Damsel in Distress

Written by admin. Posted in 2013 Stories From The Road

“I am a Hilton Gold card member, I demand an upgrade!” I stopped at the Hampton Inn to get a room for the night. The couple I had been following for the last 50 or so miles pulled in, so I followed. They were riding a new CVO loaded down Glide and I thought they might be nice people, him wearing a new Harley leather jacket with Harley 110 Anniversary logo so I knew we had been the same place and thought maybe we would strike up a conversation, but after listening to the rant with the desk clerk and figuring out he was a dickhead I didn’t even try. Please don’t ever let me get like that I thought to myself. Left Milwaukee early taking mostly back roads out to avoid the toll roads and major traffic. Since I did not stop on my way in I had to stop and get the required new state on motorcycle picture. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Oh yeah I almost forgot and can’t seem to get away from Elkhorn wherever I go, but it isn’t so bad. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA   I eventually have to hit the interstate for awhile since I only have a couple of days before I promised Elkhorn I would be back at work and Milwaukee is a long way from Denver on a bike. The crosswinds and semi- trucks had me doing the biker boog-a-loo where you get into a comfortable lean into the wind with the bike going straight, then a semi passes and the bike over compensates for the lean and you wobble, grab the handlebars tighter and suck your ass to the seat. Sometimes quite unnerving especially when compounded by two semis or another road side wind blocker like a bridge, tree row or overpass. You never get used to it. I had enough and decided if I am late getting back to work then so be it, I am taking back roads again until the wind stops. Had I not got off the interstate and back on the back roads then I would never had found out that Ronald Reagan was born in Illinois and raised in Dixon. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I also wouldn’t have learned that John Wayne was born in Winterset Iowa.

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Nor would I have had the chance to see all the covered bridges in Madison County. Why would anyone ride the interstate and by now it is pretty obvious I will not be back to work on time as promised. Since I know I will be late now I have time to stop at American Pickers. I have stopped here twice before and there was nobody else here, now the place is crowded and quite the tourist attraction and again no Danielle damn it.

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Across the road from Pickers is the Mississippi River and a park bench. One more time to view and enjoy the river, but I will be back.

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Good old Nebraska and have to put on my fairly new helmet, hotter than hell and very uncomfortable. You know I haven’t seen any cops on this road, hmm I wonder if I could get by with it?  I pull off and seriously think about removing helmet when two highway cops pull up and ask me how I am doing.

Nebraska and I 80, hot, dry not much to see but corn. I see a car up ahead on the shoulder, looks little; looks foreign, I slow down. I went by and caught a glimpse of a hot girl looking like a pin up doll who jumped out of the car at last second  holding a cardboard sign with lip stick written “out of gas” My first thought was this hot Nebraska sun is getting to me and I just saw a mirage, my second thought was something isn’t right; where is my wallet and my last thought was that was a mini cooper and out of gas my ass, I bet it is electrical problems. Frigging Nebraska hot sun. I couldn’t not stop, I always stop, sometimes causes me problems but have been the one on the side of the road before although I never had lipstick to make a sign. The nearest exit is probably another 20 miles so across the medium like a motocross rider I go, back to where she was and again across the medium. Sure enough a mini Cooper and sure enough she had the pin up doll look going on with tats covering her neck and I could tell they went further down her ample chest.

“Really you are out of gas?” Thinking to myself this is one hell of a mirage or heat stroke, but hell this isn’t bad.

“Yes, I wasn’t paying attention and don’t know where the hell I am at and I left my cell phone in Milwaukee”

“Milwaukee, I just left Milwaukee, Harley 110 Anniversary party” I said.

“Yes I was there, I had a booth, well not really my own booth but a friend let me sell stuff from their booth, here let me show you.”

She opened the hatch and you couldn’t have fit another thing in that car, it was packed to the roof with leather goods, bracelets, necklaces and make up. She showed me a hand made engraved leather purse with an Emblem from an Oldsmobile Cutlass automobile with seat belt latch and straps. It was cool as hell.

“You made this?”

“Yes, let me show you this.”

“Hold on, what is your name and don’t you think I should get you some gas first”

“My name is Heyltje Rose”

“What?” After a day of riding my already bad hearing gets worse. I caught the Rose part but had no idea what she said her first name was.

“H-E-Y-L-T-J-E, she went on to explain her parents naming of her, but for me it was just Hey and she seemed good with it.

I returned from the gas station with a 2 gallon gas can full of gas still suspecting that maybe the problem was more than out of gas, but after dispensing it started right up. I followed her to the gas station where she tried to pay me. She was headed to home in Arizona so I made her take the gas can just in case but we had to really push and shove to make room in her little car.

Check out her website at www.heyltjerose.com and tell her Cole sent you. What a interesting and great person she turned out to be and I had to laugh when she said ” I knew a biker would stop and save me”

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Harley Davidson 110th Anniversary

Written by admin. Posted in 2013 Stories From The Road

“Please take cover, there is severe thunderstorms, large hail and lighting in the area, please take cover!”

Oh great, I just got here. Where is here you ask?
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMilwaukee and the Harley Davidson Museum. I have waited a long time to come here and now I better leave because it doesn’t look like any place here to take cover so back to the underpass I just left an hour ago. The underpass is where all the action is right now anyway with the rain, but not before I grab a pic of this amazing multi motored cycle. Has an engine from each generation of Harley Davidson motors and does run.

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And of course molly the motorcycle riding German Shepard is there too. ( too bad not a Harley though)

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Only Harley Davidson could pull a party like this off, name one other corporation in America that could get this many people here from all over the world sporting their brand, take over a city and put smiles on everyone’s faces. Only Harley Davidson could do this! Most have come from all over the world to participate in the parade which is invitation only and consist of celebrities and HOG (Harley Owners Group) members. HOG has chapters all over the world and most if not all are here for this parade.

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Brazil wins in my opinion for having the most fun during the parade.

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The parade lasted for hours and the rumble on the city streets echoing off the buildings was incredible with both the riders and the crowd all feeling they were a part of. I sat next to a couple from Texas and he provided commentary for the whole parade. He knew every flag and country and all the celebrities of which I knew none. I shook my head up and down as if I understood every word he said but I could hear nothing but the rumble of Harleys.

Probably one of the most photographed parade bikes.

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After the parade was over I wanted to ride too so off to see some of Milwaukee which feels like a small town in a big city.

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Lots of old churches, old buildings and history with Harleys everywhere you looked.

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Lots of people riding along the beaches of Lake Michigan and lots of people on the beaches. There was some kind of party on every corner but the best ones were at one of the local Harley Davidson dealers surrounding Milwaukee and everything was free at the dealers so off I went.  Found the worlds largest beer bong, great music and plenty of scenery.

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Riding in between the dealers would give me a feel for the streets of Milwaukee and the surrounding area. These girls were doing a bang up business with their stand and of course I couldn’t pass them without stopping.

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At night there were multiple neighborhood parties where the streets were closed off and they would have beer vendors, food vendors and live music. It seems the whole town was in support of the Harley Davidson 110 anniversary party and everywhere you turned people were friendly.

The next day more of the same and back to the dealer parties. Since I missed out on the beer bong and did not find any lemonade stands today I had to settle for a beverage from these fine lasses.

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Thank You Mark Twain

Written by admin. Posted in 2013 Stories From The Road

“Have you been here before?” I was sitting on a park bench in Hannibal Missouri when this elderly gentleman sat down beside me and asked me that question.

“Yes, a couple of times now.”

