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Unsupervised – Part 1

By Neale Bayly

As the sound of heavy automatic weapon fire broke the eerie silence the Euro trash went running: Then the Vietnamese. Burning through $60 a second, my lawyer stayed on the trigger, heat and smoke pouring from the old M60 with spent cartridges flying everywhere. Just how we came to be firing machine guns at the Cu Chi tunnels in Vietnam has gotten a little hazy. And, as I look back over numerous motorcycle rides together around the world, I wonder what sort of fucked up shit Scranton could possibly do next. 


The first phone call should have tipped me off. When a longhaired, dirt bag, ambulance-chasing lawyer calls you from his vacation home in Hawaii, and stays on the phone for two hours, some sort of primal instinct should have been yelling RUN! The inner divining rod that always leads to bad relationships was getting ready to champion the next bad decision: The sort of decision that takes a shit ton of shoveling after the event. Of course I immediately invited him to ride across South Africa.  


Neale Bayly, Chris Scranton and the unsupervised crew 

Unsupervised By Neale Bayly



It actually all started off fairly smoothly. Scranton checked in at some five star place in Cape Town while the group I would be leading got to know each other in a low rent road lodge close to the airport; so luckily no one knew who he was when he finally arrived. Then we couldn’t load his extra gear bags in the support truck, as the itinerary had specified for one, so  our first intro was going swimmingly.  The rest of the day was spent getting the group on rental bikes and heading for the Cape of Good Hope.


Those first days of our ride across South Africa seemed fairly Scranton-light and stress-free in hindsight. I did notice hitting some stupid triple digit speeds on one of the more twisty pieces of tarmac and Scranton was right there with me. He even looked a few shades lighter than his usual “this shit is boring” expression as he gave us his take on repeating the behavior in the dirt the next day. He said it was his first time he’d ridden a big adventure bike like that, which seems like a stretch to me, but we were all so jacked up on adrenaline, who cares?


Neither of use alcohol so we gravitated together for evening meals. In a foreshadowing of another adventure, he nearly got his ass-kicked for hiding a Vietnam veteran’s helmet in the freezer to fuck with him, which left him extremely pissed off. Thankfully, Scranton came clean, took the heat (hmmm might not be the right adjective) but anyway he managed to make it right and we rode for Swaziland. Now that got interesting. Apparently our new Vietnam Veteran buddy had been a near pro level motocross racer back in the day. So, now we were all buddies it was time to do what men do to celebrate new friendships. Go ride like a bunch of Twats (the English version). It made for some interesting banging of bars and spitting of gravel  on the dirt roads of Swaziland, as we made for Kruger National Park back in South Africa. It was about now I realized for an overweight lawyer this fucker could ride.  With his longhaired, white t shirt, flip flop wearing, knuckle dragging appearance, and ability to smoke like a science experiment, he certainly wasn’t looking or acting like most lawyers I’d met.

Chris Scranton in Vietnam 

I needed legal advice.  Having been in business with a lady who studied arithmetic at a different school, we were now in a competition to see spend their life savings the fastest to could keep regular type lawyers in expensive suits and escort girls. Scranton managed to peer back through the smoke from the bails of pot that was law school and actually offer some good advice as we chilled out on the Indian Ocean. Then we went body surfing. Yes, “we.” For some reason no one else did. Might have been something to do with the size of the waves or the undercurrent or things of that nature. And, it was here I learned Scranton had gone to a primitive Island in Indonesia surfing as a teenager, so it suddenly made sense why he could still talk while I was regurgitating swallowed seawater and getting cold cocked by the next massive wave. 


The next morning we rode off, leaving one Nit Wit at the lodge, and took off on dirt roads to see some spectacular waterfalls. He was acting like a Nob, so we figured he deserved it and, luckily, he managed to find us, as that might have been difficult to explain. Although, now traveling with an lawyer these things seemed less bothersome. 


Kruger passed without incident, other than the same guy almost getting thrown out, which takes some doing. Scranton managed to sit through most of it, no one got eaten, and we took care of a little charity business in the Township of White River at the end of the trip: as is my want.  We had jumped off the Bloukrans Bridge, with a bungee cord of course, as it’s the highest jump in the world and had a generally great time hauling ass on large BMW adventure bikes across South Africa.

Sunset During A Ride 

For all the wild animals, adrenaline-producing motorcycle moments, near punch ups, oh and I almost forget the part where we came close to being arrested and our bikes impounded, it was Scranton’s prowess in the rental car he was abusing that will make the postcard memory of the trip for my mental mantelpiece. With my lawyer at the wheel of an economy rental, we were following behind in a van when we were greeted with the sight of the car screeching to an alarming halt in a bouquet of tire smoke. Then the most extraordinary thing happened: The passenger door and both back doors flew open, and three large humans ejected from the car at an alarming speed. I’ve never seen such a violent reaction to a fart in a rental car before.