Old Bridge, NJ. November 8
Near 70 degrees. Bright, cloudless blue sky.
We did not have as big a turnout as I would have thought. Despite a beautiful day and temperatures predicted for the high sixties, we had nine bikes; 10 riders with Johnny B.'s grandson Nick. Maybe some of our bears were busy with raking leaves, or chose shorter rides.
Sunday we picked up a new bear. Ralphie Fonseca, a fellow Connecticut Rider Education Program instructor. He signed up for the full deal in Old Bridge. Ralphie is now a Polar Bear Flight B.
We had a great time. The shorter run and warm weather and beautiful day made for high spirits all around. Well not quite everyone was in full revelry. John K. seemed impatient and more snarky than usual.
He had reason to celebrate. Today Bob Hartpence, Polar Bear Grand Pooh-bah, had John's red rocker. Bob's getting hip to the Captain. In past years, Bob had not even thought of ordering the season's patches and rockers when John K. had already earned his first 30 points.
Bob told me a story Sunday about how he was really looking forward to handing John K. his rocker that day, our third ride of the season. Bob called the patch company Saturday morning to see why they had not delivered. I guess he put the order in extra early. Of course the company was closed Saturday. Bob left a message on the answering machine and went back out to his yard to, like many of us I bet, rake leaves. No sooner was he started again at his task than the mailman hailed him, “I have a box for you, Bob.” Bob went back inside and left another message on the patch company's answering machine, “never mind.” And with fanfare and a hearty handshake, he presented John K. the first Polar Bear rocker of the season.
Still John was snippy. He was anxious to get off to lunch. He accused us of lollygagging, of being “tourists” he taunted Grumpy when Johnny B. was having trouble with his new camera for the group shot. Hmmm. What's up?
We all kid each other, and generally John K. takes and gives as good as anyone.
Then it hit me! A vision of Nancy Pelosi flashed in my brain. And I smiled. I whispered to John, “It's the health care bill, isn't it?” John replied, “It ain't law yet.”
It's okay John. It's only money, money that none of us have, including the government.
I don't know if the Captain's attitude improved with a bit of lunch. Denny's did not have a table big enough for all of us. We sat at two.
We reassembled in the parking lot, with the Captain walking around the bikes whipping us into shape, exhorting us to button up faster.
We rode a very short distance to gas up for the ride home. Somehow I was the last one out. My fellow bears would likely say I am always the last one out, dressed, ready to ride, etc.
At the top of the Garden State we stopped for coffees. It was the usual torture to get our order assembled and paid. The servers at the Dunkin' Donuts in the rest stop at the top of the Garden State Parkway are so slow you can actually test Einstein's Theory of Relativity.
Here's an example. John H. treated us all. As such, he was stuck being the last to leave the counter, paying after we all carried our drinks away to a table. We were all sitting and enjoying our hot drinks, but John H. was back in time still trying to figure out the bill with the slow clerks.
He finally caught up to our time, but just as he was about to sit down, it turned out that two of the coffees did not have milk. John H. had to go back, back in time, back to the counter to retrieve creamers. Just as he was about to catch up to our time, there were no stirrers for the recently retrieved cream. Back in time John H. went again. As John H. kept going back in time, we were all progressing forward, drinking our hot drinks. When John H. finally got a chance to sit down, he was now way behind us in time.
Chris, your blogger, came to the rescue. By being slower than most normal coffee drinkers, Chris was able to retard present time enough for John H. to catch up and drink his coffee.
So except for the frustration of multiple forays back in time, oh and the “pleasure” of paying for coffees and hot chocolates for a bunch of whining, ungrateful, riding buddies, John H. finally caught up to drink his coffee in present time.
As we got ready to go in the parking lot, my special time talents were recognized by Russ. He said , I think derisive, about not even turning on his motorcycle until I had my helmet on and my bike off the sidestand.
Even-tu-ally . . . I did. And off we roared home to Connecticut.
See you next week. I will be the one rolling in just moments before the rest of us are ready to leave next Sunday morning.
View this blog with pictures at: http://www.influentialcom.com/polar_bear_blog.htm
Here's a shout-out from Russ . . .
Hi Chris, Len the" Gerbing Guy" replaced a five (5) year old harness that broke this past week for free. Maybe you can give him a shout of thanks in this weeks blog.