Howdy! Grab a chair an’ a beer! While a lot of ya out on the East Coast an’ Midwest are still diggin’ yourselves out of the snow, out West we’ve been able to ride all winter. Now before ya start cussin’ us, remember that out here, we’re in a drought that’s been hangin’ on for over three years. It’s dry as a popcorn fart here, an’ no rain in sight. The government is takin’ desperate measures to conserve water, an’ it’s so bad that the other day I smeared cat food on the ol’ Shovelhead so the neighborhood cats would lick the dirt off. It’s also led to some tempers flarin’ around the neighborhood. In times of trouble, neighbors should help each other out, right? Well my “prepper” neighbor got all upset just because I ran a hose from his swimmin’ pool to my front lawn. You’d think he’d be glad to help improve the image of the neighborhood, wouldn’t ya? Maybe I should get a quieter pump.

Anyway, at least we got a little bit of snow in the mountains, an’ that should keep the forests green for a while. Here in Madtown, we’re only about an hour from the most beautiful ridin’ anywhere, so we take advantage of that as much as we can durin’ the summer. When it’s 115 degrees in the valley, it’s always cooler the higher up ya go. You’re probably thinkin’, “Why is he talking about summer already?” Well, when it’s 90 degrees in February, it makes ya wonder what it’s gonna be like in July.

We have several of our favorite runs comin’ up in the next few months, an’ when it’s over a hunnerd degrees, it’s like ridin’ in a blast furnace. Yeah, we’re lucky to be able to ride most of the winter, but in the summer we have vests that we soak in water so evaporation helps keep ya cool… enough to stay conscious, at least.

That gets me thinkin’ about becomin’ one of those old retired “snow birds” that spend the winter in California an’ the summer in Alaska. Maybe I could get an old school bus an’ be like a gypsy, just movin’ from place to place as the weather dictates, haulin’ the bikes… uh-oh… bikes… plural of bike… I just remembered that there’s two of us, an’ one isn’t the gypsy type. So much for that idea! I guess I’ll just have to tough it out no matter what Mother Nature throws at me.

The third weekend of this month is the Frog Jumps, an’ that’s one of our favorite runs of the year. We get to see friends that we don’t get to see nearly enough an’ it’s always a highlight of our ridin’ year. The Gold Rush country has some of the best motorcycle roads in the world, an’ at every town an’ waterin’ hole in Calaveras County there’s a band an’ a party. We settle in at Murphys every year an’ it’s kinda like comin’ home. Some of the crew always gets there a day or two before Reggie an’ I show up, an’ it’s a great feelin’ to see them sittin’ on the wall in front of the Murphys Hotel, wavin’ as we roll down Main Street. No matter what time we get there, it’s always time for a shot of Patrón, an’ we always get together for dinner at one of the local restaurants. For the last two years, we’ve also had a drink in memory of our lost brother, Jack Luna, who’s now a part of the wall he loved. We wrap up the weekend with breakfast an’ Bloody Marys on Sunday mornin’ before headin’ home.

Then comes June an’ the Redwood Run up in Northern California, where the redwood groves stay cool an’ dark all summer. The trees get big enough to drive through, an’ there are several of them hollowed out so ya can. There are lots of little cafés an’ craft shops with chainsaw-carved bears an’ other stuff for sale along the back roads. A few years ago, it was over a hunnerd degrees when we left Madtown, so we didn’t bring any jackets. When we got to the Bay Area, it was gettin’ real chilly so we went shoppin’ at Arlen Ness’, where we all meet for the ride to start, an’ got Reggie a jacket. I was gonna tough it out, but by the time we pulled into Garberville I was freezin’ my ass off. The next day we were headed up to Eureka, which is almost to the Oregon border an’ colder than a polar bear’s ass on the shady side of an iceberg! I tried to buy a jacket, but there wasn’t a store in the area that sold ’em. When we got ready to roll out the next mornin’, one of the group took pity on me an’ tossed me an extra leather jacket (thanks, Kent!), thus savin’ my miserable hide from hypothermia. I learned a valuable lesson that day; now all I have to do is remember what it was!

There are other runs an’ fun times in the near future, along with good friends to share ’em with, an’ I hope y’all have big plans for the summer ahead, too. Just ride safe, don’t mix too much alcohol with yer gasoline, an’ maybe we’ll see ya on the road!


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