Monday, August 25, 2014

Sturgis North, Canada's Sturgis Motorcycle Rally and Festival, Merritt, BC - Part 4 - Sunday Morning and Ride Back to Vancouver

I wanted a Bruce Coburn Rocket Launcher to kill the generator someone was running at 4 am in the camp grounds. Burton Cummings had finished long after midnight and I think I got to bed in the tent with Gilbert around 1 or 2 am. The music down the row from me was going till at least 3 am.  A large group of people had been dancing outside their tents and RV’s.  Motorcycles stopped driving about around then too but that generator was there every time I rolled over.
Little Gilbert had his body snuggled up to mine, lying on the sleeping bag for comfort. He was warm enough. I thought about getting his coat but decided against it as he seemed just fine curled up beside me on the sleeping bag and hoodie.  It’s just that whenever I rolled over, well, there was the pain in the back and hip to consider, since the ground was hard, then he’d have to realign himself to get the maximum amount of soft sleeping bag under him.  Of course at 7 am, when we normally get up, he was there licking my face, bright eyed and bushy tailed, all ready to go to work.
“Don’t you know it’s Sunday!” I asked him.  “I got to bed after 2 pm” I said.
He just wagged his tail.
I got dressed.  Getting jeans on is one thing in a tent.  Out of the tent I had to dance around getting into socks and my Harley Davidson biker boots.  We both went down to the stream. He had a drink and we both found some bushes to mark. Then I began the slow task of taking down the tent and loading my bike.  I don't move quickly before coffee.
I was actually the first Harley to rev up.  Thankfully no one shot me,too.  I rode out of the campground area seriously considering the possibility.
I parked the motorcycle where they had outdoor toilets and also portable water fountains, just fine for shaving. I used the mirror on my bike.  Then I saw some guys with coffee.  It turned out that they were a group of Gospel Riders.  I approached them saying, “I”ve already found Jesus. Could you tell me where to find a cup of coffee.”
They laughed, which is always a good sign with Christians. Don't want to hang out with the ultra serious ones who think they're the only ones God talks too. Better to be with the laughing set who knew Jesus and the disciples had to love life, being fisherman, carpenters and all. 
“We’re just going to have a  church service," said one guy,  "We'll have more coffee after that. You’re welcome to come along.”  Well I figured I could hear Father Mark at my home church St. James Anglican going “yes!”  Of course I went along.  They wanted Gilbert to come and I go wherever he’s welcome.
I liked the service too.  Jim, a fellow who’d done prison ministries and down town eastside gospel revival played the guitar and sang some of the good old Christian songs I was raised on. “He’s got the whole world in his hands”.  Only he changed that to “He’s got Harley Davidson and all its riders in his hands”.  I especially loved singing Jesus Loves me and hearing the second verse which I don’t recall ever hearing before.  The preacher then talked about love. God’s love as great and great enough for all of us. It was a good sermon. Simple. Uplifting.  Then more songs and that was it.  We walked back to the coffee pot and I got my coffee. Gilbert got a whole lot of petting too. A number of the guys said they had dogs but hadn’t brought them.  They loved that Gilbert rode with me.
We talked about God and Jesus and ministry.  Normal stuff.  I shared about my time with Terry and the West Coast Bikers. Seeing Third Day in concert in Langley.  I’d talked with these Gospel Rider folkbefore  on the Oyster Run. They meet in Surrey Monday night. I really ought to get out for some fellowship. Good guys. I’ve liked them each time I’ve met them and it’s now three or four times. The early ‘“mass” was typically ‘light’ on numbers. They were holding a second service after people had woken up. I saw more people crowding around the stage while I was leaving.
After that the vender wagon opened. I got an fried egg and ham sandwich.  Gilbert got some sausage from the vender and doggie dried duck treats I found in a saddlebag..   Nourished in body and soul we got on the Harley.  I stopped to get Laura a t shirt from Gilbert.  We’d all gone together to the first Sturgis North.  She still takes care of Gilbert from time to time.  She's definitely one of his most favourite human.
Driving into Merritt to fill up with gas there were all sorts of motorcycles.  A whole lot of people had stayed in motels. I’d opted for camping because I thought the motels would have been sold out.  That was the case in Sturgis South Dakota.  Camping is part of the fun but I think I’d rather be the guy with RV and generator next time.  Given I have a truck, an RV Toyhauler that could carry my Harley, I really do hope I can go next year in style.  Merritt sure is the perfect location for a motorcycle rally and music festival.  But a lot can happen in a year.
The Coquahalla with its 120 speed limit, high country views and winds were a real rush of a ride. I’d switched out Led Zeppelin for the Newsboys and was blasting along at 140 passing.  Felt like I was back in northern Montana or Northern Wyoming. Big open country and endless highway. Real motorcycle ride experience.  I slowed down as we began to drop out of the ozone but was surprised how quickly I was coming into Hope. It really seemed like no time the ride was such a beauty.
In Chilliwack I figured Gilbert needed a rest. He’d been such a good dog. We’d done a 170 km and used a half tank of gas.  I called my friend Lorne, another Kilt wearing Scottish descendant. He’d just had surgery so was wearing a cast on his foot after a ligament tear when we met up at Starbucks. With coffee and muffins and Gilbert getting bits of muffin to go with his water we were all a happy crew. It was a sunny day and we were sitting outside in the old downtown Chilliwack reminiscing about how we’d started doing this together 16 years ago. We’d both met through Dr. Bernie and we’d just stayed friends. It was great to jaw and jaw and jaws.  We got all caught up and then some.
Friends are great pit stops.  I’ve got to get together with Lorne more often. We do Robbie BurnsDinners and some Scottish events but it’s been too long since we just talked.  When a cute girl asked him what the cast on his foot was for, I answered “masturbating”.  What are friends for?  We sure did laugh a lot.  16 years is a long time and a whole lot of stories.  We both missed Dr. Bernie, of course. He brought us together and we’d often go to dinners which would mostly be laughter.
Gilbert got back on the motorcycle. I mounted up.  It didn’t take long then to get back to Vancouver.  The traffic was just building up from the weekend return but we got in before the worst.
Gilbert immediately found a yellow ball. I loved walking in and finding that my whole place had had a Mida  miracle. While I was away an angel had come and cleaned and tidied the place.  Gilbert wasn’t as impressed.  He had to spill his toy bag to find a tennis ball. I was co opted to throw while he fetched.  In his world then all was right.
Despite the Friday mini office crisis, thanks to everyone I consulted I have a solution and a new plan.  More work for me in the short term but hopefully a better long term solution.  Time will tell.  What a joy though to ride my Harley to Sturgss North, hear Burton Cummings, go back down the good worm hole of memory lane, experience the rush and high of motorcycling, add in a church service,  a visit with a good friend and spend all that great time with little Gilbert, a great companion and amazing biker dog.
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