The Way to World Peace

The Olympics!

I spent a lot of time the past two weeks watching the summer Olympics. Unfortunately, the reason for that was hours spent with my wonderful mother-in-law as she approached her death, first in a hospital and then in a hospice.  There was a family member or several with her 24 hours a day, and lots of time spent with the TV tuned to the Olympics with the sound turned off.  There was also a lot of time at home waiting for the next shoe to drop, with the TV sound turned on.

There were so many feel-good moments and stories with the Olympics, mixed in with the random example of bad behavior or a petulant statement.  Dorine passed away peacefully, and this week, as we begin to put our lives back to the “normal” setting, I miss setting the TV for several hours of coverage a day.

Then came the idea. The Olympics should not be held every four years. The Olympics should be held FOR four years.

One of the biggest challenges facing whichever city wants to host the Olympics is the enormous cost, and most recent Olympiads have left the host city with an enormous debt and fine facilities that in some cases have been allowed to wither away to rot.

What if… what if…

Rio held the Olympics from 2016 to 2020, and then handed off to Tokyo for 2020 to 2024?  And so on…

First of all, you would be able to allow all sorts of sports never seen in the Olympics, many of which would be a great TV and global tourist draw.  Have you ever seen “tossing the caber?” Fascinating.  Rodeos are held all over the world – how about one with national teams? Rock climbing, drag racing, obstacle runs, canoe racing, softball, skeet, motorcycle trials, surfing, and on and on.  Same with so-called “winter” sports. You can rapidly fill an entire page of notes with potential events.

Some of the usual events, such as swimming and track, could be spread out over months. The sprints one month, then diving two months later, the field events, water polo, etc.

For the host city, you would have four years of tourist influx as people all over the globe fly in to witness “their” sport.  The massive infrastructure costs would thus be spread out and the overall positive economic impact multiplied several times.

Most nations now have some sort of training facility for their Olympic teams. It would be fairly easy to make them all operational 12 months a year.

For the IOC, TV broadcasting rights could be marketed in two week or one month chunks to major networks, or the IOC could form its own “Olympics” network offering current sports events, re-runs or previous events, highlights, analysis, etc. Sort of an ESPN but focused on the Olympics. Every day. All day.

I believe the way to dissolve prejudice and hatred of others and all sorts of bias is to watch all the citizens of the world compete in competition. Even the spiteful words of a Hope Solo or the idiotic behavior of a Ryan Lochte can create a positive outcome from the backlash. The human interest stories and the many examples of sportsmanship that vastly outnumber the negatives would resonate around the world in a continuous and positive torrent.  Small countries would have more of an occasion to celebrate their successes, as the medal domination of the United States would be diluted by both time and the addition of several dozen new events, some of which are almost unknown in this country.

Enough of this every four years stuff. Let’s make the Olympics permanent.

 

 

Copyright 2016                      David Preston

Posted in Education, Rants and Raves, Travel | 1 Comment

Obituary for Dorine Tracy

Dorine Ringwood Tracy

Dorine Tracy was the daughter of Harold and Nell Ringwood, part of a farming family with deep roots in the wheat country around Sprague, Washington – going back generations to the Ringwoods who homesteaded there.  She was one of five very close brothers and sisters.

One of Dorine’s greatest childhood joys was riding her horse Peanuts, heading off to sit in the shade and read western novels.  Everyone had a job on the farm, and at 13 Dorine’s was driving truck during harvest – until it was discovered her attention was focused on reading Zane Grey instead of being on time with her truck to meet the combine.  She was fired from truck driving and sent back to kitchen duty, where she learned from her mother and Aunt Till the very secret and sacred art of “the perfect cinnamon roll”.  In later years, several of Dorine’s children continued the connection to the Ringwood farm by working the harvest with their cousins over the years.  None of them got fired for reading on the job, though the younger cousins did enjoy riding in the trucks as the wheat was delivered to the elevators.

Dorine discovered her passion and profession at Sacred Heart Nursing School in Spokane.  During her years at Sacred Heart, Dorine and her friends enjoyed many mixers with the guys from Gonzaga University.  This is where Dorine and John met and the dance of their love began.  One special memory was of the 1948 Harvest Ball – a picture from that ball of Dorine, John, and friends still hangs on the wall at GU.  That same picture hung on the wall in their family home and prompted many stories over the years, shared with their children and grandchildren.

In 1965, Dorine and John moved to the Kirkland area where they put down new roots.  They raised six children, and family was everything.  Of course, ‘everything’ included a sailboat with trips to the San Juans, big family holiday dinners, bike rides, joys and occasional tragedies.  The refrain around the dining table was: “which way are we passing the plates?”  And whether right or left was decided, platters circulated both ways every time.  The memory of “how many leaves do we need in the table,” will always be held dear.   As it turned out, her early years of kitchen duty paid off for her kids, since she was a fantastic cook.

If you’d ever been around Dorine, you’d know she was Irish.  The blessing at the front door, the shamrocks in the house, and the trips to Ireland were obvious signs; but what really gave it away was her buoyant spirit and ready laughter.  Dorine and John’s great friends, Clare and Austin, remained close compatriots and partners in adventure over 70 years – sailing, riding, trips – and of course, they’re Irish too.

Dorine fulfilled her lifelong calling to service in her career in nursing as well as in her community.  She formed enduring friendships within her nursing circle and her neighborhood.  Friends described her as “the kind of friend everyone should have” and “a true angel on earth.”  These reflections speak to the values of kindness and faith that she held so strongly.  Throughout her life, Dorine’s heart overflowed with hope and unconditional love.

Predeceased by her son Tim and husband John, Dorine is survived by children Susan (David), John (Anna Marie), Kevin (Al), Denis (JoAnn), Meghan (Richard), and grandchildren Dorine (Dorje), William (Alida), Samuel, Quinlan, Ryan, Kyle, Alexandra, and Brennen, and great grandchild Arthur.

Our treasure is greatly missed.  Sunrise June 22, 1926.  Sunset August 14, 2016.

A funeral mass and service for Dorine will be held at Holy Family Catholic Church in Kirkland at 11am on September 3rd, followed by a celebration of Dorine’s life at the Bayshore Room at the Woodmark Hotel in Carillon Point, Kirkland.  Dorine’s family invites all to attend, and please bring a picture and a story.  In lieu of flowers, memorials to Evergreen Hospice.

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Riders for Health Scavenger Hunt V

Riders for Health Scavenger Hunt V –   August 5th – 7th of 2016

We gathered at The Cove RV Park on Friday afternoon, and Saturday the “Street Team” rode up to Hurricane Ridge and back. If you have a motorcycle and live in the northwest, you have either done this ride or always have wanted to.  For the latter, the videos might be of interest.   Or if you live in some other area of the world and have always wanted to visit.

In the videos I am following four friends. Tony and Eric are on Ducati ST4s, and Rolfe is on a BMW K 1200 RS.  Rolfe is also the importer of Rok Straps, and attended the event and also provided some of the door prizes.

Part 1 covers from the entry ($15 for a motorcycle!) to almost the top, and part II covers the rest of the way.

Part I is at:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ofmAGxfYPPk

and Part II is at

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KABs4il7zqY

 

Copyright 2016                              David Preston

 

 

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2016 California Motorcycle Trip – Part II

California Motorcycle Trip 2016 – Part II

More problems with directions, and more great roads.

Friday, July 22nd             Odometer:  2760

I spent most of the four days in Los Gatos doing very little. Idyllic sloth, if you will.  I wobbled between attending swim classes with Dorine and Grandson Arthur, picnics after class at the local library, lolling in the pool at their apartment, naps, and other constructive activities. Susan returned from Santa Barbara on Monday to join in the fun, and flew away home on Thursday. I followed her Friday morning.

Swim class was interesting, and another segment of “As the Small World Turns.”  Class took place at Los Gatos High School, which looks more like a movie set than a real place. The aquatic center is huge, and features the water polo section, where nephew Quinn competes, the lanes pool, and a large side section for kiddie classes.  Arthur had one other student in his class, and the two mothers interacted with their children under the instruction of Tanya.   One of the lifeguards was Kate, who is also a client of Dorine’s in her business of helping highly capable high school seniors navigate summer jobs, SATs, college apps, scholarships and the like. Another of the guards was John, who is Kate’s older brother and also nephew Sam’s roomie at UCSB.

For the return trip I proved that my learning curve does have a slight upward slant. I had room reservations before I left.   The first night in Willits, and the second at a very basic motel in Reedsport that I used last year.  The first cost $120, and the 2nd – $59.  There are reasons for this…

Up early and over Highway 17 to Santa Cruz for fuel and breakfast, and then on up the coast on Highway 1 to “the city.”  This is a delightful ride I include every year. The sun is up, there is no traffic to speak of, and the ocean winks at you on the left.  Alas, as I rolled North the fog bank rolled in and dimmed the view. You end up idling through San Francisco in fairly light traffic for the time of day, and I always stop at the view point just across the Golden Gate Bridge.  Crossing the bridge I could not see anything to either side. At the viewpoint you could barely make out the bridge, and Alcatraz was out there – somewhere.

I parked the bike at an open spot right next to the stairs leading to a memorial to sailors, and what a scene!  Everyone who walked by had a comment or a question about the Bonneville.

Two tall young men I took to be Japanese came over and indicated with gestures that they liked the bike. One of them indicated he would like to take a picture.  I gestured back with a motion that was meant to say “Let me get out of your way.”

He took this to mean “Go ahead and sit on the bike.”  I was shocked as he climbed aboard.  With the large bags on the back you cannot just throw your leg over, but must raise your leg in a high kick and slide it across the seat.  My heart leapt into my mouth as he did this, fearing the worst, but evidently he knew what he was doing. His friend took the pictures, and with a few bows and broad smiles they were off.

I noticed three large sport touring bikes across the lot. Two BMWs and a Ducati.  The riders were getting ready to leave, and we nodded to each other, as you do. The one started his BMW and rode it straight ahead to just behind mine. He flipped up his visor and said “You look like the cover of a magazine!”

“What?”

“Smoking your pipe next to the bike. May I take a picture?”

Well, sure.  He took the photo and walked up to shake hands. “My name is Rafi.”

“Where are you from, Rafi?”

“Israel.”

“Well, welcome to America, Rafi!”

We chatted for a bit about our respective plans. He was surprised I had ridden all the way from Seattle and was heading back. He asked how many miles I rode in a day, and when I said “about 400, except for one day of 565,” he replied “Wow – you’re hard core!”

That made me think.  Since I have friends (ones I think are batcrap nuts) who do Iron Butt Rides of a thousand miles in a day or for several days of that distance, I have never thought of what I do as hard core. I think when people see the (relatively) small size of the Triumph and the utter lack of bodywork or a windshield they assume it is much more difficult than it is.

After they rode off I began to kick myself in my mental butt. Why did I not give him one of my cards with my e-mail address?  He would have sent me the picture, and I would have gained a friend in Israel.  Still rankles that I did not do so.

I think I could have stood there all day answering questions and accepting compliments about my bike, but even my ego needs can be met, so I was off again.

North a bit and then left as Highway 1 and 101 split, and over to the coast.

Once again I managed to make a wrong turn, and discovered a new route by accident. I had traveled the “usual” one three times by car and motorcycle, and the new one featured and up and over and so many hairpins I actually got tired of all the hairpin turns.

Odd, as I don’t think I have ever made a wrong turn in all of my previous journeys going back 40 years, or at least rarely, and on this trip I seemed to screw up on average more than once a day. More on that in a paragraph or two.

I paused for fuel in Port Reyes Station, and when I asked for the key to the men’s room the woman laughed and asked if I would be putting her in my novel. I was perplexed, and then realized I was wearing a t-shirt that says “Watch out or I will put you in my novel.”  I laughed and told her I had already written and published several books.  This always impresses people, and they never ask if any of them sell in large numbers.

On the way to Sebastopol, where I planned to turn East to rejoin 101, I stopped at Tomales for lunch at the same deli where I ate last year. After that the troubles began…

The road to Sebastopol becomes Highway 12, but it is not marked as such for several miles.  Once I knew I was on the right track I cruised through Sebastopol and headed for Santa Rosa to join 101 North. I did see the exit, but I was on the wrong side of the road in busy traffic. When I exited later and tried to get back I got lost – again. I stopped at a gas station to ask for directions, and the kindly gentleman either did not know what he was talking about or I don’t listen very well. I could not find the furshlugginer 101! I ended up on a lovely road I decided to follow, as I was ahead of schedule, and this took me on a 45 mile “detour” on some lovely roads through the Napa wine country.  I eventually returned to a park in the small town of Kendall.  Then I headed into Santa Rosa and got lost – again!  Now it was 90 degrees or more, and I was getting frustrated. I stopped at a different gas station and cooled down with a bottle of Dr. Pepper, and this time – finally, the provided directions worked.

