July 29, 2013:
On the 64th day of the KURE2013 ride, I have the morning to pack the bike and also take some time to interview the Seatons – the GoPro is awesome for all sorts of things. I also get a tour of Don Seaton’s tractor shed, where he has two very old, but working, tractors, one of which he used on his folks farm in Wisconsin. I head out from Nevada, Iowa and head to Independence, Missouri, being told by my host in Missouri that it is raining down there. Sure enough, about ¼ of the way, rain starts to come down pretty well, so I pull off in a rest area and put on the my foul rain gear – a BMW jumpsuit that keeps me dry outside and, usually, sweating inside – the ride is the first one where almost the whole ride is in rain – I stay very dry, the bike performs very well, but my stuff on the back seat gets pounded with rain and, yes, wet. Karen Jones, my host in Independence, Missouri, directs me to a Bed & Breakfast for my stay – it is still drizzling as I pull into the Silver Heart Inn and begin the unloading process. I am greeted by the Inn’s proprietor who shows me to a room that is nothing short of magnificent and offers assistance in drying my wet things. I am, however, set to appear at the Liberty Kiwanis meeting shortly after unpacking – a quick change out of my foul weather gear and into presentable attire, I get picked up by Karen and off we go to our first Kiwanis meeting.
The Liberty Kiwanis club is an active and supportive club. Deb Jones is the President and the District’s governor, Gary Goebel also was in attendance. One of the most interesting attendees was a clown – yes, Bunny the Clown was there – LaRetta Scown was there and she performed as a real clown for much of her illustrious career. LaRetta brought her granddaughter, Kaitlin Arey, with her – Kaitlin has just moved in with her grandmother from a small town somewhere and is helping her out and starting her education. Kaitlin is exactly the type of “new blood” that the Kiwanis organization needs and she is very much interested in the type of service Kiwanians are dedicated to participate in. I announce at the meeting, as I do with all meetings, that any woman who buys a KURE2013 ticket and has a helmet, gets a ride on the KUREmobile, if they would like – Kaitlin’s eyes open wide when I announce this and she comes up after the meeting and says she wants a ride – I tell her to bring the helmet to the next day’s meeting and recognize that this is a serious girl, so I assume she will be at the next day’s meeting. After receiving great support for the KURE2013 project, I return to the Inn and turn in after quite a day. I have reached my 40th state and am conducting my 45th and 46th meeting – ride on.
July 30, 2013:
The Independence Kiwanis Club meeting is not until noon, therefore, I have a little time in the morning to collect my thoughts and enjoy the Inn. At breakfast, I meet a group of people who are attending a boxing event – two parents and their kids and a number of other boys in from Kansas who are attending this event. It is a competitive event and all these people are participating. Knowing very little of boxing, I listen attentively as the parents describe what their kids do in the boxing matches [“fights”], and then I learn that the father is an employee of a slaughterhouse in Kansas – Winfield, I think. I have some knowledge of this from Don Seaton in Ames, Iowa, who was a meat buyer at a large meat company in Iowa, so I press further this boxing father as to his job, and find out that there are many things that go into food like “Chicken McNuggests” that you simply do not want to know about. He suggests not eating most fast foods. He also details the slaughter procedures for Kosher beef – quite a unique process and one that, until that time, I knew nothing about. It reminds me of my friend, Ron Underwood’s, first movie when we were in high school oh so many years ago – “Did Anyone Ask The Cow”. I now realize what Ron was addressing those many years ago. Boxing and slaughter houses – boy, never thought those would be subjects I would learn about on the KURE2013 ride! Also joining me at the Inn are my cousin, Toni Chiarico and her husband, Randy Kips, drop by the Inn to visit and join me at the meeting – Toni and Randy are motorhomers – they own a 44 foot motorhome, which they live in full time, and travel the “world” that they can get to in the motorhome. They currently are staying in Louisburg, Kansas, about 40 miles south of Independence, and have come to show their support for the KURE2013 project – thanks cous. After this interesting breakfast, I am off to my second Kiwanis meeting in Missouri, the Independence Kiwanis meeting at a downtown restaurant.
At this meeting, many of the Liberty Kiwanians are again at the meeting – Karen Jones, Deb Jones and Governor Gary Goebel are there – and the club’s president, Dan Montgomery, has an overflow crowd to deal with – the meeting takes up several rooms and also has in attendance a Missouri State Legislator/Representative, Ira Anders, who signs my Guinness World Book log [I have to get at least 2 signatures of non-Kiwanians “of notoriety” – thanks Ira for signing the book]. After my presentation, I get presented with a Resolution dictated by the Governor designating this day – July 30, 2013 – as “Kiwanis KURE2013 day” – how cool is that, and thanks Missouri for a wonderful set of meetings to support KURE2013 and the Eliminate projects. Also, this meeting is different since I have my cousins, Toni and Randy, helping me out – I am often asked if I am “alone” or do I have a “chase car”, and I can tell you, having someone there to help with the setup, the program, and the breakdown of the setup is very much easier than being by oneself, so thanks guys for the help and safe travels in the motorhome.
