July 22, 2009



It’s summer. Nearing August. Bike Rally time in The Hills.
Last year, one of my balding neighbors bought a “hog.” Not a hog hog, like with a curly tail and a grunt and a squeal, but a Harley. A “Fat Boy!” To you not so cool readers, a motorcycle.
Anyway, he came driving it into the yard to show Will and me. Man, it was so cool. I quickly asked if I could take it for a road test. He asked if I knew how to ride. I gave him a quick lecture and explained that I was riding “hogs” before he was born. I failed to mention that mine was a Honda Super 90.
I went to turn the “fat boy” around in our driveway and promptly tipped it over. Broke the mirror and brake handle off. Got my leg pinned underneath the heavy hog. My son swore at me!
But I think that is a good preamble for my old story of the Black Hills Bike Rally…
WELL, IT’S OVER. And I missed it. The Black Hills Bike Rally.
My motorcycle mama and I had looked forward to attending this year. You remember when we went last year and Shirley was the big hit down there? We were the only couple that wore welding helmets and batwing chaps. Actually, I think “mama” wore Carhartts last year.
This year was going to be our last year anyway. Our Honda Super 90 is getting pretty old. And as I have mentioned on more than one occasion, Motorcycle Mama and I are a pretty healthy couple.
Last Thursday, we strapped our bedrolls on the back of the 90 and took off for Sturgis. Shirley had on her pink sweats and I was wearing my welding goggles. I had new Handy Andy gloves. Put one of those fake tattoos on my arm. Motorcycle guys like tattoos.
Well as I started to tell you, the Super 90 is getting pretty old. We had to push it up the hill out of the yard. Then I got it rolling a little and told Shirley to jump on. She trotted alongside and made a mighty leap. She is quite an athlete. Champion pingpong player at Killdeer High School 40 years ago. Well, anyway, she made it on.
We could only get the hog up to about 28 mph. But we were bucking a 6 mph wind. When we got to the top of the breaks (badlands), I told Mama to hang on. I was going to put that hog in Georgia overdrive (that’s what us truckers call neutral). Bad idea!
When we started off that hill that hog began to pick up speed. I touched on the brake pedal, but it had kind of froze up with rust and couldn’t be wiggled. That 90 was picking up more speed and starting to shimmy just a little. The grasshoppers were starting to sting a little when they hit my face.
Shirley screamed in my ear to slow down. Like that was an original idea. Well, we must have been up to fifty or sixty by now. Hard to tell. The speedometer had shaken off. Wasn’t designed for high speeds.
The mirror starting vibrating and shook off. Well, it wasn’t actually a mirror. A cow had scratched her butt on it and the mirror was gone. It was just a mirror holder. I had one of those little horns with that rubber deal on the end, and it gave one, last futile bleat, as it jiggled loose and the hind tire went over it.
I knew we were about to go airborne and I yelled at Shirley to “hold tight!” She thought I said “lean right.” She did. I had to lean hard left to keep the hog on the highway. That created a lot of wind resistance and kept us on terra firma. We must have been up around 75.
I thought I could gently apply the front brake. That’s the one on the handlebar. I squeezed gently. Didn’t matter. The cable was broke. We were in this deal till the end.
One more curve to maneuver through and we would have a straight shot for the bridge. I handled that hog like a champion and we shot around the curve.
The land kind of flattens out after that last curve and I could see we had the 90 under control. Well, Shirley’s pink sweats got to flapping in the breeze a little and kind of got caught in the spokes. Actually, it did help to slow the bike down a lot, but it kind of tore her pink sweats off. No, not all of them. Just one leg. Then, it kind of wrapped around stuff and stopped us pretty good.
Now, it’s funny how little things can upset a woman. I’ve treated her like a queen all of these years. She didn’t say a word. Just pushed my Super 90 over to the bridge and into the river! Splash! No bike rally! No Black Hills! No keg party at the Trout Haven!
 But wait. I just read about the Horse Fest in Taylor. Anybody know who bought my mules?