Posts Tagged ‘Protests’

I grow restless. I must go. I need a road trip. It is not just me.

The nation feels like it is pulling itself apart.

There’s the coronavirus and ongoing spread. Skyrocketing unemployment. Concern for our livelihood.  Will our employer bring us back to work. Then there is the color of justice and the ethnic disparities of the criminal justice system. Not to mention, the behavior of individuals that boil over into violence, looting, and riots.  I’m not trivializing the protests because people who participate in these types of events do so for a real reason.

Individually, each protester has logic, beliefs, and reasoning, but when a crowd becomes angered, tribal mentality often sets in and leads to a criminal mindset. It’s impossible to predict when a group will suddenly turn into a rioting horde. But, can we all agree that “protestors” shouldn’t destroy their communities?

I’ve digressed.

I’m itching to go for a long ride on the Harley. Clearly, these are frustrating times and a road trip is one of the last remaining fragments of the American dream. I cling to it like a splinter from the true cross. We may no longer be able to ride west to a land beyond fences but, for a little while longer at least, we remain mostly a nation without permanent, police roadblocks.  Although, I must admit that during the Laughlin River Run, the motorcycle road blocks set up by the Mojave County Sheriff in-and-out of Oatman really agitate me!

And, yet I still think about riding there. I don’t know why. Probably because I have already gone so many times. I recall the old days at the Flamingo, now the Aquarius, when there were patches everywhere from everywhere. The Hells Angels would put on a nightly show of bagger wheelies and motorcycle tricks for the riffraff. It was the PR classic image of the good ‘ol rowdy boys having fun. Now those good, old days are long gone. Everything changed after a “spontaneous” biker brawl between the Hells Angels and Mongols in 2002.

The old idea of freedom (to come and go as I please) seemed evident not long ago. I have yet to adjust to the many recent improvements in my country. I do not own a motorcycle with an electric plug and an estimated cruising range of 100 miles and doubt I ever will. I own a gasoline burning, American motorcycle that makes noise. As a result, I still think about the solitary desert Muse, two-lane black tops, cornfields and the vast landscape of 14,000 foot peaks.

The road trip has always been so essential and my personal restlessness has been boiling for a couple of months now.

Earlier in the year I was anxious to ride and it was all about calendar planning. I scribbled rallies and ride plans in boxes on a paper calendar. For several days I sat at my computer reviewing maps and motel locations with a calendar in one hand and my checkbook and a calculator in the other. My laptop browser had multiple travel sites open. When I started the planning process, I thought it would be as much fun planning the trip as going. It wasn’t and that was before traveling became a casualty of “The COVID.”

I am starved for rides this year and was aiming for Arizona Bike Week, Laughlin, Devils Highway (HOG), 80th Sturgis and Reno. I guess it is a good thing they cancelled Pendleton Bike Week and Hells Canyon or else I would be trying to fit that in, too.  To date, they’ve all been cancelled.

And it’s looking more like I might not need to be concerned about adding in the cost of the “World Famous Sirloin Tips” and a Budweiser at the Loud American Roadhouse on Main Street. The Sturgis City Council has prepared a set of protocols that will be used when making the decision to hold or cancel the 80th motorcycle rally.  They will assess the COVID situation again on June 15th and determine next steps.  I know that if I did go, I must return from Sturgis with a tee shirt and other crap I don’t need. Once I get there I can’t help myself.

There is freedom on the road. To point my front wheel towards the east, twist the throttle and leave the misleading news with click-bait headlines all behind. This year might be the year that a spontaneous day trip turns into a long distance solo motorcycle tour.

It’s time to see this great country!

Photos taken by author.

All Rights Reserved (C) Northwest Harley Blog

Read Full Post »

WBC Flyer Targets PGR

In September I blogged about Fred J. Brehony who was killed in a motorcycle accident in route to the Willamette National Cemetery.  He was a member of the Patriot Guard Riders (PGR) and riding to support a funeral for Howell “Hal” Birdwell (a U.S. Vietnam War Veteran).

Mr. Brehony was a U.S. Navy Veteran who served on a destroyer during the Vietnam War and deeply believed in the mission of the Patriot Guard.  He was very committed to stand as a silent sentry at military funerals out of respect for vets and in part to protect families from potential protesters who would show up to cheer fallen soldiers.

Speaking of protesters inappropriate actions, I learned yesterday that the Westboro Baptist Church – you know them as group behind protests and the harsh treatment of families who are grieving the loss of their loved ones – have now turned their hateful focus on the Patriot Guards.

Here is the flier (.pdf) which organized the protest in Mulvane, KS and calls out the PGR.  Below are the actual words from the flyer:


Mulvane, KS has the shame and dishonor of being the birthplace of the Patriot Guard Riders.  This is a group of God-hating brutes who worship their great goddess the American flag & wave such flags outside the funerals of raging rebels, apparently thinking such vain idolatry can stop God.  What foolishness.

God hates you, Doomed America, for what you have done to your children! Here is the COMMANDMENT from your god:

“And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.  And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes.  And thou shalt write them upon the posts of they house, and on they gates.”  Deut. 6:6-9

You will not obey that simple commandment.  Instead, you corrupt your children from the womb, so God has given you violent, freakish, worthless, brute-beast children.  You hate your children, and as God continues cursing you, you will turn aside to eat your children.


If you’re not aware of the group – they believe that God is punishing the U.S. via soldiers’ deaths because our county allows homosexuality.  Whether right or wrong we all have the right to believe what we want to think. No question.  And I fully understand as citizens of the U.S. we are entitled to freedom of speech.  But, don’t the families and friends have a right to some dignity, to peacefully morn their loved ones and have a sense of closure without protestors disrupting or showing disrespect?

I cannot understand what would make someone take comfort in protesting a funeral.

UPDATE: March 2, 2011 – The Supreme Court ruling yesterday upheld an appeals court ruling/decision that the WBC can continue to protest at military funerals unabated.  Leaders of the church stated they would now “quadruple” the number of anti-gay protests at military funerals around the county.  More information on CBS News HERE.  The lead WBC lawyer was Margie Phelps, the daughter of Fred Phelps the pastor of the church.  What a disappointment and I’m sad for Albert Snyder who sued WBC over picketing his son’s funeral.

Photo courtesy of Westboro Baptist Church, but used without their permission.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: