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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

PGR Mission: TX - US Army Veteran

April 25, 2012
Colorado, USA
Texas: Today the Patriot Guard of North Texas will stand the flag line at funeral services in Wichita Falls, TX for:

CPL James Alden St Amand, US Army

Our hearts go out to the family and friends of this veteran.
Rest in Peace Sir and Thank You for Your Service!

Obit Times Record News
Jim St Armand

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Weekend Road Trip #1 - Day 2

April 22, 2012
Colorado, USA
Sunday - Day 2 Mini Road Trip

It was a chilly morning in Salida, CO which sits at an elevation just shy of 7100. The temperature was about 45 degrees when we rolled down the street looking for breakfast. We thought to have breakfast at a pancake house but so did most of the rest of the people in town so we settled in at a small Mom and Pop establishment called The Eatery. The coffee was really good and biscuits and gravy made for a proper start to our day. I will add that it was cozy, clean and a favorite with the locals.

It was very tempting to take a different route home, over the mountains and through the woods so-to-speak but having just gotten the opportunity to ride warm, we decided to stay where we knew it would be warm. So we rolled east back-tracking on Hwy 50. The canyon was spectacular in mid-morning light. We followed an 18 wheeler most of the way which likely kept us from getting a speeding ticket at one point along the way - ha! And later, the trucker stopped to let a small mountain goat cross the road. As we rolled into Canon City we decided it was time for a caffeine fix so we stopped at a place called Mr Eds where a MC was also taking a break. We had a couple of cups of coffee and rode out again.

Stunning ride through the Arkansas River Canyon on a Sunday morning

We took a short detour through the tiny town of Florence, CO on the way back up Hwy 115. It looks like a fun place for junk-tiquing. Clouds were building fast over Pikes Peak. As we rode north out of Colorado Springs the traffic backed us as usual just before we got off on Interquest Parkway. It is our custom to avoid I-25 between the Springs and home, especially on a Sunday afternoon. We rode Hwy 83 to Franktown, stopped for a stretch and topped off with gas.

Traveling our customary route, we cut across on Lincoln Ave through the south end of Denver (Parker) and rode Hwy C470 following the foothills back to Golden, CO. It appeared clouds were building all along the front range. Back on Hwy 287 we decided it was time for supper so we rolled into one of our favorite watering holes in Longmont, CO - Aunt Alice's Restaurant. We ordered the house burger, fries and onion rings. YUM!

From Longmont we rode the back roads home, skirting a few clouds and generally prolonging the ride.

Clouds built and looked ominous but all they did was spit on the sidewalk.

We finally rolled in and watched the clouds spit on the sidewalk - that's it. I called the Folks to check in, then we settled on the patio with a beer and talked about our ride. It was a great trip! Now we are ready for a loooonnnnggg road trip.

Today's ride was 280 miles. The total mileage for Weekend Road Trip #1 - 2012 was 547.9 miles.

Slide show of Day 2 (60 photos):

Alternate link to this slide show

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Weekend Road Trip #1 - Day 1

April 21, 2012
Colorado, USA
Saturday - Day 1 Mini road Trip

It is April in northern Colorado - can you believe we are saying Road Trip! Well yeah - we say it often enough (all winter long) but actually getting a weekend off work when weather and road conditions are decent enough to ride beyond our usual 100 mile winter/spring perimeter is just about as good as it gets.

We rolled out Saturday morning with Tim in t-shirt sleeves and me in a light denim jacket. At this time of year the direction is south. The rural roads of the eastern plains will do for a Sunday afternoon ride in winter but south is less of a yawn factor. In no particular hurry, we stayed off of the interstate and traveled on Hwy 287 to Hwy 128 through the Interlocken area and on through Golden and the eastern edge of Morrison along C470 before breaking off on Hwy 85. We stopped for coffee and a full breakfast at a Village Inn near Castlerock along I-25.

