Trips & Tales

The World is Not Entirely Flat, Bob

Bob Sells Out America

by Rich Marin • May 30, 2005

The American Flyer MC Cell

The World is Not Entirely Flat, Bob

It was a sad day for American Flyers everywhere when Bob Kirby sold his successful Stew/Chili/Clam business this year to a pack of dogs trying to corner the canned clam business. Oh sure, they said they liked the TrailHead Chili and the inroads to CostCo and God knows Bob’s Brunswick Stew belonged in the Canned Meat Hall of Fame, but these guys were undercover agents for certain Far Eastern interests where they knew that they could spin off the chili and stew bits to the Alpo crowd and leave the tender, succulent seafood chowder for the more refined Asian palates to which they truly sought to pander. As Ricky would say to Lucy….”you got a lotta splainin’ to do, Bob!”

It’s the third week in May and the American Flyers MC has gathered for its annual Chautauqua through the Canyons. Bob knows all too well that he needs some cover with this crowd. This is the AMERICAN Flyers….right, Bob. And we call the global shots, not the guys in Shanghai or Bangalore. Did you know that Thomas Friedman was actually born Shivan Wu and that his formal training and preparation for his writing career makes the Manchurian Candidate look like an ill-prepared bungler? So don’t think, Bob, that walking around the opening night party at Chez Marin asking them if they had read the World is Flat impressed anyone except to tell us all that what we had feared was true… sold out our Chuckwagon Chili to the highest bidder. Now what are we supposed to do, Bob, eat sushi….or maybe Chicken Tikka?

Here’s what I don’t get….we’ve been doing this for 10 years now, we have a cake, sing happy birthday to Frank, Walt and Jay (whether they are there or not….like that’s not a code, right?), hand out the encoded T-shirts, you know the program. Did you notice that Nick chose the first night of the annual Flyer CanyonRun to announce his betrothal to Britta? How’s that for Global connectivity. Ha!, we’ve already got the Germans eating out of our hand. In fact, I’m guessing that Nick’s daily subliminal messages to the housefraus of the EU have pretty much assured us of keeping all those bad boys over in Western and Eastern Europe pretty much on our side of this thing.

I suppose no one ever notices that Andy always has to go a different way the first day. Do you really think he doesn’t have the sense to pick up his rental in advance? Don’t you realize that Salt Lake City is the genealogical headquarters of the Western World and that our allies in the LDS Church are with us on this 100%? Let me give you a clue….Andy speaks Mormon, Dude. Under the Banner of Heaven, baby, complete your full reading list, please! What Shivan….I mean Thomas Friedman knows about global connectivity and digital exponentiality would not fill a thimble of the collected wisdom of the AFMC Team.

So while Andy reworks the human genome deep in the vaults of the Wasatch Mountains, in caves even the NSA has not penetrated, the rest of the Flyers head out of Park City as though nothing were happening, headed for a bucolic and peaceful ride down through Heber City, out to Duchesne and down Indian Canyon (get it, Bob?….INDIAN Canyon). And then there’s Barbara. Do you realize how hard it must be for her to make everyone think she doesn’t know North from South? This woman is a world class cartographer, Bob. While you’re didling with your silly GPS, Barbara is slowly redrawing the map of the world. Every day, she makes minor adjustments to the worlds’ borders through a network of 63 satellites (some ours, some theirs, some who knows). She is so skilled that in 10 years Taiwan and Sri Lanka will appear to be larger than Mainland China and India respectively…..and no one will be the wiser. Let’s see them outsource us when they’ve each got one square inch to stand on.

So we all get back together in Price, where the salad fixin’s are plentiful and the macaroni salad never gets changed. Consistency may be the hobgoblin of feeble minds, but why fix it if it ain’t broke and the Log Cabin luncheonette in Price sure ain’t broke. You know, come to think of it, their Chili did taste a little watery this year….Bob. Thanks a lot.

