May, 2005

May 6 - 8, 2005

It was time for our annual Macksville (KS) Biker's Weekend, and this was our 10th!  We've been doing this to wrap up the annual Run For The Son, and it's held in the city park in Macksville, KS, each year.  It's one of my favorite events of the year.

People start arriving on Friday afternoon and setting up their camp sites in the park, and, during the evening, we have a hot dog roast.  After things are set up and everyone is fed, it's time to sit around, or run around the park, meeting up with people from other chapters and other bike groups who make it, some of whom I only get to see once or twice a year.  

On Saturday morning we get an early start for a 100-mile ride.  Those who camp in the park in Macksville meet on Main Street to get ready to head out.  This year our route took us through St. John, into Great Bend where we made a stop, and through Larned and into Kinsley where we made another stop.  
At each stop we meet up with more riders coming from different directions for the rally.  While at the stop in Kinsley I saw Nathan's bike and did a photo of part of it since it's always so clean and shiny.  I'm not sure what happened to Nathan.  He was a fanatic V-Max rider for a long time, and then decided to build this bike. It's nice.

Before we left Kinsley I also noticed the reflection in Bill's glasses, along with the CMA logo he pointed out to me.  When it was time to head out for the final leg of the run we left for Macksville and the rest of the activities planned for the weekend.  

After arriving in Macksville everyone gathered in the park for some brief announcements, and for a brief devotional done this year by Rick, the Chaplain for the Gabriel's Thunder chapter.  That chapter co-sponsors of this event, along with our chapter, the Rapture Riders.  After Rick did the devotional I acknowledged those I saw from different groups and welcomed them, and, as Chaplain of our chapter, I offered a prayer before we started with the rest of the activities.  One of the first things on the agenda was getting something to eat and lines always form at the food vendors who set up for the day.  While people were getting food I noticed Rick doing something and couldn't pass on this shot.  Looking like this, this guy would scare snakes and make freight trains take a dirt road!!

This weekend is a family event, and Vic and Yvonne, one of the couples in our chapter, do a really good job of providing activities for the youth.  While those activites are taking place, bike games are also in progress, starting usually with the slow race, watched by those who don't ride, or by others who find their way to the park to watch the events taking place.

On Saturday evening the Hyway Harvesters chapter puts on a meal for anyone who wants to stop by their set-up, and many people do just that.  On Sunday morning we prepare breakfast, but the only drawback for me is having to get up REALLY early.  I try to meet the expectations set by Beth in our chapter, but it seems I fail her each year by coming in later than she would really like.  My job is to make coffee, and I still haven't been able to make the first pot of coffee for the breakfast crew.  They really need to wait for my coffee, though, since I don't make wimpy coffee like someone else makes before I arrive.  I make coffee that has character and is good for you!!

Someone decided this year I needed to augment my attire, and added a couple of coffee filters to my head.  I thought it was a nice touch, but then someone added a steaming pancake to the filters.  Since my head of hair isn't as full as it was in my younger years and couldn't provide the insulation needed to protect me from the heat, the pancake had to go.  I kept the filters, though.  

After the breakfast had been served and the kitchen was cleaned up, there was a service in the sanctuary.  Curtis Clements, our Regional Evangelist, did the sermon.  After the service, people start heading for various parts of the State, and out of State, and the weekend is over for another year.  I left eventually, and headed for Hudson, KS, to meet my mother, my sister, Joyce, and other family members at a restaurant for Mother's Day.

After we ate, it was on to Houston and the art car events for me.............

May 8 - 16, 2005

After lunch, I hit the road for Tulsa since I wanted to spend some time with my youngest sister and her family, and since plans had been made to meet up with Tom from Minneapolis.  Tom is the one who had the "Leather Car"  in Omaha and Hastings last August.  Unfortunately, it couldn't make the run to Houston so Tom brought his Lexus with the lake pipes, and other goodies to be placed on it as it evolves.  

