I spin the Rabbit’s little tires up the steep snowy driveway. We’ve invited ourselves over to Boss Hawg and Kas Hawg’s house, who are our good friends and employers. They also happen to have the living room with the nicest view I’ve ever seen (no pictures, but it’s tall pines, big rocky craggy mountains, snow, and giant windows, a real Colorado postcard).
In exchange for the warm place to stay, I have to help Boss Hawg clear the old beer out of his fridge, and lose to him at pool a couple times- and of course I graciously lose because he’s the boss, not because I suck at pool.
The next morning, we head to town to get license plates. This is where not having an address gets a little confusing. You need a physical address to get a driver’s license and register a vehicle, which you don’t have if you’re a couple of no good transients that live in their vehicle.
This isn’t a huge deal for us since we have lots of friends and family, but for people that are really out there on their own, this seems like it would be a major issue. You can’t drive if you don’t have a place to live, you can’t pay for a place to live if you can’t drive to work. What gives?
Anyway, our most recent permanent address was in Colorado, and if you’re registering a vehicle with a salvage title there (our Rabbit had a fender bender at some point), the sheriff has to come out to your house to inspect the vehicle. No house anymore, so we said we’d meet the sheriff at the station downtown. But you can’t make an appointment, because he’s got other sheriff things to do like catching criminals and grabbing a cruller at Sweet Coloradough (everybody likes to grab a cruller at Sweet Coloradough, so I’d don’t totally mean that as a dig).
The first day, the sheriff isn’t available. We retreat back up valley.
The second day, it’s below 20 degrees. The Rabbit won’t start. Rarararararara. Poof. Rarararararararar. Poof. Leaves a little black spot in the snow. Damnit. After a few hours of sun, it warms up enough to get the engine turned over, and we catch the sheriff late in the afternoon. He checks out the title.
“Ok, so since this is salvage, you need to stamp into the b-pillar ‘rebuilt from salvage,’ with letters 1/4 inch high,” he says.
“Stamp? Can I scratch that in?”
“No. You can take it to a machine shop, or go buy a stamp set. It’s so you can’t misrepresent the vehicle if you go to sell it.”
“And spell that whole sentence out? How can I misrepresent it? It says salvage on the title.”
“Sorry, that’s Colorado law. Then I’ll have to look it over again and verify that it’s been stamped.”
I go to Big John’s Ace Hardware, buy a big hammer and a big metal stamp set, open the door, and start pounding.
R. The paint cracks, but the letter isn’t really stamped in. This super sucks. Hit it harder, and again, and again. It hurts me to bang this dent into our new old little Rabbit. 20 minutes later,
1/4 high, kinda crooked.
Another day of waiting to catch the sheriff. My stamp checks out, we get plates, and I go buy a skateboard.
A few weeks ago back in Pensacola, I was looking at this nice smooth little hill (very little, it was Florida), and wishing that I had a skateboard to go carve down it. We had just been in a surf shop full of longboards with big gooshy colorful wheels, and pretty wood decks, and posters of girls in bikinis with golden skin and golden flowing hair that waved as they cruised down the golden sidewalks bathed in golden light.
Very appealing marketing. So maybe that’s where the idea came from.
In Colorado, I go to the Zumiez and buy a skateboard from the tattooed teenage girl working there.
It has superflex 10,000 technology with drop-thru trucks and wheel cutouts and a rockered deck, and I’d later figure out that these things are not at all what I want. But for now I’m very pleased with myself.
I ride it around the parking lot a little, kinda figure out how to turn. I’m so bad that it’s thrilling just to go down the slope of the parking lot. And of course I have no idea how to stop.
“Ready to head back?” I ask Colleen. “And could you take me part of the way up McClure Pass?”
“You think you’re ready for that?”
“Yeah, I think it’ll be fine.” I don’t quite believe that.
I step out of the truck and put my bike helmet on. We’re below the turn in the pass, where the road is a little less extreme. It’s not the steepest road in the world, but it’s still a mountain pass in Colorado.
If just stay still, I think I’ll get down the hill. And if not, I’ll have my first crash out of the way and I’ll be able to move on from there. Face those fears. Lots of fears, I’m pretty scared.
Start rolling. Ho boy. Picking up speed, this is terrifying- but at the same time, really cool. I barely get this feeling on a mountain bike anymore, everything is too automatic.
Faster, I wonder if I should have my weight on the front or the back of this thing. I start to get a speed wobble, try weight on the front, more wobble, going fast now close to 30, try weight on the back man I wish I would have figured this out beforehand, way more wobble, the board turns into a noodle snake then it’s flying toward a guardrail without me on it, I hit the pavement, fuck, bounce on my back roll down the road sunglasses launch off my face roll six more times, maybe eight, into the gravel then down into the snowy weeds. World still spinning. Weeze to catch my breath, get up real quick, Colleen is going to think I’m such a moron. Everything hurts.
She pulls over in the truck and jumps out. “God, are you ok?”
“I think so.” Some road rash on my arm, not too bad thanks to my big canvas jacket, ripped jeans. “But I feel like my butthole got ripped in half.”
A friendlier road: