8 Ball In The Wind

Monday, December 16, 2013

Lost Heroes

I was watching a DVD the other night; HBO's 'From The Earth To The Moon', and I realized that I was watching stories about my childhood heroes.  Then I realized that is something that has been missing in our society for a couple of generations.  I couldn't think of a real individual who I could say was good 'hero' material for a young person for the past couple of decades.  I am not talking a celebrity that can be idolized because of the character they play on TV or in films.  Or ahtletes who are idolized for their sports abilities.  But a real person who can be admired individually for their accomplishments.

I wasn't old enough to remember the Mercury space flights.  I do remember the Gemini missions.  To this day, I find them heroic in many ways.  They were still trying to figure out this whole space flight routine, and how to do things that now aren't even newsworthy today.  But in the mid 1960's, it was national news.  Two spacecraft making a rendezvous in space was something that had never been done before.  The same with actually docking with another spacecraft.  It was all being done for the first time, by a small group of men who were dedicated to the task.  Risking their lives to accomplish an extraordinary task.

Launch of Gemini-Titan 3.  The 1st manned Gemini mission

I can remember getting up at five and six in the morning, just to watch the rockets launch.  What seemed like such dangerous rockets with the small Gemini capsule on its top were worth watching.  Perhaps it was also the fact that the Gemini capsules had a sort of 'face' to them like a friendly mutt dog compared to Apollo's huge Saturn V rocket where you could barely even make out the capsule.  Maybe because for a year and a half, it seemed like so much was happening with Gemini that interest didn't wane.  Even as a kid, I knew it was very dangerous, and even the splashdown could be a disaster if the capsule sank.  Plus the live news feeds of the helicopters flying around and picking up the astronauts made for exciting TV for a 5 year old watching.

Gemini 7 from Gemini 6...1st rendezvous in space

To this day; the names Gus Grissom, and Jim Lovell stand head and shoulders above the other heroes of my youth.  Because they were real men, doing extraordinary things.  My old stingray bicycle was covered in decals from the various Gemini missions that came out of some cereal or other.  Yes, I guess as a little kid I was a space geek.  But these men were my heroes, and still are today.

Gus Grissom

Gus Grissom was my hero above all the other astronauts back then.  That may be why after his death; along with Ed White, and Roger Chaffee in the Apollo 1 capsule, I found it difficult to even like the Apollo astronauts, much less admire them.  Gus and Ed were gone in a flash, and that left only Jim Lovell, and to a lesser extent Neil Armstrong from my Gemini heroes left.  When they went up in Apollo, I still felt a bit of the awe from Gemini, but it was because they were still my heroes, and they still were having amazing adventures in space.

By the time the shuttle had come along, NASA had made space flight seem almost blase.  Now it was just a glorified airliner making regular flights.  No longer pioneers trying to understand a new frontier, or participating in dramatic discoveries and exploits.  They had lost the air of heroism in space flight.  Perhaps that is why there was such shock and disbelief when we lost the Challenger and the Columbia.  The public had forgotten just how dangerous space flight truly was.  That it wasn't as common place, and routine as all the sci-fi movies and TV shows made it out to be.

Those were amazing times which will not likely be seen again.  Society has changed, and it no longer seems to be appropriate to admire heroic individuals for doing extraordinary things as a daily job.  Risk seems to be something society wants to avoid now.  With society so afraid of risk anymore, it seems unlikely that we will have individuals risking everything in the search for knowledge, and discovery of the unknown anytime soon.  Today, the heroes of society are no longer the real risk takers.  The individuals who lay it all on the line because it is what needs to be done. Even our servicemembers, true heroes are not publicly praised as exhalted for the risks they experience everyday in the line of their duties.  As a group, they are somewhat exhalted, but in an unfocussed way.  No longer given heroes welcomes and parades down main street in their honor.

Today, society has new heroes; multi-millionaire athletes, and celebrities famous for nothing more than being rich and attractive.  People famous for attracting attention to themselves, but not necessarily for achievements of any real note.  We have lost our heroes, they have fallen...and it is our fault they have.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Got Me By The Balls

It's December here in the Cascade Mountain foothills.  The cold and damp is seeping into my knees, back, and fingers.  The weather and finances severely limiting my riding time.  All the while, Wanderlust has me by the balls.  Even my dreams lately have been traveling, or perhaps memories of places would be more precise.  Places I've been, or places I want to see again.  Just fragments of memories that stir things and make me get the urge to go.  

