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Monday, May 31, 2010

Mt. Baker Harley Owners Group Ski to Sea Volunteers 2010

May 30th, 2010

Mt. Baker Harley Owners Group (H.O.G.) Ski to Sea Volunteers – Ferndale +

Mt. Baker HOG has a history of giving back to our community in monetary gifts to non profits helping women, children, and families, and we help our community when we volunteer to donate our personal time to help with charities and events in Whatcom County.

HOG member Dave Lahr was the Mt. bike volunteer coordinator for Ski to Sea 2010. His job was to find thirty plus willing volunteers to give up most of their day to help in key points along the Mt. bike leg of the race to keep the bikes on the course trail and make help to make the race run smoothly. Dave worked with the Ski to Sea organizers on the race-course plan, how many volunteers would be needed, and where we would be stationed to supplement the police and paid flaggers.

The Ferndale group assembled at 10:00 AM beside behind Haggen's in Ferndale to pick up our shirts, our assignments, and our boxed lunch Haggen was providing the volunteers. Harry Andrews, Lori Crody, Dave & Lorie McNeill, Ken & Angie Williamson, Gary McDonald, Wendy Rodgers, Larry and myself were ready to go. We had warm clothing (rain proof), folding chairs, sunglasses, water, food, coffee (Starbucks nearby), now we just waited for the bikers to roll into town from Hovander Park.

Gary, Wendy, Larry, and I were at the 1st volunteer spot, with one lane of traffic blocked off and our lawn chairs situated in the middle of that lane (directed to do so by the Ski to Sea officials). At 12:23 PM #74 rounded the corner from Hovander Rd. onto Main St, making the hard sharp right corner off Main St. onto the dirt embankment, through the mud puddle, then another hard sharp corner to the left, over the bump, then disappeared quickly behind the buildings following the course marked out with cones and safety tape.

Shorty thereafter #35 and then #60 passed before us and then there was a lull before the next bikes; one or two, sometimes three would pass by. # ???? (I won’t disclose his number because he probably has already taken a load of flack from his friends for not going back and getting on the course) blew by the cones, right between Gary and me--even with our hands outstretched to show where to turn and his bike tires slipping between the cones. We yelled, he looked back and kept going. He looked up at Wendy, and continued on. Gary called in his race number to Dave L. to pass on to the officials. The first woman biker was #39.

We had one biker who had a flat just before he reached our check point and called for friends to help him fix it and then he was back on course. One biker couldn’t stop in time to make the corner he was going so fast and about 20 feet past us he got stopped, turned around, and back on course.

It was amazing how hard these bike riders were working, when they passed us they had ridden about five miles, but a lot of them took the time to say thank you for volunteering. #329 and #215 were especially appreciative, thanking us for being there, helping out, and have a good day.

Wendy was the best cheerleader encouraging each and every biker as they went by with a shout, a wave, and clapping. Even as the last biker went through the course, Wendy was still enthusiastically cheering them on.

We moved the cones out of the street, stacked what we could, arranged them in groups for the S2S organizers to pick up later and then helped out our fellow HOG member volunteers with their cone clean-up duties.

Next stop was Squalicum Park for the hot BBQ pulled pork dinner. Larry cooked for two days preparing about #30 pounds of pork, seasoned just right, and the right amount of BBQ sauce. Potato salad, chips, cookies, brownies, water, and soda rounded out the picnic. By the time we were ready to eat a light mist of rain was beginning to fall so the hoods went up and the bbq went on.

The Bellingham HOG volunteers at the barbeque included: Dave & Dawn Johnson, Kaye & Rob Hansen, Marina & Rick Engels, Monty & Nicole Brown, Melissa Bradshaw, Jan McDaniel, Mike and Jeannie Gilbert, Dave Lahr, and some of Dave L’s friends.

It was a good day! It was a good because we could help our community. It was a great day because we spent it with our Harley family of friends.

When we left to go home, we were tired, we were cold, we were not hungry, but everyone agreed to volunteer again next year.

