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Wi-Fi & Wieners: Winning Combo For PingWi-Fi ‘Phase 2’

May 2nd, 2012 · Tags:Cities · Coffee Shops · Restaurant · Sports · Wi-Fi

Before this blog, we compiled another road trip site called The Wi-Fi Guy, and as with any successful endeavor, there were discussions on how to keep the momentum … how to keep the content fresh … how to remain relevant and so on.

Among the more interesting was an idea proposed by a woman who specialized in motorsports PR. “How about doing your Wi-Fi blog and travels on the back of a motorcycle?”

I liked the idea, but at the time, I was the motor for the bike I rode. (Small detail …)

Flash forward a few years. This blogger has driven an SUV to every major city in the contiguous United States — getting complaints from a few tree huggers about guzzling gas along the way … and made a few flights overseas … the most recent of which was topped off with a spree on a motorbike in Thailand. It got me to thinking … Ha! … and itching … for a bike.

So, One’ (pronounced “Oh-Nay”), queen of all motorsports PR, this blog’s for you. (I guess you could call her an “One’ percenter” … motorcycle club joke …)

Like I was saying, in this and an earlier blog, Thailand gave me a fever I couldn’t shake … motorcycle-itis-is-is.

It was a gradual affliction. First, there was that local Thai guy and his girl back in Ayutthaya, at my favorite coffee shop, who always wanted me to see their Harley-Davidson, one of very few “hogs” in a city of hundreds of thousands of bikes.

That brings up a big issue — American-made versus Asian bikes … or “rice burners” as the nickname goes … Your thoughts? … More on that later.

Oh, the Thai guy on the Harley also gave me some sort of Thai charm … some sort of good luck blessing from an ancient king, and he offered me a ride on his bike. Riding double, of course, is taboo among two adult males in the world of cycles. So, I pocketed the charm and passed on the “pump seat.”

A few blogs later over in Thailand, the PingWi-Fi team accidentally stumbled upon a coffee shop called Classic Bike Cafe … it was the joint that had the 1976 Honda parked out front (if you were following along at home …)

Classic Bike Blog

So you see, everywhere I turned, the motorcycle monkey was on my back.

Ha … you may even recall a few months earlier, a few thousand miles away in New Zealand, one of my overseas friends started calling me “Easy Rider.” So … maybe this “sickness” actually started there. (BTW … wonder if the German word I learned — “schlomper” also can be used for riding on the back seat of a motorcycle???)

I had been back from Thailand for only a few weeks when I got on-line to look for a bike.  As alluded … what to get?  Everyone knows Harley-Davidson is considered most cool … granted.  Others maintain the Asian bikes outperform hands down.  Indians are cool. So much politics … I just want to have fun.  I remembered a guy in my church who is a card-carrying Triumph fan … a Triumph Rat they call them.  That seemed like a great option to avoid conflict.  I mean … a Triumph was good enough for Steve McQueen in “The Great Escape” … so who am I to argue.  I mean with the British bike, the only argument is Beatles or Rolling Stones?  (Correct answer is The Clash … I digress …) My friend in Taiwan rides a BMW … go figure.  I Googled Fort Worth Triumph and the first bike that popped up was “the one.”  I knew it when I saw it and went and bought it.  Used … affordable … low mileage … ha … in the colors of my alma mater.

I have joined the ranks of the Triumph Rats. Ha!  Before this, riding the elevator with a Hells Angels Motorcycle Club member at the hotel in Winston-Salem was my best motorcycle memoir. (See blog in the archive here …)

Steve McQueen Triumph Edition

Anywho … I am so out … or actually my secret is. I have joined the two-wheeler crowd. As a few of the more loyal readers have noticed, there have been hints here and there …

Here’s the rest of the story. I have been thinking of doing some Texas road trips on the bike, to find more and more Wi-Fi hotspots, of course. Fun + economical.
So … what would be the perfect event for a test run of Wi-Fi 2-wheelin? Hmmm … there is that Sturgis Bike Rally thing … but I think everyone goes there … certainly the real bikers do but maybe not so much the wannabes like me.

Colt McWiener?

Colt McWiener?

Hmmm … what else would create a really macho, outlaw persona? … I know … this is perfect. How about the Wiener Dog Races in Buda, Texas!?! LOL … say no more … “I am there.”  Speaking of going to the dogs … I even had special PingWi-Fi t-shirts printed up for the event … in shall we say, the “most interesting” shade of orange:)

Bwienies Noches

Bwienies Noches

Photo Finish

Photo Finish

“I’m a cowboy.

On a steel horse I ride.”

