March is here and for riders in coastal climes that’s a fair bit more meaningful than those of us perched (huddled) inland. But there are signs that warmer days are ahead. Right? Having spent the first dozen days of February on the equator side of the Baja Peninsula with about 40 friends, young and old, family and acquaintances thereof, spring is longed for differently this year. If only for the pleasure of taking a step away from the woodstove and moving about outside free from the ever-pesky two feet of snow. The old Dodge Power Wagon has been buried now since November. It’s right there, or is it over there? Oh my… Last month I stood on a short soapbox and welcomed readers to write me with their thoughts on getting better involved in watching over our national and regional natural treasures. How do you demonstrate stewardship; what’s your experience? Living on a good-sized footprint alongside the second largest river in Washington State (supplies 1/3 of the Columbia), and being isolated as heck 25 miles from Canada and Idaho, stewardship comes naturally. It’s an obligation I’ve found impossible to ignore in such a landscape. I know that folks in busier places, with more demanding and perhaps more important daily lives, care about the same things. But for you busy riders particularly, there’s a need to occasionally shift emotional gears, to gain perspective, to re-charge personal batteries. Visiting places of natural grandeur, being humbled by beauty, seeing an unmarred landscape and wildlife moving about, and doing it from the saddle helps clear heads. If each of us could adopt a special place, maybe get on a listserve to receive a newsletter from a respected and value-compatible non-profit, or find our own unique way to stay better informed, it would be meaningful. Hey, maybe it would cut to the chase to donate to a group already tracking what’s afoot. If so, all the better. I still welcome these conversations at… OK, off the box and onward… The SE Portland Chapter of ABATE has an event Saturday, March 18, with the goal of bolstering the City Team Ministries of Portland whose mission is to support the homeless and those down on their luck. How? Pretty simple; with food. Your donations online fill the shopping cart but your help with delivery of the goods would be a boost. More info is available online at (charities page), by phone at 654.4386 (Craig) or by e-mail to Folks will gather at the M&M Restaurant & Lounge in Gresham at 11:00 a.m. and leave a half hour later. You’d be welcome to join in… On Sunday, March 26, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., the Gary Weikel Events Center, a brightly-lit, 33,000-square-foot, open-span steel building at the Evergreen State Fairgrounds in Monroe, Washington, will house the annual ABATE of Washington Spring Swap Meet. Card-carrying ABATE members will pay a $3 admission, and non-members along with the “forgot m’card” attendees will pay $6. The Sky Valley (named after Skykomish River Valley) ABATE Chapter is the host chapter for this event, and folks come from every compass direction to take part. I see more people I know from all over the state at this event than almost any other. If you’re unfamiliar with the venue, it’s pretty much at the intersection of Highway 522 and SR-2 in East Snohomish County. Just follow the bikes and you’ll end up where the action is. Both the city of Monroe and Snohomish eateries have a budget-plumping, leather-clad breakfast crowd on these annual Sunday mornings, particularly at the Buzz Inn Steak House on SR-2 and Harvey Field in Snohomish. And to be frank, the local drinkeries do a mighty fine day’s receipts in the afternoon as well. For more information on this longstanding and well-attended swap meet, you can go to the ABATE of Washington website at, and if there are folks who might want a booth within this venue, able to serve over 4,000 attendees, feel welcome to phone 253.753.5677 or e-mail with questions to… Someone many folks know in the Monroe area is North Dakota native Gary Nelson, featured in a story here in THUNDER PRESS called Diary of a Road King when he purchased his first new Harley-Davidson, a Road King, back in the mid-90s. Gary is a heavy equipment operator for the Bonneville Power Administration and about to celebrate a milestone as he departs from that employment and commences a hard and well-earned retirement. Gary’s a gem of a guy, loved by his friends and children. Gary, we all celebrate you having a bit more leisure to enjoy time tinkering on your favorite pastime—vintage rides, and to play with Val, your ever-beautiful and sassy bride of 30 years. Congratulations to you both on this new chapter…


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