Thursday, August 26, 2010

Eff Sturgis, we want Irish nachos.

Every year, just out of Flagstaff, there is a Too Broke for Sturgis Rally, 3 days of bikes, nekid chicks & major drinking. Due to family life, we decided to go up just for the day, instead of the entire weekend.

I made it clear to PapaBear before we left, that I will not be participating in "Show Your Tits", wet t-shirt contests or mud wrestling. getting too old for that shit. I'll leave that to the younger, more perkier girls.

We met up with a couple good friends to ride with & ended up getting stuck in a traffic jam just out of town. We knew a little road that we could use as a detour to avoid that mess. But we ended up getting out on the highway later then planned.

The weather at home had been really hot, almost to hot to ride. but the morning we left, it was somewhat cool & overcast. The further up north we got, the cooler it got. Had to throw on a long sleeve shirt.

The ride & the weather was perfect & we were with good company, we cruised, raced each other & terrorized little old men driving too slow.

We arrived at the rally too late to join the poker run that was going on. We wondered around, looking at the vendors crap & beautiful bikes. After a few hours, we were starving & seeing how everything won't start till much later, we decided to go into town for lunch. Our good friends told us about Irish nachos. What the hell is that? We've never heard of them before.

We found the Irish pub right across from the train station on Route 66. Irish nachos is just like regular nachos with all the fixings, except instead of using tortilla chips, they used fresh sliced & fried potatoes. Holy crap, they were so good. We hung out there for a while, ate a second round of Irish nachos & then decided, fuck it, not go back to the rally, but take a nice ride through Oak Creek Canyon & Sedona & then head home. plus all day it looked like it would rain. If we were at the rally when it started raining, there would be no shelter & all mud. Don't think we ever saw the sun that day.

If you have never been to Oak Creek Canyon or Sedona, you are missing out on amazing scenery.

As we are cruising down the canyon, I'm taking tons of pictures, enjoying the scenery & loving the cool air. Then, wham! Traffic jam just outside Sedona. Son of a bitch. Sat in traffic for about 30 minutes, barely moving, gotta' pee & breathing exhaust fumes.

We finally made it into Sedona & took a while to find any parking. By this time, I was ready to piss on the side of the road. Yay! Not only some parking space, but a public bathroom.

As the girls were waiting in line to get drinks for everyone, I noticed PapaBear posing for a picture with a teeny, tiny Japanese lady. haha, he is 6 ft 5 & she was even smaller then me, maybe 5 ft 2?? After we got our drinks, I asked him what that was about. He said this lady walked up to him, talking a mile a minute in Japanese & somebody finally interpreted for her. She just saw her first American biker & wanted a picture to show her friends back home. He said she was so excited, so he posed with her & then had a boost of ego, he is going to be famous in Japan. I was able to get a picture of them getting their picture taken.

We hung out in Sedona for a while, but it was too crowded & looked like it would start raining any minute. So decided it was time to head home. All the way home, we could see a huge rain storm to the west of us, but never got a drop on us.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Split second

Ever have one of those days when your life as you know it changes in a split second? In one week, two phones calls changed our lives forever.

March 23rd, we get a phone call from our daughter-in-law. The doctors in the ER think our son has some form of blood cancer. But they needed to do a bone marrow biopsy to confirm. Just like that. The kid that was never sick, the kid that always ate right, stayed active & was in tip top physical shape. Holy shit. How? Why? What did he ever do to deserve this?

2 days later, the bone marrow biopsy came back, 91% blasts (cancer cells), two types of leukemia. that's our boy, so competitive that he has to get not one, but two types.

Family & friends quickly rallied. Bringing meals to the hospital every day, a logo was made, t-shirts printed & sold to help our son with bills. Long lost relatives suddenly calling, sending cards, money & best wishes. Tattoos were done. Millions of tears fell. Grudges forgotten. Prayers said. Held on to hope that he didn't have cancer, just sever anemia or some nasty bug. The leukemia ribbon is orange, so our son's best friend designed his ribbon with the Bengal tiger stripes.

From day one, our son amazed the doctors, when he was admitted, his blood levels were the lowest they have ever seen from someone walking into the emergency room. Most people with that low of blood levels have their heart give out. When son said he played basketball just a couple days ago, the doctors jaws dropped to the floor.

He instantly become the favorite patient. Nurses fell in love with him & started fighting over who got to be his nurse, doctors stopped by to see the boy wonder. Rumors of his case being written in medical journals.

Our son responded very well to the aggressive chemo treatments. Very few side effects, but he did lose his hair.

He is now in remission, finishing up his chemo & anxiously wanting to get his life back.

March 25th. The second life changing phone call happened during our sons first bone marrow biopsy. A group of 10 bikers sitting at a red light were plowed into from behind by a guy driving a dump truck. Bikes exploded, on fire, bodies were run over or thrown across the road.

3 were killed instantly, another lost her life later at the hospital. Other were injured, some pretty bad, a couple were lucky with just a few scrapes & broken bones.

Bikers through out the whole state were calling their buddies to see if it was them or if they knew who was involved. The first reports didn't say if it was just a group of friends, a club or an organized public ride. Everyone was calling everyone they knew. "Are you ok?" "Do you know who it was?" "How could this happen?"

After this made national news, I even got a text from a biker buddy in Strathmore England.

How could I deal with this, while our son was just diagnosed with two types of leukemia? How would I handle this if I knew the people involved?

Finally got word on what group it was & who the victims were. I recognized a couple names & the club, but didn't know anyone personally.

The community, bikers & non-bikers became angry. Fund raisers were organized & the love & support from the non-biker world was amazing. A young boy that witnessed the accident used his allowance to buy a bandanna for the make shift memorial where the accident happened. A young boy, maybe 8 or 9, he should have never ever seen anything like this, but was so concerned about the bikers.

We need to ride back out to the accident site. it seems that we have avoided that area, where we use to ride by quite often. I've heard that a welder made a permanent memorial. & A lady took all the bandannas to make a quilt to sell to help the surviving victims.

The dump truck driver tested positive for meth. & Is being charged with manslaughter.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Shit H.O.T.

It's been a while. But, ya' know life happens & it has finally calmed down a little to give me a chance to jot down some thoughts.

I'm the secretary of a local chapter of a world wide club. A few months back, I had the opportunity to attend the annual officers training for the western region. They offer 4 training sites a year in the US & try to break it up by region. There is also the same training in many countries.

Being my first time attending, I was blown away. Here was a huge hotel full of people all wearing the same colors as me, only difference was the location rockers. Motorcycles filled the parking lot, there were several parked inside in the lobby & even up on the stage where the main events took place.

I counted over 700 people, belonging to 100 different chapters, USA, Canada & even Germany was represented. Brothers & sisters, all with a common interest, common bond & common goal.

Right off the bat, this started full throttle & didn't let up until we all staggered out 3 days later. The new Sportster '48 was introduced, the youngest known Harley owner was there & possibly one of the oldest. Said goodbye to someone from the regional team that was retiring.

I was amused to see the number of security & local police on hand, it must have been boring for them, even when they opened the free bar. No one was there to fight or raise hell, we were all there to meet new friends, see old ones, learn the legal side of things, swap ideas & come home with a "fuck yeah, let's ride" attitude.