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Cruising for all ages; keep to the roads

When you can’t ride due to rain and high water, you get a bit of a hemmed-in feeling.

Days off in summer are for sunshine and the highway, not dreaming.  On an overcast day last week, I felt glum.  Roads were wet, I had seen too many rainy days and needed to get out. Seeking adventure, I teasingly asked my 19 year old, “Hey, wanna kayak the Piney today?”

Well, I wasn’t totally serious, but as soon as the challenge was off my lips he responded “yeah!,” and from that moment began my cruise down the Piney during the flood of 2013.

Now this was a Thursday – seems we do all our crazy stuff on Thursdays!  All of our cruise ins are on Thursday nights, too. We arrived at Dogs Bluff to find the water meeting us just beyond the picnic area. It was murky and looked a whole lot like chocolate milk — foam and all. The bridge marker read 12-feet above normal. Well, that wouldn’t be bad, I thought, as many times you have to pick up and drag during the floating season. No dragging today!  It took about a 1/2-mile for me to realize that the son and I had no business out there on that river that day. We were taught a great lesson about trees and current within that first 1/2-mile. Arriving at Mineral Springs in a swift 75 minutes, we were barely able to see the conservation department signage that was peeking out of the water.  Jacob and I made it and we can say we conquered, but I will stick to cruising the highways for a while.

Houston’s Downtown Cruise In Thursday night was awesome with the cool temps. Many of the bikers donned leather to head home – some to as far as Salem – after enjoying an evening of good food, friends conversing and of course games!

Bikers challenged their mounted shooting skills, as 15 white helium balloons weighted with water bottles were targeted with water guns filled with red, green and blue food colored water.  Neal Jones from Bucyrus won this event with a little backtracking, but Jeff Scott, of Raymondville, and newcomer Justin Chandler, of Salem, were tied for the win without cheating.

A timed obstacle course was very popular and challenging.  Bikers young and old attempted the course and the best time of 23 seconds went to Shannon Wright, Salem. Many thanks to those who participated and to the city who allows us to block off the portion of Grand and have the event.  Stealing the limelight was Braden Martin, first time cruise in participant who also now holds the title of youngest cruise in rider at age 10.  He is a tough guy too! Riding in on a black mini-chopper with some sputtering and spitting, Braden looked at that obstacle course with determination.  His bike wasn’t cooperating, but Braden stayed with the course. This wasn’t an easy task as this bike was a kick start. He finished the course with the applause and hoops and hollers of the other members. Great job, man, and thanks to his dad, Michael Martin, also attending on two wheels, who brought him up to the event.

The cruise ins are for all ages!

Sponsors for the August cruise in are Memories and Dreams and the newly owned and managed Simply Sweets.  Both businesses donated prizes for the event as well as stayed open during the cruise in for patrons. Thank you for investing in downtown activities. Special thanks to D&L Florist as well for donating a gift certificate as a prize.  Shari McCallister wanted to donate in honor of her dad who also had been a rider.

If you would like to get involved in the cruise ins downtown you have one more month as the September cruise in will be our last for 2013. After the cruise ins end, you can still enjoy Bike Night every Tuesday at Side Street Grill from 4 p.m. to closing.

There are two types of people in this world: those that ride motorcycles, and those who wish they did.

See you all next month!  Ride safe.

Kerry York is a lady rider and resident of Houston, who coordinates monthly Houston Downtown Cruise-In events from spring to fall. Email kyorkrn@ymail.com.

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Don’t forget to inhale

 

One of the most enjoyable and memorable parts of riding a bike is total envelopment of the rider into the environment.

The scent of cornfields and earth conjures my mind cresting a hill and seeing miles of corn all standing at attention in the valley below in the fields of Kentucky. Cool air laced with peppery pine evokes memories of descending from Clingman’s Dome in the Smokies as the rays of morning sunbeams cast diagonally across the roadway. Riding these past weeks has been a pleasure to the senses, especially in the coolness of the evening due to the grills of summer, lilac, honeysuckle and roses.

