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1000 for Charity

by Patricia T.

Well here it is over a week since we have returned from the 1000/24 ride, what a ride, so far - so quick, it is like a blur; until I think about what we accomplished… It is a great feeling, no it's an honor, to be a part of something much more important than our every day lives and troubles and nonsense. My week has disappeared wrapped up in daily drudgery and responsibilities. Then I get an overwhelming feeling that I should count my blessings, smile and deal with whatever my life throws at me. Because I have seen, touched and become a part of Tyler's life. No child asks for a disabling life without the simple joys of running, playing and being "normal". However, let me emphasize, Tyler is more "normal" with all his disfigurement, pain and lack of the simple graces we all take for granted than most of us can ever aspire to be. His smile, handsome face, gentle demeanor, thankfulness and daily accomplishment with his peers to be cherished, accepted and normal are incredible achievements, and yet he is still a child! Wow, what member of our society he will become. I have a sense of peace, pride and perseverance that increased with each mile tagged on the odometer.

Ok, the ride: after days of rain & threatening thunder storms Thursday came without either, but I was not willing to risk the possibilities & begin soaked & whiney, so, I arrived fully geared with leathers & full face helmet, tip to toe. Ok for those that know me, yup, I do ride "covered" up, but hey those Florida bugs can get mean & they outnumber the population of people and are nearly as large as mice… Everybody else seemed to be more excited about slathering on sunscreen as if we were about to lay in the sand with margaritas. Ahhhh, Florida. But somehow we never saw any sand! Although I will admit I did get warm, I was happy to have my gear even though the rain never came.

The school was alive with children, excited, screaming, cheering for Tyler and the motorcycles. It felt like we had all just taken first place and we hadn't even left N.C. yet. We had briefings, meetings, data, questions, orange juice and then back out into the throng of happiness, onto our bikes & at the road, the sunshine gleaming off chrome. Oops, we had photos & a special request by Hugh for Tyler to give a good thrust of the throttle to further his involvement. Timidly Tyler gave a small twist on the throttle, giggles, smiles, kids going nutty wishing they each could touch, ride, escape…. Then Hugh motions & tells Tyler MORE, well, Tyler is all boy, NEVER tell a boy more throttle unless you really mean it! He became one giant smile, he glowed as that engine wound up so hard that Hugh prepared to be left behind, his Harley beaten by a child, but no, it to was all boy & handled a hard throttle. By now we were all smiling like children.

Into the wind: I choose to be directly behind Gary, and I stayed in place # 2 & sometimes almost into Gary's saddlebags by the next morning. The riders were separated into 3 groups leaving at 15 minute intervals, group # 1 left almost in a race to be back ASAP, group 2 & 3 merged, we decided to congeal into a team, remain together, go only 5 miles above speed limits, relax, enjoy & do it. We were followed by our chase truck full of fluids, snacks & anything one needed; a truck & trailer for emergencies ready to solve any problem mechanical or emotional; and a car with our photographer & back up emergency driver, they were well prepared as I remember seeing them in the car wearing their motorcycle helmets!
Mileage scheduled gas, bathroom, fluid & food stops became our breaks. I had decided to make a routine that would hopefully carry over in case I became tired. I'm a routine, list, shiny type person anyway. It was a good idea, as the day became night my routine helped keep me focused, fluids, bathroom, clean my face shield, leathers, bike, checking each for any intrusions or problems. I had an encounter with "mothera", a huge moth like yuck that attacked my face shield dead center at 70 mph and appeared to be the same size as the vehicle in the next lane & worse it refused to fly off, die or blow apart, ugh! Nausea is not an option in a full face helmet so my gloves took the monster away, thankful that I was still wearing the gloves because I was questioning the option of actually touching it or throwing off the helmet….Allot of cleaning the next stop.

