It was so nice to sleep in and not worry about getting on the road this morning. Elayne -- Dave's wife-- and I had planned on seeing Star Trek at 1030am which meant I could sleep late, get a lazy breakfast, read the paper and not rush anything. She told me how much the kids loved being on the bike and they talked about it all night before bed and were eagerly waiting me to show up that afternoon. We decided I should pick them up as school got out. To be honest, I was a bit apprehensive -- after all, a strange biker on a big Harley picking up unrelated kids outside of Elementary and Middle Schools -- isn't that what Nancy Grace gets all wigged out about? I could see myself surrounded by a SWAT team of parents in mini-vans. She assured me it would be OK, and sure enough it was. If the Harley was yellow it would be a great school bus! I made four trips, ferrying each kid from school back to the house, to the envy and stares of their friends. Ariel made sure to say "goodbye" to everyone in the bus loop at her school. The youngest one Ben (in the picture in yesterday's post) was waiting at the bus stop and flagged me down a block away! He really wanted to go for a longer ride and asked right away if we could. He had no idea what I'd already concocted with the help of his Dad and Tony.
I thought it would be fun to take a nice long ride in the country and end up at a Harley Dealership where I could buy t-shirts for the four kids. I called Tony who looked up the nearest one to Dave's house, then Dave and I Mapquested a ride through the hills to get there. This dealer is out in Livermore, about 25 miles away on the route we planned. When we told Ben we were going out to Livermore he got all excited and said "Are we stopping to eat?" (He's already a Harley rider -- our motto in HOG is "Live to Ride -- Ride to Eat"). When I said no he said "I better have a snack then" and I told him he better go pee too as we weren't stopping anywhere.
We roared out of the neighborhood, Ben grinning and forgetting to hang on tight, wearing his bike helmet, sunglasses, and even gloves! -- me with the directions on a yellow post-it note on the windshield. We went out past the radio telescopes that looked like something out of the movie Contact, and wound through the horse and cow farms, and Ben asked me why I liked riding. I asked him why did he? He said -- "because it's awsome", and I said "thats why I do too -- and because I can go where I want when I want." "That's because you are a grown up -- kids have to ask their parents." I told him he wouldn't be a kid very long.
We ended up out at Livermore Harley Davidson and went inside where Ben jumped up on a gorgeous $38,000 Ultra Classic Trike -- the biggest thing Harley makes. If it has an airbag and a fourth wheel it would be a almost a car. He was grinning from ear to ear, as the salesmen rushed over to make sure it (the bike, not Ben) was OK.
We also spotted a new orange and black Sportster 883 which would be perfect for Ben when he turns 16, as would the Street Glide and the Ultra and the Nighster we both found. I'm sure his parents are not amused. We got our t-shirts -- one for each kid and one for me of course! The design on the back is the windmill farm that is near the dealership, and looks pretty cool, and then headed back to San Ramon the same way we came. On our final roar up the hill in the subdivision we were able to set of two car alarms with the Harley exhaust which pleased Ben to no end. I think he hated getting off as much as I did. When it came time for me to leave for the evening, I got lots of hugs, and a plate of brownies from Ariel. I told Dave any time he wanted to ship them away for a weekend I'd take them -- Ben promptly ran to pack a bag. I hurreid and roared off into the night least I see him cry when he found out he couldn't come with me -- and I sure didn't want him to see his big tough biker "GarBear" as he called me with tears in his eyes either...