|At the new Grand Ledge, MI Vietnam Veterans Monument|
|A beautifully restored 1923 Douglas Motorcycle, made in England. They were made famous during World War I |
as the preferred mount for British military Dispatch Riders. Photographed at the Gilmore Museum at Hickory Corners, MI
Guilty as charged. I'm guilty of failing to post any new material in the last five weeks, and I'll use the same excuse that we all use; no, not the one about the dog eating my homework, the other one - I've been busy.
Besides the normal kind of busyness, I've also enjoyed a great deal of motorcycle busyness. I had a great time a few weeks back at Flint's Vehicle City H-D open house, selling books and talking motorcycles and travel with dozens of fine folks. I've been fortunate enough to put just over 2,000 miles on the Road King this spring thus far - with many serious miles coming in the next two months - what with a couple of cross-country trips in the works.
With help from my friends we had a fun Blessing of the Bikes ceremony at our church in late May. Hot dogs and camaraderie followed by a fun group ride in the country. We hope to see this event become a tradition in our community and grow with each passing year.
I've participated in several Patriot Guard Riders missions since my last post, including one for a World War One veteran whose cremains were just recently discovered after being stored for decades in the basement storeroom of a funeral home. He had no family to claim him so on the shelf he went. An organization called the Missing In America Project located the remains and he was given a proper burial, along with two similar WW2 vets, at the Great Lakes National Cemetery. It was a privilege being part of the honor guard for these vets, otherwise they would have been buried without ceremony and without anyone there to pay their respects. I know, they don't care at this point, but we all should. (I thought it appropriate to insert a picture of a WW1-era motorcycle that was used to carry messages during that war. It was the bike that proved that motorcycles were better than horses for dispatch riders.)
Several other PGR missions were for recent Afghan and Iraq KIAs and a couple Vietnam Vets.
I've been able to squeeze in a lot of rides ranging from 1 - 4 hours over the last few weeks. These short rides, on new roads and into new areas, are some of the most enjoyable. A person doesn't have to have a wonderful destination to justify getting on the bike and riding, just an hour or two in the countryside is plenty of reason! Like the Nike ad says - Just Do It!
I participated in the Grand Ledge Memorial Day parade with the American Legion Riders, which was followed by the dedication of that city's new Vietnam memorial. It was a wonderful day even though it started out cool and drizzly. The ALR is an active group of great guys and gals who enjoy motorcycling and have a strong military ethic and background.
As the group's road captain for 2011 I have plotted a different ride each month from May - October. The first ride (to Hell) was cancelled due to thunderstorms, but the second ride this past Sunday went off without a hitch (other than being much cooler and cloudier than predicted). We rode to the wonderful Gilmore Car Museum near Kalamazoo. They hosted their annual vintage motorcycle show, and it is getting bigger and better every year. The museum itself continues to grow at a rapid pace. There is much new construction and a large new building going up. This is one of the highest quality automobile museums around - a must see for anyone who cares even a little about cars and bikes.
Two fabulous trips coming up! The first is to Arizona (including a photo of the red Ford mural in Winslow), thence north through the mountains and back to the Great Lake State. The second is a few weeks later and will find me in Oregon and Washington, coming back east through southern Canada. RK and I are hardly able to contain our excitement (RK being the Road King).
Lots of photos, and probably even a little text will be published while underway. I will take my small netbook which does a passable job with these tasks - much better than trying to make my fat fingers work on my new smartphone keypad!