By Clyde Black

 theweekender@live.com

About 3 weeks ago the Weekender and some old friends embarked on a 4,500 mile motorcycle road trip!  It was the SONS OF ARTHRITIS PART 11!  After having been in office as a JP it was only my second vacation in 12 years!  It was supposed to be relaxing and fun.  It was not!  Pat Null, retired Houston PD Narcotics Sergeant and I trailed our bikes to Westcliffe Colorado where we hooked up with Rick, retired HPD narcotics and Johnny Bonds of the TV show COLD JUSTICE fame.  So far, so good.

We left Westcliffe early, headed to Oregon and Crater Lake.  I had been worried about starting this trip late in the year but off we went.  Not 10 minutes out of Westcliffe a huge deer jumped over my Spyder bike and he was so close I could tell his DNA!  It was cold and rainy in the high altitudes of Colorado and Utah as we got to southern Oregon.  We rode the bikes up the mountain at Crater Lake in snow, sleet and ice to reach the summit and the lodge at the top of the mountain.  Sadly the weather so bad that the fog and clouds kept us from seeing the lake so at 5-10 mph we slipped and slid our way back down.  Finally we popped out of the forests and hit the Pacific coast and Hwy 1!

We rode down the coast line catching all the sights, crossed the Golden Gate Bridge in San Franfreako and turned toward Texas and home.  Yosemite National Park was beautiful and actually gave a day of sunshine!  Eventually we went through Las Vegas, Lake Meade and Hoover Dam.  Then the weather went from bad to worse.  I had to get back to Texas and Bonds had TV commitments so he had to get home.  The other two had to get to Colorado so we split up.  We charged though Death Valley.  Then the weather got really bad!  Johnny and I rode the bikes across Arizona and New Mexico in 40 degree weather, strong winds and rain! Finally we reached Amarillo!  Johnny had been here before and got us a room at the legendary Big Texan restaurant and motel.  Home of the 72 oz. steak!  No, I didn’t even try.  Shivering and cold and wet we had a nice steak dinner and got to bed early.

On Monday morning, Oct. 15, I left Amarillo and Johnny headed for home in Arkansas.  It was 28 degrees with winds. It started raining and I got soaked to the bone!  When I got to Ft. Worth it was rush hour and pouring rain!  I rode on through the rain and construction and finally got to Corsicana and it was nighttime dark!  I had to flip up my tinted visor to see the rode and headed to Palestine at 45 mph and hydroplaning all the way!   I stopped at the mall at the loop and 19S in Palestine to stretch my legs and gather the strength to head to Crockett.  With the rain slapping my eyes and all flashers on bike working I got home at 8:30 p.m.  It had taken 13 hours and I was cold, wet and shivering!  I had done 528 miles in cold and rain and Lovelady never looked so good!  It was an adventure and I won’t do it again.  Thank you Lord for getting me home and thankfully I live here and not California!