8 Ball In The Wind

Monday, January 31, 2022

Rest In Peace


I was sitting here tonight and started thinking about the loved ones I have lost over the years since I came of age.  Not just people that I knew, but those that I considered family, and loved.  This is only a partial list of the people who left a huge hole in my life.  It’s almost February, and that has for so long been the start of my sad times.  To all those on this list, and to everyone else I have lost who isn’t, I love you, and I’ll see most of you again someday.

Candy and Shilo, who both died so young in a useless car crash while coming up to visit me.  An ex-wife and daughter who I still mourn deeply every February, the anniversary of their deaths.

Dirty Dan, who was set up for a brake-check crash on the way home from the Toy Run, and who was so tough it took years for his body to die. 

Doc, who died nearly ripped in half surrounded by your brothers at that guardrail post on that curve on Hwy 12.  I still can’t ride passed that curve without seeing you laying there and rendering you an honored salute.  You have been in my dreams and nightmares for decades.  At least the nightmares I have learned to deal with, and the dreams to enjoy.

Swan, such a gentle giant, hit and killed so senselessly at a stoplight by a woman on her way to the bar, and just didn’t see you and your Harley waiting for the light to change.  I miss you Brother, I still swear I hear your pipes, and see your Shovels front wheel sometimes when I ride.

Tennessee, the drugs took control, and you weren’t you when you died.  You weren’t the happy biker, and loving husband and father.  I lost count of how many times you would come rescue me when I got lost in Portland and called you for directions. I will miss our time together until God calls me home. All I can ever say is I am sorry Brother.

Rory, we never did learn who beat you to death in your own bed.  Or even why? You were always there when needed, and ready to do whatever was needed…good or bad.

Big Ed, with the cancer eating you up inside, you hit the road and ended your suffering on your own terms.  I can’t think of a better way to go home.

Big Red, I loved you first as a friend, then a sister.  We rode together, and you introduced and pushed Robin and I together.  I miss your cooking, your attitude, and your loyalty.  You are another that I wish the cancer had never taken from us.  I still see your lifeless body finally at peace.  Your wake was the last great party we shared together.  I miss playing double deck pinochle, and cribbage with you.  See you again someday sister.

Buck, you truly rode ’em like you stole ‘em.  But you couldn’t outrun the reaper when that van crossed the center line.  We shared a lot or time on the road together, and I wish we still could.  I’ll catch you on the Heavenly Road sometime.

Barry, when they gave you six months to live, you fought with everything you had in you.  The Drs had said six months, and you fought that out to almost nine years.

Jean, you were a second mother to me, and I know it was an angel that made me buy that Tacoma newspaper that day and read the obits.  There is no other way that I would have known of your funeral.  The looks on the family’s faces when they saw me at the chapel is something that I still hold in my heart.

Brad, when I heard that you had died, it was like someone had shattered my heart.  I thought we had just lost contact and kept trying to find you until I heard from Heavy that you had died.  I still can’t believe you have been gone for so long.

Irish, what can I say about you Irish?  A fellow Seahawk, so many weird connections back in the day.  That twinkle in your eye when you had something mischievous on your mind.  Sharing the road with you, but not as much as I’d like.  You always told me like it was, and treated me with respect, even when you were showing me that I was wrong, and you supported me when I needed it.   

Leprechaun, it was always a pleasure to see your face, to share ‘the mother’s milk’, ‘the water of life’ with you as we told stories and sang Irish songs.  I always looked forward to seeing you, and when you were hit and killed you rocked the community we lived in.

Moe, God works in mysterious ways, and brings people in and out of our lives.  Things went bad between us, and that I regret.  But I never expected you to die so suddenly, and unexpectedly.  I will see you in Heaven some day.

Robin, I can still easily see in my mind you take your last breaths.  Hear your voice telling me you loved me in the hospital.  Your leaving was such a shock, a part of me still hasn’t fully accepted it. 

Jimmy, one of my favorite memories of you is sharing that last drink of 12 year old Tullemore with you.  If ever there was anything that you could do to help, you were there without hesitation.  Often without even needing to be asked.  I loved you Brother, and you made me a part of your family.  It was a privilege to be part of spreading your ashes with the family.

Billy D, I can only say I wish I had half the heart you did.  Your spirit was fierce, and you would defend your family without remorse, and you loved those close to you with equal intensity and respect.

Summer, we almost married then you ripped my heart out.  But I never truly stopped loving you at some level.  When Robin was in the hospital, and you sent Guy to sit with me so I wouldn’t be alone, I can’t tell you how much that meant to me.  Then to have you pass so suddenly, it was something I still can’t believe. 

Kim, I thank God every day that I was able to at least hold your hand for a few seconds before they loaded you into the ambulance and took you away.  I will never understand God’s plan when He took you away.  My world hasn’t stopped shaking since.  I love you, but then you already knew that.  I will see you and your mom again when God calls me Home.

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Taking My Dad's ashes Home- Road Trip 2022; Camping Gear Acquired


I have been replacing some of my camping gear with newer items that are either smaller, lighter in weight, or in better condition than my older camping gear for use on the trip.  Today, a new camp axe arrived, and along with the folding entrenching tool, small sheath knife, and LED folding lantern, my new gear is pretty well complete.  I am planning on purchasing a military mess kit for cooking, and a small single burner hiking stove.  But other than that, I pretty much have everything I am going to need.  My sleeping bag and tent are in plenty of good enough condition to use for this trip.  Especially since I plan on staying in Motel 6's once we hit the Great Plains.  I just can't see camping with no shade in late Summer on the Great Plains and getting roasted in the tent unnecessarily.

