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Big Harley Adventure (BHA) 2014 2 years Remission Part 2

And On The Seventh Day

We left Jackson, Wyoming to continue the journey to Glacier National Park.

It was a cool morning and we awoke to a thick soup of a fog in Jackson and hoped that as we climbed the mountain we would either rise above the fog or the sun would burn it off.

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We rode out of Wyoming into Idaho and  Montana through valleys and rock filled canyons, the views, the air, the sunshine on our faces was “priceless”.

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Blog 2014 a Blog bha 2014

In Missoula, Montana grub and a hotel.

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416 miles for the day


Day 8

Another cool start for the day, but what do you expect this far north and altitude.
Flathead Lake is one of the most beautiful in the world.

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Sorry for the quality. Quick snapshots from the bike.

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Made It !
This is where it gets really good.

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The bears are not your friends..
I repeat. The bears are not your friends…

Glacier National Park
Going To The Sun Road

This was one of those days you dream of when traveling on a bike
Blue sky as far as the eye can see, warm sun on your face and beautiful clean air and breath taking landscape
and the company of loved ones.

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The Flying Biker Chicks

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Looking back at Diana

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Ronnie and Kirk bring up the rear


Day 9
Started in Great Falls Montana

Diana’s bike had some minor electrical issues so we stop in the Harley dealer to have it checked out. Turns out a wire harness that is down to bare wires. Lucky for us there was a customer appreciation event going on with sales and free food.

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Headed towards Wyoming and the Beartooth Pass.
day 9 ended in Billings Montana


Day 10

Cr0ssed the Beartooth Pass and Chief Joseph Scenic Byway
Down into Cody for the next two nights.

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Next up Cody Wyoming and 

Yellowstone National Park.

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Categories: cancer, Harley Davidson, Motorcycle, Trip Planning, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

2013 Remission Road Trip — Part 2

Day 5 Started of a little cool in Flagstaff


If you would rather watch than read.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/L4LFmEFZCws” target=”_blank”>


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But we are on our way to Sedona, Arizona. I had always saw pictures and read about Sedona. From Flagstaff you have a couple of options as far as route goes to get to Sedona. Scenic is always my first choice so it’s 89A from Flagstaff to Sedona.

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We could have taken Interstate 17 down to Sedona, but we would have missed the canyon and the winding road.

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We stopped at a information center and talked to a Park Ranger. He provided us with some good ideas for our stay in Sedona.

We had only traveled about 30 miles to Sedona.

The view coming into town was wonderful!

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The weather started to change for the worse.

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So we decided to find a good hotel and park the bikes and just enjoy some of Sedona’s culture

The Orchard Inn was our choice we booked 2 nights

 We checked in at the Orchard Inn and surprisingly was a lot cheaper than I expected. About $160. per night. Pink Jeeps down the road from the hotel on the main street offers guided tours out into the Red Rock Country. We decided to go for it and we are glad we did.

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Our driver was outstanding, safe and knowledgeable. Lance, I think was his name. Retired from his job and moved out here to enjoy his retirement, Can’t blame him for that. I would like to have stayed.

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I would recommend the Pink Jeeps to any body visiting Sedona

After the pink Jeeps it was off to explore some more of Sedona.

We discovered a Starbucks with a view.

Starbucks Sedona

After some exploring and a good dinner at the Oak Creek Brewery and Pub. If my memory serves me I was not feeling very hungry which is unusual for me. All was good, after spending some time in the pool and a good nights rest we are heading out in the morning to explore around Sedona. 38 miles total for Day 5.


Day 6
Jerome, Yarnell and Prescott.

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Jerome is or was a ghost town, an old mining town. In the 1970’s some people, some might say Hippies started to come back and buy property and restore Jerome to a lively tourist spot. Jerome is home to the Sliding Jail and home to copper and gold mining operations.

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We also went through Yarnell, AZ. On June 28th, 2013 lightning started a wild fire that was fueled by high winds and blowing embers, that overcame 19 brave Firefighters. This was a strange place, geographically it didn’t look like there had been anything to fuel the fire. Yarnell reminds you of a scene from the Flintstone’s. Large boulders all around the place.

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We also went through Prescott, AZ and stopped in Wickenburg for some jerky and water, more for the water because it was extremely hot just north of Phoenix, AZ.

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The temperature today was 101.F I guess that was cool since the average for this time of year in Wickenburg is 107.F and the record high is a sweltering 114.F so even though it was extremely hot to us northern folk I am just glad it wasn’t 107. The ride back to Sedona was a long one since we shot back up the Interstate part of the way.  Interstate riding is boring for me. But the hotel pool awaits.


 Day 7

This day would be the day we go to the Grand Canyon! I have never been. We were excited about maybe renting a helicopter and taking some scenic tours. The ride north to the Grand Canyon was a nice ride.

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If you have never been to the Grand Canyon, It is a must do. And keep track of your kids, there was a small child running wild around the edge of the canyon and the fence does not stretch the entire length, so it was a little nerve racking seeing this kid running wild so close to the edge. We got there to late for a helicopter tour. They book up early. After the Grand Canyon it was off towards Mexican Hat, Utah and the Moki Dugway.

