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For as long as I’ve lived in Crenshaw County, I’ve made it a point to come to the Christmas parade; it’s on the first Saturday in December at 11 every year.

After all the floats, fire trucks, beauty queens, football teams and scout groups march through, the toy run starts. It began about 26 years ago, when three guys heard about some kids who weren’t going to have a very good Christmas; so they gathered their friends and headed out with a bunch of toys. They just happened to fall in behind the parade that first time, and ever since it’s been a tradition.

One of the guys who started it just happens to be my youngest daughter’s father-in-law. I can remember taking her as a little kid and she would get so excited about the motorcycles that she would scream. She absolutely loved it- I guess I should have known then that it would play a big part in all our lives.

So I was very pleased and honored when Spyder and Ed asked Randy and I last year if we’d be willing to take it over and sponsor it. Both of them are no longer able to be there like they want, and of course we were thrilled to be asked.

It wasn’t as big as we’d have liked- sometimes the weather keeps folks away. But our dream is to build it up to be the biggest toy run in the southeast US.

Randy and I both believe in dreaming big and we both believe in working for what we want. I imagine God’s put us in this position for a reason and we’re going to do our best to make sure that Spyder, Ed and JR are pleased with our work, and God too!

ATTGAT

09/06/16

Ephesians 6:10-17 Finally, my brothers, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For our fight is not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, and against spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your waist girded with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, having your feet fitted with the readiness of the gospel of peace, and above all, taking the shield of faith, with which you will be able to extinguish all the fiery arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

The last time we went to “bike church” at God Speed Biker Ministries (they’re on Facebook) Bro Mark talked to us about the full armor of God. While he was reading the scriptures above, I kept thinking about all the parts of the whole armor…. and it reminded me of how much it’s like  the gear we bikers wear (or least, some of us wear!).

Bikers wear a helmet to protect our heads – I had someone ask me once how much my head was worth, and to expect to pay accordingly for a helmet. Got a $5 head? get a $5 helmet. We also have leather or heavy denim chaps to protect our legs; boots keep our ankles and feet safe; and a leather or heavy denim jacket can protect our chest and arms.  Leather gloves keep our hands from getting wet, wind-chapped and sometimes even safe from bugs and rocks.

This may sound like overkill – all this leather, the heavy, hot helmet, those stiff boots – I mean, is it all really necessary? No, not while you’re riding down the road.

But if you ever go down, you’ll appreciate every centimeter that’s between you and the pavement that’s rushing under you at 60 MPH.

So the expression ATTGAT means a lot when you’re sliding down the highway, with your bike right behind you. ATTGAT – all the gear, all the time.

And doesn’t it make sense that our Creator would also know that we need to have all our gear on all the time? ATTGAT, guys….. ATTGAT.

Author: Beth R - Categories: bike church,bikes and bikers

patch3

My husband and I began a new phase of our lives a few months ago; God gave us a bike ministry late last summer and we’ve been working to make it the ministry God wants it to be. Our patch is pictured above – we have ours sewn on our vests and we’ve had quite a few people ask us about them. Needless to say, they’re very colorful and eye-catching.

We’ve started an annual bike blessing in our county, along with the help of folks from our church and community. I believe it’s going to grow into a way to reach out to folks who might not ever feel comfortable coming to a ‘regular’ church.

We’ve also been trusted to carry on a tradition that started 26 years ago- Spyder’s Toy Run. Our friend Spyder and his friends started it to make sure that all kids in our area had a good Christmas. (Spyder is also our youngest daughter’s father-in-law.)

We’ve got other dreams and visions for what we want for the ministry; but we’re doing our best to keep our eyes on God and what HE wants. Because He can see bigger and better than we can even imagine.

I’ll be sharing more about ministry activities in other posts, and I’ll also share a little bit about our “junior” member, Hope. I’m sure you’ll enjoy meeting her and seeing what she stays up to.

