Well, it may stink to be missing a leg, but it doesn’t stink to have to go to Orlando, FL to get the leg tweaked at POA. The trip to Florida was a day ride and relatively uneventful until my last gas stop of the day… I mean really, how many people get a violin serenade at a gas pump??? I was tickled.
As many times in the past, I decided to stay with my adopted Rider’s Claw family in Webster, FL. Heck, I’d probably get a beating if I didn’t stay there. I was also inline on the dates as I had arranged my leg visit to match up with Leesburg Bike Fest. Of course I had a great time with the retirees playing cards, going to bingo, dinner, and shopping for a few things for the trailer.
I was able to go to Lessburg Bike Fest two nights. I had decided to go in the evening, because I just didn’t want to tire out too fast and miss the good bands. On Friday I got lucky and there was a schedule opening for a radio show so I booked it and recorded a live episode of ROAD Lines with The B.R.O.A.D. from main street Leesburg. I ran into a few friends I already know and even saw Scooter Tramp Scotty. I met some folks that had followed me online and had a wonderful evening. On Saturday I came back and again met some of the same friends. Only this day when I was just a couple miles from Bike Fest the traffic was stopped and a police man closed the road right in front of my truck. Alongside me were about 18-20 bikes. We all shut off our engines and got out / on. Ahead I could see a trike smashed up in the on-coming lane. We learned from the police officer that the trike had lost a rear wheel and subsequently rear ended the car ahead of him. His female passenger was not wearing a helmet and had major head trauma. At first I was okay being there watching this process of rescue transpire from a distance, but then in the background I heard a helicopter and when I turned to see it coming toward the road my body immediately began to shake and my stomach was doing loops. Most of the bikers to my right were over by the cop conversing but one lone dude remained seated on his bike. I was in a bit of panic and I sort of sprinted over to him and grabbed his hand and with a shaky voice I asked, “Please hold my hand, I was in that helicopter not too long ago.” He apparently felt my body trembling and squeezed my hand. He looked down at my leg and said, “Well you appear to have made it out and you look great.” We just stood there as the helicopter landed in the road and the woman was loaded inside. I said a silent prayer and did all I could to fight back tears. Once the helicopter had taken off, I began to calm down and I hugged the stranger to whom I had not asked for his name. I thanked him and said for him to ride safe. In a flash the police man began to ready us to move through traffic and with that, the biker that comforted me in that moment was gone.
Leesburg was again a lot of fun with some of my friends and of course I danced for as long as I could stand it. When my energy started to fade I said my good-byes and Tom Stephenson was walking me to my truck when out of the crowd came a dude that popped right up in face. “Hey BROAD, do you remember me?” I indicated that he looked familiar but I was embarrassed to say I could not recall his name. He chided me that he couldn’t be familiar because we’ve never met and he doesn’t put pictures online. But No… I was sure I had seen his face before and let’s face it, he may be shorter than me but Frederick, the owner of Nasty Baggers is a handsome dude so I don’t forget the ones that don’t hurt my eyes. Ah Ha… Yep, I had in fact seen his mug before, from my buddy “Street Glide Art”. But this time, I made sure I got a picture of Frederick and of course, I broke the rule and posted him on Facebook – hehehehe! Now as if that wasn’t a great surprise, just when I was talking to Frederick and had even got to meet his wife, a row of bikers approached me and one dude stared straight at me as if to say, “Don’t you know me?” It took me a quick second but all of a sudden it hit me… I grabbed his man around his neck and hugged him… “You held my hand today!!” I almost cried but didn’t. For the next few moments we stood around and this time he and his friends were able to hear my story. We took a photo and wished each other well. Rather typical and rather blessed because somehow or another I always seem to meet great people. I spent about a week in Webster and Leesburg and then my journeys continued.
I headed up to Jekyll Island, Georgia. I was able to make a date with my friend formerly from Illinois and since retired to Florida. Ed and Beth met me on Jekyll Island and we took some time to go see the Sea Turtles that some of my followers helped to adopt. We learned that Flounder was going to be released soon. It would have been awesome to come back for that only I had to work Myrtle Beach Bike Week during the date of her release. Ed, Beth and I went to my camp site so they could check out my new house and we had a terrific lunch on the water. We got to walk along the shore for a bit and Ed being the visionary photographer he is, we took lots of pictures in our short visit. I always feel so giddy when I get to meet actual known friends while I’m traveling. It’s like having a piece of home come find me.
