Monthly Archives: February 2015

2013 Remission Road Trip – Bucket List Begins – Big Harley Adventure (BHA 2013)

2013 brought with it good news!

a second chance

REMISSION 


 Planning started early in the year during the cold winter months. I was feeling stronger after the months of Chemo. I knew this was my rebirth, my second chance. Not only for me but for Carla too, she would have to put up with me for a while longer.

This would be the beginning of a new chapter in our lives. I had sold a Sportster to Kirk, Carla’s brother, in the early spring. Within a month or so Kirk upgraded to a 2013 Street Glide. As I was researching and planning our trip Kirk started to get excited about going with Carla and I. The plan was to leave from Indianapolis, Indiana after work on August 2nd. Since we would be getting a late start, about 1:00 in the afternoon, I wanted to make it just west of St. Louis, MO.  We stopped in Fenton, MO for the night. 280 miles down with a little light rain thrown in for good measure.

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 Picking up a fuse before leaving Indyphoto


Day 2

Started off a little damp. We stopped at a Historic Route 66 visitors center. The visitors center is full of memorabilia, souvenirs and information.

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Carla’s feet got soaking wet because the soles of her old comfy boots had seen better days. When we saw the sign for Ozark Harley Davidson, Carla knew they might have a nice pair of boots in her size. Nice and dry and just the right size. Score! She put the old wet boots in the box that the new boots came in and the nice people at Ozark Harley Davidson mailed them home for us.

photo Those boots became her favorite pair.

We stayed on the interstate most of the time but there are parts of Route 66 that you have to take in. Cuba, Missouri is one of those places.

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There are several murals in town along Rote 66. This one depicts the time Bette Davis visited Cuba, MO.

We took plenty of pictures and were even asked to pose for some pictures with a group of European visitors that were on thier way to Los Angeles from Chicago, riding with  Eaglerider guides and rental bikes. They enjoyed seeing how we traveled and admired our bikes. If you ever think of traveling the USA on a Harley this is one way you can do it.

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Route 66 provides a glimpse into the past 

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Still a light drizzle, kind of like riding through a cloud all morning. But the day would brighten and the wheels would keep rolling.

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Oklahoma Welcome

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After 400 miles for the day we would end our day in Tulsa, Oklahoma. But not before a good steak and baked potato at Cattleman’s Steak House.


Day 3

 Started in Tulsa and we accidentally Discovered the Golden Driller, a giant oil field worker at the state fairgrounds.

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As you can see the day started of a bit cloudy and cool.

Next stop, East Meets West Symbolic Midway Point of Route 66. Surprisingly this stop was a great place for pictures. The sculptures are larger than I imagined when I was looking at pictures online.

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As we neared Oklahoma City the weather improved and actually started to get pretty darn hot. Oklahoma City National Memorial is a memorial at the actual site of the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building.

168 chairs represent the lives lost at the site

some of the chairs are smaller than the rest to represent the children

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The construction fencing became a memorial immediately. People would bring things and leave them as a tribute. After the memorial was finished no one could remove the fence because of the touching tributes. Visiting a memorial like this makes you realize that your daily problems are not so bad.

Lets go we have some ground to cover.  Next stop Big Texan Steak Ranch for some sight-seeing and cool liquids.

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Then on down the road to the Cadillac Ranch of Amarillo, Texas.

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Bring your own spray paint or you can find some cans with some paint left in them that’s what we did and we left our marks.

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After some exploring its time to go. Destination Tucumcari, New Mexico for the night.

DSCN0343 This place was busy back in the day of glory along Route 66

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502 miles for the day. Spent the night in Tucumcari, New Mexico around the corner from this old historic route 66 hot spot.


Day 4 starts in Tucumcari, New Mexico going to Flagstaff, Arizona

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Lots of ground to cover across New Mexico into Arizona.

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Along the road to Arizona

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Finally made it to Arizona
but there is plenty more to see before we stop in Flagstaff

Quick stop in Winslow, Arizona made famous by the song.