Any excuse for a ride is great, but when you can ride and help out homeless and lost animals, that’s even better.
Crenshaw County Animal Society and Three in One Motorcycle Ministries paired up to have a day full of blessings, fun and food, and raise money for CCAS’s foster program at the same time.
April 2, 2016 marked the first-ever bike blessing in Crenshaw County. Three in One started the day off early- coffee and donuts were served. Then Bro Randy gave a short devotional. Besides Three in One members, we also had volunteers from several local churches be a part of the prayer team. Three in One’s home church, Luverne First Assembly was very supportive and a lot of the members came out to help.
Prayer teams went to each bike and prayed for safety while on the road and also prayed for any specific prayer requests from riders, and then bike blessing decals were handed out.
Besides about 30 bikes, there were also several cars and trucks that were prayed for.
The Rock Central Youth drama team from Luverne First Assembly performed a couple of dramas which were very touching.
John P. and Sharon Adkison and her dog Ziggy were special guests for the day. Sharon told a little about her story – she’s struggled with stress and anxiety for years, so her husband John strongly encouraged her to adopt a small dog who could travel with them. When Ziggy came to live with them, she noticed several times that Ziggy would get upset and within a few minutes she’d realize that her blood sugar wasn’t at the right levels. She ended up taking Ziggy to her doctor who tested him and sure enough, he was alerting her before her sugar levels got out of control. Since then he’s become a certified medical alert dog. He’s got his own fan club; he’s collecting his Harley points and has actually ridden more miles than some of the chapter’s members. He’s ridden as far away as Washington, DC! He’s got his own travel bag that’s mounted on the back of John’s bike- it’s got it’s own safety harness set up. Ziggy can ride inside the bag, or stick his head and shoulders out to enjoy the view or he’s able to ride completely outside the bag, all while safely tethered. He’s even learned how to make sure the bag’s flap is down in case he wants a nap.
Sharon encouraged everyone there to check local shelters and animal societies for their next pet. “Adopt, don’t shop!” Like most people who adopt, she told us that she thought she was making a difference in Ziggy’s life, but he’s also made a big difference in her life too.
Then CCAS president Kim Thiem welcomed everyone and thanked them for being a part of our day. Besides being president of CCAS, Kim is one of the founding members of the society. A New York transplant, Kim and her husband Chris have lived in the county for over 20 years, and very quickly realized that someone needed to help all the lost and stray animals in our county. She and Betty Massey started talking about what they could do, and decided to start the society. The first two years of the society, they visited shelters in surrounding counties to learn how they’re operating; they made phone calls and researched to find out what to do and what mistakes not to make. It’s been an uphill battle but CCAS is slowly making strides. Our county doesn’t currently have an animal shelter, the animal society’s job is even tougher.
CCAS now has a foster based program that keeps about 12 animals in their program at all times, and there is always a long waiting list. Like any rural county, there are lots of dogs who are dropped off when they’re no longer wanted, sometimes even from other counties. We get many calls every month asking for help with a dog or cat who has just shown up at someone’s house. It’s always heartbreaking to here these stories.
Because we use a foster based program, the animals are kept in members’ homes; they receive love and attention all the time, and can also learn social skills – how to get along with other cats and dogs is just as important as how to get along with a wide variety of people. A small group of very dedicated volunteers work together to take care of the animals; we also offer educational information on the benefits of getting pets spayed or neutered and regular health care. We also work to find homes for stray animals. Many times these animals are transported to other areas of the state, or even other areas of the country, where their chances of adoption are much greater.
The animal society has done several fundraisers, but we were looking for something bigger that would let folks even outside the county help, so the idea for a poker run was chosen.
The group got to work, gathering door prizes and donations from Crenshaw, Montgomery, Pike and Covington Counties. Lots of great sponsors were willing to donate to help.
The support from riders in the county was good, but it was great to see two groups from outside the county show up. The Montgomery HOG Chapter came, escorting our special guests Ziggy, Sharon and John Adkison and a bunch of their friends. Bro Mark Fronduti and God Speed Ministries from Montgomery also brought some riders in. We even had a few from out of state to come ride with us.
A group of about 20 bikes (and 1 van!) took a scenic ride around the county, stopping to have cards dealt and answering some trivia questions about motorcycles or pets.
We finally arrived back at the park, where the wonderful cooks in CCAS had lunch ready for us. Fried chicken fingers, grilled burgers, French fries, Cole slaw and potato salad made a delicious meal.
While everyone ate, the judges figured out which player had the best and worst hands. Finally, Corbin Knott from Luverne was awarded worst hand status and XXX XXX was awarded best hand status. Each came away with a cash prize.
Then it was time for to start drawing tickets- about 30 door prizes were given away. Everything from cleaning products to tools to t-shirts and bags to gift certificates from restaurants. Several people won more than one prize – the lesson there is the more tickets you buy, the luckier you are! We wound up the activities with a 50/50 drawing.
We even had a “Happy Tails” day- one of our foster pups, Lily, was adopted and is now living the life of Riley in her new home. Congratulations to Lily and Rodney!
All in all, it was a fun day. We had several compliments from the riders – the food was great, the ride was nice and it was well organized. Our CCAS and Three in One Ministries members and volunteers all seemed to have a good time and we’re already working on a ride for the fall.
We thank everyone who came out to spend the day with us, and we truly appreciate everyone who donated to make the day the huge success it was.
If you’d like more information on Crenshaw County Animal Society or Three in One Motorcycle Ministries, you can find us both on Facebook.
Author: Beth R - Categories: bikes and bikers,family and friends,motorcycles

