50 Stories in 50 States: Tales Inspired by a Motorcycle Journey Across the USA Vol 5, The WestKevin B Parsons / Western
50 Stories in 50 States: Takes inspired by a motorcycle journey across the USA
Volume 5 - the West
By Kevin B Parsons
Copyright 2014 Kevin B Parsons
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Table of Contents
About the Author
My wife (Quilter Girl) and I embarked on a ‘50 States in 50 Weeks’ motorcycle tour of America, a once-in-a-lifetime dream. We rode across the country on a Honda Gold Wing, towing a pop top tent trailer. During the more mundane sections of the trip (like the rangeland of Wyoming), we talked on the intercoms and came up with short story ideas. Inspired, I wrote a story for every state, which morphed into a five-book series, compiled by regions, with ten states in each volume.
Some of the stories are based on our experiences, some on history, and some probably from indigestion. Warning: these are not necessarily motorcycle stories, nor are they travel stories (although some are), but a look at Americana with each state a background.
We traveled one year straight through, regardless of weather. Washington State gave us an almost continuous barrage of rain, much of Idaho the same. Yet excellent weather in states like California and Utah provided ample opportunity to explore the countryside. Because it rained every day in Hawaii, Quilter Girl passed up myriad rides and stayed in the motel quite a bit. Well, that and burnout, as it was near the end of the adventure.
Enjoy this volume of ‘50 Stories.’
~Kevin B Parsons
Brian Head, Utah
We rode through Napa—wine country—and Calistoga to the north and noticed quite a few differences, some better—some worse. Want to be a big time vineyard, you better operate in Napa. But do all wine tasters have to be Beemer/sweater-tied-around-their-shoulders/Gucci purse people? What if you’re off the beaten track? Big challenge. And who wouldn’t want to stomp grapes?
THE GREAT GRAPE STOMP
“I’m sorry to do this on such short notice.” Alexis raised the screen of her laptop. She settled herself in at the table in the foyer of the hotel. “Deadlines and all. Jonathan asked me to start the interview, as he’d be late. He missed his shuttle from the airport.”
Too bad. I wanted to meet this Jonathan Fray III, the invisible man who visited my vineyard on numerous occasions. A secret shopper or something. His articles sounded like he knew me.
“Not a problem.” I loosened my tie. My winning wine, ‘Broken Spoke,’ received the Best New Vintage award the night before. The name reflected our redneck wine approach and yet for some reason I wore a tie this morning. I should have worn my leather vest and Harley t-shirt.
Alexis flipped her brunette hair back and started a recorder. “You okay if I record this? I usually record and write my impressions while we talk.”
“Sure.” I could sit and talk with Alexis all day. She seemed friendly and honest, and easy on the eyes. Thoughts of my wife stopped me short. My buddy Justin warned me to watch for the nice ones. They disarm you with their personality and slash you to pieces in print. No. Not Alexis. She started with the simple things—spell my name (William Martin, just call me Bill), the name of my winery (Rolling Arbor Vineyard), the date and so forth. She pointed to my ring.
“I see you’re married.”
“Ah… no. I lost my wife three years ago. Cancer.” I twisted the ring on my finger. “I just sort of… can’t let go. You know?”
She nodded. “Wow. I’m sorry. I’m new at this.” She wiped a tear from her eye. “I’m not supposed to be like this. You know?” So much for the heartless journalist.
“Listen, why don’t we go to the bar, okay?”
Her blue eyes searched mine. Did I mean it? “Um, sure.” She packed up her things and we headed to the bar. We had arrived before noon, the place deserted. I steered us to the curve of the bar. We could sit beside one another, yet be able to see each other. The bartender walked up, the question in his eye. “Diet Pepsi for me. And for the lady?” I looked to her.
“Diet… you own a vineyard. Your wine won first place.” She shook her head. “Oh, um, a Bloody Mary please. And a water.”
“I got a DUI once. The level is so low that it doesn’t take much to fail a Breathalyzer.” Oops. “That won’t see print, right? Please?”
“No problem.” We resumed the interview—how it feels to win, if I expected to, what friends and family think, and some technical questions on the wine.
Then Alexis asked, “How did you get started on this crazy adventure?”
“Crazy adventure. Great words,” I said.