Take it Easy By Jackson Browne

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528 miles for day 4 spent the night in Flagstaff, Arizona


Day 5 on the way to Sedona, Arizona

I will sum the first 5 days up in a video

BHA 2013 Part 2 Coming Soon

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Categories: cancer, Harley Davidson, Motorcycle, Trip Planning | Tags: , , , | 6 Comments

Moki Dugway Utah

http://youtu.be/XPZUsgW-3xA

Just a tease… Next post

Categories: Harley Davidson, Motorcycle, Trip Planning | Leave a comment

2012 Cancer Took Me For The Ride Of My Life

May of 2012 brought with it news of a serious illness, Non Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

The cancer won’t let you ever forget

The chemo won’t let you remember 

The lumps I had discovered in October 2011 near my groin were tested by Ultra sound or whatever the device is they use to look at babies in the womb, you know the gel and the slick surface sliding around looking inside you. Any way I was told it was infection in my lymph nodes due to a recent appendectomy and prescribed antibiotics.

In November 2011 I had suffered an injury to my neck and underwent testing to see if there was damage to my discs. Those results noted, in addition to the disc damage a mystery lump in the front of my neck. Noted as not fully viewed, incomplete view as an additional note. A possible goiter of 2.5 cm. I was tested for thyroid levels and prescribed a drug to correct the slightly off levels that may help with the “goiter”.

May of 2012 was my follow-up from my November visit. The look on the doctors face said it all when I complained about the lump on my neck not getting any smaller and actually getting larger. Nurse! called the doctor. Get Rick over to a specialist to look at his throat.

The lump had grown to 9 cm. I was sent for an EKG and other test to see if I could survive a surgery to possibly put in a Traciatmy or and remove the growth. But first a biopsy, fine needle type. while I lay on the table after the biopsy told not to move . I can hear the clink of glass vials and a stirring sound and another doctor that I can’t remember his name came in and while this is all happening I can hear the doctor on a phone call saying medical terms and  decimal point readings, that I have no idea of what  the meaning is. I was not told anything other than my doctor would be in contact with me about my results.

This was a Friday at the end of May and was a long weekend due to Memorial day everything was closed on Monday. By the time I arrived at my home after the biopsy the throat specialist had called my house and left a message on my machine. I listened to the message that said: Rick our office will be closed on Monday but we need to see you on Tuesday first thing in the morning to test for cancer in other parts of your body. That was it I had not been told by anyone that I had cancer and still wasn’t sure but I was pretty sure that this means I have cancer and they want to look further to see the full extent of the cancer but I don’t know if it means that this was not cancer in my neck but they wanted to look in other areas of my body for cancer. I just didn’t know and the doctor’s office had closed for the long weekend. You see this long weekend is kind of big deal here, there is a little race called the Indianapolis 500. This would be one I won’t forget.  Yet I can’t recall what I did this weekend what so ever.

Finding out you have Cancer is bad enough but not knowing for sure may be worse but you still have hope.

Tuesday I walked into the specialist office, that had left the message on Friday. Immediately the doctor started apologizing for the message because he thought I already knew it was cancer in my neck. Sorry we thought that your family doctor would have told you.

After a PET Scan and an introduction to the oncologist I was told what type of cancer I had and that the good news is, that the type I have is very treatable but there is bad news. Whats the bad news, I asked. We have to check your bone marrow to make sure it is not in your marrow. Hop up on this table. Now here? Yes it won’t hurt too much if you hold still. A doctor and two nurses to hold me down. Good job Doc, not as bad as I expected. What are your plans for the rest of the day? asked the oncologist. I don’t have any plans. By this point I was consumed with anxiety about what the future was going to be like for me and my family. Go check yourself into the hospital right now. We need to start treatment as soon as possible.

This was the beginning of the journey of my lifetime.

I can’t begin to tell you how many thoughts run through your head the emotional ones, the rational ones. Why me? how, what could I have done different and making sure all your affairs are in order, then reality of the treatments and the illness itself takes hold of you and you calmly succumb to the drugs and the poison that while it’s killing the cancer it’s slowly killing good cells as well.

I remember family and friends rallying around me. Praying for me and encouraging me to be strong. I remember the strength Carla showed and the sadness she was feeling, even though she always put on a positive front. I remember thinking after the first treatment, this is not so bad I feel ok lets go for a ride. And ride we did. Riding is the best therapy for the mind there is. You become consumed with the clutch, the gears, the curves and the grade of the pavement that for a short time you forget all about the cancer.