This is one of the toughest posts I’ve had to write- but I have to. As much as I’ve been frustrated and even angry because of someone else’s driving distracted, I have to tell this so hopefully others won’t get into the same situation.
***************************************************

At one stop on our way home, I must have stepped in some gum. It stuck right at the ball of my left foot and I didn’t notice it until we were on our way. By then, it was warm enough to stick my boot to my floorboard, which was very aggravating while trying to change gears. I could move my foot, but it was more of an effort than usual.
Since we were still in the foothills, we were going up and down hills, and around curves. I know I should have stopped as soon as I realized how much trouble it was giving me, but I decided to just wait until we stopped either for gas or a rest break, but I didn’t. That was my first mistake.
As we rode along, we gradually fell in line behind several vehicles. Since the road was only a two-lane local road, we didn’t get a chance to pass them, so we were going along about 50 mph or so. That ended up being a blessing. As we were riding along, meeting bikes and waving, (and me still worrying with the gum on my boot) the first vehicle in line needed to turn left, so they had to stop for oncoming traffic.
Since I was distracted by the gum (and the bikers we were meeting) I didn’t start braking quite quickly enough. When I did, I got on the brakes too hard – my back tire was squealing and it started sliding around to the right. The road conditions didn’t help- it was a local road that had lots of tar poured on top of breaks and cracks, which made it more slippery.
I let off a bit, which stopped the sideways slide, but I was still too close to the car ahead of me, so I had to get right back on the brakes; I did finally get it stopped without going into the other lane, which still had traffic in it. If I’d laid the bike down, it would have gone under the SUV in front of us, or into the oncoming traffic, which was still mostly bikers. I’d hate to think I caused other bikers to go down because of my being distracted.
I’ve talked it over with Randy- we were pretty much riding axle to axle so I wasn’t going too fast; I just didn’t start braking the second I should have- only a second or two, but that’s all it took…
I’m still not sure if I ended up using the front brake as well; if I did, it was God helping me do it, because I didn’t jerk it. I do know at one point I was thinking ‘did I let off the gas’ but I knew I did because the engine wasn’t racing- guess you have crazy thoughts go through your head at times like that.
We couldn’t pull over immediately because of the road and traffic conditions, which was even harder for me- I wanted to stop and lay down and cry right there. But believe me, I stopped at the very next spot I could find and got the goop off my boot and the floorboard. I also was super-careful not to follow too close until I could take care of it.
I will not make that mistake again- I’ll check my boots just like I check my tires, and if I notice something that feels ‘off’ I’ll stop as soon as I can, to correct it.
I know the good Lord was right there with me, because I didn’t panic, I got the bike stopped without laying it down, I didn’t immediately faint from fear, and I didn’t throw up all over my bike when it was over. (and oh, did I want to).
I’m just thankful I had some help to get the bike stopped, and I didn’t hurt anyone else. I’m also thankful the folks behind us slowed up and gave me plenty of room – they could see I needed some space and they gave it to me.
I’ve learned several lessons on this trip, but this was by far the most important.

