On May 15–18, the Rally in the Crater was held in Mt. Enterprise. Staged in an actual crater that serves as a natural amphitheatre, the wildness of this “no one under 21” party is evident in the games and contests presented. This includes the Wet T-shirtless Contest, the Hot for Teacher competition and the Cover the Johnson (no, I haven’t a clue what that is). Toss in a swimming hole and naked volleyball and you have all the makings for a memory-filled weekend. Held twice a year, the next rally will be September 25–28, 2014, with all the necessary info available at their website,… Heading in a completely different direction, the 3rd annual Route 49 Biker Rally was held June 6–8 in historic Jefferson at the Diamond Don/Cypress Bayou RV Park. A family-friendly event, Route 49 Rally Inc. is a nonprofit organization that supports the Children’s Medical Center in Dallas and offered a more tame list of entertainment that included field events, a bike show, poker run and live music… Congrats go out to Rob Churchill with All Things Bad Ass in Pflugerville. He recently took a second place win during a Paint-Off Competition during the Laconia Rally. Rob is a noted airbrush artist whose work has appeared on many custom bikes, and he even painted the helmet worn by Robbie Knievel when he jumped two semi-trailers in front of the State Capitol building in Austin during the Republic of Texas rally… Starting next year, Texans will be experiencing a different sort of sticker shock. Beginning in March 2015, vehicles registered in Texas will no longer be required to display separate inspection and registration stickers. Last year state lawmakers decided to eliminate vehicle inspection stickers in an effort to curb fraudulent tags. But don’t get to thinking that the ol’ scooter will no longer need to be street legal. With the new policy, a rider must submit their bike for inspection not more than 90 days before they renew their registration (license plate sticker) and provide proof that the sled passed inspection. By streamlining the paperwork, Texas is expecting to save more than $2 million. DMV Director Whitney Brewster has cited the need for an aggressive public awareness campaign and expects some irritated phone calls once the policy goes into effect… Sophia Smith was a top saleswoman for Avon. She and her husband, Randy, were also both avid motorcyclists with the dream of riding their Harleys coast to coast, “dipping a toe in each ocean.” Sophia succumbed to ALS in April 2013 after a 28-month battle with the disease. Before she passed, Avon honored her with its first Yellow Rose Award, given for Avon leaders who demonstrate courage, dignity and perseverance. Randy is currently in the middle of the couple’s “Ride of Life,” traveling from South Texas to California to Washington State, across to Maine and then south to Florida before returning to Texas. He recently spent the day with Bill Davidson at the Harley-Davidson Museum. Randy’s ride has a two-fold goal: raise awareness concerning ALS, and help raise funds for an inpatient center for the Hospice of South Texas. Check out his story at… It takes a lot to keep up with what’s going on up and down these boundless motorways of Texas, and the last eight years of penning this column have been fun (the first Two-Wheel Two-Step appeared in the September 2006 edition). But I have come upon a fork in the road and I’m hanging a left. Although I will still be a part of Texas motorcycling, the time for me to pursue my love of photography will see me putting away the keyboard and investing in more lenses. But coverage of Texas news in the South edition of THUNDER PRESS will continue as I hand off the Crayola to Raine Devries. Raine is a producer, social media professional and moto-journalist (you can read her coverage of this year’s Republic of Texas Biker Rally as the cover story in this edition). She is also a Dallas resident, so she is bona fide Texan. I hope my readers treat her with all the respect you have shown me over the years. So I leave my fans and the illustrious staff of THUNDER PRESS with this final thought, “When preparing to travel, lay out all your clothes and all your money. Then take half the clothes and twice the money.” —Susan Heller… See ya down the highway, my friends.


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