If you’re not living you’re dying 

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I don’t know where I read that but it’s the truth. Stay busy living and you won’t think about dying. It’s what we all do every day. Because in reality we are all going to die and during our life we keep busy with life and living that we never think about dying. Having said that: After your told you have a serious life threatening illness you tend to think about death more.

I would have to take 6 treatments of a Chemo called R-CHOP. The side effects included hair loss and all the other usual suspects with many Chemo therapies. Memory or Chemo Brain, nerve damage, Immune system weakness, possible heart damage. Just to name a few. My treatment would be intravenous in the Oncologist office every three weeks with blood test and scans thrown in to check progress and organ function. If the blood test didn’t make the cut for the correct levels I could not get the next treatment until my blood count was back up. I carried a note with me every place I went with instructions for medical personnel to follow incase my fever went over 101.5f I would need a blood transfusion. Infection would be more likely to kill me than the cancer at this point because basically the Chemo was destroying my immune system. I was told to stay out of the sun as much as possible and to avoid eating fruits and things that could not be peeled like blue berries or strawberries and buffet style dining.

Infection was my enemy as much as the cancer at this point. I was not as cautious about the food I ate and the places I would eat as I should have been. But I survived.

While all this was going on Carla would not let me slow down or give in, she would say it’s a nice day you know the doctor said you should stay active. And off we would go riding and sightseeing. Every doctors visit went the same the doctor would ask me how I was feeling tell me about my blood count and ask me if I still planned on going on my Sturgis trip in August. My answer was always the same, I feel fine and yes I plan on going to Sturgis in August. You should rethink your plans, you are going to be to tired to ride that far. You are going to suffer from fatigue and it’s going to be out in the middle of no where then what? the doctor asked me. I am fine I would say. This went on every visit and every treatment session until one day my door told me that if I didn’t change my plans she would make it so I couldn’t or wouldn’t be able to go period. Wow she is serious! So we compromised that if I would agree to trailer my bike out to Sturgis I would be ok to ride while I was out there and we could still make the trip as planned.

So trailer we did.

This is the shirt I wore every year on the ride out. Ooopps!

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$100.00 for every 100 miles traveled in fuel when I could do this entire trip and only spend $350. for fuel on the bike. Details of the trip are foggy. It is strange the things I do remember are things I would not normally remember from a trip. I don’t remember concerts or musical acts or places we rode to. I am sure we did all the must see while in Sturgis I have a few pictures from the trip no where near the picture we would normally take. I remember Marco running into the back of a guys Harley and later falling over and sliding down an embankment. I remember meeting the tallest woman I ever met before. I remember driving home and struggling with the fatigue the doctor warned me about.

After returning from Sturgis I was at my 5th treatment and it was starting to get the best of me. This is when I thought: This is what it feels like to die. I could barely get off of the sofa. Eating became a chore. Family and friends would make food for me and bring it by the house. I swear to you that beef stew may have saved my life. I ate the stew and came back from the dead. I was ready to take my last treatment and keep fighting.

The best words I ever heard

Your scan looks beautiful!

When I heard those words it was like the weight was lifted. All in all we hardly slowed down a bit. I think staying active helped a great deal. Riding is the best therapy for me and always has been.

After surviving the cancer and the Chemo we started planing some bucket list trips and thats what we have been doing since. In 2013 we went southwest and in 2014 we went northwest. Those trips will be more interesting and nice to look at with the use of the GoPro and locations other than Sturgis.

Life is made up of peaks and valleys
this time of my life was a valley
Life after Chemo is a peak
We have been riding high every since

 

Categories: cancer, Harley Davidson, Motorcycle, Sturgis, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | 6 Comments

Evel Knievel’s® Terrifying Failed Jump to be Attempted at Sturgis Buffalo Chip®

This is wild!!

BIKERS BULLSEYE

Circle Logo Black backgroud

Evel’s® broken bones X-rays, skycycle rocket, jump bikes and other curiosities will be part of Evel Knievel Thrill Show

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Doug Danger on Evel Knievel’s 1972 Harley Davidson XR-750 at the Sturgis Buffalo Chip.

Sturgis, SD (January 6, 2015) – The name Evel Knievel is synonymous with daredevil. He was the undisputed king of stunt showmanship–the man who made motorcycles fly. He enthralled audiences with his nonchalance as he faced death-defying exploits that left him with a record-breaking number of fractured or crushed bones, a permanent limp and the adoration of millions. This August, the spirit of Knievel® will come to life at the Sturgis Buffalo Chip in a spectacular thrill show unlike any organized before. The Evel Knievel Thrill Show will consist of the largest collection of Evel Knievel curiosities ever assembled, including the Skycycle, x-rays of his numerous broken bones, the now famous “Sports Illustrated” leathers and cape, and…

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2011 Sturgis I Finally Found My Photos

2011 would be Carla’s first trip to Sturgis and my second time. The plan was like that of last year. Meet in Indianapolis and leave early on Friday morning and make it to Sioux City, Iowa 740 miles.

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This was our group minus two guys from Ohio that are coming in the morning with a trailer pulling their bikes. After some drinks and dinner some went to the hotel and some went to their homes until early in the morning.

This would be Diana’s first ride to Sturgis but she has ridden for almost 20 years and also a subject of one of my earlier posts. https://harleytravelsandtips.wordpress.com/2015/01/14/life-is-to-short/ The year before, I went with Ken and Jon who have been out to Sturgis several times. Dave and Greg I had just met this evening before we left.


The next morning Carla and I are up early and ready to go. Diana has left her house and is on the way to the hotel where the others are preparing and waiting on us. Carla and I meet Diana at the hotel and I can tell by the look on her face the others had over slept. Ken, Jon, Dave and Greg had just started moving while Diana, Carla and I are saddled up and ready to go.

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Diana looking like she is ready to go and a little pissed that the others are dragging ass. There is a story about a shower shoe (flip flop) found in the lobby of the hotel, lost by a drunk member of our group. That flip flop made us late thats all I know. We finally had everyone ready to ride except the guys from Ohio with the truck and trailer. They are on the way “about 10 minutes out” Ken shouts. About is the key word here. Thirty to forty five minutes later the truck arrives. This was good to know we had a chase vehicle just in case. The only thing was the truck took off before we did and stayed out front most of the time only a phone call away. Why did we wait for them again? I never have figured that one out.

Finally we get on the road and covered some ground, we did make it to Sioux City, Iowa around 9:00 pm Friday evening. Some where west of Des Moines, Iowa it rained on us and it rained hard. So hard cars and trucks pulled off interstate 80. The rain didn’t last long and we rode it out and regrouped after it had stopped raining.

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We also had a minor gasoline issue. When you are out in corn country sometimes the best octane you can get is 89. Keep in mind that some of the stretches of road out west of Des Moines has few places to fuel so when you can, you fill up. Only one of us refused to put 89 octane in his bike, Greg! You have to it’s all you can get. Nope I will wait until the next stop I have plenty of gas Greg says. You will never guess what happens next. Yes thats right we had to stop so Greg could get some fuel and it was 8 miles off of the interstate and yes it was 89 octane. This is what makes it a journey and not just a ride.


The second day started off much better and it would be a bitter sweet day because we knew that Diana was going to peel off from our group and make her way down to Custer, South Dakota where she was going to stay. The rest of us would be heading to the Legendary Buffalo Chip.

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Closer and closer only 3 or 4 fuel stops until we make it to Sturgis. More bikes than cars on the road the closer you get to Sturgis. Bikes of all shapes and sizes all makes and models. you start seeing grandmothers riding a trike with a Chevy 350 V8 motor, you see a dad on a Ultra then the mom on a Street Glide and the daughter on a Softail and baby brother of this family on a Sporster with a side car, all matching in black, the family rides. We had made good time and started getting thirsty near New Underwood, SD, population 660. Good thing there is a biker bar in New Underwood and it’s only 48 miles from Sturgis.

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It is small but it’s a good one. Cold beer, shirts for sell and a stripper pole, what else can you ask for. If my memory serves me correctly this is where we say goodbye to Diana. We will see her a few times while we are in Sturgis and she will ride back to Indianapolis with us.


