Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Luck -o- The Irish...

So, I'm sure I've said something recently about being deprived of riding time. For some reason, for the last few months, If I have time to ride, the weather is uncooperative. If the weather is nice, I'm booked solid. It just feels like I can't catch a break to save my life...
So a couple of days ago, I got this announcement in an email. A Local chopper shop was hosting an "Irish Poker Run". I had no idea what could make a poker run "Irish", But I needed a ride and if there were other people going, too, well then... Weather be damned. I was gonna ride.
I still had some work to do to get prepared, I had to avoid scheduling anything for that day, for one thing. That actually was easier than I thought. My wife & son made arrangements to go to church with my MIL to see a friend of the family preach, and the day laborer, who has been helping us reclaim the jungle that our back yard has become, informed us he would be unavailable until Monday. So far, so good!
I went to bed early last night... well by 11:00 anyway, and woke up several times throughout the night. I felt like a kid on Christmas Eve.
I wanted to make sure I got there in time to get a t-shirt. I know, I know... and it's really not about the t-shirt, but I haven't been on a lot of rides (I'm sure I've mentioned that riding with people I don't know scares me, there's just too many idiots with enough money to buy a bike, but not enough sense to learn to ride it) and of the few I have been on, I've never gotten the shirt.
Oops... A.D.D. moment....
So I was up by 6:30 , in the shower, dressed & out the door by 7:30. I was even fueled up & on site by 8:00. and at the time, I was the only person there except for Josh Soto, the owner of Boars Nest Choppers. For a minute I wasn't sure the ride was starting there, but when I asked he assured me I was in the right place. I said something about being early and Josh informed me I was just in time to help set up, so I followed him around & helped him set up a couple of tables.
Within a few minutes, other people started showing up and I was surprised to find that one of the first was my next-door neighbor.I started chatting with him & received a phone call from my wife telling me that our friend was not going to be preaching so she wasn't going to church. I told her she should get her gear & meet me to go on the ride. She said she'd let me know by 10. After I got off the phone with her, an old friend and customer from my time at the Harley shop showed
up. I chatted with him for a while & continued to mingle while waiting for the run to get going.
For the sake of saving my sanity, I'll tell you that my wife's name is Rebecca, My Neighbor is Ron and My friend from the Harley shop we'll just call The Master Guns. (Yep, He's U.S.M.C. retired) Anyway...
Rebecca called to tell me she was on her way. Ron was going to ride out to man one of the stops to stamp cards when people drew their cards. I made arrangements for Rebecca & I to ride along with the Master Guns & a friend of his, Scott. Shortly after that, Scott left to pick up his wife, M.
While we were waiting for him to return, Rebecca & I decided that she needed a few things to get ready for the ride. So we went inside & bought her a pair of riding glasses, and returned inside a few minutes later to purchase a Pink bandanna. Yes, such is our life that we can't figure out everything we need unless we make several trips. ANYWAY...
When we at last got started I became acutely aware that we were both slightly under dressed for the cold. I have a great jacket, but I need some better gloves, and Rebecca is still wearing an old light leather bomber of mine when we ride.
I really need to get her a good riding Jacket.... ok, Focus...
I also got a sudden reminder of why I don't like to ride with people I don't know. There were about 12 bikes or so that left out when we did and the three of us were in the rear of the group.
The leader of our group experienced some engine trouble, rumor was that it was due to bad gas from allowing the bike to sit too long. Anyway, his engine trouble prompted several unruly and disorganized lane changes while trying to find a suitable place to pull over & check out his bike.
When at last we got back on the road & started travelling more smoothly, I fell even farther to the back of the pack. I have a kind of a policy about not going more than 20 mph over the posted limit, at least while Rebecca is on the bike with me. Sure enough, a changing light soon cut me off from the rest of the group. When I got the green, I started trying to catch up with the rest. While I started to become concerned about losing them, I shouldn't have worried. The Master Guns & Scott dropped back & spaced out enough to keep both me and the main group in sight.
When we reached the first stop, I figured out what made the run "Irish". All the stops except for the starting point and the finishing point were at Irish pubs.
We went inside & drew our cards & got stamped , then walked outside & talked for a few minutes. When the subject of my cold hands came up, The Master Guns tossed me a pair of Gauntlets he had in his saddlebags. I have to get me a pair! They are very comfortable, fit great & the gauntlet even goes over my jacket( the ones I tried on in The Boar's Nest wouldn't fit over it until I got to some that were too big for my hands). I got the name & a couple of places where I can find them from him, and I expect to own my own soon.
Shortly after that, we were back on the Road to the second stop. This was my favorite leg of the ride because I was comfortable, dry (mostly) and the roads we were riding were scenic. I got to enjoy one of my favorite parts of riding in southern California, which is passing by citrus groves when they are are in or nearly in bloom. I love the smell and the way it permeates the air all around it...
When we got to the second stop, it was like an old routine... Draw cards, get them stamped, go to the 'loo" & go outisde , talk for a few & get back on the road. The most notable part of that stop was an older couple dropped a custom painted V-rod in a freak accident as they were trying to leave. Thankfully, neither seemed to suffer anything worse than a bruised up knee..
From then on the roads were mostly highway, But the sun had come out & we warmed up so, no complaints. When we got to the third stop, the card guys weren't there, yet, so we took a few minutes to relax. The ladies had some coffee, Scott & Master Guns enjoyed a brewed adult beverage while yours truly indulged in about 5 glasses of H2O (they were small).
After the cards arrived, we drew & hit the road for the final leg. We arrived at the end stop, parked & drew our final cards. I thought I was sitting pretty for the worst hand until one of the guys stamping cards said something about a small straight. I quickly forgot the poker game & found some food.
After we ate, I found out the drawings were still over an hour away, so I offered to take Rebecca back to her truck (She was a little out of her element with the crowd). When I got back I fond my friends and as we stood talking, another rider asked if we were staying for the drawings. I told him yes, and he handed me ten tickets to the 50/50. He was leaving & didn't want them to go to waste.
When the drawing finally took place, they drew the 50/50 first. Even with 15 tickets, I was over 150 away from the winning number. With the rumors having circulated that the winning hand of the poker game was four sixes that I knew I didn't have I was ready to say my good-byes and head out. However, most of the people around were still waiting to see who had the worst hand, and I didn't want to be rude and interrupt them so I stayed. I cannot tell you how surprised I was to hear my name be called. It was a massive shock, but I did it... I won for losing.
After I collected my prize (which turned out to be $100), I said my good byes to the Master Guns, Scott & M, and my neighbor ( I had always thought his name was "Bill" which I called him all day... as I was leaving he corrected me. Yep,. that's me... I'm an A$$!). The Master Guns was leaving at the same time so we walked to the bikes together. I'm pretty sure the conversation we had is the same at every run where someone wins money & his wife isn't there to know it...
Him: "So, are you gonna tell her you won"
Me: "No!"
Him: "Yeah, you will"
Me: "Yeah, I probably better. Too may people here she knows. She'll hear it eventually"
Him:"Yep, you will... but will you tell her how much?"
I'll let you ponder on that as I tell you it was a fantastic ride made even better by good friends and free money. I guess for once the Luck of my Irish heritage finally paid me a visit...
I'll be posting more soon. Until then.
Ride safe, and I'll catch you on the Road!