Saturday, April 30, 2016

Blessing Of The Bikes - East Helena, Montana

  The Bikers came and the Blessings began.

Main Street Park in East Helena, Montana was a magnet drawing bikers from a wide area of Montana for the Annual Set Free Ministry Blessings.
From Helena, Great Falls, Missoula, Havre and all points in between Bikers gathered for the Spring time event which Christian Bikers from throughout Montana look forward to. The Blessing of the Bikes is a great social gathering too.

Bikers who have had their machine parked in a garage for the winter season are now ready to begin their summer ride and look forward to this event which allows them to kick some tires and share some stories of past rides.

Bikers rode in on every make and model of motorcycle available and some even allowed visitors to take a ride on their machine so they could try out a model they hadn't had a chance to ride before.

Harley, Honda, Kawasaki, Yamaha, Bergman and many other brand names were on display and they came in every color of the rainbow, many with a story as to why their machine was a particular color.

But the primary reason for being there was for the Blessing, and riders gathered in small groups around a bike and hand in hand asked the Lord to bless the bike and the rider.
Some also asked for a blessing for the auto drivers the bikers will meet as they do their summer rides.
The Blessings of Christian Motorcycle groups takes place every spring time in hundreds of locations across the country. Christian men and women, bikers all, ask for the blessing of safe travel, for themselves and for others.

The bikers display their feelings about being a Christian motorcyclist with the many signs, patches and vests they wear.
Some motorcycle clubs have strict guidelines on the proper way to display their clubs patches and colors.
The display of colors allow them to profess their religion to all whom they encounter as they travel from coast to coast on their journeys.

Here a rider shows his military background and his support with a flag for the Prisoner of War- Missing in Action organization along with his U.S. Navy Decal.

 Many visitors to the park asked to see the interior of my well worn Tent trailer so I showed them how my Mini Mate camper could be set up in two minutes and offered a full size bed three feet off the ground. My kind of camping.
Good fun, good fellowship, and a meaningful blessing of the bikes meant a pleasant afternoon at East Helena's Main Street Park.
Our Thanks to all who work hard to make this an important and a very meaningful event.

It's been a busy week for Right Lane America with a program at the Sweetwater Retirement Center in Billings, the Bike Blessing and continued preparation for the upcoming program at Touchmark Retirement Center in Helena.
Thanks for visiting.
Watch for me, I'll be in the Right Lane America.
Del "Lonnie" Lonnquist

Friday, April 29, 2016

Spring Ride With Snow, Cold, Wind & Rain - Springtime In The Rockies

It began with an invitation to bring my banjo & guitar to the Sweetwater Retirement Center in Billings, Montana.
Just a nice 250 mile ride from my home in Helena.
30 % chance of showers was the forecast and of course it rained most of the way to Billings.
A nice ride never the less and a good chance to try out Spotwalla and Rever on the Iphone.
When the phone was almost out of power I plugged it into the power plug on the handlebars and nothing happend.
Somehow the plug was no longer active.
Found the Sweetwater without SIRI directing through the city, a new experience.
Stopped at the Verizon store and asked if I could borrow a phone book.
A look of bewilderment came over the face of the courteous young man who came over to help me when I entered the store.
"A phone book?" He asked, with a quizzical look on his face.
"A phone book" he said, as if he had never had a request like that.
"I'm trying to find the Sweetwater Retirement Center on Sweetwater Drive." I replied.
Smiling, as if he now knew what the elderly gentleman in front of him needed, he reached for his Iphone.
Seconds later he was scratching out the directions on a post it note and had me on my way.
Sort of smiling, as if on this day, he had gone beyond the call of duty.
"A phone book," I heard him say to another of the Verizon employees.
"Do we even have a phone book in the store?"
This new age we older people find ourselves in is so cool.
Entering the lobby of the Sweetwater Retirement Center, Betty Jean the Activities Director said, "Did you ride your motorcycle down from Helena in the rain? Everyone has been asking if you would."
Well, of course I had.
The program was fun with with banjo and guitar mostly in tune and residents singing along to old songs like "When It's Springtime In The Rockies."
The hour passed quickly with many old songs and some new ones that Lois had written before being overtaken by Alzheimer's Disease.
Only Two weeks earlier I had found another song she had written and filed away in her computer.
It wasn't quite finished but Grand daughter Hanna and I both wrote some words for the chorus, I sang my version for the residents and they seemed to really enjoy it.

