A long time ago, maybe fifty five, or sixty years. Mad Magazine. An article/cartoon about motorcycles.
Japanese bikes were just coming on the market, replacing American Harleys, British Triumphs and I don’t know what all else. Japanese bikes were familiar names we still have today, Suzuki, Honda, maybe Kawasaki. I don’t remember for sure which came on the market when.
The Mad article was about the Fasassumbichi, fastest bike ever built. That made-up name has stuck with me. I think of it every time I hear a screaming engine on a two wheeler.
A 3,000 foot straight stretch of St. Rt. 55, East of Wardensville, between Waites Run bridge and the first curve seems to be the wind up stretch. 2,200 foot straight between that curve and the next where they slow to turn around or climb North Mountain seems to be the track.
It’s 2,000 feet across Capon Valley from Big House to middle of that first straight stretch. Big House is as close as I want to get to those screaming rockets. Some times just one bike goes out, sometimes four or five, all slightly different tones. High scream is common to all.
I listen to the screams. I cringe a little. I wait for the bangs. Bike hitting bike, Bike hitting car, A blown tire, A locked engine. An animal in the road. I’m lucky. So far I haven’t heard a crash.
Last Saturday morning. I was awake in Doghouse, nearly a mile across the valley from the track. 4:55, maybe 5:00 o’clock. Still dead dark. I was listening to a Screech Owl just across Moore’s Run and contemplating getting up to go out and pee.
The scream began. Maybe a little hesitant to start, but then he opened the throttle. He let it rip. No idea how many revolutions per minute that thing ran. Wound so tight it hurt to listen. So fast there wasn’t much time to wait for the crash that never came. Instead, he got it shut down enough to make the turns and head on up North Mountain.
[private] I often pray at Doghouse. Mostly prayers of thanks. I thank God for the bubbling creek and all the wild animals that come to it. I thank God for the old Wood Turtle which stays in creek and tall weeds around Doghouse lawn and visits me pretty regularly. Ancestors who held my farm and gave it to me come in for their fair mention.
Saturday morning I prayed for that biker. I asked God to keep old does and little fawns out of his way. I asked God for there not to be a crash.
I still like my tomato ladders, my invention for growing tomatoes higher, cleaner and easier. Sixteen plants this year in sixteen ladders.
Two plants, side by side, different varieties, inexplicably died. No idea why. Something in the soil maybe. Died young before they’d begun to climb.
Fourteen plants alive and growing. Four different varieties, but mostly West Virginias. Problems with two Rutger’s and three plants of big yellows, the name of which I don’t remember.
Both Rutger’s and yellows have problems with what I call weather cracks. Big open cracks around tops make even slicing difficult. Rutgers worst for concentric hard brown rings too. Lots of knife work necessary to get to the good meat of both. I eat most tomatoes fresh chunked up though, so slicing doesn’t matter much.
Best all around by far are those nicely rounded, smooth, West Virginias. Small. Few furnish a good big hamburger slice or even a cohesive tomato sandwich, but all taste wonderful. Today, for lunch, I’m going to chunk up four or five West Virginias in a cereal bowl, add a little salt, and let my chin drip juice till they are gone. I love tomato season when it’s a good one.