Of course, if I had a smart phone with GPS, and I can hear my friends cackling with glee as I write this, NONE of these many navigational errors would have occurred.  Next year…

All was terrific until I was a mere five miles from Willits. Then another construction zone, this one much worse. All of the freeway traffic was directed to the small road leading into Willits. The crawl slowed to about 1 mile per hour, and boy golly howdy was it hot.  I actually managed to miss the sign for the motel (in fairness it was almost invisible) and trolled all the way through town in the boiling heat. A phone call eventually got me to the Best Western, which was both expensive and very unimpressive.

After I checked it, I chose to remove the tank bag and take it to my room before moving the bike.  Forgetting that the lid was unzipped.  The entire contents promptly strewed themselves all over the sloping and piping hot asphalt of the parking lot.  What a way to end the day!

Once I got the bike parked in the correct spot I chose to not succumb to the heat and fatigue, taking the time to lube the drive chain. This is always more effective when done while the chain is still hot.

Changing into shorts and a t-shirt I realized I had been so frustrated by my (many) navigational errors that I had failed to maintain proper hydration.  I was not hungry, which was a sure sign.  I tromped across the road to a handy shopping center and loaded up on a lot of liquids and a little food. I also purchased their last roll of duct tape to replace what I had borrowed from the unfortunates who had the car break-in, which was starting to peel off. I retired to my room at 5:15pm pretty well defeated. A “Jason Bourne” movie on the TV was a great way to restore my mental state while milk and beer and water replenished the fluids I had lost.

Odometer reading:         3061           Mileage for the day: 301   Total:  1461

Saturday, July 23rd

The continental breakfast was surprisingly complete, partially redeeming the Best Western in my internal review, and soon I was running North on 101 for another fantastic morning. Once again, little traffic, rhythmic winding roads running up and down, and fantastic scenery. I made use of my newest safety technique as well.

One of the most severe safety dangers when riding a motorcycle in remote areas these days comes in the form of deer. Especially in the morning and evening hours. My new technique is to find a car or truck traveling at approximately my own preferred pace, which can be tricky, as most are canoodling slower than I would like. On this occasion I lucked out and found an aggressively driven truck I used as a “deer blocker” for about 40 miles. I was saddened when he eventually turned off.

I spend a lot of quality time at a rest stop somewhere up in the hills, sitting all by myself and just soaking in the peace and quiet and the sun, rapidly ramping up for another warm day.

Eventually 101 rejoined 1, and it was on to the coast.  Once there the mist and cold moved back in and the ride to Reedsport was chilly, made a bit worse by incredibly strong winds – almost violent at times.

My reservation was at the Best Budget Inn in Reedsport, a motel so basic that it made me laugh.  No A/C.  No mini-refrigerator. No in-room coffee maker. A small bathroom with a shower stall so small that when I dropped the soap I had to rotate around to bend over with my butt bowing out the shower curtain.  And not even a digital clock.  The TV did have two stations, and about 15 retail stations, but Jason Bourne was on again – the other movie.  For $59 you don’t get much, which was fine. Relaxing evening.

Odometer:  3437                     Mileage for this day: 421                  Total: 1882

Sunday, July 24th

The last day started very well, as had all the others. I rode up Highway 1 in very heavy fog and chose to turn East on 126 at Florence to get to I-5 and the slog home.  Brilliant move.  The fog lifted gradually, and the scenes before me took on a surreal likeness to an impressionist painting. There were lakes as still as death with wisps of fog rising, one of them with a lone person fishing in a small boat that looked more painted that real.  Once again I was fortunate to find a “deer blocker,” and followed him for a long way. Eventually, for whatever reason, the driver really ramped it up, and I decided that 85 mph was a little too brisk on a winding highway I did not know that still offered copious for here and there.   I was cold but it was so beautiful!

I was ahead of schedule, again, and again, it was too good to last. The first freeway slowdown was due to a complete gutting of about a 1958 Cadillac airport limousine that had succumbed to fire. After that there were repeated blurts of 75mph and then inexplicable pauses of 5 mph for a mile or two.  For most of them I could see no reason why the masses had slowed.

I got through Portland with less hassle than I imagined, but in Olympia it all went to heck. Now we had a serious traffic jam.  I chose to make use of the new Washington lane splitting law than I THOUGHT had passed last year, and idled past about an hour’s worth of traffic jam. Just today I learned that the bill never made it out of the House, so I broke the law – extensively. Oops.

The rest of the day was a bit of a drag, as I expected, because getting back to Seattle on a Sunday in the summer is going to be challenge from almost any direction.

I arrived home to the garage that my wife had left open so I could just ride in like a MotoGP superstar, and then I relaxed on our deck with the steak Susan had purchased for me.

Good to be home.

Odometer:  3818                      Mileage this day:  381             Total:           2263

What I learned on this trip:

  1. I will need to cave in to reality and purchase a smart phone.
  2. The borrowed Cortech saddlebags worked very well. I have since ordered and received my own set, with a matching top bag that plugs into the saddlebags.
  3. A new Triumph Bonneville, parked, is a great way to meet people.
  4. Although the wind drag on my arms and body was a bit of a problem, I am not sure I want to add a windshield. The bike looks so perfect as is.
  5. All in all this is the most romantic motorcycle I have ever used for a trip. Not the fastest, and surely not the most practical, but every day was memorable and filled with a sense of occasion. That has great value to me, probably more now than when I was younger.

Next year’s trip – the planning starts now!

 

 

Copyright 2016                        David Preston

 

 

 

Posted in Motorcycles, Travel | 2 Comments

2016 California Motorcycle Ride – Part I

My 2016 California Motorcycle Ride – Part I

A broken helmet, a car break-in, and a murder = not your usual.

Friday, July 15th                     Beginning Odometer read.  1590 miles

I started with breakfast with friends, leaving Bothell at about 8:30am. Because I have not put on the free pass stickie for the new HOV lanes, I chose to meander the back roads, joining I-90 East at the appropriately named town of Preston.  When I did this trip last year, I chose a back roads route down to Mt. Rainier and East to Yakima. That turned out to be sort of a drone, so this year I chose to just suck it up and simply ride the freeways East to Ellensburg, and then South past Yakima to Goldendale and into Oregon.

I paused at Shaniko at the never completed revision of a ghost town, and spend time chatting with people who passed by.  Very few people can stroll by a Triumph Bonneville without stopping to chat.  Virtually everyone has a memory of the original Bonneville, or owned one, or are simple captivated by the look. Many of them think mine is a restored original, and are quite surprised to find it is a brand new 2016 version. Then I usually give them a tour of all the modern gizmos that are hidden.