 Photos ( by Lois L. 7/10 -- unfinished -- cho. Etc.)
Pictures in My Memory
There are pictures on my wall,
of my precious family,
There are pictures in the albums,
that mean so much to me,
But the pictures that I treasure,
no one else can see,
They are the pictures that are saved,
within my memory.
            The pictures I remember
            Are the memories I see
            They have voices that are laughing
            And singing just for me
            Those faces and the voices
            Will always sing for me
            In pictures that I treasure
            In my memory
There are photos on my fridge,
in a locket I can wear,
Pictures in my wallet,
that I so often share,
But the pictures that I treasure,
no one else can see,
They are pictures that are stored,
within my memory.

Lois had a way with words and memories.
Anyway, I sang this new song for them and they did enjoy it.
It was a fun program to do and many purchased books, my Discovering Life After Alzheimer's and Lois' book Fifty Cents an Hour - The Builders and Boomtowns of the Fort Peck Dam.
Several residents said they had relatives who worked on the dam in NW Montana back in the 1930's.
Uncle Harry, who lives across the street from the center came over for the program and we enjoyed a great dinner with the residents.
After missing a couple of turns and riding through downtown Billings in pouring rain I found my way to the home of Lois' nephew George Massick where I was to spend the night.
Both George and his wife Jean were waiting in the big shop building they had built next to the house. There was room for motorcycle, sidecar and trailer. Great shop, and a great visit with George and Jean.
Snow was falling as we headed for bed and it was forecast to continue through the night.
They both left for work early and I slept in, waiting for the snowfall to end.
Accuweather said it would be through by 10, but it was still coming down then so I climbed on and headed for the Interstate.
Fairly heavy traffic kept the snow from sticking to the road and I had an interesting ride through some wet and messy, almost slush as I headed out of town.
The combination of rain and snow continued to Columbus, about forty miles down the road and then settled in with light showers.
At Livingston the road was actually dry for a few miles but as I climbed to the higher elevations the light rain began again and was turning into light snow. Through Bozeman Pass there was snow on both sides of the highway but not on the asphalt.
The Wheat Montana Deli at Three Forks was a welcome stop for coffee and a muffin while cold fingers wrapped themselves around the coffee mug grasping for it's instant warmth.
Rain was ended and the road was dry as I headed North for Helena on 287.
The final hour of the ride went by quickly and home felt good and warm when I brought the banjo and guitar inside to thaw out.
500 miles round trip and all in all, a good springtime ride through the mountains of Montana.
Snow? Cold? Oh sure some, but nothing that most of you haven't experienced as you do your cross country rides.
Then to top the day off, I was hardly in the door when Roger called to remind me that Daren Streblow the famous comedian was appearing in town courtesy of Your Network of Praise, Montana's 50 station Christian radio group.
It was a great show and Streblow was at his best.
Great Christian comedy that kept everyone in stitches for the entire two hour event.
Thanks Roger, Thanks Network of Praise and Thanks Daren.
Great Show.
Pie and coffee at Perkins with Linda and Hanna topped off a perfect evening.
Well, that's my week and a good week it has been.
Watch for me, I'll be in the Right Lane America.
Del "Lonnie" Lonnquist  

Thursday, April 7, 2016

The Long Ride Home Florida - Texas - California - Montana

What a wonderful winter I enjoyed with Diana and Ilidio in Lake Mary, Florida.
There were many rides around the state including a weekend camp out at Highland Hammock State Park with Dale Coyner from Open Road Outfitters, who also joined Ilidio and I for the Spring Training opening game of the Minnesota Twins.
My twin brothers Grand Daughter Destini Molitor had kindly offered us free tickets to the game with the Boston Red Sox.
I left Diana and Ilidio waving in the driveway and headed up I-95 to Jacksonville where Michael Kneebone and the rest of his Iron Butt Association volunteers were hosting the annual IBA dinner.
It was a great time with lots of tire kicking and story telling.
Highlights included a short visit with Ken Andrews had ridden the 48X10 two times in succession setting some kind of record and a chance meeting with Steve Deidricks who had just completed the 50cc Quest, Coast to Coast ride a total of five times in a row racking up over 12,000 miles in the ten days leading up to the dinner.
Both men set records, but I'm not sure anyone really knew what they were.
These are Long Distance Riding Legends.

