Feb 15

Talimena Run

May 9
Pink Ride
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Amy Quinn Smith” width=

Amy Quinn Smith, of Hooks, Texas poses for a portrait outside Whisky
River Harley-Davidson in Texarkana. Local riders are raising money and
organizing a Pink Ride for Smith, a breast cancer survivor.

As a cancer survivor, my life has changed some. While I’m presently cancer free, the lingering, nagging question of “what caused it” is still with me. I now stop and think about things I used to take for granted. Sometimes I pause while in the past I would have charged ahead. I rarely worried about carcinogens or contaminates before. I was quick to touch chemicals and slow to grab a respirator. Not so any more.
And events that would have never registered with me before now catch my attention. The Pink Ride this coming weekend is a good example. Last year this breezed by under my radar, even as it raised $4,000 for a local breast cancer survivor. This year it caught my attention.
This is a local event organized by Diana Rains to help her friend Amy Quinn Smith. Whisky River Harley-Davidson, which sponsored the event last year, is sponsoring it again this year. There is a police-escorted ride from Whisky River to Dwight’s Bikers Dream in New Boston. The entry fee is $35 for the first rider and $15 for the second. After refreshments at Dwight’s, riders will return to Whisky River where there will be an auction to raise money with products donated from local businesses. There will be food, music, vendors and a breast cancer awareness booth.
One of the things that strike me so much about this event is it was started by a local person, sponsored by a local business and calls on locals to help a local. Diana says she knew just whom to go to for help. The motorcycle community loves to ride for a cause. And she’s right, but that only underscores the sense of family of the biking community. I may ride around on my piece of Jap-Crap while Diana putters around on her Hardley-Ableson, but if one of us needs help, we’re both riders.
Kudos to Diana for starting this, Whisky River for sponsoring it, the local businesses that donated items for the auction and the riders who participate. Because of people and events like this, the term “biker” carries a very different connotation now than it did a half century ago.

- Guy Wheatley

Click here for Texarkana Gazette, Heath Beat article about Amy.

Oct 5
Home at last
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Skinny Minnie napping.” width=

The ill-named Skinny Minnie cat naps on the back of the couch.

I got home yesterday (Tuesday) about 4:30 pm. I can’t lift anything. I’m still so sore it was all I could do to drag my cut up carcass into the house, which left it to Mrs. Sharon to do EVERY thing else. So, as I basically sat on the couch watching TV, still using my hands to delicately hold in my innards at every deep breath or cough, Sharon spent the rest of the evening hauling in stuff from the car getting supper and cleaning up what messes the cats had left.
We’d left them with sufficient litter pans, food and water to hold out for the 7 to 10 days we’d expected to be gone. We closed the door to our bedroom, to keep it off limits. But one of the cats managed to dart unseen through the door as we closed it the last time. This rotund ball of gray stripped fur goes by the ridiculous nom de plume Skinny Minnie. While the name fit when she first came to us, it has been many years since she could fit in her prom dress. I’d taken to calling her Fatty Patty, however Mrs Sharon nixed that name. So even as we watch her waddle down the hall, as wide or tall as she is long, we still call her Skinny Minnie.
It’s amazing how she can get that much fat moving so fast so quickly, but she can. And of course she picked the worst possible time to do it, darting unseen through a door that would remain closed for the next seven days.
As we opened the bedroom door, headed for blessed slumber, a much more svelte Skinny Minnie shot between our legs in a mad dash to the feeder and water dish. It became quickly obvious that we would not be sleeping in our bed this night.
Settling down in the guest bedroom, I lay in bed with the Yorkie friends who’d been keeping had returned a few hours earlier. We have a rug topped with towels on the bed, that are his bed. Sharon finished her chores and came to bed. Leaving her and the Yorkie, I went to the bathroom to start swapping and cleaning the various bags and tubes that will be my constant companions for the next 4 weeks. Just as I was finishing up, I heard a distressed, ‘Oh no! BINKY!” I guess there was just too much change and too much excitement for that little bladder. Sharon had stepped out of bed for just a second to grab another blanket. Binky stepped off his bed for some other business. On to the second guest bedroom, and our third bed for the night. Thus passed our first evening home.

- Guy Wheatley

May 27

The complex molecules that power my motorcycle may have once powered,
or been part of, these flying creatures.