 During the week in Sturgis we did plenty of riding and partying!

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You can even buy this whole town of Scenic

Scenic SD For Sale

Different strokes for different folks.
We ride a loop out through the corner of Montana and back towards Devils Tower.

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Hulett Wyoming on Wednesday serves free ham and beans to everyone who wants it.
By the way it is also no panties Wednesday.

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You have to visit Aladdin Population-15 and all 15 sitting outside watching the bikes rumble passed.

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On to the Stone House Saloon.
The entire place is covered with autographs from all over the globe.

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The girls meet Boner the skeleton.

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Out towards Pactola Lake on the way to Iron Mountain and Needles Highway.

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Needles and Iron Mountain

Nice View

Friends Patty, Don and Diana from Indiana with Carla and I.

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Needles

Iron Mountain

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Mount Rushmore view

Mt Rushmoore

Now on down the road to Keystone and Deadwood

Main street Deadwood SD

Hoosiers in Deadwood 10 am

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End the day at the Buffalo Chip for concerts and a party
My 2011

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Yep that’s Rupert of Survivor fame

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You see all kinds of people at the Buffalo Chip

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We survived the festivities to ride again another day


This day we visited the Broken Spoke Saloon to see the Jasmine Cain Band.

Jasmine Cain Band

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Get to stepping

Next stop we stumbled into One Eyed Jacks

This place was off the hook with dancing, body painting, body shots and friendly people.

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Jerry taking or giving a body shot I don’t know

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This is all good clean fun.

As you can see Jerry is cleaning the whipped cream off of this bartenders belly.
I can’t tell who had more fun Jerry or Whip cream girl.


Back to the Buffalo Chip for more concerts and good times with friends

Charlie and I

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I finally found my files from Sturgis 2011.
This discovery helped to jog my memories of the trip

2012 trip to Sturgis will be the last one as after we had made reservations and put money down for the trip in August,

I was diagnosed with Lymphoma in May of 2012.

The first thing I asked the doctor was is it going to kill me? Not if you respond to treatment and follow doctors orders, said the doctor. Then I asked if I was going to be able to work, make a living? It’s up to you and how you feel, I was told. Then I asked if I would be able to go to Sturgis in August? How do you plan on getting out there? Asked the doctor. I am riding. You might want to reconsider your plans, I was told. As time went on and the treatment got worse my doctor actually told me if I didn’t change my plan and trailer my bike to Sturgis she would make it so I couldn’t go at all. Well the doctor is always right so I did trailer in 2012. That story is coming soon if I can remember what happened and find my photos. The Chemo made the trip less memorable for me.

I do know this.
Do not put off your dreams until all you can do is look back and say I wish I would have done this when I was younger.

You are never going to be any younger than you are now!

Categories: Buffalo Chip, Harley Davidson, Sturgis | Tags: , | 2 Comments

Foggy Mind

Epiphany

1. the manifestation of a supernatural or divine reality

2. any moment of great or sudden revelation

 

The light bulb just came on over my head. I just came to the realization while I was trying to remember my trip to Sturgis in 2011, that my memory is not what it used to be. I have known for years that I had some issues with memory from a head injury and then Chemo didn’t help.

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The revelation is: that when I am planning a trip in the future I can swiftly and certainly develop a plan. Even though the older I get the more relaxed my plans are, less rigid. I am prior military and that’s why my plans used to be more rigid.

As I try to think back and recall my memories the years start to blur together. I only wish I had started recording the trips better back then. I use pictures taken over the years to help me keep the memories intact. The only problem is that after I purchased a new computer my photo files are in different locations and some sorted by type not just date, if they would sort by date I would be golden. During the file transfer process some changed dates to the transfer date not the date taken. I have no idea why this happens or how. What I do know is that in the future I won’t wait for so long before I record my trips!

This explains why I spend more time thinking about tomorrow instead of remembering yesterday, it’s frustrating! So now I scratch my head and try to think back a few years and remember details. Getting old before my time sucks. The most frustrating thing is that my mind keeps trying to trick my body into believing it too is young. The body quickly reminds the mind in the form of aches and pains that you have just done something a 52-year-old should probably not be doing, especially after the abuse my body has taken over the years of military service and motorcycle racing.

