Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Caution do not scare the GROUCH!

Some of you that read this may realize that I train folks to drive big trucks. Those that do not will now. Last week quite by accident I found a new training technique. I had a student from New York City, and he was pretty nervous about driving my truck because it has a 13 speed transmission. I tried everything I could to make him more comfortable. Nothing seemed to work.

I use post-it notes to write the route out so that students stay on the right roads when I go into the sleeper. (I do not sleep much back there, but when I go back there students seem to relax.) I went back there with this guy and he woke me up suddenly. I got up grouchy. He did not say anything about it but I was a little bothered by it. I apologized to him for being grouchy, but then told him that I had been asleep. He seemed surprised. Then he asked if he had scared me. I told him no, he would not like me very much if he had scared me. We had a good laugh about this. Then I wrote on a post it note "CAUTION !!!! DO NOT SCARE THE GROUCH!!!!!", I put this note behind the route, and did not say anything to him about it.

Then next day we we leaving a parking lot and a car almost hit us. He stopped and controlled the situation well. Afterwords he asked me if he had scared me. I then showed him the note, and told him no but he should stop trying to scare me. We laughed but he was much more relaxed after that. So it worked.

As an aside I am planning on doing the entire Run For The Wall this year. More on that later

Friday, October 8, 2010

Old Friends Found

Some of my readers may remember my account (some what enhanced in my favor) of the battles on the Spangdahlem Speedway between me and Speedy. Well I may have some videos of these events to share soon, that is if Speedy can figure out how to get them on a DVD from the original dusty VHS format that they are currently on. If he does then I have to figure out how to post them here, which I will do. Speedy and I were actually only rivals on the track, we got along pretty well. He currently races shift carts in Louisiana, and I am sure that he is doing very well there. He is and was an excellent tactical driver, I on the other hand was just plain lucky and I mostly just ran into things and other cars and got really lucky that I ever finished a race. The ones that I finished ahead of Speedy were few and far between, but I enjoyed them even when I lost to him.

So any way the purpose of this post is that I have found a couple of old Friends in the last couple of months, and I am really looking forward to meeting with them again and maybe even watching Speedy race a little bit.

Short update on the Old Marine,
He is at home and doing better. He is not 100% yet but he is doing better.


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Old Marine is getting better

My Dad, AKA The Old Marine, is doing better. He actually expects to head home Monday. He still has a feeding tube in his stomach, and may need a visit every now and then from a home care nurse, but he is walking without a walker, and rehab therapy is going well. The VA rehab that he wanted to go to is full, and has a waiting list, so he will be going home. To everyone that prayed for his speedy recovery thanks, it worked.

He is not 100 % yet but at around 85% and getting stronger, and sassier every day.


Saturday, September 18, 2010

This one is just for fun

Some of my followers already know that I am a truck driver and that I train new drivers. I thought I would post this story on one of my students, the names will not be posted, but nicknames will be. Here goes the story of Weed Hopper:

A few weeks ago I got a new student sent to me. I met him in Council Bluffs Iowa, and he needed to drive to the North East and North West and he needed to get at least two mountains. These are all required before my company allows a new driver to move on to the next phase of training. This guy was pretty cool to train. He was in construction in Florida, and Georgia, and when the construction jobs dried up he decided to make one last career change and become a truck driver. He gave himself the nick name "Weed Hopper" because he kept saying "Yes my Trainer" when I would correct things he was doing wrong. When I asked him why he said it like that he said he had always been a fan of the T.V. show "Kung Fu" and thought that since grass hopper was already taken he would be a "Weed Hopper". Pretty funny if you think about it. So I started calling him Weed Hopper. We were swapping trailers with another trainer and his student, and Weed Hopper was checking the new trailer out, and really embarrassed the other trainer when he found an expired registration and a flat tire on the trailer we were picking up. Normally I would have had to tell these guys that I was not going to take this trailer, but the load got me to Home, and from previous posts you should know that my Dad is in the hospital, so I took the trailer. We called in the flat tire, and moved across the street to await a tire guy to come out and fix the tire. Two guys showed up, and they has said it would take about an hour for them to get there, they were there in 10 minutes, and watching them change that tire was amazing. Normally this takes almost half an hour, but these two guys went at it like they were a NASCAR pit crew, and were done in about 10 minutes after they arrived. Weed Hopper was just amazed at how fast this was done, and when he commented on how fast they were, the one guy said, yeah I gotta get to Rugby practice, or it would have taken longer.
Later Weed Hopper said, "That guy wanted to go to Rugby practice pretty bad didn't he?"
My response was "Yeah and it takes leather balls to play rugby, so he must really like the pain." We laughed about this for about three days. Weed Hopper has moved on to the next phase of training, and will be a successful driver, which is the goal of the training program, and I will never worry about having a flat in Cedar Falls IA cause the Good Year guys there doe a great job.