Then it was a short side detour down to Antelope, and then back to the main road and south to the small town of LaPine, Oregon, and my stop for the night at the Highlander motel, my favorite motel.

All went well until just south of Bend, where a horrendous traffic snarl due to construction took me about an hour in high heat to reach my destination for the day. This became the theme of the trip – every morning was fantastic, and every afternoon was – challenging.

I love the Highlander motel.  It has only 12 rooms,  adjoined by a gas station and a small market, with two restaurants across the street. The owner has been running the place since he was 12, and does an amazing job.  The rooms are small, clean, and inexpensive.   In each room there is a small container of “Oopsy Rags” meant for people like me who want to clean up a motorcycle or other begrimed vehicle.  I purchased dinner of sorts at the market, and spent an enjoyable evening sitting outside my room and chatting with people who were curious about my bike, or other motorcyclists. There was a father and son duo on Honda cruisers, and I felt the strong emotion of the 40-plus year old son enjoying a trip with his much older father.

End of day odometer: 1996    Mileage for the day:  406

Saturday, July 16th

I got up early and filled the tank as the gas station opened at 6am. Out of town I turned East on Highway 131, which goes up and up and then South. This may have been a mistake, because the time was essentially o-deer-thirty, and it was pretty cold.  On the other hand, there was virtually no traffic and I saw no deer. I was aiming for a small town for breakfast, but had no luck.  I did find a gorgeous little park in Summer Lake where I paused to take in the beauty of the morn and let the rising sun warm me up a bit.

This is one of the advantages of smoking a pipe.  I stop frequently, and smoking my pipe forces me to slow down and pay attention to the beauty and solitude.  When you ride alone there is a danger of riding too far and not stopping often enough or for long enough. If you are not careful you can end your ride not really having experienced it.

Somewhere in here my right visor attachment pod broke for no apparent reason.  I taped the visor to the helmet with some mediocre painter’s tape I had, but I  had to have enough room to open the visor to put on my glasses. 

Finally found a fine spot for breakfast at the Homesteader Café in Paisley, 120 miles down the road from LaPine.

On to California and the great roads leading to Quincy – some of the best riding ever. The original plan was to stop for the day at Quincy, but problems arose. First of all, it was only 3pm, which is a little early to stop for the day. Secondly, I knew the national Norton convention was wrapping up in Quincy and that might mean a dearth of motel rooms.

I had been to Quincy for the Norton convention about 20 years ago, and it was a pretty big deal.  Not so this time. I saw virtually no evidence of Norton activity at all.  At a gas stop there were two of them, with a third in the back of a truck, which is about the right ratio for 40 and more year old Nortons.  Later I saw two of them on a trailer being towed by a gorgeous white Cadillac hearse!  This struck me as a great tow vehicle, and you could sleep inside it.  After all, hundreds before you had slept there, but the odds are high that your experience would be different because you would wake up.

I chose to keep going. The roads from Quincy to Nevada City are about 100 miles of fantastic. I was mad at myself over this stretch last year, because I had been careless. I was hot, dehydrated, and very hungry, to the extent that it hampered my ability to enjoy the ride and progress with verve. Not this time – marvelous.

Alas, Nevada City had not motels I could find.  Nor did Grass Valley, or Auburn! Now it was getting late in the day.  I did not want to take off the dark tinted visor, lest I do more damage to the crippled attachment. I chose to ride toward Sacramento in hopes of finding a motel.  Did you know that modern motels often do not have a “No Vacancy” sign?  How irritating!  After stopping three times in 90 degree heat, removing my helmet and going inside to be denied, I was getting worried.   I called Susan, who was in Las Gatos, and asked her to use her smart phone to find me a motel room in Sacramento. I think is was the death knell for my flip phone.  It seems everyone uses a smart phone these days, and with one I could have solved the problem easily.   With some effort she got me a room at a Days Inn in Sacramento.  I called and got directions from the manager, and I was off into a setting sun.

Alas, the manager misunderstood where I was riding from, and gave me incorrect directions!  Now I was riding North and West on I-5 toward Woodland, directly into a setting sun, looking for a “Richards Blvd.” exit. As I neared Woodland and darkness set in, the low fuel light came on.  I would not have enough to get back to Sacramento, so I made a hurried stop for fuel and headed back toward Sacramento. Two more phone calls and a conversation at a freeway exit with a helpful woman in a car and I finally figured out the manager’s error. The motel was two miles South of I-80!

I pulled in to the motel at 9pm, exhausted physically and emotionally. I did not care that the room cost $120.  I unpacked and took a walk to calm down and enjoy my pipe. When I came back there was a couple in the parking lot allowing their dog some exercise, smoking cigarettes, and (of course), looking over my Triumph. We had a nice chat, and I explained my day of challenges.  At this, the gentleman said, “Well, you know why your wife was able to book a room here?”

“Um – no. Why?”

“Because there was a murder here last night!”

 “What?”

“Yeah, up there on the 2nd floor. When we got up this morning the parking lot was full of cops, and they would not let anyone check out or in for several hours.”

I have come up with the plot for 5 novels, and now reality was bringing one to me!

I slept well.

Odometer reading:      2570           Mileage for the day:    576

576 is not much for people fond of Iron Butt or similar high mileage events, but on back roads with no bodywork or windshield, it is a long day.

 

Sunday, July 17th

I chose to ride South from Sacramento on I-5, as I had not gone this way before.  Another gorgeous morning.  My visor was getting more and more loose as the tape began to fail. Finally a combination of a gust of wind and a turn of my head to the left tore the visor completely off – at 75 mph!  That got my attention.  I pulled to the side and donned my sun glasses and resumed.  At speed my eyes were watering so much I could barely see straight ahead. Looking down at the instruments was impossible. I resolved to stop at the next Rest Area and tape on the clear visor.  That turned out to be 50 miles away.

At the Rest Area I hooked my boot on the top bag as I was dismounting and I fell, quite hard, on my left hip. The one with bursitis.  Ouch. Added to my “trick” right knee, which always hurts more or less. I limped to a bench and took out the clear visor and set about taping it into place with the crummy tape.  As I sat there I noticed a Mercedes in the parking lot. The driver’s door glass was all over the ground, and people were finishing cleaning it out and beginning to tape clear plastic over the window area. With duct tape.

Hmmm.  I strolled over and asked what had happened.   The woman had locked her purse in the car, having shoved it up under the pedals so it was not visible, and then gone to the rest room. Some miscreant, who had clearly been scouting cars as they came into this very busy area, broke out the window, stole the purse, and fled. Evidently nobody saw this.  I thought ruefully about the key to my bike, sitting in the ignition, and my wallet, in the tank bag.

