618 Gaffney Rd. Fairbanks, AK 99701
Outpost Web Page http://www.harleyoutpost.com
Fairbanks HOG Web Page http://puffin.ptialaska.net/~pappert
|April||2001||Chapter 0068||Fairbanks, Alaska|
|Activities Officer||488-8673||Safety Officer||488-1728|
|Road Captain||457-3760||Road Captain||452-1721|
|Road Captain||-||-||Road Captain||-||-|
|Ladies of Harley||457-3783||LoH Road Captain|
|LoH Road Captain||LoH Road Captain|
That's right - the long awaited FLHT Electra Glide Standard is finally parked in my garage. I've sat on it. I've started it and listened to those Thunder Headers rumble. I've popped it in gear and ridden it the 28 feet from the back wall to the garage door (numerous times!). A bunch of my buddies have come over and admired it and said all the things you're supposed to say about someone's new scooter. I've drooled over the HD accessories catalog to see what I want to order for it next. And yes ..true to my promise to Becky ..I took my wife out to dinner. After all, it WAS our anniversary.
She didn't make me put on a tie (Thank you, dear). I did wear jeans (clean ones) and a Harley shirt (white golf shirt with an HD logo on the pocket). Figured I was in trouble when we got to the restaurant, though. There was this bundle of cloth on the table. I wasn't sure what I should do with it. Wipe my nose? Maybe they knew I was a biker and had given it to me to tie over my throat and nose on a cold ride? I picked it up and it was heavy. Something was wrapped up in it. Maybe a Harley belt buckle? I unwrapped it and KNEW I was in trouble. Two forks, two spoons and a knife! What was I to do? Ever the resourceful one, I figured I'd just watch everyone around me and copy what they were doing. One problem .all the tables around us were empty. I did another quick peek and sighed with relief when I didn't see any of them fancy little dishes of salt to dip your carrots in.
We got to the menu and I knew I'd stepped into a foreign country. NO BREAKFAST!!!! Not one egg or piece of bacon in sight!!! What kind of place was this??!! Page two was worse. No burgers, no hotdogs, not even pizza!!! And what WAS there I either couldn't pronounce or didn't know what it was. NO WAY am I going to eat what I can't recognize by name as food!!! Page three brought relief - deep fried halibut in a bed of spinach, small red potatoes and fresh green beans. Talk about a feast! Mercy! I was so full when I finished I figured I'd have to roll out of the place. Didn't even have room for dessert.
We actually enjoyed ourselves a lot. No daughter .no dog ..just the two of us. And we talked. Yup, about the new bike, about each other, Bethany, our folks, plans for the summer. Even met a couple of friends who were out for the evening. It was a relaxing time. No phone ..no pager ..nice.
After a very enjoyable evening, it was good to get back home, drive into the garage and see that beautiful piece of black steel and chrome, just sitting there, waiting for the snow to go away so I can take her out on her maiden voyage. Iwondered about seeing if my wife wanted to throw some dead bugs at me while I sat on it making those "Vroom Vroom" noises, but then I thought better of it. Instead I laid a loving hand on her fairing, whispered good night, and headed for the house.
Scotty Foxworthy says, "If dressing up for you is
a clean t-shirt, combing your hair, and wiping the bugs off your chaps
might be a biker!"
The debate is over and the vote is in ..the Swineline will remain a monthly publication. And we'll give it to you which ever way you want - e-mail or snail mail. The advantage of e-mail is that you get your copy faster. It works like this. When I finish the Swineline and print out the final copy, I e-mail a copy to Bill, who then posts it and notifies the e-mail recipients that their Swineline has arrived. Meanwhile, I'm taking the hard copy to the printer, waiting to get it back, folding, stapling, addressing and stamping them, and then a trip to the post office. Normally the e-mail recipients get their copy before I get the hard copies in the mail. So, if speed matters to you, e-mail is the way to go. It also saves us (the Club) money. While on the subject of money, our postal bill just got cut in half. John Haddad has graciously offered to split our mailing costs, with the shop picking half. When you're in the Shop, stop and tell John thanks.
