Happy birthday to all Harley riders who celebrate in December. Happy birthday to my good friend and mentor, Reg Kittrelle, founder of THUNDER PRESS and the Santa Cruz H.O.G. chapter. Happy birthday to one of my favorite Old Coots, Forrest “Trees” Linderman in Watsonville, to Alice Warren in Santa Cruz and to my favorite granny biker, Colleen Ferrigan, also in Santa Cruz. Happy birthday to Nick Yee in Palo Alto, to Beth Ubil in Kernville, to Linda Fernandez in Vacaville and to Hot Chocolate Gang member, Duwayne King, in Santa Nella. Happy birthday to celebrity riders John Walsh and Brad Pitt. A very special happy birthday to Dennis Hinsz in Lovell, Wyoming, and Juan Majan, Viet Nam Vets MC in Santa Cruz. Both Dennis and Juan share the 4th as a birthday with me… It is hard to say goodbye to a good friend and fellow Harley rider, but that is just what we recently had to do here in Northern California. Ray Lein passed away in Dixon in October, and his death was mourned by motorcycle groups and veterans’ associations for many miles around. Captain Ray co-founded the American Legion Post 208 Riders, and he was active in the Iron Steed H.O.G. chapter and in ABATE #17. Over 125 motorcycles rode in the procession with riders representing almost every club in Solano and Napa counties. Ray will be greatly missed. He was a truly nice guy, and his life made a difference to many of us. Ray’s casket was taken to the Sacramento Valley National Cemetery in a $100,000 Heritage Hearse pulled by a Harley trike. Heartfelt sympathy goes to his family and many friends. A question that I have, and I have asked a number of people, is: Why did we all call him “Captain” Ray? For sure, Ray was all military and a steadfast patriot. He joined the Navy in 1944 and was honorably discharged in 1946. He joined the Air Force in 1954 and was honorably discharged in 1957. He was an air traffic controller with FAA for 25 years, and he was a security officer at the Mt. Diablo Hospital in Concord for 18 years. Yet, we all called him “Captain Ray.” If anyone knows the answer to this, please contact me… Apparently Harley Hearse Services have been around a while, but they had escaped my notice before one was used for Captain Ray. To see pictures of these hearses, do some surfing on the web. There are several different companies offering these services, and some of them are here in California. In Northern California go to Heritage Hearse Company, or call 707.427.1117… Last month, I told you about the most wondrous Harley-Davidson dealership ever constructed. It is the Timpanogos Harley-Davidson in Lindon, Utah. It is an all-American building built of salvage out of American history. Just pulling into the parking lot is mesmerizing. The building’s base and the parking lot is reclaimed and crushed concrete from a burned-down truck stop that was once on this site. The light towers in the parking lot are from an 1890s bridge crane in Salt Lake City and, if you look really high, you can see an eagle’s nest on top of the smoke stack. The sidewalk to the front doors has footprints of small children imprinted into the concrete. And this dealership is not just about looks; I had been having some trouble with my shifter, and the service department took me right in for a looksee. The mechanic judged that the problem was not urgent and I should have no trouble getting home with it. He was right. Moreover, MotorClothes had the most reasonable prices we found on our entire trip. I am sorry to say that David Tuomisto no longer owns the dealership that he constructed. He lost it in a bankruptcy, but rest assured that the new owners and General Manager Brian Bishop have continued the vision of American heritage… I am looking for news of Laura Sutter. Laura went down on Highway 49 on October 20, and sustained serious injuries. The last I heard, she was still in the hospital. Please, ladies from Guidera’s Girls Ride or Swabbies On The River who know Laura, let us know how she is doing. I wish her the best and speediest recovery… Thank you, Jamestown Harley-Davidson. Jack and I rode to Murphy’s so we could take the zip line and rappel into Moaning Caverns. So, why is it that a bike will run fine one minute and quit the next? We were on our way to the cavern and stopped for breakfast. My bike went into the parking space with no problem, but when I tried to leave the battery was dead, dead, dead. The closest dealership was Jamestown, and we gave them a call. We doubled up on Jack’s bike and rode to Jamestown. The battery was all charged up and waiting for us. Now you have to know that I constantly harp about people who ride motorcycles while wearing tennis shoes, and here I was wearing bright white tennis shoes on this journey. Hey! You cannot rappel in cowboy boots; they tend to slip and slide. So, thank you, Jamestown H-D. I appreciate the battery and the no comment on my tennies… The holidays are upon us. If you are still looking for a top-drawer rock and soul band for your event, look no further. I highly recommend Hog Wild Music out of Ashland, Oregon. You can listen to tracks on their website; just type in Hog Wild Music and then call Dale Visage at 541.734.0038.