The Other Side of the Road
"Either you are always moving or completely stuck. This weekend started strong. But you can't have one side of the road without the other."
"This weekend started strong - We raced out of the city and overtook every car on the freeway for the first 60 miles. - Then I heard it…"
This is a bipolar lifestyle like no other. Either you are always moving or completely stuck. This weekend started strong. Snake asked me the day before if I wanted to ride east for a quick overnighter in the desert and of course I found the offer agreeable. We pulled out of the shop early – well prepared and in high spirits. We raced out of the city and overtook every car on the freeway for the first 60 miles. I had the perfect song by Tyler Childers (Whitehouse Road) stuck in my head. It was a fine start to the weekend. Then I heard it… The quiet percussion of disagreeing metals deep within my motor. We pulled over and I asked Snake to lend his ear. I kicked Hayduke over and we both heard it again – yet louder this time. The noise was coming from somewhere in the bottom end of my motor which is always a bad sign. Snake looked at me and said “Oh shit.”
“We said goodbye and there I sat, stuck on the side of the road, but not the fun side…"
We said goodbye (he would continue without me, it’s just the way it works) and there I sat, stuck on the side of the road, but not the fun side… The other side, where you cannot continue. The side where you will be until you can find another way home. The side of the road that will ask you to take your bike apart, piece by piece, in search of something unhinged and well- hidden in its bowels. I got a tow back to my shop. It was not pleasant. I hated seeing my bike loaded on a truck and the driver was an odd case. I sat in the cab and listened to him tell me terrifying stories about how his dad, who often made stew from bunnies (not that odd if you come from the middle of nowhere), once mistook an animal for dead and was half way done skinning it when the damn thing woke up and started screaming and running around the house. He laughed hard about the incident and I wondered if he was born without a soul.
“And here I would be stuck until my new parts arrive"
Once I got back to the shop I cleaned and stripped Hayduke’s motor down. I removed the timing cover and found what I thought was the sound. My idle gear bushing was worn with an inexcusable wobble ¬– a very easy fix. But then I got to thinking that if I’m already this involved; why not check on the rest? So I removed my carburetor and intake manifold and collapsed all my pushrods. I loosened the head bolts and before long had every piece of my top end disassembled... And here I would be stuck until my new parts arrive– in exactly the opposite direction I had set out to be. But so be it. You can’t have one side of the road without the other.
Todd Blubaugh was born and raised in McPherson, Kansas. His earliest interests were in art and motorbikes and since the age of 12, Todd has been pursuing these two passions. He currently works in film, writes, shoots, and pursues collaborations with his roommates at The Chun, a motorcycle warehouse and art space in Los Angeles. The free-spirit artist shares his passion for open roads through aspirational imagery and poetic travel notes that resonate with Serengeti’s DNA.