The date for submissions to the Swineline will be the 15th of the month prior to publication. Anyone is welcome to submit articles for publication. You can e-mail them to me at email@example.com, snail mail at PO Box 56898, North Pole, 99705, or leave them in my box at the Outpost.
You'll notice that our next meeting is at the Badger Den. We're back to altering where we have our meetings. Part of the problem we have is finding a place big enough to accommodate all of us that show up, and that actually want us there, and that won't charge us an arm and a leg for being there. Let the Board know if you have any ideas.
I'm also playing with the font size so that we can pack more into the newsletter and still save printing costs. Let me know your thoughts. Thanks for all the kind words from those of you who have expressed your pleasure with the Swineline. I'm enjoying myself and want this to be a paper that all of you will enjoy too.
Last but not least - We're accepting advertising in the Swineline. It works like this. If you have a business that does not conflict with the Outpost or Harley Davidson, you may advertise here. You must clear it with John first, then pay Dottie $25.00 per year). Dottie will then let me know that you want to advertise and I'll get together with you about your ad.
Scotty Foxworthy says, "If your neighbor's house catches
on fire, and it reminds you of that flame paint job you've been wanting
for your scooter
..you might be a biker!"
Well, it looks like this white stuff is FINALLY going away and hopefully we'll be riding soon! I'm sure all of you heard that the Bike Raffle is in full swing, so if you haven't gotten your tickets, get hold of Steve Schmitz (488-0777), who is doing a great job as our POC, or one of the Board Members and leat's sell as many tickets as we can!!
I recently returned from South Carolina, and while there I visited numerous dealerships, and I can honestly say that we are fortunate to have the Outpost as our sponser. You wouldn't believe how many dealerships don't support HOG. I also spoke to a few chapter officers and they couldn't believe how many members we have and how we are supported by John, Becky and the entire staff. The only thing they have on us is that they can ride pretty much year round. I was talking to a guy and his wife one night in Charleston and he said they were local HOG members. I asked them why they weren't riding (it was 75 degrees) and they said it was still WINTER and they hadn't even gotten their bikes out of storage. Can you believe that!!!
Well, on to bigger and better things. The rally is right around the corner, and if you would like to volunteer some time, get hold of Bob Spear. I'm sure he would appreciate any and all help he can get, as that is a major undertaking to ensure that all events go off without a hitch. If you have t-shirts in good condition, Yvonne Samuelson needs them, as she is making a quilt that will be raffled off at the Rally.
Well, that's all for now. Hopefully, as you read this, we will all have already put a few miles on.
Take it easy, Mike
Hi everyone! Gosh the time is flying - another article due for the Swineline already, but that is OK since it also means closer and closer to riding weather. I know a couple of hardy souls have already been out - I am green! As you know, I have decided to include a copy of the minutes of every HOG meeting so if you missed it you will still be up to date. I sure like being the secretary. If you need me for anything, please give me a shout at 457-3760 or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Take care and see you at the next meeting which will be the 6th of April.
|Barkhuff, Dale||Ginn, Jeff||Kane, Michael||Rao, Samuel|
|Barlow,Nancy||Green, Dawn||Kauffman, Jack||Rogers, Michael|
|Brown, Lenny||Green, Nyles||Kauffman, Susan||Schott, Chuck|
|Butler, Kevin||Heppner, Gordon||Lamb, Michael||Shelton, Frank|
|Champlin, Lew||Hoffman, Charleen||Larsen, David||Shelton, Julie|
|Corkrean, Tammy||Johnson, Christine||Larsen, Victoria||Smith, Griz|
|Cummings, Jon T.||Johnson, Darren||Messina, Teresa||Todhunter, Rebecca|
|Davis, Vickie||Kaltschnee, Ken||Meyers, Charley||Webb, Robert|
|Enoka, Theodore||Kaltschnee, Wanda||Owens, Carl||Witrosky, Aileen|
|Ginn, Ann||Kane, Danette||Owens, Tracy||Witrosky, Rich|
This is my standard blurb but it is IMPORTANT!!!!!! Please make sure that you have your national membership card with you when you renew. Very important to remember. The new or renewing member must sign the renewal form. No one else can sign for you.
