day, with hours of this on the way back.



It’s blizzardy here this morning, lots of snow flying vertically. I shot this a moment ago from my writing window: frosty iron piggy on the back of the ’49 truck.


We made the ride south yesterday to deliver a cooler full of the bride’s home cooking, a quilt our friend Niki had made for D1D1, and the bookcase I was building for the little girl in the fall, when I wasn’t losing parts off the truck.


I’m not a huge fan of painting with a brush, especially in dry, winter air. Paint flows like glue. But I’m happy with the results. The piece looks touched by human hands instead of stamped out by machines and spray painted by robots. When D1D1’s D1D1 is keeping her books in it, it’ll be that hand-me-down case made in olden days. By old Whatisname. In the bow tie.



The bride snapped this yesterday: the case where it lives now, in Jersey City



While we were making the delivery to Jersey City, kind-hearted D3 came by the humble manse to play with Zuzu the girl cat and Big Bully Boy Felix, “… so they won’t be lonely!” These are her own felines, at the apartment she shares with SO3, in East Providence.


Uhh, what else to report? Well, been in touch with two former newspaper colleagues of mine, Cajun Mike Smith, who’s working in Paris of late, and Andy Dickerman, who’s been hoboing around Mexico and Guatemala for the last several months. Andy, a professional photographer, gets fantastic photos with a pocket camera that went for muy el cheapo.  That’s Spanish for “under $200.”

Cajun Mike has a book coming out on those 16th-century Boko Haram loons spreading terror across Nigeria. It’s based mostly on his reporting for Agence France-Presse out of Lagos, where he was bureau chief. Mike’s next post is Jerusalem, I think he said. I preordered his book the other day, just to have an excuse to ride to New Orleans the next time he’s home, get the book signed.

I rode down to Nola when he was home from overseas in 2010. Since then, an automatic Word Press update scrambled the formatting on that road report, downsized all the photos, too. But I see it’s still there and not completely pooched.


In closing, a tip of the hat to Houston, where CCjon, my riding partner to Patagonia, is putting me to shame. He’s way out ahead on preparing for our departure in the fall. At last report he was busy rebuilding a KLR650 and getting ready to hang a sidecar chassis on it.

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I’ve fallen down on the job of prepping the new DR650 for the journey. I hope to get the piglet fully outfitted by June, load it down with everything I’ll be carrying in South America. I usually carry around 112 pounds of gear, everything I need to live self-sufficiently anywhere, indefinitely, any climate, and to maintain the bike, make the most likely repairs, etc.

Once I’ve got the piglet in traveling trim, I’ll try to sneak away and get off-pavement for a few days, whomp on the machine a bit so I can make a judgment on whether it’s truly set up for the long road to the bottom of the world. The land ends pretty far south in this hemisphere. When we get to Tierra del Fuego, we’ll be at 54 degrees south latitude. That’s about 1,400 miles farther south than Capetown, South Africa.

Okay, that’s all I’ve got for upon-rising scribble. Making coffee now…

Tony DePaul, February 15, 2015, Cranston, Rhode Island




About Tony

The occasional scribblings of Tony DePaul, 62, father, grandfather, husband, freelance writer in many forms, ex-journalist, long-distance motorcycle rider, motorcycle wrecker, motorcycle rebuilder, collector of surgical hardware, blue routes wanderer, outdoorsman, topo map bushwhacker, handy with a wrench, hammer, chainsaw, rifle, former photographer, printer, logger, truck driver, truck mechanic, jet fueler… blah blah...
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8 Responses to Gravity takes over

  1. Jan says:

    While you are all Easy Rider taking a little ride to see the Southern Cross, there will be those of us back here gazing at the Northern Lights, wishing you safe adventures Tony.

  2. Laura says:


    The bookcase is perfect! I love how it came out. You did a beautiful job!

  3. Jon. Brush says:

    Good to see you out and about, planning for the great adventure.
    Stay warm.
    Hafta get down there to RI soon
    From the snow capital of the lower 48
    Jon Brush

  4. Vincent says:

    Bookcase? She’s gonna be reading already??

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