Old Marine getting better and on the move

Well here is another update on the Old Marine...He has moved out of the Madison VA hospital and is back in Milwaukee. He is in a Rehabilitation facility trying to get well enough to head home. But he still has some tubes sticking into him. He is hoping that he can be home in 14 days, but if not he will be signing up for VA Rehab in Milwaukee. He is doing better, but does not like the low fat low cal low salt diet he is on. He will get used to it, but you know how Marines. He wants what he wants and he will get it somehow I am sure. Thanks again to all the well wishers from Run For The Wall that have sent out prayers to him and for him. He really appreciates his extended family, and he even remembers a few folks by name, and mentions them every now and then. He is getting a little stronger every day and is working hard to get better.


Monday, September 13, 2010

The Old Marine gets his waffle

Wow, I guess some one is following this. First let me apologize for not updating my Dad's status sooner. I received a comment requesting an update from some one. I have been a little busy in the last four days, went from Indiana to Indiana by way of New York State and Wells Nevada.

Here goes the update. As of this morning about 07:30 CST he was doing well. He has been walking, he still has a stomach tube, a chest tube, a liver tube and an IV, but he is not attached to the Christmas tree any longer which means he is free to walk as much as he can (He won't admit it but my Uncle Ed said he has probably walked more in the last three weeks than in the last three years.
He sent my Sister to the Slop Shop for more Pogey Bait (direct translation for the Non Marines Grocery store for some stuff he was not supposed to have, in this case Twinkies, I got him a Hershey Bar last week). He is eating regular food and pretty much anything he wants right now. He sounds a lot better on the phone, and I should be able to see him by the end of the week. I am headed to Dallas for business, then home for the weekend I hope.
When I talked to him this morning he was eating a waffle, no strawberries or whipped cream, but plenty of syrup and oleo (margarine for the younger folks).

I think he will get better, he still has some problems, pain from stomach incision and pneumonia, and they think he has a hernia (considering that they opened him up a second time and pulled his insides out to inspect I do not think he should have a hernia, but what do I know, I am just a truck driver and a concerned son.)

He will be in Madison for a few more days yet. Docs are discussing sending him to Milwaukee, but not sure if it will be the VA or the rehab center he has picked out.
Thanks again to all of you that have been praying for him. He also has mentioned more than once that he is thankful to all his Run Buds cause he knows those guys are praying for him and thinking about him.
OK anonymous, that is all I know for now. Except his room mate is headed home for therapy and that he is hoping he at least gets another Marine, cause those Air Force guys are cantankerous. His word not mine, wait was he talking about me?


Monday, September 6, 2010

Clyde is Ready to Roll, now that summer is over

Clyde to Bounce,
Get him Better he rides me better than you do.

Oil changed valves adjusted ready to ride, and now summer is over, but I will be ready for May, question is will bounce be ready


Thursday, August 19, 2010

Update on the Old Marine

Today my Dad was moved out of intensive care and into a regular room. He is still receiving great care, and visits from the Marines, The VFW, the Moose Lodge, and several others. This makes it a lot easier on him since he is over 100 miles from home. He has also been walking around which is great cause Saturday he could not get his left leg to move at all.

Thanks to everyone that has prayed for his speedy recovery. Please do not stop, he lived a rock star lifestyle for years, and it is catching up with him. But he is doing better.


