Thursday, August 11, 2011

the best and worst of mootis: volume 4 or 5 or whatever it is

It's that time again, pals. I have to admit that if biking across the country didn't so often get in the way of blogging about biking across the country, there would be so many more glorious Mootis stories here for your enjoyment. It's a real shame, but here I am at the Motel 6 in Chubbuck, Idaho ready to provide you with a few Mootis moments to get you through til next time. (What's with the motel? Well, the campground/RV park was full and we're in a town that's too big to consider pitching our tent just anywhere. It borders an Indian reservation and we've been advised to steer clear of them camping-wise -- and since we did 95 miles today, heading to the next town didn't sound too good.)

But, onward! Mootis!

BEST MOOTIS MOMENT OF LATE: This one just occurred tonight, but I decided it should bump any other potentially superlative Mootis scene from the last bunch of days. When we were checking into the motel, there were two weary and sunburned guys trying to level with the clerks at the front desk. It was clear they weren't getting anywhere. We didn't know what was up, but there were the typical, "I'm sorry, but that's the policy," and "No, there's nothing we can do," responses from the woman behind the desk. As I filled out our form, ol' Mootis learned that the guys have bwen on the road traveling and hitchhiking for well over a year (they looked it, just as we looked and smelled each of the day's miles) and after dealing with some serious sun overexposure, they'd saved enough cash to get a motel room for the night. The problem: they needed a photo ID to register for a room (for accountability reasons: if property is stolen or damaged) and neither of them had any due to some other snafus in their travels. One of the guys mentioned the possibility of one of us "lending" them our ID -- basically putting the room in one of our names, but them paying with their cash, of course. The other guy quickly quieted him, suggesting it wasn't cool or fair to ask that of us. We parted ways and the dudes headed down the street and us toward our room. Maybe 2 minutes passed before Mootis hopped back on his bike to tell the guys he'd put their room in his name. And so he did. Smelly man hugs ensued. Some of you might think the potential risk here is far too great for this to be a praiseworthy moment for Mootis. I hear you - after all, my ID stayed secure in my wallet the whole time. And we don't know the outcome of this yet, but I think there's a good chance Mootis helped some guys who've had a hard go of it recently get some rest. I tip my bike helmet to you, Mootis.

WORST MOOTIS MOMENT OF LATE: This is more a general Mootis topic than a specific Mootis instance. And "worst" is perhaps overkill. Let's be honest: I just need a platform from which to poke fun and this is it. The topic at hand is Mootis's bike lingo. This began before our trip when he began referring ro anything we'd be bringing with us, even the most mundane items (toothbrush, socks, etc.), as "gear." This tendency has continued. Mootis has very specific and, in my opinion, odd terminology for a good deal of things on this trip. First, there's his bizarre inter-cyclist communication. Instead of just crossing a road or saying, "we're good" or "all set," when no traffic is approaching, he lets out a hearty, "Clear!" It reminds me of the doctors in "ER" before using the defribillator paddles. When I'm feeling particularly punchy, I respond with, "Clear. EXECUTE!" as I pedal across the way. Then there are, "car back" and "clear back," terms (which sound remarkably similar, I should add) to inform me if there is traffic in the way if we're merging or making a lefthand turn across a lane. I'm not even going tonget into the hand signals. Just know that there are hand signals.

Other Mootis biking terms include "pass" for the top of any high mountain or hill and "climb" or "climbing" to describe how we ascend said mountains or hills. So, instead of saying, "We'll go up the mountain," Mootis talks about "the climb to the pass." And then there are "frontage roads." These are the small, generally more bike friendly service roads that parallel some highways. Sure, these are all real words. But who talks this way?

My favorite is when Mootis discusses "services."He's confused more than one stranger with this one. "Do you know if there are any services along this road?" he'll ask. Or better: "Are there any services along the climb to the pass?" Blank stares abound. I usually like to sit back and watch, but on this occasion, I've stepped in, perhaps for the sake of my own interest.

"He wants to know if there are any gas stations. Stores. Restaurants. Anything that could help us out."

Mootis nods. "Yes. Services."

Dude. What are you doing?
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  1. Holy shit I laughed out loud at least 4 times and even slammed my fist onto my desk repeatedly when I got to "services".

    Really hope this column continues even after the trip is over.

  2. Mootis is truly a kind man to reach out to two needy travelers. But maybe he could extend that same kindness to confused non-bikers by translating bike jargon into plain English. Otherwise, he may get set up with a hooker..."services"! Keep the stories coming, but how about letting Aaron in to tell some J-L stories?