Run to the Wall (in progress)by Marc Teatum
Run To The Wall (work in progress)—in an effort to keep his club together during difficult times, Prez decides to take his boys to the Vietnam Memorial in Washington DC. A three day ride down and a three day ride back with one day there. Seven days. A week. What could possibly go wrong? New friends are made along the way, and old friends and brothers are at each other’s throats, all under the watchful eyes of several LEOs. Tempers flare, loving and loyalty are put to the test; killing and dying and surviving become part of everyday occurrence; and a new order comes out in the process. This story takes the reader deeper into the purpose behind the legendary and often secretive world of motorcycle clubs and what makes them the lure they are for so many.
The following morning, the Club rolled out of the NYC chapter clubhouse, over the Verrazano Bridge, replete with the most amazing cross winds, and through Staten Island. Crossing over into New Jersey and onto the NJ Turnpike, nearly everyone riding thought what they smelled was their engines having blown a gasket and leaking hot oil all over. Turned out to be nothing more than industrial Jersey at it’s best. Or worse, you choose. The stink was amazing, the shit streaming out of the stacks of the factories and refineries combined with the grey skies to make for a scene right out of a Ridley Scott film. Adding to that the double trailered 18wheelers rolling along at 85mph, gave us the incentive to just twist the throttle and bring the speed up close to triple digits. Now, we start to get to get the idea of what balls to wall really means. We were flying!
And everything would have been fine…if the rain didn’t start coming down.
It’s not that it was coming down hard. I mean, we’ve all ridden in rain before. No one likes it, but we’ve all done it. And we know how to do in while riding in a pack; spacing is key, staying far enough behind from the brother in front of you and switch to a staggered formation. But it was the trucks that screwed us up. They don’t slow down for anything. They hydroplane like there is no tomorrow. While no one would ever admit, but it was just a matter of time before something went wrong. At a gas up just outside of Mount Laurel, Prez suggested that we not try to make Gettysburg and get to the other side of Philly and hang it up for the night. It was about another hour of riding and we’d pull in. Mike the MapMan and Bucky huddled and found us a place. It was decided that Pennsville NJ was going to be about as far as we’d go that day. So, after filling up, off we went. And sure as god made little green apples it happened.
Jonesy was last in line and I guess that the spray was just too much for him and as we were pulling out of the gas stop, his rear wheel lost traction and the bike just slid out from underneath him. Larry was just a bit surprised to see Jonesy pulling ahead of him, not because he was pulling ahead, but because he was doing it this lying down on his back and his scooter was sliding too! When the front wheel of Jonesy’s ride tapped the back of Irishman’s bike, he nearly went down too. Don’t ask me how Moose, and Little Jimmie in the front knew it, but they pulled us all over to the side and we jumped off our machines and ran to help pull Jonesy and his sled off to the side of the road. A guy in a pickup truck pulled off to help too. Within 15 mins, there was an ambulance, a fire truck and NJ State cop to keep us company. The side of Jonesy’s tanks was pushed in, he was missing his left rearview mirror and the clutch lever was bent up. His gear lever was destroyed and his front fender was history. We all decided that the hydroplaning is what saved the bike from going head over heels and sustaining more damage. The same can be said of Jonesy. His leather jacket was scuffed up, he had a fat lip. We thought that was all; until he tried to stand. The paramedics confirmed that his right ankle wasn’t broken, but probably had a hairline fracture. Of course being the tough guy, Jonesy wasn’t going to the hospital. “I’ll heal just fine” says he. In the meantime, we’re all getting soaked. Prez tells Big Keith and Larry to take the pack to the motel that Mike and Buck have secured and He, Little Jimmie and I stayed with Jonesy and would catch up in a couple of hours. A tow truck was called and Jonesy’s ankle was bandaged. Jonesy signed all the waivers that the EMT and the cops wanted (just don’t look too closely at the signature, I don’t know what the hell he put down for a name) and we loaded the bike onto the flatbed tow truck and sat Jonesy into the cab. Just to show you that all things don’t always go from bad to worse, it turned out the tow driver was a biker too! All he said was to follow him and he’d help us out. So, with Prez, Little Jimmie and I trailing behind, followed the truck off the ‘Pike into Moorestown and to a garage.
After talking it over, Jonesy decided that he was going to stay in the run for the duration and while he may not be able to walk with his ankle, he could still use it. This driver/biker was unf(&^kin’ believeable. We talked some more and this guy knew his shit! He convinced Prez that if Jonesy could support his weight enough, he could still use the foot brake to stop the bike. All that was needed was to rig up a training wheel/sidecar type of setup to make Jonesy’s scooter a three wheeler. He said he had an extra rim with just enough rubber to last 1000 miles or so and give him an hour and he would make it work. I looked at Jonesy, and then at Prez, and then at Jonesy again and waited. It was Jonesy who piped up first with a resounding, “let’s git er done!”. OK, so it took more like an hour and half, but who would have thought it would work! While this guy was cutting steel and getting the shape ready, Little Jimmie and I trashed Jonesy’s front fender, heated and re-bent the clutch lever, and using a piece of scrap steel, made up a new gear lever. The gas tank wasn’t leaking so we decided that it was ok. By the time this rig was completed we were pretty pleased with ourselves. Prez asked this guy what he wanted for his work…and this fucker declined! He was a patchholder years ago and still supports the lifestyle and said that he just wanted to give back to those who would have helped him just the same. Unbelieveable in this day and age, no? We couldn’t thank this guy enough but we tried. He told us that it was another 45 mins ride to the White Oak Motel where the rest of the pack were, but it took a little longer as Jonesy had never ridden a bike with a hacked sidecar and it took some getting used to. OK, maybe it had something to with the pain in his right ankle. Maybe.
When we arrived at the motel, Bucky had gotten us a half dozen rooms down at the end of the motel and Big Keith, using a 20X40 tarp that was in Charlene’s truck, had rigged up a tarp tied to the gutters to create some shelter for our rides. Using the corner where the L shaped building met, he made a structure that had one wall and a large enough roof to provide plenty of shelter, the motel itself provided the two other walls. When we pulled into the parking lot, the pack was already pre-heating and let out whoops and hollers of greeting. At this point everyone was hungry and right across the street was a place called Leena’s Tavern and it was decided we would all head over for food.