Tim decided he would wear his jacket on the next leg of the trip. We had blue skies and plenty of sun but the temps were mild and traveling over the Palmer Divide is usually chilly. We traveled the interstate only as far as the cutoff for Larkspur (known for the Renaissance Festival) riding Hwy 105 through Palmer Lake where O'Malley's seem to be doing a good biker trade. We traveled the interstate again for a short while, scooting on through Colorado Springs taking Hwy 115 (in a roundabout way because we missed the turn for the umpteenth time) past Fort Carson to Penrose where we hooked up with Hwy 50 and rolled west toward Canon City.

Admiring bright skies over snow-covered Pikes Peak as we ride along I-25 through Colorado Springs.

By the time we rolled into Canon City, the day had warmed and after cruising a few blocks of downtown admiring the architecture we stopped at a little ice cream shop advertising Blue Bell ice cream. The Ice Kream and Cophy Shop (no, that's not a typo) sits directly across from The Royal Gorge Welcome Center. It is small but nicely appointed with ice cream tables, chairs and sofas. The place was very clean and the person who served us a healthy helping of our favorite ice cream was pleasant and efficient.

Refreshed and ready to roll again we headed west (go figger - The Ride was not ready to go home and neither were we). Canon City is home to the historic Colorado Territorial Correctional Facility and it is always interesting to roll by it. There's a prison museum in town but as usual we would rather ride so we passed on that again.

This section of Hwy 50 between Canon City and Salida is one of our favorite rides. The road gently follows the curves of Arkansas River through a canyon. The Saguache (pr: say watch) Mountains, many of them fourteeners, that surround Salida dominate the view around every bend. The river was busy with fisherman and early-bird kayakers and rafters. I say early-bird because that water is far from warm at this time of year.

Following the Arkansas River - Hwy 50 - Colorado

Fourteeners near Salida, CO

We cruised up and down the streets of Salida before checking in at the Days Inn on Hwy 50 which was more a matter of convenience than choice as it was within walking distance of several restaurants. This is as quiet as we have ever seen Salida but then tourist season is still several weeks away. We were pleasantly surprised by our accommodations. The hotel is older and the decor is what I call Colorado-Kitsch (lots of pine and wildlife motif), stenciling and other personal touches, all well done and well-maintained. Our room was attractive, spacious, extremely clean and even though it is the off season the rate was about half of what we expected to pay. We had a flat screen TV, refrigerator and the WIFI worked well.

As soon as we freshened up and put The Ride to bed we strolled down the street to Wallbanger's Sports Bar and Grill. Every time we ride through Salida we always say we are going to stop and now we have. The parking lot is usually crowded with motorcycles but not today - if there were bikers in the crowd they were like us - incognito. It was busy and looks to be a favorite with the locals, both young and old. Anyway, we were seated immediately and served a couple of ice cold beers while we perused the menu. The special was prime rib with baked potato, salad and apple pie. We did that x2. Yum! As we watched trays go by, we agreed just about everything looked great so this is a place where one can get what one wants and find something in any price range.

After a leisurely meal, we strolled (perhaps waddled is a better term) back to the motel and roamed around the property for a short spell. A herd of deer crossed the road directly in front of us and disappeared in the wooded area just behind the motel. There's a nice rock garden on the east end of the property.

I checked in with the world via our little travel laptop while Tim dozed through a TV show. We watched a couple of episodes of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives which is about as entertaining as anything on weekend TV. It wasn't long before we called it an early night mostly because hard-working Tim nodded off with a snore while in the middle of changing channels - grin!

We traveled 267.9 miles on day one of our first mini road trip 2012.

Slide show of Day 1 (80 photos):

Alternative link to this slide show

Watch those candles! Dad is officially a 76er

April 21, 2012
Colorado, USA

Texas - Today is the 76th birthday of the guy we know as Ted/Dad/Frosty hanging out on this blog.


As usual he is busy. Today is the Fun Run and benefit for Cristy so you can bet he is smack in the middle of it. If you see Ted/Dad/Frosty out and about today (and, I am betting most of you will) be certain to wish him a great birthday -- and watch yourselves just in case somebody decides to light candles on the cake - hahahahaha!

