|USO Friends at the Winston-Salem Tennis Open|
We did a lot since my last article. The USO of North Carolina invited me to be part of the opening ceremonies at the Winston Salem Tennis Open on August 22. I had the pleasure of meeting several members of the North Carolina National Guard, a wounded Marine and Miss North Carolina USA (Brittany York). That was my first time on a professional tennis court and at an opening ceremony. Neither my driver nor I knew what to do, so we just followed the cool bagpiper.
On August 27, Hurricane Irene was running up the east coast of North Carolina. We had tropical storm conditions when we left our house to ride to Asheville. We ran into bands of heavy rain and wind until we were between Greensboro and Winston-Salem where we had partly cloudy skies and nice temperatures. We rode a scenic route through Diamondback (NC 226A), a portion of the Blue Ridge Parkway and Devil’s Staircase (NC 80) on our way to Asheville. The S-curves on NC 80 were fun as my driver pushed my Harley left and right several times. We also stopped at the grand opening of Harley-Davidson of Asheville, where we linked up with Raleigh HOG and spent time with Scott Northrup, who is the General Manager of the new dealership. While at the dealership, I let my driver off his leash in a huge field adjacent to the shop. He got away from me and I ran through some mud back to the dealership to find him. My driver said he was going to give me a bath at the hotel, but Keith Zionts suggested taking me to the bikini bike wash. My driver had baby shampoo in our saddle bag, and I turned it into a bikini biker-dog wash.
|Brady of "Team Brady" at the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation|
Ride for Kids in Asheville, NC
Why did we ride to Asheville through a storm? My driver and I were part of Team Brady led by Keith Zionts. Brady is five years old and has a brain tumor. He couldn’t attend the Asheville Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation (PBTF) Ride for Kids last year because he was undergoing chemo. My driver promised to have me at the event in 2011 if Brady was going to be there. On Sunday morning, we linked up with Raleigh HOG and Statesville HOG south of Asheville and rode to Biltmore Square Mall, the starting point for the PBTF Ride for Kids. We don't know how many bikes were there, but we know it was a few hundred. The police-escorted ride took us on a section of the Blue Ridge Parkway and then on a highway to Lake Lure. It was a pawrific day to put my tongue in the wind! At Lake Lure, lunch was served for the Celebration of Life. One of the riders didn't like her sandwich, so she gave it to me. It was a ham sandwich and I loved it! Team Brady placed in the top five in fund raising and we had our pictures taken with the Stars. At the Ride for Kids, the children are referred to as Stars. After the Celebration of Life, we rode with Raleigh HOG back to Raleigh led by Steve Metz.
|Spending time with Christi, the Gold Star Mother of Adam Ginett, TSgt, USAF,|
KIA 19 Jan 2010, Afghanistan
On September 10, we participated in the USO Freedom Ride led by Rolling Thunder NC4. I spent a few minutes with Miss North Carolina USA and I asked her to help me with a project for a child. The project involved a cut out named Flat Stanley and Flat Stanley had to have his picture taken at different places. It was so pawsome that Miss North Carolina helped us out with this elementary school project! Two paws up to Brittany! Rolling Thunder NC4 asked us to be road guards. Being a road guard allowed us pawtastic photo and video opportunities. Unfortunately, the memory card in our camera became corrupt and we lost over 400 pictures and about 45 minutes of video. We spent two days trying to recover as much data as we could from the memory card. Many thanks to the LEO departments that ensure our safety: Wake County Sheriffs Dept, Harnett County Sheriffs Dept, Coats PD, Lillington PD, and Apex PD. I apologize if I missed anyone. You can view what we recovered on my Facebook page or on the USO Freedom Ride music video on my website.
On September 24, I helped Operation Helping Hands for Heroes (OHHH) at their fund raising tent at Benson Mule Days. I was available for photos and did my little doggie part to support OHHH. OHHH is a 501c(3) non-profit organization which focuses on helping wounded warriors. You can learn more about OHHH at www.operationhhh.org.
|Helping Operation Helping Hands for Heroes at Benson Mule Days, Benson, NC|
October 1 was a busy day. We attended one event and portions of three other events. We started the day meeting the Golden Retrievers from Patriot Rovers at the Ride for the Rovers. There were six Rovers there. Patriot Rovers rescues Golden Retrievers, trains them, and assigns them as companion service dogs to a wounded warrior or veteran with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Each Rover is named after a Fallen Hero. The Patriot Rovers was founded by David Cantara. David sometimes refers to me as the “original Patriot Rover.” We were told that part of the idea for the Patriot Rovers comes from my background of being rescued and bringing comfort to people. Patriot Rovers is a 501c(3) non-profit organization. For more information about Patriot Rovers, visit www.patriotrovers.org.
|Dano of Patriot Rovers (www.patriotrovers.org)|
After the Ride for the Rovers rolled out of Ray Price Harley-Davidson, my driver attended the wedding of John Headrick and Hannah Stallings inside the showroom of Ray Price H-D. They are a pawsome couple! Since dogs are no longer allowed in the dealership, I spent time outside with Dave, the General Manager of Ray Price H-D.