The following is the minutes from the last meeting:
1. A meeting of the General Membership was held at 7pm on Friday, March 2, at Charley's, Fairbanks, Alaska
2. Officers present:
Director Mike Reardean
Assistant Director Hoppy Mew
Treasurer Dottie Fredrick
Activities Coordinator Fred Atkinson
Safety Officer Rich Barlow
LOH Director Margie Myers
Road Captain Walt Schader
Editor Scott Deal
Photographer Joe Laranaga
Secretary/Recorder Brandi Schader
a. Called the meeting to order.
b. Brought up concerns that some member had about the monthly meeting place. The membership discussed, then made a motion and voted that the meetings would be held at different locations. The motion passed. Meeting sites that would be rotated on a monthly basis are: Charley's, Badger Den, and possibly the Elks Club.
c. Director also said he would get a phone line set up so folks could call in and get dates and times of HOG events that were scheduled. The phone line will be installed in the Shop - answering machine only.
d. Announced Birch Lake BBQ for Labor Day weekend (August 31 - Sept 3). Cabins will be available - need to sign up soon. Campgrounds and RV sites also will be available.
4. Old Business - Minutes from the Feb 2nd meeting read and approved.
5. New Business
a. Treasurer Report
(1) Checking account - $742.21
(2) Savings account - $1830.59
b. Road Captain report
Requested volunteers for more road captains.
c. Activity Director
Fred reminded everyone about the Poker Run on March 10 starting and ending at Charley's. The run is scheduled to start at 11am. Some of the stops will be Skinny Dick's, Ivory Jacks, and the Badger Den.
d. Safety Director
(1) First safety class will be on 4, 5, and 6th of May. More info at the Shop.
(2) Rich asked that, when the bikes do come out, everyone be careful of the shady areas and the north sides of the road. That will be the most icy still.
(1) Margie announced that the Big Brothers/Big Sisters bowling event went great.
(2) She has also arranged with the Shop for Chapter T-Shirts. To get them ordered, there must be 12 each of the long and short sleeve shirts. Charley modeled the short sleeve and Margie modeled the long sleeve. There are two colors to chose from - gray and black.
(1) There was a discussion, motion and vote to have the Swineline published every month. The motion carried.
(2) E-mail will be the preferred method.
(3) Articles for the Swineline to be turned in to Scott by the 15th of the month.
(4) You may advertise in the Swineline if it does not conflict with the Outpost. The cost for a year is $25.00. You must first check with John, the Outpost owner before advertising, then pay Dottie, our treasurer. If you give Scott a business card, he will come up with an ad for you. You MUST be a Hog member to advertise.
(5) The Harley Shop will split the cost of the postage for the Swineline.
No info from Joe this month.
New members were introduced by Becky, our dealership manager.
i. Rally Update
(1) Mike, our director, gave information from Bob Spears, our Rally Coordinator. Bob was working and couldn't attend the meeting.
(2) Friday night of the Rally there will be a 9:00 Chatanika run for dinner. Pictures will be taken at that time.
(3) There will be a jam session at the Fairgrounds after the Chatanika run.
(4) Saturday there will be a HOG roast.
(5) To participate in the Rally and get all the goodies, you must be a member or associate member. Otherwise, you must buy everything yourself.
(6) Non-Harley bikes will allowed to ride in the parade, at the end.
(7) Non-Harley bikes will not be allowed to participate in the Rally games.
(8) Set up for the Rally is June 14. Rally dates are June 15 - 17.
j. Bike Show
(1) Jim Samuelson, who is running the Bike Show this year, will be out of town on unavoidable business, so Steve Schmitz will step in and help with the show.
(2) Deadline for signing up for the Bike Show, which will be held at the Bentley Mall, is March 24 by 6:00pm. Only those who signed up will be allowed to participate in the show.