Epilog: # ???? (you know who you are if you read this) contested the fact that he left the mountain bike course of the Ski to Sea race. His reasons; the cones were to far apart, the cones were on the sidewalk (guess he didn’t see the ones in the middle of the street that the police placed there) we were pointing in the wrong direction, he must have been listening to his mp3 player not to hear us tell him to stop, wave him back to the course, and he was the only one of 460 participants who didn’t understand where to go. I’m sorry you were disqualified and wish you better luck next year, but it is only fair to the others who stayed on course.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Camden Nix the winner of the 7th Annual Mt. Baker HOG Scholarship Award at Blaine High School

Tuesday May 25th, 2010

Tonight was the 7th annual Mt. Baker Harley Owners Group scholarship award. Camden Nix from Blaine High School was the recipient of the $1,000.00 award. All he had to do was have good grades, recommendations from teachers, and write an essay about a family member who owns a Harley and what that means to them. Camden’s essay was titled “You Know You’re Living: When Ya Got Bugs in Your Teeth and Yellow-squish on Your Cheek.”

We were a small and motley group when we assembled to ride from Mt. Baker Harley-Davidson at 5:30 PM. Greg Head the new owner of Mt. Baker Harley-Davidson and the current director of the Mt. Baker Harley Owners Group. Along with Larry Brown who was the first to arrive, Dave and Dawn Johnson, Dave Lahr, and Larry and me. Never under estimate the power that we can be rowdy and yell loudly when the occasion calls for it to cheer Greg and Camden on.

Greg had another family obligation for later in the evening so he drove the shop van to Blaine with the new dealer graphics decorating it and everyone noticing it, followed by the bikes and a cage.

We arrived a few minutes early to be met by Rick Shockley (scholarship coordinator for BHS) telling us there had been a mix up in times posted by the school district and the awards ceremony would not start until 7:00 PM. Now we had plenty of time to chat in the parking lot.

Larry B. secured our seats and we took our places and waited for our turn. The scholarship committee picked a winner in Camden Nix. Before Camden received the HOG scholarship, he won several other major awards.

Greg did a great job representing the chapter and the dealership and making our community of Whatcom County aware that we are more than just those people who wear leather and ride bikes, we support our community and we give back to show we care.

Greg left for home after the HOG award was presented and the rest of us went to Paso Del Norte in Blaine to have dinner. No problem getting a table since the rest of Blaine was still at the awards program. We had an enjoyable evening and look forward to the 8th annual awards next year.

Thanks again to Greg, Dawn, Dave J., Dave L. Larry, B., Larry M. for supporting the chapter and the dealer.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Good Times with Friends

Taco Thursday

Larry and I met a group of friends for a Taco Thursday dinner at the Moose Lodge. There was no formal HOG chapter dinner ride planned so we did an impromptu…sort of…dinner get together. Although it rained, correction, it poured with the wiper blades on the cage going full blast and still barely able to see out the windshield and even though we had to drive the cage, any time you can meet friends and share a meal and socialize, it is a good thing. We took a chance on the wheel to win a prize and wouldn’t you know it I had numbers 24 and 26, and number 25 won. Oh well, it was for a good cause, only cost a dollar a shot, and I had fun. Dinner was good, friends were excellent, and that is the way to end an evening.

Mt. Baker Harley-Davidson Pancake Breakfast

The HOG chapter lunch ride was cancelled due to a possibility of rain. The shop had already planned a pancake breakfast to happen before the ride began and it is was a great morning to meet up with friends and see if anyone wanted to do a short lunch ride.

When we pulled up in front of MBHD, Larry said through the intercom on the bike that John and Kathy were back from California. They also own a trike and are just returning from spending the winter in California as snowbirds. They have family is southern California and ride with the local HOG group and the Black Sheep. It is good to have friends back home.

We saw lots of friends, most whom must have arrived when the doors opened at MBHD to enjoy the pancakes choosing not to arrive fashionably late as we did--showing up on our freshly washed red Tri Glide after most folks had been through the breakfast line at least once. When I entered the shop, Larry was sitting with Joe E. who we had not seen in awhile. I asked Joe if he had recently been to Las Vegas, because I thought I saw him at a distance in the airport as I was returning home from visiting my daughter and her family. Yes it was Joe; he said he was on his way to check out snowbird locations for next year.

If the weather would hold and next winter was as mild as this winter, and all I needed was my heated liner to ride and stay comfortable, then maybe I wouldn’t be looking at snowbird locations for Larry and me when he retires.

Greg Head, the new owner of Mt. Baker Harley-Davidson, was doing some promotional videos of his customers and asked if we would comment on why we like doing business at MBHD. Art was our example as he did his interview right before us, and he did a fine job. Larry and I took our turn and slowly other friends came down to the make-shift studio in the basement to do their video segment.

Back upstairs we continued to visit with friends (Dave & Lorie, Dave N. Martin, Doug, Roger Y. Mark W. Joe, Mike L., Stephen, Vince, Dana & Mike, Mike & Chris, Ron & Lorri, Jerry, Rick & Joan, Mike P., Mike S., and Vern) both inside the shop and those who had spilled out onto the sidewalk enjoying the sunshine that was warming up the day. Seems like when the chapter lunch ride was cancelled, everyone sort of decided to show up at the shop for pancakes and then take care of their errands and chores for the rest of the day. With no one planning a short lunch ride, Larry and left to take the long way home and take care of our chores.

We rode out Marine Drive, Red River Road, Douglas Road, and stopped at the Twisted S Bison ranch and store to purchase some buffalo meat sticks. If you haven’t ever stopped in to visit with Jim and Robin Sanford you are missing a great opportunity. Nice people and Abby the English springer spaniel will come out to greet you. Need fresh farm eggs? They have a whole brood of chickens in the coop next to the store and it is fun to watch them. Inside the store is a tanned buffalo hide, hand painted with the circle of life by Sonja Holy Eagle.

Cornwall Church

Well when you thought maybe the week couldn’t get any better, we show up at Cornwall Church Saturday night and there were Patti and Mike to greet us with smiles and hugs. Walk inside and there is Melissa and the biggest surprise was Larry B. sitting in the lobby. Happy birthday Larry B.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Turquoise Trail NM

Well, now that Larry has officially signed his papers to retire at end of December, 2010, it is time for us to start thinking about people we would like to visit and the places we can see along the road...and can get there on our Harley Tri Glide..

On my list to visit is the Turquoise Trail in New Mexico. You can check out this scenic national byway at   The Turquoise Trail encompasses 15,000 square miles and is located in the heart of central New Mexico. The name comes from the turquoise mined by the early Pueblo people as early as 900 A.D., The stone has become nationally recognized as a precious stone to be set in silver and gold.

On the web site, you can plan your route along the Turquoise trail with interactive maps, printable maps and trial guides. There are photos and videos submitted by travelers and you can browse by town, shops, restaurants, or activities, while planning your route.

Parts of the movie “Wild HOGS” with John Travolta, Tim Allen, Martin Lawrence, and William H. Macy, was filmed in Madrid, NM, along the Turquoise Trail and you can purchase Wild HOGS merchandise at “Maggie’s Diner.”

Sunday, May 16, 2010

San Juan Island

It’s been three weeks since I have ridden and if we didn’t go Saturday, it would be another week. Our small group from Cornwall Church is meeting on Sunday for the first time in five weeks and we really need to be there. The Sunday ride to Winthrop would have been our first ride over the mountain for the year, but it wasn’t leaving until 8:30 AM. With possibly a large group riding over, finding a place for everyone to have lunch, and then riding back it would have been too late for our group meeting.

So we choose, instead, to ride to San Juan Island with a few friends on Saturday. We were up and getting ready at 5:30 AM and Larry was cheerfully telling me that it was going to be a great day as he looked out the bedroom window. We left; we came back a minute later. I forgot my gel seat pad and Larry wanted a different pair of sunglasses. Back on the road and we arrived in plenty of time to gas up the bike and leave on time.