I’m on vacation next week. One thing about having grandkids is, it resolves any question of where we’re going for vacation. We’re going to see the grandkids. Both of my children live in Fort Worth, so a visit to one is a visit to both. A few years ago, we decided to haul the travel trailer to a park in the area and “camp out” there. (If you can call living in a tiny little mobile home complete with AC, water, sewer, and cable camping.) But hauling the camper and boat, meant the bike had to stay behind. We’re going to try something a little different this year.
We’re headed for Dinosaur Valley State park down in Glen Rose. We’re taking a tent and I’m loading Maggie in the back of the pickup. I’m hoping to get in some good riding while we’re there. I’ve heard a lot of good things about the roads south and west of Fort Worth. It’s just an hour south of Fort Worth, so we can see the grandkids. They might even come out and spend a night with us.
Researching the park, I see they’ve got some of those big dinosaur models. I don’t know what they’re made of, but I’d think that plastic or some other petroleum product is likely to be a large component. So if petroleum is a product of some jurassic swamp, that presumably had at least a few dinosaur carcasses in it, then possibly there is some actual dino in those dinos.
Right now Maggie is using a petroleum based oil. I’m planning to change her over to fully synthetic before the end of the summer. But for now, there’s possibly some dino atoms in her oil pan. So while I’m visiting my relatives, the dino atoms in Maggie’s oil pan can visit their relatives in the dinosaur models. See how well that works out.
We’ll be back for an appointment in Shreveport on Friday, but will probably spend the rest of the weekend camping at Queen Wilhelmina State park and run the Talimena scenic road a few times. And it’s possible that a complex hydrocarbon molecule that once soared in a petranodon wing will again soar over mountain passes in a howling flat-6 rice burner.

- Guy Wheatley

May 17

Meet at Little River Nursing & Rehab Parking Lot, 162 Hwy 32-2A, Across from Wal-Mart Saturday, May 21, 2011 for the 4th Annual “Ride For Health.” It is sponsored by Little River Health System
Registration begins at 8:00am, 1st Bike out at 9:00 am, Last Bike out at 10:00 am, $20 per bike
Prizes will be drawn for, you have to be registered but not present to win.
Beautiful, Scenic route will end in Hot Springs, Arkansas. You may decide to stay afterward.
Map of route will be given to you when you register.

May 11
Talimena Run
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Title: Talimena Run
Location: Meet at Whisky River Harley Davidson
Description: Sunday May 15 is the last day of standard registration.
The Talimena Run is 3 days of motorcycles, msic, food nad fellowship May 26 through 28 to benifit the Hooks Children’s Ministry of Hooks Texas.
The run begins Thursday May 26 with a meet and greet ar Whisky River Harley Davidson with a group ride to Fisherman’s Wharf in Hot Springs, Ark., to follow Friday. The Talimena Run Mountain Ride is Saturday, May 28 to Queen Wilhelmina State Park in Mena, Ark. Lunch and dinner will be provided both Friday and Saturday. Points Run tickets will be available for chances to win prizes both days as well.
Standard registration for the run is $40 per person. Cost for registration after Sunday is $50.
For information or to register, call Neil Jones at (903) 547-6720
Start Date: 2011-05-26
End Date: 2011-05-28

Apr 22
Motor Dog

Motorcyclist Mary Gregory and “Hunter” don their helmets to join TxDOT
in launching the 2011 motorcycle safety awareness campaign. Since drivers
are often at fault when a car and a motorcycle collide, the “Share the Road”
campaign reminds motorists to look twice for motorcycles. It will run through
mid-May, which is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month.
Photo Jody Horton

May is motorcycle safety awareness month. Link to press release. It may well be more appropriate this year than ever before with gas prices possibly on their way to $6.00 a gallon. The convergence of milder weather and higher fuel costs riding the crest of the boomer trend toward motorcycling means this year has the potential to add more new, and inexperienced, riders to the road than ever before.
The Texas Department of Transportation is launching a state wide public awareness campaign called, “Share the road.” They also kicked off the Look Learn and Live website featuring the 2nd central Texas motorcycle safety fair. They hope to impress upon the operators of larger vehicles to watch for motorcycles. They remind drivers that a motorcycle, “is a vehicle with all of the rights and privileges of any other vehicle.”
Be that as it may, a motorcycle doesn’t have the mass of any other vehicle. What may have been a minor bump between two cars can easily be a fatal incident between a motorcycle and another vehicle. And sadly, the new riders, driven to bikes by economic concerns, will have less experience in recognizing dangerous conditions, evading danger, and being prepared for an unfortunate event. The average driver will then be presented with more targets that are less capable of getting out of the way.
Texas Department of Transportation offers four bullet points for motorists.
• Do a double take. In other words, look twice and check for motorcycles.
• Be respectful. Motorcycles have a right to be on the road also.
• Give them space. Motorcycles have to avoid obstacles a car could just run over.
• Anticipate next steps. Leave the biker room to maneuver.
These are actually good practices for any driving. They just have more dire consequences for a motorcycle, when ignored.
The biggest single improvement to safety that the public can practice is to simply stop tailgating. I rarely see any car on the road that isn’t following too closely. In the larger metropolitan areas I go to, it gets absolutely ridiculous. And that is what concerns me most about the expected new wave of riders. These are likely to be people riding in metropolitan areas during rush hour traffic. This puts the most vulnerable riders in the most dangerous environment.
One statistic that may change could be the percent of alcohol involvement. Currently, TexDot says in the Drink, Ride, Lose campaign that 46% of motorcycle fatalities include some level of alcohol involvement. Although the total number of alcohol related deaths is unlikely to change, the percentage may go down as novice commuters ad to the death toll with out drinking.
Eventually, things will improve. More riders, and possibly more accidents, will increase public awareness of motorcyclists. And eventually natural selection will weed out those riders who will not, or can not ride responsibly.