“Why?” I am thinking to myself what the hell kind of question is that?

“Well, because I like this place, I am a Mark Twain fan, I love the Mississippi River and when I look across the street over there and see those buildings it reminds of the stories in Mark Twain’s books, and that makes me feel good.”

“Me too.”

I couldn’t figure this guy out, he was nice enough but the way he asked the blunt questions and his blunt responses was making me a little uncomfortable. I didn’t quite know how to continue the conversation or even if I should continue. I wasn’t sure why he chose this bench when there was others available with the same view he could have by himself. I assumed he wanted to talk but he sure as hell wasn’t mister personality.

“I used to ride.”

Ah ha, there it was, he must have seen me park the bike. I figured I would try his style. “Why did you quit.”

Long silence as he stared across the street. No response and I thought maybe I stepped over the line or maybe the guy was just weird and then with a deep sigh he finally responded. “I don’t know.”

The response was powerful, short words but I immediately knew where he was mentally now. We both just sat there and when he got up to leave we shook hands, it was a warm genuine hand shake; a biker handshake.

Give me a new book, one about travel or history and you will find me hid out somewhere sneaking in a chapter at every opportunity. I like the feel of the book in my hands, the smell of the paper and print. Electronic reading is just not the same for me, yet here I am writing a stories on a computer and hoping you read them the only way you can which is electronic. Some day you will get to hold that book.

I don’t remember being forced to read in school but the books were always short and easy to read until one day I picked up a really thick book called the “Adventures of Tom Sawyer.” I couldn’t put it down, I read it twice and then kept going back and reading my favorite chapters. Then it was Huck Finn books, a whole series of them. I remember feeling really special holding those books in my hands and being proud; look how thick they are; I read the whole thing and I liked it! All I can say is “Thank you Mark Twain!

 

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Thanks to Mark Twain and those books I developed an obsession with the Mississippi River and paddle wheel boats. The big muddy, the river of all rivers the dividing line between east and west and the river that can’t be tamed. Someday I will ride this paddle wheel boat “Queen of the Mississippi” to New Orleans!

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Queen of the Mississippi

 

I can see myself sitting on the one of these balconies drinking my coffee and waving at the people on the shore.

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Another view that shows the size of this canoe with a paddle wheel.

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Finally starting to see other bikes as I head north towards Milwaukee. It is not quite like the road to Sturgis this far south and most are in groups obviously members of various HOG (Harley Owners Group) chapters headed to the Harley 110 anniversary. This group was from Japan and having  blast, they all waved as they went by me.

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Mostly interstate for the last northern half of Illinois, once I started seeing a lot of bikes I became anxious to get to Milwaukee myself so the race was on and before I knew it I was almost there.

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I didn’t have reservations for a room in Milwaukee for another night yet so decided I better try and find a room after crossing the Wisconsin state line and would have a short ride tomorrow. Of course I stayed in the town of Elkhorn, it seemed like the right thing to do. These bikes were in the parking lot of the motel. Zoom up on the windshield of the camo painted street glide.

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A sportster with a sidecar, don’t see that very often.

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Was starting to get my motorcycle fix, they were in the motel parking lot, I could hear them out on the highway and they were everywhere I went now. Little did I know what I was about to be in for tomorrow.

I am going to miss that helmet

Written by admin. Posted in 2013 Stories From The Road

Leaving Arkansas; I will be back, but need to get up early and make the ferry. Getting up early means no time to find coffee and I must make my own. You know you’re addicted to coffee when one of your first major back pack purchases is a light weight drip coffee maker system. This system consist of a little jet stove to heat the bottled water, a stainless steel pan to hold the water and then a rubber drip funnel with paper filters and my favorite Starbucks Sumatra ground coffee.

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I am pretty much in the middle of nowhere this morning on the edge of the Ozarks, everything is covered with real Mountain Dew and I hear a rooster crowing as I sip the first of my special brew java, “man this is awesome”  I say out loud to myself. Looking up the road, I wonder how long it will be for the fog to lift and decide I am not waiting for it.

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As I ride into the low spots the fog is so heavy my windshield covers with water, up over the butterfly hills and the sun is shining on top. Maybe a few less trees than yesterday but these roads are still great for riding.

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Today the plan is take the ferry across Bull Shoals lake and cross into Missouri. I have been on the road over a week now in what I call “free states” of Colorado, New Mexico, Texas meaning no helmet required laws. That all changes today after I cross into Missouri and have to wear a helmet, but first I need to find the ferry landing. It was easy enough to find and I was the first one there so I wandered around the shore line while waiting. In the distance I could hear another Harley roaring through the hills and valleys and thought cool, I will have some company on the ferry. When I made it back to my bike there was a young couple with a new Harley parked next to mine waiting for the ferry. They were both sunburned bad and neither looked to be enjoying themselves. They were in their early 20’s and this was their first bike and their first overnight trip. They were from Kansas City and had ridden down here to go to Branson, they got bored (I think he got bored) and decided to ride south into Arkansas. Somehow they lost track of time, it got dark and they got lost and ended up sleeping on the bike and on the ground at a gas station. Their biggest complaint was sunburn and no windshield allowing the bugs to smash their faces. I told them they would later laugh at their adventure and be ready to do it all again soon. They didn’t believe me and just wanted to get back to Branson and all he could talk about was a windshield, I gave them a tube of sunscreen.  Later, an older fella pulled up on a beat up Honda Goldwing and I had to listen to the whole story all over again as they found a new set of ears with him. He just winked and smiled at me while listening. He also told me to follow him when we exited the ferry.

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I followed my new found Honda riding friend off the ferry wondering if he was going to stop so we could put on our helmets since we were now in helmet state of Missouri. Up the ferry ramp, through the campground, around the corner and into the gravel driveway of a bar.  Ended up with a free map of Missouri, smoked brisket and a cold ice tea for me. My new friend was a Viet Nam vet now retired from being a union ironworker who lived in Arkansas but rode to this place  for the brisket and to visit with old friends. After an hour or so I donned my hardhat (helmet) and away I went thinking about finding the Mississippi river again as my destination.  It doesn’t take long before I find a familiar road.

Original Route 66

 

Good “ol”  Route 66 again. I get on at Cuba and head for Saint Louis. Along the route I stop for a water break, take my helmet off, set it on the pack and water down my hair and shirt. It is an awesome home made swamp cooler once I take off again and very refreshing. I pull through the gravel rutted road out of the abandoned gas station shade to get back to the main road. KARUUMP! damn that was a deep rut and I thought I heard the bike bottom out. Ouch, that hurt, hope I didn’t break anything. Bike feels normal and okay, but why are these people pointing at me and tapping their head? Strange biker wave or something maybe, weird. I only made it about 30 miles in the heat before I was ready to take another water douche and needed gas anyway. I pulled into the gas pumps and there was a couple of guys on choppers . Afte I stopped one of them walked around to the back of my bike and I could tell he was looking to see what my plate was. “Colorado huh, you do know Missouri has a helmet law don’t you?”  Oh crap, that is what the sound was when I hit that rut, it was my helmet bopping off the ground, shit “do you know where I can get a helmet, I obviously forgot and lost it about 30 miles back.” They were no help and I loved that helmet, it was only a novelty but didn’t hurt my head and fit good so what the hell, I already made it this far so I will just go back and get it. As I rode back the direction of the lost helmet I felt like an outlaw and every oncoming car looked like a cop. Longest 30 miles I have ever ridden. When I got back to the spot, the helmet was gone, damn I am going to miss that helmet.

