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  • robertfarago1

Hell is Not Other People

Jean Paul Sartre never lived in Texas. If he had, the Marxist meteorologist wouldn't have declared that "hell is other people." He would have saved that designation for The Lone Star State in August. Or, as it turns out, June.

For the third day running, the National Weather Service is warning residents of "dangerously hot conditions." Yesterday, they claimed a "heat index value" of 116 degrees.

For those of you unfamiliar with the term, the "heat index value" adds humidity to ambient air temperature to create a "feels-like" fun factor. In this case, adding insult to injury. But the NWS is wrong!

With a seven mile-per-hour wind blowing through Austin, walking outside "feels like" staggering towards an enormous hair dryer. Set on high. Or a convection oven. Set on low.

Calling the weather "sticky" is like saying strolling through downtown Memphis at 2am wearing a Rolex President is "dangerous."

Now imagine driving a motorcycle into that hair dryer at 70+mph in full protective gear as the sun beats down like a "ground-and-pound" MMA fighter while a stream of superheated air from the radiator flows onto your shins the moment you slow or, God forbid, stop.

No If's, And's or Butts

This weather is not a recipe for survival, never mind happiness. An only slightly less homicidal version of these conditions lies five days ahead, when I bid Austin adieu on my Ridiculously Random Motorcycle Tour. Talk about Hell on wheels...

I could make like Zac Brown and wait for colder weather. Or I could wait for Godot. Same timeline, roughly speaking.

The practical solution: hit the highway before sunrise and motorcycle for two to three hours (max) thereafter, before the air temp turns 90 degrees and the heat index value hits triple digits.

That would put me slightly north of Dallas. At which point, I'll be hotter than an AI model (in an entirely different way). The plan: find a motel, park Fritz in the shade and shelter from Hades' hammer until the next morning.

That short jaunt through central Texas is as likely to earn me an Iron Butt award as Reservation Point is to score a Nobel Prize for literature. And risk stimulating the sort of caps-lock commentary found underneath Huffington Post articles.

HEY FARAGO! How's The Ridiculously Wimpy Motorcycle Tour going?

In my defense, my two-wheeled adventure is a marathon, not a sprint. Not to mention the fact that your ever-so-humble blogger is knocking on 65; the age when most men think twice about ascending an incapacitated escalator. Yeah I played that card.

How Do I Escape This Heat?

Once I've hit Dallas, I reckon I have two basic options...

Ride due north to Arkansas (dodging tornados), then cut across Tennessee to North Carolina and the Tail of the Dragon.

Or turn left, head up to the higher elevation of Colorado and Wyoming, then turn east through South Dakota to Minnesota (dodging mosquitos), down through Illinois to Kentucky, and over to Tail of the Dragon.

I know: it's hot everywhere. And how can my trip be ridiculously random if I've chosen a destination? Thank you for asking. Your questions are being recorded for quality control purposes.

For one thing, I reserve the right to detour to any point for any reason, or no reason at all. Once I get into The Emperors' New Groove, I'm gonna literally roll the die and let them decide where I go next. The die, not Kronk and Yzma.

For another, once I do the Dragon, I have no further plans. New England? California? As the young 'uns used to say, whatevs.

Lastly, during a hotel reservation-free, time-insensitive motorcycle tour, random finds you! Especially as I'll stay off the big boring interstates as much as possible. And because the Universe is the Universe and I'm me.

Space. The Final Frontier

With so few days left in the city that's been my home for more than a decade, I'm experiencing existential angst. Angst for the memories, and angst about my ride.

The former is about saying sayonara to the people who formed the landscape of my life. The latter is about whether to re-attach the top box to the back of the BMW so I can schlep a hat and a pillow.

The top box gives the bad-ass Bimmer a Dad bod vibe, reminds me of the weights attached to dancers in Kurt Vonnegut's dystopian story Harrison Bergeron, and acts like a misplaced jib in crosswinds. But...

But my hat is my signature move and I'm a stomach sleeper. I'll practice packing the panniers, tank bag and and top bag today, and see if I can leave the box behind. Or find an online grief therapist specializing in millenary and headrests.

That Which You Own, Owns You

The gentleman who offered to buy my condo is "working on his financing." A potential gazumper has entered the financial fray. Two more peeps had a peep. And... crickets chirping.

So I'm sitting here in limbo with an airborne financial future. A wistful, whimsical, wondering, soon-to-be-wandering Jew.

I'm taking my cue on how to get through from Jack Kerouac, a man who hit the road "because he had no place he could stay in without getting tired of it and because there was nowhere to go but everywhere."

“I don't know," Jack admitted, apropos of I can't remember what. "I don't care, and it doesn't make any difference.”

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May 27

Take the box! With the temp you need a hat, the pillow makes wherever you lay your head home, and a-la Hitchikers Guide you need a towel. Massively useful. At least you will not be asking what’s in the box like Brad Pitt in Seven.

Once you hit NC and get a taste of Western NC ‘Que with red sauce, Eastern NC with vinegar, and possibly find South Carolina mustard based sauce compare to Texas then figure out what you are in the mood for. Ride that direction. Lobstah? Head for the Lobster Festival in Rockland. Corn sound good then hit the Midwest and the heat. Poutine hit the spot then you can go international and visit our neighbors to…

May 27
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Papa was a rolling stone? The English know how to box clever. Us Yanks not so much. As for your food orientation, my name is Robert Farago and I approve of gustatory peregrinations.

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