Behind the Handlebars header

August cruise in is gone to the dogs

If you don’t want to sell it, don’t price it!

I found this to be true when I sold my Black Betty Road Queen recently. Congratulations to the new owners Jack and Sharry Lovan of Willow Springs. Sharry coordinates a weekly jam session Monday nights at Mugs Coffee Shoppe in downtown Willow Springs, as well as working on monthly bluegrass venues at the theater. They have been enjoying rides into Arkansas and are happy to back in the biker scene.

So, the pursuit was on for a different bike for me with the sale of Betty. When considering a bike purchase, of course you look at the style and color you want, but you also must consider if it fits you. Are you strong enough to hold up the size bike you desire? What is the seat height? How much power do you need? Sometimes these answers are easier sought with the guidance of a sales person for new riders.

I decided I wanted a blue and white Harley Davidson Softtail Deluxe. It is known primarily as a lady’s ride as it has a seat height of about 24-25 inches. While there are several ways to locate bikes, I chose craigslist.com. Shopping by Internet is great when you are just looking, but when it comes down to a purchase of a bike, I wanted to buy in person. Off we went on a road trip north with one deluxe about 400 miles from us and another waiting in Wisconsin if the first fell through.

Surrounded by cornfields on all sides, we pulled up the graveled lane to a nice farmhouse, garage and shop. Trying to act not too in love with the bike, so I could remain neutral during wheeling and dealing mode later in the visit, I looked around outside the garage and noted there was a shooting range at the back of the property. A shooting range in a state with such negative attitudes toward conceal and carry? We were delighted to get a tour of this gentleman’s shooting range, set up with steel targets of all sizes and distances as well as a large hanging plate that resounded in a loud gong when fired upon. Shooting commenced and when the smoke cleared and brass cooled, we found that we had connected with new Illinois friends Kerry and Kathy Smith at Canton, Ill. We did bring the deluxe home and her name is DD.

Area riders from Texas and Howell counties met and road to Big Spring Park at Van Buren. Eleven bikes snaked through the hills and hollers we love to ride and arrived at the park mid-afternoon. Enjoying the beautiful scenery is only part of the ride, as one rider took a dip in the spring. We were amazed that the outflow of the spring, which is noted to completely fill Busch Stadium at St. Louis in 33 hours. Now that’s a lot of water!

A visit to Van Buren is not complete without a stop off at Jolly Cone. After refreshment, we were back on the road, headed home to experience what every rider who rides has to deal with, rain. Donning rain suits, we journeyed on and all returned safely to their prospective homes.

The August cruise-in at Houston will not be held due to our collaboration with Dogs Off the Leash Run and Rally at Eminence, which kicks off Thursday night (Aug. 21). Come down and see all your friends at the rally. Day passes are $15 or weekend passes are $30 with proceeds to Combat Vets Association. The rally kicks off Thursday night (tonight) with establishing camp and karaoke on the main stage. Arrowhead Campground will be full to the brim with vendors and eateries that offer all three meals, specialty items in a family friendly zone. Friday events are the annual float trip and concerts that night with Chris Johnson and the Back Row Revival band and nationally renowned Confederate Railroad. Saturday holds the annual poker run and two new events: A bike show judged by Liam Myrick of Houston, and a veterans parade of bikes. Saturday ends with evening concerts featuring MoJo Kings of West Plains area (with a blues flair) and the ever popular Kricket Alley (from Pulaski County).

Sunday morning biker church with Butch Spacek tops off and concludes the four-day weekend. Check it out on Facebook at eminencedogsofftheleash or online at www.dogsofftheleash.net.

If you don’t ride in the rain, you don’t ride. Keep safe friends.

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

After a warm ride, Houston resident Jody Jones enjoys the cool air while viewing Big Spring near Van Buren.

After a warm ride, Houston resident Jody Jones enjoys the cool air while viewing Big Spring near Van Buren.

 

 

Advertisements

Behind the Handlebars header

Bikers in tutus?

I wasn’t unnerved peering down at the blue-green waters below around each side of the fuel tank.

The creaking cables and slapping of the planks were melodious to the chug of the Harley. One bridge down and one bridge to go, less than half-mile apart. The first bridge was metal, the second was a combination of metal with wooden planks. Crossing a bridge is one of those things that once you set your mind to do it, just throttle and go. Once the bikes were over to the other side of the abyss, they were parked, and we explored on foot. Sure enough, riding with a bike we call the “Rain Maker” (owned by Jody Jones) brought some wet stuff falling from the sky. We found out those old boards on the bridge get a little slicker after the rain as we exited back across. You can find the bridges of Brumley within 100 miles from our town of Houston. It’s worth the ride.

The June cruise-in was a success, with 39 bikes gathering at Highway 17 and U.S. 63. Thanks to Crowley’s HomeWorks for allowing us to use their parking area. The wind was high, the pavement hot. Great location, the hand-pattied burgers were delicious, but the next cruise in, we will seek a cooler environment. Visiting and enjoying one another’s bikes, the cruise-ins are always a great time.