Leaving Jacksonville I had a pleasant but uneventful ride to the KOA in Milton, FL, about 360 miles and followed that with a ride across Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana into Texas where I was scheduled to visit Joni, Jerusha, Gary and my brother-in-law Stan Smith.
The Texas Welcome Center was not very welcoming as I crossed the Louisiana state line.

Heavy rain for several days in a row, north of Texas and in Louisiana had caused flooding and the river was rising rapidly and was reported to be nowhere near it's expected crest.

The Welcome Center parking lot was almost completely flooded.

Flashing signs warned of the danger.
The parking lot appeared to be filling fast and Texas Road Crews were working through the entire area shoring up those places that were likely to overflow.
The Interstate was closed later that night as the river level rose even more and traffic was halted for many hours as crews watched to see when the water would begin to subside.
Once I reached Stan's house we didn't worry about rising waters, but instead turned our path toward the Legendary Texas Roadhouse!

The Sirloin steak advertised on the outside wall of the establishment lived up to it's hype and Stan and I enjoyed the steak, the peanuts which preceded it and laughed about the peanut shell littered floor.

We had to laugh, and ask for a picture of the fireman sitting at the next table.
His Tee shirt was unique and explained why the gentleman had become a fireman.

He said he had many friends on the police force and enjoyed wearing it when they were around.
All in good fun.

The short two and a half day visit to Houston gave no opportunity to visit with Joni and her family as she was in the middle of a book project and was as she put it, "On a deadline."
We'll visit the next time through.

The ride out of Houston was uneventful although I missed the turns Stan had so patiently explained and traveled straight North until I ran into I-10 West bound.
Once back on the interstate the ride was smooth and enjoyable with a good sunny day, and with light winds on my back.

Riding the West Texas Hill Country is always beautiful, and calming, despite the hills.

Many people along the way have asked, "Why do you ride?

Someone along the way explained for me the difference between riding down the highway in a car and

riding down the highway astraddle a motorcycle.
They said, "When you travel in a car it's like watching a beautiful movie, when you're on a bike it's like being IN the movie."
I guess that does sort of sum it all up.

The miles and the beautiful West Texas Hills rolled by quickly and Fort Stockton came up quicker then I thought. The 450 miles gave time for thinking back on all of the fun times I had enjoyed in Florida through the winter months and the good times that lay ahead as I visited friends in Phoenix, San Diego and family in San Jose, CA.
The ride up I-10 from Tucson to Phoenix was made longer by two forty minute traffic slow downs.

A highlight was a quick stop at "The Bone yards" as Son-in-law Gary and Brother-in-law Stan call the place where they store old planes when their useful days are over.

 I rolled into Phoenix on a Sunday afternoon for a quick visit with former Helena, MT resident  Jane DeLong. The visit was even quicker that we had planned when I found her feeling under the weather and after a cup of coffee I headed out for, first the Apache Junction KOA, which was full and then headed south to the Gila Bend KOA where I arrived shortly before 10PM.
The drive south of Phoenix was on a beautiful night with clear skies and stars galore. Nice night drive.
I had called ahead and a camp site was waiting for me, even though the office was closed for the day.
The two minute set up of the tent was even faster then usual and a short time later I was in bed and reflecting on the great rides I had just completed.
I awoke early and uncovered the bike and sidecar so they could soak up a little sunshine before I headed for San Diego.
As has happened so many times in my travels, it wasn't long before I heard a voice saying, "Hello the trailer, are you up and at'em?"
Jerry, the camper from across the street was looking over the bike, sidecar and tent trailer.
He had many questions and seeing the sign on the front of the sidecar advertising my book, Discovering Life After Alzheimer's he whipped out a twenty dollar bill and asked if he could buy a couple of them and if so could I sign them.
I answered YES to both questions and he went back to his RV with two books and said he would settle in for a good read.

 As I crossed over the state line into New Mexico I was remembering last years ride when I had pulled off at the UFO Capital of the US, Roswell, NM.
The city has made a tradition of UFO material and despite the tourist hype you see at every New Mexico welcome center, the city or Roswell does have a very well done museum which has everything you ever wanted to know about the alleged 1947 UFO landing near the city.
New Mexico lives up the sign which call it The Land of Enchantment.
It is a beautiful state.

