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An Outsiders Perspective of Gunny--Long and VERY Funny


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I got an email from Harry Fradley, today. I had met him by chance on a trip I took out to California last fall. I decided to detour off I-40 and enjoy the Grand Canyon. As I'm sitting there all relaxed, up pulls Harry on a nice RT. We get to chatting, and then didn't have any contact, though he kept my card.


Fast forward 9 months, and I get an email from Harry asking about footpegs. I answer his question, and tell him to come to Gunnison next week. He says sure!


Anyway, this is VERY long, but it is VERY funny. This boy has a way with words, and I promise you it'll be worth the read. Harry gave me permission to post this.color=blue>



Tar Slingin in Gunnison: 2002 bmwrt.com “unofficial rally”color=red>




Dear bmwrt.com members and sightseers dropping into the bmwrt.com board. The following is one rider’s write up about his experiences and attendance at your first “unofficial rally” in Gunnison, Co. What a fun and dandy time. As the author I feel some reader perspectives are in order. The piece is narrative and rich in storytelling. It is not a “how-to” piece about bikes. This should be a solid red flag warning to prospective readers looking for such. Motorcycle magazines and boards are your best sources for this type of reading. I am not much of a nuts and bolts guy. What I do enjoy immensely is the actual riding of my RT and all the experiences that are attached to that side of the bike. Again, motorcycle magazines and books are good sources for this type of reading, but I have found them too formal and cold for my liking. Boards seldom handle this side of biking, and don’t do the job they should in this regard. If you think biking is serious business this is not a piece for you. If you like to chuckle and see a loose cannon in action you might enjoy wasting your time with this motorcycle read.




I am always amazed when I attend a rally and find what a great time I have. Sometimes I have to kick my butt to get happening, but once the tiger’s tail is twisted things get into a rhythm and biking pleasures soon sooth my senses into remembering its pure joy.


This year I decided to attend an “unofficial” bmwrt.com rally in Gunnison CO. Unbeknownst to me it was also the site chosen by 500 Hells Angels for one of their annual meetings. The Hells Angels are not the largest biker gang in this country, about 2,200 in number, but likely the most powerful. The RT bulletin board boys of Cary’s BMW site (bmwrt.com), now owned and operated by David C. Baker, had decided to have an “unofficial” first time rally which I was invited to attend by David. David and I had met in the Grand Canyon last year and I had contacted him just prior to his rally about foot pegs and during the correspondence he invited me down. My good fortune. It was a short order decision for the rally was two days from when we corresponded. Picturing over 100 RT’s and their riders was enough to seal my fate. Plus, I had spent most of my “hobby” money by this time and didn’t have enough left to do the ride I was previously considering to St. Louis. So this smaller one was perfect. I had just returned from a five day ride with my local riding buddies, which was a real kick, around Eureka, MT. I wasn’t sure my bride of twenty years would be supportive, yet she saw the uniqueness of this “unofficial” RT gathering and passed on her best tidings. Plus my teenage daughter wanted me out of the house in the most awful way.


For some strange reason I assumed the use of interstates would, for the most part, make the thousand miles to Gunnison quicker and at least tolerable. What a stupid mistake that was. Like most riders interstates are exactly what I most detest I live in a community that is 100 miles from these snakes which is primarily why I live here so why I was thinking interstates is beyond me. Worse yet I always forget about how lousy the scenery and traffic are 100 miles before and past Denver. I got hit with so many radar shots in this zone my bike looked like a C-130 after spraying agent purple over the Viet Cong agriculture department headquarters in Hanoi on a clear day with crowds out to watch the shellacking. Young girls are also a terrifying presence on interstates. Four tons of pressed metal being placed into their hands legally (which is wrong) is a terrifying reality both for parents and exposed motorcyclists. Add cell phone users with their dialed out road presence who are now being considered more dangerous than drunks (which tells you how seriously bad they are – ban c-phones from all vehicles) and you have a very active playground for all parties speeding along together at 75 plus miles an hour. What a mess for a country boy out for a nice ride. I always rate my rides in accordance with how many hoots I ring up from inside my helmet. What I heard on this trip down was nothing but grrrrr’s. Putting in a six hundred mile first day was another no brain, dumb idea for a piddadler like myself. Though I am a medalled, pinned, patched, sticker-ed, paddadler it does not mean I piddadle on the throttle it just means during a ride I get pleasantly side tracked constantly. I ride to pleasure myself not to just get from point to point. Which means my trips may not odometer out with high numbers for the amount of time I am out and about. This is a heinous crime I know.


While planning this ride I had first thought about bringing along a tent, one of those self inflating wonder pads, and all the other camping trappings a modern motorcycling enthusiast now packs and ties to his steel steed. Wisdom was just a few blinks behind me saving me from these foolish self-abusing ideas. Instead of pole pitching I made reservations at low priced motels at my scheduled stops. My favorite motels are those built in the fifties and sixties which are now mostly operated by various ethnic groups. This trip found India “Indians” and Spanish speaking Mexicans as my primary motel hosts. The exception was my motel in Gunnison. It was owned and operated by a white woman in her 70’s. Her middle aged son and daughter appeared to be her primary service help. My motel was one of cheapest in town and had no air conditioning. The motel in Cheyenne had windows that wouldn’t open and the motel in Casper had the *-est screen door. It would not close even if you pulled hard against the dampeners. Even if you were successful in over powering the dampeners the door and still would not match for a seal. If you waited your 49 seconds then it would slam all by itself, loudly, with a perfect seal. Voodoo!