This is last year's #75 scrapbook video recycled for this year's #76 with updated pages, pics and new/old music:

Happy #76 Dad!

Click here to play

Slide show (same scrapbook images as above no music) 44 slides:

Alternative link to the slide show

Hey Dad- Happy Birthday to You!

April 21, 2012

Just for fun...

Friday, April 20, 2012

Roll 'em out TEXAS/OKLAHOMA: Ride for Cristy Fun Run & Benefit

April 20, 2012
Colorado, USA

UPDATE 04/21/2012 - The Fun Run and Benefit for Cris went very well! Over 100 bikes showed up for the Fun Run. The 50/50 pot made lots of cash (and the winner of the pot donated her share to the cause) and the auction was a complete success. All-in-All a great day for the generous people of Texoma!

Fun Run FlyerTexas: Polish 'em up - roll 'em out. The Fun Run and Benefit for Cristy is tomorrow in Wichita Falls, TX. Click on the flyer image to the left to see all the details without a magnifying glass - ha!

Click here or scroll down to April 16, 2012 to read the original post with all the details of the cause and the event. Let's Roll TEXAS! - Benefit and Fun Run: Ride Free for Cristy

In the last post, I mentioned an original digital art poster I created specifically for this event. A framed version of the poster will be up for grabs at the event during the silent auction.

Ride Free Poster version 1Ride Free Poster 16x20 Vertical with quote

Ride Free Poster version 2Ride Free Poster 16x20 Horizontal no quote

For those who may be interested in purchasing an unframed copy of the poster and by way of that contributing to the cause I am making them available here for a limited time. Please see the links and buttons below.

This is the first time I have created digital art for such a purpose and the first time I have posted donation links on Our Harley Days - thanks in advance for your time and patience in looking them over.

About the image: Original digital art poster designed in subtle sepia tones for a vintage look will go well with any Biker Den/Americana/Man Cave decor. Quote speaks for itself (brotherhood of bikers banding together for a purpose). It is a blended image of American bikers, the flag and an eagle. The original photo was shot from the back of our Harley during a Veterans Rally ride through the Rocky Mountains a couple of years ago. I gave it a linen-look border which eliminates the need for fancy matting. Printed on demand, so no shelf wear. Heavy photo quality paper with a matte photo finish.

This is the link to For Cris - Miracle Girl! Web Page which contains good images, updated information and purchase/donation buttons similar to those in this post.

With a PayPal account/credit card you can purchase
an unframed 16x20 Ride Free benefit poster (vertical with quote)
Benefit Price = $40
Includes free shipping (direct from me) in the lower 48 - USA.

Ride Free Poster #1

With a PayPal account/credit card you can purchase
an unframed 16x20 Ride Free benefit poster (horizontal no quote)
Benefit Price = $40
Includes free shipping (direct from me) in the lower 48 - USA.

Ride Free Poster #2

With a PayPal account/credit card you can donate CA$H to Cris and family.
Minimum Donation = $10 - THANK YOU!

Thank you!

The Ride Free poster in quoted and unquoted format as well as a variety of other Ride Free items (including t-shirts, wall art and stationery) is available at Red Bubble. Please be advised I am not in control of how timely your product will be produced and shipped from Red Bubble. Personally, I have had good service on products I have purchased from this source.

Click the image below to view items available at Red Bubble.

Again, this is the link to For Cris - Miracle Girl! Web Page which contains good images of the poster, updated information and purchase/donation buttons similar to those in this post.