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Now what, no helmet and I didn’t pass a place that looked like they might have one. Guess I could always go to Walmart and get a football helmet ala Jack Nicholson and Easy Rider style. I stopped at a tractor store because I saw 4 wheelers and they had helmets but only the Darth Vader looking style and very expensive, but they did tell me about a custom cycle shop nearby. I found a cheap helmet there and the owner really enjoyed the story. The only thing they had that fit  was a Nazi style chrome helmet, I felt stupid wearing it, but it would have to do. On to the Mississippi river, but think I will bypass Saint Louis and hit the Illinois side.

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I have mentioned this before, but I hope barn quilts catch on in the West, I think they are cool and could be a new business venture for me. Hmmm

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I follow the river road north and land across from one of my favorite Mississippi River towns of Hannibal Missouri.

 

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Time to set up camp and call it a day. Damn, I miss that helmet.

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A Perfect Day for Riding

Written by admin. Posted in 2013 Stories From The Road

This idea of riding the gulf coast from Texas to Florida with the heat and hurricane threats just isn’t working out. Surfing the internet and rethinking the route; boom!; there it is!  Harley Davidsons 110 Anniversary party Milwaukee Wisconsin, a quick look at the map, oh cool get to ride thru Arkansas and I have never been to Milwaukee and best of all I can make it easily by next weekend and screw off in between. Arkansas has always been my favorite state to ride in and somehow over the last 10 years I have found my way to ride part of it half of those years but first must cross the Red River and leave Texas.   

Always hard to leave Texas, but Arkansas calls and those Arkansas roads will grab your heart quickly. I have never been on this road before, cool weather in the low 80’s, weekday, very little traffic, a “PERFECT DAY FOR RIDING” Just let the next few pictures take you away for a bit.

 

 

arkansas roads

 

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Not only are the roads awesome today, but what appears to be a major theme of this years trip is the rest stops with the awesome views

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Rolling thru valleys and river bottoms and then popping out on top of a ridge to a high spot where you can stop and take a look at where you have been. Count the various shades of blue and green.

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The funny stuff I see and think about while I am riding in Arkansas. A mini mall, mostly run down with a liquor store across the street from one of the hundreds of ministries. A rehab center across the street from a sex toy store. Hundreds of abandoned convenience store gas stations in what appears to be failed retirement business ventures for those who relocate here from urban areas seeking a simpler life.  The plan sounded good for them while they were still working and living in the city; move to the country, open a little store and sell ammo, bait and beer. What they didn’t consider was the only ones with money to spend out here already had their own little ammo, bait and beer stores and the rest decided to open a church or a sex shop. Mix then all together and therefore the need for all the rehab centers.

Another abandoned convenience store from the 30’s or 40’s

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A marker locating the mine where the stone from Arkansas came from that went to the Washington Monument in DC

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Wow, that looks like an abandoned amusement park I just went by. I turn around and see eerie ferris wheels and roller coasters and have no idea where I am or what I am looking at. All of the buildings were boarded up, gates chained off and all of the pull offs from the road were blocked with stones. it was obvious whoever owned this did not want people wandering around or even stopping to take pictures. Later at the motel I googled and found out it was Dogpatch USA amusement park now abandoned and claimed to be very haunted. Again the best stuff to be found on the net about it was found in www.legendsofamerica.com website

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A little further up the road I came across this place and later found out it was once the major motel for Dogpatch but is now a motorcycle resort. It was to early to stop for me but I will be back.

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Lost in Texas

Written by admin. Posted in 2013 Stories From The Road

With today’s technology, we may likely be the last generation to ever get lost; I intend to be the last of the last.

Most people will hurry even faster the closer they get to their destination, I tend to go slower. What the hell is the hurry to end the journey?

A map spread out over a roadside park bench is a beautiful thing, I love looking at maps and am always looking for the “Blue Highways” One of my very favorite books written by William Least Heat Moon is titled “Blue Highways” about the back roads colored in blue on the highway map. Not only are we likely the last generation to ever get lost, but we may also be the last generation who takes a dirty calloused finger and traces the lines on a map silently counting the miles and hours between two points looking for the green and blue colors and choosing a route based on the now pre calculated information in the brain and not on a handheld computer. The information now computed in my head, put the map away and ride, if I take a wrong turn or miss a highway number then just go, with any good luck I might actually get lost and I can always pull the map out later and start over.

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When I can afford to, back roads are my choice, it’s the best wine on the menu. The joke at work is never ask Cole how long it takes to get from point A to Point B because he doesn’t have a clue, I like that. When I can’t afford to though, knowing how to read a map, knowing the back roads pays big dividends. I subscribe to the Sonny Barger theory at work, “Early is on time, on time is late and late is a lack of respect.” I am not at work today, have purposely avoided schedule and destinations that would require me to be on time. For all my Texas friends who have now figured out I damn near toured the whole state of Texas and never contacted them, please forgive me but I was avoiding having to be on time and trying to be a bum. Someday; I will have time to stop but don’t expect me to be on time just open the door when I knock and answer the phone when I call and say ” I am just down the road at the gas station a couple of miles from your house”.

 Having given up on New Orleans and  solving the mystery of why Pancho Villa sent me there to find the origin of the iron horse, I pointed my iron horse northeast seeking cooler weather, rivers, great riding back roads and seeking adventure. I know a lot of readers think the whole Kit Carson, Pancho Villa doesn’t belong in a biker blog and don’t get it. Bet you didn’t know Pancho was a biker. A Mexican riding an Indian, there has to be a joke in there somewhere.

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The map showed a lot of green and blue if I headed towards Livingston, I wasn’t disappointed. It is still hot but I am moving, traffic is lighter and the asphalt doesn’t generate as much heat upward when I stop. The road I am on takes me through town and not around town, another reason it always takes me longer to get somewhere. I stop at a stoplight and on my right is an irresistible site. Strange to some I am sure, but the old wrought iron fence is the first draw so I turn right and pull into the church parking lot.

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Having recently read two books about the Civil War, I am now more interested after I see markers of confederate soldiers.

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Like most, I thought the Civil War was only about slavery, but I doubt this Army Private owned any slaves. While slavery was a major issue between the North and South the real friction was the issue of State vs. Federal rights which reminds me that I need to catch up on the news and current events. I haven’t watched anything on TV but the weather channel for over a week now and the only newspapers is what little of headlines I can see through the window in the news stand machines at gas stations.

Next stop near Lake Livingston where I have one of the best meals of this whole trip at a Valero gas station. The deep fried catfish has Allsups burritos beat by a mile! While eating I pick up a newspaper and turn to the sports page.

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And if the sad state of pro sports wasn’t enough, I read about bombing Syria and a new term called “Demohawks” in the breaking news section. Makes me want to go to the bathroom. Texas has the best damn gas station bathrooms!

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So many country songs talk about crossing the Red River, only most are about going the other direction from the one I am going. When I was little (about 10 years ago) I thought the Red River was red, looks like a damn fine greenish blue river to me. It is time I leave Texas, a state I truly love and I will be back not soon enough!

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Instinct

Written by admin. Posted in 2013 Stories From The Road

How hot is it? I’m dying out here, a trip to the south not one of my better ideas. I’m in the middle of Texas and still headed south, my mind made up that I need to put my feet in the Gulf of Mexico and then follow the coast to New Orleans where the secrets of the “Metal Horses” lie. On a quest now, nothing can stop me from watching the sunset on the beach, Jimmy Buffet here I come. Leaving Temple Texas I seek the most direct route I can find, scan the map and Houston get ready. The construction workers say “Get on State Highway 36 and don’t get off, it will end in water” I now have a plan, a route, a destination, a goal, a quest, nothing can stop me.