The 6:30 p.m. July 17 cruise-in will be at Emmett Kelly Park. Come out! It is for motorcyclists and enthusiasts. Always a family atmosphere.

We are inviting all local groups to have the opportunity to run the concessions and pocket the cash. June’s cruise-in proceeds netted $100, which was donated to the Texas County Food Pantry. Contact me for more information. We are always looking at ways to help our community members and provide for needs.

Have you ever seen a biker in a tutu? It’s going to happen at the July cruise-in! We have several men who are willing to don a tutu to raise funds for the charity of their choice. Todd Dorman of Houston and Bruce Foster of Success have decided to wear their tutus for a minimum $100 donation to the Children’s Miracle Network (CMN).

For additional donations, they will pose for pictures with you and possibly take you for a ride. Bikers have the biggest hearts – and tutus.

Come out and see these real men who are not afraid to express themselves for kids. It’s going to be a great time. If Todd’s not cutting his beard for charity, he’s wearing a tutu! Wonder if his friends and co-workers at Romines Ford know about this one?

Life is like a highway, enjoy the ride.

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.

 

Behind the Handlebars header

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.

Behind the Handlebars header

Get lost and ride

 

There are times that a map could cheat you out of a great ride.

Maps fail to show you the scenic views, the interesting structures along the way and the out of the way stops. It didn’t take long for me to toss the map last weekend when several bikes left Texas County. One of the bikers along on the ride said he had lived in this area for years and had never been down some of the beautiful stretches of roads. Sometimes, the journey of discovery is the best kind.

In pursuit of scenic mills, one has to admit the Ozarks has the best quality preserved grist mills compared to other states.  Houston’s 63 toward Cabool has a left hand turn about five miles before you get to Cabool.  Highway U is a twisty road that will grant the traveler some of the best vistas in Texas County.  This road intersects with highways Y and HH which both lead to Highway 137. Highway HH takes you within three miles of the city limits of Willow Springs and is a favorite when wishing to seek the road less traveled. At Willow Springs, Highway 76 leads to the heart of mill country featuring Topaz, Zanoni, Rockbridge and Hodgson Mills. The loop is worth the time and effort.  Sitting beside the cool clear waters of our natural springs makes the ride so worth it.

Now back to throwing away that map. The leader of our entourage that day made a wrong turn early on in the trip. Not willing to turn back, this led to several highways and miles of road that lead the riders to views that had not seen prior. It is amazing how you can ride for years and still find a stretch of road that you have never ridden!

We met some interesting characters on our jaunt. Two older folks appeared to be enforcing slave labor on the grandchildren when we asked them for the end point of the highway we were travelling. They explained the grandkids were down from Kansas City and were picking up river rocks to take home with them (oh, and by the way, these folks didn’t know where the highway ended). We journeyed on and the sun seemed to be on all sides. It was then that I realized, we might be lost. It took only a moment however to realize that on a motorcycle, you don’t get lost, you get to ride. Where in the world would I rather be but on my bike, in the sun, travelling some of the most beautiful country known to riders?

Around the bend we encountered a two-story, log-sided country store to which we found two ladies cooking up lunch. The Drury Store is a unique place on Highway 181 that caters to fish lovers on Friday nights and locals every other day of the week. The store had been rebuilt on the site of a historic general store that has served that area for generations. It features an open floor plan without walls – yes, you can watch the cooks in the kitchen as they prepare your order! Its country décor invites a relaxed atmosphere. We made plans to go back for an evening dinner ride.

Tuesday nights are “Bike Night” at the Side Street Grill on Steffens Street in Houston. Area riders can enjoy the food, drink specials and camaraderie from 4 p.m. to closing, as well as a ride in a bike show. Winning the People’s Choice trophy last week was Sandy Walker of Elk Creek on her ‘97 Buell.  Trophies are sponsored by the Downtown Cruise In. Rhett Drake, of Side Street, plans to grow the bike night specials as well as the activities. Come out and support his endeavors and see your friends. We recommend the grilled chicken breast with onions and peppers! It is delicious.

The monthly Downtown Motorcycle Cruise In will be 6:30 p.m. July 18 at Twist and Shake in downtown Houston. The streets will be blocked for our cruise in and the fun will be had!  We have several new sponsors. New activities and prizes as well will include water balloons and 36D sling shots!  Come out for fun and friendship and enjoy in our family atmosphere. In my last column, I forgot to mention we have riders from the big town of Roby who attend as well. Thanks to all who come out – let’s break a record for attendance this month!

I have to give a shout out to the Houston Herald for printing this column and for our long distance subscribers as well. Recently a group from our area traveled to New Mexico and a waitress in a café knew where Houston, Mo., was as she told the riders she reads the Houston Herald online and this article!  Motorcycling is a family and the borders keep enlarging.

