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Springtime

 It's that time of year:
 
    The grass needs cutting again,
    The driveway needs trash blown off that comes with spring,
    Ticks, chiggers, snakes, wasps, bugs, and more, are emerging from winter,
    New births, in nature, are beginning to take place,
    We hear the owls calling in the woods,
    We see and hear the hawks circling in the air,
    Time to get the garden site ready for the most expensive vegetables that money can buy, (you think that seed, fertilizer is expensive? how about that tractor, the plows, planter, cultivator, electric fence to keep the deer out, the time spent planting, thinning, cultivating, harvesting, stringing the corn, disposing of the squirrels? all that takes wonderful, fulfilling time and money),
    The motorcycles have been brought from hibernation for some. Those of us in the south, those who ride almost year round, have done the once over and are beginning to feel comfortable riding again. We are breaking our bodies in again for the coming season. Some of us who are nearing middle age, must take a nap after a day of riding! :) But, hey, we will be up to speed again soon. After all, there are "Out West" trips to do, the KPCR across America, WinShape Ride For The Family, and oh, so many others to do this year.
    Baseball is in full swing again. Our Atlanta Braves started at 0 and 4, then won 4 in a row. It's about time a pitcher went more than 5 innings as happened last night. Go Braves, or whoever your team of choice may be!!!! The majority of professional athletes have a rare combination of eye-hand coordination, muscle and mental control, size, speed, and determination that most all of us envied in childhood. 
    Bikers don't have the same reputation for athletic prowess as do professional ball players. However, if you watch trick riders, you know that skill set is amazing too. Bikers  HAVE rightly earned a reputation for being supportive of charity organizations. Cheryl and I find that the biker community, in general, is made up of some of God's truly caring people. Most biker groups that I know, support worthy charities.
    Allen Hunt, of WSB radio, is not a biker. He might like to be, but then, there is no point to be gained by endangering his radio face and voice by riding a bike!!. But Allen does know some bikers. Allen also knows people who can put events together. He has a vision for the children at Murphy-Harpst in Cedartown, Georgia. The kids at Murphy-Harpst are worthy of anyone's consideration when it comes to reaching out to others with your talent, time, compassion, money.
    Jeremiah 31: 15, 16 says: "Thus says the Lord, A voice is heard in Ramah, Lamentation and bitter weeping. Rachel is weeping for her children; She refuses to be comforted for her children, Because they are no more. Thus says the Lord, Restrain your voice from weeping, And your eyes from tears; For your work shall be rewarded, declares the Lord, And they shall return from the land of the enemy."
    The children at Murphy-Harpst apparently have no parents weeping over them. Their "normal" maturation process has been stolen by non caring parents, by non existent parents, physical and emotional molesting parents, incapable parents, neglecting parents, parents who hate themselves, parents who have no hope.......the list goes on. 
    A hardworking team pulled together 29 bikes yesterday--with many riding 2 up. Those contributing to the effort are big in number and in heart. The contributors even included 5 HD dealers providing services and product.
    We had a WIN-WIN event yesterday. The kids loved seeing the bikes and the bikers, they loved the Chick-fil-A lunch, the music, the time outside in the beautiful weather, the time with new friends, the CFA cow, the balloons, the change of pace. 
    Allen, his team, and the bikers won because everyone involved was exposed to the children. Those who took the tour of the facilities were overwhelmed with the realities of the children's lives, the hopelessness expressed by some. The bikers appreciated the appreciation of their bikes and mingled with children who don't get to go riding on a Saturday.
    Yes, this was one Saturday for the children, but more and more people/groups can get involved. There can be more Saturdays, more donations, more helping hands. A goal of Murphy-Harpst is to get these children back into the "mainstream" of America. "They shall return from the land of the enemy."
 
    Be a blessing to someone today.      

