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Fool At The Wheel – Bilingual Tale Of Man’s Inhumanity To Motorcycles

October 28th, 2018 · Tags:Cities · Politics


Recently, I had a conversation with my older brother’s classmate, back in our hometown.  And despite several years difference in our ages, in conversation we learned that we both pull the same stunt.  When we want our English-speaking friends and co-workers to mistakenly think that we are bilingual, we rapid-fire recite a little poem that we were assigned to memorize decades ago in Español class … back in high school.  Ha!  It fools everyone because it sounds legit and verdad.

Magically in sync, without hesitation, she and I went into an impromptu West Texas, Tex-Mex gringo rap version of the silly verse.  It translates: “I have three friends, very strong and loyal … these are my friends, a burro and two dogs” … blah blah … nonsense, yet effective:)

Well, coincidentally, on another recent trip to Vega, Texas, for a big old class reunion — who did I run into — other than señor Thompson, the teacher who taught us the poem?  I told the mentor the story of how at least two of his students were still getting mileage out of the poem, to impress our non-Spanish-speaking friends.

And of course I had to show him the fruit of his labor, and I rattled off the poem.  “A-minus” if I don’t say so myself.  Ha … what a proud moment that must have been for the retired professor … to see that he had taught us such a valuable life skill … no seriously, I think he scored it in the win column, since we knew every line so many years later … LOL.

“yo tengo tres amigos

muy fieles y muy buenos …”

yada yada … I wonder if that is where ZZ Top got the name for their old “Tres Amigos” LP … no wait, scratch that … it was “Tres Hombres” … I digress …

That little poetry review was the weekend of one of the best free barbecues in the world — The Oldham County Roundup — and also the weekend of a great 40-year reunion of several Mighty Longhorn classes from Vega, up in the Texas Panhandle.  It also was just about the time this blogger found out there is a serious health challenge ahead of me … More on that at a later date … I digress …



But … the week in question for this tale also marked my first long ride on a motorcycle again, after having been run over and “spit out” by a “distracted driver” back on April 4, by TCU in Fort Worth.  So, this ride from Fort Worth to Vega and back was pretty much the maiden voyage of a replacement bike, a brand new 2017 Triumph Thunderbird light touring bike. Needless to say, I was protective of the bright/shiny low mileage machine, but I was doubly concerned about all the lunatics on the highway who although they may have peace/love/socialism bumperstickers on their tiny, politically correct cars … at the drop of a hat, they will endanger any and all lives on the road  … either through nonchalance, or stupidity or both.  In summary … I was not feeling good do to unknown health reasons, at that point.  I had a brand new bike that I would like to keep.  And I still had aches/pains from the previous mauling by a careless driver.


2014 Thunderbird

So …

After old home week, I was cruising back toward Fort Worth, making pretty good time on one of my alternative routes through Lubbock and on to Crosbyton, Benjamin and Seymour, Texas and other farm towns.  It’s U.S. 82 … the only way I can remember that number is because one of my brothers wore 82 in football … I digress …


There really are some awesome, panoramic views of ranches and a bit of canyonland/bluffs, interwoven with the cotton farms and wind turbines back that way …  Including the storied Four Sixes Ranch. 

Four Sixes Ranch

To that point, it had been a wonderful ride on the bike, communing with nature, without too many hate cars on the road.  If you know this road, 82, you have probably seen the huge, brand new barbecue joint, around Benjamin, I think it is.  I pulled over.  Pretty good … not like a Texas Hill Country BBQ institution … but pretty good.


2017 Thunderbird

Facial hair dipped in sauce, it was back on the road, and soon the sparse traffic started to pick up, obviously signaling the Metroplex was getting within range.  The road was not only more crowded, it was two-lane. Another sign we were approaching bigger populations — the drivers became much more erratic — a combination of non-caring and untrained.  The cars started doing that “lemming thing,” where they bunch up in one lane, packed in as tight as they can, no matter the speed to increase the hazard … as if “sniffing each others’ tails” will magically get them somewhere faster.  Luckily, on the bike, I was #10 in a 10-vehicle pack, so I had the option of following at a reasonable, safe distance.

You know what happened next.  Number 11 showed up, a small, beat-up, cheaper Asian make of vehicle, sporting one temporary spare tire mounted on the front and worn … driving way too fast for the situation and the car’s condition … and their dubious driving skills.  Of course they started riding my tail, as if that would nudge me closer to the other nine cars blocking my path, in the strand at least a mile ahead of us.  I was pretty polite the first four to five times I tapped the brakes, keeping an eye out, in the event that they thought that was their opportunity to go all “April 4th” over the top of me.  They of course took my safety warning as a challenge, rather than a common sense safety thing.  After the fifth or sixth love tap on the brakes and me even turning to motion for them to back off, they decided they would pass me quickly and risk the lives of me and the oncoming traffic on the two-lane as well, so that they could strategically become car #10, rather than car #11 in the 11-car traffic jam.

