MAY 1 - 7
May 1, 2005
A disheartening, lonely departure from Oklahoma City. Grand attempts were made to connect with the media there, but to no avail. I received a phone call in the late afternoon (PDT) from the Daily Oklahoman Newspaper, wanting to go interview Bob. When I explained that the riders had left OK City that morning, the conversation came to an end. At least they called.
Austin, Texas was much the same. Except that the security folks at the Capitol came and wanted to arrest our heroes. So they left. Guess the Rotary Centennial Bell hasn't been rung since Carson City Nevada.
Our wandering twosome rode as far as Texarkana, when they realized Bob's rear tire wasn't going much further. They called it a day.
mileage: Day 804 Total 2,836
May 2, 2005
The saying goes something like this: when you are handed lemons, make lemonade. While the Ride has not been what we would have like up to now, one could hardly say that it was a "lemon". But things change.....
Our determined Rotarians rode out of Texarkana early this morning after finding that there would be no tire changes there. So they headed on to Little Rock, Arkansas. I should say that Bob gingerly rode his bike. His rear tire truly was beyond need, and close to whoa stop. Tony's was in better shape, but not great shape. The rest of this story may get confusing, but that's okay.
At 6 am Folsom time, Bob informed me of the tire situation and that they were headed for Little Rock. Computer and phone at hand I set to work to find a tire change for Bob. Five hours later I found that I could find nothing, zero, nada. I had spoken to Pres Greg Hatcher in Little Rock, and explained the situation. He asked his assistant, Shannon, to help me. She got busy. Now the four way test says that in all honesty a big part of the problem was the fact that BMW motorcycle shops are generally always closed on Mondays. Auto tire stores don't carry bike tires. Harley tires don't fit on BMW's and so it goes........(here comes the confusion). A friend of Bob's in Washington, another Iron Butt Long Distance Rider, got involved as well, contacting other riders all over the US trying to get a tire to Little Rock.
Well, Bill Tweet found a tire in Dallas and was going to overnight it to Little Rock. Bob was going to switch rear tires with Tony, who would hole up in a hotel until the tire arrived and could be changed. But wait, it's not over...... Patrick Smith in Jackson, MS, who is our contact there, was also aware of all of this. He is also a rider and he started making phone calls. Remember Shannon? She called me and said she found a tire, it's at the BMW dealer and he'll change it. (Bolt of lightning). So she tries calling Bob who is now on the phone with everyone who rides and is trying to get him squared away. I finally got through to Bob. He was about to leave Little Rock. I told him to call Shannon, Greg Hatcher's assistant. She had a tire, a mechanic and the BMW Dealer. Somehow, it all came together. James Willbanks of the BMW of Little Rock opened the business, called in his mechanic, Julius Ceasear and not only changed Bob's tire but also Tony's tire. He also gave them each a pair of the best gloves BMW sells. The boys were thrilled with their new gloves, but would you believe there was no charge for the tires! Not only did they come in on their "Sunday" but there was no bill. Someone should be asking someone to join Rotary!
Back to the story. Okay. I have not made any of this up! But I'm having fun writing it.
Our guys still had some riding ahead of them. It was quite late in the afternoon when the left for Jackson. Patrick met them and escorted them to his home where they parked the MC's in his garage. A stable for the iron horses. And at 11:30 pm Patrick served them Newcastle Brown Ale, homemade lasagna, cherry pie, salad, and hot bread. The royal treatment.
The day's mileage was light, but what about stress and frustration?
Our Sincere Appreciation and Deepest Gratitude to everyone who tried to help make lemonade. Yes!!!!!!!!
mileage: Day 395 Total 3,231
Tuesday May 3, 2005
Awakened with hot coffee and breakfast on the table, Bob and Tony were glad to see a new day. They all went to the Capitol and took photos. Patrick took them to his Rotary Club meeting, the Rotary Club of North Jackson. At the meeting Bob and Tony conveyed the need to fulfill our pledges to eradicate polio, and that our children are not safe until all children are immunized. The members were excited about ringing the Centennial Bell for PolioPlus. Sixteen (16) times the bell rang, and $100 went into PolioPlus each time the bell rang. $1600 to help finish the job.
Back on the road our biker boys headed for Baton Rouge and New Orleans. You can't go anywhere near New Orleans without having coffee and beignet at Cafe du Monde. Then on to Biloxi where they stabled their horses for the night.
mileage: Day 337 Total 3,905
Wednesday May 4, 2005
Up at 6 am and headed east. About 200 miles later Bob smelled something like rubber. Must have been something on the road. 85 miles out of Tallahassee a red light came on. No, not the gumball kind, not the police. (Although, that may have been a better alternative.) Both batteries went dead. BMW RPT's have two batteries. Bob and alternator belts are not pals. So Bob called BMW Roadside Assistance and 2 1/2 hours later.......the tow truck arrived.