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We made it to a town named Kayenta only to find out there hotels where all booked for the night. We had passed a hotel that didn’t look all that inviting back on the reservation called the Anasazi Inn. We had no choice but to stop for the night the sun was beginning to set on us and we had covered some ground today. 284 miles with a lot of stops for sight seeing. Locked and loaded Anasazi Inn here we are.  we parked the bikes as close as we could get them to the room. All in all it was not so bad.


Day 8 

Back into Kayenta for breakfast at the McDonalds with the stray dogs wondering the parking lot and the surge of tourist with campers and RVs. But inside the McDonalds is a very cool display about the Navajo Code Talkers from WWII. After breakfast down the road to Monument Valley.

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Notice the road in the photo and a small white speck on the road just right of center, thats a 12 passenger van. Just for scale.

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Next up the road featured on the Discovery Channel as a Hell Road- the Moki Dugway.

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After surviving the Moki, we headed towards Four Corners Monument. This place is remote and out there!

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Carla standing in Utah and Colorado at the same time.

We ride on into Cortez, Colorado for the evening.

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207 mile for the day


Day 9

Traveled the San Juan Skyway and into Dolers, Rico, Telluride and Ridgeway. Up in elevation about 10,000 feet above sea level the air gets thin. Took the Million Dollar highway through Ouray and Silverton, Colorado. In Silverton we stopped to eat at the famous Handlebars Saloon. It was while we waited to eat that the thunder started and the rains came, cold, cold rain. After eating we suited up! For the rain and the cold, what we didn’t bring was snow shoes. At the gas station before leaving town cars came in with snow covered windshields and told us “you can’t go down the mountain there is 4 inches of snow on the road. Oh we are running out of daylight and there are no rooms to be had in Silverton. We waited at the gas station with some others on bikes all the while debating on what to do, when up the road, from the direction we need to go comes a guy on a Softtail with Colorado plates and he says he lives just down the road and we could make it down the mountain if we where careful and stayed in the tire tracks from the cars. I have no pictures or video of this because I was afraid to get out of the tire tracks to pull over for pictures and Carla was holding on to tight to take any. This would be the longest 50 miles of my biker life. We made it to Durango and checked in to the Iron Horse Inn Durango. Did some laundry and ordered pizza. While doing laundry we met a couple guys from Australia, that rented Harleys and had been traveling the USA. 201 mile for the day with the last 50 taking a few hours.

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This is a must do route if your in Colorado 


Day 10

Durango to Gunnison.

Started the morning in Durango, Colorado. The temperature was a brisk mid 40s F.

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Out to Pagosa Springs and over Wolf Creek Pass.

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Needed some warm coffee after the cool start to the day.

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Creek

Colorado has some of the best motorcycle roads in the U.S. Surrounded by mountains and valleys.

We would log over 250 miles this day and never once asked “are we there yet?”

thats how good the riding is you never get tired.

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The ride was never ending amazing!

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Gunnison to Colorado Springs and Pikes Peak.

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As you can see the weather was changing as we rode to the top of Pikes Peak over 14,000 feet above sea level

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Coming down is another story. Freezing rain and cold and gravity = white knuckle ride.

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Yes thats how steep it is!!!!!

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Happy to be down out of the clouds!!!

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From here it was a long ride back to Indiana but it was well worth it and was the beginning of the

Big Harley Adventure as Kirk named it.

For years in the future we will travel and explore this vast wonderful land.

Categories: cancer, Harley Davidson, Motorcycle, Trip Planning, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

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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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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Day Dreams or Memories.

On a cold January day in Indiana I sit in the warmth of my living room separated from the freezing cold by a sheet of drywall and some brick exterior. I struggle with my thoughts going back and forth between thoughts of next summer and memories of summers past.

No matter what my memories or dreams always take me to a familiar place, my view framed by my outstretched arms gripping the bars of my Harley Davidson. The world flying past me and the horizon ever-changing.

The destination is the biggest difference between my memories and my dreams. In my memories the destination has already been reached and can not change they are recorded as history therefore will never change. In my dreams the destination constantly changes.

As cliché as it sounds it is true. Its not about the destination its all about the journey! Sure I have great memories of the Grand Canyon or Monument Valley, but I also remember with great detail the temperature change as I climbed in elevation. I can remember the time I saw my first pronghorn. I remember arriving at a gas station and realizing it was out of business and abandoned out in the middle of no where, wondering if we would make it to the next gas stop. I remember trying to get a hotel on the road to Monument Valley. It gets dark quick out there! I remember racing a storm out of Colorado and hearing on a local radio station that Colorado 24 had flooded and washed out near Manitou Springs. Where less than 30 minutes before we had been riding through from Green Mountain Falls.

ABC News reported it this way.

“>http://abcnews.go.com/video/embed?id=19933993<”

Sometimes Mother Nature has a way of reminding you that you are small and at her mercy.

This story has a happy ending for us, we did out run the storm for the most part and made a safe return back to Indiana to tell our stories and ride another day. Memories made and dreaming of another journey.

 

 

Categories: Harley Davidson, Trip Planning, Uncategorized | Tags: , , | 3 Comments

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