— Bon Jovi

Ha … I hate Bon Jovi … but that is a catchy line.

Biker Weenie

Biker Weenie

The ride to Austin and on to Buda was … well awesome.  I backtracked here and there … which was a longer drive … but so much freedom … solitude … beautiful wildflowers … Hill Country peaks.  Ha … added bonus … one wrong Farm-to-Market road and I found the coolest little classic Corvair auto on the side of the road.  (My brother had one in college … so a special memory … and uncanny … saw someone dissing Ralph Nader on tv that night for misrepresenting, dissing and killing the car in the name of misguided consumer safety … Yes, I digress …)

Funny … I feel like/am such a nerd with my helmet on among rebel motorcyclists … where just the opposite … among cyclists, I always feel pressured because I don’t wear a helmet. Go figure.

You may not know this … but other than the fact that I now ride a motorcycle, I am “Mr. Safety.” I assume every car on the road is out to kill me — not nearly as intelligent as a terrorist, but potentially as deadly —  and I avoid chance meetings in every way when I drive or ride. So it is quite ironic that when I barely cheated death on the inaugural Wi-Fi ride, I was sitting still.

How to set this up? As I mentioned, the most practical reason for for my new motorcycle diary was pure economics. Take a look at the number 4 on your local gas pump. I rest my case. But as you may know, in addition to great mileage, the bikes have small gas tanks. That means lots of stops … about every 150 miles or so. So, on my backroads journey, I rumbled into what looked like the more modern gas station in one town. Turned off the bike. Inserted nozzle, and pumped away. Guess what. The nozzle auto shut off was broken. OMG … I looked away for a second then felt a splash when gas started spouting out everywhere. Do you know what can happen when $4 gas flows freely on a hot motorcycle engine. I thought I was about to confirm your fears … It singed and steamed and scared the wits out of me … Do I just get away?  Do I push the bike from the pumps to reduce the potential?  Do I go get a slushie? … Thank goodness, the gas did not ignite.

When I was finished being freaked out … I was like so mad. I went into the station and asked if they knew the nozzle was broken, and I asked if they had a water hose I could use to wash off the hazard. And I told the guy on break to put his cigarette out … (yes … I loved that part …)

“I can give you a cup of water,” the nonchalant gas clerk said as she grabbed a plastic yellow bag. (i thought what is the bag for? … remember … I had just come from a dog race, pet parade, etc. Ha … just how scared did she think I was, if you know what I mean?) It wasn’t for me. She put the bag on the bad pump … and left me to simmer …

Thank goodness there was no wiener roast that day. (Apologies …) And oh … the place where I almost met a fiery death — Burnett. How apropos! No doubt, the Thai charm tucked away in my bike probably saved the day … LOL.

And yes I found Wi-Fi on the bike trip. The City of Buda had free Wi(ener)-Fi at the dog races … at first … But soon after I tweeted that … the network was down? Over at the hippie swimming hole that is Barton Springs in Austin, the City of Austin had also provided a free hotspot to go with the ice cold water. Pretty cool. At the Wenzel Meat Company sandwich shop in the cultural district of Burnett, there was a network called “Linksys” … but I am sure it was not a sausage joke. Note — they only had deli sandwiches although I was after a buffalo burger. Settled for bison jerky … awesome!

Kava

Admittedly I am biased, but for several days in Austin I parked my bike in front of SquareRüt Kava Bar on South Congress. They have about as good free Wi-Fi and ample comfortable seating as I have found. And then there is the fact they are the only place in Texas — the only kava bar in the Lone Star State — where you can belly up to the bar and drink South Pacific kava from a coconut shell to chill out your inner warrior.

I ain’t lyin … Scott Pingel and Tracy Moreno’s SquareRüt is almost perfect — 6 of 7 pings on our fuel-efficient scale. Live music … tribal refreshment … cool decor … fast Internet … Bula! I deducted one point from their score because Scott kicked my arse in “corn hole” (bag toss, tailgate party game) … Always, always let the media win.

“Pingel” … not to be confused with Pingel Enterprise performance motorcycle parts … I don’t want no more trouble with name issues, after what happened with Ping Golf.

Pingel Motorcycle

I don’t have a bucket list, but if I did … just scratched one off.  I have dreamed of a bike since childhood.  Why not?  And it is a learning experience. Who don’t need learnin? … Learning all kinds of things … the etiquette of the motorcyclists’ wave to one another … the fact that if you are moving too fast and downshift into first, you will slide around a little … and don’t pour gas on a hot motor … things like that.

So  what the heck …. Let’s do some Wi-Fi touring around Texas on the bike.

Know what I sayin?

The End

The End