Author: Beth R - Categories: bikes and bikers,pigeon forge trip 09

It always amazes me to watch someone make a snap judgment about a person, simply by the way they look: if a person is overweight, they’re lazy; if they wear glasses, they’re smart; and if they’re bikers, they’re obviously in a gang that’s just robbed the church.
For some reason, black leather, doo rags, tattoos and biker boots means bad news, to adults, at least… a little kid usually has a totally different take on things. For example, while on our way home from Pigeon Forge, we stopped for a rest break. As we were walking towards the bathrooms, a little blonde cutie-pie came out holding her grandmother’s hand. She took one look at my husband (big ol’ teddy bear of a guy: full beard and mustache, dark glasses, gloves and boots, a smile as wide as the horizon and of course, a doo rag) and said “look, Grandma, a pirate!” with a big smile. Then she spotted me and said, “oh, another pirate!” She then made fast friends with my husband and talked to him for several minutes. We almost always get smiles and waves from kids.
We’ve had a few negative responses as well, usually from adults. They either don’t like how we look, or that we’re riding motorcycles. They look like they smell something bad…
But those folks are in the minority – most folks are about as friendly as they can be – I smile and they smile back. One little old lady at a bank patted my arm just like my grandma would have, and said, ‘honey you just have air conditioning all the time, don’t you? you be safe out there!” and then walked on with a smile.I always try to smile and be friendly towards other folks, to reach out to them and show them it’s OK to smile at me and say hello.
I think the folks who judge me and mine harshly are those whose deepest heart’s desire was once to ride, but something kept them from it – either fear, whether of judgment or of an accident; or someone with authority over them refused to let them ride.
So, I guess I should pity those who look down on us – they either want to be where we are, but don’t have the strength to do it, or they think we’re less than them because of who and what we are. Maybe we look like we’re having too good a time to care whether our hair is combed, or that I’m not wearing makeup; maybe they can see on our faces that we’re doing something enjoyable and don’t care what others think; or maybe they just never learned to be happy. Either way, I’m sorry for them…
In the end, my newest patch says it all: Judge me all you want, just keep your verdict to yourself.

Author: Beth R - Categories: bikes and bikers,pigeon forge trip 09

My friend Chessie has a great post on train clubs, trains and motorcycles; it reminds me of how much I love trains (and of course motorcycles) as well.
How many of you remember hearing the train whistle when the train came through town? We always wanted to be in a spot to see it when it came by. It was even better when it crossed the street to the school- you had an automatic excuse for being late!
My dad and brothers had a train set when we were young; as much as I enjoyed watching them play with it, I never got to run it as much as I’d like-after all, I was a girl!
One of my favorite places to visit is Chattanooga – besides Rock City and Ruby Falls, they’ve got a great train museum downtown, complete with a miniature version of Chattanooga and the trains that run through her. You can also have lunch in a train car, or buy gifts in the gift shop.
And that brings me back around to motorcycles- as much as I loved trains as a girl, I loved motorcycles more. My older cousins always had bikes, and if I begged my mom enough, I could ride behind them.
I love to see kids’ faces when I’m riding my bike. They almost always want to wave and smile (unless they’re afraid of the noise) and of course, I wave back. The parents aren’t always so friendly, but the kids are! One little boy in a Wal-Mart parking lot just kept yelling “hey motorcycle!” as I rode past.
Last year, when several of us were on a ride together, we stopped at a small gas station for a break before heading home. There were about ten of us, all in one corner, standing by our bikes, drinking water. A very small boy, about 3 or so, and his Nana, came out of the store, and started walking across the parking lot towards their van. All the way across, he kept yelling “Wild Hogs, Nana, Wild Hogs!” I walked over to them and asked if he’d like to come see our bikes a little closer, and he did. He wouldn’t get too close (guess there were too many of us) but he did seem to enjoy looking at them.
I wonder what it is about our chemical makeup that makes us so drawn to bikes and trains? Do you think that maybe, even at that young age, we recognize that those things are outside “normal” for most folks? Or is it the sense of wonder and adventure we all have as children – when we see things that are different, we’re drawn to it.
As we become teenagers and adults, most of us fight to fit in- we want to be just like everyone else, so folks don’t think we’re weird.
But for those few of us who want to be different… ah, the freedom to be who we want to be, no matter what anyone else thinks. Ride on!