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The sun sets on us all and you only get so many

Enjoy every one you can.

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I Would Like to Thank All The Little People!

Dookes nominated me to receive the prestigious Liebster Award!

Thanks goes out to Dookes at https://hogriderdookes.wordpress.com for the nomination. I have just got started and have barely began to walk. Thanks again and surely I will stumble and fall on occasion, Yet I Blog On! Blog On Brothers and Sisters, Blog On! And check out his site. He does wonderful work and great pictures.

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These are the rules that go with the award:

1. Display the Liebster award on your blog. Check

2. Thank and link back to your nominator. Check

3. Answer the nominator’s 11 questions. Check

4. Nominate 11 other bloggers with about 200 or fewer followers and link to them.

5. Draft 11 new questions for your nominees.

6. Notify your nominees via their blogs or social media.


 

Here are my Questions from Dookes.

1. How do you feel about getting nominated for the Liebster Award?

I can actually say I am excited and pleased, let’s get this party started kind of thing.

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2. What made you start blogging?

Facebook dang Facebook. So many friends telling us they love to follow our trips on Facebook year after year, I thought we should start a blog. And here I am, spell check don’t fail me now!

3. Where is your favourite place in the world?

Wow this is a hard one we have traveled quite a bit hhhmmm let me think on that one. It could be Yellowstone National Park or it could be Glacier National Park or it could be Southern Bavaria. So many places could make that cut. But I would have to say that as long as my view is framed by my outstretched arms gripping the bars of my Harley Davidson with the wind blowing through my hair, most anyplace is fine with me. But if I have to choose just one it would be in the warmth of my favorite recliner with Carla sitting close by and that recliner could be almost anywhere for this to be true.

4. Bungee jump or surfing? 

Never done either. But I would rather fight a shark than fall to my death.. Worst case scenarios.

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5. If you could go back in time and do something different in your life, what would that be?

Spend more time with my mom.

6. Where will your next holiday/vacation destination be? 

Southwestern United States, New Mexico, Arizona,Utah.

7. Dogs or Cats? 

Dogs. I have a Jack Russell, she is so smart when I tell her to sit she goes and gets a chair!

8. Tell us about your favourite food!

Wow another tuff one. I like cake, I like steak, I like lasagna. I just like to eat period.

9. What is your perfect day?

Sunny and 75 F. With all my bills paid and no clocks to watch.

10. Who would be your dream dinner companion?

Ashley Judd. I have a public celebrity crush. Not the strange stalker type, I think she is smart and pretty. I am almost positive she loves me, she just doesn’t know it.

11. Do these questions all seem very random to you too?

Not at all, if we met in a bar I would strike up conversation with ya and ask the same things.


 Now Here are some questions for Dookes.

1. Best place you ever found by accident?

2. If you could move any place where would it be?

3. NFL or Premier League?

4. Half a chicken or 10 wings?

5. Change your own oil or take it to the dealer?

6. What do you know about Evil Knievel?

7.What and when-your first computer?

8. What was your worst riding experience?

9. What was your best ridding experience?

10. How did you get two-wheel fever.

11. Can I borrow some cash? (People ask me this all the time because I have a new bike they think I have money). It’s just good credit I say.


 

Now for my nominees. I have spent so much time trying to learn how to navigate WordPress that I don’t know many of you bloggers so SUPRISE! here I am with a nomination. I won’t be offended if you pretend this never happened.

The Ride. We are all on the ride of our life! https://bsakel.wordpress.com

Gypsy’s Travels. A collection of adventures by motorcycle. https://gypsysmototravels.wordpress.com

Ride, Dive and be Murray. The new adventures of Bob and Michelle Murray. http://ridediveandbemurray.com

EXPERIMENTAL GHOST. https://experimentalghost.wordpress.com


Time to go there is a thing on the TV called the Superbowl.. Featuring some pretty great commercials. 

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motorcycles, travel, friendship, respect... I may drift off into WTF-land at times so hang in there.

Hogrider Dookes

The Thoughts And Travels Of A Geezer On A Harley ……………………………………... Looking at the World Through Teenage Eyes, But With The Cunning, Guile and Wisdom That Comes With Age!

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