Inevitably somewhere along my line of motels I run into a motel shower that has that water saving small nozzle spray attached to it. These heads were the first hot environmental gadgets purchased by motel owners decades ago hoping to save on their water and electric bills. In its hay day these nozzles must have sold like hot cakes. A entrepreneurs wet dream. Reminds me of the guy who at a rally a couple of years ago was selling a body vest cooler with a gel-sponge like substances, styled in long sewed in pleats, which you soaked in water and its evaporation would keep you cool for a few hours in a scorching Arizona sun. Peter Pan’s Tinker Bell somehow got into site a peppered us with buying dust and these things started like pancakes at a logger’s morning breakfast camp. This guy simply could not believe his luck. He was selling them at 25 bucks a pop and had buyers stacked at his table – myself included. When I reached him his pockets were literally ooozing and leaking with green backs. Seriously. His smile was smeared in green greed.


The vest ended out being too * heavy and bulky when soaked. It’s demise was in stages. Stage one was when I packed it away damp and retrieved it the next with green mold. Stage two was the day in Aspen when on a scorcher of a day I thought I would use it again. The vest was dry so I found a little stream in the back of the business district and dunked it directly into its lukewarm current and put a rock on top of it and left for a few minutes waiting to get it saturated. When the done timer went off in my brain I casually walked over to it with a rather proud stride thinking how smart I was coming up with this idea and retrieved the foulest ripe fish smelling green moss infested vest a rider has ever worn. The stench was so close to my nose I could not even make it back to my bike much less ever use it again. When I got home I pulled it out from its plastic sack and by this time the gel had turned alien and was growing into a sci-fi monster.


So what the heck is an “unofficial” rally? David shared with me his notions. 1) No vendors. 2) Lots of riding. 3) Lots of story-telling. 4) Lots of meeting new people. In theory, a great intellectual proprietary of a notion. In practice, lots of riding was a bit too grand for me. By the time I reached Gunnison my body and mind were of two different halves. I mentally still considered the thought of lots of riding worthy. Physically I just wanted to hang out and enjoy my arrival.


Though the gathering had no official vendors Helen Two Wheels and Al Schibi of ear plug fame both were there in low profiles. I liked their additions. A couple of riders and myself had dinner with Helen on my first evening in Gunnison and I commented to her on how much I visually enjoyed her Iowa rally t-shirt which somehow had the rally’s icon image of a vintage bike with two large hubs resting squarely on her two pronounced peaks. Helen is a true rider and knows us nefarious pretenders far beyond what most women do. I like this about her. I use her saddlebag liners which I rate at a C. Her water proof traveling bags are wonders of wonder. Her colorful tie downs are from god. She deserves our respect and appreciation for she has made biking so much more pleasurable with her bag system.


I got to know Al Schibi much better the next day. Two week prior to the rally I was getting a head gasket replaced at my dealership and by pure lazy negligence I was sucked into my dealer’s special on Schubert helmets. By the time of the rally we were bonded. The only fault I found with it was its refusal to allow me to wear ear plugs in its inner space. This obstinacy was forcing me again to take too much wind noise and I was lamenting this woe to Al when I recognized one of my motel neighbors, Chuck, getting his ears molded for plugs. He was not happy with one of his plug’s fit so Al was remolding it for him. I told Al, when he had finished, that one could still see terrifying amounts of light seeping through Chuck’s ear canal even with the second mold. Chuck in turn, had no sympathy for my woes, yet in purposeful passing mentioned that he had done a couple of other rider’s helmets with the same foam problems I was having by using a soldering iron, and would gladly do mine. Half in jest. Al responded affirmatively telling me if I wanted plugs to work properly the helmet needed to have what Cluck was suggesting.” I thought, No way! The helmet is brand new and I wasn’t about to give either one of these charlatans a chance to ruin my precious helmet. They saw me weakening and from that point on I was an eroding dam of doom. We took my beloved Schubert apart numerous times in the next couple of hours, and melted and sanded it into a pile of dust. What a riot. Other riders where now in on the fiasco and I had visitors and secondary advisors all over the place, watching, laughing, giving advise and having fun with our outrageous effort. None of us had a clue about the helmet. Chuck did the hot iron work and Al did the taking and putting back together again the helmet. Surgeons never want their patients to see how they do their work or how they leave work-nor should they. These surgeons desperately needed the same professional courtesy. Unfortunately, I had seen close hand their appalling lack of skills which produced a professional hack job among the finest seen on any street corner of any great metropolitan center. I can now see why malpractice suits are so necessary. If you are quartering any doubt simply consider Chuck borrowing a huge sand belt from the KOA owners as one of his tools, and Al using electric tape as a replacement for the ripped out glue bonding cloth with foam. Only the owner knows the inside condition of his helmet and he is a question mark so they got away with it to the great delight of all the bystanders.


