The older woman looked up and saw the man in dirty jeans and a chopped down sweatshirt enter the diner. Her diner had once been filled with people. That was before her time unfortunately. She had never seen it full. She had only been told about it. Those days were before traffic was rerouted over the mile high bridge. The bridge wasn't really a mile high, it only seemed that way. It ran two miles long and carried the through traffic that once traveled on the two lane road in front of the diner.
"You got any real coffee," the dirty middle-aged man asked.
"Sure, what kind of diner would it be without coffee?" she asked.
"The kind that serves that shit they call coffee, but tastes like candy." he replied.
"My coffee might not taste the best, but it will wake you up. I promise," the old lady said.
"I'm looking for a place to camp." the man stated when she returned with the coffee.
She knew that the rough looking man's statement was really a question. "You might try the Convenience store about a mile out of town. They let people set up a camper there for five dollars a day," the older woman said.
After he was gone she thought about him. She wondered if he was going to be trouble. He didn't quite look like the crazy vets, who came around now and then, but then again he did a little.
He was tall and not quite thin, so she assumed he hadn't been on the road long. Nothing like life on the road to skinny down a man or woman. She knew from her early life experiences.
Miles walked to the black primer colored Honda Helix with a sidecar parked just out of sight of the door. He had painted it with a half dozen cans of black double primer Rustoleum paint.
His friends had laughed at him for buying the one of a kind pink Honda with the sidecar. The Honda was a basket case before he lovingly restored it. It was his 'after the divorce' project', he told himself.
For two years he ordered new parts on line for the scooter and replaced the old ones. He documented his adventure with his cop out scooter on line. His cop out scooter had been his retirement plan.
He also documented his trials and tribulations in an Internet blog called, believe it or not, 'Cop Out Scooter'.
He had about a thousand readers weekly. Since he had neither the tools nor the expertise to totally rebuild the motor, he found a lawnmower mechanic to give it a shot. For two months the motor sat on the mechanic's work bench.
Miles had manage to remove the motor from the bike. Even that stretched his knowledge. He had definitely hit the wall, as far as his skill set was concerned. Oh yeah, His real skill lay in finding and ordering the parts needed for the real mechanic.
Every few days Miles went by to deliver a part, or just to look at the motor and maybe have the mechanic explain how something worked.
It had been an expensive build, but Miles had expected that. His main concern was reliability. He felt like he had it ready by the time summer came. He spent all of May riding it around town, when he wasn't working to pay for his latest parts order. Then toward the end of the month he began converting the sidecar to a trailer. He removed the seat and had the top of the side care removed and then a new top fitted. The new top completely covered the sidecar making it a great little trailer.
Miles pulled into the convenience store where he found a middle eastern man behind the counter.
"Lady at the dinner said you had a place I could pitch a tent," Miles suggested.
"Five dollar a night, there is a bathroom but no shower, or electricity." the dark man informed him.
"So I get a place to crap for my five bucks?" Miles asked.
"I do not understand," the man said.
"Neither do I," Miles said. "I think I'll pass on the space with nothing. Thanks just the same."
Miles checked Google from his Android smart phone. He found a state park twenty miles further away from his destination. It was a little farther, but the charge for the primitive spaces was only two bucks a night. Miles wondered if his decision had been purely economics, or maybe it had been racially motivated. Either way the decision was made.
The state run campground offered primitive sites each site was equipped with two porta-potties and an outdoor wash station, otherwise it was primitive as hell. There was a road in and that was it.
Since he had practiced for weeks, Miles was able to pitch his tent in about fifteen minutes. It was a nylon tarp like think with a loop very securely attached at the dead center point. The trick was to find something from which to hang it. Then it was necessary stake it down. It was very much a summer teepee type tent.
With the tent hung from the low branch of a pine tree, Miles set his mind to a fire and coffee. The sites did have a metal grill, which could be used as a fire pit. Without doubt people used them to burn charcoal for the special outdoor experience. Miles went hiking through the woods around his camp space. He collected dead wood as he moved about. Then he broke it up before placing it into his gunny sack. When he had the sack full, he returned to build a small fire. To start it he used a flint and his camp knife. They created the spark used to set fire to the paper napkin from the diner where he had his coffee.
He opted for a can of Spaghettios and coffee for dinner. It was neither tasty nor nutritious however it was life sustaining. After dinner Miles sat outside his tent listening to the sounds of the night.
"Howdy friend," the man who was about his own fifty five years said. "My name is Bill and this is my wife Laura."
"Hello my name is Miles," he said.
"So Miles what brings you here?" Bill asked.
"Just taking a road trip, how about you?" Miles asked.
"We are on our way to my son's wedding," Bill said.
"Excuse me for saying, but your wife doesn't look old enough to have a kid getting married." Miles said.
"She ain't, she is my second wife my first one died last year," Bill informed him.
"Really? I'm sorry for your loss," Miles said.
"Thanks, what you reckon that bike of yours is worth?" he asked Miles.
Miles was thankful that he kept the .38 pistol between his ass and the tree which he leaned against. He had the distinct feeling that Bill was about to make a move against him. "You know I don't rightly know. Probably something around three grand."
"Well me and Laura will just have to take that bike," Bill said.
"Those are pretty big words coming from such a small man," Miles said wrapping his left hand around the butt of his pistol.
"Well I got this as well," Bill said putting his hand inside his jacket.
Bill was actually shocked when Miles said, "Stop right there or I'm going to kill your ass." Bill saw Miles's pistol, while the ugly automatic was only have way out of his pants. "Drop it to the ground carefully."
Miles tied the two of them to a tree with a couple of big zip ties. Then he called the local police. The park rangers came along with the cops. Seems good ole Bill was wanted in connection with his wife's death. The young woman was trying to convince the cops that Bill had kidnapped her. Miles decided that he just didn't give a fuck.
"So what you doing in the middle of nowhere," the local Sheriff asked when he came back later in the day.
"I'm going to prospect up in these mountains," Miles said.
"Well ain't nothing left up there but I know a place they say had gold once," The Sheriff said.