Here is Charley. He was a Vet, a PGR Member and a member of The Horsemen. He was well liked and loved by the multitudes that were there today.
I met Bud at 10:00 a.m. this morning and we headed out. Here is Bud Eastbound on US-82 (Kell Freeway) in Wichita Falls Texas
We took US-82 to US-287 and then went North on TX Hwy 79. Here is Bud North bound on TX-79
Bud behind me as we continue North to Oklahoma
Here we are getting ready to cross the RED RIVER into Oklahoma.
The Red River, looking back to the East from TX-70
We got on US-70 in Oklahoma and went East to I-35 in Ardmore Oklahoma. Here are the bikes at the Conoco Station were we topped off the tanks.
Bud gassing up
me at the Conoco Station in Ardmore Oklahoma
We go North on I-35 and ride thru the Arbuckle Mountains..Naturally, the Interstate was under construction here..
We continue North to Exit 91 to Purcell Oklahoma
The staging area for the mission was on Hwy 77 at the Flex Works in Purcell. Here we line up after pulling into the parking lot behind a large PGR contingent from Oklahoma City
Then, Keith found us. Left to right: Bud, Neal & Keith
Me, Neal & Keith in Purcell Okla.
Mike, our North Texas PGR Ride Captain was unable to make the ride, but told me to tell "Polecat" hi. Polecat was the Ride Captain for this Mission. I located him and his wife and this is Roy, aka "PoleCat" and his wife Connie, aka "Poochie Mama". She has several dogs, hence the nick.
Some of the PGR bikes
This is Keith's Harley. He put that custom seat on it and he sits into the bike instead of on top of it. Those Ultra Classic's are such that you either have to have long legs to sit flat footed or do what Keith did.. He said the seat was like $250 or so. My CRS is acting up and I can't remember exactly how much.
This is Wendy & Jeff. They are with the NW Oklahoma PGR. They are some great people and she is a hoot.
The front plate on one of the PGR Support vehicles honoring another fallen Hero
All these vehicles were PGR support vehicles and supporters..
Some more of the PGR bikes
One line of bikes. There were 3 LONG lines total, plus the many support vehicles.
They had a PGR flag there that everyone signed. It would be presented to the family of Charley.
This is Niteowl & Keith. I believe they are fellow American Legion Riders also
More PGR members bikes
PoleCat gets everyone gathered up for the safety briefing and Ride prayer. He and the others did an OUTSTANDING job on the ride & organization today. Everything, that I know off, ran smooth.
The wind started to pick up a little and the flags started fluttering. A beautiful site, as always.
This is Arlene and Phil. Another one of the great couples we met today...I really love the PGR. We are all like one big family.
The briefing begins as PoleCat makes introductions of the various folks who will be doing the necessary functions at today's service and during the ride to the Purcell Multi-Purpose Center, where the service will be held.
The briefing ends and we head to the bikes. Bud waits for me while Keith & Neal head to their bikes.
Here is Neal & his Harley. If I get an Ultra Classic, I am going to take Keith's advice and get one of those seats. My legs aren't that long and I would definitely need that custom seat to sit flat footed on the ground. I am also going to take my friend's, MQ01, advice and take a serious look at the benefits to having the fairing & extra trunk space. I, personally, haven't cared for fairings on my bikes, but they are looking better & better all the time. Check out MQ01's outstanding blog at this link. http://mq01.blogspot.com/
Everyone is saddled up and waiting for the head out signal
Looking down the first line of bikes that Bud & I are in. Keith & Neal are in the line of bikes off to our right.
Flex Worx of Purcell Oklahoma, where the staging area was
Bud is in good spirits while we wait
The support vehicles to our left. There were more to our right where Keith & Neal were at.
We head out, South Bound on Okla-Hwy 77. If you click the picture, you can see how long the procession of bikes is
Same thing here. Click the pic and see all the bikes beind Bud. This was a very impressive sight.
The mirror shot of Bud & the bikes behind me. Charley had come up with the red PGR shirts before he died, as I understand it, and they were selling them for a donation. The proceeds would go to Charley's widow, Tammy. With very few exceptions, everybody purchased a shirt and put it on.
Another view forward. I would like to thank the Purcell Police Department for the outstanding job they did with traffic control and keeping the way safe for us. We appreciate the job you did for us and the job you do in keeping the folks of Purcell safe.
The bikes pulling into the Purcell Multi-Purpose Center
Another view of us arriving at the MPC
Keith & Neal have their act together and park in the shade. The only shade, I might add.
The folks dismount and start to head for the flag line. I did not get pictures from the flag line as I usually get in our North Texas PGR Missions. They had designated photographers and I believe their photos will be on the Oklahoma PGR site. You can check out the Oklahoma PGR site at this link: http://pgrok.com/
After the service, as we exited the MPC, I did get a picture of the flags lining the entrance walkway that we stood by
The PGR members get ready to leave.
The bikes as we get ready to leave
Bud, on the red bike, gets ready to go..
We decided to go to the Subway to eat. Here are Keith & Neal arriving.
Bud waits on the others to join up before entering the Subway..
This is the hard working Jackie who waited on us. Keith, Neal & Bud all got something to eat. I got to munch on ice & drink water. I'm on a liquid diet due to having surgery tomorrow morning
The guys watch as Jackie masterfully puts their sub's together.. My stomach was growling at this point and I was not a happy camper.
Just before we left, I asked Jackie to take our picture. She graciously accepted. Here are, left to right: Neal, me, Keith & Bud
and here are: Neal, Jackie, Keith and Bud. Might I suggest that if you are in Purcell Oklahoma or travelling thru the area, and want a bite to eat and want a clean, friendly atmosphere, then stop at the SUBWAY on Hwy 77 in Purcell. I really think you'll appreciate the friendly staff there and the great food. Tell Jackie hi. For directions, see this link: http://oklahomacity.citysearch.com/profile/8281851/purcell_ok/subway.html?publisher=smx_noncust&reference_id=1&placement=restaurant
Following lunch, we headed back to Texas. Keith & Neal headed back to the MPC to get with the others going back to Tulsa. Here are Neal & Keith in front of us..
Keith leading as Neal follows. It was great seeing you again Keith and great meeting you Neal. Ya'll ride safe and have a great ride back to Tulsa on those great back roads
We get established back on I-35, South bound and here is Bud behind me
Heading South on I-35, we approach the Arbuckle Mountains and the Turner Falls area
We cross the Red River, back into Texas. Here is the Red River looking West from I-35
The welcome to Texas sign on I-35 South. Shortly after this picture was taken, disaster struck. As we came to the US-82 exit, it is a sharp, short figure S exit, with a dip and screwed up concrete as you lean into the right curve. Bud hit that dip and it threw his bike into the curb on the left side, behind me. When I heard tires chirp, I looked into my mirror and saw Bud, still upright, trying to keep the bike straight on the infield. He did as well as he could and then he went down and went down hard. He was thrown from the bike and landed head first. I locked up my bike and spun around and got back to him as he was laying on his back about 15 feet from his bike. Before anyone asks, NO I did not take pictures of his bike or Bud while down. I was too busy tending to Bud and talking on the cell to the 911 operator.
After the Texas DPS, Gainesville Ambulance and the Gainesville FD arrived and they loaded Bud into the ambulance, the fire fighters helped me move the bike across the service road to a parking lot. I called Melton's Wrecker in Wichita Falls and talked to Bobby, a good friend of mine who owns the business. He dispatched a wrecker to Gainesville Texas, a distance of 85-90 miles, to pick up Bud's bike. Plus he told me if Bud was released from the hospital, he could ride back in the wrecker and they would drop him off at his house. While I waited for the wrecker, I took some pictures of Bud's bike and the scene.. Here is the right side of Bud's bike. The right crash bar is crushed into the front jug of the engine, crushing the foot board and rear brake pedal. The GFD told me that if Bud hadn't been thrown from the bike when he did and got his foot hung up in that crash bar (or Engine Guard as the new folks call it nowadays), he would've more than likely lost his right foot.