After the wedding, my driver and I mounted up for the annual Miracle League Ride. The Miracle League is a baseball league for children with special needs. Cary Police Department ensured we arrived safely at the ball field at Adams Elementary School in Cary, NC. The bikers put smiles on the children’s faces, and I did my part to help. After the game, the No Rules Riders led the group on back roads to Characters Quarters in Garner. After we arrived at Character Quarters, my day wasn’t over. After saying “later” to a few of our friends, we went to Locked-n-Loaded for Behind Barz Bike Nightz. You can find my video of this ride on my website.
|Bringing smiles to faces at the annual Miracle League Ride, Cary, NC|
We spent time chillin’ at Locked-n-Loaded in Garner, NC. I take my driver there occasionally for lunch or dinner, and we sit in their patio area. My favorite is their Philly CheeseSteak, but hold the onions and peppers so I don’t gas bomb my driver and my mom that night.
|Snoozin' in my drivers arms at Locked-n-Loaded (Garner, NC) for |
Behind Barz Magazine's Biker Nightz
Earlier, I mentioned that dogs (pets) are no longer allowed in Ray Price H-D. That policy change went into effect during the summer. This policy has nothing to do with me or any dogs – it has everything to do with dog owners. As is typically the case, it only takes a small number of irresponsible, inconsiderate or disrespectful pet owners to make it bad for all responsible owners, good pets and biker dogs like Snoopy the Biker Dog (Driver: Tim Wall) and me. If my driver and I owned or managed a dealership, we would have implemented the same policy based on events that occurred at Ray’s. What happened? I know this is not 100% accurate, but I’m sure the dealership staff will agree that it’s generally correct. Over a few days this summer, one owner allowed his dog to piss on a tire. Two owners allowed their dogs to take dumps in the dealership – and the owners didn’t clean up after them! Hey, we’re dogs and we can’t clean-up after ourselves – that’s the dog owner’s responsibility. Dog owners should understand our body language when we have to go. My driver knows my body language, always carries poop bags on his leash, and when he sees my body language, he takes me outside, picks up after me, and everyone is happy. My mom recently witnessed a Home Depot customer allowing her dog to take a dump near the cash registers – and she didn’t clean up after her pet! But, I think this is the kicker that led to the policy change at Ray’s. A dog owner allowed his large dog to run loose in the dealership and drag the leash. I think the leash got caught on the side stand of a bike. Guess what happened next … yyyyup … the bike went down, which triggered an insurance claim, which led to questions by the insurance company about dogs in the dealership, which led to the policy change. As I said, it takes a few people to make it bad for all of us good dogs, regardless of breed. Dogs, you need to ensure that you are well-behaved and quiet before you allow your people to bring you to public people places, such as stores or restaurants. Can you imagine the reaction of people eating at a restaurant’s patio and, at the table next to them, a dog takes a big, stinky (to humans) dump? Customers will be quickly calling for someone named up-Chuck. My driver and I have been to pet stores where dog owners didn’t clean up after their dog. Just because it’s a pet store doesn’t mean the pet owner has no responsibility to clean up. Dogs, you also need to ensure that your people are respectful and considerate of others, even in your neighborhood. For example, in the subdivision we live in, I will sometimes find where a dog took a dump in our yard while walking with their owner, and the owner didn’t pick up the mess! Why should I have to find those dumps in our yard, mark them, then bring my driver there to pick it up? I respect Ray, Miss Jean and the dealership staff for putting up with irresponsible pet owners up until this summer. My driver and I talked with them about exceptions for biker dogs, but the insurance company advised them against making any exceptions. My driver and I fully understand and respect their policy. Dogs, if you bring your drivers to Ray Price and you see that sign on the door, don’t be upset with the dealership – be upset with the pet owners who ruined a good thing for us.
Where will I be over the next few weeks? The MeanStreet Riders are tentatively planning to be in Maggie Valley in early November – to RIDE, not play a concert. If my driver and I can swing it, we hope to ride with them again and stay at my favorite pet-friendly hotel: Smoky Mountain Lodge. Raleigh’s Christmas parade is the Saturday before Thanksgiving, I think. I rode with Raleigh HOG in every Raleigh Christmas parade since 2008, and it’s an opportunity to bring smiles to faces. Last year, I barfed onto the street during the parade, and you can hear the reaction of the crowd in a video. The annual Marine Corps Toys for Tots ride at Ray Price H-D is also coming up in early December. Two years ago, my Harley won first place people’s choice in a bike show in the Toys for Tots ride. My driver and I had no idea that we were entered, and we learned that the reason we won was because they thought I was an “accessory.”
It’s that time of year when leaves fall from trees and I like to sniff and mark piles of leaves. If you ride on roads with fallen leaves, be careful – particularly in the morning when the leaves could be wet. Deer will be testing our reaction times and riding skills, so be careful out there!
God bless America, our Fallen Heroes, those serving now, those who served, Gold Star families, and our allies.
Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas, stay warm and keep your tongue in the wind!
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Behind Barz Magazeine
|Kim Butler (r) at Miracle League Ride, Cary, NC|
|Flags for Fallen Military flag pole installation and flag dedication|
in honor of
Michael Rodriguez, SPC, US Army, KIA 23 April 2007
|I turned the Bikini Bike Wash into a Bikini Doggie Wash at the |
Grand Opening of Harley-Davidson of Asheville, NC
|Miss North Carolina at the annual USO Freedom Ride|
|Miss North Carolina and I rehearsing for the opening ceremonies|
of the Winston-Salem Tennis Open
|Typing my article|
|Proofreading my article|