The AFMC has finally gotten the respect it deserves from the higher ups and so we now stay at places like the Sorrell Valley Ranch, about 15….no, make that 18 miles up the Colorado River from Moab. It sure beats the old Aarchway Inn, made famous for its originality in using two A’s to insure being at the top of the Moab lodging list. The sunsets on the monumental mountains and the waning light of the Canyon on the River make for a splendid moment over diner….I am haunted by waters and the thought of Bob selling out to the Sino-Punjabi Consortia…..and A River Runs Through It.

The next morning finds Bill outside wiping down his GS while enjoying a small cigar. This is a true cowboy moment. Just a man, his horse, his smoke and a long dusty road ahead….with no prospects for a good bowl of chili. That’s the American way, Bob. No, that’s the American Flyer MC way, Bob! Think about that the next time you’re spending some of those sale proceeds or eating some of your personal stockpile of TrailRide Chili. The first stop is Newspaper Rock in Canyonlands….12 miles in. But that’s not good enough for Bob. Sensing the building censure from the team, he skips out and goes on the full 40 miles to Canyonlands. We carry on to Mexican Hat, the AFMC spiritual vortex. Have you ever noticed the similarity between Fry bread and Nan, Bob. No, of course not….you’ll have a BLT and leave the rest of us to the tasteless all-bean taco. That’s OK, we have to get used to it I guess since there will soon be no more Cowpoke Chili.

We blast through Monument Valley because what’s the point. Down to Chinle for a dip in the refreshing Holiday Inn pool….oops. Would you believe a nice cool shower? We’re back to huddling around the trashcans and drinking our vino out of paper cups. Andy finds a dingo in heat and decides that he, the bitch and the pups all need some supper. That man knows good breeding when he sees it.

The Unimog awaits at 8am. Our personal Windtalker does indeed sound like the rustling of the leaves as he explains the mysteries of Canyon de Chelly….”so, this and so, that, so we get to the so-and-so…” Yes, Bob, it’s more code and why you can’t read the handpaintings on the wall by now….well I just don’t know what to say. This is true connectivity, Bob. We are connecting with the ancient Anizazis. These little guys could kick the shit out of any gang from Bangalore. Could the Chinese live in those caves without a high speed elevator….I think not!

We stop for lunch in Bluff unexpectedly….it was supposed to be Blanding. But Bluff it was. Yes, Bob, I tried the chili there too and it was weak. Are you happy? When I regaled these fry cooks with our globalness, they just sniffed and said they ran a global business right there with all the Germans and Britishers and such that wandered in for a Pepsi. The only thing they wanted to outsource was their dishwashing….and that was pretty hard to digitize without everything getting pruney.

Glen Canyon was mighty dry, partner. Do you know where all the water was siphoned off to, Bob. Was it your pals with the dark sunglasses again? Maybe buying the rights to divert the Colorado somewhere back in Canyonlands? God knows, someone will sell them anything they want, right, Bob! In any case, on through the moonscape of Hanksville and through the slippery tar snakes of Capital Reefs National Park. The great room of the Lodge at Red River Ranch was a welcome sight for us. What a watering hole for the Flyers. This is the real America….pickle pie and flag waving.

Saturday was Rt 12 day. The Escalante Staircase…..the Hog’s Back…..The Bryce Highway…..Vertigo Central. We ripped it good, going and coming. So where was Bob? You don’t really think we believe you don’t see us when you drive by, do you? And that cover story about Jean not letting you ride faster….give me a break, Jean is fearless and we all know it.

We wrap up again at Café Diablo where they stack the Chipotle Sauce to the sky. We were one small group among many Beemer riders at the Café that night. Bob, did it not occur to you that we are building other cells….and that we are running out of training grounds for the ultimate battle, so that we might start to see more of us on the road and at the common watering holes?

Let me get to the point. The American Flyers MC is just the beginning, Bob. We are the prototype, the alpha cell. We have already spawned enough other cells to cover North America, Europe and parts of Central America. Soon we will be ubiquitous. High Mileage, Low Expectations. Work on the anagram, Bob, in your heart you know what it means. We will not go gentle into that good night, old age should burn and rave at close of day; rage, rage against the dying of the light. Rock on!

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