Well, I think winter has finally found us here in the Sunshine State. We’ve been forced to start wearing jackets and sometimes chaps for an early ride or when heading home after the sun goes down. But it’s all good; so many of you reading this have to park your bikes in the late fall and can’t dig them out until the spring. We don’t have snow here but we do get in the holiday spirit with our toy runs and other assorted reasons to saddle up and get some wind in our faces… Several weeks of hard work and numerous fundraisers led up to the final ride when Friends Helping Friends of Lake County hosted their annual Cruisin’ for St. Jude’s Hospital on November 19. Starting with a breakfast at the AmVets in Tavares and ending at Gator Harley, about 100 riders showed up to share their love and cash for the sick children at St. Jude’s. There were several stops at popular watering holes along the route before heading into Gator for the after party. A nice hefty check was the prize for all the hard work of this dedicated group of folks making up the Friends Helping Friends organization… The weekend of December 3–4, Space Coast Harley hosted a two-day toy run and bike fest. Everyone was asked to bring one unwrapped toy as admission and then the fun began. With numerous bands in the lineup—12 to be exact—and vendors and adult beverages for added pleasure, it was a lot more than just a toy-collecting event. I’m not sure if they succeeded but the goal was to beat last year’s numbers of 4,500 bikes and 10,000 toys… Back in Kissimmee, the 3rd was a busy day as well for the folks at the DAV on Keen Street. They had their own poker run and toy collection going on. After making several stops through the county, riders returned to the DAV for free barbecue, music by Three Sided Story, raffles and a 50/50… The following weekend, on the 10th, COBB hosted their annual Teddy Bear Run to deliver bears to the children at Florida Hospital. The morning started with a pancake and sausage breakfast at the clubhouse in Kissimmee before the riders headed to the hospital in Orlando. After delivering the bears and sharing love with the children, the doors at the clubhouse were again swung open for a free chili lunch and some COBB fun… The weekend after that one of the oldest toy runs in Central Florida takes place at Betty’s Laughing Horse in east Orlando. This year it was on the 17th and riders gathered at the bar to register and then take a ride to the Central Florida Children’s Home to drop off hundreds of toys. For weeks before the event, paper angels are posted at Betty’s and folks go by, pick one and then make that child’s Christmas wish come true. It’s an especially good time cause the riders get to watch the children open their gifts right there on the lawn. After the fun quiets down, everyone returns to Betty’s for adult-type fun… That’s about it for now. I hope everyone is looking forward to a bright new year. God bless and ride safe.