There are several benefits coming up in our area. Alonzo Tillery, a Willow Springs fellow rider, was injured in a motorcycle crash and a benefit has been planned for 4 p.m. July 20 at the Mountain View Community Center.  There will be a ride in benefit at Emmett Kelly Park here in Houston at noon July 27 for Liam Myrick in honor of his second anniversary of battling stage 4 neuroblastoma.

“Young riders pick a destination and go…old riders pick a direction and go.”

Safe travels friends.

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.

Local motorcycle riders visited Hodgson Mill last week.

Local motorcycle riders visited Hodgson Mill last week.

Behind the Handlebars header

 

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.

 

Behind the Handlebars header

Respects and salutes; cruise-in season starts

On Saturday, April 13, 96 bikes rode through Houston for the 4th annual Mindy’s Run.

The ride began in West Plains, and riders enjoyed a 100-mile jaunt using Houston as a fuel stop along the way. Mindy Hughston was the wife of a Howell County Sheriff’s Department employee who succumbed to cancer. In her memory, riders coordinate this annual fundraiser to assist other persons with expenses who are suffering from terminal disease. This year, a youngster from West Plains with leukemia was the recipient. Riders ended back in West Plains with an auction and dinner.  Bikers have the biggest hearts. Bravo!

Did you ever wonder about the “biker salute?”  The cool stiff-armed lowering of the left arm when you meet another biker on the road that signifies respect. Its origins are from the days of the knights and horseback. When the riders would approach one another they would lower their joust or sword to the side as a sign of friendly salute and respect. I have found that as a new rider, I saluted everyone because I thought it was cool. It was 2007, and as a lady rider I found that I got about 99.9-percent of my salutes returned. After riding a few years, I have noticed some riders either won’t wave to other riders on certain brands of bikes or won’t wave or salute at all. That saddens me.

There is no correct way to wave to one another, but truly the open road mentality and the adventure seeking nature of the biker is one to salute and respect regardless of what type he rides. Often we get fisted arms out of pick up trucks with biceps flexed as a symbol of power. I personally like the two finger peace sign as I pass another biker. Butch Spacek is a local rider from the Summersville area. You may have seen him with his ZZ Topp beard riding a red Electra Glide. He looks like he’s standing up in the seat, but since he is 6-foot-6, he can’t help it.

Butch’s salute is one-finger – the first one on the left hand at the end of a four-foot long left arm as he points up to the Creator.  Butch rides across our state to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with prisoners. So, regardless of the ride, the way you salute, remember the air is all the same!

Willow Springs recently had its first cruise-in at Pizza Americana on Main Street. It was pretty cool as the restored theater shined down neon lights on the bikes parked beneath. Tom and Marsha Herndon are coordinating this event and are excited to add some prizes and games next month. Come out to support them on the first Thursday of each month at 6:30 p.m.  It’s great to get to see other riders from all the areas come together for camaraderie and good eats!

The recent Salem cruise-in was a cold one!  I have to admit, Jay and I each rode two wheels of a four-wheeled Buick down to Salem to support them on their first cruise in of the year. We picked up a couple of leather-clad bikers (Eddie and Kelly Williams) along the way and we were off to Dent County for ice cream at Scoops. If you have never been there, you are missing some massive mounds of sweet frozen delight. I saw a banana split that evening that was a foot long – no kidding!  They are located at Highways 19 and 32. Salem has a cruise-in at 6:30 p.m. every second Thursday, so come out and join Annette Chervenak, as she does a grand job at her cruise-ins monthly.

Our first cruise-in of the year here in Houston was Thursday, April 18. This season, we will gather for cruise-ins on Steffens Street in front of the Side Street Bar and Grill. Consistency is key to these events, and we will have them rain or shine.

Kicking off our cruise-ins this year, we had guests from the Christian Motorcycle Association. Our 50/50 raffle this month was given to the Pulaski County family of Suzie Ham, who was a treadle machine operator who set up her sewing machine at rallies and biker gatherings. She had sewn on thousands of patches over the years. Her family mourns her loss and is burdened with large medical and funeral expenses. Local Pulaski County Veterans MC had a benefit ride to help with expenses on April 14. Each month, we will choose a cause to donate the 50/50 raffle to, so please be on the look out for ways to help others. This year we will also be adding awards for each month to the farthest traveled and biker spirit award.  It is a fun way to blow off steam and be a kid again.

Sue Daniels has invited Lebanon Harley to demo at her cruise-in in Licking tonight (April 25). The Licking cruise-ins are always the last Thursday of every month. Come out to the Sonic and enjoy the music, prizes, and rides on the Harleys.

Friends, we hope to see all of you on the road. Be safe, and remember, God did not create metal so man could make paperclips. Get on that iron steed and ride!

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.