Finally, one more unique event that is one for the books in Missouri. Kaitlin – remember the young girl with her grandmother who came to the Liberty meeting – shows up with, of course, her helmet, so I invite her to hop on the KUREmobile for a ride, which she gleefully accepts. As we head down Truman Avenue toward the interstate, I see a situation to give her a faster ride by “weaving” in and out of traffic, so I hit the gas on the bike and do a few simple maneuvers to weave in and out of a few cars. As I come out of the last weave, I am going just short of 60 mph, and, right in front of us, is a cop – he immediately puts his lights on and starts the U-turn to come and pull us over. I advise Kaitlin that she is going to be getting much more than just a ride, and she is full of glee. We pull over and an Independence police officer understands that we were just out for a ride and accepts Kaitlin’s plea to not give us [me] a ticket – nice guy and I appreciate it. We return to the meeting location and Kaitlin is just having a great time – I am grateful that the attempt to show her what a real ride is like didn’t turn into an invitation to a court appearance!
After all this activity and excitement, I am on the road again, this time to Lincoln, Nebraska, where I arrive after 6 p.m. for a BBQ at Holmes Lake Park, sponsored by the Northeast Lincoln Kiwanis Club, Arlyn Uhrmacher, the president elect, and Lenora and Milford Hanna, two of the highest contributors to the Eliminate Project, or, as I like to call them, Mr. and Mrs. Eliminate. I get to actually drive into the meeting, over some grassy area an onto a cement slab near where the BBQ is. The real surprise here is that NBC has sent a crew to film the event, and, at 10 p.m. that night, the story ends up on the local news – see it on the web site [“KURE2013.com”]. The picnic/BBQ is, I thought, a tremendous welcome to the KURE2013 project and was very much appreciated. I then follow my hosts, Lenora and Milford Hanna, to their home where we enjoy visiting until well past 10 p.m. when we watch the KURE2013 on the local news – it is nothing short of exciting, enjoyable, and really really cool. Thanks so much to all the Nebraska Kiwanians. I am very thankful to turn in for the night after what was really just a marvelous day of this project.
July 31, 2013:
The day starts with me pulling out the GoPro camera and conducting an interview of the Hannas – nothing short of remarkable people, dedicated to service to the children of the world, which includes families. The Hannas have already donated $100,000 to the Eliminate project and have pledged to donate another $100,000 – wow, you say? Well it is far past “wow” and really into “Oh my heavens” because when you meet these two wonderful people, you will see that they are just like so many of the Kiwanians I have met, yet they have catapulted their giving to levels that few of us have rarely contemplated. It is certainly remarkable and I for one am so thankful to the Hannas and all those who contribute to the KURE2013 and Eliminate projects. I then pack up the KUREmobile and follow Lenora to the next meeting – at what is fast becoming one of my favorite places – the Golden Coral – oh, so much food. Again, a packed meeting with Kiwanians from many clubs – my presentation goes well and I get a lot of positive and supportive comments for the project, and the KURE2013 raffle tickets are being purchased at a good rate – thanks to all those who have donated to the project by buying a raffle/opportunity drawing ticket and, as I’ve said to each person who has a ticket, I hope you win!!
I again hit the road for the ride to Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and on the way I start to see the sight of groups of motorcyclists riding north – they are going to Sturgis, a gathering of motorcyclists in astronomical numbers – some 400,000 people converge on Sturgis, just west of Rapid City, for a week of motorcycle events of all types. One day I would like to take the BMW to Sturgis, but not on this trip – too many other miles to ride. I arrive in Sioux Falls and my host, Randy Hohn, is there, in his garage, directing me to park, just like if I were an airline pilot parking a plane – it is a wonderful hello. We whisk off to a BBQ with other Kiwanians at the home of Bob Reierson, and, while I am somewhat late to the party, we have a great time discussing, well, life. These are real people, real Kiwanians, and real supporters of the children of the world. I turn in at the home of Randy and Diane Hohn after, again, a very active day.
August 1, 2013:
My host, Randy, has quite a day planned and has taken off work to assist me. First, wake at 5:30 a.m. and head to the Daybreak Kiwanis Club meeting, which starts at 7 a.m. – my presentation is somewhat limited when we cannot get the projector to accept my power point, but I think I get the theme of the presentation out to the club. President John Kramer and the members of the club are all supporters and I appreciate the opportunity to speak to the club. Randy now guides me to the downtown area of Sioux Falls and shows me the sculpture walk and the Sioux Falls falls – yes, there are actually falls in Sioux Falls. We then go to a radio station where Kiwanian Bill Zortman interviews “Biker Bob” on why it is he [me] is not at Sturgis instead of Sioux Falls. I have some fun with Bill and we straighten him out that, just because the Eliminator is in Sioux Falls, it does not make Sioux Falls the new Sturgis, but nice try!! Randy and I then head to the Royal Fork restaurant where the South Sioux Falls Kiwanis meets and, after a wonderful buffet lunch, and I take time to appear by phone for one of my cases, I make my presentation and enjoy the support of this club. Thanks to all Sioux Falls Kiwanians, and particularly the Hohns, who allowed me to share their home for two nights. The remainder of the day is spent at the Hohn home, working on my logs, taking a nap, and getting ready for a really nice and homey night in with my hosts. Randy gets Chinese takeout food and, to my huge surprise, a CD of the movie City Slickers, the movie I use in my power point. We have a great dinner and then watch my buddy Ron Underwood’s entire film – I think I enjoyed it just as much as I did the first time I saw it. I make a call to Ron, to see if he might thank, by phone, my hosts for renting his movie, but he is “filming in the mountains” and not available – go figure!! A wonderful night – thanks Randy and Diane.
August 2, 2013:
I take the morning a pack the KUREmobile, only to be delayed by rain, which seems to be coming from exactly where I am going – west. Diane Hohn helps out by checking the weather, something I would not even know where to start to accomplish, and it seems that the storm is ending, so I head out, with foul weather gear on and, not more than about 15 miles outside of Sioux Falls, the rain stops, and the sky clears to a beautiful blue with those puffy white clouds that make the sky so unbelievably beautiful for a biker. My ride to Chamberlain [named after Neville – you know, the British PM who appeased Hitler oh those many years ago] is just beautiful – about 200 miles, with many many other riders, mostly on Harleys, passing me going 75 miles per hour, on their way to Sturgis. I stop at the Cedar Creek Campground on the shores of the Missouri River, and intend to campout for the night – the purveyor of the campground tells me that they have an infestation of May Flies [if you were a fly fisherperson, you would know what these are – I didn’t!], and he wanted me to check out the sight first, which I do, and confirm that there are not less than 1 billion May Flies at and around the entire campground. I decide that camping would not be very fun that night, and grab a room at the Cedar Creek Resort, along with about 100 other bikers. I am at 10,232 miles ridden, with 938 miles to go to break the Guinness World Book record – call me excited.
August 3, 2013:
I am planning to drive this day to Pierre, South Dakota, about ½ way to my final destination of Mandan, North Dakota. The ride is not any less than spectacular, along the rolling hills of Routes 50 and 34 and all along the Missouri River. I arrive in Pierre and stay at the Club House Hotel. I contact my host in Mandan, Darlene Vander Vorst and organize the start of my 11th week.
August 4, 2013:
I have a reference from Bob of the Sioux Falls Daybreak Club of two Kiwanians in Pierre – the president, Ben Orsbon, and the Mayor of Pierre, Laurie Gill – I contact both of them and Ben calls back and sets up an appointment to have some coffee at my hotel. A wonderful gentleman who works for the Department of Transportation in South Dakota. We talk about Kiwanis in his state and how the KURE2013 project may help out. Great discussion and thanks for spending time with me on this project. I leave Pierre and head up state into North Dakota, where I stop at Mandan. I meet an exhilarating woman, Darlene Vander Vorst, who is my host for a few hours while we wait for my home host, Dwight Cook, finish his dinner at a local function [yes, he’s a politician!]. Darlene takes me to lunch where German food is served [having had my fill of German food while visiting my son in Germany, I pass for a chicken melt – delicious], and then to Fort Lincoln, where General Custer commenced his disastrous military venture against the Sioux Indians in the late 1800s – the fort is immense, has a camp ground, and the history is incredibly telling – Custer screwed up and he did so, some think, due to ego. Visit the site and learn more – it is well worth it. Darlene dropped me off at the Cook home where I met Dwight and his lovely wife, Shirley. After some wonderful conversations about this dedicated legislator – 17 years in the North Dakota’s Senate – including his role in the tax laws [he is known in North Dakota as “Mr. Tax” and is an expert in all types of tax issues locally and nationally] – I get to rest from a very active day.
The final numbers, as of August 4, 2013, the 74th day of the ride – we have now travelled 10,566 miles, and have 634 miles to go to break the record. I have met with 50 Kiwanian functions in 42 states, with 6 states to go plus 2 meetings with our far away states Kiwanians, and who knows how many more Kiwanian meetings. Thanks to all for continuing to share this experience on Facebook at “facebook.com/KURE2013” and on the web at “KURE2013.com”, and for supporting the effort with your contributions. It is truly a humbling experience as “The Eliminator”!!