The Coyote's Ramblings - 2003A
(January-March)
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1/5/03
Only a week?? Somehow, a combination of nothing to say and no time to say it has conspired to keep me from updating my Ramblings. On the personal side, though, ten days without smoking has exceeded any previous record I've had for quitting. I'm making it this time! People have told me, in order to quit, I need to avoid those situations which trigger the desire to smoke. Lessee now, that means not waking up in the morning, not having a meal, not having a beer and not standing around, BS'ing with friends. Nope, couldn't do it that way. Instead, I've just tried to be AWARE of those triggers and prepare myself for the urge...and it seems to be what works for me. Of course, the patch is helping with the chemical side while I deal with the habitual side. 46 years of habit is tough to break!

That aside, there has been some great riding weather, albeit a tad cool at times. The Friday night get together at TGI Friday's was such a success that it's going to be an alternative to this Friday's Milton Sonic ride-in. We had the outdoor patio pretty much to ourselves and, with the overhead heaters, it was quite pleasant. Excellent food and Irish coffee to go with the good company was all you could wish for. Hope to see you there next time. Til then, take care....
1/11/03
Hey, I must be getting a life, again, since it's been almost a week since I last dropped in. Of course, I've been on other pages of The Coyote's Den...almost every day...but not rambling on as usual. Every day has been busy but I have managed to get out on the scoot almost every day (except Wednesday). That was "new tire" day and, in the process, refurbishing my rear brake. You know, I've found that dust seals tend to disintegrate after 23 years and 103,000 miles. With new rubber and near-new brakes on the rear, it's been a relearning experience.

The ride-in attendance was a little light on Tuesday and Friday nights, but I guess the cooler weather will make that the norm for a bit. I'm debating going out tonight, but the combination of possible cold rain and real fatigue, from real work, is pushing toward staying in. I've been helping a friend, and fellow ABATE Life Member, get his shop in shape to open next month. He's going to work on Harley AND metric bikes so we all can be happy. Keep the name "Motorcycle Emporium" in mind; you'll be hearing MUCH more later. In the meantime...I'm bushed!

The smoking cessation is proceeding nicely. I'm now on the second level patch for another week and a half and STILL only rarely want a smoke. It's getting better and better! I did the blood bank thing again on Wednesday,
but they are still WAAAYY behind. If you can give blood, please do it now. Levels are critical. If I don't get back on-line before then, don't forget the first bike night at Ava's Hot Stuff in Cantonment next Friday. If you can't have a good time at a biker-owned establishment, you can't anywhere.
1/14/03
Only a couple of days, but it's been busy. I finally got into the VA Clinic for my flu shot on Monday but can't get a regular appointment until March, so I guess I'll keep WalMart solvent with Ibuprofen and Alleve purchases for a while yet. The work on Motorcycle Emporium is proceeding...and you won't recognize the old place when Vic and the guys (& gals) get finished. Heck, you can hardly recognize it NOW!

Be sure and check the "What's Happening" page frequently...stuff is coming in all the time. There's a couple of new "biker days" at local watering holes that haven't been on the list before(thanks, George). Some great prices. but ya GOTTA be on a scoot to get 'em. At the same time, though, let's not overindulge. I like to keep my readers around for a long time...and riding impaired is not the way to do it.

Finally, yeah Mike, it was a WONDERFUL riding day today...and YOU had to work! (See what happens when you e-mail me about stuff like that. Heck, you just wanted the world to see your name on the internet.) It sure beat the heck out of Sunday, when I had rain, sleet and snow in the first two miles leaving the house. For once, I was glad I WASN'T on the scoot. It looks like tomorrow should be more of the same as today, so I'll probably be out on the road. Busy, busy weekend ahead..so get ready!
1/18/03
Okay, I think my fingers have thawed enough to type, now... There was a good turnout for the first bike night at Ava's Hot Stuff in Cantonment last night. In fact, it was a GREAT turnout considering the freezing temperature. Hot food and coffee in a warm building to go along with good company was just what the doctor ordered. This one's a winner!

