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Northeast Passages: May, 2017

Remember the movie, Casablanca? It’s the one where Bogie said, “In all the gin joints, in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine.” Except, twist it this way: From all the oceans, and all the seas of the world, he walks in to save his mom. That’s Kevin Morrisey, 35, son of New Hampshire Harley rider Dennis Morrisey, whose 2004 Softail is dwarfed by Kevin’s ride—the Queen Mary 2 ocean liner. Kevin is a bridge officer who helps guide the 79,300-ton ship. But Kevin was not offshore near Singapore or England or Newfoundland when some tangential skills kicked into high gear. He was off duty, vacationing in Florida with his dad and mom, Sue. There, Sue suffered a brain aneurysm. It was Kevin’s maritime medical training that stabilized her until rescue arrived. She spent 18 days in the ICU before returning home, healthy, to Nashua. Dennis said, “I distinctly recall Kevin treating his mom as a person, not as his mom in critical need.” That’s one proud papa. Buy that boy a Harley!… Recently, I talked with Brian Schons, from Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, an instructor for the Pennsylvania Motorcycle Safety Program for nearly a decade. He rides a 2012 Road Glide Ultra with 60,000 miles on it, thanks to visits to the Grand Canyon, Nova Scotia and elsewhere. Schons said there are programs for all skill levels at some 70 sites statewide. Around 15,000 participate each year. The programs are—gimme a drum roll—free. Schons said, “It’s all about safety and saving lives. Our ultimate goal is zero motorcycle deaths on Pennsylvania state roads.” Info: www.pamsp.com… Meanwhile, here’s a salute to friends who make lifelong dreams come true, courtesy of Mile Marker columnist Fred Nabkey, whose domain of reportage is the Midwest. The tale originates in the Wallingford area of Connecticut. According to the Florida Keys News of March 1, five Harley riders, friends of the late Rob Foxx, 41, took his ashes from Wallingford to the Keys. A small black coffin trailered behind one of their bikes gave their friend’s ashes the ultimate tour… How welcome is riding along in the sunshine, instead of beneath a frosted umbrella of yuck? Winter Storm Stella, on March 14, cancelled a previously rideable early spring. But the storm had heroes who were paramedics, police, firefighters and highway workers wearing fluorescent yellow vests and necklaces of strung garlic cloves to ward off evil drivers. Snowstorms, floods or forest fires, they’re the men and women deserving of hugs… Another hero to me was Harley rider Mike Morris, 38, a multi-skilled resident of Nashua, New Hampshire. He and his highly-customized 1999 Softail were fresh back from Daytona Bike Week when Stella blew up. He drove a plow truck and a snow blower to help me and dozens of locals. He blasted every speck of white from all around the ol’ homestead. Then he accepted some dough but freely admitted, “I like helping people.” Thanks to him, my bad case of cheimatophobia—fear of cold—was cured. I stayed indoors and raised a toast with a big goblet of warm maple syrup. Kidding… That’s all for now, friends. See you down the road.

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