HAYAB USA: PART 3
Ex-bike editor Westlake continues to hurtle his way West across the USA aboard Suzuki’s finest touring Hayabusa. This month it’s the Deep South: BBQ, religion and warbling Australian totty…
Massive heat, Kylie's undercrackers and some meat. Lots and lots of tasty meat.
THREE THINGS BECOME more popular as I ride south: barbeque dinners, heat-induced delirium and God. Let’s start with the most important of the three. Barbeque food outlets start appearing as the Busa and I leave Georgia and enter Mississippi. We’re heading west for 1500 miles to Albuquerque where we have an appointment with some muscle cars at a drag strip. And until now, food has been something of an issue. Because I’m travelling on major roads and have a schedule to keep, fast food outlets are my prime source of dinners. At the start of the journey I vow not to eat at the same fast food joint twice, thinking this will force me to seek out more interesting eateries, but I fail to realise how many of these calorie crack houses there are. After Mcdonald’s, Burger King and Subway, there’s Taco Bell, Applebee’s, Jack in the Box (really horrible), Arby’s (slogan: We have the Meats), Denny’s (like MCD but cheaper), Wendy’s (Denny’s plain wife), Hardee’s (Denny’s twin brother), Waffle House (good for a chat), In-n-out (best fast food burgers ever) and loads more I can’t remember because my brain is dissolved in unsaturated fat. Nowhere is America’s problem with food more obvious than in a fast food joint. I stop in a Mcdonald’s near Gadsen in Alabama and after scanning the menu I spot that you can replace the fries with lettuce in a Big Mac meal. It’s been four days since I ate anything green and I suspect I’m developing rickets. I ask for salad but the teenager behind the counter looks blank. Admittedly, there has been some confusion with my English accent as I’ve headed south so I say salad slower, trying to drawl out the word in a southern accent while pointing at the little leafy picture on the board. ‘Y’all want salad?’ she asks glancing behind her to confirm what I’m inflicting on myself. ‘Y’all the first person to ask for thaaaat,’ she says, looking at me as if I’d just ordered a bottle of Chateauneuf-du-pape. I turn round with my burger and tub of lettuce and see a hugely overweight woman with an oxygen line under her nose (the bottle is under the table) scoffing a Sausage Mcmuffin. She’s munching away while watching her compatriot, Michael Phelps, do his thing in Rio on a telly above the door. I sit at the next table and wonder if the greatest Olympian in history will win this 200m butterfly heat before the wheezy lady pops her clogs. Everyone cheers as Phelpsy wins, but I can’t help coming over all middleclass Guardian reader. It feels like I’m in a George Orwell novel where the overfed proletariat are all cheering for their nation’s buff idol while they sit on their wobbly arses and munch their way to early graves. My pomposity isn’t exactly punctured by the ad breaks which consist of podgy folk in expensive jumpers selling drugs to lower cholesterol or relieve symptoms of type two diabetes.
‘It’s been four days since I ate anything green and I suspect I’m developing ricketts’
(Above) Petrol stations in the South are named by drunk people. BBQ is devine. (Below) Crossing the Mississippi just outside Memphis