The actual ability to smell is highly linked to memory. Research has shown that when areas of the brain connected to memory are damaged, the ability to identify smells is actually impaired. In order to identify a scent, you must remember when you have smelled it before and then connect it to visual information that occurred at the same time. According to some research, associating places with the presence of an odor actually increases the vividness and intensity of that remembered place.  So the next time you are riding, don’t forget to sit back and inhale those aromas to completely process your memories of that ride.

Jay York enjoyed a wet ride north to Iowa the end of May.  Raining from Moberly to Minnesota — yes, he had to cross the line to claim he rode in that state, and Jay has decided not all rain suits are created equal!  He now highly endorses the HD suits with the reinforced lining and double stitched seams.  Pricing out at almost $200, he can tell you they are worth every penny when you ride in that amount of rain. Traveling home he rode more than 500 miles in one day and has decided that the Iron Butt ride is not one he will be doing anytime soon (1,000 miles in 24 hours).

Four bikers set a ride without a destination and ended up at Thomasville, Mo., last week. If you haven’t been to Thomasville, it is between Birch Tree and Alton on Highway 99 in northern Oregon County. The Eleven Point River crosses through Thomasville, so it is fitting that the little town is known for its delicious fried fish at the River’s Edge restaurant. There the riders enjoyed a lunch of catfish priced affordably under the tin ceiling of an original Thomasville store. Pictures of the town’s past and people line the walls of the little fish and grill eatery, and it is a delight to enjoy the banter of the locals.  Outside you can easily access the river and watch the fish swim while listening to the bellow of the bullfrogs. The old stone high school where my grandmother attended classes is still standing and now serves as the community center. The filling station, shown in the photo, is a gathering place for local storytellers to sit on the church pews outside and spin their yarns while sipping ice cold soda purchased from the clerks who greets everyone with a smile.  Yes, these places do still exist. Get out, see and experience small town USA on a bike.

Our cruise-in for June was a great success, with more than 60 in attendance. Thirty-two bikes rolled in with the bikers farthest traveled coming 58 miles from Rover, Mo., which coincidentally is just five miles past Thomasville. These bikers — as well as others from Salem, Licking, Evening Shade, Plato, Bucyrus, Summersville, Raymondville and Houston — enjoyed the evening talking of rides and iron as well as playing games and enjoying the company. A street performer who dazzled us with her hula hoop skills, Jocelyn Driesel, had a tip jar that collected $17.  Trying to raise more tips for the young lady, I challenged the crowd if anyone would join her in hula hooping, I would match the collected money.

Jay York gave $20 added money to have his wife (me) hula hoop with the street performer. Although the hoop was not big enough for these hips and I was not coordinated, Jocelyn was able to guide me in a few rotations of the hoop. She hopes to teach classes locally and devotes a minimum of three hours a day to hula hooping.  She is the daughter-in-law of Doug Driesel, formerly of Houston.

Josh York provided our music and PA for the evening. His musical expertise includes DJ, sound system set up for events, as well as HY Element Studio recording. We appreciate his time and efforts to help make the cruise in successful.

Memories and Dreams, a new store in downtown Houston, brought over two nice prizes that were HD themed. This store has something for everyone and if you have yet to visit, make plans this week. We would like to formally say “thank you” to them.

JAZ Trophies of Houston has created some awesome medallions in color featuring our downtown cruise in scene. They are available by contacting me for $5 each. They are a metal medallions, with an adhesive backing and are very pleasing to the eye. Thank you JAZ for your awesome work.

Get out and ride folks, and don’t forget to inhale! Store those memories for the recall, as they’re some of the best of your life.

Kerry York is a lady rider and resident of Houston, Mo., who coordinates monthly Houston Downtown Cruise-In events from spring to fall. Email kyorkrn@ymail.com.

A couple of bikes sit in front of the old Thomasville General Store.

A couple of bikes sit in front of the old Thomasville General Store.

Behind the Handlebars header

 

Battling the elements

 

Seems the riding season is getting off to a slow start this year as the temps continue to take dives and snow will not go away. It’s a lovely 35 degrees as I write this and it’s May. Donning extra layers is okay, but the sun on bare skin sure feels better.

As you prepare for trips this summer, it’s wise to buy that sunscreen for the saddlebag now. I always carry some spray on waterproof sun block. If you’re applying it, make sure you’re downwind of bikes as it does leaves a nasty residue that I am sure your biker buds will not appreciate. Yep, learned that the hard way. Sun-blocks with a minimum of 15 SPF are recommended to prevent early signs of aging and skin cancer.

I added a half face shield with tint protection to my half helmet this year, after a lady rider recommended the extra wind and sun protection for our faces. You have the option of clear, smoke, or fully tinted shields that often are mirrored. I opted for a smoke shield, as I can wear the additional glasses to adjust to noonday glare or evening dusk light. Depending on what you ride and updraft, the visor is often sufficient for windbreak for your eyes. It is nice to not have to wear glasses when you are on a long trip. Eyes need protected from the sun too as the exposure can lead to cataracts and macular degeneration. Prices vary from $20 for basic shields to upwards of $120 for transition shields.

It seems our cruise-ins were a bit of a bust in April because of our unpredictable weather. Willow Springs cancelled its cruise in for May due to inclement weather. Sue Daniels was the only cruise-in coordinator who had a good evening for cruising at her Licking site. It was well attended and riders were able to connect after a long winter as well as experience new rides by the Harley Davidson folks at Lebanon who brought some demo rides to try. We are hoping for some nicer evenings. Don’t forget the Thursday night cruise-ins, April through September – first is Willow Springs, second is Salem, third is Houston and last is Licking. All are at 6:30 p.m.

If you don’t ride, come anyway and fall in love with the machines.

Let’s hope for warmer temps and brighter days, and we will see you down the road. Keep in mind: when you are riding lead, don’t spit.

Kerry York is a lady rider and resident of Houston, Mo., who coordinates monthly Houston Downtown Cruise-In events from spring to fall. Email kyorkrn@ymail.com.

 

Fishing and biking can go together

 

Gone fishing on a motorcycle lately?

In the sweltering summer heat you have to be creative in planning event rides and runs.  Staying cool while looking cool is a new challenge when the temperatures rise over 100 degrees.

Time your ride for morning or evening to enjoy the coolest temperatures.  A group of area bikers left out from Houston the morning of July 4 to participate in the 10 a.m. slated 4th of July parade in Willow Springs. Decorating their bikes with pinwheels, ribbons and pulling tin cans, they enjoyed the company of Abe Lincoln on a bicycle, Uncle Sam on foot as well as a host of vintage vehicles and floats from each branch of the military. Horse and goat drawn carts, Girl Scouts on bicycles, and dozens of clowns all donned old glory’s colors paying tribute to America. One biker from Raymondville even had a rider hop on his bike and enjoy the parade with him for a block or two.

Holiday spirit and an empty schedule led to an impromptu road trip west on Highway 76 toward Ozark County and Rockbridge, which is home of a privately owned trout ranch and resort featuring an 1800’s grist mill and top notch restaurant which sit just yards from the clean cold Spring Creek.

After cooling down and re-hydrating over lunch, the group enjoyed walking underneath the mill, watching the trout fisherman, and the cool air coming off the water. Several wet their doo-rags in the cool spring water and reapplied them. A couple of lady riders enjoyed a near dip in Spring Creek as a prankster attempted to push them in.  What a way to cool off in a hurry!

While admiring the finesse of the fly rod handlers, one biker noticed a lady fisherman appearing to have difficulties with her cast. Although we now kid him that he wrestled her to the gravel for her rod, he truly offered to help her with technique. She handed the rod over and with his first cast into the azure waters he had a strike and subsequently landed a five-pound rainbow trout!

Who says you can’t take a motorcycle fishing?

Avid motorcyclists can purchase evaporative cooling vests and bandanas that really help to keep the body’s core temperature down during a ride.  These items are available via Internet shopping pages or these can be ordered at our local bike shop. Prices range from $25-$100. Hydration is the key element however for surviving the heat, so consider investing in a cooler for your bike and freezing fluids to accompany you on your rides.

Wherever you ride, be safe my friends. Keep the rubber side down and the shiny side up. “Remember, it doesn’t matter what brand you ride, the air is all the same.”

Kerry York is a lady rider and resident of Houston, Mo., who coordinates monthly Houston Downtown Cruise-In events from spring to fall. Email kyorkrn@ymail.com.