Heavy Metal on Wheels
I had bought a brand new eight track tape of Led Zeppelin ‘s first album .
Who ever heard music like that before?
It was heavy just like the Von Hindenburg exploding on the album cover.
My best friend had just picked up his 1969 Charger from the Dodge dealership and it was a beautiful car. The sound of the engine was like the purr of a jungle cat.
I would say that my buddy, Doyle, had lost some of his sanity from driving that beast around town. Doyle was an older guy who took me under his wing. His family owned a popular Kolache Shop and everybody loved those. He was 19 and I was 17.
Highlights of the Low Life
We used to sneak into the Cellar Club in downtown Houston. They had live music and strippers, but you might have missed the girls, if you blinked. Otherwise, the cover band entertained you. Local bands named “Shy-Ann” and “Naked Lettuce” competently played the hits of the day. I swear I saw George Carlin at the Cellar one night, although I was a little fuzzy from the bottle of peppermint schnapps enjoyed in the parking lot. I missed the introduction, but George was young and on fire with the spirit of Lenny Bruce.
Down the street at Alan’s Landing, we often visited the “Love Street Light Circus”. They had the overhead projectors with the hot oil light show.
Looking for Girls to go Wild
On this particular morning, we already had plans for a road trip. Maybe we would end up at South Padre Island , which was the scene of a massive annual get together. We picked up our twin girlfriends, Linda and Brenda. They were good looking brunettes who knew how to flirt. We were ready to make the big bridge jump over to Galveston for spring break.
A lot of our friends were going to be there. There was going to be barbeque and beer. Our pal, Johnny, owned a ski boat and we were going to meet him at the pier next to the Balinese Ballroom.
The rumor was that our favorite local band might be playing there for free! We had seen ZZ Top at the Cellar Club when they were called “The American Blues”. It was only 50 miles away to Galveston, but we never made it because of the hitchhiker.
A Black Hole in Texas
The scarecrow fellow was beside the road carrying a motorcycle helmet. He told us a rather sad tale of how he lost his motorcycle to the law in a small town just outside of El Paso. He got tickets driving his Honda 500 through Sierra Blanca too fast and he couldn’t pay the bill. The Deputy locked his bike up in the lawnmower shed and sent him on his way.
Doyle gave the biker three hundred dollars for his keys and the title. All we had to do was go there and pay another fifty dollars in fines and the bike would be ours. I should say Doyle wanted the bike because I just hoped to make it to the Gulf of Mexico. The girls cast the deciding vote and soon we were on our way, in the wrong direction!.
Supersonic and Sexy
I have to give the ladies credit for making the trip interesting by wearing their bikinis. Linda and Brenda were typical, hot blooded Texas girls raised on grits and biscuits. They must have looked pretty good, judging from the response to our new ” Honk if you are Horny ” bumper sticker. We had met them at Gilley’s Night club, which was featured in the movie, “Urban Cowboy”.
Those girls were well aware of their good looks and had a knack for causing trouble. Things got a little tense when the pair began their sun bathing contest. They removed their personalized cowgirl hats so that it was impossible to tell them apart with their sunglasses on and the tops off. Doyle and I had a moment of confusion and mild jealousy, but we were careful to make sure the situation did not become overblown.
Dust in the Wind
The beach towels were whipping in the wind like custom mud flaps. Truthfully, the 580 miles went by easily on the way there. We ate at some good truck stop diners and listened to some tunes. I was a big fan of Iron Butterfly and Grand Funk Railroad, but somehow that Zeppelin kept getting shoved into the slot.
Doyle never went below 90 miles per hour as the countryside flew by. I got to drive once in a while. Doyle would crawl in the back and assume the fetal position between Linda and Brenda. The best car I had driven was a souped up ’56 Chevy that once belonged to a race car driver. The Charger was more like handling a Stradivarius.
Showdown in a Ghost Town
We made it to the little town in west Texas and rousted the deputy to give him some money. There was some lip involved which explained why the hitch hiker never wanted to go back there. Luckily, it was after hours and the speed trap had closed for the day. We caught the deputy drunk and in his underwear. The only problem was finding the key to the lawn mower shed.
Our Blazing Saddles
The big bike fit perfectly into the back of the Charger, wrapped in Doyle’s napping blanket, except we had to keep the lid tied down. We did not know that the Honda was leaking gasoline into the trunk until my buddy flicked a cigarette out the window. As we barreled along the road on the trip back home, he looked in the rear view mirror to see that we were leading a long tail of flames! The spare tire had caught fire and the gas tank of the Charger was nearly full!
We pulled into a lonely service station where a big guy, wearing a serape poncho, was having a siesta on his lawn chair. As we sprayed water over the burning mess, Doyle took off his two hundred dollar suede jacket and began beating the motorbike! The attendant was heading for the hills as fast as he could because he thought the entire gas station was going to blow up! The girls were screaming and Doyle and his coat were on fire! He was slinging flaming gasoline drops all over the place!
Finally, I spotted a fire extinguisher and put out Doyle, the car and the coat.
The trunk of the Charger was black and most of the wires were burned up. The brake lights were dead and the plastic covers of the back speakers melted, making “Dazed and Confused” sound really weird.
An Unhappy Ending
To make a long story short, we did make it the last three hundred miles back to our home The Zeppelin clunked one last time between channels of the 8 track and then spewed a spaghetti load of tape onto the cosole. We needed to slow down anyway so we plugged in some “Spirit” and limped down the highway at only 55 mph.
Doyle thought his good deal on a motorcycle turned out to be more expensive than he had bargained for.
It cost five hundred dollars to get the Charger rewired and the bike fixed. As soon as he got the bike out of the shop, he went out and broke his ankle. His new car always smelled like burning rubber, which somehow seemed appropriate.
Here’s some other articles I wrote:
Spring Break Goes Wild in Las Vegas !
Top Ten Sporty Activities on a Hawaii Vacation
Shock Rock and Heavy Metal at the Hard Rock
My Night as a DJ in the Fleshpits of Las Vegas
Van Halen is Rocking Again with David Lee Roth
Thanks for reading.