Remember you can share this post on social media pages simply by clicking the FB or Twitter icons below :)

Monday, April 16, 2012

Let's Roll TEXAS! - Benefit and Fun Run: Ride Free for Cristy

April 16, 2012
Colorado, USA

Cristy Benefit Flyer
Biker Fun Run and Benefit
Saturday - April 21, 2012
For: Cristy "Calvert" Withers (daughter of Ray "Tex" Calvert)
Fish Fry/Fun Run - Silent Auction/50-50 Drawing
American Legion Post #202 - Wichita Falls, TX
1101 Scott Ave - Phone #940-322-8600
Registration: 10 am - First Bike Out 10:30am
Lunch (included): 12:30 PM
$15 solo - $20 with passenger
Cristy needs a double lung transplant
"Tex" is a Senior Ride Captain with Patriot Guard Riders

I call this event Ride Free for Cristy because that is the name I attached to a digital art poster I designed to generate funds at the benefit auction - Ride Free. Actually, the benefit is sponsored by American Legion Post #202 and North Texas Patriot Guard Riders.

Download and Share Flyer for Cristy Fun Run & Benefit
Please Feel free to print and post or download and share this flyer.

Why I am involved:
Cristy "Cris" is the daughter of close friend Ray "Tex" Calvert. Ray and Laura Calvert are the type of friends who are more family than family. Here's a word for you - they are Framily. They are about as tight with the Folks (Ted/Frosty and Inez/Nezzie) as two can get and always there with a helping hand, a shoulder to cry on and are generally in the thick of whatever fun and mischief is afoot. Those qualities make them Framily in my books.

Make a note: Framily = friends who are more family than family.

Here is the situation:
Cristy "Cris", age 43 is Ray's daughter. She married Brent Withers in 1992. They live in Midland, TX. Cris is mother of two lovely daughters - Nickelynn (23) and Brooke (18). Prior to this illness Cris was employed in real estate sales.

Cris fell ill in the Fall of 2011. Her condition was initially diagnosed as bronchitis and then double pneumonia. She was hospitalized in October 2011 and has twice survived a deadly attack of ARDS (Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome). Cris has severe scarring of the lungs due to pulmonary fibrosis. She has miraculously survived being put on a ventilator, drug-induced comas and several risky procedures.

Her condition is severe and she is in dire need of a double lung transplant. At present, Cris is vigorously working through rehabilitation trying to get healthy enough to get transferred from a Midland, TX medical facility to Baylor University Hospital in Dallas, TX.

Here is the purpose:
To help Cris and family with medical, living, alternative housing and travel expenses or whatever else they need during this time of crisis.

It is inevitable that some defeat will enter even the most victorious life. The human spirit is never finished when it is defeated... it is finished when it surrenders. ~~ Ben Stein

If I knew nothing at all about Cris, I would know from those closest to her how special she is in their hearts and their lives. By all accounts she is loving, considerate, generous, compassionate, and caring to a fault. Add to that a visual most commonly mentioned - she has a beautiful smile and engaging sense of humor.

But, what gets my attention is this young woman's courage and tenacity in the face of seemingly overwhelming odds. I speak often of our brave and heroic veterans on this blog, but there are other more exemplary and perhaps more humbling examples of endurance beyond all belief.

Nothing is more life-affirming than triumph of the human spirit.

No surrender! Good for you Cris! We have your back, Miracle Girl.

We are keeping a good thought for Cris, her family, her friends and especially our friends Ray and Laura. We ask that those of you who happen upon this post do no less. We know you will.

FYI: This post will remain in a prominent position through April 21, 2012 after which links to updates and donation pages will be updated and posted on the side bar and in future posts.

Link to an article about Cris and family in West Texas publication. Emboldened by family's love, woman prays for lung transplant - Mywesttexas.com

Ride Free with WatermarkThis is the digital art poster "Ride Free" I created exclusively for this benefit auction. (Those of you who make it to the Fun Run - know that a framed 16x20 version is up for grabs at the silent auction). Click on the image to see a larger version - poster will not bear the white © Wayfaring Stranger watermark as does the post image.

This is the first time I have created digital art for such a purpose. Stay tuned because I plan to make the benefit poster available on Our Harley Days soon in an on-going effort to benefit Cris and family.

