It was a matter of time I guess, the love affair has hit a bump in the road.  Many bumps actually, especially through Michigan.  I have just come back from over 2500 km of riding over four days and I have learned why people spend over $700 on a seat for a motorbike.  I rode my 2006 Honda Shadow Aero 750, while all but one other bike was aver 1300.  This was putting me, and the bike, to the test.  Physical endurance is needed on a ride.  I was shocked to learn just how physically draining a ride like that can be!   I can finally appreciate the apparent idiocy of the expense as sheer necessity and, in time, I too will join the ranks of the Corbin, Mustang or custom seat aficionados.   I love my bike, but the stock seat, while comfy for the first couple hundred kilometers, just didn’t cut it for the long ride.  A bad case of SNIB (sore numb itchy bum) has made me a believer.
There were about 27 of us from the Canadian chapters of the Heaven’s Saints Motorcycle Ministry that took the long road down to Murphy, North Carolina for the annual Friends and Family Rally at the Peace Valley Campground.  Of the 27, about 10 or so were children!  Once Dennielle and Nancy have regained some semblance of sanity, ask them how the trip in the over-stuffed van was.  Go on, I dare you!
As is par for any road trip, we ended up in a few traffic jams on the way there.  While we were stuck in traffic as trucks worked to remove and overturned transport from the highway, fellow Heaven’s Saints were able to witness to others stuck in traffic, hand out some tracks and have pictures taken with other travelers.  Grow where you are planted right?
The rally was a great experience, especially for those of us who have never been there before.  It is contrast from the traditional – a group of Christian men and women, with the children, gathered together for a time of fellowship and refreshing.  Most of these men and women donned leather vests, tattoos and rode motorcycles.  Men, generally, have either long hair or no hair and usually some sort of facial hair.  Those who would look very out of place on a Sunday morning in a traditional rural church came together and shared in songs of worship with the Bone Prophet band, prayer, intercession and baptism.  There were hands raised in worship, hands laid on in prayers and prayers shared with others.  It was truly wonderful to be a part of a group of people with different backgrounds, religions and lifestyles and looks coming under the banner of worshipping the one true God and treating everyone like family.  It’s a brotherhood that must be experienced to be understood.
We spent our nights around the campfire.  We all know each other, but we really didn’t know each other.  This was my most cherished time on the trip, one whose time was simply too short.
Being from Canada was a bit of a novelty, and one that we fully enjoyed as we pulled together to win the Tug of War championship over such strong teams as Georgia and Florida.  Next year will will have to return to defend our championship, and I already hear vows to take the status back south of the border.
Far too soon, we had to turn back north.  The return trip was not made with all of us though.  Two couples went further south to spend the remainder of the week in Florida, one couple went to Georgia for a few days.
The rest of us took a tour along the skyway in North Carolina on the way home.  While the views and scenery were spectacular, we lost some serious time.  The highway that we didn’t take was called the Dragon’s Tail and has 318 curves in only 11 miles!  There’s even a spot on the road where the parts of other bikes are hung up as if to be trophies from bikers past.  Maybe next time.
We made it to Dog Patch in London, Kentucky in time to buy some toys for our bikes and spent the night in Georgetown.  
Traveling with children is not something one can do well on a schedule.  Time must be taken to allow for pee stops, diaper changes and the occasional vomiting episode.  So on our last day of travel, Ben and Nancy, Dennielle and I with our five children took our time heading home while the others we were with headed home.  We shopped at Walmart for rain gear – this was done to prevent rain rather than prepare for it.  It’s funny, in the south it seems that everyone loves to see a Christian biker and will come and talk as though we have been friends for some time.  That doesn’t happen at home here.  Too bad really.
We made one major stop in Ohio when the water pump went in the van, but God allowed the opportunity for Ben to share God’s message with the owner of the shop and gift him with a testimonial DVD.  Again, grow where you are planted.
We made it home eventually and all is well.  We are now rested and ready for the road again.  Although, I am not doing that ride again without a new seat.  While I’m at it, maybe I’ll pick up a new bike to go with the new seat!  I think I hear a Road King calling my name, but get this…my wife wants me to get an Electra Glide, and really, who I to argue with my wife!
Everyone has a story and I am looking forward to telling you about my next bike.  Whenever that happens.

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