Charleston w John to check on Mom
I stayed there on Jekyll Island just two nights and then as I was traveling to Savannah to meet a friend from Georgia, I received a call that my Mom was not well and was being transported to the hospital. That being the case, I altered my plan and picked up my buddy and his bike along the way. My friend John could have easily said no thanks or I’ll catch you later, but he decided to tool along and go see Mom with me. I felt kind of bad during his visit because I was in and out of the hospital, had some stress going on of course, and wasn’t able to spend a lot of time with him. We did get to go to Isle of Palms and Sullivan’s Island for dinner and a beer one afternoon. After about 4 days John decided he would ride the motorcycle back to Covington. I was in Charleston with Mom for about a week. She was released from the hospital and was mostly on the way to recovery.
Once she was settled and her meds filled, I headed for Myrtle Beach Bike Week where I would be working with my client and friend Bill, owner of Cool Rider Gear. His girl was only able to stay for four days so it was my goal to help him the rest of the time in his booth. I got there a few days before Bill and Joan and took a super short, really cheap helicopter tour of the Myrtle Beach coastline. I grabbed a crab net from Wal-Mart and got the skinny from the bait shop on where to go crabbing. Unfortunately however, the only crabs I caught were wee tiny and I had to put them back. I did enjoy the afternoon on the water though and Josh, a young man of 23 years old kept me company and yapped with me as he fished. Upon returning to camp that day, I walked nearly three blocks to the ocean which was right at the end of my row of campers. Let me tell you those were the longest three blocks I’ve ever walked. I had to stop two or three times and once I reached the sad, I had no choice but to laugh at myself. Walking on sand is not easy but I figured at least it was soft if I took a nose dive. I had not yet figured out how to cover the leg so I could go in the salt water and avoid corrosion of the foam and some of the parts. Overall I can get it wet but salt water isn’t recommended and of course you have to wash it well to remove the salt. So I tried to avoid the sea water except for a few minutes when another beach-goer and I saw a horseshoe crab that was stranded on the beach. Together we worked to push this huge crab back into the water and naturally I did get my foot wet. It was no problem; I washed it, but not something I want to repeat too often.
I was very excited when Bill and Joan finally arrived. We would be sharing a campsite together. The last time I saw Joan was the first time I met her at the Angel City Rally in Unadilla, GA back in the spring when I was still touring by motorcycle. I have seen Bill a few times, but now we had some real time to not only work together but to hang out as well. Bill and I recorded and episode of ROAD Lines with The B.R.O.A.D. from Myrtle Beach to showcase and inform listeners about Cool Rider Gear. Throughout the week we all experienced some challenges. To begin with, the vendor area where our tent for Cool Rider Gear was located happened to be on a bar lot where it was the owner’s first time doing vendors for bike week. Unfortunately the organization and pricing was not worth the minimal traffic we were seeing. Bill did some negotiating and worked out a plan for all the vendors on the lot with us, but overall for nearly all of them, it was a bust – or a wash at very best. Since I was still on a life-high from being back on the road full-time, I wanted to do everything. I was excited to help Bill although I’m not the greatest sales person. I usually got to the booth around 1pm or so and we stayed until 10pm or later in some cases. After several days of this, my leg started to really give me pain and it became apparent that I was doing too much. Though I felt bad for letting Bill down, it was imperative that I rest without the prosthetic on. There were two different days when I had to do this but again, the traffic was rather slow and Bill survived perfectly fine without me.
During the first Friday I was there, we closed up a little early and I went down to the Beaver Bar on my way back to the trailer. I heard the live music and thought I’d just hang out for a short while. On one hand, I felt so totally out of place being a biker at heart but rolling up to the place in a truck. And as most of you know, it’s hard to find parking for 4 wheels at these kind of events so I got lucky and parked in the employee area. The guy said he was only doing that for me because I was handicapped. I usually discourage folks when they call me handicap but the truth is the truth and on this day, I had no choice but to accept it. I talked to some dudes at the picnic table I chose and shortly after I went to wiggle my booty to the band once they started. I was crossing the lawn to the washroom when I heard somebody yelling my name. Shocker but not surprised as I knew some folks from Illinois said they were coming. I was able to meet Dave and his wife Scooby for the first time ever… 800+ miles from home… go figure. I also had several visitors come to the Cool Rider Gear booth to say hello. Richard, Lee, Tony D, and Tina, the owner of Old Town pub rolled in with some boys from back home and a few others.
