The Fourth of July at Whispering Pines Trailer Park comes in with a Bang and goes out with an even bigger Bang. The boys start with the light weight stuff, (firecrackers and roman candles and so on) around the First and gradually build up to the illegal ordnance on the actual Fourth. By then the Hawks Park cops have given up and sometimes even roar up and down the street in front of the Park with their sirens screaming and lights flashing, shooting their guns into the air. Okay, I made that last part up but everybody here is pretty much on a first name basis with most of the seven or eight guys that make up the force and there are police cars here so often that nobody pays much attention until the handcuffs come out.
Andy and Barney
Here on my side of the Park next door to the Managers office Uncle Bill sets up his cooking gear and starts in on the ribs and gator and shrimp kabobs and after the Boys In Blue (Black, Actually) get done telling the Bobby the Trailer Park Mayor for the twentieth time that “No, a miniature canon doesn't count as fireworks,” they stop by for a bacon wrapped shrimp kabob or pork sandwich. It makes for a fairly pleasant working relationship. Hawks Park doesn't even have a jail.
The Pseudo Century
I started my Fourth of July Morning by riding a Century but I tried out a new route and miscalculated: it was only eighty miles. I stopped at the Park for a water (OK Beer) break and the new Park Manager was out front with a cooler, a big umbrella and several very comfortable-looking lawn chairs. She also had a table covered with various mixables and, well, she looked lonely. I had planned to push on for another quick twenty miles to keep things honest, but...well, she looked lonely. And I was curious about the contents of that cooler...
So I walked over to say Happy Fourth and she opened that cooler and there they were, a couple dozen 12 ounce cans of the special Red, White and Blue Budweiser Independence Day Special Edition Brewskis.
“I got them for You!” she said. “You've been working so hard around the Park and doing such a great job I wanted to show my thanks!”
Trailer Park Diplomacy
Well, as the Trailer Park Cyclist, friend of Man (and Woman) I felt it was my duty to accept with grace by cracking one open. I went next door to Release the Hounds, Miss Daisy the Yellow Dog and her frisky new sidekick Toby the Trouble Puppy. Miss Jo released her own mad dog Rocco the Magnificent, Daisy's best friend and love interest, and in moments, the Party started. Crazed dogs ran wildly around the yard. Neighbors dropped by to have a beer and play with the puppy. A huge gopher tortoise wandered in from nowhere, to the amazed delight of the dogs.
Then Uncle Bill pulled up with his Barbecue Rig. He is Uncle Bill because he is Everybody's Uncle. He also is the sole possessor of what I am sure is the World's Greatest Barbecue Sauce. My Readers Know Me, and they know that I am not given to exaggeration. Much. Well, a little, maybe. OK, a lot. But this time I am giving you the Straight Truth when I say that this sauce, and UB's considerable skills with pork, chicken, ribs, shrimp and gator is something you have to experience to believe. And in fact, you may get the chance.
The Trailer Park Cyclist and Uncle Bill are in serious negotiations to bottle and market this stuff. The bottles are ordered and we are considering putting together a rig to visit around the country selling food and sauce. So if you see a '72 Eldorado Convertible with a stuffed alligator on the hood pulling a Barbecue Trailer in your neighborhood, give a shout. If there is a scrappy-lookin' Schwinn Super Le Tour in the back seat, that means I talked him into bringing me along and we can go for a ride.
We Now Return to Our Regularly Scheduled Programming
When Uncle Bill sets up anywhere, a crowd soon gathers. Also, the Hawks Park Fireworks display is right at the end of our street, so pretty much everybody in town shows up and parks their cars all over the place and walks down to the River for the show. Some never make it, because Whispering Pines is an Attractive Magnet Indeed, what with the allure of all that cooking and the horseshoes and dogfights and the Trailer Park Girls and so on. Me, I was in the same lawn chair I had been sitting in for the last four hours, the one next to the cooler. That cooler was apparently magical, for it never emptied. The brands would change, but the beer never stopped flowing.
The GF's Fam
The Blonde's kinfolk arrived en masse, a half-dozen impossibly giant four wheel drive pickups loaded to the top with kids, coolers, food, dogs, yahoos and fireworks, all of which were making a lot of noise when they got there and turned up the volume as they unloaded. And this was just on our side of the Park. Bobby the Mayor had the same scene going over at his place (the Country Club. Bobby has two lots by nature of frequent and mysterious fires and other mishaps every time the Park attempts to install a trailer next door.)
Besides these two hell-raisin' Fourth of July blast-outs, the City of Hawks Park was having their own Hoedown and Fireworks display just a few hundred yards away at the City Park by the River. So things were hoppin', to say the least.
God Bless America
It was all very Loud and Chaotic and Redneck and Very American and I loved every minute of it. My Old Bike was propped against a tree next to where I was sitting and I got to answer questions about “those skinny-tired bikes” and how (or why) anyone would ride a hundred miles on a bicycle. I don't think I converted anyone but I did get to talk about the Fall of Schwinn as a Symbol of what's wrong with America, except I think that gopher tortoise was the only one listening. He had taken up residence under the chair next to mine and spent the night there. Uncle Bill was the star, as usual, dispensing food and beer and Swamp Wisdom in equal doses. He is one of those guys who loves everybody and everybody loves him, which I suppose is How It Should Be.
But What About the Eighty Miles?
The pseudo-century was uneventful. The only thing I can say, really, is how badly I want a Brooks saddle. I'm still doing these long miles on the cheap knock-off seat from my old Mongoose. It ain't that bad, really, but it is bad enough. I rode almost continuously, stopping only once to stock up on Gator Ade and trail mix. Thirty miles of my ride was through the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, but the only wild life I saw was me. I had the place to myself and really enjoyed the “training” aspect of all that straight flat blacktop, flying along with a baby tailwind and an open blue sky on the Nation's Birthday.
I have a lot on my mind pertaining to bicycles that I want to go into, but can't get a handle on it just yet. I want this to be a daily Blog but I want it to be good and fun and sometimes it just ain't in me. But I'm working on it. I also have two trailers to rip apart and put back together for waiting tenants. One of them is a Real Mess. You have to live in a crappy trailer park on the highway to fully understand what a real mess is all about. Some of these people are less than tidy, to put it kindly, and when they finally bail out they leave an incredible amount of debris behind, including cats and dogs and iguanas. Yes, iguanas. Bobby the Mayor handles those. I handle the Fix-it.
Also, I have to do some serious shopping for a '72 Eldorado and a Stuffed Alligator. Anybody?
Whispering Pines Trailer Park and Circus