So - Save the date - April 21, 2012! Grab your biker babes and buds and rumble in to Wichita Falls, TX for a little fun and fish in support of a great cause. Thanks again and please feel free to leave your thoughts and wishes for Cris and family - I will share them.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

PGR Mission: TX - Medal of Honor Escort

April 11, 2012
Colorado, USA

Medal of HonorThe Medal of Honor is the highest military decoration awarded by the United States government. It is bestowed by the President, in the name of Congress, upon members of the United States Armed Forces who distinguish themselves through "conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his or her life above and beyond the call of duty while engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States.

Texas -- Today Patriot Guard Riders will escort the Medal of Honor Motorcade from Irving, TX to the city of Gainesville, TX for the annual Medal of Honor festivities.


Update: News Video: Medal Of Honor Recipients Given Hero’s Welcome To North Texas « CBS Dallas / Fort Worth

Medal of Honor Host City - Gainesville, TX

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

PGR Mission: TX - US Army Vietnam Veteran

April 10, 2012
Colorado, USA

Texas: Today the Patriot Guard of North Texas will stand the flag line at funeral services at Lake Arrowhead, TX and then provide escort to Fort Sill National Cemetery, OK for:

SP5 James Wayne Morris, US Army, Vietnam Veteran, Bronze Star and Purple Heart Recipient

Our hearts go out to the family and friends of this veteran.


Obituary for James Morris

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Picnic in Wyoming Ride

April 8, 2012
Colorado, USA

The Ride - Train Depot - Laramie WYEaster Sunday. Lingering over our coffee while the day gained a few notches on the thermometer we got a kick out of watching the neighbor kids (rather large kids) run around the yard hunting Easter eggs. We were in no rush this morning but we finally packed a picnic lunch and rolled out of the drive just before noon past trees and shrubs heavy with Spring bloom. Our biggest decision was whether to ride north or south. To even consider riding north at this time of year is an indicator of how wacky our weather is this spring. Warm and dry. West was also an option but we know how crazy it can get on a nice holiday in the high country. We have ridden south and east just about every time we have rolled recently so north it was then.

Laramie, Wyoming is about 65 miles or so north of Fort Collins. It is an easy ride and the road is good. The highway is sometimes busy but we counted ourselves fortunate today that traffic was light and so were the winds (so far). Tim started out without a jacket but decided sleeves would be good a few miles past Ted's Place. I actually added a layer under my jacket for comfort.

Rolling north on Hwy 287 there are a few notable landmarks - Ted's Place (Hwy 14) is basically the last stop in Colorado for convenience (gas, food, etc.). There is a rest stop in between but it is rarely, if ever open. We noticed the old Forks Hotel and Cafe at Livermore (the Red Feathers cut off) which has been out of business and on the market for a couple of years has a sign posted that said opening soon. Hmmmm... I just read an article that the location will open as a convenience store/gas station soon with plans to open a deli/ice-cream shop and eventually a full service restaurant. We could go for that. Livermore and Virginia Dale were old stage stops on what is known as the Overland Trail (Hwy 287). The road (74E) that travels east out of Livermore will get you to Red Feathers Lake Recreation area. The next stop is Tie-Siding, WY which is currently gas station/flea market/post office but is near the location of a historic tie-camp (railroad ties). The whole area is rich in early western history.

Rolling up on Virginia DaleRolling up on the old stage stop along the Overland Trail - Virginia Dale. The little white church was established 1880

Buggy RideWe rolled into the edge of Laramie where we made a stop at Bart's flea market. We roamed the aisles and warmed up some but didn't find much to stuff the saddle bags with this time. We rolled into town afterwards thinking we would have our picnic lunch near the train yards as we have before but the winds were howling (as usual) out of the west and we figured we would likely have to chase our chicken to Kansas so that was a brief stop. We traveled east a bit past the college before locating Washington Park which was a little more sheltered from the ever-increasing winds. There we parked the "buggy" ride not far from a picnic table and enjoyed our cold chicken, noodle salad, fruit and cookies.

We made a quick stop at a book store I like to roam through before bringing ourselves on home. Again, traffic was not near what we usually encounter on this ride. The winds were stout and somewhat chilly blowing across the deep drifts of snow still lingering alongside the snow fences along the way.