After a full two weeks in Myrtle Beach, I was ready to roll on and ready to rest a bit more. I made my way back to my Mom’s in Charleston to check on her and park myself for a few days of rest before heading to Georgia to pick-up mail and truck parts and plates from Dad. We got the chance to do some crabbing like when I was a kid. I got some work done and even installed a shelf in the trailer that Mom had lying around. WooHoo… more room for food. My Aunt is the Queen Bee of a Red Hatter club in Charleston and during my visit some of her ladies had a dinner to which I was invited. I did my best dolling up in pink and purple and of course my Aunt brought me a hat to wear so I wouldn’t be bucking the rules. Clearly dressed out of my realm, but totally fun to hang out with these spunky ladies. I let my Mom know that I did not intend to stay there very many days; after all, I grew up here, I’ve been here a lot of times on visits and now that I’m back on the road I want to see what I have yet to see. I wanted to move on. As it brewed in my head, I figured I’d ask Mom if she wanted to travel along with me to Chicago. Since she has not met her great granddaughter she jumped at the opportunity. I was a little worried as she had recently been sick but I figured getting out of the house and living a little couldn’t hurt (even if it hurt a little). And so it went that Mom and I loaded up and she was going to live my new nomad life for about four weeks.
As mentioned I had some important things to get from Dad that had come in the mail. We took up residence for just four days with my friend Tim of Hunter Farms again. Mom and I both enjoyed the pool one day. We got to celebrate Jonah’s high school graduation with the family and on one day I went for a motorcycle ride with Tim while Mom stayed on property and caught a bunch of fish. As always at Tim’s, I was able to get a lot done with work and so the reprieve was much needed. I enjoyed check on the cows and seeing that the twins were flourishing well. This visit was not very long and I had things to accomplish so I didn’t do much visiting. In this trip I got my mail and packages from Dad, as well as picked up my BB Girl. She would be traveling along with Mom and me to Chicago and then going home with Mom to Charleston where she will live with her brother Hershey Boy. BB Girl is 13 years old and still very active and loves to ride, she enjoys new adventures and sniffing everything that’s 0-8” from the ground. I was very excited to have my puppy back again. I have missed her off and on since I first left her with Dad, so this trip will be fun for us both.
From Tim’s in Covington we made our way to Maggie Valley, NC where I was scheduled to record ROAD Lines with The B.R.O.A.D. ™ live from Wheels Through Time museum with the owner and sweet friend Dale. I used my handy app for iPhone called ALLSTAYS CAMP & RV to find another mom-n-pop campsite. It’s a tiny campground in Canton, NC called Riverhouse Acres. The hospitality was delightful. It is a simple campground on a river inlet with shower house and water/electric hook-ups. You can get Wi-Fi by going up the house but I just used my card. They have firewood and fire pits for guests to use for things like the marshmallows Mom and I roasted. For me it’s about budget not frills and I was very pleased at this location. Mom and I tooled around and went to a Handy Craft museum at The Shelton House not far from our camping. We drove to Cherokee, NC and of course I went to the Harley shop after we soaked in the cool river for a while. We found a local brewery that was having a fest on their property where we listened to reggae music, perused the vendor booths, enjoyed a beer and a tour of the brewery.
On Friday morning before making my way to see Dale at Wheels Through Time museum for the radio show, I noticed that BB Girl was having a medical issue shall we say. I called my vet from Chicago to get advice and per their instruction I called Dale to find out who he uses in the area. I set an appointment for BB to be seen that afternoon. In the meantime, my Mom took a quick walk around the museum but then left me there so she could do laundry. Dale and I recorded the radio show together and then visited for a while before Mom returned. We went immediately from the museum to the vet and as it turned out; my poor BB Girl would need immediate surgery to spay her. I was extremely upset because the last time she had anesthesia she did not wake up on her own and had to be brought back with some shot they put in her heart. We had to wait and since we were supposed to leave Sunday, the vet said they would release her if she was okay but that was not their normal practice. I was scared for my puppy while we ate lunch and waited to hear the news. Just as lunch was ending they called and said she was a champ and should be ready to leave around 5pm. I was very relieved. We went back to Wheels Through Time museum to take a picture with Dale as I was in a hurry before. I chatted with a few folks at the museum that were visiting from various parts of the US; one in particular was a leg amputee on a motorcycle. We exchanged info and he even helped me come up with a great tip for my pressure spots. Again, I meet great people everywhere… The radio show with Dale went very well and since it was a live show from such a cool place, we actually extended this recording beyond the usual 15 minute show. Mom and I spent 4 days in Asheville / Maggie Valley and had a grand time with little funds blown.
I even got lucky and found a Goodwill that had not only one of those tiny upright vacuums but also a lap tray for my computer so I can sit on my bed and work. Yay me for a great deal. It was soon time to move on up north a bit.
