Friday, January 15, 2016

Ten Days Without A Ride - BUMMER!

I guess I knew that at some point I would have to give up the luxury of coffee on the lanai at Hotel Sacramento, which is what we call the home of Diana and Ilidio in Lake Mary, Florida, and spend a few days taking care of business back home in Montana.
The flight from Orlando International to Minneapolis was a smooth ride.
I knew I was back in the the Great Northwest when I saw the De-Icing truck moving toward us prior to take off for the last leg of the flight from the Twin Cities to Helena, Montana.
Those guys knew what they were doing and soon had the wings and tail section flooded with whatever it is they spray on planes prior to take off.
Clouds of liquid splashed high in the air and even covered the window through which I was observing this strange winter time dance of the Boom Truck Operators.
 It was, I am sure, a lot more fun for me than the folks running the trucks and sprayers.

The Midnight arrival in Helena brought Iron Butt Association member, Linda Darelius out to offer me a ride home and son Roger was there too so we headed for Shellie's Truck Stop restaurant for an early, early morning breakfast.
She had even stopped by the grocery store to stock my refrigerator, before picking me up at the airport.
Linda had three months of mail spread out on the dining room table.
The bright red Priority Mail folder caught my eyes first. It meant Certificates, Badges and signs from the Iron Butt Association commemorating my 50 Hour Coast to Coast ride in October which brought me the honor of being the oldest person in the Iron Butt Association record book to complete the ride.

 The annual Christmas Party of the Helena, Montana Last Chance Riders MC was great with lots of stories to be listened to and shared. A crazy Pirate Gift Exchange brought howls of laughter as someone received a gift and someone else took it away from them.
A tip of the hat to Bob and all the members who put the shindig together.

I couldn't wait to place the "Throw" Janis and Mike had sent me for Christmas on the Yamaha Keyboard in the Living Room.
"Del On Wheels," pretty well summed up the last 18 months of motorcycle riding. Thanks Janis & Mike.

The first ten days of my trip are over and most of the business I needed to handle is complete.
Now, as the end of the two week visit draws closer I occasionally feel the fingers of my right hand drawing together as if to roll that throttle and the left hand twitches as it slips the clutch and I move smoothly and rapidly onto I-95 for a morning ride.
As I watch Hogan's Hero's on Roger's ME TV station I squeeze the arm rest of the recliner and imagine myself on the open road ... and , oh well, you know the North Country winter biker dreams.

Ahh well, only a few more days and with the sun shining on my back I will be heading south in Florida to Fort Meyers for a quick visit to the Minnesota Twins training camp and a visit with Minnesota relatives who spend the warm days of spring cheering Paul Molitor and his Twins as they prepare for the coming season.
There will be a lot of Florida riding in the next few weeks before the long ride home to Montana in late March or early April
Trails to follow, people to meet, Bike Week at Daytona Beach and the annual Bike Week dinner of the Iron Butt Association in Jacksonville.
All good times to come and I have enjoyed these days of winter in Montana.
The mountain snows have created a winter wonderland and even though the ride is in a car instead of on a bike, it is still a good ride.
The sunshine, the morning coffee on the lanai, the visits with Ilidio's friends, Jack, John, Jeff and the rest all make the return to Florida for the remainder of the winter very appealing.

Watch for me,
I'll be in the Right Lane America.
Del "Lonnie" Lonnquist

Friday, January 1, 2016

The Last Ride of The Year - 2015 Farewell

  December 31st, 10:30AM, the ride begins with a slow ride down Lake Mary Boulevard, through the heart of Lake Mary, past Sanford International Airport to Highway 46.
46 will take me East to Mims, Florida where I can begin my ride south along the coast.
I ride slowly by Space View Park, through Titusville and a few miles down the road I am prompted to make a left turn to reach A1A, the Coastal Highway.
This was, of course, my goal A slow ride down the coast with rolling surf, crashing waves and sandy beaches.
The reality is slight;y different and includes miles of Surf Shops, Pizzerias, Condos and hundreds of people going to or coming from the beaches which are hidden away behind commercial buildings.
Of course there are miles of open areas where the sand and water make for a beautiful ride.
Th last ride of 2015 was taking place in  80 degree temperatures and was a fantastic way to bring this exciting and fun filled year to a close.