I wanted to meander the two-lane highways so I went down to Medicine Lodge, picked up 160, and headed east.  When I arrived in Winfield I went south for a short distance, and then headed back east on 166 until I made my turn south on 75 to go through Bartlesville and on to Tulsa.  Not thinking, I failed to do a photo of the Toyota Land Cruiser my brother-in-law and nephew restored, and I parked right beside it in the garage on two consecutive nights.

During the second night there I went to a softball game with my sister and niece, and, while on the way home, I turned my left blinker on.  When I did that, the headlights went out, which was something new to me.  The next morning was Tuesday, the day Tom was to meet me so we could go on the Houston, and, to start the day, my sister asked me to show up at the Christian school where she works so a classroom of kids could see the BugWing.  I did that, and word must have spread since classroom after classroom came outside, in turns, to see it. They were all very well-behaved kids and it was a treat meeting them.

In addition to going to the school, I asked my sister if she knew anyone who could do some trouble-shooting on the wiring glitch that showed up after some wiring changes were made before I left home, and I waited on a call from anyone who may be able to help.  One guy called but could not get to it, so he called another guy who then called me.  I packed up and headed for Konrad's shop where he was able to run down the glitch and correct it.  While having that corrected Tom called to say he was an hour away, so, after Konrad was finished, I rode to a truck stop where Tom and I arranged to meet.  My sister showed up to see us off, and we got on the road again.

That night we stopped in Paris, TX, to get some food and rooms, and to do some catching up since we hadn't seen each other since last August in Omaha and Hastings.  After a good night of sleep we got back on the road and finished the trip to Houston, arriving late on Wednesday afternoon.  We pulled around 5:00pm and met Jim and Eileen who graciously made their house available to "out-of-towners."  I'll never forget the first words Eileen spoke to me when we arrived.  I'd never heard them before and found her comment really funny. She said, "I was so excited you were coming I washed my hair and put my teeth in."  They let us in the "side door" and the two of them were incredibly good to the two of us while we were there!!

During the first night in Houston we went to a welcome gathering for out-of-towners and I finally met several people I've corresponded with through e-mail during the past several months.  In addition, I met more people who were totally new to me, but who didn't seem "new" after we had talked just a short time. Early the next morning, Tom was working on making some more modifications to the Lexus, and Eileen and I helped him do some of that before I washed the BugWing to get it cleaned up again after being on the road for five days.  

Eileen showed us around parts of town later in the day.  She picked right up on the fact I am not used to the kind of traffic Houston has, and the fact I do not know my way around down there.  Instead of just giving us directions to various places, she was kind enough to drive us to some of those locations, or have us follow her to them.  I found that very helpful since it's very confusing when a street changes names as you drive on it.

During the second night in Houston we went to the art car ball, but I never did make it inside.  Instead, I stayed outside looking at cars and talking to people who stopped where I was parked in the lot.  All the cars got my attention, but I singled some out.  This is one I found particularly interesting, and this is a close-up of one small segment of the car.  This car was another one that stood out, and it was done by a group of high school students.  I'm not sure what this one was called, but it was powered by some kind of motor.  It crawled across the ground with the head flopping from side-to-side, controlled by the owner who stood up on it holding something that almost looked like reins, while he manipulated some other controls.   Another one that caught my attention was this Volvo with fish and lobsters all over it which were programmed to move to music the car played.  Some of the vehicles present were equipped with propane tanks for a little fire.

On Friday morning Eileen led us to the Children's Museum I'd still be looking for if left on my own and the cars broke up into different groups, each of which had motorcycle police escorts to various locations such as schools, hospitals, community centers, and assisted living centers throughout Houston on the "Main Street Drag."  After lining up and getting some food, our group went to four different schools where students were allowed to come out and look at the cars. Our first stop was at the Henry W. Grady school, another stop was at a high school, another was at the Garden Oaks Elementary School where we lined up in a drive way, and our final stop was at another elementary school where the kids also had art projects and their own cardboard box art cars on display.  Someone, using Eileen's camera, noticed Eileen having a lot of fun talking with the kids at one of the stops, and Eileen captured another photo of JAO talking with the kids after she completed a speed painting at one of the schools.

