Sunday, December 30, 2007
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
What are the odds? You are two motorcycles amidst a gathering of over 2000. Someone you know is taking photos of the spectacle and is not aware that you are in the group....somewhere. And in his series of photos, in the distance, you see you and your partner cornering slightly. Certainly throttling up of course. You blow the photo up, and in the blurr can easily discern the markings that identify the two of you from the rest.
One of the most noticeable things is that you are both wearing jeans. Normally this would not stand out, however on a morning where there is a threat of snow, and in fact the pavement is wet from some flakes, a lack of proper leg protection kind of stands out.
We left early in the morning from the warmth of J's NE Portland home. If the shock of the bikes firing up at 7:20 AM, booming exhaust sounds from an echoing garage did not disturb the neighbors, the the sight of us riding off in the 31 degree air may not have even been noticed.
We did not even get the kindness of a reprieve in the form of a red light. Non-stop from the house to the restaurant several miles away where we would meet some other friends.
After a warm and filling breakfast we once again gathered into our coats and gloves, our face-masks or fleece gators, and rode (now as a group) to the gathering of other motorcyclists.
At the gathering place, a bus yard, there were already several hundred other bikes there with toys strapped to them, a bus full of toys, and the inevitable Santa or two. I am certain they had to discuss why there would be two of them.
Over the next 2 hours of standing around in the cold, several hundred more bikes showed up. HOG chapters, STAR chapters, and of course, Outsiders, Gypsy Jokers, and Brother Speed.
When it came time to ride to the hospital everyone fired up their bikes and waited for the procession.
At one point everyone revved their motors. The sound was overwhelming. J's bobber that is recognizably loud was not discernible from the wall of noise even though I was only 12" from it.
Soon, one by one, two, by hundreds, we moved onto the street and made our way down Powell, through downtown, and up the hill to the hospital.
The cold got to me on that ride. Distracting as it was to watch the bystanders gawk, or wave, or just look puzzled at what they were seeing, as distracting as all of that noise was reverberating off the downtown buildings and corridors, the fact was...it was mighty cold.
I cannot tell you how impressed I was/am with J's riding. with the idea that this "princess" would put herself through this cold torture, just to get a ride in..and more importantly, to show her support for the cause.
I hear a lot of stuff about saving this or saving that....maybe...just maybe...we helped a child that is scared, alone, hurting, just maybe we made one ill child....better....if only for a moment.
We were part of a delivery of thousands of toys from the stuffed animals to the electronic games, along with over $40,000 in cash donated to the hospital for equipment and other needs.
I know it is not much, however....if all of our efforts eased the suffering of just one child...then it was worth the numb fingers, frozen toes, and frost bit cheeks to be part of getting it there.
Monday, December 3, 2007
We started our new family tradition of “hunting” our Christmas Tree this year.
We obtained our $5 permit from the ranger station and we headed to an area I am familiar with from chasing the wily Black Tail Deer.
Snow was the norm here this day and we saw lots of folks out playing, sledding, ATV-ing, and of course others out hunting their own tree.
We had visions of finding the perfect tree in some 5 or 6-year-old growth areas. A Noble Fir was our target, however if we were to find the nefarious Blue Spruce, we would certainly do whatever it took to obtain it.
Now when I say “a lot of folks” it is quite subjective. “A lot” in this case is really a few here and there.
One group we found was three assorted four-wheel drive trucks coming in the opposite direction of the single lane-logging road we were traveling.
Being the nice guy I am, I pulled over to let them by.
Ditch. They place those things in the weirdest places.
Of course the snow was covering the precipice of the ditch as well as it’s depth.
With effete “shwump” we slipped to our right and planted the truck into the deep ditch and the bank on the other side of it.
Certain I could get us out, I began a series of maneuvers usually not seen in public.
Once I exhausted these tricks, I placed the truck into 4-Low and dug it in real well.
It was nice of the trucks passing me to stop, strap up, and yank us out of the ditch.
Of course all of this took place about ten minutes after I assured Jen she had nothing to worry about.
And after showing her the worst case first hand, she finally accepted that idea.
We finally found our tree.
A bit Charlie Brown-ish, maybe 5 feet taller than we thought it was. However it is perfect.
Not unlike the home it is being placed in, or the love that shall surround it in this new family.
Family. They place those things in the weirdest places.
From this family, in the ditch, to yours in yours, much blessings and love this season and every day.