Last month’s mystery location: Trout Creek, Montana
Lisa Walker comes from a longtime riding family. Her father Jerald Walker, yes, that Jerald/Jerry Walker, 2016 Bartender of the Year in Laughlin, had a Police Special H-D when Lisa was a girl. She rode with him throughout the early days, into her teens in the Baldwin Park and Whittier areas of California. Those years, the late ’60s and ’70s, were good years for her family. “My dad worked on the assembly line for Ford, a good union job for 16 years.” She still recalls the magical Christmas parties of the day.
Lisa married at age 19 and she and her then-husband based a long-haul, 11 Western-state trucking operation out of Monrovia, California. When children came along the viability of life on the road presented more than a few obstacles and the couple drifted apart. Lisa’s grandfather had recently passed and grandmother Edna Walker of Landers, California, was left on her own in the Mojave Desert. Lisa, separated from her husband, decided to move her children out of the city to the desert to be near her grandmother. The move would both help both women, allowing Lisa to ride out the transition from her previous married life to her next chapter. With little work in the desert, she devoted herself to helping her grandmother and being a stay-at-home mom to her two young children, Devon and Brittany.
Lisa speaks with great respect and appreciation for the support given her during that time. The nurturing influence of her two grandmothers, Edna Walker and Gladys Stacy of Baldwin Park, taught Lisa how to make a house a home, to find her way around a kitchen, and to this day Lisa credits them for unwavering encouragement.
In the desert she enjoyed a new relationship, and a return to motorcycling during that time. The relationship didn’t last, but a third child, Rianna, came of it. When Rianna was a child of four, there was a knock at her mother’s door in Joshua Tree, California. A friend Lisa knew and trusted had a rather enormous favor. There was someone he’d brought along with him that night; a fellow in a rather sad state. The friend asked, “Would you hide out my friend Kip here for a while?” Lisa explained. “It was back in the outlaw days,” and the stranger had been poisoned (mercury). Not only did she take Kip in, but she nursed him back to health. A relationship blossomed but after a year he had to leave, “outlaw reasons again,” this time headed for Texas.
But their brief relationship with a strange beginning would loom large in Lisa’s memory. It would be almost 20 years before she saw him again.
Lisa had a 14-year-long relationship after moving back to the town, a relationship that ran its course and dissolved. In the city she worked in the automotive industry, often at the parts counter, driving parts and spending six years working at a junkyard, then as a driver for FedEx. More recently she worked as a bus driver for the developmentally disabled, also serving as a job coach for the same population.
From 2005–’14 the positive influence of nurturing grandmothers Edna Walker and Gladys Stacy was put to practical daily use in Lisa’s life. Lisa’s daughter Brittany needed help with the care of her infant son Brett. So for the first nine years of Brett’s life, Lisa filled the gap. As she spoke about the importance of those years and the opportunity to get a “do-over” in some ways, it was abundantly clear that this represented the happiest and most fulfilling years of her life to date. She was able to put Brett first, to provide the stability Brittany wanted for her son but couldn’t yet provide herself.
In 2013 Lisa’s son Devon, an Army vet and member of the Tribe of Judah Motorcycle Ministry, was out for a ride and stopped at a watering hole. He saw a man he believed might be Kip, the biker he remembered from so many years before. Without introducing himself to the familiar-looking man, Devon phoned his mom, telling Lisa he thought he’d seen him (Kip). She asked, “Did you talk with him?” Devon replied “No.” She encouraged Devon to strike up a conversation and a short time later Devon called, handing his cell phone to Kip to talk with Lisa. She explained, “I heard his voice and melted.” This man was the love of her life, and hearing his voice summoned up all of the feelings from 17 years earlier. He asked if she could drive up to meet him and Devon. She agreed.
Driving on Highway 62 through the Morongo Valley on her way, Lisa was full of anticipation laced with nerves and questioning if what she was doing was altogether wise. As she passed a roadside church, the signboard out front provided the answer. It read: “Loved you Then-Love you Still; Always Have-Always Will.”
She said, “It was in front of a church. What more of a sign do you need?”
September 8, 2018, will mark five years since Kip Perry and Lisa reunited. That’s the date they’ve chosen to marry.
Lisa said she hadn’t dared hope for this kind of grace in her life, for happiness beyond expectation. It may have been the hard times that prepared her to recognize, maybe even made her worthy of what’s happening now. Kip has given up drinking and Lisa’s given up smoking “so we can get all the time we can together.” She said that reuniting with Kip has made her realize that none of us should ever give up on finding happiness.
Home for Lisa and Kip is in a house that’s been in Kip’s family since the ‘60s. As a project, they’re applying the concept of “never give up” as they remodel it together. It sits on an acre and a quarter in the shadow of the San Bernardino Mountains. Their only pet is a cat, as Lisa explained, “so we can split for a few days at a time” on the Road King. 4