I expressed my sympathies and asked if I could have about 6 inches worth of the duct tape. With the clear visor held more firmly in place, I headed South again on I-5, down to where it intersects 152, which would take me West to Gilroy and then Watsonville.

As I left I-5 I noticed an “In ‘N Out Burger” restaurant, and did not miss the chance to take in this famed chain, sort of a Mecca for car and motorcycle people. It lived up to the hype.

Replenished in belly and spirit, I headed West on 152.   I had one more mistake to make this day. Instead of continuing to Highway 1 and then onto 17 over the hill to Las Gatos, I had a brain spasm and turned North on 101.  This would take me to San Jose, but I had been in San Jose and Las Gatos often enough that I figured I could “hot rod” the way from San Jose to Los Gatos, and I did, with some difficulty.

Now it got even more interesting from a family point of view. Susan was in Santa Barbara with her sister Meghan, who also lives in Las Gatos.  They had gone down to visit Meghan and Richard’s son Sam, a freshman at UCSB. Meanwhile, the ostensible goal of the trip was to visit daughter Dorine and husband Dorje and grandson Arthur, but they were finishing up a visit with Dorje’s brother, and would not be home until the evening.  It was decided I should just go to Meghan’s house, where Rich and son Quinn might or might not be home, and just hang out for the afternoon.

Good plan.  As it turned out, Richard was home. Shortly thereafter Quinn showed up with Sammi and her two daughters.  Sammi is Meghan’s best friend from forever, and is a former student of mine. Sammi lives a mile from our house. How’s that for odd?  Quinn had taken them for a day of surfing, and now Sammi and the girl’s faced a late afternoon drive to Redding for their motel reservation. I did not envy them.  Richard had to go in to the office, and Quinn left for somewhere, so I – napped.

Later in the afternoon I was relaxing on the front porch and an older fellow on a scooter paused to take in the Triumph.   He was new to motorcycles, and the scooter was a first step.  When he heard that I had ridden from Seattle he said “You inspire me!” and tottled off.  That was nice.

It was over 90 degrees, so in the evening when Dorine and family arrived at their apartment, I left my leather pants and boots at Meghan’s and rode a mile through town with helmet, jacket, and gloves, plus shorts and slip on shoes. Sort of ATGATT (all the gear all the time) from the waist up.

First half of the trip done!

Odometer: 2760           Mileage for the day: 190       So far: 1160

 

Copyright 2016                      David Preston

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Mnemonics

Remembering Mnemonics – Old and New

I have always been fond of mnemonic devices, those little sentences or images that help you remember things that may or may not be important.

In 8th grade Science class we were taught how to remember the difference between “rotate” and “revolve.” The teacher had us all stand and put a finger on the top of our head. We would then rotate on our own axis. While doing that, we would walk in a circle, revolving around the room.  One reason this was effective was that any classroom task that gets 8th graders out of their desks and moving will be memorable.

Then there was the mnemonic sentence to help you remember the order of the planets.  “Many Very Early Men Ate Juicy Steaks Using No Plates,” which stood for  Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Asteroid Belt, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto.  Sadly, this one no longer works, as we have added a planet, dropped one, and changed the order.   ….but I can’t recall the new arrangement.

I used one in teaching English to get across the proper use of the comma. I would have the students stand and walk around the room saying “comma” and then slapping their own butt.  Not another’s butt!  This taught that a comma is almost always placed before the word “but.”  I cannot think of an example where it is not. My wife borrowed this one for her elementary students, and of course I borrowed the stand up and move idea from my 8th grade science teacher.

There are hundreds of examples, but here are two I invented all by myself.

“When the helmet drops, the bullshit stops.”  I used to say this every time I put on my crash helmet, to remind myself that riding a motorcycle requires all of your attention, all of the time. There is no room for contemplating what is going on at work, or the bills to be paid, or the joys (hopefully many) or sorrows (hopefully rare) of married life.  I still do this today, although it is usually only a thought and I do not say it aloud.  This one you can find in Wikipedia under motorcycle safety, as I used it in my book Motorcycle 201.

My other mnemonic I have never seen used by anyone else.  In 1998, I took on a part time job with Doug’s Lynnwood Mazda, which became the prototype effort for my full-time career in motorsports from 2000 – 2013. In both cases I was required to hop into a car or motorcycle, often on short notice, that I had never experienced before.  I began to wear some sort of driving gloves for each occasion, to remind myself that I was now operating a vehicle that was not mine and that might be quite valuable  (such as a Hummer or a newer Miata or Mazda truck) and I needed to focus. Particularly if I was on a rally or in a drag race or some other activity that involved aggressive driving.  Of course with motorcycles I was wearing gloves anyway (because I am not stupid), but the act of pulling on the gloves was still a good reminder. Often I was to ride a motorcycle such as a Honda Valkyrie that I had never ridden before and then take part in a club event where everyone else was riding that bike and most of them were highly experienced with that bike, as in relatively fast.   I did not crash any of the 600 or so cars and motorcycles I drove, rode, or raced in that time, and the glove and helmet mnemonics were an assist, I believe.

That is why in some of the posted pictures from the “Gambler 500” rally of last weekend you will see me wearing “driving gloves.”  They are actually just golf gloves, but they do the task of helping me focus.  Alas, they could not prevent me from finding a sharp rock or ten on the rough trails the organizers had presented as “roads.” One of them slashed the right front tire of the Volvo wagon I was driving, and then a second one I never saw did in the replacement.  With “only,” two spares, we had to retire from the dirt portions of the event.

In any case, mnemonics work. What’s your favorite?

 

Copyright 2016                        David Preston

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A Ten Day Motorcycle Ride to California

6th and final (?) draft and last call!

I’ll be departing from the Crystal Creek Cafe in Bothell after brekkie on July 15th.   Here is proposed route – and of course I reserve the right to make changes along the way.  Y’all are welcome to join me, as long as you can make alternate plans for the days I am visiting family in Los Gatos, as there are no more available beds!  As you can see, none of the days offer prohibitive or even challenging distances, as I like to stop often and I don’t really need to impress anyone with my riding stamina.