(3) Sign up sheets are at the Shop. REMINDER - this is a ride in show.
(4) If you need your bike trailored to the show, please contact Steve Schmitz (488-0777), or any of the Board Members.
(5) The classes for the show this year are as follows:
Late Big Twin ***Best Use of Paint ***Best Bagger ***Early Big Twin ***People's Choice ***Custom
***Sportster ***Merchant's Choice ***Best in Show
k. Bike Raffle
(1) No drop boxes this year, except at the Shop.
(2) Board Members may sign out tickets, and then sign them out to other club members.
(3) The individual selling the most tickets will win a custom jacket donated by the Shop.
(4) Only 25,000 tickets will be sold.
(5) Tickets will be signed out in packets of 100, or 500 for special occasions.
(6) Deadline for the ticket competition is 6pm at the Outpost on July 16th. NO EXCEPTIONS!!!!!
(7) Individuals must have all money and tickets turned by the deadline.
(8) Steve Schmitz, Raffle Coordinator, has offed a free bike detail for 2nd place in selling the most tickets.
(1) 50/50 was won by Scott Deal
(2) Hog Pot - $30.00 - John Turner's name was called, not present. Hog Pot next month will be $40.00.
(3) CD went to Sam Mindham
(4) T-shirt won by Buddy Wallace
(5) T-shirt won by Debra Jantek
(6) Scott Deal won the Bud Hat
m. Assistant Director
There will be two runs planned for Memorial Day weekend. Neither one will be a Hog sponsored event. One run will be to Tangles Lake and the other will be the Veteran's Memorial Run to Anchorage. More details to follow.
6. The meeting was adjourned at 8:20pm. The next general meeting will be April 6, at 7pm.
Well, that's the scoop for this month. Instead of reading the minutes, I will have copies available at the next meeting for the membership to read and then I will ask for a motion to accept the minutes with or without changes. Hopefully that will be less time consuming at the meeting. I will also have a few more event calendars available for those folks who didn't get them at the last meeting. See you on the road, at the Shop, or at the Bike Show.
Scotty Foxworthy says, "If the cops have pre-written tickets for your loud exhaust ..you might be a biker!"
See ya, Brandi
What is this? I've seen this before!! Barlow is getting lazy and recycling old columns. Well, you're right, Bubba, but we've got a lot of new riders again and that's a good thing. They need to read this, and it wouldn't hurt you to read it again either. I've got new stuff too, but that can wait till next month. April will kick off our group rides so we need this now.
IMPORTANT!!! PLEASE READ THIS!!!
We have experienced tremendous growth over the last year. Because of this growth, we need some guidance for our group rides. We will be having new people riding with us and a large number of beginner riders. We want to make group rides fun and safe for everyone, and get more folks out for our rides.
Group riding can be one of the fun aspects of owning a motorcycle. Regardless if you and a handful of your friends want to ride for pie on a sunny Saturday afternoon, or a mass ride for some special event, you will eventually find yourself in a "pack of bikes." Now for a beginner, this can be a scary situation, or just unpleasant for a veteran. Usually this is a result of a lack of communication before the ride. Every group comes up with its own rules concerning group riding manners. Some are very formal, complex and inflexible, others are loose, informal and seem to change with every twist in the road. Personally, I advocate that less is more, the less rules, the more fun. However, we do need a few rules to keep the confusion to a minimum.
First: stagger and interval. Very important for safety. We ride in a staggered formation with few exceptions. Maintain a two second following distance between you and the bike directly ahead of you. To do this, when the bike ahead of you passes a fixed object (light pole, sign, crack in the road) count "one thousand one, one thousand two". If you get to the point where the other bike was before you finish two, you're too close. Back off a touch. If you get there after two, close it up a little bit. A lot to think about at first, but you'll soon get the hang of it. Simultaneously, you need to keep one second between you and the bike next to you in the stagger. This will let that bike slide in front of you if necessary. If the happens, back off, get your two seconds, then pull up when they get back over to where they were. This will happen frequently in hills and curvy sections of road. Don't get upset. Just reform the pack when you get clear of that section of the road. No one expects you to ride beyond your ability.