A short distance down the road from the welcome sign I came upon a large wayside grass fire with many firemen and many fire trucks on the scene fighting it.
Traffic slowed as I came up to the fire, so of course, I pulled off onto the shoulder to do a picture.

The Pacific Time Zone.
I am now near the end of my fourth ride from coast to coast.
In the two years since Lois passed away I have ridden 47,000 miles and have gone from the Atlantic to the Pacific and back again completing four crossings, plus crossing the mid section of the nation three times.

It never seems to get old and I still have two more events on the schedule before I head back to Montana for the summer.

Just ahead in San Diego, my friend Shareef AsSadiq, who was my Start Witness for the 50cc Quest, had invited his friends to join him and Christina Farr for an RTE, a Ride To Eat.
Here I would have an opportunity to meet several of his fellow Long Distance Riders.
I have been looking forward to meeting some of the REAL long distance riders who cruise across the nation and have made their marks in the Long Distance riding fraternity.

But first, Reef had taken time off work to be my guide on a trip to the top of the Mount Soledad War Memorial.

This beautiful patriotic site is spectacular with it's 39'4" cross and the beautiful view from the top of the hill overlooking the ocean below.

Shareef AsSadiq and I had our pictures taken by the Memorial Cross.
 The memorial has names and pictures of thousands of veterans from all wars.

Reef and his Chosen Few Motorcycle jacket

The visit to the Soledad War Memorial was one of the highlights of my ride across the country.
The tribute to the Veterans who have served this country so faithfully is a peaceful place where residents and visitors may sit on benches and reflect on the world as we know it and as we would like to see it.

The Welcome!
The ride from San Diego to San Juan Capistrano and the Bad Boy Barbecue was great with Reef leading the way and the rest of us following.
Since it was late afternoon traffic was heavy, at least, heavy in the mind of a rider from Montana who is not use to rush hour traffic
Then we were there, and there they were!
Joe, Mike, SeCCRet, Porsche, Juan, Reef, Cali Cat (Christina Farr) and Hollywood.

There were pictures to be taken, before the barbecue and we went right at it.

I know I'm not getting all the names right, but will try anyway.
Right is me and all of the guys.
Left with Porsche and with SeCCRet the Cross Country Rider

What a wonderful evening, breaking bread with this wonderful group of REAL Long Distance Riders.
I was so impressed.
These men and women know what it is to be on a motorcycle riding from one side of the country to the other and who know and understand the Thrill of the Ride!

For a great read visit Porsches'  On-line Magazine,
Here you will find great stories by SeCCRet and the review of the new Victory by Christina who has been riding the new bike for weeks.
The event I had been so looking forward to was coming to an end after much visiting and picture taking.
I was thrilled to be in the presence of these wonderful people and will look forward to meeting them all again.
How thoughtful and kind of them to take time from their busy schedules to take part in this RTE with an old guy from Montana.

And then, it was time to fill up the gas tank and head north.
Knowing how fearful I was of riding through the LA traffic, they volunteered to be my guides and took me through the great city on the 405 at night and went far out of their way to bring me to I-5 which would be my ride to San Jose.
Thanks to Mike, SeCCRet, CaliCat and Porsche for seeing me through the city and to a motel where I could launch from the next morning.
THANKS Long Riders.
You made my day!

The ride up to San Jose was sunny and warm with little or no wind and fantastic scenery everywhere I looked.
It was the Thursday before Easter and traffic was beginning to build, but the ride was uneventful and SIRI guided me through the city to Janis and Mike's driveway.
What a joy when Janis opened the door for the Father who had ridden far.
So good to see Mike, Vaughn, Pooja, Jordan, Miley and Jordans' boy friend Sam.
That night was Praise Band practise night and Vaughn led the Apostles Lutheran band through the songs they would be doing at the contemporary service Sunday morning.
What fun listening as they went through the songs of praise.
Easter Sunday dawned bright and beautiful and bright yellow flowers welcomed us to the church.

The band and singers were, as always, fantastic and the music was greatly appreciated by the congregation on Sunday.