The best part of the experience though was the growing friendship that was developing between Chuck and myself. We liked doing and being around each other. After adapting the Schubert to my plugs Chuck and I went back to the motel and became worthless like the rest of his outfit. What a wonderful fun bunch. I liked each and every one of them. My wife later said it really unusual for me to enjoy so many people for seldom do I come away with even one contact that I want to maintain. Yet there I was at the ABC Motel having an absolutely fabulous time with every rider.


So who are these shadowy characters that would attend a bmwrt.com unofficial rally? The impetuous maker for this gathering was a friendship between Jim and Fred which has spanned over 30 years. Remarkable by itself. Jim was the maintenance mind behind Fred’s plane crew when both served in the Air Force. Fred still thinks he is a flyboy, but he now has way too much security privileges and rank to any longer be worth much. In his Top Gun days though he was a great pilot. We owe both Jim and Fred our respect. I do not know all the specifics about their early relationship, but certainly it has been long lasting and they enjoy being with each other. Jim is from Texas. On his RT rumble seat he brought along his wonderful, beautiful wife Mary for the reunion. Two other BMW members of Jim’s local Texas BMW Chapter (and I believe bmwrt.com members) rode with him to the rally. Tim and Mike. What a pair. Tim told a tickle of a story. Since I had had dinner with Helen the night before it really humored me. Tim went in to clean his hands at the KOA and the air drier didn’t work so by chance as he was walking out he encountered Helen of Two Wheels fame getting a shoulder massage and Tim snuck behind her (he didn’t know her) and decided to take a chance and said he would join in on the rub – really so he could dry his hands. Helen was caught blind sided and only half thought it was funny. I thought it was a riot. She is way too hardened to have such a little male fun go past her with serious thought, and let it pass. Thanks, Helen. You’re a top deck gal. The other Texan, Mike, is one of two Mikes in the group. I don’t think he is married. Regardless, he can spot women and catch their dial tones at fifty paces-blind folded. He is also a top hand with a bike. His humor is as dry as Texas sand. On our second night a rider who was at my motel had picked up a nail and needed a tire repair. Mike immediately came to his aid. Tells you right away that is a class type guy. Jim, the third Texan, is tall and enjoys people. He has a natural way with all types of folks and makes those around him feel welcomed and liked. He surely did that for me. Mary, his love dove sidekick, is also a natural. She is comfortable with Jim’s way of doing things, and can converse with any rider. She loves biking. Most of us can only dream of having such a back support. This made up the Texas side of the group. All rode beemers. Tim butted a K bike.


The other group was from California. Three Harleys and a beemer. The beemer carried Chuck. What a spark of delight this guy is. Everyone likes Chuck. How could you not. He is a character. A storyteller. An Italian. Carries a bit of a belly and tells us all the women in California would do him. Typical Italian. In truth, he is profoundly wife, Sheila, smitten. He shamed us all by buying her jewelry for his return home in appreciation for her support. I sometimes buy things for my daughters, but seldom does mom get much other than the constant pleasure of my absence. She doesn’t seem long suffering. Chuck is a business entrepreneur. He does business ventures like male rabbits thumb. His storytelling about these adventures had us in stitches. As for motorcycle riding Chuck is the lead rider on rides. Our next Californian is our second Mike. Chuck and Mike are best friends. Mike rides the bad-est Harley I have ever ridden with. He ate us RT boys up and that is no easy task. We just could not match him at the rear wheel for horse power. Our numbers come in at about 70 and his at 108. Mike is a fabulous rider and loves to twist the wick on the twisties so we constantly had his shadow right on our own regardless of what we did. I knew we were bringing him pleasure for when we stopped he would light a huge cigar and puff on it with the greatest of satisfaction. My type of guy. He also brought along his delightful wife, Annett, who obviously had ridden many a mile with her man. She was very kind to me. Mike is a good natured and fun fellow. His riding garb is top deck bad boy Harley style. I would flip off any misbehaving cager if Mike was in their rear view mirror also. He and Chuck dump a lot of meaningless praise on themselves. According to them they have designed the world’s top wood splitter. Of course, it is just a composite of them robbing the best designs from the other models already in production, but hey, these guys ride motorcycles not engineer degrees. It is their spirit that counts. I really did like Mike’s mannerisms, his genuine kindness and truly helpful presence. He loved to ride his worthless Harley- to pieces- which surely it was in for most of its production life. He rode tight in formation with a hand of iron.


Then there was Ron. The most handsome of the group. Ron has my deepest admiration. A Vietnam and Korean vet with stories to tell that make you humbled. A master sergeant in the Marines tells you exactly about his grit. This man has given so much of his body and life for us to have the privilege to ride in this great land. I salute Sir Ron. I have respected few men as much I do Ron. He could always ride with me even with his worthless Harley. He had recently found a beautiful 96 Harley which was his pride and joy next to his gorgeous wife, Gloria, who always was caring and supportive of him. She tickled me once when she asked where I got my constant smile. I told her it was faulty wiring in the genetic transmitters also found in my two girls. What a privilege to have met this couple.


