Saturday, August 23, 2008

1st Poker run

I went on my 1st Poker run today. It was to raise money for "Get behind the Badge". A charity created to help the families of firefighters, police and peace officers who have given the ultimate sacrifice. Todays run was the Terry McDowell Memorial Poker Run. Registration was at 10 am and cost $15 per bike and $20 if you had a rider. Terry McDowell was a police officer who was shot and killed in the line of duty.
I have heard about and done my research of Poker Runs and was excited about getting to participate in one. A friend and I showed up around 10:30. My friend has ridden in several runs in the past. I was glad he knew the ropes and what to do. We registered and was looking at the map. He had told me that usually groups of 5-10 bikes go out every few minutes and at the different stops you either get your map signed (and chose a card upon arrival at the end) or you chose a playing card at the stop and have your card recorded on the map.
As we were looking at our maps and trying to figure out the route, a guy said that we would leave at noon all together and would have an escort. My buddy and I discussed leaving with the group and thought there would be long lines at each stop to get your card or signature. We decided that with the provided map, we could find the stops and not have to wait in the lines if we left before the group. After watching the people a little, it was obvious that some of the others were thinking the same thing as we were, and leaving early. My buddy sighted a couple that looked like they were planning to leave. He asked their intention and found out that they indeed were thinking this also. He then asked if we could tag along with them. They told him that they had a GPS and was confident they could find the stops.
We left following the couple on their Softtail. Me on my Road King and my buddy on his Sportster.
The route took us past a memorial erected for Terry McDowell, then into a nearby cemetery past his gravesite, back onto the state road to the first stop approximately 20 miles away. We stopped to get what we needed done to our maps and they told us that all we needed to do was ride the route and show up at the last stop (Captain Jacks). Without drawing a card or any proof we were there. We had a refreshing drink and went on our way to the next stop about 17 miles away and then stop for another drink. I personally wasn't thirsty and passed on the drink, but sat while the others had something. On the road, I had been thinking that without the need to get something done at the stops. Why would one ride the route? You could go home, take a nap and then show up at Captain Jacks that evening. This took the wind out of my sails (so to speak). It made less sense for me to follow the map. We did leave an hour early and followed the map and so arrived at Captain Jacks about 2 hours ahead of the scheduled group arrival. They had planned about a half hour for each stop. The four of us on our 3 bikes didn't take near that long for a cool refreshment. The group would need longer since they would have to wait on the 2 or 3 barkeeps to take care of all their wants. At Captain Jacks, we waited for the group to arrive. Food was provided and we did enjoy it, ahead of the group. We were done eating and enjoying a beverage when the stampede came in. The food line was endless and the bar was crowded waiting on the few to serve the masses. After the lines finally shortened to stragglers and the room was full of bikers. Someone came on a microphone and said that we would have to be patient. We were told that 3 bikes had gone down today and the chase car with the cards on it was delayed. We 4 had been waiting for 3 hours now and still no cards had been drawn. My buddy said he was getting tired of waiting. I thought and said that after the cards do arrive, everyone who paid the entry fee would have to get in line to draw cards. This time we would be in line waiting as well. No one would find out who won the contest until all had chosen their cards. Even after the cards arrived, it would likely be another hour or more waiting before a winner would be announced.
We cut our losses and went home without drawing our card.
Next week is another Poker Run and maybe it will be better organized.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Road trip on the Road King