After our final stop we had a motorcycle escort to downtown Houston where lunch was waiting, and, after lunch I ran into the "Unruly Julies" parked on one of the streets.  In addition, I also ran into Don, Erika (who was one of the judges this year in Houston), the "Unruly Julies," and Nick (?).  Given my aversion to getting lost in large cities, I decided to stay downtown instead of leaving and returning later for the "Main Squeeze" scheduled for 6:00 - 11:00 pm.  While walking around I encountered one of the volunteers who do so much to help make the art car events a huge success, and she suggested that I move to another location on Main Street.  When I did that, I happened to park in a parking lot near the KPRC television van, which led to a brief interview with Courtney shortly after 4:00 pm that afternoon, another one at 9:00 pm that evening, and another one while moving during the parade on Saturday.

While I walked around downtown I also noticed a cockroach sitting next to a boat, and I ran into Bryan, President of the Houston Art Car Klub.  While sitting on the street talking with Bryan,  Erika and Don came by, and I did this photo as Bryan and Erika talked.  Harrod Blank walked by and talked with us for a while as well.  For more about Harrod, click here.

Early on Saturday morning, Eileen helped out again by leading me to the area where I needed to be to line up for the for the parade on Allen Parkway that is blocked off from 9:00 am until 4:00 pm.  Between 9:00 am and 1:00 pm, spectators are allowed to walk among the cars.  I have no idea how many people I met and talked with during that period of time, but I enjoyed it! At 1:00 pm, the parade started by heading toward downtown Houston where it made a U-turn and headed back out on allen Parkway.  "Spike Mike" was kind enough to do some photos of me near the end of the parade and shared a couple of them with me, with this one being one of them.  I heard an estimate at least 200,000 people watched the parade.   It's an amazing experience riding in a parade with that many spectators.

After the parade was over I headed back to Jim and Eileen's to do something I hadn't done yet in the entire time I was there; that being, take a nap.  I took the parade numbers off the BugWing, went inside, showered, and stretched out.  I was wired up from the day and the sensory overload experienced during the entire time there I had been in Houston, but did manage to conk out for a short time.  Eventually, everyone else returned and then Tom and I prepared to go to the Illuminated Cruise. Cars and drivers met at the Art Car Museum and, while there, Tom and I went inside for a brief tour.  Cars left from there, following Bryan on a route he planned through a residential area where the streets were lined with people, and then through the downtown area.

On Sunday morning I packed the BugWing for the short ride to the Orange Show Center for Visionary Art where the brunch/awards ceremony would be held.  Eileen and Jim were preparing to leave town so we said our goodbye's, and, before they left, Eileen prepared simple instructions for us to use for our 10-minute trip to the Orange Show.  Full of confidence, we set out.  I'm not sure what happened, but we came to what appeared to me to be a fork in the road. Of course, I took the wrong one. I didn't know that right away, but it soon became clear we were not where we were supposed to be.  Our attempt to get directions from a gas station attendant didn't work, so Tom took the lead.  Through our joint effort we turned the 10-minute ride from Jim and Eileen's place into at least an hour and ten minute ride.  In some residential area we eventually met up with a guy from Ohio or Indiana, or somewhere in that part of the country, who was looking for a way across the freeway that would take him to the Orange Show, too, so we pooled our intellectual resources, looked at a map I had, and and fell in behind him.  We promptly found ourselves back in an area Tom and I had toured several times, but the guy we were following took a street off that route Tom and I hadn't tried yet.  We soon found ourselves on an I-45 access road where he overshot Munger street, but not by much.  When he discovered his error as he passed the street, brakes lights came on, we stopped, and he and Tom pushed me back a short distance since I don't have reverse. We were were there!