Last comes the Harley guy who has three Harleys and a corvette. Yep. Top gunner himself, Fred. The pilot. Fred has leadership qualities through and through. He could be my wingman any time. He was a top pilot in Nam and to this day teaches new pilots safety. Of course, he is bright and has multiple degrees. He can tell the *-est flying stories, which delighted me to no end, for I have always admired pilots and desired to fly. His wife BLANK is stunning and Fred’s best chummy buddy. To her great credit she even extended her attentions from Fred to me when she fretted about one of my passes and on coming traffic. I appreciated her concern though I had it made, going away. There was at least two light rays of space between the on coming car and me as I cut back into my lane. Later I saw that Fred rode to accommodate her comfort and that comfort is safe. She carried a bat to make sure he understood her wishes. Makes good sense.


David’s wish for his bmwrt.com rally to be a meeting place for new friends surely came true for me. What a fun group the bmwrt.com bunch turned out to be. My official thanks goes out to David and Cary for providing the impetus. I also would like to mention Steve. On my pull into the rally on my first evening Steve was the first rider I met. He had the super upgraded version of my tent. We had supper together with “Doc,” and Helen. Steve is a solid and good natured man. A small tale. We are ready to exit the KOA campground for dinner and have completed the first left and then come to the T where one has to make a choice of whether to go right or left. I wanted to go left, but Steve said he had just come in that way and was sure Gunnison was to the right. Who was I to argue when a rider says something like that. I flipped on my blinkers and turned. I thought, who cares this should be fun and always enjoy new scenery. Finally he motioned for me to stop admitting his mistake. Seriously, how much of a mistake is something like this. Not much to me. Plus I liked how casual he was about it all. I knew I would like this guy. We turned around and proceeded to our location for dinner. We parked in the shade near a very small stream. Colorado has many of these foot and half waterways in their towns. Steve was taking off his riding suit when suddenly from nowhere I see his bundle of maps fall directly into the stream. Plunk. Then he chased them down and plunged his arm into the water saving them before they disappeared into a culvert. A warm feeling came over me for I felt I had just met a duplicate for any of these things could have easily happened to me.


The ABC motel group of riders plus myself rested on the first day. Sorry, David. Savoring the getting there was just too sweet. We had a grand view of main street. Typical Harley show set up. All the bikes were out front along with various motel chairs which encouraged constant sipping, munching and laughing by the resting bikers. Our primary activity was watching the Hells Angels and their counterpart law enforcement arrive throughout the day. The *’s Angels, at our motel, liked us and even spoke with some respect for beemer folks. I personally had a *’s Angel help me out of the worst traffic jam I have ever been in a few years ago, so it was easy to speak in their favor. They always gave us a wave and a “How ya doin.” If we would have been a straight up group of beemer guys maybe they would not have been so friendly, but with Mike, Fred and Ron and their bikes we were okay.


This first day found me completely satisfied with the “unofficial rally.” Day two arrived with a bit of a quandary to it. I was not an official member of the ABC party and certainly I did not want to over due the hospitality already afforded me so I gave thought to packing up. My plan was to go to the KOA and catch a ride with a group going my direction and then head out for unknown parts. After packing I went to the local café for breakfast where I immediately ran into the no goods from that ABC Motel who then invited me over and along on their scheduled day’s ride. The ride was in two parts. The first was up Monarch Pass and pictures. The second was to separate at a junction where Fred and Ron would then return to Gunnison to get Ron some shoes. The problem with this plan was that this then left the remaining riders unsupervised. Within minutes these wild tar slingers were blasting down the highway passing everything in sight. Wow did we have a fun ride. Oh! So guilty were we. Don’t feel bad for pilot Fred. He has enough speed in his history log book to make the rest of us look like turtles for a millennium. Our speeds did (just some times) creep into the triple figures which particularly brought smiles to our Harley cigar chewing Mike. I enjoyed the spirit of the ride with always safety and respect for others being first and foremost on our minds. Well kinda. We did get careless about this maybe once. In the heat of the ride we came upon a Honda rider who was in total compliance with the laws of this fine land. Unfortunately, we weren’t, and we blistered him something shameful with our passes. It was not personal. Like I said, Oh! So guilty were we. In any case, I got my throttle twisted enough to bring penultimate satisfaction and a loud hoot or two to my helmet. This ride cemented the rally for us. We knew we had done it right. Our last evening was again in celebration of our good fortune to have been having such a grand time.


