A Quick Winter Ride

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Nov 212008
 

“Oh the weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful… lalalalala…” the tune kept rolling through my mind like a broken record.  Then the lyrics changed to my wife’s “Texas” version… “Oh the weather outside is frightening, not to mention all the lightning… lalalala…” I couldn’t shake the melody as I searched for that new helmet I bought, but rarely wore.  I figured I would start being better about that.  It was a beautiful day for a ride… I know it may be hard to believe, but it is mid November and the weather is just about perfect.  Today was 78 degrees, sunny, and not too humid.  My heart goes out to my friends who live in other states:  Steve, Forrest, Victor, and the rest of you who are snowed in or fighting sub-zero temps.  I suppose that Houston is good for something at least.

Had enough work, been putting the hours in at home, had to get out and stretch the Ol’ legs (or spread the Ol’ legs as we like to joke).  I pointed my 21-inch hoop North and headed to Conroe to stop in at the Harley dealership there.  Never been, and I got a little lost on the way.  I did discover some things: a) even with Map Quest directions, I can get lost and b) getting lost is not a bad thing.  I tooled around the back roads for a few miles and took in the sights.  It wasn’t long before I was back on track and found the dealership.  Boy, was it ever dead.  I was so sure they were closed; I almost didn’t shut the motor down before trying the door.  As it turns out, not too many folks are bike shopping around noon on Thursday.  Oh well, I enjoyed looking around.  I enjoyed it so much; I hit another dealership 15 miles away… then another 20 miles from that, and then another 30 miles from that. 

I sat on everything.  Twice.  I was trying to decide between a Street Glide and an Electra Glide (standard).  Basically the same machine, the Street Glide is already slammed and has some nice accents and a stereo; the Electra would need to be slammed, needs a stereo, but has the spotlight bar and as my Bro Brendan would say, “It says Harley-Davidson MOTORCYCLES…. It is the ONLY one that says MOTORCYCLES.”  He is a purist.

I also paid particular attention to some of the lighter machines, thinking of what I would like to surprise the Ol’ lady with.  I am always thinking of what to surprise her with.  Should it be a Street Rod, a Sporty (slammed and fully custom), a Deluxe with some touring accessories, a Crossbones?  Whew, I really don’t know… I suppose we are broke so I don’t really need to make a decision today, but I get caught up in the moment.  I need to get her something, someday, and when that day comes, I want to have a plan!

Anyway, I had set out about 11am and found my way home by 5pm… rode a few hundred miles or so, but just at a leisurely pace, enjoying the scenery.  It had been a while since I had felt so relaxed.  Even the idiots on the road seemed a touch less idiotic.  Plus, I had loaded the clippie ipod with some good 70’s punk rock and the helmet helped to keep all the sound in… ahh, so that is why people wear helmets.

It may be a while before I get out like that again.  We do have the International Motorcycle Show on Saturday, but I just got a text that the girls might be sick… so I may be on my own rather than having the family with me for a grand day of drooling.  I do hope the weather stays warm.  We are having a cold front move in that will keep us in the 50’s for a high… Not too shabby.  I have a personal rule that I prefer to take the truck when the weather is below 50.  However, rules were meant to be broken, and I am sure I could go down to 40.

“Ohhhh, the weather outside is frightful…”

 

Love, Respect, and Ride Safe,

ArtBiker

  

Oct 182008
 

 

The weather in Houston was beautiful today, perfect for a spin on the sled.  As luck would have it, it was also the day of the House of Blues Rock Ride put on by two of the local Harley dealerships.  I had managed to score two of the tickets to participate and was looking forward to the day out with the Ol’ Lady.  But, as is apt to happen when you are a parent of small children, the plan changed.  The window of opportunity to potty train our oldest daughter threw itself wide open and Big Mamma jumped at the opportunity.  She also told me to go ahead and enjoy the weekend while she took care of business at home… just one of the many reasons I married the woman.

Anyway, a quick call to my Bro 8-Ball and the plan was set.  I met him at the gas station near my place and we started the short jaunt to the dealership where a police escorted ride led by Dan Aykroyd and Jim Belushi was staging.  The air was cool and refreshing as we rolled handlebar to handlebar on the way to the parade.  I heard the word “cop” as if it was whispered in the wind and my Bro and I instantly slowed to the posted 40mph speed limit.  I watched my mirrors for the next quarter mile while the police car followed at a safe distance.  It finally made a quick u-turn and without a look or nod, both throttles cracked open and we were back at a comfortable 80mph in a matter of seconds.

As we rolled into the parking lot, the other 500 bikes were already staged and ready to leave.  I led Baller around the building so we could line up in back.  As we ran the perimeter of the shop, we saw a separate group of bikes lined up.  We took our places at the end of the staging line and looked at each other.

“You know, that group we just passed behind the building is where we wanna be.” Baller stated.

“Ya think?” I said as I cranked my twin cam up again.

He said, “Go check it out, if I don’t see you back here in a few, I will come join you.”

Well, being self important, I pulled out of line, backtracked to the back of the building and lined up behind the bikes that were there.  As the bikes riders emerged from a huddle and began to mount up, my Bro sauntered across the parking lot and lined up with me.  Within moments we were intermixed with the owners and managers of various House of Blues establishments from around the country.  They had come out to join the festivities. 

We hit the highway and the 500 or so bikes that were waiting in the lot joined us on our escorted ride to the next dealership where we were picking up Dan, Jim, and the other 500 bikers who were lucky enough to get tickets to the party.  One thousand of us hit the road and the police escorts did an amazing job of shutting down the entire freeway system as we rode into downtown to celebrate the opening of the new House of Blues.  As we arrived, the celebrities we were intermingling with were whisked away as the rest of us parked our bikes in front of the club.

En masse we headed upstairs to get in for the free food, drink, and the opportunity to hear the Blues Brothers go through their sound checks and warm up.  Problem was, as we got to the doors of the club, everything was locked up.  The 1000 bikers waited patiently for about ten minutes… at 15 minutes people started to get hot standing in the sun and were a bit agitated… at 20 minutes, the doors finally opened and we all filed in and headed straight for the bar.  Complimentary Coke, Diet Coke, and water were waiting for us, but there was a frightening absence of beer.  Not only was the booze not complimentary (as was implied), but there was no booze to be had at all… couldn’t even buy a beer if you wanted one.  There was some complimentary food: sausage gumbo, jerk chicken, and cornbread.  It was really good and everyone appreciated it.  I downed a couple Diet Cokes as we listened to the roadies do the sound check for the Blues Brothers.  Didn’t take us long to decide to split and find a bar with beer.  (update:  Note to self… patience is a virtue.  The Blues Brothers did take the stage and entertain the group.  I understand it was fantastic!)

We had met up with a few other Brothers from the Club and we all headed out to a nearby haunt where the beer flowed and the rest of the afternoon was enjoyed.  We were all glad to be included in the event and I would certainly do it again.

The  new House of Blues looked great, the food was good, and I bet those that were able to make the show this evening are having a fantastic time.  The bar should be open, the Blue Brothers themselves will be playing on stage, and everyone will be letting loose.  If you have not been to a House of Blues before, it is worth a visit, good music and a good time.

 

Love, Respect, and Ride Safe

ArtBiker