It was a dark and stormy night. The rain pelted down hard enough to raise welts, and the lone streetlight crackled and popped, dimming every few seconds. Sparklers darted closer, hidden in the night, only visible when lightning flashed and reflected off their fangs. The werewolfs circled just past the edge of the failing light, their howls high and painful.
Into that dangerous night came Carl the Avenger, stripping wires and making miracles from sparks and flash. The engine gave a throaty roar, driving away the monsters.
(Lie. Sorta. Dad had to stop multiple times to fix wiring on his trike, but it was always in the daylight. The scorching, painful, unbroken sunlight, with air so wet and hot we melted. I have never sweated so much standing still as I did then.)
(This story was Dad’s idea.)
(Sparklers: Dad isn’t a fan of horror or supernatural, but awhile back, one of my brothers and I explained Twilight briefly to him. Ever since, he’s told stories about the sparklers hunting us. Except his sparklers have fangs and actually hunt people.)
Northern Missouri is obsessed with weird animal statues. First were the three iron bulls, pretending to gore something on the ground. Second was the wooden pig in a big display box with open sides. Third was the weirdest; I think it was supposed to be a big brown bear, but it really looked like a cross between a wolverine and a transforming werewolf.
I wanted to poke it.
(True. Speaking of wolverines, Dad and I had a discussion about team mascots and how wolverines are terrifying and therefore awesome mascots and something like, say, the cornhuskers strikes fear in the hearts of NO ONE.)
No one north of Jefferson City, Missouri believes in shade trees. They’ve chopped them all down, because they fear the Ents will sneak up on them.
(Probably false, but we literally found zero amount of shade any time we stopped.)
Motorcyclists wave, except for those riding Harley bikes or Goldwing trikes.
(Mostly true. Though there was one Harley biker who stopped and talked to us for awhile at a gas station; his face was fully covered, so I couldn’t describe him if I had to, but he was really nice. Then there were a trio of Harley bikers who passed us going the same direction we were, just faster, and the third one was cute and gave me a charming grin and wave when he passed. I approve.
Goldwing trikers, though, can be assholes.)
(I don’t view bikers and trikers as one big happy family, but I do love the tradition of acknowledging other bikers and trikers when you pass each other. It’s a fizzy moment of connection.)
(Dad said he saw this old ’57 or so Harley the other day and he literally got down on the ground to get a good look at it. He loves classic Harleys. He was mourning the fact he didn’t have his camera on him, but just as I opened my mouth to remind him he could use his phone, he realized he could have used his phone. Which is really nice.)
Dad talks to everyone everywhere.
(True. He can strike up a conversation in approximately half a second and he puts people at ease immediately. One of my goals for this trip is to learn how to do that.)
First night out, dead in the water in Nebraska. (Dead in the corn?)
(Sadly, true. We pulled off I-80 to get some gas and decide if we were going to stop for the day or keep riding once the sun set [we rode from before sunrise to just after sunset] and it finally cooled off. Just as we came to a stop, my trike flipped out. Maybe it’s the starter. Maybe it’s the entire engine.
This trip may be over the day it began. We only made it 400 miles or so in 16 hours. We should have made twice that. We’re spending the night in this tiny little town, but at least the air conditioner is cold and the motel has wireless.)
(Moment of [painful] hilarity: Dad driving my trike and me trying to push it fast enough to start it. Loaded for a month long trip to Alaska, that’s one damn heavy trike and I’d just spent 16 hours on the road or stopped trying to fix Dad’s trike. HILARITY ENSUED.)
(A storm blew in while we ate dinner, a big ball of clouds just sitting over the cornfields, lightning crackling throughout it. This is a tiny town surrounded by corn. It’s really starting to look like a horror movie. If there was a full moon, I’d expect a werewolf to come bursting through the window any minute now.)
So basically, not one single thing has gone right this summer. Good times.
ETA: Dad and I just discussed it and our goal now is to figure out how to get the trike home. The trip is over.