Dreaming of waking up under a freeway overpass outside of Junction City, Kansas.  The warm early morning sun shining down and getting me eager to move on.  But then, moving on from Kansas would be a dream at any rate.  Getting stuck there in that flat nothing would be a living Hell.

Thinking about places and times, and things I have done out on the road.  Knowing I am stuck here for the time being.  Unable to hit the road and see what is down between those white lines until Gypsy is up and ready to haul my ass there; I have to see it in my mind.
Little teases from the roads I have been on before, and ones I want to travel.  

It's just a matter of time before I lift the kickstand up and feel Gypsy rolling along the pavement as I let the clutch out in 1st gear.  Heading off on a long cross country ride the likes I havent taken in decades.  Thousands of miles rolling under our tires as we head down the road through half forgotten landscapes that only peak out from veiled and dusty memories.  The final, precise route remains to be determined.  Perhaps it only will be when I finally drop the kickstand down again in my garage at the end of the ride.  I know the basic stops along the route.  Waypoints to friends, family and places I want to see again while on this journey.  But which road will I follow to where?  That lies yet to be determined.

Three weeks, there and back.  It doesn't leave a lot of time to juggle, but enough to at least hit the high points.  I may not spend more than a few hours, or a day visiting old friends along the way.  But I have a job to do, a purpose for this trip.  That has to remain the focus, and everything else is just gravy to enjoy.  Somewhere north of 6,000 miles will be covered by me and my trusty 91 Evo, Gypsy Rose.  My mind keeps going over parts of the route I am familiar with, and building the yearning to roam again.  Waking to memories of the sunrise over Interstate 15 in northern Utah at 80 mph.  Seeing the sign denoting the fact that I am crossing the Continental Divide, while deep inside brightly lit tunnel in the Rockie Mountains on Interstate 70, and many more visions to be sure, seem to almost torture me with the need to ride.  Not just for a few hours, but days on end.  

The kind of riding I haven't enjoyed and endured since I rode for the Club as a Nomad.   It is as if the fires that have been smoldering for so long in my soul are slowly being fanned and banked in preparation for a long run that will burn itself into my memory.  I find myself praying it won't be my last big run, that it will be the reawakening of my traveling spirit.  But, at the same time, this cold dampness has me wrapped tightly in its grip.  The dull ache of it deep in my bones.  I am hoping the ache is my body fighting off the damnable apathy that comes with age.  Either way, something tells me this years run will mark a change in my life.  My instinct is that there is something waiting for me to discover on the road this year.  But until then, I am stuck here, unable to go, while Wanderlust gives my balls another squeeze as it shows me memories of the open road.

Catch ya on the road sometime...

Sunday, December 8, 2013


I really don't have a good excuse for not being as active on here over the past few weeks as I should.  Life has begun to get into something of a rut, and I just havent really been able to do much to bounce out of it.  Maybe I could blame it on the weather being so cold, the coldest in fifteen years they are saying.  But that's not really it.  Not really.  I just havent been able to get out and do much riding.  That's when I do my best thinking, and with the weather the way it's been the past couple of weeks I just haven't felt like going for a ride.  Outside of the last run we made up to Uncle Sam's and came home after dark in 35 degree temps, which damn near gave me freezer burn with the windchill, I havent done more than a handful of miles anywhere.  With the high temps hovering at or below freezing, I just havent had the desire to go out and freeze my hands off.

So, besides while I am at work driving the bus, I havent gotten any real road time.  Although, I have had some good ideas to write about while driving the bus, I cant pull over and write down notes so I'll remember what to write about later.

For now, that's my story.  My excuse, or whatever you want to call it.  But I am bouncing around an idea for something to write about now, that hasn't quite formed fully into even a concept.  More just a few images and a statement that connects them.  If I can get something a little bit more together I'll post it on here.

Until it thaws out a bit, I won't be catching anyone on the road...so just catch you around...

Friday, November 29, 2013

An Explosive Idea

It seems everyone I speak to about this idea I have for Frankenbikes oil tank, seems to think I am going to blow myself up.  As the Ol' Boy once said; "I may be crazy, but I'm not totally fucking nuts!!"