Not as Lean, Not as Mean but Still a Marine

This post has been rattling around in my head since last Thursday morning. I just have not had the time, or even the desire to put the words out there. I received a voice mail from my younger Brother, that my Dad (Step Father, but he is my Dad) was in the hospital in Madison Wisconsin. I was of course on the road and about 600 miles away from him. I waited until a reasonable hour and started calling to find out what was up. Turns out my Dad, the Old Marine, who is not as lean, nor as mean but still a Marine, has landed in the Madison VA hospital. He was pretty sick, but it seems that he is still a fighting machine because he is getting better. He spent about seven days in intensive care, but should be moving to a regular room today. He is recovering, and I pray that I am half as tough as he is when I am 60. I will be updating how the Old Marine ( a nickname given to him while participating three times on Run For The Wall) is doing here as he progresses. Thanks to all his friends and mine for all the good words, and prayers.
Note to self do not fall asleep on any more hospital waiting room floors, they are hard and cold. Do get a blanket from the nice intensive care nurse (They keep them in a heater and they are soooooooo warm)
You may notice by the above note that I had a long weekend, but I am back on the road now, will be trying to get back and see my Dad and Mom and the rest of my Family a little more. After all I discovered that a person cannot work all the time no matter what the situation is, things can be replaced, family cannot.


Saturday, July 24, 2010

Another friend gone

I have a friend that passed away on Tuesday. His name was Tom Locket. I knew him as Tracker a road guard for Run For The Wall. He was a quiet guy and quite a guy at the same time. The only time I had more than a passing hello from him was a few years ago when I screwed up on the run. The pack was heading into Jefferson Barracks, and it was taking longer than normal to get turned around. We had well over 400 bikes to park and those of us that had been there before knew to be patient and be ready to move into the parking area. There were about twenty new folks in the pack ahead of me and they thought were were done. None of them had radios on their bikes, and they were shutting down and getting off their bikes. We still had almost 100 bikes on the freeway at this point. I had room and I was going to pull out of line and go up and inform them to be ready to move fast cause we still had a way to go before we got off the bikes. Just as I was thinking of doing this bone head move, Tom and Walrus came along, and if I had moved out they would have crashed into me. Later Tom told me to be patient and not make one bone head move worse by doing something that was not my job. He was right, he and Walrus were and are road guards and moving the pack is their job. Thanks Tom, you will be missed. Tom's Funeral is today, in Arkansas. I am in Tennessee so I won't be there, but I will say a prayer for Tom's family and all my friends that remain. I am better for having known Tom.


Saturday, June 5, 2010

Biker Buds? Or just standing up for what is right?

Last week I had the chance to visit with my Son in Colorado Springs. He took me to his favorite restaurant (more on that in a later post) and we had a great meal. Just as we were finishing breakfast the young lady that runs the restaurant realized she was out of cooking oil. It was a rush time, so since my Son and I were just killing time we offered to go get some more oil for her. She offered to buy our breakfast, but we told her no, we were heading over to the store anyway. When we parked our car and were walking up to the store entrance we witnessed what could have been a bad accident. A car that looked like it was waiting for the cross walk to clear suddenly backed up just as a motorcycle was pulling out behind the car. Needless to say the bike got smacked and went down. The rider was fortunate in that he did not appear hurt. The lady driving the car was indignant that the motorcycle got in her way. Her statement "I did not back into the motorcycle, I put my car in reverse to turn left and he hit me" was not as bad as her crack "You and your biker buddies can say anything you want, but I am in the right here". My son and I gave our names and phone numbers to the biker, after we helped him pick his bike up. When we came out of the store the lady announced that the police were not interested and were not coming out. The sad part is that she could have just as easily run down a pedestrian, or a child and she really did not care, it was not her fault that the bike got in her way. I think she was really more upset that she had to stay and give the biker her insurance information, this was delaying her important life. After hearing her two comments, I had to stop and tell her that I was sorry that I had witnessed her stupid act, but that backing up against the flow of traffic is illegal. She then told me that she would see me in court. I doubt that this will ever get that far, but if it does I will gladly appear. I just pray that this woman does not get so busy that she forgets she is driving and kills a pedestrian.


