Tag Archives: Harley Davidson Road King Classic

And a time to every purpose, under heaven …


It took Pete Seeger and The Byrds to put a few verses from Ecclesiastes into perspective for many of us:

To everything (turn, turn, turn)
There is a season (turn, turn, turn)
And a time to every purpose, under heaven

So it would seem for the contents of last week’s letter.


April 24, 2017

Ellen/Reid: By the time you open this, Ellen, surgery on your arm will be done and you’ll be all sewed up, good as new. Good for the dermatologist to catch it in the apparent early stages. There’s nothing wrong with check ups every three months. I’m still on that quarterly regimen, too, as is your mother and your uncle. Reid, I know Tim hit you hard about a skin check up but really, get in since this insidious beast can lurk around almost unseen. Almost the entire family has had melanoma. So please, get checked.

It rained all day yesterday around here and still is this morning. I didn’t realize how much of a downpour we had until I brought up the digital Charlotte Observer. Apparently some neighborhoods were badly flooded and are still out of power. The little creek behind the house is bank full. I guess it’s good for the reservoirs but it washes all the litter into them.

It’s a relief in a lot of ways that the Road King is nearly gone. I’m quite fine with it. It was just time. Not my favorite of all the Harleys I’ve had and maybe if it was the old Heritage Softail then there might still be a bike in the garage. But there’s not and that is just great. The guy who bought it was excited and he picks it up sometime in the next couple of days if the rain stops.

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The Road King needed a new owner who could put the bike through its deserved paces. And it got one in a great young guy named Matt.

We didn’t haggle much on the price, and I threw in lots of misc. gear like a cover and tour pack and a jacket and cleaning supplies and a helmet and some Harley tees just to be rid of stuff. I’ll use some of the proceeds to recover the kitchen cabinets, maybe re-carpet the place and buy tickets to see you goons. Whatever is left will go to my trek in Spain this fall. I’ve started to go to weekly coffees about how to plan for the Camino de Santiago. Since I’m not the planner extraordinaire, even a few tips will get me down the road.

Ellen, I’m close to a ticket for your graduation. Are you absolutely sure you’re okay with me visiting since you guys will need to be in a motel? You may not need me as a fifth wheel so help me make the call. Why aren’t they having the graduation there on campus? Wouldn’t that be the Continue reading

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A decision is made: Mr. Angry Man stays …


There was some brief internal debate about a public airing of the rant in the first paragraph.

One argument favored it be kept intact. The other rationale urged its removal. (As regular observers may know, there are some topics that you will never read. Those are indeed cut out, to be seen only by Ellen and Reid and me.)

In this case, however, the decision was made to keep the opening pissy mood narrative. 

In large part letters aren’t – or shouldn’t be – happy-happy all the time. That’s not how life works. It would be disingenuous to only write about the good, the positive or the uplifting while other facets of my life remain in hiding.

The kids deserve to see the broader picture that is my reality. There are frustrations and there are disappointments and there are sad doings. And since I tend to wear things on my sleeve (as many writers do), there’s no reason you shouldn’t read about Mr. Angry Man, too.


December 19, 2016

Ellen/Reid: I woke up this morning Mr. Angry Man. I dunno, but things just seem to be getting out of hand on so many fronts I don’t know where to start. I’m tired of a house that hasn’t sold. I’m tired of no people even looking. I’m tired of squirreling away newspapers as packing material when there’s nothing to pack. I’m no slob by any means, but I’m tired of keeping up appearances when there are no visitors to take notice of a nice place. I’m tired of cooking for one with no one in my life let alone no one even interested in being in my life (there is the reality I won’t be here long term). I’m tired of a beautiful jet-black Harley spinning its wheels in the garage with no takers to appreciate it. It’s all just kind of mounted up in the past few weeks and the end game is it landed me in a frustrated, pissy mood.

But enough with the whine-fest. That’s now past. The recent bright spot was about 20 people over here Saturday night for a really fun soiree. Rather than cook (I did bake bread and warm up a delicious spiral ham), my friends all brought appetizers and wine/beer and we partied on from there. I really enjoy hosting this particular group of friends.

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My friends Sondra and Jody emceed the Yankee Gift Swap in my lower living room. If the intent was to pawn off stuff folks didn’t want, it was mission accomplished.

Most guests, but not all, were golfers and they all get along well and they like being around each other. Sondra and Jody orchestrated a Yankee Gift Swap which was hilarious. I ended up with a goofy golf-themed bottle opener but it could’ve been far worse: some partier ended up with a peanut butter jar of nuts and bolts that was my contribution to the gift pile.