Things One Can Learn by Riding

The Moo Cow Bikers had an overnight ride to Savannah this weekend. Safety Officer Gene Ross was in charge of planning the route, gas stops, lunch stop, overnight accommodations, and the evening meal, just to name a few. Pastor David Riner helped with the evening meal/restaurant location. Both Mow Cows did a great job. 
    Planning such an event is necessary. Absent planning, we, as Zig Ziglar says, become wondering generalities. Wondering generalities are OK when a rider is out for a head clearing event and other riders are not being considered. Even the legendary "Out West" rides had destinations planned and route planning took much time and effort. Yes, eating establishments and overnight hotels were not planned. We stopped when hungry, when we needed gas, and found sleeping quarters when we felt the need to sleep. (yes, we did sleep for 30 minutes on concrete picnic tables once) But, the riders in those groups just went along with the program. We were flexible. Such a plan, or lack thereof, is not good for a larger group of riders trying to stay together and trying to make a given destination at a given time. The planning for our Savannah trip was outstanding.
    Plan as you might, it just takes riding to learn some things:
1. Rain requires good rain gear. Our weather this weekend was mild and comfortable. Getting wet was not a disaster in the "comfort" area, but still, getting wet is not much fun unless the temperatures are in the 90's. Then that afternoon shower can cool a rider down and "wet" can be good.
2. Rain is more tolerable if you have a shield on your helmet. Goggles are good, but the rain still beats the face. If the rain persists for long and if the speed is right, rain can blow under the face shield, get on the glasses, tickle the face--you get the idea. A full face helmet works best in the rain.
3. Contact lens also work good in the rain. Actually, having perfect vision with no assistance works best. With contact lens, batting the eyes clears the water off the eye area and contact lens don't fog up. Then, there is the old got something on the lens and it's cutting the eye ball trick. Not comfortable.
4. Pollen and road grime in the spring of the year, followed by rain, makes for slick surfaces. Riders must be extra careful, at least until the road slime washes off. That same slime makes for lack of traction for foot ware when coming to a stop too.
5. Water proof riding boots make for added comfort in the rain. On sunny days, water proof boots can add to discomfort while riding by warming the feet. This weekend showed some the importance of dry feet while riding in the rain.Cheryl used the hair dryer in the hotel room to dry her boots.
6. Rest stops can make longer trips more enjoyable. Just getting off the bike and stretching the legs can add enjoyment to a trip. Guys, at least, can enjoy talking about nothing at rest stops. Rest stops are good for laughter too.
7. Time management is important. If we stop too often, if we allow the stops to extend until everyone is ready to go, we will never make our destinations on time. Keeping on schedule is important.
8. Usually, long rides require there not to be much time between events. This causes some friction with the ladies, as they like to refresh and look good for the evening meal. We men enjoy the women looking good, but at the same time, "grungy" is more normal for us. OK, it's a balance that must be considered.
9. We must realize that there won't be enough time to do everything. On the other hand, the lack of time stirs the desire to return for another visit.
10. Know where things are on your bike, on your person. Has anyone ever stopped and tried to find something? The pressure of all the other riders being ready to go, adds to the heartburn. Try to pack logically. That way, you can find things. Think about where things are packed while motoring down the road. 
 
AND FINALLY
 
11. Remember where you put your keys. With security being of importance today, most of the touring bikes have locking bags and tour packs. Care must be taken not to lock your keys in the bike! We won't mention any names, but a HONDA RIDER went to his bike after dinner, reached for his keys and much to his dismay the keys were not where he thought they would be. Oh, no.. They must be in the trunk. Nuts. No spare key either. Can you actually lock the trunk without the fob? I can't on the Harley. Anyway, locksmith and $180.00 is on the horizon. We tried other Honda riders' keys to no avail. Then Randy says, how about those keys hooked on your belt loop. YES. THANK YOU. Let's keep this quiet, OK? OK: no names. :) 
 
    We do have a great riding group in the Moo Cow Bikers. If you haven't taken an overnight trip with the Herd yet, 2012 could be the time to do so. We have plenty opportunities on the calendar. Come join the fun.
 
    Be a blessing to someone today.