 Look closely and you'll see Son-in-law Mike Klebig in the blue shirt behind the lady in the white dress. He plays guitar with the group. Grandson Vaughn, the leader of the group, can be seen (almost) behind the lady with the red top and Granddaughter Jordan's head is peeking out over the top of the piano which she plays with the group. I'm not sure what those wires sticking out from behind her head are, but I probably should have photo shopped them out of the picture. Great job Vaughn, Jordan and Mike.

 During the first service of the morning Janis and Mike are putting the churches new control room equipment through it's paces. The new digital, HD, equipment will make it possible for the church to stream it's services over the Internet live each Sunday morning.

Shish kabobs are the order of the day for an Easter feast at the Klebigs and the crew is hard at work  slipping the fixin's onto the Kabobbers.

 Vaughn and Pooja

Sam Shev, Jordan and Miley
I was trying to get the Easter Basket into the picture and may have missed a small, (very small) part of their heads.
Sorry Sam and Jordan.

Easter was a wonderful time to visit the Klebigs and San Jose.
The church services and lunches were wonderful and the visiting with old friends whom I had met on previous visits was a lot of fun.
I even got to wear my new CubaVera which Diana and Ilidio gave me last fall when I arrived in Florida.
This was definitely a good time.

Now the time had arrived for the last goodbyes and words of caution from everyone and the open road was beckoning.

I traveled north and east past Sacramento, Reno and went higher and higher as Donner's Pass signs began to show up along the road. When I finally reached the top of the pass I found snow covered signs and walking areas.

Kids were having a snowball fight near the sign which said No Playing in the snow.

Well, of course they did.
I didn't stay long and was soon on the downward slope to warmer temperatures.

I decided to overnight at Winnemucka, Nevada and elected to set up the tent, despite the forecast of temperatures in the 20's during the night. As I was checking in I mentioned that I was heading for the KOA campgrounds in Salt Lake City the next night.
The clerk said, "Do you know what they charge?"
I said, no probably forty or fifty dollars?
She replied, "I just reserved a a camp site for the last person here and the campsite was $109!"
As I left I checked the Iphone map and discovered that State Highway 95 headed straight north from Wells and I could head for Twin Falls, Idaho and stay there for a night, bypassing Salt Lake City.
It worked.
A quick ride east on I-80 and I stopped for gas at Wells.
Turning north I found a nice two lane highway and some 90 miles later I was pulling into Twin Falls.
Since it was still early afternoon I continue on to Pocatello and then Idaho Falls.
Now it was getting late, but Monida Pass was just a few miles down the road and that would put me in Montana!
I headed out with the thought in mind that if I road all night I could be home by early morning.
Monida Pass was cold.
Very cold.
As I dropped down from the pass the cold did not seem to be easing up and I decided I would stop for the night in Dillon, Montana and would stay at a motel because of the cold.
No Room At The Inn!
That's what I heard at the first three motels.
A high school track meet was scheduled for the next day and the town was full.
One helpful clerk suggested I might try the Sundowner Motel downtown.
They had one room left.
I"It's a smoking room, is that going to be all right?"
"Mam, if it has a furnace and a warm bed it's more than all right."
It did and I was so cold that I turned the furnace up full blast, removed my shoes and got under the covers fully dressed in an effort to stop the shivering.
It worked.
An hour later I was warm and life was good.
With the sun shining brightly, the 100 mile ride home to Helena the next morning was great.
The mountains still had snow on the peaks and at places it was down to the highway but it wasn't cold.
A few hours later I pushed the button on the garage door remote and was home.
It was a great six months visit in the south and I had enjoyed many rides with new and old friends.
Life is good and I was thankful to be home safe after riding 11,000 miles in the past six months.
Well, that's the story.
Now I am looking forward to many rides with the Last Chance Riders Motorcycle Club of Helena, Montana and possibly, a visit from some of the San Diego and Los Angeles, California riders I met on the way through.
That would be great.
THANKS to family and friends who have made this a great winter ride.
Watch for me, I'll be in the Right Lane America.
Del "Lonnie" Lonnquist

Oh and one more thing,
Here is a You Tube News report on my ride by Stephanie Muniz, a Florida News Blogger who specializes in Positive News. Give her a listen when you have time. She is a nice young lady and a good reporter,