Nothing can stop me, but a lot can slow me down.

” Are you waiting for Bob”

“No ma’am, I am just taking advantage of this shade tree and quiet spot so I can do a conference call, is that okay?”

” Oh sure, I just thought you were waiting for Bob and I was going to get him for you, we are closing and I saw you parked by his truck and he is still inside.”

I am parked in a bank parking lot under the only quiet shade spot I could find after circling town for a half hour looking for the perfect spot. As soon as I pulled in and shut off, all of the ladies in the bank were walking out and getting in their cars. I only had a couple of minutes left before I had to be on the conference call and knew I was getting stares, but hoped nobody would ask or care. I knew better: think about it, a town of maybe 2000, strange guy on a motorcycle has been riding up and down the streets for a half hour and then parks beside the truck of the most important man in town at the most important place in town (except for sundays), shuts off and pours himself a cup of coffee when it is a 100 degrees outside, digs into his pack, pulls out a laptop, notebook and then pours a bottle of water on his head. A few minutes later the president of the bank, Bob walks out and asks if I am waiting on him. I go mute, explain to Bob what I am doing and he invites me to go inside. I thank him and explain I am fine and almost done, five minutes later he comes back out and gives me an ice cold water. This is America!

A few minutes later, two ladies pull up in a Tahoe.

“Have you seen a cat running around?”

Slowly, “no?”

” I think my cat hitched a ride to the bank with us earlier and we are looking for it”

“Oh, I get it now, no but I will be here awhile and will keep an eye out for it.”

“Good, my daughter said I should ask you if you seen my pussy, here is my phone number if you do”

Mom and daughter drove away giggling like little school girls. I put the paper with the number in my shirt pocket and just shook my head. thinking to myself, “this is Texas, damn I love Texas”

Conference call over, no cat,  it is now evening and seeing the sun set over the gulf isn’t going to happen today. New plan, stop for night, I am close enough now, get up early, hit the gulf and start on my journey to New Orleans along the coast. Slowed down, but not out, plan still in effect, just a minor delay that’s all. As I fly down the highway something white flitters in front of my face and then falls behind me and blows down the highway. Oh yeah, never put anything in your shirt pocket and expect it to stay when riding, it was the phone number. “Hey highway clean up crew, call that number if you find a pussy.”

I haven’t washed the bike since this trip started and except for the rain storms all the road had to offer is still on the bike. The bike is plastered with road tar, mud, bug guts, and caterpillar juice gives it a lot of character. I enjoy a great nights rest in probably the best “Best Western” ever in Brenham Texas, up early and loaded and ready to go around Houston and the traffic to a spot I picked out on the map called Crystal Beach. I originally was thinking Galveston, but that would mean right through the middle of Houston during the morning commute and having been there, done that I found Crystal Beach on the internet last night and decided it would work. I fire up and go through the pre ride checks. What the hell, there are ants everywhere crawling out of my dash, on my seat and as I look down, all over me and the motorcycle.  I bail like a madman shaking and dancing trying to shake them off. Closer inspection reveals I parked near an ant hill and with my kick stand at ground zero the ants were crawling up the kick stand grabbing bug guts off the bike and running back down with their new loot. It was a constant trail up and down the bike with at least a million ants.

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I now have ants on the pants and in my mind ants in my pants, they are on the fairing, the gas tank, all over the motor and crawling all the way to the end of the exhaust. For some reason I think that if I start the bike maybe it will scare them away and if nothing else the engine heat will start cooking them and they will run down the kickstand and go back home. It only served to piss them off and make them more active; maybe if I ride real fast they will be cooked from the heat and the rest will be blown off. I took off and the faster I went the more they came out of the cracks in the fairing so now I am riding, brushing ants off the tank, the dash and me. This isn’t working so I stop, the heat from the engine doesn’t seem to bother them and I am still riding a mobile ant farm. I spend the next 15 min knocking them off with a rag and now have 3 big welts on my belly from ant bites.

I’m off to finally put my feet in the gulf, ants can’t stop me rain can’t stop me, nothing can stop me. I get close to the George Bush International airport and things are familiar, now if I can only skate across the north side heading east, miss the traffic and wind my away around most of Houston and to the Gulf. It didn’t take long to get hot and muggy, my early start delayed by the ants has me entering the traffic apparently the same time as everybody in Houston. Surely they don’t know my secret route, we all seem to be going the same way?

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Stop and go traffic, the engine is getting really hot, I am sure all the ants are cooked by now. I get off the highway and decide to trust my sense of direction, all I have to do is go east and then south or just generally trend southeast, what could go wrong.

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Hot damn, it is hot. I am sweating like crazy, I have to swab the inside of my glasses to see but only when my hands are free which is seldom with the stop and go traffic and the terrible stoplight timing. I know some nerd kid is watching me with a controller in their hand hitting the stop button and making the stoplights go red just as I am about to start moving again. I don’t know where I am now, every block has a stop light and the heat from the pavement only compounds with the engine heat each time I stop. This fancy dancy bike I have comes with a computer that shuts down the rear cylinder when the engine gets hot. The first time it happened I thought I  burned the motor up, it goes from the cool sounding cadence of a v twin motor to that of a Johnny pop tractor.  Smooth’s right out as soon as you touch the throttle but still unnerving nonetheless and it’s doing it every stop light now, this can’t be good. I decide to pull over and let the motor cool off, figure out where I am , wipe the sweat from my face and take a cold water bottle shower. The first thing I see when I pull over is a sign of how hot it is in Texas.

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And he isn’t moving over to share!

The map doesn’t work, I dig out the GPS but it doesn’t show me where I think I am, there is no way I am where it shows, no way so I bury it back in the saddlebag. The road over there is going south east, doesn’t look like much traffic so I take it. Dead end, no outlet, damn I hate those signs and I see them too often. I backtrack and after two  hours I am now at the same gas station with the dog in the ice only this time I made him move and laid on my back looking up at the hot Texas sun and telling the Lord to take me now. Okay maybe I am a little disillusioned from the heat and am pretty sure I just stood in the shade of the building and dreamed of naked vixens pouring ice water on me while rubbing my feet and feeding me grapes. The hot sun does strange things to the mind, not all of them bad.

Something doesn’t feel right. I hate this, I can feel it coming, I know when it is about to happen and fight it off with everything I have but it’s winning this time I can tell. I fight it harder, come on man don’t do it, don’t do it. Toughen up you pussy,  too late, it happened, my instinct took over and it said you don’t wanna die: I gave up on trying to find the coast, at least anywhere near Houston.

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A table for time and my guardian angel

Written by admin. Posted in 2013 Stories From The Road

” Excuse me sir, are you busy, do you have a knife?”

I am half way into a 2 hour conference call in my field office at the roadside park when a guy walks up behind me and asks me for a knife.

“Oh, I am sorry you look busy, I just need a knife to cut up my credit cards.”

I am a little startled, I have no idea who he is or where he came from and of course I am not happy about how he snuck into my space, he didn’t even knock before he entered my office. He is standing there holding two brand new credit cards of some sort and wants a knife to cut them up. When I am on the road I often spend time in places most people wouldn’t and I am used to people asking for money, trying to sell me something or involving me in some sort of scam, but this was a new one.