We took a straight shot down I-5 and then highway 20 to the ferry in Anacortes. We arrived in plenty of time to get off the bikes, relax and talk to other Harley riders taking the ferry. First order after boarding the ferry was to find coffee. Dave and Dawn commented that they had only fixed one pot of coffee this morning, while I, on the other hand, had no coffee to get me going. The first ferry of the day and they weren’t quite ready to open the food service center, so we found the big comfy chairs and waited patiently. Coffee, hot chocolate, breakfast cookies (I am using the term “breakfast cookies” loosely), and cinnamon rolls and we were ready to disembark at Friday Harbor on San Juan Island and begin our adventure.

Rob and Kaye led, followed by Dave and Jan, Dave and Dawn, then Larry and me. One of our destinations was Roche Harbor for lunch by way of the lavender fields and whale watching. We stopped at Pelindaba Lavender Farm and while the lavender is not blooming yet, it looks beautiful growing in mounds surrounded by black plastic in horizontal rows. We checked out the small garden surrounding the Gatehouse Store and then wandered inside to see, touch, smell, and taste a variety of lavender products. Dave J. decided that lavender chutney was not his favorite and Dave L. and I said the lavender chocolate sauce wasn’t bad, just left an after taste of lavender that lingered on. Larry bought a package of lavender chocolate chip shortbread cookies to share. Jan and Kaye really liked them, I thought they were okay, and the rest of the group decided they had had enough lavender for one day.

Back on the road we crossed the island filled with small farms selling wool products from sheep and llamas, ceramics, plants, and art glass to mention just a few. We stopped at the Lime Kiln Point State Park to try to see the eighty plus Orcas who make their summer home off the Haro Strait. We walked down the viewing point with all of our cameras ready to capture our Orca photos. All the other tourists were sitting on rocks and tables with their cameras poised, but said they hadn’t seen any Orcas. We did get a few photos of the Lighthouse and then continued on our journey.

Roche Harbor was full but not over-crowded. We checked out the lime kilns that stand watch over two bocce ball courts. The kilns are the remains of one of the great lime producing centers of the world; much of San Francisco was rebuilt using mortar and concrete produced form Roche Harbor lime, after the 1906 earthquake. The kilns were fired up 24 hours a day, for 11 months of each year and used 32 cords of wood each day.

We sat on the deck of the Madrona Grill overlooking the harbor and basking in the sunshine and warmth of a perfect day to ride--made even better, riding with good friends. The service was excellent, the food good, and our bodies rested. We strolled down the small wharf with a grocery store, shops, and restaurant before heading back to the bikes.

We decided to backtrack to take another shot at whale watching. It was worth a shot but no luck. We arrived back in Friday Harbor, parked the bikes and decided it was time for ice-cream. We picked our flavors and moved out to the deck to enjoy the last of the sunshine. The guys stayed on the deck to relax, play with their cameras, and talk while the ladies explored the shops. The Island Wine Company was offering free wine tasting but we passed and instead spent our time looking at and laughing at the outrageous paper napkins with funny quotes, and dishtowels with fifties photos and sarcastic remarks. We did finally see an Orca, it was stuffed-- not a real stuffed Orca, but a stuffed fleecy Orca used as a mascot--outside one of the stores.

The ferry was pulling in so we mounted up for the ride back to Anacortes. Kaye bought a deck of cards to play a friendly game of poker but I wouldn’t know if they played or who won because I fell asleep enjoying the slight sway of the ferry plowing through the calm waters. When we headed downstairs to the bikes we had a huge surprise with a cold wind blowing through the car ferry. Coats, liners, plugs for heated liners, neck muffs, and gloves. Whoa what a difference! We stopped in Anacortes for a light snack/dinner before heading home. Wings, popcorn chicken, snack sandwiches, and a “Double Down” (a meat lover’s specialty).

One by one we peeled off waving and honking to signal the end of another wonderful day riding in the great northwest.

We saw eagles, sheep, goats, cows, horses, ducks, geese, llamas, alpacas, but no Orcas. Another island another day.

42 nautical miles round trip from Anacortes to Friday Harbor

127 land miles roundtrip from Ferndale to Anacortes

Thanks to Dave Lahr for contributing photos.

Monday, May 3, 2010

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