With that basic civics lesson firmly in mind, I have appeared at several speaking events at libraries and group gatherings, at motorcycle dealer open houses, at car and motorcycle shows, and more. All to entertain and educate, and in the end, sell books. But along with the sale of books - about motorcycling in one way or another - I also sell information. People have an interest in the stories and information contained in my books and are thus interested to hear me talk about them, and in reading the books. This fact still surprises and astounds me, even after seven years of doing this as my primary pastime.
On the way to Anamosa I took I-80, which crosses the Mississippi River at LeClair, IA, which also happens to be where Antiques Archeology is based - the guys from the History Channel's American Pickers. I really enjoy watching this show because if I had the space I would definitely be a picker and collector. But with a two car garage that's already filled with two cars and a large motorcycle, I just don't have much room to store things. I enjoy the antiques I do have, mostly in the old tools category, but I yearn for much more. So I satisfy this yearning vicariously by watching American Pickers.
At LeClair I stopped at their small shop and got a kick out of all the other people there, including a number of motorcyclists crammed into their tiny parking lot, looking at the many signs, motorcycles and parts and pieces, and odd items of every description, many of which regular watchers will remember being found and prices haggled over.
(The Von Dutch VW bike is front and center as soon as you walk into the shop)
|Just one of dozens of various signs for sale at Antiques Archeology in LeClair, Iowa|
Three weeks prior to my Iowa trip I headed south for a thousand mile ride through northern WV, KY and southern Ohio. This is motorcycle Nirvana in my opinion. I was there on official business also and I hope to have a story come out of this region in the coming months. But the trip itself was enjoyable and affirming of why I love riding and enjoy exploring sites of early American history.
|Clifton Mills, over two hundred years old. Clifton, Ohio|
My book selling events at motorcycle dealers are especially fun and uplifting. I find the wide variety of people that I talk with to be incredibly interesting and life-loving men and women. These are folks living life to its fullest and I love being around them and talking with them about mutual passions. In three days I'm heading to a local HD dealer to participate in a Women's Garage Day event. These are always enjoyable, and it's wonderful seeing motorcycle dealers doing all they can to bring the female half of the motorcycle population into the fold. This wasn't always the case in the past when it was viewed as a macho and male activity. Like the women in Grace & Grit, many of these female riders and racers will put many men to shame with their raw ability and toughness. I am happy to see the sport of motorcycling expanding to include everyone who has the interest and ability.
I'm going to do a lot of riding this summer with the American Legion Riders and as many local trips as I can squeeze in, but this summer will have fewer two-wheeled miles than the last few. Darn capitalistic demand anyhow!
|Mural on the flood wall in Portsmouth, Ohio. This is just one of many very large panels depicting a wide variety of historic scenes.|