The last few months have been interesting to say the least! Because of the global pandemic, my adventures have been curtailed quite a bit with 3 different rallies being canceled 😔
Let’s start back at Mardi Gras and my departure from Louisiana. I left moms for Huntsville Alabama, parked the van and hopped on an airplane for Delaware to help an old friend from the Air Force drive a Uhaul back to Alabama. Deanna needed some help and I had the time before the March Moto Madness Rally. It was great helping her get moved. I then went back to Amanda’s(who I stayed with last fall) in North Carolina to hang out for bit. Hadn’t planned to stay as long as I did but because of the virus lock downs nationwide, that was the safest spot since the MMM Rally ended up being canceled.
I really enjoyed my time with Amanda and her growing flock of chicks😉. Helping her around the house, mowing the yard with her kids, cooking and doing chores made me sort of miss the home life of my past when my girls were younger. Her mom Dawn, an Army Veteran was there most days homeschooling the girls while working remotely. I even showed off my (lack of) handyman skills to build a chicken coop for her “meat birds” she is raising to feed her family. It wasn’t the most square or plumb structure but it’s sturdy! I know that I will always have a soft place to land when on the east coast. She, and that fact means a lot to me!
After 2 months at Amanda’s, the country started to slowly re-open and it was time to make my way west for the PNW. I reached out to several military veterans from my past and the motorcycle community to plot my way across the USA. Social media is the way we stay in touch throughout the year and being able to visit is a huge bonus.
First stop was Richard Glockner in Illinois, we had been stationed together in Korea 23 ago. So cool to catch up! Thanks for the prime rib dinner!
Second stop was western Missouri and my old buddy Craig Langley that I was stationed with in Arkansas 30 years ago. He retired from Whiteman AFB, the home of the B-2 Stealth bomber. He was kind enough to give me a tour of the installation and tell me a bunch about it’s history as a ballistic missile base during the Cold War. thanks Craig and Stacey for letting me stay.
Third stop was just north of Oklahoma City to see Angela Rella and her daughter Kayla. We hadn’t seen each other since Tech school 30 years ago other than a passing in a hallway once while on TDY.
From OKC, I went up to the Colorado Springs/Denver area for a week to slow my pace a bit after only doing 1 night stops. Not far from the USAF Academy lives retired MSgt Lee Becker and his wife Bex, they are both very well known in the BMW GS Giant community. Not long after I pulled up to their house, a “rock star” of the GS community pulled up. It was Bettina Nedel from the 2018 US woman’s team of the GS Trophy competition in Mongolia. From there I went hang out with Pete and Kat, Pete is a PNW Tenere member and former Army Medic. We did a nice day loop along the Platt River, then past old mines above Idaho Springs. Then I spent a few days with Tirza Deflinger an Army vet. We did a few more loops with Pete West also an Army Vet and some of their friends out to Estes Park and back. I even met up with a future Tenere 700 owner and ex Air Force Loadmaster Jack Lowery. Colorado is so beautiful! I always look forward to riding there and hanging out with the friends I’ve made.
Leaving Colorado gets harder and harder every year, but I needed to head northwest. I had such a beautiful drive from outside Denver to Salt Lake City to see Rob and Cheryl Oman who I had known from my Air Force days in Washington.
Only 1 night in SLC with the Oman’s then onto Boise to meet with Rob Bayless, the owner of several Yamaha web forums and army vet, to include Tenere700.net
Rob and Tammy hosted me for a couple days, I had hoped to ride the bike around their part of Idaho but bad weather set in for my entire time there.
So from North Carolina to Idaho, that was 7 Air Force, 5 Army veterans that I either met up with for rides or hosted me. The Veteran community is awesome that way! It doesn’t matter how long you can go without seeing one another, it’s like we are never apart. I’m honored to have served with so many great people over the years!