- Guy Wheatley

Dec 21
Pink thunder
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Team SuperMartXe VIP

Paris Hilton announces the Team SuperMartXe VIP Moto GP entry in the
125cc class.
- photo by the Associated Press.

I’ve never been a big fan of Moto GP. It’s not that I have some passionate dislike of the sport, but there just isn’t much in it that appeals to me. I just see it as unrealistic bikes on an unrealistic course. I can’t make a connection between anything I see in Moto GP and the things that I appreciate about motorcycle riding.
I do occasionally watch the Isle of Man TT races. This races uses production motorcycles racing on actual roads. While it’s not exactly long-haul scenic cruising, it does at least resemble conditions an ordinary rider might find, and features bikes available at the local dealership. The 37-mile course offers enough scenic beauty and variation to make it interesting, going from cramped downtown streets to breathtaking coastal vistas.
Not so, with Moto GP. This features purpose made bikes that are neither for sale to the public, nor street legal, racing on a closed racing track. About thing only thing that could make this less relevant to my take on motorcycle riding would be to throw in some clueless celebrity endorsement. Enter Ms Hilton.
Wearing a low-cut, pink and white, rhinestone-studded racing suit, she announced the SuperMartXe VIP by Paris Hilton team in Madrid on Dec. 20. They will enter an Aprilla RSA bike in the 125cc class. Team colors are pink and white. Ms Hilton won’t be riding the bike, but promises to attend as many races as she can.
SuperMartXe VIP is a dance series in Ibiza, Spain. From what I can discover, it is known for its excess of, well, excess and its dearth of clothes. I’m at a complete loss to explain why they could have any interest in Moto GP other than the opportunity to see Ms Hilton bedecked in a low-cut, pink and white, rhinestone-studded racing suit.
Aprilla makes a low-slung, automatic transmission motorcycle, often thought of as a “woman’s bike.” Maybe it hopes to attract more female riders by bedecking Ms Hilton in a low-cut, pink and white, rhinestone-studded racing suit, and having her announce their pink and white addition to the circuit. Good luck with that.
If any of my faithful readers understand the motivation behind this, please don’t explain it to me. I’d rather just put on some black leather, and go for a ride on the open road.

- Guy Wheatley

Nov 1

Title: Brandy Brown Memorial Birthday Benefit Bash
Location: Randy & Debbie Greene’s (Skynny Randy’s) 2028 Tibbit Trail Texarkana, AR
Link out: Click here
Description: Food (donations accepted)
Poker Run
50/50 draw down
Date: 210-11-06

Heath Greene Motorcycle Awareness Foundation address is 2028 Tibbit Trail Texarkana, Ar. Rondo community 82 E from Texarkana turn left on 237 right @ Rondo Methodist 8/10 mi. right on Tibbit Trail rock house on left will be signs day of event

Apr 28

Jefferson Texas will host what is billed as the largest Civil War reenactment in Texas this weekend. While not technically a “biker” event, one could argue that any event in Jefferson is a biker event. The town is so biker friendly that a least a couple of hundred bikes will be there on any given weekend.
And while we’re arguing technicalities, the event this weekend is not actually a reenactment. There never was a Battle of Port Jefferson. Union troops, under the command of General Nathaniel Banks, were on the way to burn the port town of Jefferson when they met defeat at Mansfield Louisiana on April 8, 1864. But the boys in Jefferson are still spoiling for a fight and by golly they’re going to have one. So every year year about this time Jefferson hosts a reenactment of the battle that would have been if the Yankees had just made it this far.
Jefferson is always a good biking destination, and this weekend it will offer a lot of additional entertainment. And even though the battle itself never took place, the re-enactors are serious about period authenticity. It will be 1864 again in Jefferson.

— Guy Wheatley

Historic downtown Jefferson

Historic downtown Jefferson

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