Author: Beth R - Categories: bikes and bikers,family and friends,nostalgia

I got up with some riding buddies of mine and we headed out over to the Pioneer Museum in Troy, Alabama. They were having their second annual “Butter Churnin, Syrup Soppin’ Saturday” today and I knew we’d have fun.
They were finishing up the butter churning when we got there so we sat and listened to some old-fashioned music and checked out the displays in the main building. We saw some awesome quilts including one which was older than the US– it’s been certified to have been quilted the country was formed. The pattern is a “Princess Feather” if I understood the lady at the museum.
We finally made it back down to the cabins where the food was being served- delicious homemade biscuits (by ladies in bonnets and aprons!), hand-churned butter, Carson Anne syrup, and smoked sausage – mmm, delicious!
Afterwards, we visited the other cabins and stores, including a military memorabilia place.
When we finally got ready to come home, it was a beautiful ride- enough wind to stay cool and sun and clouds made a beautiful picture to watch coming home.
And then…when I got home, the excitement really started. You see, I’d forgotten to take my house keys with me.
I tried the back storm door- it was hooked. I knew the front door was locked, but I knew if I could get on my backporch I had a way in the house (secret key and all that). But I couldn’t get the door open. I decided to try to yank the door open using a large pair of pliers; I got very enthusiastic about it, but never got the back door opened.
Of course, Cookie’s in the house barking- he heard the bike drive up and couldn’t figure out why I didn’t come on in.
I finally pried the screen off a window and climbed in using a ladder – Cookie barking all the time. Of course he never did anything brave like run up and lick me in the face, but he did bark from under the table.
I finally got in, and laid on the sofa to cool off a bit; then I went back out to put the screen back on and get the rest of my gear inside.
Nice to know my house is fairly secure and that my dog will at least bark when someone tries to get in.
I’m headed out in a bit to get another key made.

Author: Beth R - Categories: bikes and bikers,nostalgia

My husband bought a 2000 Yamaha Roadstar about 2 1/2 years ago from a local bike dealer. It was dressed out, including good pipes, Corbin seats with backrests, and a set of Boss Bags.
When he bought the bike, one of the buckles was missing, but he didn’t worry about it too much; the other buckle was there, and the lids are heavy enough to stay down even unfastened, unless he’s REALLY moving.
Over the weekend someone mentioned to him that he might be able to get a replacement buckle from the company, so he came home, found the website (http://www.bossbags.com/) and emailed customer service for a catalog or part number so he could order the part.
On Sunday he emailed back and forth with a CS person, who found out what size bags he has, and whether they’re a new design or an older one.
Last night, he got an email from customer service saying the new buckle was on the way; it came in today’s mail.
Nowadays it’s very unusual for this kind of customer service, especially since Randy wasn’t the original buyer of the bike or the bags. I don’t know who the young man was who worked with my husband, but I’d say he deserves a salute – great job!

Author: Beth R - Categories: bikes and bikers

Last year, Randy and I bought Midland handheld radios for our bikes – we use a system that puts earphones inside our open-face helmets, wires run to radio and to ‘talk’ button mounted on handlebars.
I know we’ve got them wired correctly because they work – sometimes. Mostly it turns out that I can hear him, but can’t talk to him. We’ve swapped radios and it seems to be in the wiring on my system, but there are no breaks in the wiring, and everything’s connected completely. Another problem is that even when the system works, I can’t always hear clearly what he’s saying. The headphones are sitting as close to my ears as possible, without getting in the way when I’m putting on the helmet, and the sound is turned up as loud as possible.
My true preference would be a piece actually in my ear, rather than outside it – but then I’d run into it getting pulled out when I put on my helmet.
I’d also prefer to be using my half helmet, but after a friend of ours hit a deer, I’ve been thinking more helmet is better…
I like the Midlands – we also use them off-bike as well so I’d like to keep them. Any suggestions on a system that will work?

Author: Beth R - Categories: bikes and bikers
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