Although these people will never know it, I’m very grateful to them for helping me out on my ride:
- The guest (a young woman) and the desk clerk (a young man) who both helped me get the Honda upright in Gallup, NM, after I dropped it in the portico – right in front of the motel’s front door! It had been a long, wet day, and I think I came in just a little too fast. Suddenly there were people in my way, so I turned and hit the brakes. Boom! Over. Being tired, wet, hungry and cold, I didn’t have the strength to lift the top-heavy bike back to its wheels. Their help made a lousy day just that much better.
- The couple who saw me drop the Honda on an access road somewhere in Texas. It was on a stretch where Historic 66 zigzagged from side to side of I-40, and I missed one of the zigs. As a result, I headed down a piece of frontage road that had no outlet. As soon as I saw the “Dead End” sign, I tried to turn around, but (again) was going too fast. If I hadn’t stopped quickly, I would have gone down a slope that would have been *very* hard, if not impossible, to get out of. Dropping the bike was the lesser of two evils at that point, but I still *could* have straightened the steering first. By the time the couple got to me, I had the Honda back on its tires, but I very much appreciate that they came to check things out anyway.
- The couple who helped me get the Honda back on its tires in Joplin, MO. (I think a pattern is emerging, here…) Again, it was a sloped road, and I was tired. I didn’t think things through sufficiently when I tried to make a U-turn, and the bike went over. Not only did these two wonderful people help me get the bike upright again, but they ALSO led me most of the way to the motel I was trying to find! It wasn’t far from where I was, and I quickly figured out where we were going, but the fact remains that they led me to the intersection where all I had to do was turn right and go about half a mile to the motel.
- The motel clerk who helped me find a room at a competitor’s place – also in Joplin. It turned out that the motel I was headed for (see #3) was full, so the desk clerk suggested I try another one that was close by. The second one had a vacancy, and I was grateful that I didn’t have to ride from place to place looking for a room.
- The LaQuinta desk clerk who gave me a free upgrade – also in Joplin. All I needed was a bed and a shower; I got upgraded for free to a room with a hot tub. I didn’t use it, but the thought was there.
- The gentleman in Oshkosh, WI, who found my wallet and turned it in – INTACT! – to the Lost and Found folks at the EAA AirVenture. I had put the wallet in an outer pocket of my backpack so that I wouldn’t have to sit on it, but I guess the backpack pocket wasn’t as secure as I had thought. When I reached for the wallet at dinner, it wasn’t there. I *hoped* it had been turned in to L&F (we were going back to the show the next day, and if it got turned in I’d be all right), but figured I’d have to dig out my “wallet contents” file on my computer and notify everyone that it had been taken. While still at dinner, I got a call from a man who said he had found it and would be turning it in to L&F. I thanked him profusely and urged him to take a $20 out of the wallet as a reward. He declined, and even refused to take anything as small as a single. When I retrieved the wallet the next day, everything was there.
I also met some very interesting folks on the trip.
- In Santa Fe I met a trio of riders who were doing Historic 66 going west. They were German and were having a great time, even though one of the bikes was an older Harley that, according to its owner, needed an engine rebuild. Heaven knows why he started a long ride like Route 66 with an engine that needed rebuilding, but he did. I hope he finished without any problems.
- In very-northeastern Oklahoma and Kansas, I met a trio of British bikers. I had come up behind them on the highway, and when the oncoming lane cleared I buzzed past them (and a couple of cars, too). by the time I got to the front of the line I was doing about 100 or so. Later I met up with them again at one of the original bridges on 66 and we had a nice conversation.
- In Missouri I met a 70-year-old Norwegian lady and her son. She had bought a brand-new Indian for herself for her birthday, and her son was riding her old Harley. They were riding 66 east, and then continuing on to NYC. They weren’t sure whether she was going to ship the Indian to Norway for more adventures, or if they were going to get it back home, but *she* was headed to Norway. I also met a young Brazilian couple in a new (rented) Mustang, who were doing 66 west. All this happened at the same little nowhere-place called Paris Springs Junction.
There were more – I met quite a few characters in Sturgis, for example – but these people stood out enough to be remembered individually. I can’t thank them personally, but I’m grateful that our paths crossed when they did.