Tom, meet Tom

June 29, 2012 in Ramblings

I am safely in Tucson, AZ right now…headed to Phoenix in the morning. I wanted to share this amazing story with all of you. It happened in Sierra Blanca TX.
I was the only person staying at the Americana Inn in Sierra Blanca. It’s about a 30 room motel and other than myself, it was completely deserted. Around 9:30PM, I went outside so I could wheel my bike in my room. I heard someone singing and playing guitar. I looked to the upper end of the parking lot and saw a guy sitting outside playing music. He was singing Bette Midler’s song “The Rose”. I have not heard that song since I was 13 or 14 years old.
I grabbed my camera and started walking towards him. It was then I noticed that he was on a bicycle. Attached to that bicycle was a trailer. The conversation went something like this:

ME: Hi, I’m Tom.

HIM: I’m Tom too.

ME: I’m on a Journey.

HIM: Me too.

ME: I’m riding for charity.

HIM: Me too.

ME: I made by own cart.

HIM: Me too.

This man’s personality was so similar to mine that it was unsettling. Empathetic, open, good natured, spiritual…it was like looking in a mirror.

I felt like I was filming a scene for some strange independent film or something…I felt like I was standing there talking to myself as I was on my Journey…

Tom’s rig in front of Tom’s rig…lol.

Tom sang me a Johnny Cash song:

The more I talked to him the more similar our lives paralleled each other. At one point I said to him “Tom, don’t you find this more than a little odd”? “I mean, we have the same first name, we are both on two wheeled vehicles, we are both on a life journey, we are both riding for charity, we both made our own carts, AND we are the only two people here at this motel”.

He looked at me and smiled and said “I believe that everything happens for a reason”. “I don’t think it’s odd at all”.

This whole thing had me freaked out…then I started to think about why this could possibly be. Here’s another one of those transparency moments that makes me uncomfortable…but here goes…

For the past few days I’ve been feeling a little embarrassed and self-conscience. I decided to be transparent on this blog …as you can imagine, it’s difficult to really put yourself out there. Especially for men, it’s hard to express emotion…because we are wired by our culture NOT to do that…It is sometimes seen as a weakness, not a strength.
I’ve been concerned that maybe some of you might not want to read this thread because of my openness to express what’s really happening inside of me. To be honest, I thought about reeling it in a little. Maybe just focus on the bike more, or the food, or the scenery. But after meeting myself (lol)…I decided to keep doing what I’m doing…because I got an unusual (but blessed) look at the empathetic side of myself. It was almost as if God was telling me “Don’t touch a thing”. “You’re this way for a reason”. So, I’m goin with that :)

Tommy started his journey in Florida and will finish in Los Angeles. Fully laden, his cart weights almost 400 pounds!!! he carries about 15 gallons of water with him at all times. He had had over 50 FLAT TIRES!!! and for some odd reason, most of them in TX. He realizes that the cart is seriously overloaded and a lot of the flats were sidewall failures.

The night I met Tommy, I gave him $50 …I really did not have it to give but I knew it was the right thing to do. I figured it would pay for his room that night. The next morning as I was outside packing my trailer, a guy named John approached me, said “I believe in what you’re doing”…and handed me $50. Can this journey get any more unbelievable?


April 29, 2012 in Ramblings, Tech Talk

MY Honda Ruckus started to make this strange whining noise on 4/26…I was supposed to leave the Apache Campground the following morning for New Orleans. The noise was getting worse by the hour. I spoke with Dave, a Honda tech back home at Z&M Cycles in Greensburg, PA. He said it was either a transmission issue or a main engine bearing failing!! Neither is a minor issue. I met Aaron (blue shirt) the manager of a local car wash and he offered to take a look at it for me. We both agreed that the noise sounded like it was coming from the transmission. He did not have all of the correct tools so we agreed that a bike shop should take a look at it. So I hobbled over to Armadillo cycles just outside of Myrtle Beach and the tech (Jay) looked at it for me. He also agreed that it was a transmission issue and noticed that the belt was glazed and I had flat spots worn on my roller weights. Problem is that Honda dealers do not stock these parts.
I was STUCK. No parts, no tools, and no understanding of how to fix the bike. I posted on my favorite Honda Ruckus website
Actually, it’s the ONLY Honda Ruckus website as far as I’m concerned. These guys rock!
I posted that I was in desperate need of parts, tools, and assistance. WITHIN HOURS I had parts being mailed out to the campground (THANKS TO JASON AT MOPED MOTION) and Craig from Wilmington offered to drive to the Apache with his tools to fix my bike! TOTALRUCKUS.COM TO THE RESCUE!!!

M&M Leather Goods

April 1, 2012 in Sponsor

M&M Leather GoodsM&M Leather Goods

In need of a decent pair of riding boots, I set off to M&M. I have been buying motorcycle apparel from M&M for years. Big selection, super-friendly staff, and reasonable prices always keeps me coming back. I found a pair of Tour Master boots that looked durable and fit well. I spoke with Tony and explained my journey…he thought it was a great cause and gave me 50% off the boots as a donation to the ride. Thanks Tony!

Z & M Cycle Sales

April 1, 2012 in Sponsor

Z & M Cycle Sales

Two weeks before I was about to leave, I discovered a title issue with the used Honda Ruckus I had recently purchased for the Journey. I went to two different notaries and neither could figure it out. I was in a panic. No bike, no ride for charity. I called Jim McMahan, the owner of Z & M in Greensburg, PA to see if he could help. Sure enough, Jim (and Amy) his title clerk saved the day. I started breathing again and continued planning the ride.
Jim then asked me if I needed anything else for the ride.
I was short on some equipment and he was very gracious in providing me with some critical gear. Thanks to Jim, I will not have to experience hypothermia, frostbite, or pneumonia! He provided a warm set of gloves, rain pants, and a helmet liner. Also in need of some emergency roadside repair parts, he sponsored fresh spark plugs, extra fuses, and a replacement tail light lens. His support and generosity was above and beyond anything I expected. So, please drive over to Z&M and buy a beautiful new Harley! They are great bikes and it will allow Jim and his wife to continue their (very real and extensive) philanthropy to local communities!