The wild kingdom rules …


After a three week absence of blog posts (maybe that’s lucky for you) and two weeks of nothing written – my first break in years and years – the letters are back. That doesn’t mean they’re good, it just means we’re back in the saddle.

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October 6, 2014

Ellen/Reid: Here’s a new way to jump start your Monday morning without coffee. I was at the kitchen table about 5:30 reading the paper (and sipping coffee) when an awful racket arose in an instant just outside the window. I knew right off the howling in unison was 3-4-5 coyotes announcing their find of the deer carcass straddling the creek not 25 yards from where I sat. I mean, that got my attention in a hurry. The yelping was loud and went on for a good 25 – 30 seconds, or until about the time I got my flashlight out and shined it where the dead deer lay. The pack went silent and I haven’t heard a peep since. What was a nearly complete carcass this time yesterday morning was down to the breast plate and nothing else when I shoved off for the YMCA about 8:30. They made quick work. The last time I heard such a hair-raising howl was in the Rockies about 35 years ago. My tent was in the Gore Range just east of Vail when out of no where – and very close – was a similar pack. It really does shiver your timbers. Incredibly eerie, but that’s just part of the nature scene. Kind of nice, actually. The wild kingdom rules.

The new (somewhat used) Harley Road King Classic is quite a thing.

The new girl has a few miles on her and the pipes are a little too quiet for my liking, but that will change in a hurry. Bring on the rumble.

The new girl has a few miles on her and the pipes are a little too quiet for my liking, but that will change in a hurry. Bring on the rumble.

It’s a bigger bike, not by much, than the old Heritage. The profile is wider, the gas tank another 1.5 gallons larger, and the front end is more pronounced with a much bigger main headlamp. The purchase came out of the blue. The old bike went in for a state license inspection, and while waiting I lounged in the used bike area, and there sat the jet black Road King. It looked showroom new, with 7,000 miles. It’s a 2013 model, and literally was ridden by a 68 year old guy who had to give it up because of Parkinson’s Disease. His loss was my gain – he had added some nice bells and whistles like a spiffy tach and a juiced up injection system – and the dealership made me a relatively decent offer on the Heritage in trade. As you know, a Road King was in my retirement plans all along. My mistake was back in ’03 when I bought the Heritage. I should’ve gotten a model with fuel injection in place of a carburetor. The Heritage would’ve worked fine for my retirement tour. When I rode to Oregon, the bike balked at altitudes above 6,000 feet, but this new model will take those in stride. I bought a sissy bar and rack this weekend. The one downer is the noise. The prior owner put on new snazzy pipes but they are very quiet. A little rumble wouldn’t hurt anybody.

My old Heritage Softail gathers dust on the local Harley dealer sales floor. It was a great bike with a big sound.

My old Heritage Softail gathers dust on the local Harley dealer sales floor. It was a great bike with a big sound.

There’s been some backpedalling for the national tour idea. Rather than a couple of months on the road, it will be made in smaller one week-10 day jaunts to regions. How the far West will be handled is still up in the air but you get the drift. The Road King will make it that much nicer.

By some miracle finished second in my club tournament this weekend. Some swing changes are taking hold and it helped. Won $25 for my efforts. We had a lot of fun. At our awards dinner the group gave me a large photobook that was custom published as a ‘thank you’ gift for the year.

Bob F. and Dave Dahlquist and Dave Hemminger arrive in Charleston tomorrow midday to head to the timeshare at Hilton Head. I can’t get out of here until almost 6 p.m. so my arrival will be fashionably late. We’re going to golf and fish (two half days on the water, one out deeper off the coast for whatever we can catch, the other for redfish and speckled trout inland) with a guy named Cap’n Miles. Reid, he cannot be as sorry as that sad sack we had at Oak Island. It should be pretty exciting and it will be good to see those guys. They’ve been more constant than anyone in terms of visiting me with some regularity.

Okay guys, I’m out of here. Lots to do before scooting out of town. I’ll call from the road.

Love, Dad

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