Today's poker run had a cool start as well, but it warmed up as the day went on. Although not one of the poker run stops, we dropped in on Chaser's Bike Day for a 75 cent draft and had a nice chat with George, the owner. He's going to be better prepared next week and have the front cordoned off for bikes only. Just be careful getting back out on "W" Street! At the wrap-up at Rack & Cue II, we had a real good crowd, and more barbecued pork and chicken with all the fixings than anybody could eat. It was all I could do to climb back on the scoot for the ride home. With the sun getting low, the temp was dropping rapidly by the time I got back to the house, so it feels good to sit here and type for a bit.

I don't know if I'm going to brave the cold and go out again tonight, but I WILL be at the ABATE meeting tomorrow. We ran into several of our "lapsed" bretheran today, so I hope we'll see them (as well as you) there. For now, that's it. Take care and ride safely.
1/25/03
Uhhhhh....has anyone ever died of chili overdose? I (over)sampled some really great chili in Atmore today and am paying the price tonight. It sure couldn't have been a prettier day to ride north, though. Compared to last night's ride to the Nine Mile Sonic, it was positively balmy. We had a grand total of three bikes and one trike show up but since Sonic doesn't
serve anything hot, everyone but me headed to the Village Inn down the street. Since I'd already eaten a big meal, my destination was Trader Jon's. The renovation of the old side is coming along pretty good. It won't be MUCH different, since the main work is to install columns to support the ceiling, and bring it up to code.
 
Back to the Atmore ride, it was a nice get together with DD's from Alabama, Indiana and Ohio as well as a few VNV's and Legacy Vets. The general conversation was that the old territory days are over and everyone should just get along. I sincerely HOPE that's the case for those who WEREN'T there to express it.

I'm into the fifth week of being smoke-free and down to 7mg patches, but the last couple of days were a little tough, being around more cigars. I'm gonna make it, though. Motorcycle Emporium is shaping up, day by day, and is one week away from opening. Keep your eyes open to the What's Happening and I'll post the official info there. Til later, take care..
1/22/03
Nope, didn't do it...but Saturday night TV sucks! Sunday dawned bright and pretty, though, and Doc did a great job at holding one of the shortest ABATE meetings on record. I was part of a group going to ride north to the Santa Rosa backroads but before we got too far out, I changed my mind and decided to go check in on Vic at the Emporium. Of course, no signs are up yet, but it feels different.

Besides paving the parking lot, the whole front of the property is getting cleared out. I know I've sat under that old willow tree and had a beer (or two), but I didn't realize how many beer bottles and cans got left there in the underbrush. Well, the underbrush is gone now, as well as a lot of the dead wood (no, not me) so I guess we'll HAVE to use trash cans from now on
.. Oh, a revelation here...! Y'know how stuff always happens to the scoot on Saturday afternoons and Sundays, so you gotta wait 'til Tuesday to get parts? Vic says he's going to be open SIX days a week, Monday through Saturday. Thanks, Vic.

I guess now is when you need to start thinking about where you'll be watching the Super Bowl. Bunches of folks are throwing shindigs and the game won't be long enought to make all of them. Don't forget Nine Mile Sonic on Friday and MAYBE, I'll see you at the DD Chili Cook Off in Atmore. (I think I have a helmet someplace) Ciao for now...
1/31/03
...cause I haven't been doing much of anything, that's why! Seriously though, between iffy weather and assorted aches and pains, Sunday and Tuesday were the only days I've been out and riding. I was honored to be invited to the Gulf Coast Planning Council's meeting to work on 2003 biker events, and the "What's Happening" page shows it. More details will be forthcoming, as well as more events, but this is the core for the year.

On Wednesday, it was back to the blood bank for another hosing down. By my count, I'm only 4 units shy of that Ten Gallon Club now. Once I've reached that goal, I can get a little more ink and finish some others up. Another goal to reach before I turn 60!

Okay, I lied to you about putting the info for Motorcycle Emporium's opening on WH! Vic's still planning on a soft opening tomorrow, 2/1, but the GRAND OPENING wil be 3/15. He hopes to have live music and the works, but I'll just be glad he's open and can work on Jap Crap this close to the house...Y'all come on out!