I'm making sure the Propane is well and truly drained from the canisters before I do anything else to them.  I am well aware of their explosive abilities.  When I was a little more nuts (back when I was young and immortal) I used to try to blow them up.  And succeeded quite well, thank you very much!!

Well, today I figured I'd give my little concept the test.  I strapped one of the canisters down and started cutting the top off.  Got about two thirds of the way through, and snapped my last metal saw blade.  There is a phrase from an old B Movie called 'Moontrap' I try to live by...."Don't take shit from no machine."  Well, I wasn't goig to let this little canister get the better of me, so I ran down to the hardware store and bought some new sawzall blades and got back to business.

Once the other canister is fully drained, I'll cut the top off that at the seam, and then take it over to a buddy's place to get it welded together, and get a filler tube fabbed up for it.  Then I'll drill holes for the oil lines to connect to.  I think it'll be a cool little oil tank, and there shouldn't be too many like it around, so that'll be cool.

Catch ya on the road sometime...

Monday, November 25, 2013

Something Out Of Nothing At All

I was packing some camping gear away, and getting it ready for storage over the winter.  Going through everything with the Ironhead roller there in the room with me, I had a small epiphany.  I was holding two 16 oz propane canisters for campstoves, or lanterns in my hands.  With the tops cut off, and welded back together end to end, it would make a nice little oil tank for the Ironhead.

I think it can be done once I make absolutely sure all the lPG has been drained out of it.  It would really ruin my day to have one of these canister ignite as I tried to cut the top off.  Whether it went boom, or just shot across my shed, either way it could be a bad scene.  So making sure all the LPG is out is a top priority.  I figure it will have a unique design, because of what the oil tank is made of, and will have a cool look to it as well.  Plus, since I already have a few canisters, it will only cost me for the bungs and the dipstick tube.  Definitely beats paying out over $100 for a premade round oil tank.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Another Iron In The Fire

One of the things I want to try to get set up for next summer is a regional weekend run.  Not a big rally, or even a little rally like we're trying to organize here in Morton.  Just a four or five hundred mile weekend run through remote two lane roads with a campout overnight.  No vendors, no live music, just a group of riders doing their thing and hanging out around a bonfire and just enjoying each others company after a great days ride.

Something similar to the old runs we used to do back when I first started riding a long time ago.  Just a few tents, probably a run truck, but other than that just the bikes and people.  Out in the country somewhere, so we're able to cut loose and just enjoy ourselves and not get a bunch of flak from other people to ruin our good time.

To me, those are the runs that were always the most fun, just hanging out with friends, old and new on a ride and camping together.  Hanging out, and swapping tales of the days ride.  I miss those types of runs, and thats why I want to get one going around here again.

Over the next month or so, I am going to talk the idea over with a few people and see what sort of ideas we can come up with.  Something along the lines of the Revenge Run over North Carolina.  A bunch of riders wanting to ride and party together.  Not a bunch of RUBs on baggers looking to some rally pin and a T shirt.

I have a couple of basic routes laid out.  One runs up along the Washington coast, up US 101 to a bike only campground outside of Forks, then follows 101 for another couple hundred miles to Olympia.  That route along 101 is a blast on a bike, and only a few small towns break up the open road feeling.

One of the others starts near Portland, Oregon.  It runs down along the Washington side of the Columbia River Gorge to Stonehenge Memorial, then up into the mountains for an overnight.  With another ride out of the mountains to the north the next day.

I figure if I can get even 10 or 15 bikes riding for a weekend shindig, it'll be a blast.  There are just too many cool roads to ride up in this area.  With several "group campgrounds" where we can get the entire place to ourselves for a weekend for less than $200, we ought to have a great time.  It'll just take a little organizing, and getting the word out to the right group of people.  So there you have it.  What I want to do, is add one more iron into the fire of things I have going on already...but ehy, that's what keeps life exciting.

Catch you on the road sometime...

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Tail Lights For Frankenbike

I just received the new tailights I ordered from Lowbrow Customs last night.  I put them on the bracket Patrick Dean and I fabbed up, and they look perfect.  Now I just need to buy a '28 Ford Model A repop taillight to go on top of the license plate, and all will be good.  Then it'll be on to trimming the sides of the fender, mounting the tiallight assembly to the fender, and fabbing up a sissy bar.

Looks like it was made to be this way.