Patrick Air Force Base is on my right and I wonder if all AF personnel are trying to get posted here.
Only a short distance to the beaches and what appears to be plenty of base housing.
As I near Melbourne I watch for a sign that will point me toward I-95 North which I will need to take if I plan on getting back to Lake Mary by 4PM for the traditional, Burn Your Christmas Tree On New Smyrna Beach On New Years Eve Party.
Jenny Sacramento has the party planned as she did last year.
Cut the Christmas Tree up in small pieces, bring her Home Depot Fire Pit and set up on the beach just before dark.
But first, I have to get back to Lake Mary.
The 95 is a speedway this afternoon and traffic is heavy, but I am enjoying this fantastic ride.
So much so that I fly right by the I-4 cut off into Lake Mary and find myself 60 miles North by Ormond Beach
Can this be?
Have I actually ridden 60 miles past my destination.
YES! Of course I have.
Now the question is, can I still make it back it back in time for the trip to New Smyrna Beach.
I moved off I-95 onto the LPGA Boulevard and turned onto the 95 south ramp.
I was riding my age now and making good time.
And this time I was watching for the I-4 cut off.
Shortly after moving onto the 4, a loud clanging in my bluetooth helmet speaker alerted me to an incoming call.
I've had this thing in my helmet for a year and this is my first phone call.
It was Diana asking, "Where are you Dad, we are ready to leave!"
Not knowing if the microphone would work I shouted loudly, as if that would help, "I'm coming up to the Lake Mary exit on 4."
She told me they would wait for me and  moments later I was turning onto Lake Mary Boulevard.
Excited that I had received a call and answered back.
 The microphone had pulled loose from it's Velcro strip and blown in the wind a couple of
times so I had no way of knowing if it would actually work.
Being technologically adept would be helpful when you are an Octogenarian +1 Long Distance Rider.
With Jenny at the wheel of Ilidio's truck we were soon heading for New Smyrna Beach, a half hour late because of my tardy arrival home..
Well, what can I say, the last ride of the year was 264 miles long and a great adventure to end this year with.
During my 80th year on this wonderful planet I had completed four SaddleSore 1000 rides, one of which I haven't even submitted yet, and one of which included daughter Linda as a passenger in the sidecar so she could get her own Iron Butt Association certificate and patch.
A highlight of the year was of course meeting Shareef AsSadiq who became the Start Witness for my 50cc, fifty hour ride across the country from the beach at San Diego to the beach at Jacksonville, Florida.
Thanks again Shareef, and thanks also to the many IBA riders who offered support as I became the Oldest Rider to complete the 50cc ride.
And what a ride it was as I rode through 12 hours of rain the first night, got stuck in a traffic jam in Houston, blew a tire on my Mini Mate tent trailer near the Mississippi border and overslept while taking a nap near Tallahassee, Florida.
I was sure I had come up short until son-in-law Ilidio pointed out that I was figuring the time zones wrong and had finished the 2,240 mile marathon with 13 minutes to spare.
The ride which many IBA Long Distance riders complete in 45 hours or less, took me a little longer but was very satisfying in the end. 
Close enough.
What a fantastic year it has been.

New Smyrna Beach at night is a marvelous place to be.
The light cloud cover was soon carried away by the breezes blowing over the ocean and the stars above us were brilliant. From Orion's Belt to, oh you know the rest of them, they were shining between the fast disappearing clouds.
As if the stars were not enough, other beach goers were sending what the young people called, Chinese Lanterns into the air. The small hot air balloon type flyer's would glow brightly as they rose into the air and were carried higher and higher as they sailed out to sea and disappeared into the night.
Jenny and Diana quickly built a fast burning fire out of the Christmas tree.
The kettle of Clam Chowder Jenny had prepared at home, was placed on the fire and within the hour we were lunching on a piping hot feast while listening to music, watching the fireworks other partiers were sending into the sky enjoying a New Years Eve Beach Party.
The Nine O'clock fireworks display just above us on Flagler Street brought our Beach party to a close and we packed up gear for the ride back to Lake  Mary.
The forty pound pig that Ilidio was roasting in the new Caja China pig roasting box his son Jared sent him for Christmas was perfection.
Everyone agreed that it was better then the traditional roasting on a spit over a hot fire.
Th pig and all of the other food was eaten, a good time was had and the ball dropped to mark the end of a great New Years Eve celebration.
I slept until Noon on New Years Day as plans for the first ride of the new year were placed on  hold.
The Last Ride of 2015 was great and the first ride of 2016 will have to wait for a few days as this 81 year old Long Distance Rider rests his weary bones and gets ready for the 2016 challenge, The Bun Burner Gold 1500 miles in 24 hours Extreme ride.
What a ride that will be.
But first a flight north to visit Montana family and Grace before the BBG and a ride west to Houston, Phoenix,San Diego and San Jose and then, as the North Country warms, a ride back to he mountains and prairies of Montana for the summer.
Watch for me,
I'll be in the Right Lane America.
Del "Lonnie" Lonnquist