The next stop was Ohio Bike Week although I knew we would not be there for the weekend festivities, I thought we’d make a run anyway and see if anything was happening. There wasn’t much of anything going on during the week but we certain enjoyed ourselves when we opted to live large for a day and went to Cedar Point Amusement Park. The challenge was to see how long until we passed out and how many rides we could accomplish. I even did a context on Facebook for folks to guess how many rides. We got on the first few rides with little problem, I was able to remove my prosthetic and ride. But we started to get some static from the water rides and some of the faster coasters. We were directed to guest services to get an all access handicap pass. Argh, that word again. Only this time it ended up being a treat in disguise. There was only one ride that I was prohibited from riding and on all the rest I got to go through the exit right to the line. Without this benefit I would have given up from the walking and stairs far sooner. So even though I hate being handicap, I suppose there is a perk or two. All total we rode 13 rides and my Mommy even bought me cotton candy, which we bought on the way out of the park at 10pm and promptly devoured prior to reaching the trailer.
The place where we stayed was another mom-n-pop type of place called Hank’s Place campground in Port Clinton, OH. We were literally 20 feet from the water and my Mom enjoyed one full afternoon of fishing and ended up with two very sizable catfish, one of which we ate and one we froze for later. The campground has bathrooms and shower house which are suitable for a short stay. Again, I look for a good price, not 5 star accommodations. The only thing that sort of got old was the train that was right across the street and came through often. The hospitality and people in the office were very helpful and a joy to chat with. On our last day we hit downtown Sandusky to see if anything was coming to life at the motorcycle venue. Vendors were setting up and things were taking shape. We intended to go do something and return later for a band but as it turned out, I nearly tripped on BB’s leash and when I brought my leg down I jammed up my knee. Intense pain for a while. Mom drove and took off my leg to give it a break. I managed not to cry but oh buddy was I in pain for a while. We headed back toward the trailer with a slight detour to Toft’s Dairy and Creamery; ice cream cures everything, right? I rested that night and actually got a fair bit of work done.
The following day it rained the whole time. We only left long enough to get some Chinese food and a movie from RedBox. I got a lot more work done and overloaded the inbox of my producer from The Road Hawgs network. HeHe… Mom and I loaded up the trailer bright and early Friday morning and since I did not want to record my radio show near the loud train we opted to go into the town of Lakeview. There we started our laundry and Mom managed that while I recorded ROAD Lines with The B.R.O.A.D.™ featuring my friend Annie Whitcomb of CMA and her colleague and friend Sherry also of CMA. Afterwards we crossed the parking lot to Hotel Lakeview where we heard they had excellent food. Indeed was quite delicious. We both ordered a half sandwich and half salad and I’m so thankful we didn’t go for the whole magilla because the meal was huge.
When I got back to the parking lot I discovered that some little Kia had parked so close that I was trapped. No way could I have gotten the truck and trailer out of that mess. I inquired in the laundry and the restaurant but nobody claimed the car. The owner could have been anywhere in town and who knows when they would return. As luck would have it, Jason from the hotel restaurant came out while I was stressing and I asked him of his experience with backing up trailers. He seemed very confident and jumped in the truck to help. Now since he was a proprietor there and knew the neighbors, he backed a certain way but then pulled right through the neighbor’s yard, something I would not do as I didn’t know them and nobody appeared to be there at the time. Jason was a safety net for sure and in no time we were out of the mess and back on the road. It took him many many maneuvers but all worked well. We were now getting even more excited to hit the Illinois line. Other than the highway robbery at the tolls on the Ohio Turnpike and 80/90 through Indiana, the trip was good and a friend of mine had offered up her yard for us to park the trailer. This would save me the trouble and expense of the campground I found in Joliet, which was not an easy feat. In the suburbs of Chicago there are few RV campgrounds in the vicinity of where we would be running around for the most part.
We arrived Friday evening, setup, and had some long chats with Kat while I rearranged and organized after the past two weeks of travel and having a house guest. I definitely lean towards the OCD side when it comes to keeping things clean and organized so I had great relief after setting up this time. Mom has been totally impressed with the meals I have made and how I get this little trailer to be so very functional. And Mom has been a good traveling partner. She has made her room on the ramp with a shade tent over it. She has her own table and chair; she even watches movie using my speaker and a collection of old horror movies that she brought along. We tease each other and laugh a lot and then sometimes I just dive into work and she goes about her Mahjong or movies. It’s been a pleasant trip thus far and she will enjoy two weeks of Illinois before having to go home with BB Girl to Charleston, SC. Over the 6 weeks I will visit in Illinois I am fairly certain that I will leave here with 2 wheels in the trailer. I have some test drive options that I have to explore, so here’s hoping. Mom will get to see Kylee and Tina for the first time ever and I know she’s all a flutter inside for this opportunity and time with her only great grandbaby.
I’m very much looking forward to what folks think about my coming article called “Trailer Queens are Bikers Too” in The Road Hawgs magazine. The input from followers was awesome and perspective is so vast that I hope I did some justice to the debate.
Until our updates on Illinois, I wish you Peace, Hugs, and Pipes that Rumble ™.