A large choice of goodies and drinks were available, however, some kind of a power bar I believe was placed into the mix to prevent to many bathroom stops. It seemed to be a vanilla like yogurt health bar, but in reality I believe it was covered with "Kaopectate" . It really felt like we had 2 nurses ready with face wipes & necessary needs. This would have been much more difficult if it was a bare bones, me, my bike & the road, just do it type ride. We had one non-Harley bike, actually a Suzuki, this was forgiven since the owner was the original instrument in the organizing of this incredible endeavor. He was forgiven & brought into the flock as he & his wife are great folks. However, the next charity ride should be to replace his motorcycle, as it fell short of the capabilities of its owner! The Suzuki had to complete its' ride with the trailer gorilla, which should have been strapped to the seat of the bike, hee hee.

Oh yes, the trailer had a human size black stuffed gorilla as our mascot. Yet another reason I wanted to be in front. I must be gracious to the gorilla & its owner though, as they did come to my rescue. I was getting very low on gas, we were overdue for a stop, we exited where multiple gas stations were, only to re-enter the highway to gather at the next exit, they had cinnamon there… I bolted after Gary then realizing I was too far into the ramp to turn around, first instincts were to leave rank & get gas, but no, I'll make it to the next exit, the idiot light hadn't come on yet…. Well I coasted into a weigh station & the gorilla cam for me. After that they all reminded me to fully fill the tank & perhaps my saddlebags too.

We had the normal excessive road construction for any highway trip, but no tragedy which often occurs because of debris, shifting lanes, uneven, gutted, scraped pavement, narrowing lanes, huge trucks… couple all that with fatigue & through the night driving & I know we all had our angel wings on. By 5 am the group needed caffeine, a no-no for such a ride, but then it will be morning soon… The waffle house pretended we didn't enter & nobody ever came over to serve a dozen coffees, odd, we could definitely afford a $1 coffee with probably over $300K worth of motorcycle outside. Denny's next door welcomed us into our own sanction & kept the coffee pouring. I know what I am like on caffeine & didn't want to take any chances, so I quietly found a crescent booth to snuggle into while nobody was watching. Hiding under my white jacket for a fifteen minute shut down, the photographer found me, assaulted me with flash & now I can only wait to see which end was caught on film…. Hey, go ahead, make fun of the female rider, but I was really only hiding my 2 feet of blonde tresses which had been under the helmet for 19 hours & needed more than caffeine to get straight!

Coming back to the Carolina's was refreshing & cool. The children were out en mass again cheering our return like heroes. I told a fellow rider that they had been out there all night waiting for us & were going to clean the millions of bugs off the bikes, he was tired enough to believe me! We are safely home now. Hopefully we all will take more time to be thankful for each of our lives and blessings and be happy that we are capable of being united, strong and faithful for a cause. God Bless Tyler, keep him healthy in body, mind & spirit, God Bless each person that took a day to give to another, God Bless America, the only country that I believe can accomplish as much as we do, because we believe, we act, we achieve. Ride Free, Ride Strong, Ride Safe.

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From Patricia:
"I have owned a motorcycle since 1973, (the days before female riding gear other than tank tops & high heels!) I wore boys boots and a full helmet to the surprise of many when the helmet came off and down tosseled 2 feet of long blonde hair to many stares and "oh my that's a girl" comments, but I adored the power, influence and control of what I wanted to do, "ride my own"! I have driven and owned many types and styles; I must admit each had its' own comfort, range and destination. I am a professional woman wearing business suits by day and leather by weekend. I ride with friends and with my daughter on two-up, (since she was old enough to walk she rode with me). This year I was honored to be the Director of the "Ladies of Harley" for our local Chapter. I believe in the sport, the individuality, the freedom, and the incredible combination of "peace in the wind and excitement in the breeze" while riding my motorcycle. We are so fortunate to enjoy these privileges in our country. I am thankful for all aspects of my freedom!

I have recently completed my first 1000/24 charity ride, we raised over $12k for Tyler Kube a child facing amputation of his legs or very specialized surgery as his tissues is dying..., but I thought somebody might want to see a story re such a ride for charity no less the RIDE... "

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