Often, when I’m driving around the skirts of White City I find plenty of quality memories in my rear view mirror. Just the other day as I headed East out of town, I turned south down a gravel back road kicking up a dust trail. I’ve been down this road plenty of times but this time was different. As I looked in my rearview mirror I imagined Russ Sams’ dad Sammy driving us down to the Council Grove Lake in his old Chevy truck on one of those endless summer days. As we rode in the back of the truck to the lake, the dust rolling behind us, the sound of gravel beneath the old bias ply tires, it gave the promise of fishing and a cool swim making any hot day better. Jean, Russ’s mom, would make us bologna sandwiches with potato chips on them and I usually won’t eat them any other way to this day. I’m not sure why the dust kicked up a memory like that, but I’m glad it did.
Another memory that I have recently recalled is hanging out in the White City pool hall playing snooker and watching Craig Christlieb and a few others play. Craig’s family lived south of White City out by the old bridge at the top of the hill where I usually take pictures of my motorcycles. Mel Bidwell and I, and a few others hung out there as growing up and I have to admit we all played a good game. Again, just some of those memories that bring people and places back like it was yesterday. Well, maybe the day before yesterday.
I used to know everyone in town, where they lived and such. But like the dust behind my old truck the other day, people and places head off in the direction their lives inevitably take them, but somehow those memories linger in the air. There’s a lot of those reminders stored away for days of driving down any old gravel road, and I appreciate those of you that had a hand in creating them, and leaving them with me.
I talk about my experiences and memories a lot, but I’m sure those who find themselves either in or somewhere other than White City also have their own unique recollections of these dust trails. My only hope is this dust doesn’t settle any time soon.
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.
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.