My return route ended out being a sweet ride, but first a few prefacing remarks. I am not your usual skinned biker so don’t think my route pleasures are exactly like those of a motorcycle article route piece. Everything appears too perfect in them. My most problem with them is that they seldom ever make it to my itinerary when I actually ready myself for a ride. Too glazed I suspect. I remember once looking at an article over some road I had taken in the past and the article and words were so foreign and alien to my memory that I shook my head and pursued them not again. Generally their landscapes are picturesque where I like liquid landscape. Meaning it glides pleasingly through my visor with just enough variety between stops to give me the feeling of a ride. This is what makes Montana the best riding state in the land, to my way of thinking. The variety may not always be great, particularly in the East, yet with native notice it becomes a pleasant glide of scenic flux and infatuation. I also like quaintness in my towns. I am sick and tired of seeing every city in this country replicate itself through similar corporation logos. Cities have all become the same. No distinctiveness. All they do is change their names not their character. I get no sense of a journey entering them. Just the feeling of having already been there or of going in a circle. I like a downtowns like Helena MT. It is unique. It has a distinctive flavor all unto itself and you are not disappointed when you drop your kickstand in its city limits. Helena’s streets are not grid-ed either. My favorite stop there is a funky green and white filling station from the fifties and the Parrott. When in Lewistown I like the Bon Ton and Megahertz. The Bon Ton is on the down slide, but so am I, and the Megahertz is just too funky to be passed up without a look see.


On return trip I encountered a unique restaurant called Karen and Jim’s in Casper. What a breath of fun. It tickled my senses with its distinctive offerings, images and menu. Jim said he collected pictures of what he liked, and then shared them with his clientele. I liked that. His early morning waitress knew I liked the restaurant and said she loved working for their owners. Surprise me not. Jim said I had to see the floors in the restrooms before leaving. They are lacquered with famous movie stars entombed in its gloss. Each gender had a perfect view of a sex symbol to while the eyes when looking down doing business between open legs. Both bathroom doors were open so I checked out the genders. The guys were given blonds and I wasn’t impressed. Too blond flaky. But the gals were given a great shot of William Holden. My mom always said he was the woman slayer of her generation, and there he was between their legs for their viewing. I chuckled to myself and got a fond remembrance of my now deceased mother. Life should be like this. Karen and Jim refused to let their business become lost in corporate America. My favorite image, I told Jim, was his life size display of the Crocodile Hunter (Steve Erwin) with one of his buddies in his arms. Jim told me a story about it. He said one of his workers one day told him that the crock man had had his hand bitten off. Jim responded by saying he didn’t know that, and asked where he had learned about it. His help said from Saturday Night Live. We both laughed. Jim mentioned that the man was a bit slow. In his defense Steve has recently been bitten trying to pet one of friends.



Take out your maps of the West and/or Northwest. Gunnison is in central Colorado on Highway 50. It is about 4000 in population. Not bad. Half of its motels are modern and the other half are motels I like. 1950-1970’s vintages. Nice KOA campground. If the Hells Angels selected Gunnison then it must have something bikers like. Obviously it is popular for its central location, like my hometown of Lewistown. How central? Well, the group from Texas traveled about 900 miles to reach it. The CA outfit did about the same and the Montana Lone Rider came in near at a thousand. Good choice and location.



That sweet route from Gunnison. Our Hollywood Harleys and two RT’s left Gunnison about 7:00 o’clock heading due West on highway 50. At around mile marker 22 a serious biker decision must be rendered. Most riders turn right here because it’s saturated with twisties and grand landscape. I have found the corners almost always covered with loose gravel or rock fallings so be alert. If you haven’t taken it put it down. If you turn you will soon encounter Gunnison’s Black Canyon. Also this is where you pick up highway 92 heading North through towns like Maher and Hotchkiss. At Hotchkiss you then catch 133 North and get to towns like Somerset, Redstone and Carbondale. At Carbondale you take 82 North to Glenwood Springs which ends your pleasure with I-70. This route is an Oreo cookie to most milk dipping bikers. To me it was a vanilla wafer. I had taken it before and was enjoying my last few miles with the CA group so I passed on it deciding to plunge North later at Delta. I considered going to Grand Junction with the lads knowing the fun I would have watching Chuck get Harley hemorrhoid shined when trying to get a set of reasonably priced pegs for his Burton Brackets. But at Delta I saw a route that interested me, and separation was inevitable, so I flipped on my blinkers and disappeared into traffic. Just like that it was over. I hate good byes. This one in particular, because of my terrific fondness for each of the riders. On major rides I ride alone and the miles to Delta were wonderful with Chuck doing all the work, as lead rider, and me just last slot draggin along.


As to those pegs. Prior to coming down David had given me the address of Burton so I could get a set of his brackets. When Chuck said Burton was at the rally and he had just got a pair I couldn’t believe my luck. Then bmwrt.com handle “Frickin Joe Friday” showed up and ruined my plans by showing me his new set of pegs. They were perfect for the RT. All other prototypes were now obsolete. Like placing lights on an RT many locations and brackets have been tried, but finally Mr. Peterson ( who also was at the rally) came up with the ones- off the mirrors -that are perfect. I will wait for these new pegs to be produced and improved, and then I will be one happy leg restin RT guy. Isn’t “Frickin Joe Friday” a classic handle? So too “Paperbutt.” I am new to the board and you old hands know how these riders got their handles. I loved hearing the stories. Stories are my most favorite desserts.