Riding

  When a date is set aside for a group ride and a meeting location is set, the ride leader has a bit of comfort---for a few minutes. OK, the ride destination was agreed upon in the annual ride planning session, but no set routes were put in place. Part of the fun in leading a ride is to chose the route. Do we do the "slab blast," and pin the ears back, or do we enjoy the country side, and take in the details of the area? After all, we have the Turtle riders and the Rabbit riders. The distance to the destination dictates the route sometimes. Then "direct route" or "fastest route," is to be considered. Will I use the "Jackie" type of GPS, with notes carefully written down and put on a scroll, will I trust that expensive electronic piece that has a mind of its' own, will I try to memorize the route and hope for the best, will I use the Iphone and whip it out while traveling and hope to keep the bike on the road, will the co-pilot read the maps and whisper, so sweetly, in my ear that I missed a turn 5 miles back, or will I just wing it and smile all the while? After all, most riders follow the bike in front of them.
    Well, all decisions have been made and the day of the ride is here. The leader heads to the point of origin and a small dread creeps into the mind. Will anyone show up? Yes, we have a good group of riders, but who knows how many have conflicts today? The weather is beautiful, the destination will be enjoyed, but who knows how many riders we will have. We asked for a certain number of reservations at the restaurant---too few, too many?
    James and Debbie must have had some of those thoughts up to and including the beginning of yesterday's ride. So what that the weather promised to be beautiful. So what that a laid back country route was planned, so what that we planned a stop at Horseshoe Bend National Park, (who knows about that place anyway?) so what that we have reservations at Sinclairs' on the lake with beautiful views of the lake all around? Will we have any riders?
    A smile of relief creeps across the ride leaders face as the bikes roll in. "How you doing, fine, good to see you, welcome Jane and Jim from Conyers"--first time Moo Cow Biker riders--general directions (what was that 4th turn again), prayer and 18 bikes leave CFA south of Fayetteville headed south, then west. 18 bikes!! That's a good number for a March 17 ride. Well, it is St. Patrick's day, and we of Irish descent always are looking for a reason to ride. The rest of the group just likes to ride. Come to think of it, do all you people of other descent have a national holiday that we can use as an excuse to ride?
    At Horseshoe bend I hear Debbie say that she must call the restaurant. She did not expect this many riders. That is a good problem to have---more riders than expected.
    If you have never been to Horseshoe Bend National Park, you should make the time to do so. You won't find fancy, but life then was not fancy. The movie is informative. The simplicity of Indian life is shown in the artifacts section, as well as in the movie. The ingenuity and resourcefulness of the Indians is depicted. Treatment of the Indians by white man is shown. Was it truly necessary to drive the Indians from their native land? Why did white man think it necessary to kill and torture? Oh, yes, both sides were not without fault. Think of the momma bear protecting her cubs. Same with the Indians. Their land was being invaded and taken away. Why would they not fight to protect it? Anyway, "we won" and the whites had more freedom to explore the west at that time.
    Off to lunch. More great riding. We did not hit anyone and vice versa. Great dining location. The restaurant had a section set aside for us and we did arrive after the lunch hour. Beautiful views of the lake. Some patrons were outside on the deck eating and socializing in the beautiful weather. Our waitress worked hard, but she was one waitress. The kitchen did not work as hard as she did, but that was certainly no fault of our ride leaders. Good food and plenty of fellowship.  
    Usually on the trip back home, almost everyone has the opportunity to be a ride leader. Seems that everyone has a different adjenda for the return trip. Some take the fast route, some the direct route, some the shortest route, some the relaxed scenic route, but all usually arrive home about the same time. Odd, isn't it? :)
    Next ride? The David Ride to Savannah on March 31. Our first overnighter of the year. Get your calendar in order, make reservations at the hotel and join in the fun.
      Scripture lesson for the morning? Read Psalm 12 and compare David's words to the state of politicians today. When reading words: "the godly man ceases to be...the faithful disappear...speak falsehood....flattering lips and a double heart...our lips are our own; who is lord over us...the wicked strut about on every side," I think of not only politicians, but of our world. Praise God, He is in control. David saw it. Do you see it?
    Be a blessing to someone today.