Catch ya on the road sometime...

Sunday, November 10, 2013


Our microwave gave up the ghost suddenly on Friday while I was at work.  So yesterday, as I was working on my second or thrid cup of morning coffee, and trying to figure out what I was going to do about fixing the kitchen sink drain permanently, the wife says there is an Estate sale a few blocks away.  She figured maybe we could find a "new" microwave there.  So I finish my coffee, and grab a jacket, and off we went.  

When we get there, just inside the door of the garage where they have everything sitting is a VERY nice, older microwave for twenty-five.  I ask if they'll take twenty, and the gal says "sure."  Before I paid her the twenty bucks, Robin saw a nice little shelf to hold our excess DVDs for ten bucks.  Well, it looks like I need to make a quick run to the bank.  Now remember, I live in a little town, and nothing seems to be more than about a half mile away, if that far.

By the time I got back, Robin had bought a dutch oven for camping for five dollars. I hadn't even really gotten a chance to look around at anything much yet.  So I took a look around and saw enough to really make me wish I had a few hundred bucks in the bank.  Floor stand drill press, belt sander, mid size lathe, chop saw, and more.  All of it in really good, or like new shape.  Then I saw a three piece rollaway for $150.  I checked it out, and was mildly surprised to see it still had stuff in about half the drawers.  What surprised me most though, was that most of the tools in it were old, made in America tools; an old Craftsman 1/2 inch drive ratchet with extensions and sockets,  several Plumb combination wrenches, two tap and die sets in the boxes, an old inclinometer (to use when trying to set the desired rake on a frame, or finding what the rake is), and several other cool tools that would usually easily cost sixty to seventy-five bucks to buy at a garage sale.  I was going to have to make another run to the bank, so I asked if they'd take a hundred and twenty for the rollaway.  The three people running the sale discussed it, and finally agreed to a price of one twenty.

When I got back with the cash, I loaded everything into Robins SHO Taurus, and we got the Hell out of there.  I didn't have enough money in the bank to buy anything else that was usable to me.  So we headed home and unloaded the car.  As I rolled it past the bikes in the shed, and into my little work room I took stock of what I had just brought home for $120.  Not bad at all, if I do say so myself.  Although, the new rear tire for the Ironhead is going to have to wait for a bit now.  

Here's a look at what I picked up for $120.  Not a bad score at all.

The big white blob in the bottom photo is actually a bearing grease press inside a ziploc bag.  I won't need to use my hands to pack bearings anymore and get grease all over everything.  I've been wanting one of these for years, and just never got around to buying one.  I'm just going to have to follow what the little sticker I have on my old rollaway syas: "Don't ask to borrow my tools, and I won't ask to fuck your wife."  Now I just need to get going and find the parts I need to finish the Ironhead Frankenbike, and do the top end on Gypsy Rose.

Catch you on the road sometime...

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Frankenbike Update

Well, I am making some progress.  Even if it is only nickel and dime stuff at the moment.  At least I am still moving forward on the build.

I've removed the brackets that were riveted to the fender, and laid out where I am going to trim off the sides.  Then I'll mount a combination license plate and taillight mounting bracket I am putting together.  The license plate will sit in the middle, with a bullet taillight on either side of the license plate.  I have everything except the taillights.  I'll be ordering them from Lowbrow as soon as the money is transferred to my Paypal account.  Or I sell some more parts, whichever comes first.

After that, comes the wiring harness getting roughed out, and the oil tank getting fabbed up.  Things are moving slow, but they are moving.

Catch you on the road sometime...

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Busy Aint The Word

Here it is the day before Halloween, and I havent had a decent chance to sit down and write anything on here in what, a week?  It's been really busy trying to get this new ABATE chapter actually rolling.  As well as working, and taking care of stuff around the house.

I came home last night and we had a clogged sink.  So, I checked it out, and quickly found it was near the top of the drain, about two feet beyond the U Bend.  So I pulled the piping to the drain, and hooked up my drain cleaner (the one that looks like a little donkey dick) and hooked it to the garden hose I ran in from the backdoor.  The wife opened it up, and it immediately swelled and sealed off the pipe like it should.  After a couple of seconds, I could hear water flowing in the drain so I asked my brother to see if he could hear it through the drain in the bathroom since they are connected.  No dice, he didn't hear shit.  Robin said she could hear water flowing from outside, but wasn't sure where.

About that time, the downspout on the gutter starting flowing with water.  Mind you this is on a nice bright sunny day.  She stepped back and looked at the gutter, and that's when she noticed the water shooting out of the kitchen drain vent up on the roof.  I wish she had grabbed her camera and taken a video of it...I am sure it would have gone viral on youtube for sure...Instead, she ran over and turned off the hose.  As soon as pressure in the hose stopped, the donkey dick sharnk, and all that water filling the vent pipe blew out passed it and pushed it out of the pipe.  Soaking me in the process.

Alls well that ends well, after a couple hours, a quart of sulphuric acid followed by a couple pots of boiling water and some forceful snake usage, the drain came clear, and all is well.

Almost...As I was cleaning up the mess, and dumping the nasty backflow water Robin grabbed her camera and took a pic of me coming back from dumping the water in the dry clothes I had handy.  Not my best for sure.

Have a good one everybody...

I'll catch ya on the road sometime...

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Skilled Hands

I was sitting here earlier today, just checking out the roller for the Ironhead.  I realized, by the itme I am done with it, I will have either learned a few new skills, or regained a few old ones.  The new ones will be fabricating the sissy bar, and trimming the rear fender the way I want it.  I have never really taken my time to do that with the quality I want on the Frankenbike.  So I am going to have to get skilled enough to do it right.  The old skills, are just working on wiring and putting everything together the way I want.  I might have to actually learn how to do a little welding too.  Either way, when she is done, I'll have a lot more skill with my hands than I do know.

Catch ya on the road sometime...

Friday, October 18, 2013

ABATE of Washington Has Grown PT3

As I get back to the story I have been relating to you all, I think I left off after falling asleep watching TV in the motel room.  Yeah, I know, call me a lightweight, whatever.  I was just mentally burned out from a long day of seminars, and sitting in the same position for hours.  After about eight hours sitting, my body was numb, and my mind was just burned out.  I didn't even have the pleasure of changing scenery as I sat.  It was all the same room, all day long.

Anyway, when I got up, and finally went outside as it was starting to get light out.  I checked on Gypsy.  She was covered in ice.  Hell, it was below 30 degrees out, so I would have been more surprised if she hadn't.  I dug a bar rag out of the saddle bags, and wiped her down.  Getting all the ice off her seat and dash probably took about five or ten minutes.  A couple of other ABATE members came out to smoke a cigarette (Washington is one of those places you cant smoke in a "public" building...like a bar, or a motel, or within 25 feet of a exterior door or window) and as they finished their smoke I was just finishing her up.

About 7:00 AM, I figured I'd fire her up and let Gypsy have a chance to warm up.  It was going to be a beautiful day,  and there was time to make a quick, but cold ride through the Canyon and back before the meeting started.  But the cold had thickened up the 50 wt oil in the crankcase.  The starter was struggling to crank over the motor.  She'd cough, and spit, but never caught.  Even when I kicked her, I could feel how thick the oil was, as the resistance was way more than usual.  After trying to get her to fire for a few minutes, I figured I'd wait a bit.  So I loaded the gear on her for the ride home, and rolled her out into the sunlight, and parked her next to a curb so the sun could warm her up a bit.

About 8:00 or so, I went back out, and tried to fire Gypsy up.  She fired right up without hesitation.  The trick was to keep the cold blooded old girl running until she warmed up a bit.  It was really kind of strange to look down at the temperature gauge on the top of the dipstick, and see the needle about a 1/4 inch below the lowest temperature mark of 50 degrees.  I dont think I had ever seen it that low, outside of winter here in Morton.  Uusally when it gets down around freezing, I'm thinking twice about whether I REALLY want to go for a ride.

After about 5 minutes or so, the oil finally got up above 50F, and I took her for an easy little loop around the motel parking area.  Since I knew we'd be taking off roght after the Board of Directors meeting, I parked Gypsy in front of the conference room building so she could soak up the sun for the rest of the time there.

At the start of the meeting, there was a motion to suspend the agenda, and vote in two new chapters.  So right from the start, we were involved in the decision making.  What didn't hit me until I was almost home again, was the realization that I was now a part of the Board of Directors of a large Non-profit organization.  But it is something good I can help to grow and build upon.  And we neeed it in this part fo the state.
Elk Country Chapters Charter

The meeting lasted a couple more hours, and finally ended around 2:00 PM.  We heading outside, and a group of us got ready to head back through the Yakima River Canyon, and stop for lunch at Walkabout Creek Saloon in Naches. Robin and I had rode over with one other bike, but we were heading home with four others.