“Look, I am on the phone, I don’t have a knife,  I can blow holes in them with my gun, but I might miss and it makes a lot of noise!”

I don’t travel with a gun, ( I have a guardian angel) but it was enough for him to back away, say I am sorry to bother you and disappear almost as silently as he appeared. I am still wondering what the scam was?

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I am still on route 66, a road I love to not only ride but to also read about. You can go to Washington DC to see all kinds of monuments but route 66 is America’s largest monument and is also known around the world.  Much of it has been overlaid by newer highways, it has been abandoned and re-routed in other parts but a lot of it is still there if you look for it. Sometimes looking for it is the most fun.  It still has a few motels where you don’t need a sleeping bag to sleep in  and mom and pop restaurants without the branded and generic menus but if you are in a hurry, forget it. If you want a true Americana adventure, route 66 still kicks! You will need a mirror to look at this next picture or you can take your notebook/laptop and hold it to a mirror.

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Did you really just use a mirror, I did, it works. Seriously did you really just use a mirror?

I have previously ridden route 66 from Amarillo to Chicago and someday intend to do a blog just on that trip. This trip though allowed me to do a little more of it from Santa Rosa NM to Amarillo.  The first time I rode route 66 I did the internet thing and googled “route 66” I then studied as much as I could about the road. My search kept going to the same web page over and over and the name of the person was the same as somebody I knew from high school.  Somehow it came up in a conversation with my mom and she confirmed it was the same person. If you love history, ghost towns, Americana like I do then you need to go to WWW.Legendsofamerica.com Find them on facebook too and do a “like”, you won’t regret it. I have since reconnected with Kathy and someday she will sell my books, she just doesn’t know it yet. I once tried to date her in high school but her sister who knew me quite well (and still does) shut that idea off like a light switch. Whenever I am about to do a road trip and have an idea where I am going I will do a search of her site and get some ideas. This trip though, I don’t really have a clue where I’m headed so I go to her site after the fact, only to find what the hell it was  that I missed earlier in the day. You will be surprised at what there is about your own locale or backyard that never knew about. Let her know I sent ya!

I messed around all day, finding the old route 66 highway, the museum in Santa Rosa and even US 84 which was the route 66 prior to 1937. I need tires, have needed them since I left almost a week ago now (see pic of my guardian angel again)  and I need to find a Harley shop with new tires. Amarillo and Tripps Harley Davidson were my destination and should be easy enough to get there before closing time but I had to bypass a lot of places I would have liked to stop, like Montoyo NM. There is nothing there now but rusty iron, crumbling rock and stone buildings – a real modern day ghost town. I always stop at those places and it probably even had an abandoned gas station to park at!  I am really bummed I did not stop, especially after doing a search on Legends of America after the fact! I needed tires, had to reach Amarillo before closing time. I didn’t make it.

Are any Stuckey’s still in business? This was the second one I stopped at that has been abandoned. I didn’t need anything but it made a good place to stop and wait out the rain storm. I ride in rain, no problem, but this was a hard frog strangling rain that washes stuff off the highway including motorcycles. I saw the Stuckey’s sign from a mile away and knew I needed to get off the interstate and wait this rain out.  It looked like it would pass quickly and I could still make Amarillo and the HD shop before closing time. I pulled in and immediately could tell it was abandoned; that was okay with me I just needed the awning to park under out of the rain. I shut the motor off, got off the bike and stripped out of my rain gear. KABOOM! Lightening strikes the radio tower on the other side of the interstate. Kaboom again, I see the dust fly from the ground as lightening strikes the hill in front of me. I look around and then up, I am standing under a metal awning which appears to be the second highest landmark besides the radio tower. The hell with this, I will take my chances riding in the hard rain! I swear the hair on my arms was standing erect when that last flash hit and no time to put the rain gear back on, I gotta go! See pic of my guardian angel again.

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You are still reading this so that means I didn’t get struck by lightening; I didn’t make Amarillo HD by closing time either and I did get wet, really wet! ” Isn’t this fun”, I keep telling myself. Hell yes it is! I made the Harley shop just as they were closing up and put myself on the list for early the next morning. I found a room close by and rode around Amarillo for awhile mostly lost which is the way I like it. Eventually I came to the Amarillo Civic Center and pulled over.  I sat in the grass, smoked a cigarette and smiled, just like I did in the same spot  38 years ago, the night before I joined the Army across the street. There was a little ol band from Texas playing inside and I was too broke to afford a ticket so I hung out in the grass outside with other broke people who were so broke they were all sharing the same cigarette, they even shared it with me. Back then I won a free extra night in Amarillo on Uncle Sam because I had to go back twice to pass the piss test, I don’t think they even tested for THC back then so it must have been the alcohol.  I doubt they give second chances anymore. Yep that is the same guy.

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Tripps Harley Davidson did a fine job installing two new tires for me the next morning. While waiting, I used their waiting room to catch up on emails and do yet another work conference call and of course, visit with the locals hanging out in the dealership. Seemed to be a lot of locals hanging out doing nothing and finally one of them told me they were all waiting for the truck to arrive with the new 2014 Harley’s.

“Yeah, they are supposed to be here today. They were supposed to be here yesterday but the truck broke down or something so only one showed up and it was on a Walmart truck. It’s in the back, wanna see it?”

Of course I wanted to see it so my new Texas friend snuck me into the back room where I am sure neither of us was supposed to be. There it sat, a new 2014 unassembled Tri Glide which is a Harley 3 wheeler. Looked like an Electra Glide with an extra wheel but what the hell is this thing? Oh my, it is a radiator, no can’t be true! Yes the new Harley’s are water cooled, no wonder it came in on a Walmart Truck.

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No wonder Harley started adding lowers  to all the Harleys since 2010, they were setting us up because they knew they were going to hide a radiator in there eventually. Harley’s have been air cooled since 1903 except for an experiment a few years ago where they produced a water cooled model called the V Rod. Not sure this is going to fly with hard core Harley enthusiasts. The new models also have a touch screen for GPS, radio, xm, ipod, and computer. I think it is a motorcycle although my new friend said it was a Cadillac with three wheels. He also said there isn’t one accessory from previous years that fit the new ones.  Harley knows no one leaves the dealership with a new bike that doesn’t include some individual stylized accessories.

(For my non Harley friends, lowers are plastic fairing pieces that mount to the lower crash bars, meant to provide an additional wind break and rain protection for the feet and lower leg area. I have ridden bikes with them and all they do for me is add heat and limit places to put my feet.)

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Wondering where to go next with my new tires, hotter than hell out there on the road so I asked this fella for some directions and guidance. He wasn’t much help and I think he wanted to run me over, little does he know I once was a rodeo clown. See pic of my guardian angel again.

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Another roadside park to ponder my next move, yep need to go see if “the table” is still there. It was the last time I was there so I need to see if it still is.

I call this pondering and it really is the same guy that was a soldier in the earlier pic.

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The table, oh that wonderful stone picnic table that Grandpa built. Whenever I think of Grandpa and Grandma in Temple Texas I think of that table where we laughed, climbed, learn to play cards, crack pecans, and listen to the old folks talk. Grandpa was a mason; he built that table to last and even though the house has been torn down for 20 years, the porch, sidewalks and that wonderful table were still there the last time I went to check on it 10 years ago.

Grandpa and the table.

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Will it still be there, I wonder as the miles float away under my new tires. The guy in Abilene told me to be careful around the river bottoms, “watch out for the hogs he said”. my hands tighten on the grips as my eyes constantly scan the barrow ditches and edge of the road for wild hogs.