Saturday, May 29, 2010

Another Year of RFTW in the books

Well Run for the Wall is over again this year. Sadly I could not participate this year, but hope that all who did had a safe run. I also hope that all of them get home safely. There is a parade tomorrow to honor fallen heroes, and to remind a Government, that is mostly out of town, and out of touch, that we will never forget those that gave their all for our freedom. Next year All the Way? I do not know but I hope so. I do know that Dwayne has blogged the entire trip. Any that wish to see what the Run is like should follow the link below to the Motorcycle Muse. He writes better than I do, and he was there too.

More fun stuff to come. I am trying to write a book, and thanks to the efforts of Shoreparty, I have recovered all the data I have been collecting and typing over the years to that end. I reread Garrison Keillor, aka draft dodger, from two years ago, and my comments to that article. I hope those that participate in Rolling Thunder are allowed to parade and for those that think it is about noise pollution, I hope the make as much noise as they can. Being an American, and a Veteran, and a Patriot in this country is right, but being wrong is also allowed.


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

No Run for Bounce this year

Due to circumstances way beyond my control I will not be participating in Run For the Wall this year. They left California today, and I am in Wisconsin. I intended to ride out to Wentzville, MO this coming Sunday and meet up with the Run on Monday there. But because of things that I cannot control I will not be there. I have posted all the information I can, my friend, Krazy Karl is running the truck communication team, and I think all will be well.

Clyde let me down sort of, he cost a little over $400.00 for maintenance this year, and that plus other problems eliminated any and all funds that I had available for the Run. I will miss my family and friends, but the mission will go on with or without Bounce and Clyde.

I will continue with my daily check calls, and will keep everyone posted on the status of both routes, but my information will be limited to what is available on the internet. I want to be there, but if I do not get back to work things will get really crazy. So I will be back at work when the Run hits Angel fire.


Bounce do not worry I will get you to LA next year, honest
I mean I am a great motorcycle, just a little expensive to repair.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A wake up and the Run Starts

Tomorrow Run For The Wall 2010 starts. Central Route will be on I-15 and I-40 and Southern Route will be on I-15 and I-10. There will be about 300 bikes on each route. There will be a lot of cages riding along ahead and behind this year too. We are getting older. We cannot forget the reason for this run. It is for all the troops that did not come home from all wars, and those that need to heal after being placed in harms way. Thanks to all of you who will be standing out in all sorts of weather to cheer the packs on. Every one of you is part of the reason that we do what we do.
23 years ago there were not very many participants, and there are new folks every year. Thanks to all the FNG's that join in this year. Thanks to all the towns that will host and feed the riders on the run. Thanks to all the truckers that will patiently and professionally deal with the packs. For the 1% that won't, well thanks to you to. Thanks to Glen Jones of Sirius Radio for all of his support too.


Monday, May 17, 2010

Not all truck drivers just drive

About a month ago I met a driver that works for the same company I do. He is a truck driver, but he is also a videographer. He made videos for a living before he decided to drive truck. His name is Marcell, and he has some very High Tech equipment. He told me that he has about 75 hours worth of video from on the road and that he wanted to interview some drivers to go with the video that he has filmed. I was not surprised when he told me that he was having trouble getting folks to talk to him, especially if he had his camera with him. I think I surprised him when I told him I would not mind talking to him. Well anyway we arranged a time for an interview, over the phone. I did this last night, and we talked for over an hour and half. He asked some great questions, and I gave him the answers that I had. It was interesting. He is trying to bring out a part of trucking that most people do not ever see. I wish him luck in his endeavor.


Sunday, May 16, 2010

Runs to the Run have started

Well it has started again. Actually it started last week. Some of my Run Family have already arrived in CA. Others will get there today. Bones and his wife almost got snowed in in CO, but luckily Bones has a friend with a tow truck that has helped him out. I hope he is out of the snow. Of course I wish I could have caught him on Friday, cause two cents is a great price for a Gold Wing. The amazing part is that Bones mentioned that his wife has not complained. I told him she is just tougher than he is.

Krazy Karl, and Black Hat should be in CA today or early tomorrow. Shutterbug has been there for a week, Trunks lives there, so he just has a day trip to LA.

At any rate I hope the truckers are reading all the signs, and paying attention to the fact that a lot of motorcycles are on the road, heading west in small groups, and larger groups. I also hope that the bikers pay attention and stay upright and visible. As for the four wheelers, or cages, I hope both truckers and bikers stay out of their way and avoid any confrontation with them. A confrontation between a cage and a bike always ends badly, as does a confrontation between a truck and a 4 wheeler.