Try to stay in your third of the lane unless avoiding obstacles. When someone in front of you falls out, you should pull straight up to take their place and fill the rank. Leave it up to the last couple of bikers to correct the stagger. Most of the time there will be a couple of experienced riders in the rear. Let them worry about the stagger.
Almost every group depends on hand signals to communicate
while riding. I would like to keep the list short and sweet. The fewer to
remember, the better.
1. Left hand raised, palm open = right turn.
2. Left hand out, palm open =left turn.
3. Left hand down, palm open = slow down.
4. Either hand pointing at the road = hazard (pot hole, gravel, dead animal, etc.)
Anything else will be explained by the road captain or ride leader before the ride.
To increase everyone's enjoyment and safety, we will divide rides into three groups for beginning, intermediate, and advanced riders when we have large groups. The road captains or ride leaders will be wearing colored arm bands. Red for advanced, blue for intermediate and yellow for beginners. This will allow eveyone to ride at their own comfort level. It is TOTALLY up to you which group you ride with. Please pick the group you will be most comfortable with.
If you are a new rider, or don't have much experience riding in groups, PLEASE let the Road Captain, Safety Officer or the ride leader know. We will try to pair you up with an experienced rider. They will show you how everything is done and you won't be under pressure to ride faster than your abilities. We want everybody to have fun, and you can't have fun if you're under pressure.
Finally: Do not follow a group through a yellow or red
light. If the group gets separated, the leaders will slow to allow you to
catch up. The leader will also establish a pull out to meet at out of town.
We'll reassemble the group at that place if we need to. If for any reason
you have to pull over and then catch back up with the group, don't try to
pass the pack. Just fall back in at the rear of the pack.With these simple
rules, we should all understand what is expected. I hope to see you at one
of our special events or Thursday night dinner rides. Remember - Eat to
ride, Ride to eat!!!
By the time you read this the bike show will only be a few days away. I hope every one is ready to go - the list at the Outpost is growing daily. If you need trailer support, don't forget to give Steve Schmitz or Dave Gottlardt a call and let them know you need some help. We have plenty of trailers available, but please don't wait until the last minute to ask for help. We will alos need to have our bikes at the mall by 9pm on Friday night so we can get them inside and set up. We only have about two hours to get everything in and put together; if the bikes are there it all goes pretty quick.
The classes are the same as in the past: Sportster, Custom, Early Big Twin, and Late Big Twin. If you don't fully understand the classes, Dave or Steve can explain them to you. There are also awards for: Best in Show, Best Bagger, Best Use of Paint, People's Choice, and Merchant's Choice. Dave and Steve have a full explanation of the classes and how the awards are made. Make sure you contact them if you have any questions. Confusion needs to be cleared up before the show as there is not much we can do about it after. Phone numbers are: Steve - 488-0777 and Dave - 488-7912. Good luck and enjoy the show.
Well, some of you more adventurous (or some say "crazy") people have already ridden your Harleys to the shop last month! I'm jealous, but my bike can't handle my subdivision road conditions quite yet. If the weather keeps looking good, we will all be out on the streets soon!!
With the warmer weather and longer days, the bikes have been steadily moving off the floor. At this point, I have a couple of Road Kings and a few Sportsters available before the riding season hits full force. Otherwise, as usual, most of the new bikes coming in now through the first part of the summer are presold.
John wants to get all those sport bike riders that we share the roads with a chance to enjoy the kind of ride they want on an American made motorcycle. So, we have become an authorized Buell dealer, as well as Harley-Davidson. I was down in Seattle the end of February for a one day class on Buells. Besides riding out the earthquake, I got the opportunity to see the Buell Lightning X1. With low unsprung weight, mass centralization, and a rigid frame holding 101 hp, 1203cc and 90 ft. lbs. of torque, you've got some awesome power at your fingertips for an exhilarating ride with exceptional control. The first Buell model they are sending us is the new Buell "Blast". This bike is designed for the first time rider or someone who wants a lightweight, extremely responsive and easy handling motorcycle. The Blast is $4995 with a guaranteed $4395 trade-in value for the first year.