It was warmer once we crossed the border into Colorado, so we took the long way home over the dam before calling it an end to a nice, easy ride. Tim says 149 miles. As usual, we downed a couple of beers on the patio while we cooked burgers and sausage.

Slide show of today's ride (32 photos):

See ya along the bunny trail...

April 8, 2012
Colorado, USA

Happy Easter!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Bunny hop is for kids - let's do a bunny roll...

April 6, 2012
Colorado, USA

Bunny Peep BikersIt will be a Good Friday if we get to roll...

Update: Good Friday is good - we managed to get a lunch ride in...

Serious Texas BBQRolling up on Serious Texas BBQ

The Ride-Serious TexasThe Ride in its regular spot outside Serious Texas BBQ

Texas TacoThis is a Serious Texas BBQ Texas Taco - flour tortilla stuffed with pulled pork, cheesy potatoes, bbq sauce and jalapeno pineapple salsa... you can color this bunny fat and sassy...

Monday, April 2, 2012

PGR Mission: TX: US Navy, Vietnam Veteran

April 2, 2012
Colorado, USA

Texas - This morning Patriot Guard Riders of North Texas rolled out to honor the service of:

Billy Baxter, U.S. Navy, Vietnam Veteran

Patriots will stand the flag line at funeral services in Henrietta, TX.

Our hearts go out to the family and friends of this Veteran.

Rest in peace and thank you for your service sir!

Obituary: Billy Baxter

Sunday, April 1, 2012

April Fools Sunburn and Picnic Ride

April 1, 2012
Colorado, USA

April Fools RideTemperatures were forecast to be in the eighties today! In northern Colorado! In April!

This is Tim's first weekend off since late January so after spending a lazy morning over our coffee we packed a quick picnic lunch and rolled out the drive with no particular destination in mind. Our intent was clear - make a day of it.

Forsythia bloomingWe thought about riding north to Wyoming but decided winds would likely be an issue and there was no reason to ride out to meet the cold front due in later today. We thought about testing the roads in the high country but decided there was no reason to ride cold when we finally had a warm day to ride. No. We simply headed south along familiar country lanes sharing the road with more than an average number of bicyclists, convertibles, hot rods, and motorcycles. Anyone with a toy was rolling today. Boats were out on lakes. People were hauling campers around. Hang gliders were testing the theory of gravity and wind sheers all along our way. Trees and shrubs are in full bloom, perhaps a bit early in the season. And I can guarantee that anyone out today went home with a sunburn.

Spring has sprung

Easter bunny out for a driveWe got as far south as Boulder where there was simply too much traffic so we headed east and along the way saw the Easter bunny out for a ride in a convertible.

Baloney in the parkEventually we rolled into the small town of Mead where we know this quiet little city park and that's where we decided to have our picnic. We dined on baloney sandwiches, chips, fruit, cookies and jelly beans. Just before we were ready to roll out a couple of little girls brought their dogs to the park. The larger of the two dogs looked like a lab and he had as much fun on the playground slide as the girls.

The Ride - April Fools!

Tim says - hey come watch this dog!

Dog on the slideI tried to get a pic of the dog on the slide but he was too quick - the best I could get was his tail as he slid down head first.

SunburnOh yeah - he's a bit crispy

We zig-zagged our way home, riding east and then far north of the city, stopped for an ice cream sundae and finally made our way back to the patio where we built a fire in the chiminea and lounged on the patio with a beer until well after dark.

Relaxing after an April Fools Ride

This is what I get for laying the camera down

We both have our first sunburn of the year although Tim caught more rays than I did. Today's ride was 185.8 miles says my numbers guy. Getting to ride three back-to-back days in northern Colorado at this time of year was just what we needed to shake off cabin fever and winter doldrums. Of course, winter is far from over - Colorado's idea of April Fools is 80 degrees and sunburn one day followed by 40 degrees, overnight snow and a return to our flannels.