Happy Birthday to all Harley riders who celebrate in March. Happy birthday to my good friend and riding buddy Terry Hurst in Vacaville. Happy birthday to Iron Steed H.O.G. members Mary Reynolds, Joe Owens and Allen Clements. Happy birthday to Lou DuPont, also in Vacaville and to Norm Kelly in Hubbard, Oregon. Happy birthday to celebrity riders Vince Vaughn and Eric Estrada. By the way, Norm, I got your birthday from Thomas McWhirt. Turnabout is fair play, so send me Thomas’ birthday and I will add him to the birthday wishes… Last month I told you about those two Old Coots who have given up their Harleys for four wheels. I am speaking of Forrest “Trees” Linderman and Gene “Taz” Thompson. If you ever had the pleasure of riding with them, you will know that their names are combined into one word: Treesntaz. This is used with the same connotation as when Woodward’s and Bernstein’s names were abbreviated into “Woodstein” in All The President’s Men. Treesntaz are equally responsible for making me laugh until I could not breathe. Giving up their Harleys is monumental and, as promised, I will tell some outrageous true stories on them. One of the best stories ever told on Taz is one told as only Trees can tell it: “Way back, when Taz and I started to ride together, we often headed east out of Watsonville. Usually over Pacheco Pass, Highway 152. I noticed that every time we passed Casa de Fruta he would give the one-finger salute. Not seeing anyone cut him off or otherwise anger him, I asked him about that gesture. “Well,” he says, “A few years ago me ’n’ Peggy stopped there and visited their wine tasting room. I bought some blackberry wine that was real fine. Then the next time we were going by I stopped again. I went into the tasting room and told the guy, ‘I’d like a taste of yer blackberry wine and then I’ll take a couple of bottles home with me.’ He says, ‘Oh, no. We start with the whites, then go to the reds, and then the dessert wines.’ No, thanks, all the same. I have done that. I’d just like a taste of the blackberry, then I’ll buy some and go.” Well, they went back and forth a few more times, Taz gettin’ madder and madder like an Old Coot will do, then he just gave him the “salute” and walked out. So, every time he goes by (Casa de Ca Ca by now) he “salutes” them. Ahh, I say, good enough. So it became our ritual from then on. Then our riding bud, Hammer, started doing it, and so it continued, over the years. Years later, Hammer was driving by Casa de Ca Ca in his car. He calls me on his cell and says, “Guess what I’m doing?” I said, “Damn! Please don’t send me any pictures!” Hammer says, “No, no! I’m ‘saluting’ Casa de Ca Ca!” Then Hammer says, “Why is it we do that?” Now I’m laughing! Hammer says, “Oh crap! Yer gonna tell Taz, huh?” Well, duh! I call Taz, and while trying to tell him about it and laughing at the same time, I hear Taz breaking up laughing. Then it gets real quiet and he says, “Yeah—why do we do that? Gettin’ old ain’t fer sissies!” P.S. His wife Peggy reminded him later… Now for one of the best ever Trees’ stories as told by Trees. “About 1966 or ’67 I was cruising on my Panhead Police Special in Mountain View. This teenager on a dirt bike just came down off a wheelie on a cross street in front of me—no plate, no street equipment—then he saw my lights. (Funny how that happens.) He sped up but saw that I would probably catch him, so he turned down the railroad track, right down the middle. When he looked back—yep—there I was, and I was gaining. It was so bumpy all my ticket books, etc., started to fly out of their pockets on my windscreen. Then I started laughing so hard I just had to stop. He saw this and started laughing also. I gave him a wave and he gave me the finger, and off he went. Now I couldn’t get off the tracks so I had to continue on to the next street’s intersection to a level pavement, hoping my sergeant wouldn’t see me.” Life is good! More next month, folks, including Taz’s poem… Carl Bruce from Reno, Nevada, said that his wife rides a Heritage and has the same problem with fried thighs that I did. Carl, the company with the heat shields, can be found at www.rjsoriginals.com. I think you will be pleased with what you see… I also heard from Ed Tozier in Las Vegas, Nevada. He sent pictures of his wife’s Heritage (looks a lot like mine). He custom-made her heat shields. He can dye leather and add studs, names and pins. He is willing to make shields for those who need them. He can be reached at email@example.com… I am sorry to hear that Elvira and Pete Nevariz closed their Woodland bike shop, Savage Cycles. Elvira and Pete, please let me know if you plan to reopen in a new location… The Rough Riders MC is inviting all riders to join their Pop’s Spring Freedom Ride on March 24, featuring a River Delta Poker Ride. Sign in between 9:00 and 11:00 a.m. at Thompson’s Corner in Cordelia. For more information contact Wolfman at 707.718.2532. And, Wayne, don’t forget your helmet!