A friend whom I went to High School with, had been like a brother. We even worked weekends together at a bakery. After Graduation, we kept in touch. I got a job, bought a house and moved to Ohio, East of Columbus. He got a job, bought a house and moved to Ohio, East of Cleveland. We stayed close. Most weekends, when possible, he would drive to my house or I to his. Our houses are 3 1/2 hours drive time apart. At his house, we would spend the weekend fishing on the lake or working on something he had that needed fixed. At my house we would spend time at the race track or working on something I had that needed fixed.
Then we were seperately shot by cupids arrow, and both acquired wives. We found it better to spend more time with them than with each other. They had much more to offer. We kept in touch through the telephone and maybe two or three times a year one or the other with their female partner would make the trip to visit the other. On his end, his new wife came with two tweenage girls and a small boy. (She came with baggage.) He was alright with this and right away added another boy to the mix. One of his own. (Total of 4 noisemaking kids, now that's unbelieveable). My new wife and I had discussed children and chose not to go that route. Some say we are selfish, and maybe so, but that was our choice. (Quieter around the house that way).
The phone calls and visits came less often as time passed, and over the last couple years any call either way were messages to "call me", as the other was not at home. We hadn't even talked for over two years. I have been wanting to see how he is doing but we just couldn't connect.
Finally, last Saturday night after leaving a message for him to "call me". He called Sunday morning and I answered. It sure was good to get to talk to him again.
I have been looking for somewhere to go on my new bike, a road trip somewhere. I asked him if he would be doing anything the following weekend. He said that he works most weekends but was off next week. I told him I would like to come up and visit if he had a place to lay my head. He said that I could occupy a spot on his couch anytime.
Saturday morning I left my house at 9 am. It was 49 degrees so I was in long pants, gloves and a coat. The sun was shining brightly. I didn't get cold but I was not too warm either. I wanted to get to his place quickly so I decided to go the direct route even if it required some time on the interstate. State roads for 1 1/2 hours, then 4 and 6 lane interstate (I-71 and I 271) for 1 1/2 hours, and 1/2 hour through town and back roads to his place. I arrived at 12:30. We both grew up in WVa. and now live in Ohio, but we are still hillbillies. He even still dresses the part.
We spent the day and evening catching up on old times in his garage until after midnight. We did take a short trip (10 min.) to the lake to get some pictures. And just like old times, we spent some time working on an old car he has and we fixed a chainsaw as well. His wife suggested we cut down the old pine tree in his front yard that she has wanted gone for a long time. It is in the power lines and as she was suggesting we cut it down he was behind her shaking his head no, with a grin. It is still standing.
His wife's two girls are grown now. One has a two year old child and now lives with him. I don't know about the other. His two boys are still at home. One is 17 and drives so he was gone most of the day. The only boy that is truly his, was there (now 15) and is a mirror image of him and acts just like him as well.
Sunday morning, we got up and he fixed a couple eggs, toast, and bacon. He said he is the one who usually cooks up breakfast on the weekends.
After breakfast, we talked for a while and I decided it was time to head back Southwest.
I headed for a fuel station about 11:00 am. It was warmer on Sunday and I didn't need my coat or gloves. I filled up for $16.39 and bought an Ohio road map and a iced tea for the trip. I decided that without anywhere to be quickly, I would ride the back roads home. I consulted the map and headed directly South instead of West on I-90. It took me just over 4 hours (only 15 minutes longer) to get home but the ride was much more pleasant. Also I got to see more of the heartland of Ohio. Ohio is truly farm country, the corn and bean fields are standing tall this time of year. I headed South going east of Akron/Canton and then headed West in Dover traveling through Amish country. I pulled in my driveway at 15:45. Even riding the back roads and taking it easy all the way home, it was good to get out of the saddle after nearly 4 hours. And it was nice to be home, and see my wife. I miss her when I'm gone.
The whole trip, since I stayed on his couch, with buying fuel, a map (I should have brought one with me) and a drink, only cost me $35.00.
Now all I have to do is think about where to go on my next road trip. Maybe I will take my wife next time.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Fuel costs

A friend and I went to a Dodge show over the weekend. I took these pictures along with several more. These guys like to put on a show for the crowd. They stop, hold the brake and do burn outs. The crowd just loves it. With all the talk and pain of prices at the pump. I wonder what the cost of running those old muscle cars from the past is? A few of us at the station have bought motorcycles to help cut the edge of the pump prices.
I am glad it was their money and not mine.
I suppose if I had one of those classics, I would have been there as well. It don't hurt to have some fun what ever the cost. And they looked like they were having fun.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


