Hope your summer is progressively becoming everything you’ve wanted it to be!! If you’re anything like me, July means swimming, small town carnivals, fireworks on “The Fourth”, camping, anything involving water, and most importantly road trips both long and short with some of them to events that might last for days!
I’m so glad that I’ve lived and ridden back in a time when if we decided to have a blow-out, we’d just find an available field out in the boonies to have it in. We’d have someone haul in a flat-bed trailer for a stage and just park it in a big flat space. We’d then locate a generator, and we might figure out a way to have a garden hose for a shower (if we had access to running water). Maybe we’d dig a latrine or rent a porta-potty... and that was it!
Nowadays it’s all about permits, health code inspections, insurance, and liability. I wonder if many of today’s “bikers” could even handle going to an “old school” event without complaining about everything. Hell, today ya gotta provide fancy food and a band to just have a poker run or a swap-meet.
For a few decades (before I became old and “soft” my own self), I often rode to weekend swaps/events with only a sleeping bag tied to my sissy bar and a “pup” tent (or sometimes just a tarp) strapped to my handlebars. Then it became much more than that. If nothing else my friends and I would have someone drive a truck that was loaded down with pillows, changes of clothes, coolers, plenty of food and drink, air-mattresses, fire-wood, a grill, a stereo, geetars, etc. etc. Once for a “June Jam” I even purchased a HUGE three-room tent for myself, my wife, and my adult son Jason who was home visiting from the service (my other son Ben was overseas at the time). After the first time it was used I didn’t even bring it home when the weekend was over... just sold it where it stood because it was just too much trouble (actually, Jason put the damned thing up for us).
Traveling and camping “light” was how I rode out to the West Coast, down to Daytona a few times, to Sturgis (before it became insanely huge), and to many other places in the old days (thru the 70’s & 80’s). But by the 90’s, I was about done with sleeping on the ground, unless I passed out due to being shit-faced. Now, I’d probably book a room if I just rode outside my own area code.
But I’ve always loved having a fire!
Back when my house was THE “party” place, I kept a stack of cut wood just for having a small fire out back every time I had a gathering. People would sit around it drinking and smoking massive amounts, playing music, and barking at the moon. I haven’t done that for so long that even the pile of sticks and limbs that my lawn keeper adds to every time he cuts has grown to bonfire proportions (I have more than a few trees that shed regularly). This year I really should do something about that. It’s grown too big to just light up, so I’ll have to start another fire spot near it. In fact as I write this, I’m in the process of replacing a major portion of decorative barn siding that’s on the front of my house... so I’ll have even more wood to burn! I’m just glad I live outside the city limits.
I love ALL the different seasons here in Ohio. I’ve always thought that those of you who constantly bitch and moan about how bad the weather is here, and how much you hate living in Ohio, should just move your asses to wherever the hell you WANT to be so that the rest of us don’t have to hear about it (plus you’d be making more room for those of us who actually like it here LOL!) But I DO have to say that summer in Ohio DOES seem to be the most, well, useful season and has the most possibilities for outdoor pleasure.
Of course we can ride more often... and we can do it without bundling up. ALL of the state parks and camping facilities are open for everything you can do there. In my general vicinity we still have three different drive-in movie theaters and THAT’S always a blast from the past! (I’ve gone to one of them before with a few friends on scoots with just blankets and our women... but we were asked to leave because some of us were acting too, uh, passionately LOL!)
My town still even has an old fashioned “outdoor-only” Dairy Queen that closes for a few months each winter. Speaking of that; I for one actually MISS going for a shake and a burger in the old days as a teenager and having to stay out in the parking lot blasting our tunes and co-mingling, instead of being forced to be inside a damned “restaurant”!! Whenever I see teenagers inside a fast-food restaurant these days they’re staring at their damned cell phones instead of actually interacting with each other!
But getting back to it... yeah, summer is certainly loaded with opportunities. And in many ways it’s much less expensive too!
Though I appreciate summer and all the advantages of the warm weather, I do NOT like being hot AND humid, and because of that I use of my air-conditioning often... but even considering that, the costs for utilities are much lower in the summer, particularly now that I’ve gotten rid of my pool. Having it was great for almost twenty years (OMG the stories I could tell!!), but it was either get rid of a few beautiful big-assed maple trees (roots), or get rid of the pool... so the pool had to go. I STILL worship my hot tub, and I keep that sucker goin’ year round... but that (and even the electricity the pool used) is nothing compared to how much it costs to heat the house in winter.
Or maybe your idea of a perfect summer afternoon might just be hanging a hammock between two tall shade trees and comfortably kickin’ back on a sunny afternoon with a glass of iced tea! THAT is becoming much more attractive as I approach my “twilight” years. In fact, the trees I’ve been using for just that purpose are the reason the pool is now gone LOL!
Anyhoo, on a few more solemn notes...
As I write this, it’s the beginning of Memorial Day Weekend, and my son Ben is on his way to D.C. to “the Wall” (which has a few of my friend’s names inscribed on it) for the annual “Rolling Thunder” event. For years he was gonna make the ride, but never seemed to be able to because he was either on active duty here in the states and couldn’t be cut loose, or he was deployed out of country. THEN he found out that THIS is gonna be the last “official” one they put on due to how big it’s grown over the years. So he figured that since he’s now retired from the military and can take the time-off from his new career... down the road he goes!
Both he and his brother Jason are fully retired Master Sgts. (Air Force) and served “over there”... Ben in Iraq, and Jason in Qatar (pronounced “Cutter”) at Al Udeid, and I’m SO grateful that they both came back home safe and sound. Many didn’t. Ben is now a counselor working with disadvantaged kids, and Jason works for the Dept. of Defense. Obviously, I’m quite proud of both of them.
As you read this, Memorial Day has passed, and I hope that all of us will remember that these men and women (kids actually) who serve and have served... and their spouses and children... made, and are still making, sacrifices that are too innumerable to mention every day to insure that our celebrations of “Independence Day” are still even possible, let alone relevant.
No matter WHAT your politics might be, and no matter how much we might disagree on everything else... I think we can ALL agree that these young men and women deserve our complete respect, support, and appreciation not only in July, but all year round and for the rest of all of our lives.
And to you veterans out there who HAVE served in any capacity... THANK YOU!
In closing, I hope we all have the same number of fingers on July 5th that we had on July 4th. I was gonna put “LOL” on that, but it really isn’t funny. Please use your heads and be safe folks...
Talk to y’all next month,