” They are really bad this year and will take down a motorcycle.  We’ve had a lot of motorcycle wrecks running into wild hogs this year already. Really unpredictable too, the bastards. About the time you think they are going to cross they will turn around and be right in your wheel.” See pic of guardian angel.

I am disappointed when I get through all the river bottoms and never see a wild hog.  I ride through Gatesville where I was told I would end up someday if I didn’t change my ways. None of the prisoners are outside today, pussies.  It’s too hot for them and the ACLU probably has a  safe maximum outside temperature range the state now has to abide by. Ft Hood, where my mom and dad met during WWII; Belton reservoir where my Uncle Jimmy and my Dad used to take my grandma to dine and dance.  The airport where we picked up my Uncle Jimmy,  a Colonel in the Air Force who had just flown in on a fighter jet.  Gonna be a good time around the old stone picnic table tonight.  I was back in 1966 in my mind as I rode by all these memorable places. I can’t believe I rode right to the front step without getting lost, the closer I got the more it all came back to me and just like that I was in front of Grandpa and Grandma’s house. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The house is torn down, but the sidewalks and that huge old porch are still there covered with trees but much smaller than I remembered, like everything is from our childhood, but what about the table? Man I hope nobody stole it, they better have a big ass piece of equipment to unearth that thing. It was made to last, made by my grandpa, built with stone and concrete, it had colors and inlays, a true artistic monument and built with my Grandpa’s own two hands. My grandpa; a mason.

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Burnt taters, pure Americana

Written by admin. Posted in 2013 Stories From The Road

“Pancho, where can I get something to eat, you know some good Mexican food”

“Allsups”

“Allsups, what is that Spanish for, is it a sit down restaurant or what?”

“You can sit down if you want, but it is a gas station you stupid gringo.”

“Gas station, you mean an old gas station converted to a Mexican restaurant?”

“No man, like 7-11, mini mart, kum n go, convenience store!”

So Pancho Villa sends me to a place called Allsups for good Mexican food and you know what, he was right! There should be a law against it, the first deep fried beef and bean burrito was so damn good I had to go get another. It is a good thing they don’t have Allsups close to where I work and I later find out people line up at lunch time for Allsups burritos all throughout Texas. Oh yeah, I am headed to Texas now and trying to figure out the directions Pancho gave me.

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Not in Texas yet though, still having a good time in New Mexico and road 518 out of Taos south is magical and puts me in a great mood along with a full belly. Eventually I find my way to Las Vegas and a crazy man collecting cans at of all places, Allsups. He stands behind cars and screams at them as they try to back up, eventually the manager comes out and screams at him to move, the car backs out and leaves and then the routine starts all over again. I watch with amazement as this scene repeats itself 3 or 4 times and wonder what kind of scam or game this is. He never asks for money, he just screams in some language that isn’t Spanish but some kind of “grunting scream talk”. I decide this is getting weird and starting to hear Alfred Hitchcock in my ear so I try to leave and he is behind me screaming at me. I shut the bike down, get off and decide to go inside and ask the manager to make him move and the man runs off down the street screaming. This land of enchantment is starting to make sense to me now because I am sure there is peyote in the beef and bean burrito’s Allsups sells.

Conference call meeting time. I have said it before but if I don’t do some work during these trips then there is no way I can be gone this long without guilt so I try to cover the important stuff while on the road and often have the best seat and view of anyone on the calls. I am lucky to have a job where I can still  work from about anyplace and sometimes anyplace is subject only to my creativity and current location. Today it is Tucamcari New Mexico at a road side table area.

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Those who know me at work, have seen this before, but when I think, I scribble. The more scribbles the harder I am thinking and the better the meeting. This meeting wasn’t too bad.

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Someday, most likely in enchanted New Mexico a 1000 years from now somebody will find these notes and claim they have some alien meaning and are really ancient hieroglyphics.

Tucamcari, love saying that word. On Route 66 and this office could have been used by travelers since 1937. Right next to the radio station KQAY that was also crackling on automobile tube radios.

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Road side stops, road side rest area, road side tables, is pure Americana. Who hasn’t stopped at one and if like me growing up traveling to grandma’s house in the back seat of a 4 door Ford then you have stopped at a lot of them. I remember the ones in Texas the most because that was the road to Grandma’s house from Kansas. My favorite; Cross Plains Texas where there was a rope hung in a tree where me and little brother would swing over the creek while dad opened the trunk, grabbed a cold Coors from the metal ice chest, wrapped it in a red mechanics rag (pre koozie days) and holler at us two brothers to get off the rope. We always had a trunk full of Coors on our trips to grandma’s house in Texas, partially because Grandma loved Coors and my Dad was boot leggin’ before Coors was sold in Texas. I think it paid for our trips. While dad was taking a beer break, Mom was making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. See what I mean, pure Americana. I texted my older brother that I was in Cross Plains Texas and thinking I needed a Coors wrapped in a red rag. He responded with ” you brought back a pleasant and nostalgic old memory he hadn’t thought of in a long time”  and thanked me.

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If you have memories at stops like these, then please comment, its easy and harmless and the comments keep me going.

Route 66, love it and try and do the original road as much as I can. You have to get off the interstates and see real America before it disappears. Soon old houses like this will be gone. Was it a banker, a lawyer, a boot legger or a cattle baron’s mansion at one time?

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I am going with cattle baron because damn it, my story and it is what I want to believe, besides he moved out of town and back to his ranch,

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Gotta love the Texas sense of humor. He is in deep shit because his pastures turned to cactus and the yuppies haven’t figured out a way to market them yet.

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“Hey pard, I don’t know where you headed but you gonna be a burnt tater when you get there!”

I am getting gas and these two construction workers start talking to me asking where I am headed. They catch me doing the water dance,  where I pour ice cold water over my head and let it run down my face, down my shirt and eventually down my pants cooling off my balls therefore making me do the jig. I call it the water dance but after the dance a ride down the road and home made swamp cooler is in effect.  Later in the day I had a picture taken in front of Allsups and after looking at it I can see where the burnt tater comment came from. And oh yeah guys, I am headed for the gulf! They said I wasn’t on the right road, but what the hell did they know, they were construction workers.

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Kit, Pancho and Willie

Written by admin. Posted in 2013 Stories From The Road

He was asleep on the old wooden bench in front of Kit Carson’s house, sombrero pulled down over his face and a navajo blanket covering the rest of him.

“Hey Senor, wake up, wake up old man, do you speak English?”

The old mexican slowly raised his sombrero to reveal his face, wearing a long moustache and looked at me in the eyes without saying a word.

” Senor, isn’t this Kit Carson’s house, do you speak english, isn’t that his iron horse parked there?”

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“The wooden indian in Manitou sent me here to find Kit, said he would guide me to the origin of the steel horses. What is your name anyway?”

Finally the old mexican spoke.

“I know who you are, you are Two Feathers.”

“How do you know that old man, where is Kit?”

“My name is Pancho: Pancho Villa, and you are too late, Kit is gone.”

“What do you mean gone, he was supposed to be here.”

“Oh he is here, just gone. Go take a look around back.”

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“Oh wow, I am late, but hey I got slowed down by those caterpillars and all those roads leading me here kept calling my name so I had to take them and then there was the rain I had to wait out sitting in the car wash.”

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“It is okay, he left me a map and directions, I lost the map but here is the directions.”

Find Willie, big water, lots of water, lots of places with French names, many people dancing in the streets, lots of beer, lots of cheer, big celebration, but first you must cross the big plain.

“What the hell kind of directions are those!”

“Hey, I am only the messenger, you can figure it out, take your time and oh yeah, get some new tires.”

Land of Enchantment is taking on a new meaning. Before I got to Taos I stopped at Angel Fire and the Viet Nam Veteran’s Memorial.

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I had been here before in the 80’s and it has been expanded with museum and a library. It is worth the visit and a very powerful place. How does a soldier write home from a war zone?

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Getting here I rode through Cimmaron Canyon with it’s fresh paved road and very little traffic, the first of many roads like this I hope to ride on this trip, I have always been curious about the roadside memorials so I often stop,

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This one had a plaque indicating the person was a veteran of a foreign war and this was the curve before the memorial that I am guessing was missed causing the fatal wreck, (note to self, slow down)

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It was time to leave NM and figure out the directions or riddle that Pancho gave me. I am guessing Willie could be Willie Nelson, but I am leaning toward Willie Robertson with Duck Dynasty since he is in Louisiana and the rest of the riddle has New Orleans written all over it. First I must cross the big plain Pancho told me about.

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Wow, looks hot and a big plain to cross but hey!

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Why did the caterpillar cross the road

Written by admin. Posted in 2013 Stories From The Road

The wooden indian pointed me south to find the man called Kit who would show me the way to the origin of the iron horses, but first I had to stop at the office and do some work.

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A good place to study the map and figure out where I might find Kit and use the internet. I read where Starbucks is going to put time limits on how long you may use their wireless, it seems more people are using them for an office instead of buying coffee.

While in my office I found a couple of more pictures from the Cripple Creek rally that didn’t make the earlier blog, but deserves some air time. The first is an Indian Motorcycle painted in Olive Drab and has a military motif.

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While walking back to my scooter parked up the street I noticed a Honda trying to breed a Harley and somebody is going to be pissed. Lesson, don’t park on a hill with the kick stand on the uphill side. It is a wonder it didn’t domino a few more.

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I reluctantly left Colorado Springs one of my favorite Colorado towns and headed south towards Pueblo.

“Can you fix my air conditioner?”

“I’m sorry ma’am, I am only taking a break, I don’t work here.”

” Is there anyone here who can fix my air conditioner, it won’t blow, can I add water to it to make it colder?”

“Ma’am, this place is closed and boarded up, I am only parked here for the shade.”

I had pulled off the highway at what use to be a regular stop between C Springs and Pueblo only to find the place boarded up and closed. I was parked under the awning over the gas pumps taking advantage of the shade when this lady pulled up asking me to take care of her air conditioner problem. I sent her towards Pueblo and told her to stop at Auto Zone and sweet talk the guys behind the counter. A few more people pulled in, realized the place was closed, looked at me like I was crazy and then sped off.

“Well damn, this place is closed isn’t it?”

A couple on a motorcycle had just pulled up to the gas pump, stopped the motor, removed the gas cap and then noticed the place was dead.

“Yes it is, I am only here taking advantage of the shade.”

“Well hell, we thought it was open but we will share your shade, Hi I’m Bob Lee”

Bob and Tracy Bob Lee from Broken Arrow Oklahoma, on the downhill side of a vacation that took them through Canada and both with smiles as big as Texas. Turns out Bob is an electrical designer for an engineering company that designs projects my company has worked on. It is a small world in my business and even when you meet new people, there is always someone you both know.

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Bob started telling me about their previous day’s adventure. They were on I 25 in Denver when the rear tire went flat and they were in the fast lane with no where to go. When a Harley tire goes flat, it goes fast and you pretty much stop where you are at. In this case a three lane highway somehow turned into four lanes and traffic that makes LA and Houston look tame. Add to it the record heat Denver is having and rush hour starting. They pulled over against the concrete barrier as close as they could, no way to cross the highway either direction with the never ending traffic and to make matters worse they were on a curve and the traffic coming around the corner would be aimed right for them only to swerve at the last few seconds to miss them. They tried the cell phone to find a wrecker to pick them up but the traffic was so loud using the cell phone was useless. Eventually a cop stopped, kept the traffic from trying to run over them and Tracy was able to sit in the car and use the cell phone. Two hours later, they are finally on the way to Rocky Mtn Harley to get it repaired. Love people like Bob and Tracy with the glass not only half full but overflowing, they made great new friends at Rocky Mountain and were now laughing about the whole adventure as I found myself staring at my own tires with the fading tread.

Land of enchantment and Raton pass, wish I had more time to spend in this area with all of the history and great scenery but I found out Kit only passed through here and didn’t stop.

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Kersplat! KERSPLAT! What the hell! Splat again. I know you think the bugs are splatting all over me and the bike but no, I am running over all these things about 4 inches long and migrating across the highway! I was cruising along south of Raton just enjoying the scenery and no traffic,

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when all of a sudden, thousands of creepy crawlers were crossing the highway!

I had to stop to get a better look, kind of freaky because they were now crawling around my feet but they weren’t interested in me, they were interested in whatever was on the other side of the road.

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A semi came by while I was pulled over and at least a 100 of the little critters lost their life. This migration lasted for about 5 miles and everybody I asked or told the story  thinks I am crazy so it must be one of those enchanted things in New Mexico. I won’t even talk about the low flying drone.

Hey girl take my picture!

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And she did.

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Time to pull over again and rest, decide if what I saw today was fantasy or real and figure out the riddle to the iron horse origin.

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Disclaimer, lawyers guns and money

Written by admin. Posted in 2013 Stories From The Road

lawyers guns and money

On the advice of my attorney it is with great sadness that I must add this disclaimer.

LEGAL NOTICE

From the Law Offices of Hunter, Thompson, Kwak, Guyasuta and RunswithBeer (all esq.) LLC

USA Steel Tower

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There is no such person as colesclassic, member of the the gang known as “two bums and three zeros”, there is no such person known as two feathers, warrior for the Fucarwe tribe, both he himself is a work of fiction. There is no such thing as iron horses and if there was wouldn’t that be wild! Okay maybe there is iron horses but I digress

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dumb ass

 

Seeking Iron Horses

Written by admin. Posted in 2013 Stories From The Road

“Go see the medicine man in Manitou, he will help you”

“But how do I find him?”

“Follow the sunrise through the rocky path”

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“Ride to the top until the trees stop growing and the air is thin. Look out over the valley.”

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“Park on the side of the road and walk down to the edge, follow the animal trail”

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“Find the edge of the mountain they call Pikes Peak and look for the trail they call Ute pass. It is there you will see the way to the medicine man tepee”

Ute Pass;  for 10,000 years it has been the way down the mountains to the plains for buffalo hunting and the way back into the mountains in later years for thousands of gold miners.

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It has been over 30 years since I have been on Pikes Peak and that was before the road was paved all the way to the top so it was time to ride it. I have been by the entrance a lot of times, but my mind works like most others and the thought was that I can always do it later since it’s close. Like most others I never found the time because it was too close. This time though an old miner in the ghost town section of Cripple Creek told me if I wanted to find the source of the “Iron Horses” I had to start at the top of Pikes Peak and find the pass to the medicine man who would show me the way.

