February—the doldrums of motorcycling, isn’t it? One would think—and yet you look up the THUNDER PRESS calendar for what’s happening in February and there’s plenty to play with, isn’t there? One of the events not on our calendar, but lots of fun, is the Riverside County National Date Festival, which runs February 17 through the 26th. The Camel Races alone are worth the excellent ride! The Palm Desert Greek Festival runs on February 25 and 26… And as they do every year, the Valley V-Twin I Dunno Ride for February ends at the Greek festival… Nice meeting up with Gary Miller from Custom Wine Barrel Designs; nice guy and cool stuff! Reach them at 760.868.1907… And while you’re on a quest for event vendors be sure to ask Robinson’s Biker Stuff. Owners Robbie, Sharon, Mark and Holly can be reached at 951.897.7659… I also ran into Jeff and Shannon and Santa while I was over in Riverside having dinner at the Mission Inn for my birthday… Evalia Vidal, nice seeing you a while back (sorry I missed you)… Even though February’s a short month, I have plenty of birthday wishes! Greg Kammerman, one of the startup members of ABATE #19 and PV H.O.G., hope your Big Bear birthday’s filled with lots of winter sports and maybe a ride or two. Long time PV H.O.G. member Barb Knight, hope your birthday finds you doing better. Also happy birthdays to my CREW friends; Marcia Reich, hope your birthday is all the fun you deserve! Ron Horn, have a great day. And Kathy Salerno, have an exceptional birthday. It was so nice seeing you at Christmas—don’t be a stranger. We all miss you. Mark Wingo, hope you’re getting lots of skiing with your winter birthday! And of all the birthday reminders I get, this is one of my favorites so far. Elwin Haddix of Ben Lomond has been riding for 59 years. He bought his first Harley when he was 14. Elwin turns 73 on February 2. He’s afraid with his “advancing” age, he might have to give up his kick-start bikes. Nah, I don’t think so, Elwin. Peter Ramirez, here’s wishing you a super birthday. Shannon Phillips—same goes for you! Mary Ewing hope your day is filled with good times! Jake Cormier here’s wishing you the best! Judy Johnson, have an excellent birthday too! Princess Chelsea, hope your day is lots of fun! Valley V-Twin’s own George and Halle Fetty’s godchildren, Nicholas and Shianne, turn six in February too. Glenna Knotts, hope you have a fun birthday. Same for Candy Dunphy; make it a great one! Happiest of birthdays to Stephani Dykehouse also. Dr. Luis Meneses—everybody’s favorite dentist in Los Algodones, happy birthday. Kaylie Downing (daughter of VVT’s Ron Downing) celebrates her birthday in February also. And last, Holly Martinez (queen of the snake killers), hope your day is, well, fun and snake-less. Best to our own Wendell Perry—hope everything is excellent on your recent surgery, honey!… Wishing VVT’s Trish O’Shea all the best in her new endeavors. She will be missed a lot… I’m going to wrap up this month’s column on my favorite rant. Have you taken an Advanced Riders Course? Have your ever taken a Beginners’ Riders Course? They’re not just for your girlfriends/wives (although, ladies, I totally recommend it for you!). I’ve taken both, the advanced a few times (and honestly, more than likely ready to take it up again). I promise, you will not walk (hobble, they do kick your ass for a day) out of there without learning something. The most diehard biker out there will learn something. He (or she) may never admit it to friends, but I can promise you will learn something. It may be something that will save your life, it may be something that’ll make you go “Huh. I never knew that.” My words to live by in bikerdom (which I learned from my riders course) are, “Look where you want to be.” That, I can promise you, can keep the shiny side up, I’m here to tell you! If you or a friend (or a group of friends) wants to take a course, it’s expensive (but your life is worth it, is it not?). Look for the CMSP online. You will never regret it. Don’t know if they still do, but H.O.G., used to pay for this course, sort of. They would kick back a portion in H.O.G. bucks. That’s how valuable they felt their repeat customers were. Harley still has their Rider’s Edge New Riders course, but I didn’t see anything online about an advance course—too bad. It’s never too late to learn something new or something you forgot! In California, you can get your license through this course. All you have to do is take your completed paperwork to the DMV, fill out the necessary paperwork and you’re licensed! How sweet is that! Thanks, ABATE, for spearheading that!… That’s what we have for February—be sure to remember your honey on Valentine’s day, February 14. My honey ignores it—and I’m fine with that. I’ve worked a boatload of Valentine’s Days in the florist biz, and I swear, if I never, ever see another “dozen reds” it’ll be too soon for me! But, I’m good with every other flower (just in case someone asks!). See you all next month! Enjoy whatever rides you and your “crew” choose. My group has a few planned—hope you do too. Until next month, enjoy your ride!