July 15th    (Friday) – July 25th    (Monday)        Cal tour    10 days

        Day #1:       

I90 to Ellensberg, South to Bend, on to LaPine (300 miles)

        Day #2:       

31 to Silver Lake               46 miles

31 to Valley Falls               72 miles

395 to New Pine Creek      50 miles

395 to Alturas                   39 miles

299 to Adin                       40 miles

139 to Susanville               66 miles 

36 to Westwood                20 miles

147 to 89                          11 miles 

89 to Quincy                     30 miles                  (374 miles)

          Day #3:               

Quincy to Sattley on 89            45 miles

49 to Nevada City                        65 miles

49 to Auburn                               23 miles

80 to 680 to Los Gatos             (300/400 miles)     

          Days #4–7:  

Visiting in Los Gatos

        Day #8:       

17 to 101 North                                  20 miles       

 101 North to Eureka                       300 miles      (320 miles)

        Day #9        

101 North to Crescent City           71 miles

101 North to Newport                     192 miles

20 East to a motel                            50 miles        (313 miles)

         Day #10      

to I-5 to Home                            280 miles      (280 miles)  

 

Copyright 2016                              David Preston

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50 Years of Evolution in Motorcycle Gear

50 Years of Motorcycle Gear

I received my first piece of motorcycle gear for Christmas in 1966, and I’ve owned this or that for half a century now.  Gear has evolved immensely.

My 1964 Christmas present Bell 500 helmet was the finest helmet available at the time.  It was not intended for me to use on a motorcycle, oddly enough. I’d been pestering my parents for a motorcycle on a daily basis since 1962, when I had my first ride on a motorcycle, provided by a friend of my older brother.

I got off the bike (keep in mind that I was only the passenger, and still had yet to actually control a bike) and just knew that this was what I was supposed to do.  The pair of mechanical engineers I referred to as my parents did not agree with my epiphany, and so began five years of research, reading everything I could find about motorcycles.

The Bell 500 was an open face helmet in gleaming white, and I was in love.  I did not drive around town in a car wearing it, but I was sorely tempted. It received about 15 coats of wax, and was glorious.

By 1966 nothing had changed, but I did have a good friend who was an experienced and capable kart racer. I assisted him at a race or two, if I may stretch the definition of “assist,” and also had a chance to try out his kart in a big and empty parking lot. We concocted a plan to form a two kart race team for the summer of 1965.  This made sense to my parents, who saw this as a healthier outlet for their obsessed son than an actual motorcycle.

Alas, a couple of months later my friend decided to retire from kart racing and spend the summer entering water ski tournaments.

In the spring of 1967 my mother was diagnosed with the cancer that would kill her in six months. My parents’ lives were thrown upside down in a day. All of their plans for the near future were destroyed.   People plan – God laughs.  This brought a change of philosophy. When I brought up the purchase of a motorcycle, again, the response was, “Sure.”

In August of 1967 I purchased, for $400, a barely used 1965 Yamaha YDS-3, a 250cc two-stroke twin bike.  Someone had turned left in front of the owner, almost causing his demise, and he was so frightened he chose to sell the bike. 

Rider instruction? Hah!  Did not exist. The man handed me the keys and I “learned” how to ride, on the street, on the way home.  I killed the engine at every stop light and stop sign, and could see my father in the rear view mirror, laughing in his car as he followed me home. Rather dark humor, but there was very little traffic then.

There was also very little motorcycle gear available at the time.  I usually wore a pair of hiking boots, jeans, and some sort of a jacket – often a ski parka. But I did have a great helmet!

I added a clear “bubble shield”, and on days that were at all chilly I wrapped a bandana around my head and up over my nose. This is what Formula 1 race drivers did at the time, before the advent of full face helmets, so I thought I looked quite cool. Most probably thought I just looked weird.  Some things never change….

For gloves it was ski gloves on really cold days. In the summer I wore white handball gloves, which were very thin leather than would be useless in a crash, but I chose white for a practical reason.  A Yamaha YDS 3 did not have turn signals, so it was easier for a car behind me at night to see my hand signals.

A year or so later I ordered, with palpitations of excitement, a real motorcycle jacket. Sort of. This came out of the Webco catalog.  Webco was a large distributor of all sorts of motorcycle things, and their catalog warmed many a Minnesota night.  The jacket I chose was black Naugahyde with a “Mandarin” collar, and white stripes sewn onto each sleeve.   I added a black stripe made of electrical tape to the center of my helmet so it all matched. So now I looked just like a real racer, sort of, if you squeezed your eyes a lot.  And tried real hard.

Back in those days road racers all wore simple black leathers. There were no colors, sponsor logos, or anything else.  Combined with this were tall black leather boots that came up almost to the knees. Pretty much the only way to tell them apart was by simple additions to their helmets. This was before the colorful, complex, and personalized helmet paint schemes most of them wear today.

In 1968 I added a very early Vetter fairing to the bike. These were not the enormous touring fairings that Craig Vetter invented next – the ones that made him a fortune. Mine was the 43rd one he sold, if I recall, and cost $140. It was essentially a road racing fairing with an extended windshield.  When I mounted it the brace on the front fender hit the fairing so – off with the front fender.  I had a big ego boost one day when I was out on the street giving the bike an 8th coat of wax, and a fellow on a big and red BSA stopped to ask if I was entered in the road race that weekend.

When I moved to the Northwest in June of 1969 I brought all of my possessions in a two axle U-Haul, much of the space taken up by my Yamaha.  I had a bike that looked fast (it was not) and motorcycle gear that consisted of a helmet and a jacket and whatever else was on hand. 

The first thing I did was to strip the bike down, including the removal of the fairing, clean and wax everything, and remove the baffles from the mufflers. A torch burned off the crud that would build up.  Then I took it out for a “test ride,” wearing the helmet, gloves, a short sleeve shirt, shorts, and penny loafers.  Pause here to congratulate yourself on guessing what comes next.

Of course I crashed. The only serious incident I’ve endured in 50 years. All my own fault, a combo of testosterone and ego and fantasy talent.  I spent the rest of the summer with my arm in a sling while the surgically repaired shoulder healed. I sold the remains of the bike, and the fairing, to the guy who lived next door.  

In the fall I purchased an almost new Honda 450 Street Scrambler, but my gear remained the same. For Christmas I decided to ride to San Francisco to visit my brother and his wife, ignoring the advice of a friend who said “You cannot do this. You will die in the mountains.”  As it turned out he was almost correct, as I missed by 30 minutes a blizzard that closed I-90.  It was so cold that I stopped every 50 miles or less for hot cocoa to abate the hypothermia symptoms.  In Oregon is rained so hard that my cheap rain pants failed. I purchased some fishing waders at a truck stop, after pouring water out of my boots.

In 1970 I took off for Minnesota with the same gear, or lack of it. My riding jacket was a blue ski parka, which would have exploded in a flurry of feathers in a crash.  I did not crash.  Heat was dealt with by pushing the sleeves up to my elbows.  A ride to Florida took place in 1971 – same gear.

Somewhere in there I wanted to purchase a jacket that I could wear on the motorcycle or any other time. It was black, and did not work very well for either use.  A motorcycle jacket that buttons up and has fabric cuffs – what was I thinking? It was long enough in the back that I had to hunch up so I was not sitting on the lower end of it. Bad purchase.  Also lacking in anything resembling safety considerations.

Married in 1972, I took a brief hiatus from motorcycles for an adventure with the rolling restoration of a 1958 Corvette. I returned to motorcycles in 1976 with the purchase of a beater of a Honda 450 CL as a commuter bike.

Of course I needed new gear for this.  I purchased a Bell Star helmet in orange, one of the first full face helmets. The visor was thin plastic, and would have been destroyed by a flying rock.   This was, again, the best helmet available at the time. 

For my 30th birthday in 1977 we purchased my first “real” motorcycle jacket.  This was a brown jacket by Bates – one of the premier leather goods suppliers of the day.  It looked great and worked well, but did not have any crash padding or other safety features – they had not been thought of yet.

I ordered some real motorcycle boots from the Frank Thomas Company in England. This involved mailing them tracings of both of my feet, and the boots were made to an exact fit. The exchange rate was very favorable at the time, and I think they cost me $86.  Fantastic boots in black, rising almost to my knees, and of course I wore them on the outside to show them off.  I hated the cleats they on the heels, which made an embarrassing noise when shopping in a store. I was relieved when the heels wore down and I could have them replaced with plain rubber ones.

These did offer some real safety, and I wore them for 23 years!  Eventually I gave them to a friend who adored them, and I think she still has them.

I also purchased leather riding pants for cheap.  These had no padding at all, as did almost all of them back then.

My helmet was upgraded to a Shoei in black, and by the late 1970’s helmets were really beginning to evolve. A Lexan visor for one, which I appreciated one day when a rock that flew up from somewhere hit me square in the middle of the visor.  With my earlier Bell Star the results would have been disastrous – the Shoei suffered no damage at all.

For my 40th birthday we went to a custom leather shop on Aurora North in Seattle and had a “serious” motorcycle jacket made.  Thick gray leather, with serious zippers, and padding at the shoulders.  It seemed to weigh about 50 pounds, but was a vast improvement.

By this time you could also purchase motorcycle gloves designed for the purpose, and I usually have three pair with me.  One for cold, one for warm, and one for rain.

In 2000 I left teaching for the job I invented at Cycle Barn, and once again gear evolved with me. Cycle Barn obtained a new riding jacket for me in black with dark crimson Cycle Barn script on the back and my name on the front.  As much protection as my last jacket, which I gave to a brother-in-law, and much lighter.  I also purchased a set of Shoei boots, which were totally and completely waterproof, (what a concept!) and offered protective plates at toe and ankle.

In a fit of enthusiasm, and because it was a great deal, I purchased a Muzzy Raptor, a real honest to goodness limited production exotic super bike.  Alas, the riding position was so radical I could not see out of the Shoei, so I switched to a new top of the line Arai, which had a higher viewing port.   Each year the top helmets would add more layers of fiberglass, and then Kevlar began to creep in, and now carbon fiber. Each generation is quieter, more comfy, and offers better protection.

I thought I needed better boots to go with the Muzzy, so I purchased some Aria road racing boots.  Extremely safe, but totally uncomfortable off the bike. Since my job involved riding to events and standing and walking around with customers or meeting them, these boots were not a great idea.

In 2006 Cycle Barn was expanding, and new logos and decals and overall company “branding” were the thing.   The company designed for me and ordered a complete custom set of Vanson leathers, the last word in gear.  The fitting for the pants consisted of 47 different measurements!   In blue and black, with white signage, this was really spectacular. It was also a real incentive to not gain weight. Imagine going to the company and saying “I can’t wear the $2000 leathers you paid for because I got too fat!”

The Vanson pants had padding in the hips, and felt knee coverings for the attachment of knee pads used by road racers. I added the pads because the pants looked incomplete without them, even though I have never “put a knee down.”  I had the fun in the fall of 2013 to attend a motorcycle show in Orlando and spend time with the woman who made my suit, which she remembered. I later sold the jacket, as I did not work for Cycle Barn any longer and the owner told me to keep the gear, but I still wear the pants.

It’s a long story, but in 2006 I was able to attend a Moto GP race in China as the guest of Fieldsheer, then a leading gear supplier. When I got back I decided to purchase their gear whenever possible. Seemed only fair. I purchased a set of riding pants to be worn over jeans on my commute.  Padded, warm, and waterproof – oh that such things existed when I started!

I also purchased a lovely snuggly warm Fieldsheer jacket for cold weather use, in the lurid neon yellow-green I like. Still have it.

In 2010 I moved from Cycle Barn to Ride West, and was given an $800 BMW riding jacket.  This had the useful addition of a zippered pouch on the back for carrying maps or whatever. It also had a zip-out lining and crash padding here and there.  Alas, the zipper was crap, but was replaced under warranty with the heavy duty ilk it should have been born with.

One design “feature” I hated was the rain adaptation.  The jacket was designed to be worn with the sleeves over your gloves. In the rain, the moisture was to penetrate the outer layer and then run out over your wrists. The problem was that in the rain that jacket gained several pounds of weight. When the rain stopped you now had wind hitting a wet jacket, and you would air condition yourself into hypothermia.

As Ride West was a large retailer of Rev’It products, I purchased a riding jacket meant for medium to warm days, with the Fieldsheer for cold weather.   The Rev’It is brilliant. It has so many zippers and vents that you cannot open them all and be comfortable unless the temperature is over 90 degrees.   Amazing product. Zip out lining, safety padding on shoulders and elbows and down the back, multiple pockets – it is so many iterations of design beyond what was available in 1966!

Today, when I go out for a ride I am wearing almost $2,500 worth of gear, which is interesting when you think that my first motorcycle cost $400.  A set of Rev’It boots with BMW riding socks inside.  Vanson leather pants, and either the Fieldsheer or the Rev’It jacket, with or without a further lining from the Vanson jacket.  One of about 6 pair of gloves, and the latest editions of the Arai helmet, this one an RX-Q.

It is easy to forget today, as we complain about the cost of all this gear, than at least it is available.  There is simply no comparison to what was on offer 50 years ago. I have had the good fortune to always have pretty much the best stuff available, either because I sacrificed financially to purchase it, or because it was provided as a perk of my job, but even the lesser and less expensive gear available today is so far beyond what once was. It’s silly not to garb yourself in the best stuff you can afford.

At one time Bell helmets had the slogan “If you have a $10 head, buy a $10 helmet.”  That provides an idea of the costs back then, but the concept still applies today.  Now it applies to everything – helmet, jacket, gloves, boots, pants, and on and on.  How much do you want to sacrifice if an accident occurs?

The only constant over time is the definition of the most important piece of motorcycle gear you own.  And that would be – yourself.

You need to keep yourself in good shape, with frequent cleaning, exercise, and checks for operational capability. You need to make sure your gear is functioning at the highest level, which means adequate sleep, food, and hydration.  You need to shun alcohol and drugs, and I go so far as to ban intrusions into my helmet such as radio and phone connectivity, GPS, and so forth. “When the helmet drops the bullshit stops,” is a quote attributed to me (in Wikipedia no less!) which I may or may not have authored.

I may not be able to ride for a further 50 years, but it does make a good goal.

 

Copyright 2016              David Preston

 

Posted in Education, Equipment, Marketing, Motorcycles | 2 Comments

Gambler 500 Prep

The event (Google it) is still two weeks away, and preparations continue. Here are the crew coveralls Bill Hucks has put together. You will note there are more coveralls than can fit in one well-used Volvo station wagon.  That is because Tony “Wrench” and Deb “Wench” will be outriders on motorcycles.   They may have one or two more assistant outriders with them.   This is the most hilarious event I have ever been involved in, and it does not even start for two weeks.

I would like to think Bill Hucks got his marvelous creative thinking ability when he was a student in my 8th grade English class, but since that was 47 years ago I seriously doubt it.

 

coveralls

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Deb Shiell and the Riders for Health Scavenger Hunt V

Deb Shiell and the Riders for Health Scavenger Hunt V

Deb Shiell is an amazing person. I met her while working for Ride West BMW. She went on several rides and always brought an amazing attitude, a lot of laughs, and a smile for everyone. Especially on rides where the weather was wet and cold and simply foul – all the better!  One of those people who makes an event better by her mere presence.

A couple of those events were small fund raisers for Riders for Health that I had been putting on since 2001 or so – one or two a year.  Deb was fascinated by RfH and wanted to do more.  One day I learned that founders Andrea and Barry Coleman would be in Seattle, and they invited me to get together for coffee. At that time the events I was putting on were pretty much the extent of successful fund-raising for Riders in the country. I had a brain storm and invited Deb to join us. One of my better ideas.

“Coffee” lasted about two hours, and by the end Deb was all in and committed.  Andrea and Barry will do that for a person. Deb asked why we could not put on an RfH event for off-road riders, as all of mine were pavement oriented. The answer had three parts.   1. Because I had not thought of it.  2. Because I’m not fond of riding in the dirt.  3. Actually, we could.

Over the next few months Deb spent several hundred hours of her own time and a lot of her own money to put together the first Riders for Health Scavenger Hunt.  She had a lot help from Bill Hucks, and a little from me and a few others.  The event was held at The Cove RV Park in Brinnon, Washington, and Deb spent a lot of time with the wonderful owners, visiting and laying out multiple routes.  She also managed somehow to make the acquaintance of the internationally famous Mary McGee, who came to the event on her own dime, flying in to Seattle and renting a car for the occasion. This year will be the 5th edition. 

A week before the event it occurred to me (I can be slow) that we could also have a scavenger hunt class for road riders. That first year Tony Basile and I were the only riders on street bikes.

The event was one of the most amazing I have been to, and I have been attending events like this for decades.  Loads of tremendous people, a whole lot of fun, amazing stories around the campfire from Mary McGee, and a significant amount of money raised.

Now at this point I can hear Deb’s voice in my head, protesting that I had staged many such events before she came along. This is true, but there are enormous differences.  Putting on charity events was a part of my job description for many years. Not only was the considerable time I spent on each one paid for, but I also had an expense account for the fuel and food needed. I was fortunate to work for Jim Boltz and then Keith and Ann Thye, motorcycle dealership owners who supported Riders for Health in many ways, and not the least of them financial. In addition, I knew many other dealership owners and staff members and owners of related businesses such as Café Veloce, and had no problem securing lots of great door prizes.

Deb has done all this for 5 years on her own time and with her own money.

But wait, there’s more. Last year’s event was held during the deluge of the century.  Mary McGee could not attend, so I paid up and got the one motel room in the camp. Good idea. My room became a drying room for the gear of many people, and the resulting funk took me back to the storage room for 9th grade football.  Sleeping amid the odors of wet socks is not all that terrific, but on the other hand some of those in tents woke up – floating!

(The weather this year is bound to be so much better)

The Saturday ride for the street riders was a trip to Hurricane Ridge. It was made more fun for me because Deb was leading it, and knowing the area well, used many back roads I had never heard of or ridden.  A wonderful day, if soggy at times.

Saturday evening we were all preparing for the group feast when I noticed an awful thing. The wedding ring that has been on my left hand since 1972 was – gone.  I was horror struck. Within minutes a dozen people were wandering around the camp, heads down, looking for a small golden band. No luck. I took all my gear apart, and searched the motel room – several times.

It was just… gone.

On Sunday we all met for breakfast, and then the ride home.  Deb had borrowed the Ride West events van for the event, with her bike stashed inside.  As I rode home, depressed, Deb took the rest of the day, without telling me, and drove the van to every single place we had stopped the day before. She asked people questions, left her contact information with anyone who would take it, and searched each of the many places we had stopped during the day.  This took her all day. That is the sort of person Deb Shiel is.

Months later while moving my gear around, I found the ring.  It had evidently come off inside a rain glove that had failed in the deluge. Somehow it transferred from there to a hidden seam in the bottom of my pack.

The Riders for Health Scavenger Hunt V will take place this on Friday, August 5th to Sunday the 8th. The web site for the 2016 version is not up yet, but a Google look at the previous events will show you what to look forward to.

Anyone with a street or dual purpose motorcycle that is legal is welcome to attend.  As a side note, this event has the highest percentage of women riders of any I have ever seen not specifically targeted for women.

I urge you to make plans to attend.  Let me know if you can make it and I will forward you to Deb.  If you can’t make it but would like to donate to Riders for Health or offer a door prize we can make that happen as well.

You will have a wonderful time with fabulous people, have a chance to listen to more wild tales from Mary McGee, and help raise money for a worthwhile cause. 

And be with Deb Shiell.

Copyright 2016                        David Preston

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