I am planning on using my old Navy seabag to carry most of what I am taking that won't fit in the saddlebags, and I still have a Kuryakin T Bag that will mount on the back of the bike.   Between the seabag and the T Bag, I can't think of much else I will be needing to pack for this trip.  The Navy trained me long ago how to fold and stow my clothes and gear effectively.  

Since this is a bike trip and not a car trip, weight is a serious factor.  The last thing I want to do is to overload the bike taking things I won't really need.  So I will continue to go over the list of gear between now and next Summer as I get things ready to go.  Eliminating the items I won't really need and lightening the load for things that I will.

Since we will only have a very few days to visit family I haven't seen in nearly five decades, I want to pack as light as possible so that I will have the option of pushing on further some days during the ride.  I really would prefer not to be making 12-14 hour days, but pressing 8-10 may just be in the cards.  But we won't know for sure until the time comes, and we are actually on the road each day.  I just want to keep as many options open as possible.  As it is, most of this trip will be made on Interstate Freeways.  As much as I find them boring, we just don't have the time available to make the trip taking two-lane highways for the entire 5,000 miles plus distance.  If we weren't restricted to only a fourteen-day time frame, things would be different I am sure.  But it is what it is, and we will just have to deal with it.

While I have the rough route laid out, we may have to adapt it due to unforeseen circumstances that the future may put up as obstacles to be dealt with.  things are in flux, and will no doubt remain so for a while yet.  The fact that I am also going to be running for the Legislature again in 2022 means I've had to postpone the trip a month so that I would be here campaigning in the weeks just prior to the Primary election instead of being out of touch with the campaign during a critical time.  I have faith that things will work out as they should.  Whether that is how I want things to be or not, I just need to be prepared for as many possibilities as I can.  Without trying to be prepared for every possible scenario, which would overload the bike and make the whole trip a burdensome adventure.  I'll keep you all posted.

Catch you on the road sometime...

Saturday, February 13, 2021

RoadTrip 2022: Gathering Supplies


Since I know that I will be camping at least half of the time during this trip, I know that I will have to pack camping gear that can be loaded onto the bike.  Some I already have, and I am going through and acquiring more that will be of better use for on a bike than what I may have.  I am still going through things I have and deciding what I need, and what I don't.  The tent is rather old, but still in good shape, and is easy enough to put up and take down, and stores one the bike easily enough.  I have picked up a new folding entrenching tool, a new knife, and a folding solar-powered LED lamp that I can pack under the cargo net so that it can be charged during the day as we ride.  I have also bought a new hatchet to replace the old heavy one I keep in my camping box.  It will be much lighter on the bike than the old one and on a long journey, the light weight will be a benefit.  

I have a sleeping bag that is suitable, and an extra blanket rolled up with it for any nights that might require a little more warmth for these old bones.  Clothes I am not too worried about, as the Navy taught me how to fold things small enough to leave plenty of space, and I will have plenty of time between now and the time we leave to get anything I need if something wears out.

The one thing I am looking for is an old-style mess kit.  The pan, plate, and utensils are self-contained and small enough to easily fit into a saddlebag or my old seabag strapped to the sissybar.  A small backpacker's stove and fuel are on my list to buy.  But beyond that, at least at this point, I have everything else I will need for a long 14-day long road trip.  Although, as I continue to get closer to our departure date, I am sure I will find something that I just can't do without, or that I have to replace something I already have.  I am sure I will find things in my first-aid/survival pouch that probably needs to be replaced.  But I will deal with that when I go through it in the coming weeks.

It's funny, but the more I get things ready for this trip, the more excited I become for it.  It is going to be an adventure and with my grandson, and friends who have said they would like to ride along for at least part of it, it ought to be one to remember for the rest of my life.

Catch ya on the road sometime...

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Roadtrip 2022-Nick's Chopper Is Up

 Yesterday, Nick and I made a 4-hour roundtrip from Morton to Yakima, Washington to pick up a voltage regulator he needed for his chopper.  Even though the sky was blue, and it was beautiful out, it was still only in the low 30's when we left Morton.  By the time we had made it to the top of White Pass at 4,500 feet elevation, it was 19 F, and we were both glad to be in Nick's nice warm Subaru WRT.  We made it down to the frigid and arid eastern Washington town of Yakima and he purchased his voltage regulator.  Both on the way over to Yakima, and the return trip back over the Cascade Mountains, Nick was describing what he wanted to do with his chopper "Shock Therapy" so that he could take it on the run to Chicago with me next year.  

He is planning on installing a dual bag air suspension system for his seat to make riding the rigid framed chopper easier over the 5,000-mile distance.  Also, he is going to work on getting everything rewired and repainted as part of the package.  I was happy to see how into making this trip with me that he has gotten.  I am still going to be getting Gypsy ready, just in case, as well as Tennessee Whiskey.  But more on them later. 

When we got back to Morton, we replaced the voltage regulator, and Nick rerouted his fuel line to get a little better flow rate.  Then, he rolled Shock Therapy out of the garage, and I climbed on Tennesse Whiskey.  Even though the sun was just dropping behind Peterman Hill, and the chilly temps could already be felt dropping, we rolled out for a circuit around Morton before topping off his tank and going out for a little test ride.  Instead of telling you how things went, I'll let the YouTube video I created last night give you a better idea of how things went.  I hope you enjoy.

This is going to be a fun trip.  One I can tell I am going to enjoy making with my grandson.

Catch you on the road sometime...