We had a great turn out for the HOG private sale Wednesday March 14th. You helped us make more room for the upcoming new spring merchandise, as well as getting great some great deal! Those of you who couldn't make it will want to stop by next time you're in the neighborhood. We have some cool H-D bar stools, card table, pool sticks, and cue balls on display. If we had more room and money for the freight cost, we'd have the pool table in the showroom too!!
Jessie and Connie have a "Boot Madness Sale" continuing until they are all gone. These great styles are extra inventory from our Juneau store, and they want them out of here. Make them a reasonable offer and you may get out the door with even more of a deal than the sale price. Deck out the kids in Harley gear with "Pleather Jackets", regularly $61.00, now on sale for $29.95! All other kids clothing are 30% to 50% off (excluding logo items). New spring and Summer arrivals are coming in continually and some styles have a one time order limit, so come in soon and check all the new styles before they're gone. Also, don't forget to stop by and see Connie and Jessie for your packet of HOG Raffle Bike Tickets to sell for the 2001 Dyna Super Glide.
If you need your bike serviced before you ride it out of the garage, call Clark ASAP. He is still offering pick up and delivery for a short time until the roads are bare.
Thomas has some limited production radical paint sets on display. These are available by "bid only" with the Motor Co. and there are typically only about 200 sets of each style made. They have a small Bar & Shield and the number on the side of the fuel tank. Pretty cool stuff!!
John and Clark have taken their frustrations out on the wall between the Service and Parts areas. We're lucky they didn't have any chainsaws handy at the time! We appreciate your patience while they are doing a small re-model job.
A SPECIAL NOTE:
Don't be alarmed if you see Mary Deal pulled over for a
variety of traffic violations in the upcoming summer months. This may be
the only times she can visit with Scott since we FINALLY delivered his new
FLHT to their garage!!
Becky and the Outpost Gang
Well, here we are just that much closer. First of all, I want to thank all of you that came out for bowling for Big Brothers/Big Sisters. It was a great time and a lot of fun.
Chapter shirts are coming. I took a lot of orders at the last meeting and I will be taking more at the next one. Also, you can put your orders in at the Outpost. Long sleeve gray is $25.00 and short sleeve black is $23.00.
It was great to see so many at the Outpost on Sale night. Lots of new faces and many old ones that I haven't seen all winter. Didn't get to say Hi to all of you, but I sure tried.
The next big event is the bike show at the Bently Mall at the end of this month. Hope to see you all there.
The following story was submitted by Sam Mindham. Thanks Sam!
Have you ever noticed how certain smells get etched in your mind? And some of them, like certain songs you've heard, are etched so deeply that you can remember where you were and what was happening the first time you experienced them?
It was June of 1963, later that summer I was to turn 8 years old, then later that fall a guy named Ozwald was to come from obscurity and become a household name. My dad announced at breakfast that I wouldn't be going to Sunday School with my younger siblings; he had something to show me. After breakfast, with curious excitement, I followed my dad out to the garage behind our house. I watched him climb a ladder to the loft and drag out a dusty army footlocker from the shadows. He brought the footlocker down to his workbench and started rummaging around through the contents. First, he pulled out a black hat with a stiff, white, shiny bill on it and handed it to me saying, "Hold that." I was reading the words on the patch in the center of the hat while Dad kept digging through the footlocker. "Harley Davidson Motorcycles". I knew what it meant because my dad often spoke fondly and passionately of them with my uncle that had one, although I'd never seen one.
Next, he pulled out an old weathered black leather jacket. It had a belt with a shiny buckle at the waist and zippers all over the front of it. On the back was a big patch with a word in an arch and two dice in the center. Then he pulled out a pair of black boots that also had buckles on them. As I watched dad dress up in these neat clothes that I'd never seen before, I couldn't figure out what this had to do with my being excused from sitting through the monotony of Sunday School. He checked himself out in the reflection of a window, took the jacket off and slung it over his shoulder, and said, "C'mon, I got something to show you." I knew this had to be something big. I knew because not only could I sense his excitement, but also because he was never this dramatic about anything. We drove to a motel a few miles out of town on the banks of the Wisconsin River.