Be safe everyone. I will be posting what I can about the run here. Also the Motorcycle muse has a blog this year, I will link that here as soon as I can get the address.


Friday, May 14, 2010

Video bar

I had to remove the video bar, it would not hold the videos I wanted it too, and after several attempts I decided it was just easier to pull the darn thing. Sorry, I am just not technically adept enough to do what I want with it. I will be trying again later. Gotta go for now.


Home at last

Yesterday I finally made it home after about four months on the road. Although happy to be here, there is a lot to do. Clyde is in the shop getting ready for my shortened Run For the Wall, and I have to pack, build a fence, get batteries for the big red truck, and on and on. Living at a small dog rescue is OK, but I will be using earplugs a lot. Rescuing puppies is a loud thing, but hopefully they will all be in forever homes soon, HOPEFULLY!

I have changed up the video bar a little, and there is one video about crossing the GW bridge from NJ to NY that has absolutely nothing to do with the Run, but I am just not smart enough to delete it. I sure hope the computer guy fixes my laptop soon, cause I miss writing here, and Clyde can not seem to channel on the home computer, might be he is afraid of all the puppies?

To all my friends on the Run I will see you again at Wentzville.

Ride safe and stay upright and visible. The weather is going to be great (yeah even if it isn't great we are going to do the mission.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

It is May and there are a lot of west bound Motorcycles

Today is May 2nd. In the last week I have seen a lot of motorcycles headed west. Today I am in PA, and yesterday I was in West Virginia. I saw two large groups of Motorcycles headed west. At least thirty bikes in total. I saw five RFTW vests, and quite a few Legion Riders in these packs. I hope they all get where they are going safe. The Run starts in a few days. For my truck driving friends remember not all of these folks on motorcycles are thinking about what happens when they cut a truck off. They are not doing it because they do not like trucks, or because they do not respect trucks, they just do not know.

Krazy Karl will be talking to trucks on I-40 and I-70 for the Central Route. I hope he has some help before Wentzville, but I will be there to help him as much as I can from there on out. Karl if you read this remember sending someone ahead for the tricky transitions (especially the ones not covered by cops) worked well last year. In Arizona where I-17 and I-40 come together is one of those places.

OK enough for today. I still have not fixed my computer, but I have been able to post now and then by borrowing other folks lap tops. It is amazing how many truck drivers are on the net.
I will be trying to post information here about the progress of the Run, but will be limited in my knowledge.

Thanks for reading


Saturday, April 10, 2010

Lap top dies but bounce keeps writing, sort of

My lap top is dead. I hope to have it resurrected, or at least fixed soon, but I won't be posting much here until that happens. I am writing on paper (that sounds so last century doesn't it) and will be posting those thoughts as soon as the lap top is fixed or replaced.

I will be participating in Run for the Wall again this May, but cannot go all the way again this year. I hope to join the pack and my extended Family at Wentzville, MO. I will be trying to post information here about the Run and where to look for large groups of motorcycles. But only if the Lap Top is fixed. Amazing that I feel as though I have lost a limb or something because that piece of equipment is not working.

Clyde will be tuned, have his oil changed and all fuses repaired so that he is ready to haul me out and back for the mission again this year.


Saturday, February 20, 2010

Found by an old friend

Today I received a message from an Old friend from Germany. A short while ago I got a request from a lovely German girl to be her friend on Face Book. She looked familiar, but I did not recognize her last name. Well I clicked on yes, and today I was rewarded with a message from my friend and mechanic from my days at Spangdahlem Speedway.