At Delta I caught highway 65 in route to Orchard City, Cedaredge, Grand Mesa, and Mesa. I liked the slow pace of the highway almost immediately for Highway 50 was quickly becoming too dense with traffic and I did not like the feel of maverick drivers starting to cut between the riders. Highway 65’s landscape and lack of traffic settled me into my beemer’s hum. Soon it became just great tar with absolute perfect lean and roll to its curves. Sweet. No rocks in the sharp corners, like highway 92 has too much of along with too sharp of curves for my type of pleasurable riding. The scenery on 65 is cool beautiful. Not spectacular, but * comfortable. Plenty of potty stop opportunities. Again, comfort. From Mesa to I-70 is another sweet tar track. Going East on I-70 heard grrrs from inside my Schubert. A break was needed so I selected De Beque. I have a non-patented procedure for selecting such exits off an interstate. I like to choose communities that the Interstate blue signs tell me are lacking services. Not all services - usually just one. These communities are typically quite and daisy slow in pace. Traffic from the interstate is almost looked upon as an intrusion. Completely understandable. De Beque had a restaurant-general store combination which was perfect for catching an ice cream bar. There was just one table inside for customers and the locals were in session so I took my bar and went outside. It was hot and shade with a bench on the side walk caught my fancy just under the barber shop window. Perfect. Right across from this pleasant setting was the post office which brought me people watching as my entertainment as I relaxed. Half way through the bar a van pulls up to the Post Office and out comes a mother with a decent sized jelly belly and an attitude that teachers don’t like to see in parents -others are always to blame for their woes. About three minutes after she entered the P.O. I noticed her six year old boy jump from the back seat of the van and place himself in the drivers seat. I think he wants to play driver. Yep, he really wants to play and starts the car. He is very very aggressive just the type of kid this woman would have. Trouble. Once the motor is running he then engages the starter a couple times trying to figure out why he isn’t going. All he is getting is the screeching whirling sound we all know from a starter motor trying to push its way into the flywheel. My inside wiring goes red alert and I think about going over and stopping the boy for he now has remembered the part about transmissions and vehicles and is hard shifting from forward to reverse the automatic transmission which has started the van to start lurch. I stop myself. This particular lady had not set well with me for some reason and I thought it made perfect sense that this would be the type of boy she would have so I decided to just watch. Again, guilty as charged. I did not do my civic duty. Plus, my actions would ruin the story if I interfered. I was not disappointed. This boy was a maniac. He was determined to get it moving straight ahead but the curb would not let him. He knew he was doing something very wrong and didn’t care. Nor did I. He now started reaching his foot to gas pedal. He gassed it once and almost got it over the curb. Then put it in reverse without gas and nothing happened. This time he shifted back to drive and gassed it hard. Success! He went smashing directly into the two newspaper dispensers in front of him and then into the post office itself. Perfect. The crash sound was astoundingly loud and jarring in such a quiet town. Even then the mother was slow to appear. Not the Post Master though. Once he saw the damage he went to get her. I waited to see how she would handle this boy and the damage. By this time the boy had jumped into the back and put on his seat belt. Innocent. She came out and asked, “What the * is going on.” And that was it for the boy. I thought. That’s it! That is all you are going to say or do to this rascal. Yep. It disgusted me for I knew her boy would soon plague humanity for years to come until someone or himself would be serious hurt. Still I was tickled by the scene. It played out perfectly. And she deserved the rage of the post master. I then finished my bar and casually put on my helmet and again entered the warrior trails of Goodyear and Michelin tires. A ride should always have scenes like this embedded in them or you are going too fast to catch life. I was on perfect pace and knew it.


A little out of Rifle I gladly exited I-70 and headed North on 13. Here you catch country towns like Meeker, Hamilton, Craig, and Baggs. How can you beat a name like Baggs? Tiny and distinct. When I went through its officer was giving a ticket. Seemed so small to have a police officer. Must have been a country sheriff. My radar was blinking.


Speaking of tickets. The first temptation to clutter my driving history with more tickets happened when arriving outside of Gunnison, coming from the East, on highway 50. I knew sometime soon that I would be starting to encounter RTs going my way with the same purpose- rally.” Actually the trip started getting fun coming from the East at about Poncha and definitely by Monarch Pass. This is a standard classic pass and each time I take it I love it. Of course, it is at its best in autumn with its spectacular red and orange foliation. Last year I specifically came South to catch some of Colorado’s famous displays which turned out to be, according to old timers, one of the best ever. I was energized from the pass’s changes in temperatures and relief from interstates. Once through the pass my speeds rose a bit. I don’t often check my back side when moving through traffic so I was caught slightly off guard when passed by a yellow dicked RT. Oh sorry, Michael, I mean a beautiful yellow corvette splashed RT. He was moving and I briefly thought about tagging him.. I wasn’t sure I wanted his speed though. It was overwhelmingly tempting though. My twisting restraint was due to a recent event with my insurance company. A couple of weeks before the rally my daughter had just totaled out our main rig and my insurance company had dropped us, but my local agent came to our rescue and I didn’t want to make him look bad by getting a high speed ticket. So I let the yellow dick go. Later I met this wonderful rider and enjoyed his youth and ratty tat tat Two Brother’s sound. We need riders like Michael to keep us on our toes and to know the torch is being passed to genuine enthusiasts. Great meeting you Michael.