When we pulled into the parking lot of the Motel 60, there, parked and gleaming in the morning sun, was the most awsome sight my almost eight year old eyes had ever seen. Nearly two dozen Harleys parked in a single line stretching from one end of the small motel to the other.
A few people were mingling about as we got out of the car. One of the men recognized my dad and greeted him by name. "You know these guys?" I asked. Dad just grinned and winked at me. While dad made small talk with the group that had already risen and wandered outside, I walked among the big shiny beasts in the parking lot, mesmerized by the chrome, leather and gleaming paint. Then there was that smell. A very distinct smell that was foreign to my nostrils. I took it all in with a feeling of serendipity.
I wandered back to where my dad was, and it was then that I started to notice that there was something different about the people that were with these motorcycles. First of all, they were happy. Even the big fat guy who staggered out of his room with only one boot on, stopping to puke in the flower bed and announce to all present that he needed a beer. (And had one tossed to him by one of the other red eyed members of the group). The men were, for the most part, dressed like my dad. Blue jeans with the cuffs rolled up, boots, t-shirts, and those hats with the shiny bills and patches on them. Then there were the women. These were not the midwestern housewives and mothers I was used to being around. To me, they looked like movie stars. They wore makeup, their hair was teased, and their clothes were snug, to say the least. They wore tight slacks with zippers on the left side of the waist, and tight sweaters with bumps in the front.
What was different about these people was that they all seemed more alive than any others adults I had ever been around. It was like being around my friends and school mates, not a bunch of adults burdened with jobs and bills and families.
After about a half hour, the group decided to go somewhere and have breakfast. The big guy still hadn't found his boot and told my dad to take his bike because he didn't think breakfast was such a good idea right now. "Give one kick full choke with the switch off, then she'll start" he told my dad, pointing to a fat bobbed yellow knucklehead. It only had a solo saddle for a seat, so one of the other guys told my dad I could ride with him.
Dad went over to the car and got out the jacket he'd taken out of the footlocker. As the others put on their jackets, I saw that they all had the same patch on the back as my dad's jacket. I asked my dad what it meant. "Vagabonds" he told me. "It's the name of their club. I used to belong to it."
Buddy, the man I was riding with, fired up his bike, and told me to climb on in front of him so I'd be able to see. He lifted me up onto the saddle and told me to put my hands on the handlebars and help him drive. My senses were keen to everything. The sound, the vibration, and as the engine warmed up, that distinct smell became stronger.
So with the guys in their leather jackets and Harley hats, and the girls in their leather jackets and scarves tied around their heads, over twenty motorcycles started out for a truck stop 30 miles away. As we pulled onto the highway, Buddy took my left hand and put it on the shift lever every time he'd shift gears. Once we were out and rolling east along the Wisconsin River, he set the throttle and took his hands off the bars, leaving mine on them. "You drive for awhile" he yelled above the noise of two dozen rumbling machines. There I was, almost eight years old, and in my mind I was the Master of the Universe.
We had three small towns to go through on our way to the truck stop. Now, keep in mind that this was Sunday morning in America's dairy land. Farmers and town folk were all dressed up in their Sunday go-to-meeting clothes, walking into the various churches each town had, and here we come. The peace and serenity of the normal Sunday morning was shattered by the rumble known as Milwaukee Thunder. And there in the middle of the thunder was my dad and I. The good citizens were on their way to pray their way to heaven, and I was almost eight years old and already there. The feeling of power and belonging was indescribable.
When we arrived at the truck stop, the scene was the same. Most of the Sunday morning diners just pointed and stared. Many of those inside quickly finished their meals and left. Those that stayed or came in after our arrival, whispered and stared. And inevitably, it wasn't long before a county sheriff's car pulled up outside. Ironically, the guy that was the sheriff was a friend of my dad and he owned a Harley. My dad introduced him to the group and, after the club members had breakfast, he walked out with us and talked bikes for most of a half an hour.
On the ride back, my mind and heart were beginning to fill with dread. I never wanted this day to end. Once back at the motel, my dad had a couple of beers with the group and they started getting ready to go back to Minnesota. After saying goodby, dad and I climbed into the Studebaker for the ride home. My mouth was going a mile a minute. I was wound up tighter than a spring.
Back in the garage, dad took his hat, jacket and boots off. But instead of putting them in the footlocker, he hung the jacket and hat on a nail. Dad looked down at me and smiled. "Sam", he said, "If I get a Harley, will you help me take care of it?" Would I??!! It's a good thing my bladder wasn't full, cuz I'd have lost it! Later in the afternoon he dug out a photo album and showed my brothers and me pictures of the motorcycles he'd owned, and pictures of the group known as the Vagabonds as they were before Korea.
That night after supper, as we sat in the darkness on the front porch listening to the sound of crickets and watching fireflies buzz about, I asked my dad why all those Harleys smelled like they did. He thought a minute, and said "Oh that. That's from an engine cleaner they call Gunk." "Gunk?" I asked. "Yeah, Gunk. You warm your engine up and spray the stuff on and then rinse it off with a hose and it cleans up your engine like new."
So to this day, whenever I catch a whiff of the product
known as Gunk, my mind goes back to one sunny summer morning in Wisconsin,
when my dad and I shared the experience of being almost eight years old.
The spotlight this month hits a couple of our charter members, Al and Sandy Woodward, of Salcha.
Well, most of you know Sandy and I and know that we're both charter members of this fine organization. It sure has grown since we went to our first meeting at the Pumphouse restaurant.
I've been riding since I was about 13 years old - I know,
that was before the wheel was invented! Anyhow, that what our kids say,
and who listens to their kids these days anyhow? Sandy, on the other hand,
is a spring chick when it comes to riding. She just started riding her own
bike back in '93. Before that she rode behind me on the old Sportster. Some
of you probably remember those days, but then if you admit to that, you
would be admitting that you were around in those days before the invention
of the wheel!!
As some of you know, sandy and I live out in Salcha, and when we come to town, it's a ride by itself. We like our space in the country away from the hustle and bustle of town - you have to understand that we use to live way out of town - like the foothills of the Brooks Range. So you see, this little space in the woods is very nice for us, although sometimes the yearning for the bush life is overwhelming. Life was easier there.
We are also owners of A-1 Leather Goods, where we sell motorcycle leathers for you and your bike. We can get custom leathers made for you , and we also have other leather items such as purses, tool bags, halters, etc.
I've lived in Alaska since ..well let's just say it's been a long time. Sandy has been here since 1982. She was born and raised in Hawaii and had never even ridden a bicycle when I met her. Now look at her - she rides her own Springer Softtail!!!! We have three children, one is gone from home, married and is doing fantastic as a carpenter. Two are at home yet; they are both great kids and we enjoy them immensely. We are also proud grandparents of a baby girl. I can't wait to get her on two wheels! We try to do as many things with them as we can, such as fishing, hunting, boating, bicycling, working, gardening, snow machining, camping, skiing, riding, and of course their favorite thing, traveling in the magic bus!!!!
This is going to be a great year for all of us. We're going to get a lot done on our new home and enjoy the summer riding season also. Riding season is just around the corner and I know everybody wants to get out and ride: so be careful out there, don't jump the gun and start too early. Let the roads dry out!
Thanks, see you all in the wind,
Big Al, Sandy & kids (Kelly and Margie)
Editor's note: Thanks, Al and Sandy, for sharing this month. As Al mentioned, they are owners of A-1 Leather Goods and are one of the first advertisers in the Swineline since I've taken the handlebars as editor. I've been out to their place several times. Besides selling good gear they are just down right good, friendly folks to spend time with.
FAIRBANKS HOG CHAPTER
H-D FARTHEST NORTH OUTPOST
FAIRBANKS, AK 99701