Just keep going, somehow, everything will be ok….

bikerJuliaIf you have ever been around a regional motorcycle rally, (and I am sure you have) you will see hundreds, if not thousands of bikers. They come in all colors, shapes and sizes proudly wearing patched worn leather like a coat of armor. Many bikers, if not all of them, will be riding in synchronized groups with astonishing maneuvering capabilities.   Their unspoken communication consists of nonchalant hand gestures that afford some riding safety; right, left, slow, one up, or gas in a staggered formation.

Every once and a while a lone biker will catch your attention. You might notice their smaller boot size, a speck of hair escaping its bindings, different geometric(s) of a body frame or just the way they move on and off the bike.

I would be that biker, aka a female rider, and I am not what you would expect to see on a big touring bike, with all the roar and rubble one could afford. For us gals, riding solo is a safety issue and only the bravest will dare test the cultural, physical, and logistical challenges that could occur.

One day, riding alone to a motorcycle rally, 200 miles from home I found myself without access to my clothes, money, key and cell phone. Yes, the dreaded mythical gremlin “locked” the trike’s storage compartment and for the first time in several decades I was truly in a predicament I was unprepared for.

In disbelief, I kept checking the locked compartment that contained everything I need.   I looked at my electronic fuel gauge and I had approximately 55 miles left until empty.    All I could do was proceed onward towards my planned overnight stop, crashing at my friend’s house. “Just keep going, somehow, everything will be ok”, I wistfully thought.

While riding down the freeway, visions were now flashing in my head of myself standing on a street corner with a scribbled cardboard sign. Desperate female needs $ for food and gas to go home. I thought, it’s true so I should do it, then NO, yes you have to, then no I really can’t.

With 45 miles until empty, I stopped at my friend’s house. She provided me with a change of clothes, Chinese takeout food, vodka and a cell phone. I started calling around and to no avail. Local HD shops were willing to try if I drove 35 miles away from where I was headed, with no guarantee. An SOS call went out to hubby who was already planning on meeting up with me the next day. Urgently I said, “get my spare keys and I will meet you in Concord”, 40 miles away.

The next morning, with determination, and the nagging thought that the HD gas gauges are never to be trusted I rode the trike to the agreed upon rendezvous point. With nothing else to do but wait, I escaped the summer sun by sitting under a nearby tree. The rumble of passing bikes kept me on alert as I waited for the crew to arrive.  Angry ants forced me to vacate my shady spot as my shining knight on an orange bike, arrived with my spare motorcycle keys. Straight to the gas station we went then on to Laconia for another great weekend of riding.

Lessons learned:  keep your keys on your person every time, just in case. The vibrations of the road can trigger the trike truck lock to move and it has occurred four times since this episode.  All of which I am better prepared for.

9/11 Ride 2017 – Not an Ordinary $100 Ride

cropped-9_11_tunnel.jpg

Since 2011 Andrew Cuomo, the Governor of New York State, has organized a tribute motorcycle ride for the Fallen Heroes of 9/11. Hundreds of riders from all over NY, join together and pledge to “Never Forget”.

My wife Julia and I decided to go again this year. I ride a 2012 Street Glide (FLHX) and Julia has a 2010 Street Glide Trike (FLHXXX). We left the driveway at 6am on 9/11 and rode a chilly ride to the State Museum in Albany NY. Coffee, donuts, registration, and commencement mementos started the police escorted ride with KSU 7:45am.

In a whirlwind of cameras and local news personnel, the solemn bikers headed to the NY State Thruway to start the 400+ mile journey. The parade formation of rumbling bikes spanned over a mile while we headed to pick up more riders at the Modena rest area. The refueling pit stop included light hearted comradery, a continental brunch and an unofficial reordering of the ever growing procession.

The next leg of the trip took us down the Palisades Parkway to Ft Lee New Jersey, then to George Washington Bridge that crosses the Hudson River. Like the roads we had just traveled, the GW bridge was void of all vehicles. We were then staged under a 150’ American flag that symbolized the freedom, liberty and justice.

9_11_flag

Heading to the Westside Highway our convoy now included Western NY and Long Island riders. We rode down streets that were lined with hundreds of people who waved and ardently shouted, “We will Never Forget”. Arriving at the Javits Center, several guest speakers including Gov Cuomo and Robert De Niro, reminded us of the tragedy we all faced on that solemn day.

After lunch, Gov Cuomo, on his dark blue Ultra Classic, led hundreds of bikers down the ill-fated route that FDNY Ladder Company 3 Truck took on that tragic day. Through the city streets and onward to Fulton Street, we parked our motorcycles. We then took a somber walk past the Reflection Pool and through the 9/11 Museum. We also made our way to the top of World Trade Center 1 and the breathtaking views of the city.

As the afternoon passed we knew it was time to go home. Our bikes roared through the Lincoln Tunnel to New Jersey heading north to the NYS Thruway. A short dinner stop at Popeyes, included the final bike refueling and some stretching before riding the last 100+ miles.

The ride is an awesome experience and one that we will never forget. God Bless America

Gas for 2 bikes  83.60                                  Anthony “Iceman” Merritt
Food                   11.14                                  Julia “Prof” Merritt
_____
$94.74