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Sometimes you might ask yourself, “does anything I say or do actually matter? Does it make a difference to anyone at all .. or does anyone really even give a shit?” “LOL” .. I know I have. And then I run across an article or hear someone say something that answers that question with a resounding “YES!” I have to crack a smile right this minute though, as I know I can “bet the ranch” on the fact that nearly everyone who just read this knows what “LOL” means.

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Karen Ravn once wrote: Only as high as I reach can I grow .. Only as far as I seek can I go .. Only as deep as I look can I see .. Only as much as I dream can I be …

Thoughts like that inspire me .. especially after the many near-death experiences that only intensified my passion for living each day to the max .. and believing that the only things you really ever regret are the things you didn’t do. Sure .. I’ve made a lot of mistakes along the way .. but how else could I have learned so much? The trick is not to make the same mistakes twice.

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Any time I’m in an area just “exploring” for the fun of it .. I’m often amazed by little “golden nuggets” I find. Much like the excitement an old prospector must have felt when he’s panning in a muddy stream, when all of a sudden his life is stunned with wonder and awe. He’s found himself at the proverbial “fork in the road”, and he’s faced with a choice. Or rather, given the opportunity to make what very well could be a life-altering decision: “Keep searching or quit while you’re ahead”.

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I’ve been to a number of various “State” H.O.G. Rallys over the years, but the one that set off a series of events that I will never forget and continually ponder, was the Ohio Rally of 2001. “Never forget” I say, because to this very day the “domino-effect-events” derived from that Rally are forever linked, just as the fabric of each are interwoven with love, pride, happiness and sorrow, while tightly bound by amazement and awe.

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Well, here it is again for many of you .. the “riding season” is already in full swing. We’ve had an unseasonably warm winter/spring .. and most of you have had the Iron Horse out of the barn for a number of weeks now. I was just inspecting Bosco a bit closer again last week .. as I’ve noticed he’s needing another rear shoe, as of yesterday! I spent even more time digging through my detailed maintenance records after I first noticed the skin on the back, instead of actual tread. I guess it just pisses me off every time I have to spend at least $250 on a tire that’s only averaged 7,254 miles over 181,366 total. Yeah, I even discovered this actually will be my 26th rear, as I had written #23 on two new tire receipts in a row. And I suspect it wouldn’t surprise you if I told you I have every receipt and record for every ounce of “TLC” I’ve given him for over ten years. He deserves it.

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People ask me all the time “what’s the neatest place you’ve ever found while you’ve been out traveling around the country?” And, without a doubt, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to come up with “one” definitive answer to that one. The list seems to grow all the time .. and as my memory fades, it’s always a pleasant surprise to come across souvenirs or articles of memorabilia that I’ve managed to collect along the way. Friends know that I have several boxes full of brochures, town maps, event flyers and postcards from practically everywhere I’ve ridden. And, of course .. my vest is the visual diary that speaks volumes .. not counting the bag full of more pins, patches and event wristbands that hangs on my office door.. ‘cause there’s just no more room on the vest. I think I did mention that I do have several on the “inside” of the vest, too .. so maybe I should start layering them .. who knows.

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If you’re like me .. you’re a bit of a history buff who loves antiques and appreciates everything “old”. As I travel, I’m consumed with awe and wonder as I study the architecture of everything .. especially old houses, castles, churches & bridges. My mind is totally blown when it comes to the Egyptian and Aztec pyramids, or even the Parthenon .. but that’s an entire discussion in itself.

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I’m guessing everyone’s heard the expression “I hate to rain on your parade”. And surely everyone understands the underline meaning of such a comment .. because sometime in your life you’ve been caught outdoors in an unexpected shower. And .. if you’re one of the “chosen few” .. you’ve been drenched by an absolute downpour! Raining “cats & dogs” .. “like the sky opened up” .. “like you’re standing under a waterfall” .. “so hard you can’t see you’re hands in front of your face” .. “raining sideways” .. or, if you’re a country cousin, “like a cow pissin’ on a flat rock”. Yep .. that covers many of the euphemisms that gets the point across.

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Hard to believe, huh? Another year blown by and I hardly remember blinking. Haven’t you always heard “time flies when you’re having fun”? Well, trust me .. it’s exactly the same when you’re broke, depressed and miserable! And I’m guessing with the present state of our economy, more of us can identify with the latter premise than not. So, now that we’re all on the same wavelength .. let me at least try to put a smile on your face for the moment. There’s plenty of time for all that other depressing crap later.

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Like all of us, when things “pile up” and you just need a break from reality .. we access the brightest corners of our memory chest and grab for a flashback of happier times. I’m just a firm believer that Life is short .. and you have to steal a few breathless moments from death while you still can .. because the pursuit of happiness is the chase of a lifetime .. an endless “adventure”.

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How many times have you opened your mouth and made a comment, then immediately had an emotional epiphany .. oops? If you’re human .. I think it’s happened to all of us .. especially if you’re like me and always speak what’s on your mind, no matter what. I’ve always said “truth” is my only sword .. but life isn’t as simple or clear-cut today as it was for Grandma & Grandpa .. when the willow tree switch rectified the little white lie.

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It was once said that “the journey IS the destination” .. and I guess I’ve spent a number of years now chasing an endless trail that probably leads to nowhere. It’s also been said that “if you don’t know where you’re going and you have no plan .. you’ll surely end up there”. Well .. many of my maps are tattered and taped and my trusty 1994 Rand McNally Road Atlas is filled with yellow pages where I’ve traced the highways I’ve traveled with yellow dry markers. They’ve faded a lot over time .. but then again, so has my memory.

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