Walkabout Creek Saloon

After eating some great food at the Walkabout Creek Saloon, we headed outside to hit the road and head home.  A couple of us had to top off before we headed all the way over White Pass.  So I  went to fire Gypsy up to ride down the street to the Circle K and top off my tank.  But, when I hit the start button, nothing happened.  With traffic going by, I couldn't tell if the relay was closing as I tried the button three of four more times.  When I went to kick her over, she fired up on the second kick, wiht no trouble at all.

I shot down the street, filled the tank, and she did the same thing.  No electric start, and as I kicked she would only sputter and cough.  After kicking about ten or fifteen times, and everyone waiting on me to get going, when Mo asked if I needed a push I just hung my head and said "yea".  Once we started pushing, I rolled about ten feet and popped the clutch.  Gypsy fired right up like it was nobody's business.  I was just a wee bit ticked off that she was acting up, and probably doing 70 mph by the time we got out of town.  I made the turn at the junction with Highway 410, and was a good quarter mile down the road before I realized everyone else was having to wait for traffic.  I slowed down, and calmed down, and let them catch up.  I just didn't want to have to shut the bike off again.  

So I didn't.

We headed up White Pass; and even at the construction site, we lucked out and didn't have to stop.  It wasn't until we rolled into the driveway that I shut her down.  It wasn't ntil the next day that I checked her out with a clear head and figured out what the problem was.

When I checked her out in the quiet, I could hear the relay click.  But the solenoid wasn't making a sound.  So I figured it was either the solenoiad went out, or the circuit breaker between the relay and the solenoid.  I checked it again a bit later, after making sure all the connections were good and tight.  She fired right up when I hit the button.  I let her warm up, then shut her down.  When I hit the button again, it was just the relay clicking.  Nothing else was happening.  That told me, right there.  It was the circuit breaker.  

Yesterday after work was th first chance I had to pick one up and replace it.  Afterwards, Gypsy fired right up.  Since then, she has fired up every time I hit the switch. No trouble at all.  I think it was just paybacks for leaving her out in the rain and cold weather.  At least she will be inside the house this winter when I regasket the top end, and do some other needed maintenance.  Who knows, she might end up rolling out wiht struts and a sprung seat instead of shocks...but who knows.

Anyway, A.B.A.T.E. of Washington has grown by two new chapters.  One is out where I grew up, and went to High School.  The other is the chapter I was voted in as Coordinator for.  So I thought that was cool.  Anyway, it's late, and I have to get some stuff together tomorrow, and round some folks up to go riding in a poker run in Kelso on Sunday morning.  So, have a good one, and as always,

I'll catch you on the road sometime...

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

ABATE of Washington Has Grown PT2

When I left you last, Gypsy had been left outside in a parking lot with a few strange bikes, and a bunch of cages.  That was bad enough, but then sometime during the night it started to rain.  I got up out of habit a little after 5:00 am.  I laid there for a few minutes, and finally just said; "Fuck it" and got up.  I went in, used the bathroom, then took a quick shower.  By the time I came out, Robin and Mo were awake, and Charlene would soon be.  So we turned on the TV, and waited for the continental breakfast to be ready.  

I went outside, and saw it was raining.  Not hard, but just enough to make everything wet, and seem miserable.  But, the weatherman had said it was suppose to be a fairly decent day...so I kept the faith, and didn't get too disappointed.  Which is a good thing, because, by the time the registration for the S.T.E.A.M. training was about to start, the rain had stopped, and everything had dried out.  The sun even finally burned its way through the thin cloud layer by about noon or so.

When we went into the conference room, Mo recognized one of the other people there.  It turns out he had gone to school with one of them back about 40 years ago or so.  Everyone was really friendly, and several people came up and introduced themselves simply because they didn't know who we were, but knew we were in ABATE because we were there.  When they heard we were from one of the two chapters wanting to be chartered, it was like suddenly meeting a bunch of cousins you didn't know you ahd before.

The training was mostly on how ABATE operates, and its structure.  What it's goals are, and how things should be run, and why things are done the way they are.  Good information, put out in a friendly, concise manner so it was understandable.  Finally it the training and seminars were done, and it was time for a good hearty meal.  

After dinner, everyone more or less went their own way...little groups gathering together, or hanging out in rooms, or hitting the bars for a while.  Just an average night when a bunch of riders hit a town with friends old and new.

I made the mistake of kicking back on the bed and watching a little TV.  I was out before 9PM...but up again at 4:45 in the AM.  The sky was clear, and the temps were down below freezing.  But that I'll leave until the final part of this little story.  So until then;
I'll catch you on the road sometime...

ABATE of Washington Has Grown PT1

After work on friday, I came home, changed my clothes and loaded up the bike.  I was ready to hit the road and ride over the 4,500 ft White Pass and get over to Ellensburg, WA just as soon as possible.  Pat, the  Chapter Coordinator from Lewis County was going to ride over with Robin and I.  The others from our "prospective" chapter had already headed across the mountains a couple hours earlier.  I guess that is the price I pay for working for a living.  Anyway, we headed out, and hit the road when Pat arrived.

Things were rolling along pretty good as we rolled through Randle and saw three of the elks herd in different fields along the highway.

Then, as we rolled into Packwood, a big cow elk ran up onto the side of the road and I let go of the throttle, downshifted and hit the brakes.  I could hear Pat on his bike behind me over the sound of Gypsy's straight pipes saying: "Whoa!"  The elk didn't go any farther, but you can never tell with those critters.  And as many of the people who ride with me very much know, I seem to attract Mother Natures critters as I ride.  As we got to the other side of Packwood, we passed a small part of the Packwood herd lounging in one of the motel parking lot's lawns.  After that it was clear sailing up to the summit of White Pass.

By the time we reached the top of White Passit was almost time for it to start getting dark.  It was already cold as a withes tit, so I bought a hot cup of coffee before we headed out.  Since Pat had electric glove heaters (imagine that) he bought Robin and I some of those chemical hand warmers to slip inside our gloves.  We had about 80 miles to go to Ellensburg, and I knew it was going to be too dark to ride the Yakima Canyon into E-Burg, so we just headed off down the east side of the pass.  Up until we rounded "Deadmans Curve" and had to stop for road construction to repair the slope just below the road because about 500 ft of it slid down the hill a week or so ago.  I don't mind stopping on the road for repairs.  It is just that I have had two Brothers go down on that corner over the years; one dislocated his shoulder, and the other had his bike launch over the rail and down several hundred feet into the canyon below, while he slid under the guard rail and got torn to pieces by the posts supporting it.

We beat feet down the road, and I am glad I swapped over to my clear yellow glasses before we left the summit.  I'd have ridden right off the road with my dark shades on if I hadn't.  Near the bottom, a big elk was laying dead across the white fog line on the road.  About 100 feet further on was a little car pulled off almost into the ditch with his four-way flashers on.  Just too many critters out an about going "bump in the night", and most of them big enough to kill a bike if it was unlucky enough to hit it.  We kept going without really slowing down much.  I figure we were cruising about 60 to 65 mph.  Can't say for sure, Gypsy hasn't had a speedo since November of '09.  But I am pretty good at 'guestimating' the speed within 5 mph or so.  

When we topped off the tanks in Naches, I told Pat that we'd be better off to just hit the freeway and make some time than try to ride the "Canyon Road" in the dark.  I mean why ride a cool scenic road in the dark when you can't see anything.  Especially the critters that might be coming down to the river alongside the road for water.  We rolled out of Naches, into Yakima, and headed down the freeway over a couple of ridges before the freeway dropped down into E-Burg.  We rolled into the Days-Inn, and Pat went to his motel to get checked in.  

After we got checked in and unloaded the bike, we called Pat, and met him at a truckstop near by for some food before we crashed for the night.  I was really surprised by how many people there at the motel and diner knew who I was, or about the chapter we were trying to form.  Things were definitely going good.  I parked Gypsy over by the Indian trike Mo & Charlene rode over, along with a few other bikes.  She wasn't going to get under cover for the weekend, and it didn't help that it rained that night, and into the early part of the next morning.  But I'll leave that for next time.  It's almost chow time now, so I'm going to bug out of here.

Catch ya on the road sometime...