A new BMW dealer in Tallahassee said he could fix the bike if they got there by 4:00pm . Well Bob realized that they were not going to make it on time. He called the dealer and the dealer said he'd wait. Dusty Miller, the owner waited; along with Paul the service advisor, John a service tech and Tomoka, another service tech who is a former NASCAR mechanic.
Okay, motorcycle repaired and checked out by Dusty's team, and the guys are ready to settle up. Dusty Miller wrote it up as a donation to the PolioPlusRide. It must have been at least $1000. Dusty Miller - Thank you.
So they left Tallahassee about 7:30pm and rode to Montgomery, Alabama, arriving there about 11:30pm
mileage: Day 530 Total 4, 435
May 5, 2005
Ready to ride, our roving Rotarians rode into Montgomery to the Capitol. They took photos and headed on out to Atlanta. Our Rovers were to call for directions to a Rotary Meeting they had been invited to. Both cell phones failed to connect. Bob called me, and I could not do any better. We have no idea what happened.
So, when in doubt, call a biker friend. Fortunately, another long distance motorcyclist lives in the Atlanta area. Carol met up with the guys and escorted them to the Capitol. Then she took them to lunch and home with her for an exciting afternoon of laundry and checking over the bikes . Bob even got a haircut. Carol's daughter prepared a dinner of salmon. A peaceful evening. We were sorry to have not been able to connect with DG Fran Milberg's Rotarians.
mileage: 175 Total 4,610
May 6, 2005
Carol's riding nickname is "Skert". She is also an Iron Butt veteran. So the three of them took off and Skert escorted our Rovers to the outskirts of Atlanta.
About 20 miles out of Columbia they met their escort. Melvin, a friend of DG Mack Branham led them to the 5 Points Rotary Club. Bob and Tony were honored to find out 3 PDGs and DG Mack were in attendance to meet them.
Pres Garry Powers presided over "the most perfectly timed" meeting. Bob said that it was smooth, the best run meeting has ever been to. The speakers were the Group Study Exchange (GSE) Team from India. Bob spoke briefly, and primarily focused on the need to finish the immunizations. There were questions and someone asked why there are outbreaks where we've immunized before. With open borders in Africa and transient people, if the immunizations aren't continued every year to get the new children, it only takes one outsider to infect non-immunized children. Such was the case in Haiti a few years ago.
Since the Centennial Bell is also making this journey, there were a number of bell ringers for PolioPlus! After the meeting the Rovers mounted their bikes and so did DG Mack, who escorted them to the Holiday Inn, compliments of the Branhams. After a brief respite, Jenny Branham and Melvin and his wife Carol took Bob and Tony to an Italian restaurant for dinner. I'll bet they talked about Rotary and maybe even motorcycles.
Thank you DG Mack and Columbia Rotarians.
mileage Day 189 Total 4,799
6:40 am saw the exhaust of Motorcycle Bob and PDG Tony as they headed out to Raleigh, North Carolina. In the outskirts of the city, Bob made a quick emergency turn. Red light. Gum ball light this time. Tony saw the officer pull Bob over and kept on riding. He'd heard the about southern police, at least the stereotypical ones. Tony figured if Bob was going to jail, he didn't want to go also. After Bob explained to the officer what he was doing the officer escorted him to the capitol. Tony met up with them. Together again. But there were others there as well. About 40 bikers were also there honoring North Carolina's POW's/MIAs . So Bob and Tony spent a few moments talking with the bikers who were quite impressed with the efforts of PolioPlus and Rotary and our Rotarian bikers. With the log book signed and photos of the Centennial Bell taken, away they went.
We were warned about the road construction and had adjusted the plan, but not enough. The Bob and Tony were to meet their escort at the reception center just north of the state line. They were an hour late. How ever, their escort was late also, so it worked out quite well. Tracy Pendleton led them slowly, (road work ahead) into Richmond to Eric's Velocity Motorcycle Shop. Eric's shop is rather unique. He specializes in vintage motorcycle repairs, and sales of new unusual bike brands.
Eric with his daughter Layla on a Ural, led the way to the capitol where there was a large group waiting for them. On behalf of the State Governor, DG Jerry Fields presented a proclamation proclaiming May 7 PolioPlus Day in Virginia. Tony interviewed with the print media.
Back to the bike shop where after oil and tire changes by Eppa and Erik, the bikes were ready to go again. Again, it was donated. Mahalo. Oh, yeah, we're not in Hawaii.
At Eric's home in the countryside of Virginia, our wayward wanderers turned of their machines. They sat down with Eric and his daughter Layla, Eppa the chief mechanic and neighbor Wing, who brought the Silver Oak wine. mmm
Eric prepared a homemade dinner of BBQ Pork, salad and all the trimmings.
mileage Day 480 Total 5,279