Highway 13 was sweet to this Montana old man. I love long quite tar ways with vistas that let you breath deeply and slowly. I was getting back into the prairies - my eventual resting place. I have told my wife to just put me in a jar and place me under a rock in the pasture near where I live. Save the RT for her next man or one of the daughters who might like to ride.


We are now back in Baggs Wyoming. At Baggs you join highway 789 which leads you to I-80. From here you go East for a few miles until you can exit off the I-80 snake at Rawlins. Rawlins is a town of slow degeneration. Every time I enter it I use a certain motel to see how things are going, and I was surprised to see its quickness of deterioration. I don’t know about you but I seem to find the same places to fuel and catch a snack when covering ground I have previously ridden. Thus, I parked at a familiar restaurant. This year it had young local high school girls doing the foot service work. When I sat down I heard, “I will be with you in a minute, hon.” Now the origin and use of this Western cordiality term certainly has some worthiness. But I do not like being called “hon” by a high schooler. The women who first used this term with their customers were far more dog-eared men smart than this girl. Time was high speed ending this girl’s innocence for she was far too hard for her age, and didn’t like me not knowing what I wanted to drink upon entering. She asked another gal to wait on me. I left the second waitress a big tip. Again, guilty as charged. Rawlins is a so-so town for me. While fueling though I saw a lady gas attendant chase a trailer down to give back a left wallet. I count this act as a plus in a world few of us ever are reminded of our goodness. I still burn about all our corporate lust and greed we as a society have so accepted over the past 50 years. We are now getting what we justly deserve. White crime in the billions. I heard at the rally a guy say he lost so and so much just lately from his retirement funds. Retirement funds were the only funds not allowed to be rifled by our young wall street guns a few years ago. They conned our trustees into thinking they could make with them a fountain of unlimited gain and reduce taxes if they could use them. Right. Now you hear the real story. The average guy spit out and the real loser. Grrrr.


The skies are usually cloud forming when I leave Rawlings and this time was no different. I got a few miles of rain twenty miles after leaving. Out of Rawlins I caught 287 North again to Muddy Gap. Great name, but not much other than a scratch mark on the prairie. From there I went Northeast on 220 through Alcova to Casper. I was getting really tired outside of Muddy Gap. The first fifty miles beyond it are foggy. I stopped out in the middle of this vastness at a wildlife point of interest. I love ecosystems and the symbiotic relationships within them. Those with far bigger heads than myself pleasure me immensely when they give language to what I know or see but can’t put into language. The information on this sign was a classic example of how all this works. We as Americans should have as our beast of pride for the West the Pronghorn. It is the only mammal out here that has no history to Eurasia. All of our other species do. That is amazing. My home is a calving site for these wonderful mammals so I am on their side. What I should have suspected, but didn’t, was the relationship between sagebrush and these animals. This plant is winter forage for them. Duh. What a nit wit. I don’t have much sage brush at my place because we have just a bit more rain than the area I was looking at which allows grasses to limit the sage brush proliferation. But I was dumbfounded to learn that in a three hundred mile radius from Casper two thirds of all these animals live. This just includes my home. I am now more in tune to the symbiotic wherefores of this marvelous animal.


To counteract my doziness generally I use a piece of gum or tag a pacer. Guilty as charged. The gum was barely working when a three quarter ton oil field Ford roared by me with three field hands heading home. Perfect. And I was off at a blistering pace. Getting a ticket faded somehow. I would trust my radar detector. Right. Still I time to observe. One eye catcher of this region was a huge solid old stone being worn away that is deeply split which provides a passage way through it. The Mormons first claimed and named it. It is an interesting physical feature and one you will remember in this vast slice of prairie. My oil field crew pulled me along at a great clip and we arrived safe and ticket-less at the first stoplight in Casper that had us exchange a wave. The motel I chose was vintage 60’s with an Indian (India) family running it. The young man was friendly and helpful. Next door to it was the restaurant called Karen and Jim’s which I recommended earlier.


Sleep was uneventful, but I liked having an air conditioner. Morning was what we say at my brother’s farm when I help him seed and harvest after about ten- He says, “So what are we going to do today boys? And we say, “We are going to do it again, boss” and that is exactly my brain thoughts once on the road for a few days when packing and unpacking. Karen and Jim’s - oatmeal, whole wheat toast and bowl of fruit, and then I walked over to visit the two Harley guys packing up. Fun guys particularly the more wiser and distinguished white bearded rider. I say wiser because the other rider, after Gary had left was planning on following and putting on a horsepower show for me, but he forgot he had is lock bolt still in so he settled for showing me how truly under powered Harleys really are against any metal other pig iron and how silly riders look leaning back and going full face forward on their noses.


The wiser rider, Gary, had owned 11 BMW’s in his biking life and now was truly tickled with his Harley. I must say Harley-Davidson certainly has won a lot of converts with their rubber mountings and counter balanced motors. We shared stories and found that we had attended the same rallies in our histories, but his were a decade prior. He told me one classic beemer story that I never heard. I pass it on with obvious and probable incorrect accounting which I immediately claim guilty as charged to anyone who was there. See my agent. The story is a classic.