Reid, you’ll read this well after I see you later this week. The route is planned and computes to about a 10 hour drive. Miss Emma and I will shove off about 5 a.m. or so. When that’s done, it’s back up the way to Hilton Head the 26th through the 31st. Sondra and Jody and our friend Lynn will arrive later in the week owing to their job duties. That’ll give me and Emma a couple of days to fish new waters, maybe evening going offshore a bit to a spot called the Rock Pile. It’s roughly the midway point between Hilton Head Island and Tybee Island, Georgia. It’s where old seafaring ships dumped ballast before they sailed into the harbor of Savannah. My buddies, Dave Hemminger, Bob Furstenau and Dave Dahlquist have fished there with great success. The accumulated stones are home to big, thick bull reds and while it would be an adventurous 3-4 mile paddle, the waters aren’t that deep and might be worth the effort if the tides and weather are right (separately on Saturday night, Sondra and Jody gave me an emergency kit to keep in a dry bag on Miss Emma). I’ve never used the Glympse app so you can track me on the seas but I’ll do that on these coming salt water forays for certain. Ellen, be sure to send me Christmas pictures of the girls. That’s a real bright spot for their Papa. Also, give me some dates to come up for a visit so I can begin to acclimate myself to the frigidness. Man, the St. Paul and Chicago temps have just been horrid.

My appeal to Social Security is in the works although there’s no message as to whether or not they’ll summarily dismiss it or grant me an audience with a decision maker. I’ll keep you posted one way or another.

There’s a bunch of writing to do this morning so I’d better put my pouting on hold and get on with things. Reid, I’ll also head to the bookstore to see if they stock the titles you gave me. Ellen, tell Tim the redfish hat is very much appreciated. It’ll make the trip to Florida and South Carolina. I won’t be an official Southern redneck. I’ll just look like one.

Love, Dad

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The dog days of summer and a lethargic effort …


Fishermen know them as the dog days of summer, that hot spell period during a sweltering August when the water is too hot, the fish too lethargic and the beer too warm.

Letter creation might suffer a similar seasonal fate. It was everything I could do to get last week’s single page out the door after letting the prior week’s letter slide altogether. I can’t recall another such energy-less stretch of weeks in the 15 years of writing to the kids.

To play on the fishing analogy, perhaps my beer was too warm. We’ll never know.


August 22, 2016

Ellen/Reid: I’m not sure what I was thinking, but for some reason there was no letter last week; you each got an envelope, but nothing was written. It would be easy to dismiss it as an age thing but it’s likely that I’m just plain addled.

Spent a chunk of the week in Myrtle Beach. It’s a nicer place than a lot of us give it credit for. You just have to get away from the 3-for-$10 tee shirt stores and water slides and other goofy attractions. Once you get off the beaten path – Hwy. 17 – then it’s a much more civilized place. But man it was hot and humid. It just drains your energy if you spend any appreciable amount of time outside. Walked over to the beach one morning about 6:30 with a  cup of coffee in hand and already there were thousands of people out strolling and looking for shells. The entire strip is something like 60 miles long and huge portions of it are wall-to-wall people and at 35-45 miles per hour, it can be daunting, and slow, to get from point A to point B. I broke my friend Kurt’s Loomis rod and will spend part of today looking at how to replace it. Ellen, I thought of calling Tim to see if he has any Loomis contacts that might take pity on me. Those are expensive rods.

The ceilings are now painted and looking good. Not sure if any more painting is necessary. Now it’s on to sealing the garage floor as well as the ever-constant battle against clutter. A relatively good job has been done on that score but there’s still a lot more stuff that can be jettisoned. I’m a little concerned

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I didn’t invent bland living rooms, but I’ve apparently perfected hum-drum decor.

about the lackluster downstairs living room since there’s not a lot of art on the massive blank walls but it is what it is. I’m trying to complete at least one house-related thing every day. Ellen, you mentioned staging ideas so I’m all ears.

The Harley ad was in this morning’s paper. Since the Craig’s List effort went utterly belly up, we’ll just have to see how good, old fashioned Continue reading

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You mess with my tomatoes, I mess with you …


There is still some Midwestern gardener in me (sadly minus the good black soil). I covet even a small plot to obsess over. Alas, the best I can do is tend to a couple container pots. It’s not the same as tilling the earth, but it’s an any-port-in-a-storm deal.

Yet I watch over those pots religiously; so do ground squirrels who have taken a liking to my meager produce. But the rodents have a crossed a fine line and must be dealt with – harshly. At stake is my annual tomato crop. There is a silver lining: at least the Garden Nazis aren’t coming after me this year.


June 20, 2016

Ellen/Reid: Okay, for all the supposed naturalist in me, there comes a time when enough is enough. A ground squirrel has been munching on my tomatoes and now is the time for all-out war. He/she ruined three nearly ripened tomatoes in the past two days. As I pulled out of the garage this morning to head to the Y, I told the beast out the car window ‘I’m gonna go Lee Harvey Oswald on your ass’ from the strategic vantage point of the upper kitchen window. My pellet gun is locked-and-loaded. The thing can eat whatever it wants as long as it’s not the fucking tomatoes. Not after all these years of trying to grow the things.

So it’s settled; one or two nights in Chicago, a couple two or three in St. Paul, then down to Des Moines for several days, on to Grand Island for one, then up through the Sand Hills on Hwy. 2 to Sundance, Wyoming then traverse on west to Jackson. What a road trip it should be. I know it’s kind of odd to head out in the car but there is a sense of adventure to it. I’m looking forward to a strong cup of coffee as I hit the road in the early morning. Avoided, too, will be two expensive weeks of rental cars not to mention the nearly $800 airfare.

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This is what the Week One lunch looks like for Liz, Reid and me. Not high cuisine, but good enough for the high country. I’d better get used to peanut butter and tostada shells; it’s the same lunch fare I’ll endure the second week in the Bridger Wilderness.

Plus, I get to see the girls and you guys on the way (and I’ll see you and Liz on the way back, Reid). The prospect of two-plus weeks in the high country is beyond exciting. The gear is being assembled on the guest room bed. If I get out toward Pinedale early, I may camp by the Hoback to see what might be foolish enough to take my iffily presented flies. It’s a stretch of big water that flows out of the Gros Ventre range just to the north of the Northern half of the Bridger. Ellen, ask Tim what sort of flies/sinking line I might need because it’s a lot more water than I’m used to fishing.

Since my golf game is in the tank and because it cannot possibly be the fault of the Indian rather than the arrow, I splurged on some new irons for the first time in 10 years. We’ll see what impact it has on my game although the impact on the bank account is already noticeable. My clubs won’t make the trip to Wyoming although there is that temptation.

A can of ceiling paint awaiting use is sitting in the corner of the living room. It’s just a matter of mustering the organization to get going on things. There’s a bit of drywall to patch behind the tub faucet in the new bathroom plus some painting here and there. Hopefully it sees more activity than the Harley; the price has been dropped Continue reading

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Ready, set, go – almost …


The annual countdown to Wyoming has started. We’re on the clock now. Reid and his wonderful girlfriend (that’s a direct plug) are on board for week one, and the Charlotteans are primed for week two.

It never gets old (maybe it does for you reading about it) but honestly, it’s one of the yearly highlights. I’ll do this every year that I’m able.


June 15, 2016

Ellen/Reid: So, the July travel plans have become official. I’ll drive due North to MSP to see you and the girls, Ellen (and Tim, too) before heading to Des Moines for a couple of days, then further West to Wyoming to rendezvous with you and Liz, Reid. And then, two weeks later, it’s back East to Chicago for a day or two layover before heading home to Charlotte. Now that’s what I call a serious road trip. But it really sounds exciting. And for the first time in a long, long time, we’ll try to go unshaven for an extended period. I hope not to frighten Georgia and Emma.

Reid, that Osprey pack will do wonders for Liz, plus she’ll have it for eternity and it has a lifetime warranty. Those Salewa boots would be great for her (if they pass the ‘style’ test). Just keep me abreast on the food situation. I’ll toss in the tent and extra sleeping bag. My Marmot should be plenty warm for her. Let’s compare notes on food in the next week or so. I really do need to up my game for dinners at the least.

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Hopefully there will be a lot more of these cutthroats where these beauties came from (we’d settle for fat brookies, too). It’ll be Liz’ first time fly fishing. Let’s hope she catches dinner.

The lousy nighttime food from last year is still a bitter memory. Hopefully we’ll catch plenty of brookies for dinner (and hopefully neophyte Liz will do all the catching. It would be great for her to eat what she caught. Nothing would ever taste better).

It’ll be fun to be behind the wheel. There’s something liberating about hitting the open road, clutching a cup of coffee and turning up the tunes. I’ll make a brief stop in Omaha and Grand Island plus a side trip through Sundance to pick up the Sundance Times and Crook County News in honor of your grandfather and to see the old home, too.

The Harley still hasn’t sold. It’s depressing to not get at least some lookers. Seems like I’ll have to eat it and/or come way down in price. The more time that goes by, the more anxious I become. I’m on the fence about Miss Emma; it could always make the trip with me, I guess. Still have to jettison a lot more Continue reading

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Hours lost, time gained …


After a few changes and alterations on several fronts, I suddenly have plenty of time on my hands. Ostensibly the bike and I could take one final long adventure but I’m anxious for it to be sold and out of the garage. It’s the one thing Ellen asks about, so if you know anyone who wants a spiffy ’13 Road King Classic, let me know.


June 7, 2016

Ellen/Reid: Well, it does feel good to no longer be the editor even though I loved the work dearly. The sense of having time back is really quite valuable at this stage of the game. The letter to the owners was quite civil and I do like them, I really do, plus it was gratifying work but at some point you have to get paid.

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With the editor job out of the way there’ll be no more pictures of babies at parades. I will miss the creative challenge but not the hours.

45-50 hours a week was just over the top. Already this morning I’ve wiped my hands of it. I do have some sense of responsibility to my writers so I’ll send one final email with their assignments. And then that portion of it will be done.

The Harley was repriced this morning to $14,900 since there has been no action at the higher price for the six days it’s been on Craig’s List. We’ll see if the reduction spurs any interest. I’m kind of surprised there haven’t been any lookers. It’s a good ride but it won’t make the trip with me. I sweetened the pot by making mention of a bike cover, helmet, assorted Harley gear. Hopefully that will pull a buyer out of the woodwork. I may ride it to Macs tomorrow night and put a little sign on it to see if that lures anyone in. I’m up in the air about selling the kayak but that’s probably on the block, too, even though it kills me to think Bowens Island will be in the rear view mirror.

One of my news writing classes got scrubbed since CPCC fell a few enrollees short of a full class. That’s disappointing but okay in that I’ll have plenty of other things to do to get ready. But the other class is still a go as of this writing so we’ll have to wait and see.

Reid, Katy is still on the hook for Wyoming. She sent a text today that she’ll make her final decision today. It’s going to be hard for Liz to find a rental backpack – it’s doubtful REI will do that – and it’s really important that she be fit for the right pack. Otherwise, she’ll be miserable. I’ll volunteer my Osprey if that would make things simpler for her. How the heck did it get by me that you already had a denatured alcohol stove? Your dad is really losing it, and at a rapid clip.

I stepped away from the golf group last week. It feels pretty good, too. Really, I was at the end of my rope, and my wits, after the years of doing it. I went out of character with some minor blow ups at a couple of recent outings. Losing my cool wasn’t good on my part. People were either late or switched pairings which threw things out of whack. That’s really what pushed me over the edge even though I’d been inching that way for a long while. But it was just time for someone else to shoulder the load of scheduling and herding the cats.

Alright. I’m done for the moment. I’ve got to make the Wyoming flight plans today, and so do you, Reid. I’ll let you know what flights I’m on. We need right-side tickets so we get the great view of the  Tetons on our approach into Jackson. Best and most scenic flight path in the U.S.

Love, Dad

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Of Wyoming, more classes and news photography …


When this letter to Ellen and Reid was written last week I was just plain exhausted. It shows in writing that is more uninventive than usual.

Push is coming to shove on newspapering. I love it dearly – I am completely, utterly and totally all in on it – but it can’t keep on like this. There are so many other competing interests and things to do. I just need to suck it up to deliver another brand of news.


May 10, 2016

Ellen/Reid: That was such good news about Kristin and Delsin. He strikes me as such a really good guy. Thanks for the suggestion to contact her, Ellen. She got right back to me. Another nice wedding at Plymouth, no doubt. That will be a good bash, that’s for sure.

Reid, we need to talk about Wyoming, stat. It looks right now that with the newspaper still in the picture, there won’t be time for a leisurely drive. I’ll fly out to Jackson, probably on that Thursday, July 21. I’ll get the tickets for you and Liz so make your plans right away. We should probably plan to arrive early in the day and we can drive down together to Pinedale to the Baymont Inn. Not entirely sure where Tom and Vince and Katie will fly in to. Salt Lake City most likely, then they can take the northern route up through Rock Springs. We’d fly out on Saturday, July 30. The Osprey I used last year would fit Liz just fine and I can take the Gregory. Both fly rods would make the trip, too. But let’s talk sooner than later about the plans.

I babysit this Saturday night for little Evelyn. My next door neighbor Mary Beth has some camera programmed into her iPad so I can sit on my couch and monitor the sleeping baby from the comfort of my couch. It’ll be fun. She’s a sweet little girl.

Signed on to teach several more classes at Central Piedmont Community College. Two on news writing and the other on writing letters. They twisted my arm about a blogging class which is okay but I did recommend another guy, Brett Bumeter, who is a real techie to teach a more advance blogging class while I’ll stick to teaching the introductory class. That will work out much better for the students since they would’ve of learned next to nothing from me on the advanced portion of blogs.

The newspaper thing is settling down into more of a routine but I’m still spending two or three times the number of hours that were originally intended. I end up writing about half the 24 pages since my writers are just coming up to speed. Lots of road miles from here to there just to provide basic news coverage and take photos for my writers who can’t get there.

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Welcome to the wonderful world of newspaper photography. I spend a lot of time in Mint Hill on ‘spot’ news and shots like this to support the stories of my writers who can’t make it to town.

Tonight’s another long night of page layout. I’ll have to get up about 5 a.m. to proof the issue before it heads to the press. Mercifully, this edition Continue reading

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