Category: Events

Spreading Cheer – Photos from Our 2017 Santaride

Spreading Cheer – Photos from Our 2017 Santaride

My very first Santa-ride was a solo affair in 2010 – just me dressed like the big man cruising around on my DRZ. I don’t really remember what made me decide to buy the red suit and go for a ride in the first place. It really seems like a ridiculous idea. But, there is a special kind of magic in the ridiculous.

Over the years, what seemed like a good idea blossomed into a great idea when friends started to join in. Our little local Santa-ride has become something of a tradition. As new friends ride along and old friend watch from afar the feelings that come from doing it never change.

My favorite ADVelf:

Joy.

There is a special moment, something akin to an awakening that happens across the face of a stranger when they see 10 motorcycle Santas. I kid you not, there is child-like elation that they cannot contain. The goal has always been to just ride around and spread cheer to the people on the roads. Happiness is a gift that everyone can use and it always fits.

I’ve said it for several years now – doing this, making someone’s day… is a gift you give yourself.

Whispering Giants: Chief Woapalanne of Williamsport, Pennsylvania

Whispering Giants: Chief Woapalanne of Williamsport, Pennsylvania

Last week I stopped in the town of Williamsport, Pennsylvania to see the Whispering Giant, Chief Woapalanne. Though he was taken out of commission from his original perch in the summer of 2015 due to rot, a rescue effort was mounted and the Giant was restored. Following a tweet from the Taber Museum, I knew he was there somewhere at the bus station.

The bus terminal does not allow car traffic to pass through, so I couldn’t even get a good look at the Google Maps Streetview to try to zero in on just where it might be located. I didn’t know if he was outside or placed inside the terminal somewhere.

After circling the block 3 or 4 times with nothing to show for it, I pulled into the municipal parking lot figuring I’d have to walk inside the bus terminal. As I pulled into a parking space, I saw the Chief’s feathers rising up from the corner of the terminal.

Whispering Giant Chief Woapalanne lives!

If you click the image below, you’ll see a full-sized pic in which you can read about the Giant’s restoration process. The most noticeable changes are that he was shortened by three feet, removing the rotten base and he is now wearing a dark stain. He is lovely.

It warms my heart to think that people cared enough to save this Giant.

If you’re interested in visiting him, the parking area on William and W. Willow will give you easy access. Looking on Google Maps, this would be the location of the statue.

Unfinished Business: The Williamsport, Pa. Whispering Giant – Woapalanee

Unfinished Business: The Williamsport, Pa. Whispering Giant – Woapalanee

In 2015, I took part in the Team Strange Whispering Giants Grand Tour. The tour brought riders around the country to visit Peter Wolf Toth‘s beautifully carved statues depicting local Native Americans.

Wacinton in Paducah, Kentucky – October 2015

When I reached Williamsport, Pennsylvania in July 2015 to visit the Giant Woapalanee that was installed in the park, I was disappointed to find that he was missing. All that was left was a pedestal and a plaque. As it turned out, I’d missed him by just a few weeks.

But, what happened to him? Would he be back?

Looking around the web, it became clear that the Giant had suffered extensive interior damage. Ultimately, it was dangerous to leave him in place because he might collapse. Though the carving was a well-loved town fixture, it ended up in a mulch pile with no immediate plans for repair. That is until this guy stepped in to save him.

Encouraging!

Based on that post, I took a look at the Thomas Taber Museum website. I thought for sure that such a grand piece of artwork would be prominently displayed. My giddy hopefulness quickly fizzled. Though there were 3 nicely carved small Woapolanee pieces, there was no Whispering Giant anywhere on the museum’s site.

So, I dropped a quick tweet:

*ding*ding*ding*

You’ll probably think I’m ridiculous, but I actually woohoo-ed when I read the reply.

Firstly, I’m happy to know that there were people in Williamsport who cared enough to keep Woapalanee from being termite-chow and returning to the Earth. Perhaps that is ultimately the wooden carving’s rightful, natural place, but selfishly, I want the work to live, to inspire and to be enjoyed.

Secondly, and I hadn’t considered this before, but I deeply appreciate the people out there in the world who take the time to write down their experiences. Without this man writing about everyday goings-on in Williamsport, I would’ve had no idea where to look for information about the missing Giant.

Some people may write off personal blogging as useless time-filler about what you ate for lunch but, the people who do it, whether they know it or not, contribute to documenting contemporary life. I’m going to try to remember that when I feel like people on the other side of my blog are rolling their eyes at the stuff I stop and take photographs of. If just one person finds it useful – be it for a laugh, inspiration or something else, then I will have done something good.

Now… I’ve got to go see about a Giant!

PSA: Void Rally 12 Registration Closes August 18th!

PSA: Void Rally 12 Registration Closes August 18th!

The Void is my favorite 24-hour endurance rally. For those not familiar with the concept, it’s like a big motorcycle scavenger hunt. You ride around and look at cool stuff, collecting points along the way. What’s not to like?

Registration for this year’s American Roadside-themed Void is only open until Friday, August 18th. If you miss out on registration you’ll be sad. The last time someone wanted to register and dillydallied and missed the deadline – a great flood came and wiped out all of the unicorns. You don’t want that kind of pressure hanging over you, do you? Just sayin’.

This year I’ll be doing the Void a little differently and am looking forward to getting underway.

Hope to see you in Fredericksburg if not before!

rallythevoid.org

PSA: The Void Rally – Registration Closing in Two Weeks

PSA: The Void Rally – Registration Closing in Two Weeks

*ding-ding-ding*

Registration for the 2017 running of the Void Rally will close on August 18th. If you’ve been on the fence about registering, it’s time for you to pick a side and leap.

The Void has three starting locations to choose from, before finishing your rally ride in Fredericksburg, Virginia:

Wilkes-Barre, PA / Franklin, TN / Kingsland, GA

You’ll get to ride around, look at cool things, take some pictures, and then stuff your face and drink beer with some other fun motorcyclist at the end. Riding. Cool things. And… stuff your face! Sounds good, right?!

And.. ANNNND… dare I say, this year’s bonus teaser sounds perfect.

If it’s weird, unusual, off color, or many colors, different, creepy or just plain whack-a-doodle you can count on it being in this year’s bonus list. You will experience a cornucopia of the things that will make you want to visit the rest of the bonus list on your own time.

Lemme know if you’re going to be there, too!

The Void Rally 12
September 15-16
rallythevoid.org

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