Cars filled a parking area, and people filled the streets around the Orange Show.  After a little Car-B-Q the awards started.  Among those who received awards that day were Julie, and Nicole, who got her award from Bryan of HACK.  I was very pleasantly surprised to hear my name called for one of the First Place awards, along with the other first place winners who were, as noted in the Orange Show web site:

Art Car
1st Place Winners -
Grand Trophy & $700 each

Elee by Mark Bradford - # 3

Draka the Dragon by Lisa Nigro - # 36

BugWing by Rex Rosenberg - # 78

Live to Ride by Waltrip High School Students under the direction of Rebecca Bass - # 106

After the awards had been presented I had photos made of Don, myself, and Tom, and another one of Erika with me.  Harrod did some photos of me with the BugWing and we talked for a short time, following which it was time to get back on the road for Kansas.  I said goodbye to Tom and a few more people before I found my way to I-45, and then to 59, without any problem I might add, heading north and out of town.  I decided, as tired as I was, to shut down in Lufkin, TX, that night.  After I checked in at the motel I started taking my things in, one of which was the trophy I had been given in Houston a few hours earlier. Some guy sitting in front of the motel watched while I did a couple of exposures of the trophy in front of the BugWing, but he didn't say a word.  Maybe he was thinking something similar to what was on a bumper sticker Tom gave to me when we met in Tulsa almost a week earlier; that being, "You have to be real secure to be seen in a car like this."  Maybe not.  

Anyway, I got a bit more food in me, and had a good night of sleep before pressing on for Tulsa the next day.  It takes a while for me to get somewhere since gas stops take much longer than those I experience when in my "normal" car.  I meet a LOT of really neat people at those stops, though, and I get to spend some time talking with most of them.  Some of the stops are not in gas stations, though, and I experienced another one of those on the highway south of Paris, TX.  I can tell when people are looking at me since they will often spend time behind me, and then beside and a little ways back from me when they pull into the passing lane, and then right beside me.  That sort of thing happened in this instance, but it went on longer than normal.  When the car came up beside me at one point I just motioned for us to pull over, at which time I got to meet Renee, and Dave who works for her.  Renee really seemed to like the BugWing, as evidenced by jumping up repeatedly, so I asked her if she'd like to sit in it, which she did.   I did some other photos of them while we talked along the side the highway, but, eventually, I had to get back in and continue my trip to Tulsa where I stayed with my sister and her family again that night.  

On Tuesday morning I left Tulsa, taking my time as I headed north on the highway, and taking my time to talk with people during my gas stops.  When I came to the Kansas line, I stopped for one more photo since it was good to be back in the State.  I had a strong tail wind all the way from Houston, and the BugWing doesn't cool as well with a tail wind as it does when I'm going into the wind, or when I have a cross wind.  After I left Lyons for the final 35 miles of my trip, I noticed the temperature guage climbing in a way I'm not used to seeing in a cross wind.  When I pulled over in a roadside rest area and shut it off, I heard a growling sound as my radiator fan motor retired from service.  To get on home I let it cool off, I ran a few miles and stopped, I'd let it cool off again, and so on.  I filled a gallon jug and topped off my water bottle at a shop in Chase where I did a couple of  photos at one of my cooling stops on the way home. The stops gave me the opportunity to meet, and talk with, even more people, and I finally made it into the garage around 9:00pm.  A new radiator fan motor is on the way, and I'm also going to have a new aluminum racing radiator made and added to the cooling system so I don't have to watch the temperature guage so closely.  

Thanks again to Jim and Eileen in Houston for opening their house to me and Tom, and thanks to the Orange Show people, to all the HACK members, and everyone else involved in making the trip a really good one!!

Links related to the art car events and parade in Houston, 2005: