Ride50at50 Part 1: Packing Light

Sydney Christmas

Sometimes you have to just jump right in and do it. When I think of planning a birthday party I usually think of finding a restaurant and having myself a nice meal with family and friends, opening a few humorous birthday cards or a gag gift or two. If I were to set some birthday goals, I would probably think of taking the day off and do something for myself. I know when I turned 50 years old there was little more than a reminder given to me that my father’s birthday was coming up in two days. Oh, and the 4th of July falls in between the two of ours. Who could forget that?

Somewhere within social media I stumbled upon Dave Berman and his life-long friends Adrian and Andy, who are planning a celebratory birthday trip to the United States from their homes in the United Kingdom to ride highway 50 in the U.S. for their 50th birthdays. An epic journey in another country riding Indian motorcycles picked from the fleet at Eaglerider Motorcycle and Tours in Washington D.C. sounds pretty good to me. Hell, even the plane ride to get here and back would be a pretty special birthday present, but they are taking it a step further. Air travel is fine, but the real meat and potatoes is hopping on motorcycles and immersing themselves into this landscape we call America. What better way to see this country than from the seat of an iconic brand and mingling with the locals every chance you get? I can’t think of any better way. And mingling is one of my favorite things to do.

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Now I’ve taken a week-long ride on my motorcycle before and I know the importance of packing light. Along with the daily necessities and toiletries you must also carry a wide range of gear to counter inclement weather should you run into it. I also prefer to save a small portion of storage for anything else you find along the way that you just can’t live without. We bikers are Master Packers.

We are just a few weeks away from the beginning of the 3 Amigo’s trip. I’m to meet up with this band of birthday brothers around the 8th of May in Kansas City to ride along to Council Grove Kansas where they hope to spend the night. After all, I’m somewhat of a local. The next day, with their permission, I will tag along for a few miles and re-acquaint myself with western Kansas. I know this trip will be a memorable one for you guys and I appreciate you letting me be a small part of it . Who am I kidding? Hold on tight, it’s going to be quite a ride.

A Birthday Gift for Me

Kelly Sanderson

Kelly Sanderson

I remember like it was yesterday; sitting on the edge of the hospital bed holding you in my arms. You were wrapped up tight in a baby blanket with a stocking cap on your head just looking at me. Looking at me! We were alone in the room and while I’m sure I was mumbling something to you, without any warning, I cried.

There is something special about that moment we shared. We didn’t have any history to look back on and with only our future ahead of us I knew we would be okay. How could I be responsible for something so small and precious? I’m not used to this as I can barely take care of myself. I mean, it was the ’80s and is this stone-washed denim I’m wearing? Really?

It’s hard for a father to tell his daughter how he feels. While there are so many ways and lots words to say, it all gets lost in general conversation. But life is to short to not tell you how a I feel. Without trying, and at that moment you gave me a purpose. A life-changing moment that rearranged my priorities and gave me a reason to work hard and set a good example. After all, I wouldn’t want to embarrass you. Okay, it was the ’80s and some of that wasn’t my fault.

I’m so very proud of you. You have grown into the woman I always thought you would be. A great mother, a wonderful wife, a great sister and of course, a beautiful daughter. You have an effortless way about you and through it all you have an amazing sense of humor. I know how you deal with bumps in the road and humor is one of them. Your laughter makes me laugh and if nothing else in life, we have that. You recently sent me a text that you’ve come to realize that when so many things aren’t going your way, you have to come to appreciate the little things in life. To also be happy and thankful for what you have and how quickly we forget that, and how things always seem to work out. When you said that, it felt like a shift had come from me giving you advice to you telling me “everything’s going to be okay.”

You will always be that mop-topped little strawberry blonde that danced around in the dresses you insisted on wearing. It’s crazy how you have grown into a beautiful woman and remained my little girl all at the same time.

Today is your birthday and as hard as it is for you to realize this, it is you who gave me the gift. Happy birthday Kelly, I love you!