Okay, I'm off the patch and on my own! After almost 47 years of smoking, I believe (no, I KNOW!) I can do this. My thanks for all the encouragement you've given me but don't stop; I realize it's going to be a struggle for some time yet. Ciao, Boys and Girls.....
2/4/03
Has it only been four days...? It sure seems longer than that. Blind Driver at the Bu on Friday and Sonzabeaches at Chaser's on Saturday made for good live music, but Sunday was just good riding, period! It's a good thing, too, since it looks like the scoot is going to be down for a bit. I've got to find a new coil, or at least one that isn't cracked. Since I had her down for that, I'm getting a much-needed seat job...and since THAT will take a while, I'm doing a bunch of other little things I've put off for a while. In other words, I won't be riding for about a week.

Although there isn't a whole lot going on this week, you can stop by D&D Cycles this weekend for the Triumph Tour and maybe get a demo ride on a new Triumph. If you're out toward Myrtle Grove, stop and say hi to Vic at Motorcycle Emporium and let him know what you want him to stock in the way of accessories. You might even find me there, drinking coffee...
2/8/03
Well, my baby's still down...and will be for a bit, yet. I located the coils on the internet and they're in the care of UPS. Ace has my seat and is making some adjustments while he's recovering it. After soaking with Zep 45 for three days, I finally broke the header bolts loose last night. In the process, I pulled three studs loose from the head, but those will be locked back in today and, probably the new exhaust system, as well. Let's see; what else? Oh yeah, I MIGHT put the new windshield on if I get the rest of the stuff done before the coils come in and Ace finishes the seat!

In between all that, I've found time to drop in on Vic and harass him for some time every day. It's not all bad: he is getting me some new shocks. I have to be honest about this...I'm finally getting antsy to ride. Later...
2/11/03
Do you know how you can tell if someone REALLY needs to ride? ...when they bungee a ski belt to the frame so they're not sitting on the battery... I still don't have the seat back, OR the windshield back on the fairing, but I needed a ride! Actually, I kinda like it as a low-rider, except when I hit bumps which, on Lillian Highway, means about every 50 feet.

According to UPS on-line tracking, the coils have actually made it as far as Jacksonville by this morning, so I should have them in the next day or so, and Ace should have my seat finished tomorrow or Thursday. If it all falls into place, Friday will be the day it's ALL back together. Hope to see you at the Milton Sonic!
2/18/03
See what happens when somebody get their scoot back together and running? They disappear for almost a week! The coils DID make it in and I found a source for new plug wires (nobody seems to sell copper-cored non-suppression wire anymore) so she's running really well. In fact, EVERYTHING is finished but the shocks (still waiting...), and I love it! Ace did a great job on the seat, too.

Milton was a little lightly-attended Friday night, but there was a good turn-out for the shindig in Orange Beach on Saturday. We couldn't have asked for any better weather for the ride over. What felt even better, though, was getting back to Hawgs Heaven on the Freedom side of the border, being able to take that helmet off and enjoy a cold one (or two) with friends. They're open Wednesday through Sunday, now, so there's no excuse NOT to drop in.

Speaking of dropping in, though...I TRIED tonight but there is a sign at the 50's Diner that they're now open Thursday though Sunday. I guess you'll find that entry missing on the What's Happening page! Making the loop, I stopped by Hooter's and only found one other scoot. Is it the cool weather or is everyone getting ready for Daytona and not going out? You tell me.
2/22/03
My apologies for all the rain yesterday and today, folks...I should have known better than to have washed the scoot BEFORE the weekend! I was all prepared to sit Friday night out at the house, watching an episode of CSI when...poof...it became VERY still and dark. One of those squalls had taken a transformer out, somewhere in the neighborhood. I recognized the sound from the various hurricanes I've sat out in this same house since the early 50's. By the time Gulf Power got on the job and restored power, I'd missed most of my show. I'm just glad I was already out of the shower when it happened.

This morning, though, it seemed as though the rain was over when I headed downtown for the rally to support the troops. It was windy as hell, but the worst part was the traffic tie-up for the Blue Angel Marathon. I finally got to The Wall South, but was sorely disappointed at the small turn-out. When the rally moved to the court house, a friend and I took our scoots to park in front of Trader's, and walked the block to the rest of the rally. All this time, it was getting windier and cooler, so we finally retired to Trader's for libations and conversation. When it was finally time for me to get some lunch, I came out and found myself riding home in the rain. Not a heavy rain...but enough, combined with the wind, to make it an interesting trip. I just hope it is a little less interesting to go out tonight!

Tomorrow is supposed to be much better, so maybe I'll see you on the road tomorrow. Be sure and drop in on the chili cook-off at Ruby's Fish Camp. It should be a good'n. Maybe I won't overdo it like I did in Atmore last month!
2/26/03
I'm just scratching what I was writing to bring you this from my Arkansas ABATE Brother:

"Here in Arkansas we have received a late February Snow! As Daytona Bike Week rapidly approaches, one of our fine Arkansas Motorcyclist had scheduled to leave for Daytona yesterday on his Gold-Wing. The roads here are covered with snow and ice and extremely hazardous for cagers, a motorcycle would not have a chance negotiating our highways at this time.

Our Gold-Wing rider elected to leave as scheduled for Daytona. A few miles from home on the interstate, he met his unfortanate fate as he crashed the bike. He survived but, it has to make you wonder why anyone would take off on a bike with the road condition such as they are.

He had friends that were following him in a cage, and he decided to go back home trailor his bike until he could get to where the roads were in a condition that a motorcycle could travel on them.

They say hind sight is 20/20, but really it dosn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that a Gold-Wing on ice is going to assume it's natural position as any two wheel machine will do. It is going to go down.

I apologize for letting this genuis out of Arkansas and thought I would warn you that he is on his way to Florida..........

firejax"
3/3/03
Since I let Firejax do my job for me earlier, I should report that I DID overdo it at Rubies last week! I sampled probably 8 different chili's and paid the price that night...but they were soooo good! Okay, you caught me Friday night at the Nine Mile Sonic. I back-slid on the smoking but, what can you do when someone is so thoughtful as to bring you a box of havana's from Europe? They're all gone now, but I AM back on the patch for a bit to help me get over them. A relapse...but such a delightful relapse!

After the Sonic, it was off to the Malibu for a bit and then winding up at Sam's on Old Corry Road and Lillian. At last, I found out where the scoots are hanging. Lots of fun and cold, cold beer! Saturday, on the other hand, brought lousy weather..at least in the morning. Kinda appropriate, I guess, for going to a Bro's wedding. Naw, I wish him the best but, am I gonna be the last single man standing? The weather cleared up pretty much by afternoon and turned into good riding. That evening,though, I started out at Trader's and was almost to Nine Mile Road to drop in on Chan's when the rain started. Not a heavy rain, but nasty enough to make riding a little dangerous between headlight flare and slickness. I headed for the house and, ten miles later, the rain ended 2 blocks from the house. Oh, well!

Sunday came up overcast, but dry! I was gonna ride more but sitting on the deck of Hawgs Heaven was sooo pleasant, and so many folks dropped by to shoot the breeze with, that it was 4 before I knew it. A quick ride back to Trader's to catch the end of the race from Las Vegas was in order and then, back to the house about sunset topped a thoroughly delightful day. I just hope your's was as good. Now, if the weather will just hold for Wednesday night's first bike night at Hawgs Heaven..... Hope to see you there!
3/7/03
Thunder, lightning..rumble through.
Clear the skies and highways, too.
Let me ride my scoot all day
and never wipe the rain away.

Sorry, folks, I shouldn't have washed her!
3/13/03
Okay, I promise I'll never wash her again! This crappy weather can let up any time now. I guess I shouldn't complain since I have been able to get a few hundred miles in between storms, but yesterday was unbelievable! I was helping Vic with merchandise when that hail storm hit. Have you ever been in a sheet-metal building in a hail storm? If we did have a tornado, we wouldn't have been able to hear it coming, anyway.

It's not looking good for the next few days, either. With Motorcycle Emporium's grand opening and the pig run on Saturday, and the ABATE meeting on Sunday, the prospects for good scooter weather are slim. Sorry about that...but I HAD to wash her!
3/19/03
It's been kinda wet for the first two Wednesday Bike Night at Hawgs Heaven, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed for tonight. For that matter, Sunday was a wash-out (literally!) as well. Thank goodness there was great weather on Saturday for the Pig Run and Motorcycle Emporiums's grand opening. I hung around ME most of the day, but took a run out to Perdido Key for a cold one. Now, THAT was a great ride in the sun!

On the flip side of sun rides was Sunday's ABATE meeting... It was a little misty when I went out to warm the scoot, but it was a drizzle by the time I took off. I know I always say I won't leave in the rain but... I had good tires, not TOO far to go, and I really wanted to test the ignition system since I changed everything. BRAVO! Not a hiccup the entire way, coming or going. I may not enjoy riding in the rain, but at least now I won't have to worry about her crapping out on me on the road!

Although Monday threatened and looked gloomy, I took the truck for errands and was REALLy ticked off when I didn't even get a drop, so Tuesday was a must-ride day for the Old Rice Burners in Transition (ORBITS)  ! When I pulled into Muffy's driveway, he said he figured I'd be by, so he was almost ready to go. After a couple of stops to harass other scoot-trash who had to work on a beautiful day, we headed to Santa Rosa Island to check out Spring Break. It's a good thing we don't have thought police, 'cause we'd be UNDER the jail by now. I just don't remember the scenery looking like that when we were that age!

Running down the beach to Navarre and up 87 to the interstate blew out any carbon we might have had built-up, but be prepared for contructions stops between 98 and Holley. Stopping at Doc's in Pea Ridge brought us the only three drops or rain we saw, so far, but that was it.. I led Muff a few backroads he hadn't run before and we finally wound up back at ME to BS with Vic. Closing him up at 5, the only rain I ran into was a few sprinkles the last mile to the house. Nya, nya...you gotta work and I don't!
3/23/03
...it's too danged pretty out to write very much! Great ride to Hawgs Heaven on Wednesday after spending half the day at the VA Clinic. Can you imagine; they want me to LOSE about 40 pounds! The nerve! Thursday was the day for the "portrait" for the Ten Gallon Club at the blood bank. The first leather and ABATE t-shirt on the wall... Big crowd at Ava's on Friday, topped off with dancing at Chan's. Saturday at H-D and Hawgs Heaven. That's enough; I'M RIDING!
3/29/03
...and I've been riding ever since! No, that's not true; since Tuesday, I've been fighting this new computer, or at least, its software. I made the mega-leap from a 233Mhz to a 1.7Ghz processor, and the blazing increase in speed has only been matched by the infuriating frustration of trying to get it run the way I want it to. With no thanks, at all, to any on-board help system, I THINK I have it pretty much the way I want it.

On the riding scene, Wednesday night found a rowdy group converging on Hawgs Heaven. Someone was there who said he was from Thunder Press (I'll wait for an e-mail from them after I gave him my card) and that precipitated some flashing in front of the Hawgs Heaven sign beside Perdido Key Drive. I apologize for any heart atacks by snowbirds who were driving by (...and almost driving off the road!).

It didn't make this last week's Happenings mail-out since I only found the flier on Wednesday, but I did make the first Brews Brothers bike night on Thursday. They had cars partially blocking the front entrance so only scoots could enter, but there were still a few idiot cagers who drove over the curb to get in. I guess they don't watch where they're driving on OR off the road! They had free food for us scooter trash (all 10 who showed up) so it kinda made up for the high beer prices.

Friday had a so-so turn-out at Nine Mile, but a bunch of us rode down to Trader's before I wound the night up at the Malibu, listening to Blind Driver. Today was a lazy, cold ride-around day, but I would up down at Sammy's for some excellent barbecue and companionship before riding home before the weather broke. It should be nice (but cool) again tomorrow, so maybe I'll see you on the road. Take care and keep the rubber on the road.
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