GOE X Day Three: Ralph Barnard Poker Run

Friday, June 23, 2006

Today starts the last day of the National Rally. Tomorrow, the Eagles will fly away from Fort Wayne to their homes, some to Philly, some to Virginia, and some more to all point across Indiana.

Before the Poker Run, the game had to begin, and finish. I arrived late for the games, but saw Rammin' Ray when the slow ride competition again. I think he has only lost twice since I have seen the games, once because he was not there, a deer taking a plunge of off a road side cliff made sure of that. Remember to look up, in addition to side to side for wildlife. Ray's Wife, Stella, broke every rib in her body. She seems amazingly well for what that crash did to her body. I think a tough woman like that, I am smart to keep her on my side!

So after the games, we assemble to ride out of Fort Wayne for some of the rare scenery and twisty roads that the north east part of the Hoosier State has to offer. Every 25 or 30 miles we would stop, and draw card. Usually by the third card, I am out of it. Although I must state the exception, I won second place last year. This year, I knew I didn't have a chance!

I could recite the roads we traveled, but that will take further study of the GPS Tracks so I can decipher exactly where we went.

It is the Ralph Barnard Memorial Poker Run for a reason. Ralph was someone that I only met a couple of times, but that didn't matter. You only had to met Ralph, and ride with Ralph once, and he was a friend you would have for life, through thick and thin. Ralph passed after the second chance I got to meet and ride with him. I believe I am the last person to ride with him, as the rest of the group he was leading had eroded away, and Ralph was in the Bloomington Chapter, so they were all at home while I still had miles to go. The next year without Ralph was hard one, and I think many of the people in the club then and now, still are not the same with his smile, and his motivation.

Lunch was at a place called The Frog. A restaurant on Lake Wawasee, and a place I have dined at before, some 18 or 19 years ago. I was just out of High School and dating a woman a year younger than I, and her parents had a cabin on the lake. We actually took their boat to the restaurant. So I have been to this place twice, never in a car.

The next leg of the trip would be interesting. First off, I, two other bikers, and the chase vehicle, got left at a light. Shortly after, we would pass a new crash, probably caused by someone gawking at the bikes, and running into the rear of someone waiting to make a turn. When we got into town, none of the three of us had any idea where to go. Even though the other two were from Fort Wayne. I though I was safe with these two, but they were asking me were we should go?!

We did make it back on the route, and to the next stop, a Honda Motorcycle Dealership. From there, it was pretty much a straight shot back to Fort Wayne, but we did hit a few scenic roads and little Indiana Towns. A pretty good tour for a place not none for roads that turn at anything but right angles.

Tonight is the banquet, and things will wind down, as everyone will be saying good-byes, and flocking off to their homes. I will have to wait until next year, and Southeastern Ohio, to gather with my Eagles once again.


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