Kent don’t play that shit:)

I sped up, and pulled closer to the car jam, as it moved above 65-70 m.p.h., and because I knew they were idiots, I also moved over a little toward the paved shoulder of the two-lane.  IF I had to, I would pass the car in front of me on the shoulder, to protect myself … shielding me and the Triumph.

Kent is big into safety.  Kent will protect himself from people who don’t give a flip about other human lives.  Kent is licensed to do so, as is his constitutional right.

So, as the beat-up car full of derelicts of other demographic groups pulled up beside me, I “goosed” the throttle and I kind of did the “Old West Gun Smoke Thing.”  You remember how every armed civilian in the Old West would move their vest, or jacket, or shirt tail, when they thought they might be about to use their piece (as a last resort)?  Kent did that.

I won’t lie.  I assumed it would not be necessary to even touch my weapon and I didn’t.  But I was not going to get caught looking, so to speak.  I drove with one hand, and reached back to move my shirt tail and better expose the pistol holster in the back of my belt.  It was not coincidence that I did this just as the moron-mobile gave it its best shot to pass me, and failed.

Bless their liberal hearts, they seemed to be petrified and backed off finally, after logical, polite gestures had failed to penetrate  their force field of stupidy.

Magically, as if the heavens wanted to help me make my point, there was finally a break in the oncoming traffic.  Without trying much at all, the Triumph jumped into the newly open lane and flew by all of the cars still jockeying for position in the pointless scrum.  I tend to haul ass in such situations and put as much distance as possible between me and the chromosomally challenged.  I was gone!  One of the cars might have broken out of the pack, way way back behind me.  The idiots that were trying to kill me were stuck at the bottom of the food chain where they belonged.  More open road, and more casual and scenic riding for me, from then on.  Just a good, safe, comfortable pace, with no four-wheeled weapons around me.

And then …

Somewhere between the memorably named Megargel and Olney, Texas on 114, as I veered off to the southeast closer to Fort Worth, I saw a red and blue light show in the oval shaped rear-view mirrors of the Triumph.  Interesting … the limelight seemed to be focused on me.  I pulled over safely, but quickly and again, exercising common sense, I didn’t make any sudden moves.  I sat still in the saddle, hands on the handlebars and watched the Texas State Trooper pull to a stop behind me.  Compliant — as everyone should be as a peace officer approaches for goodness sake — I sat tight.  As the patrol car stopped, no doors opened.  Instead, I heard the loudspeaker of the unit, 

“Sir.  Remain still … And sir … do you have a gun?”

I remained cool, but a huge grin was probably visible to the lawman, side-to-side in my mirrors.  (We all know what happened, don’t we?)

 “Yes sir, I do have a gun in a holster in the small of my back.  And yes sir, I have a permit to carry, in my wallet.”

The trooper instructed me to remove the weapon and set it on the rear seat behind me, without turning around.  I complied, again as everyone should.  He then approached and picked up the piece and complimented me on the Kimber .45.  He said we could all relax now that that piece of business was out of the way.  And he was very polite, setting me at ease, and I said, “They called me in, didn’t they,” and I smiled and laughed … probably rolled my eyes a little.

After looking at my license and permit, he said, “Mr. Pingel, did you pull your weapon and wave it at the occupants of a car, about twenty miles back?”

“No sir.  I did not.  However, I was followed unsafely by a car, that tried to pass me in limited space, with nowhere to go, with a line of traffic in front of me.  “So,” I explained, “I didn’t know if I would have to defend myself, based on their erratic behavior, and I pulled my shirt tail up to make my weapon more readily accessible.”

He laughed.

“I didn’t think so,” he said, and he explained that the complaintants were reluctant to give a name when they called in the bogus report.  He added that,  “I guarantee you if there was anything to their story, they would be parked about 50 yards back there laughing and heckling you.”

We discussed whether or not there was any point in filing a complaint for a false police report.  Probably not worth the effort or paperwork.

He told me to be careful, shook my hand and I offered that I would be more careful of erratic cars with liberal bumper stickers, and just chill out.  And I thanked him for his service.

The trooper smiled, waved and said “Know what I sayin?”

Todo el mundo canta, y yo canto tambien.