Steel Wheels

The Tao Of Motorcycling


South Bridge Near Dunlavy Center

Buffalo Bayou showcased its new look this weekend. After touring the development we have to say we’re “Buffaloed.” There’s something about the modern design that produces an odd mix of emotions. You want to love it because it’s mod…but like modern homes, it lacks warmth, intimacy, grill-smoke, and community. The Riverwalk in San Antonio bridges that gap brilliantly and still offers plenty of non-tourist jaunts. Buffalo Bayou shouldn’t be the same as The Riverwalk…but it could go a little more in that direction.

North Bridge Near Dunlavy Center

The walking-trails on the Bayou-level deliver a quiet, eerie, uneasy stroll through a land that time forgot. It’s like Jurassic Park without the dinosaurs. Suddenly there are severe structures rising right out of the Bayou, reaching for the sky to suspend walking bridges that emerge from a thick jungle on one side and disappear into another jungle on the other side. The small-dot-people way up in the air only add to the discomforting emotions that arise from an architectural style so last-century…so proletarian…and so joyless. There are no lovers lanes in this new dystopian take on the Bayou. But Bird Watchers…?…this is your dream come true. And there’s a drop-dead brilliant Dog Park where dogs run free and splash each other in the world’s biggest bath tub for dogs while their owners mingle the way dog lovers do. This a home run plain and simple. So there are successes here for sure. Maybe there are more to come…

The Kitchen at The Dunlavy

Like The Kitchen at The Dunlavy which will open for Breakfast and Lunch. Maybe it’ll be a fun hangout in spite of its cold steel and polished concrete. When it finally opens, we’ll be there early and often to enjoy the haunting beauty of Buffalo Bayou…it does possess a strange allure.

We can’t help wondering if the designers had it in their minds that the built environment on Buffalo Bayou would minimally impinge upon the natural environment. If so, they have succeeded…but for us, it evokes a feeling that leaves us almost forlorn…but nothing a Shipley’s Donuts and a great Coffee shop wouldn’t cure. And Tacos.

Crime Scene

Buffalo Bayou October 3rd 2015 Dark-thirty.

Still OPEN After All These Years


We found China Garden over 35 years ago (yikes!) when like us, it was still relatively young. We made our annual pilgrimage to it last night for a party to find it still there, still great, and still OPEN. Best Egg Rolls in the known world…and when you can get great Egg Rolls with Jasmine Tea what else do you need…? Well, a lot apparently as the ancient waiters began resolutely filling the table with amazing dishes.

China Garden

Downtown Houston on Leeland St. The 2nd generation runs the place while the elderly first generation still does all the work. The 3rd generation is running away as fast as they can to pursue art, photography…yoga…anything to escape the fate of their forebears. There’s something magical about cooking food and serving people but you better love it ’cause it takes fanatical commitment to excellence and deep reservoirs of ready energy. It’s easy to understand why people do it…and easy to understand why they won’t.

Orange Tree at China Garden

There’s a giant Orange tree growing out of the sidewalk that shades the front of China Garden. And there are dire warnings posted against picking from it. The tree is magnificent and laden with fruit that glows in the dark of the neon night. The owner says she lets them tree-ripen before picking. Houston is an ideal climate for citrus so I’m sure these oranges will be amazing.

Crime Scene Parked At China Garden

Dancing in the dark with Crime Scene last night taking the long way home after the party, I couldn’t help thinking about all the gatherings we’ve held there over the years: dinner with friends, dinner with family, birthday dinner parties, and dinner parties for no reason. Recalling the loud-shout of certainty in those ancient days euphemistically referred to as dinner conversation by some and running the gauntlet by others, I began to see that in some ways we were a lot older then…

Charlie’s Birthday Party at China Garden 10//02/15 10:30PM. It was stellar.

Unsafe At Any Speed

Corvair Truck Front

In 1960 Chevrolet introduced the only American made air-cooled rear engine car. In 1965 it was dubbed “The One-Car Accident” by a young muckraking activist in a hit-piece on the auto industry called, “Unsafe At Any Speed.” The Chevy Corvair made Ralph Nader famous. This is the Pickup version and you can see it today at Gen’s Antiques on 19th Street in The Heights.

Corvair Rear

Corvair Back-Side

The Corvair was a stripped-down car targeted at the folks but the Pickup had innovations that have never been duplicated even today among Pickups: Cab-over forward control, rear engine mount, and a fold-down side panel on the bed makes a ramp for rolling-up cargo…like your motorcycle.

Corvair Pissing on Ralph Nader

The 60s were like no other decade before or since…you had to be there. No seat belts. No holds barred. No safe sex. Fender Stratocasters smashed and burned on stage. Civil Rights. Psychedelic music. Psychedelic T-shirts. Psychedelics. The original Mustang. Louis Armstrong, Louie Louie, and Gloria all in one decade. And the Chevy Corvair…until that humorless little troll killed it with the stroke of his righteous pen.

Corvair Pickup 1

In 1969 Woodstock signaled the end of the longest strangest trip in modernity. And the end of the Chevy Corvair. The Corvair symbolized the 60s perfectly: heat-seeking-cool, stripped-down, dangerous as hell, and unsafe at any speed. When Ralph Nader killed the Corvair he killed fun, he killed the 60s, and he no doubt saved thousands of lives.

Still, if this Corvair Pickup ever comes up For Sale, the next thing you’ll see is me driving West on I-10 toward Santa Barbara with my motorcycle sitting over the rear-engine, a mile of smile on my face.

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