Paonia, CO. is a long standing BMW rally site. How could it not be in that valley with that gorgeous park and a community that loves beemer guys. Truly nice country and place. In any case, somewhere around the late 80’s a pain the ass Harley guy was attending the rally, for some reason, and was making himself a true pain in the ass. He would rev up his hog and rap and rap and rap to the point of pure agitation. And everyone knows how sensitive Beemer guy ears are to hog sounds. He would have been told by the hundreds to shut it down, but the guy was huge, ugly and tattooed so nothing was said. He figured he had these riders by the balls and aggravated them more every chance he got. When the awards assembly was taking place he found a beemer with a sidecar and in the sidecar was a German Shepard tied to a tree restrained by a leather belt. Our Harley hero started teasing it. The dog had been great during the rally and no one had mentioned anything about it. Our tattooed protagonist was by now taking a stick and teasing the dog and getting it really mad. Yes, he was looking for trouble. After some more teasing he had gotten the dog near crazy mad and barking (which he wanted) and then it lunged full force again at him, and this time the dog broke its leather restraint. There was no play left in the hound, only blind aggression, and he went directly for the guy’s face and bit off his nose. Then ate it! Whoa! And double whoa! Seldom does one ever hear of justice being so quickly, and harshly and deservedly served. Even better yet it was all done without lawyers. Gary was at this rally and swears the dog actually ate this guy’s nose. The next year’s rally T-Shirt had a drawing of a guy with a crotch hatch pattern where his nose should have been. Classic biker tale.


I contend all rides are loaded with such tales and experiences if we take the time to enjoy our fellow riders


From Casper on it is Interstate 90 to Billings. Not a bad slab. I always seem to stop at Hardin when taking this route, and this trip was no exception. At the Subway I shared a chat and sandwich with a Highway Patrolman. Later on down the road (he left before I did) I swear he was the guy who was waiting for me at a very tempting place to ignite the chambers near the end of a construction zone where fines are doubled. My GPS showed me at the extreme outside margins of the speed limit and I smiled at his sneakiness and the length of time he tracked me with radar. Radars really are pretty worthless, but they do confirm how often we really are triggered. I might have been saved maybe once by having one. And even then I am not so sure it wasn’t rider sharpness rather than that flashing red arrow that saved the day.


At Billings one catches 87 North to Roundup. A very nice fifty mile stretch with the Bull Mountains and deer to keep you awake. Deer are everywhere beyond Roundup heading to Malta. So too their beautiful habitat. Fall is the season to be sharp. Your next stop is Grassrange. I did say stop. This is not an option if you are new to the region. The convenience store and restaurant and truck stop is a dandy. You hardly know there is a café there. And why did I say stop? Because these ladies bake the most delicious and fresh homemade pies in the country. Baked from scratch right in front of your eyes and always a broad band of offerings await you. This type of treatment ain’t bad for a simple drop of the kickstand. Just outside of Grassrange you turn West staying on 87 and head towards Lewistown. At this particular intersection you might want to put on your grill guard for deer. Particularly if you are entering the ecosystem in the early morning or late evening. So too your sunglasses if it is evening and you are headed West. The road is wonderful. The landforms are gorgeous. If you look off to your right you will see what is called Black Butte. The region’s famous landmark. It is a butte and not a butte. Most buttes are flat whereas this landform is a single stand alone hump of a mountain. Its official geological name is a German sounding person’s last name. Five miles out of Grassrange you enter pheasant country. Guaranteed loaded if the previous seasons have been favorable for birds. Soon thereafter you enter the out layers of the Rockies with the Judith’s (my home range) delighting your senses and then you gradually descend into Lewistown off the pass after about five miles. Beautiful. I get a rush every time I ride it. Home is through town where I then turn North towards Hilger. I turn right at an elevator and take a dirt road for about five miles to my lane for another tenth of a mile which then ends and I cut across my pasture to my shed/barn and park my beautiful RT. He is now in an old horse stall and I pat him on the tank with great appreciation for a trip well done.


This ride and rally was one of my most enjoyable. Thanks, David, for the invitation.





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Is he published? I mean, this fellow should be published!!


Harry, you are a terrific writer! I hope to meet you at the next un-rally and shake your hand. Thank you for knowing how to poor your soul into your keyboard. Your expressions, your word usage...God, you are so original!

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And we've been trying so hard to keep the secrets of Montana from the public........now if all of you who read this story, don't tell anyone, we'll be ok......but start talking about Montana and before you know it, we'll have movie stars and newspaperfolks and other bigshots living out there



Harry........you done good.


Pat (born in Missoula)

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What do you mean, an outsider? You're one of us, enough of this outsider business. Great ride tale. Don't forget to come back and play. I hope to ride with you some time. BTW, you did the right thing in not trying to keep up with Michael. Michael has one speed, Zoom. tongue.gif

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Hmmm. Never seen a yellow dick RT before. Musta been a sight.


What a grand read! I could almost taste the pie at that last stop. What flavor was yours?


Great post! Thanks for sharing it with us David.


Harry: Join us and please continue those marvelous ride tales!

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