I was going through some old photos in my files and found these.
A buddy and myself went on a road trip last year and along the way made a side trip to Gettysburg Pa. Neither of us had been there before. It is an interesting place. Just being there thinking about the battles that took place over 100 years ago in that very spot. The soldiers that fought for what they believed to be the right cause on both sides.
Someday, perhaps a hundred years from now, someone will stand in front of a memorial for the soldiers that fought in the Iraq war. I hope this country still has the freedoms and rights that we have today. Hopefully those people can still make road trips and side trips along the way to enjoy the memorials as we did that day.
Pray for our country and our soldiers fighting for our freedoms and the freedoms of others in Iraq and other parts of the world.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

People can be so stupid

I hate stupid people. I suppose we all have our moments but sometimes when you come across someone, you just know, its just the way they are.
Yesterday, Saturday, we allowed a local charity organization use the department for a benefit to help someone with cancer. A good cause. A good organization. When someone uses the dept., someone has to be there to at least open the building and someone should be "around" in case a problem comes up. They use the kitchen, paper towels, toilet tissue, electric, etc. They do make a donation to the dept. for use of the building. This time, it amounted to a $50 bill. They have requested the building next week for another event. I wonder if there will be another donation or if they figure this 50 will cover both times? That set aside. The cost verses the donation is probably a wash. Anyway, We run two paid people weekdays 7-4. One full time and one part-time person. I am the full time guy. Being the full time person, I usually take on the responsibility to go the extra mile and take care of these events. Even on my "day off". So I made time to make sure I was at the dept. on Saturday morning at 09:00 to let them in and to be there at 18:00 to make sure the building was secure. And during the day, I asked my wife if she could be "around" to watch things. She sometimes helps this group. She agreed, and was at the dept. helping most of the day. I went on a motorcycle ride with some friends. There were six bikes, and we rode about 100 miles. We got back to the dept. around 17:00 and to help out the benefit, I bought spaghetti for the three of us who stayed, the rest went on home. I don't even like spaghetti, and it wasn't worth $6 a plate. But to help out, I donated my $18 for the three meals.
Back to stupid people.
The group was cleaning up after the event and carrying out their stuff. As I said they are planning on using the building next week for the same and asked if they could leave some things in the corner. Now this is a fire dept. and we work and "live" here through the week. But to make things easier for them I said ok and they stacked things in different corners. I will move some of the stuff on Monday to make "work" easier for us. About that time, the tones went off for an illegal burn. Now, we were at this address two day before for the same (Stupid person #1). Evidently a neighbor don't like these people and called 911, twice. The first time there, we found out that the offenders are moving and trying to clean the place up by burning trash. At that time we put it out and advised them not to burn the "illegal" stuff and went home. That time it was near midnight and someone had to get up and go "see" about the offense. Knowing this was the same address and knowing the case, the three of us spoke briefly about who would take care of the situation. My two fellow FD people asked if I wanted them to take care of it and I said that would be good. Two minutes from dispatch until the truck was enroute. I stayed at the station to run the radio. At the address this time, the same was the case. Upon seeing the fire truck pull up they put water on it and put it out. Some words between the offender and the FD personnel about being called back and they said they would be gone after today. The truck went back in service. Four minutes later.
Back at the station, this is Saturday and all involved are volunteering their time.
A person from the benefit, says to me as I am sitting at the radio. (She is on the couch while the others are still cleaning up.) " My cousin is a firefighter and that is what I hate about "West undershirt fire dept." (Us) I asked "what do you mean?" My mistake. I should have ignored the comment thinking this is just another stupid person shooting off her mouth. But no I had to ask. She said " I didn't like it when you guys argued about who was going to go on the run" Saying "You should have just run and got in the truck and went".
I felt my blood pressure go through the top of my head. But I kept my composure and said that it all depends on when it is and what it is and that we knew the address and what was going on and since we knew of the situation. We wouldn't even run "hot" as to protect the safety of all concerned. She said "I live in West undershirt twp and won't allow West undershirt FD to come to my house because of that."
That is when I realized just how stupid this person really was. I hope she never needs us but if she calls, West undershirt FD will be dispatched and will respond, she has no choice. Also, anytime she needs help, she will call. And when she calls, West undershirt FD, will come as fast as we safely can and we will do our best to take care of her problem what ever it might be. Regardless of how stupid she is.
I hate stupid people.