It reminded me of the first time I met this man. He had a race car that was pretty well built, and a motor that was just awesome. He had adapted some rims from a Peugeot, or some other french car so that he could have smaller rims on the back of his car. The purpose of this was to make the gear ratios on a Volkswagen transmission much better for a 1/4 mile dirt track. During the heat race he broke a rim. I am not sure how or why but I ended up helping him fix his car for our main event race. He of course beat the pants off me and just about everyone else that day. He and his friend ALF were there every race, and did really well that year. He was running a single port 1500 CC VW engine that was probably hopped up to well over 1800 CC's. But hey there was no way to prove that without tearing the engine down, and that was a costly protest. When I realized I could not beat this guy I joined him. We built a lot of race cars together, and in the process built a great friendship. I have mentioned Lothar before on this page. Rich Tilley will remember him, mostly because he translated for us when a certain President of a Certain Motorcycle Club was planning on killing us because of the Harley Rich sold him. Rich told the guy the thing was junk, but somehow that did not translate as well as "Pan Head" did. Lothar saved our bacon there. He also was responsible for me racing on the German track at Wolfsfeld Germany, and getting me into the Eiffel Meisters race club. All were rewarding times, and very good memories. In fact as I remember Lothar also convinced me to allow the Eiffel Meisters to race as Spangdahlem Speedway. Not really sure how we got that done as it involved getting several thousand local nationals permission to come onto an active Air Base, but hey it worked.
It truly is a small world.

Finally for those who care I am sitting in Wyoming waiting for snow plows to clear the road (not holding my breath) so I can roll on to California for a delivery.


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Here is a Poll about DC's new Ride

Please vote frequently and nicely on this question. I will forward the results to DC. You can pick multiple answers too. Speak up and let the man know how you feel about his ride.

Clyde the Motorcycle....

Clyde to Bounce....I need new oil, and a my valves set.....not to mention a bath.

Spring will get here Eventually

Today I am waiting for roads to clear in Missouri. Boonville, MO to be exact. It is really cold, and there was a 6 inch snow storm last night. But I cannot blame the state as they are working to clean up the roads as much as they can. I just cannot drive on ice. I learned that lesson on Christmas Eve when I got stuck in of all places Fort Worth Texas on ice.

A quick shout out to Velcroe, she does a great job on the RFTW news letters.

I have a friend that does the Run, his nickname is DC. Not sure why but it fits, we call him Day Care, cause he is pretty young. This year he bought a new bike for the run. My first reaction to it was that he had grown up and bought an adult bike. Then of course he modified the darn thing, and now it looks just like his old bike, with hard bags instead of soft ones. He may even put the spikes on it and it will really be a reincarnation of his old bike. He did put Ape Hanger handle bars on it, so it sort of resembles Pato's bike now, minus the googly eyes (but of course that might be coming). DC is the guy that fixed Clyde after he got hit by the truck, and he is really a great guy. Some folks are giving him static over his "Retrofitting, and reverse engineering" of his new bike, but hey it looks pretty good.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

We ride for those who Can't

I have said here many times before that this blog is not dedicated to the Run for The Wall, but the writer certainly is.

The title of this post is the main motto of RFTW.org. We ride for those who Can't. Not just those that cannot make the trip, not just the guys that were left behind in Viet Nam, but for those who are serving now and cannot ride from Coast to Coast and see the support that this Country truly gives its Serving men and women, and its Veterans.

Every year that I ride with the Run, and I have done it five years in a row, I am constantly amazed by the dedication of the Volunteers that organize and keep us safe. The road guards have an amazing job, as does the fuel crew and the staging crew, and the platoon leaders. There are well over 100 Volunteers just with the Run, then there are thousands of folks that organize the overpasses that we ride under (and there are two routes so you have to multiply all numbers by 2) and arrange to feed over 400 folks three times a day. On the Central route we also have Monsoon and his team making sure that no one runs out of water along the way, and Grumpy and the chase team, and No Chute and the sound trailer, the list is just amazing. These people are really dedicated to the Run, and the family that is has become. When riding with the pack at first it can be a little scary. No it is a lot scary. Highway speeds (we run 5mph under the posted speed limit) with trucks and cars passing us and riding in formation is rough.
In 2005 my first year doing this at one of our lunch stops a guy was getting off his bike when a lady asked him "How many bikes do you guys have?" I cannot remember his exact words, but he told her very seriously and truthfully that he knew there was a bike next to him, and one in front of him, so we had at least three bikes counting his. That lady probably thought this guy was a smart mouth. But he was telling the truth. If you do the Run right all you see is the license plate in front of you and your wing man. After a while you do not concentrate on anything but that. You are aware of the traffic around you, but you are not concentrating on it, you are taking care of the folks around you.
In 2007 Straight Arrow asked me to ride in his slot. I was honored, but tried to get out of it because I did not feel that I had paid my dues. This was in Gallup NM the day that we go to Angel Fire NM. I was suddenly in the Gang of 6, or the head shed. These are folks that are called on to get things done for the route coordinator, and they ride in the first platoon right behind the assistant route coordinator.
In 07 the assistant was Shooter, Straight Arrow was pulling road guard duty, and Hammer wanted me there to do whatever Shooter needed I guess. I was OK with it but did not feel that I rode well enough to be up there. Of the six bikes in that group I was the only rider I was worried about going into Angel Fire. I had been on this road once before, and knew it well. Everyone was riding well, and we were probably going a little fast, and running a little tight, but it was fun. Bones later told me that he felt like something was going to happen for miles, but the riding was fun.

