Spotter’s Guide To The September 2018 Issue Of Road&Track

This is the ADVENTURE issue of R&T so naturally it features an ADVENTURE BIKE doing ADVENTUROUS things. If you’re not ready for that level of adventure, however, may I show you something from our Milder Adventure Department?

Last month, I went to Clarksdale, MS in search of the blues. This was a return to the ground that I trod in 2011, as discussed here. This time I paid less attention to my own anguish and more to the music and stories that surrounded me. In a perfect world, I would have had 10,000 words to share the things I saw and learned with you. Maybe someday when I’m old and idle I will rewrite some of these stories in “expanded editions” for my similarly aged long-time readers. In particular, I will talk about the fruitless trip that photographer Andrew Trahan and I made to “Wonderlight City” in hopes to meet Robert “Bilbo” Walker. We didn’t know that he had died late last year. What we found was a tattered dream that had already been reclaimed by the Delta; a torrent of greenery had first-burst around then enveloped Bilbo’s club, his outdoor furniture, and the sad old motorhome that had collapsed into the soft earth near the boundary of a dirt road between no place and nowhere.

If you want to read about Bilbo, and I think you do, there’s a much longer treatment available on Mashable. If you’re a writer, or someone who would like to be a writer, compare the Mashable post with the same author’s version of the same story for Hemispheres magazine. The first piece is, I think, the story as he wanted to tell it; the second is the story as his editors saw it. Very interesting to compare the two.

11 Replies to “Spotter’s Guide To The September 2018 Issue Of Road&Track”

  1. John C.

    The Hemispheres version of the story is so much more what people want to hear. These figures are so revered that to treat them as full human beings is to denigrate them in their followers eyes. The Legned/King is wearing plenty of glorious clothes, don’t ever forget it. He is to revered and his plight pitied and blamed on others. If you think his singing or his guitar playing could stand more polish and the subject matter could be less self pitying and self aggrandizing at the same time, well… just shut up…

  2. Patrick King

    Hmm, I look forward to comparing the two Bilbo pieces.

    Meanwhile, I loved the R&T Robert Johnson/Corvette article. When my copy hits the mailbox I immediately check to see if you’ve contributed to the issue, much as I always read Rob Siegel and Mike Miller first when I get Roundel.

    Great stuff.

  3. link3721

    Wow, the Mashable article was so much more interesting, even tough it was shorter. I found myself skimming the Hemispheres article, wondering when it was going to end. It just didn’t have the same captivation that the first article did.

  4. S2k Chris

    I have a new JL on order so I bought the mag primarily for Sam Smith’s excellent article about driving it to the Arctic Circle. Haven’t even read the Ferrari piece yet.

  5. -Nate

    Too bad Mr. Walker passed, at least you got the nice article link .

    Also too bad no one recorded the night in that Quonset Hut .


  6. Mike M

    I wish the RT came before my trip to Florida. I read both piececes the mashable seemed to capture the reality, while the other painted the picture that sells. I found them both great to read, but I’m left asking what is real in the USA in 2018.
    It seems that we are left with the shells of American culture from 1935 to 1963 we have the good celebrated, the bad forgotten. Our culture now seems to be dead with nothing left that is original. It really makes me wonder what the future will bring. It’s now all plastic, made in China.

    Either way the mashable piece painted a realistic picture of a time that is just about gone, and the other piece painted the celebration of the cleaned up version of the delta blues man.

  7. Panzer

    Fuck me… I read that Mashable article behind the stationary drivers’ seat of my turbo diesel Ford while on lunch break somewhere in suburban New Zealand – and I thought to myself, ‘What a milquetoast life i’ve been born into/lived..’

  8. Another Fake Name

    Jack’s writings get narrower and narrower in scope, and readership views, like an onset of blindness.

    Bikes, both kinds? That topic is a graveyard where writers go to die.

    One may as well write about fountain pens, or titanium straws.

    Whistling pass the graveyard, but with a merry, if quite small, group of devotees, eagerly soothing Jack’s severely damaged ego (and financial insecurity?).

    That’s Riverside Green in a nutshell.

    We will be happy to receive (and shred) submissions from you at (EDIT: a place at which the commenter does not actually work), Jack


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