Can you go too slow when on the road to the top? Hell yes! I was following a couple on another motorcycle who obviously were enjoying the scenery and taking their time. The older Harley was overloaded and I could see the tires squished and when they turned the bike would weave a little bit. I am not sure if it was the handling that kept them going so slow, if they were just enjoying the scenery or scared to death of going over the edge. Going up a steep incline and then negotiating a hairpin switchback curve I thought they and myself might just fall over from going so slow. I consider my riding skills above average, but I was starting to get concerned that we were going so slow I might stall, roll backwards or just flat fall over and I was getting concerned about it all. I finally found a level place to pull over and wait it out. I could hear them slowly making their way to the top; putt putt putt putt. I started off again only to catch them and starting the whole routine over with no place to pass. I stopped again after scaring the hell out of myself going so slow up a steep inline I was wobbling from the slow speed, how they made it to the top without killing the motor I will never know. I also found myself getting light headed from the lack of oxygen at this altitude which was something I have never expirienced before. Once at the top I could see Kansas and the plains and the rocky snow capped range to the west. I wanted to beat the old couple down the mountain so I didn’t have to do the slow race going downhill  so I did not stay on top very long. The old couple just sat there on their bike and never got off, I should have talked to them but decided it might end in a debate over riding too slow so I left.

Once I was at the bottom I turned right and headed to Manitou Springs to find the medicine man. He was easy to find, I don’t think he has moved in a few years.

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“Go south and find the pueblos, find a man they call “Kit”, he is married to my sister and he knows the frontier, the plains and the rivers, he will know the way to the origin of the Iron Horses”

Hmmm, Kit huh, should be easy enough, I’m gone.

A Proud Day To Be An American

Written by admin. Posted in 2013 Stories From The Road

“And when I came out, my bike was the only one left in the parking lot!”

The rest of us roared with laughter as Brannon told the story of how he almost missed the ride last year. We are parked at the high school parking lot in Woodland Park Colorado lining up and waiting for the ride to Cripple Creek during  the Salute to American Veterans Rally. This year is special because Colorado Highway 67 has just been dedicated as the Colorado POW/MIA Memorial Highway and we are waiting to be part of the inaugural parade ride. Looking around I am guessing 1000 motorcycles. They have us packed in tight and more keep coming, maybe more than a 1000, maybe 2000.

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I am usually just now getting back from Sturgis and while I always wanted to attend the Cripple Creek Salute to Americans Veterans Rally, this is my first time and the Rally has been going for 21 years. Once I knew Sturgis was out this year I made plans to attend this rally even before I decided to make it my trip starting point. I am not sure what to expect and don’t really like riding in groups so I am getting the ride briefing from Brannon and others who are lined up around me.  We have been there lined up for almost 2 hours now and more bikes keep coming in, I need to pee and spy the Port o Johns across the street out of the parking lot. I mention that I am almost afraid to leave because I am not sure I could find my bike again and that is when Brannon started telling his story.

“Yeah last year, I got here early and it was just like this, but man I had to go to the bathroom bad so I used my GPS and made my bike a waypoint and weaved my way to the port o johns. While I was in there, all of a sudden I heard the bikes starting up but I couldnt stop what I was doing and figured I had plenty of time. I could tell the bikes were starting to leave, the ground and the port o john was shaking and I still thought I had time to finish and then it got quiet. When I came out my bike was the only one left in the parking lot, I didn’t need the GPS to find it after all.”

After hearing Brannon’s story, I decided I would wait to pee and then the orders came “all riders to bikes” They really have this thing down, no sooner than orders to mount up, the bikes were fired up and field marshalls were flagging the rows of bikes to leave. Just like that we were roaring through Woodland park and it wasn’t parade speed,, it was a double time forced march! The streets were lined with people cheering, the men were either saluting or had  hands over their hearts, the women were waving and blowing kisses and the little kids were doing all of the above with many waving flags. “Us” bikers were doing our best to wave back, honk horns, revving engines all while staying in order that almost made us look like we practiced this stuff.

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There is something very patriotic about a bunch of bikers with the thundering roar of what I later found out was 3500 motorcycles, flags flying, and people waving. We rode into Cripple Creek and the crowd was at least 20 deep from the street edge to the sidewalks. We come over the hill to ride under the largest American Flag I have ever seen which was held up by two cranes with booms fully extended.

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I even caught a picture of what I believe was a P51 Mustang doing fly overs and buzzing the town

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I mentioned earlier the ride was the inaugural ride of the new POW/ MIA memorial highway and the ribbon cutting for it was done by three former POW’s

3 pows cut ribbon

One of the neatest things for me to witness was a man from America’s Greatest Generation and  Grand Marshall for the parade (which happened to be lead by the Patriot Guard from the Great State of Kansas!!), WWII US Army Ranger Lowell G. Freeman. He is pictured here with the promotor of the event and also a great American Jim Wear.

lowell freeman and jim wear

It was a great day to be an American and I felt honored to be a part of it.

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Next? Well there is this little mountain they call Pikes Peak that has a paved road all the way to the top that I haven’t been on for 40 years and never been on it riding a motorcycle.

A year without Sturgis

Written by admin. Posted in 2013 Stories From The Road

You at Sturgis?
“Oh man, why did you have to bring that up, hell no I couldn’t find enough days off in a row to make it worthwhile.”
“Are you gonna take a trip this year, are you going to do the blog?”
“Oh yeah, I am going to take a trip, just don’t know when or where yet, not sure on the blog, seems kind of lame without Sturgis in it.

I had this same conversation with about 20 people during the week of Sturgis and the hobby I call a job was just too busy this year to take an extended motorcycle trip around the Sturgis timeframe. The weeks leading up to it and especially during Sturgis week I was in a funk, short tempered, depressed and generally “all around”; an asshole. I spent my nights looking at Sturgis webcams, reading Sturgis news, being pissed off and even thought  about quitting my job, or rationalizing how I could do my job from the road. There were days, instead of being pissed off I would dive into work so hard I may have been double productive just to keep my mind off it. I spent the weekends getting up early, loading the dog in the truck and heading down to the interstate frontage road which is on a main route to Sturgis and watch all the bikers headed to Sturgis. In the afternoon I would ride  one of my two antique bikes (a 1958 panhead and a 1930 V) up and down the frontage road watching the bikes headed to Sturgis.

my 1930 v

 58 pan

While riding the old bikes I dreamed of actually loading one up with my pack and taking off to Sturgis, the 1930 tops out  about 58 mph and that is downhill with a tail wind so I knew that idea was out and while the 58 pan cruises just fine at 75 mph it was just too far for a 2 day weekend.

In the afternoons I would ride the newer 2010 street glide back and forth on the frontage road from Loveland to Denver watching all my brethren headed for biker mecca. It got me through the weekend but my attitude about not going was still sour comeMonday morning at work again.  Sturgis came and went without me, 13 years in a row, but 14 is going to be a missing year.

Back at work: ” when the hell am I going to be able to put together enough days in a row to take a trip?” Late October! Hell no, that is 12 weeks away and what if something happens and makes that not work, plus it is too damn cold then! Maybe I can trailer to our office in Ft Worth and then ride the coast, yeah thats it, thats a plan. Meantime at night, I am still reading about the Sturgis I missed, reading about motorcycles old and new, dreaming of a road trip when I get this:

too busy to make a lifeAnd then that is followed by this:

find yourselfAnd they just kept coming:

only live once

never regret

I was starting to get the message and that message was:

dangerous risk

That last one hit home like a punch in the face and I realized I was :

 

born to ride forced to work

I can’t wait until late october to take a trip, I looked at mid September but really was not a good time with what is going on at work and plus the weather forecast showed monsoon season in most places I was thinking about going not to mention hurricane season in some of the others. What the hell to do?

I can rationalize anything soooooooooooo:

if you need me