Then it happened. We were rounding the last turn on the mountain, and Shooter hit his brakes (my first thought was hey he never does that, this is going to be bad, real bad) I slowed down, and tried to find Bones in my mirror, he was on my right wing, and I had lost him when Shooter hit his brakes. Now normally central route rides side by side, but not in construction zones, or on mountains. As I started to round the corner I saw a Frito Lay eighteen wheeler coming at me. Her trailer was off tracking behind the tractor and was about 6 feet into my 8 foot lane. I moved as far right as I could, but left room for Bones just in case. I did not want to crowd him into the ditch. As the trailer passed me my highway peg on the left side of Clyde (for those who have not read here before Clyde is the motorcycle I ride...long story I will let him tell it) hit the trailer tires and I was being sucked under the truck. I pushed off the trailer with my right hand, and Clyde popped back up onto his wheels, I turned on my blinker and moved off the road. When I dropped off into the dirt next to the road Clyde sunk in the dirt to his axles. I just stood up, and the bike was standing too. Never went down, I think I amazed Bones and the guy behind me cause they both thought I was dead. Two Lane told me that my new road name was "Dances with Semi's" I liked it a great deal. Bones said that I should be called "Semi Slayer" because the truck got towed away (OK when the driver saw the rest of the bikes she pulled off onto the shoulder on her side and got stuck in the same dirt Clyde and I got stuck in). In truth I liked both those new road names, but neither worked on the CB, the first one was too long, and the second one, well Krazy Karl and I talk trucks past the pack. I could just imagine how that conversation would go...."OK big truck you have one more pack of bikes and then a missing man formation to pass and you are done with us...thanks for you patience and professionalism!" and the answer "Thanks, who am I talking to any way?"
"they call me Semi Slayer." It just did not work. Well old Two lane told me no problem, for the radio they would call me Bounce. At first I did not like this one, but it sort of stuck. I did ride in that spot behind Shooter several more times. After one stop Shooter got held up and Tanker and Girlfriend told me that if he was not there when we rolled I had to cover his slot. I did and ti was a parade leg. I was really grateful when Shooter came roaring up and slid into his spot.

Welcome to any and all FNG's and all the rest of the RFTW family that may read this.

Thanks for putting up with me for five years.


We ride for those who Can't

P.S. $3200.00 damage to my Yamaha, and it was all cracked plastic, thanks to DC and the maintenance crew at the Angel Fire Resort all bent mechanical parts were fixed and straightened in about ten minutes. I rode Clyde all the way to DC and then home after being hit by a truck. Say what you will about Yamaha, they make a tough Dave proof motorcycle.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Will Winter never end?

Photo Straight Arrow talking to SR and CR at Arlington Church after Dinner in 2009
I could have started this with a different title, but I am stuck in Oklahoma waiting for roads to clear, so I used the one I did. Clyde needs parts, and an oil change, and a valve job. I have seen a lot of bikes on the road in the last few days, but I was in California.

I have read a lot of the posts on the rftw.org forum, and they are all the same. Guys wishing it was May already, the usual folks that want to change the way we ride, and lots of Fine New Guys and Gals too.

I have done the Run Five times, participated in 2005 (Colorado to DC) all the way in 2006, 2007, and 2008, and participated in 2009 (From New Mexico to DC). All of these trips have been rewarding. Last year was not great for me, but I still fulfilled my mission and a promise to Wizard to get his Brother's Memory to the Wall.