His saddlebag and seat were messed up. Thank God the grass was tall & thick where the bike went down or it would of been much worse for Bud & the bike. We were decelerating when it happened but I still think we were doing 55-60 mph.
A closer view of the damage. I want to say that one of the worse things that could happen, if you are not the one going down, is to be the one watching your close friend go down in your mirror. I felt sick to my stomach. My friend Russ watched Sissy crash in Oklahoma City and I now know how he felt then.. It really sucks..
If you look at the curb by the sign, you will see the two black mark where Bud's tires impacted the curb. How he stayed upright is beyond me. That rubber on the curb was about 1/8" thick and you could actually peel it off the curb. If he would of hit the curb 3-4 feet sooner, he would've be wrapped around that sign and definitely in a bad way. I know God had to be protectng him.
I tried to get a closer view of the rubber on the curb so you could see how thick it was, but I didn't do a very good job. I didn't want to get hit by any of the cars & trucks taking that exit.
Looking back up the exit from where Bud ended up. You can see that dip & chunked up concrete that I believe threw him into the curb..
Bud's bike from the rear. We couldn't get it restarted and we could not get it into neutral. The damage is more than can be seen..
While I waited for the wrecker, these folks, who live near where the accident happened, came over and kept me company and gave me water. They are: James on the trike, Vickie aka "Spider", holding 1 month old June (named after June Carter) and her husband Clifford. These folks are what makes the USA the greatest place to live here on the planet. They prayed for Bud there, they prayed for Bud while he was at the hospital and they said they will pray for Bud tonight. And they came to my aid, a total stranger. And their prayers were answered. Bud has a few brusied ribs, a concussion from when he landed on his head, and lots of scrapes & bruises. Thank God he was wearing a helmet, or this post would be totally different.
James got off his trike and we put him up on Ms. Clone. I think he has the makings of a future PGR member, don't you? Thank you all for the drinks and company. I appreciate it more than you'll ever know..
It was after dark before the wrecker got there, but the bike was loaded in no time byPaul. I want to thank Paul & his wife for making the long trip out pick up Bud's bike and for going to the hospital and waiting for Bud to be discharged, so they could take him home. Another excellent example of Americans at their best. For more info on one of the greatest wrecker services in Texas, Melton's Wrecker Service, see this link: http://www.yellowpages.com/info-4880144/Meltons-Wrecker-Service Thanks again Bobby...You da Man!!
Okay...Bud knew it was coming, you knew it was coming, and I knew I was gonna do it. Here is Bud right before he got discharged from the Gainesville Hospital E.R. He broke out into that grin when he saw me pull my camera out. If you ALL would, please pray for Bud's recovery. He was in a lot of pain tonight, but nothing like he's gonna feel the next couple of days. I've been there & done that twice and I know...Bud, I'm glad you are still with us. Get to feeling better before worrying & checking on your bike. It's in good hands. Get well my friend..
This will be my last post for awhile. It is now 3:08 a.m. Monday morning and I am due at the hospital at 5 a.m. for a surgery and I will be off the bike for 6-8 weeks. You all, please ride safe and keep an eye out for those hidden dangers we know so much about. They can get us experienced riders just as quick as a new rider. Luckily & thankfully, this one has a happy ending.
Scroll WAY WAY down for more rides, events & posts and don't forget to click on the "older posts" link at the bottom of EACH page for more rides and posts. Check out North Texas Bikers (1) at http://www.jjskewlstuff.blogspot.com/ for rides, events & posts from January 08-November 08. and North Texas Bikers II at: http://www.jjskewlstuffii.blogspot.com/ for rides, events & posts from Nov. 08-July 09. Until next post, ya'll be careful out there, ride safe, keep the rubber on the road & pray for our Troops & Pattie & Manuel................JOHN