My first Run was in 2005. I do not ride a great deal. I had a new bike, and in truth it was probably more bike than I had ever ridden before. I got to Colorado and did so in pretty good time. I do not think that I would qualify for an "Iron Butt" award, but I did go the roughly 1400 miles from Wisconsin to Colorado in 3 days. I could have done it in two days, but when I got off the bike for fuel the first time in Colorado there was a motel right there at the gas station, so I parked the bike checked in and went to bed. I was excited about doing the Run, but exhausted too.
Then the next day I met my Brother in Castle Rock, and rode down (OK technically it is up) to Colorado Springs with him. He was pretty satisfied with my riding so after a couple of days we went out to meet the Run. That was a real thrill.
We were at the Wal-Mart in La Junta, CO. Seeing that pack of bikes ride in to the Wal-Mart fuel stop was awesome. My brother laughed at me and told me that was just the fuel crew and road guards, and that I had not seen anything yet. About 30 minutes later he was proved right. The pack arrived, there were almost 400 bikes that day. I was amazed at how fast they got fueled and staged. That was some first impression. I kept thinking to myself "Wow what have I been missing out on?"

Then we followed the pack up to Limon, CO. When we registered we were welcomed into the family. People remembered Shore Party from the previous year, and he introduced me as his older Brother. If was pretty awesome. Then we went to dinner at Hugo, CO and I realized for the first time that all the hype, the formation, and flags, and patches had a true purpose. There was a POW/MIA ceremony before dinner, and everyone stood at parade rest and watched. But this was not where I found the purpose of the Run. I discovered that when riding into Hugo. The streets were lined with people, from Little Children, to a few WWII and Korean War Vets. That was pretty impressive, but not what made the mission click for me. There was an older gentleman on a moped that jumped into the formation next to me. I met him later, he is a Viet Nam Vet, and unfortunately he did not come back whole from there. When I asked who he was, someone, it may have been Walrus, or Stoney, told me that he lived in Hugo, and did that every year. I was told that we were riding because he could not. That pointed the mission out to me more than anything else that happened that year.

We were riding for those who can't. Not just the Missing, not just the Dead, but the folks that came back with injuries that do not heal. The mission is to heal all who participate. The mission has become greater than just a pack of old coots on scoots riding across country. The mission is much more important than personal feelings, of even finances. It is truly a mission of love.

When I was in the Air Force, and in some places that were not real friendly, almost everyone talked about riding a motorcycle from Coast to Coast, and growing a pony tail. This last was because we were not allowed to grow our hair long. I can now say that I have done both. The pony tail I grew for myself. The ride from Coast to Coast was done for something greater than myself. The rewards for all that work, and believe me riding in that formation is hard work, were many.

In January of 2006 I was talking to my oldest Daughter, and I remember telling her that I was going to do the Run again that year, but I did not really know why I was doing it. She reminded me of my dream of riding a motorcycle from Coast to Coast, and I told her that sure that was part of it, but I did not really understand why I had to do this thing.
She answered quite wisely (takes after her Mother) "Dad that is a no brainer! It is your mission."
She is a great kid, no great woman and very wise. She is right. It is my mission.

The four years after that first year I knew that I was going to do the Run again and again. I had a conversation with Bones a couple of years ago and we agreed that we would do it until we could not hold the bike up, then it would be time to buy a trike, and when to old to climb on and off a trike, then chase vehicles, or Cages, but we would do it until everyone came home.

We can never forget those that gave their all for or Freedoms, and we can never forget that Freedom is not Free.

Some Gave All, and All Gave Some, is more than just words, more than a motto that is on a decal on my big truck, it is a truth that we can never forget.

In closing I did do something that I highly encourage everyone to do this week. I was in Las Cruces New Mexico and two Reservists were in the Restaurant that was having lunch in. I bought them lunch, and told the waitress to just tell them it was from a Vet that appreciated their sacrifice. I walked up to them and thanked them for their service and welcomed them home. I then found out that one of them has supported the Southern Route several times in Las Cruces. Life is truly on a wheel.