It was all planed, my truck would be paid off in June of 2003, and I started to look at Harleys in earnest. I had finally figured out what bike I wanted, a Road King Standard. It is set up to be a touring bike, has the hard saddlebags, yet doesn't have the full front fairing and I could remove the windshield when I wanted that "street cruiser" look to it. I even decided to keep it simple and not get the fuel injection. In August of 2002 Terri had a weak moment and told me to purchase my bike so that I would be sure to get the 100th anniversary model. Well, once I was sure she was serious I jumped into action. By the end of the week I had secured a loan, and had the bike ordered from Rocky Mount HD in Rocky Mount, NC. The bike was due to arrive the 28th of September. To say I was excited would be an understatement. As the time got closer I got to be a bear to live with, all I could think of was my new bike. It got so bad that if you asked Katie (2 years old now mind you) what Daddy was getting she would say "A new motorcycle", and if you asked the color she knew it was black.

Terri sensing the opportunity managed to talk me into getting her a new Suburban while I was in that "giddy" stage. My Dean even played a trick on me by having a message sent up to my office that HD called and said that there was a slight fire in the warehouse. I fell for it at first and my heart sunk, then I saw that the message was from "Jim"... Humm, this can't be right. All the times I talked to him (and man did I call a lot!) he referred to himself as "Jimmy" as a matter of fact I couldn't think of anyone who called him Jim. Well, well, it was a joke. Paybacks were made.

Friday, September 21st just after 5pm I received a call from Jimmy at HD. "Jim, I have some good news, your bike is here and I am looking at it right now. When do you want to get it?" Talk about mixed emotions! It was here! I couldn't pick it up till next Saturday! I had to get the check from the credit union so that I could actually PAY for the bike. And it was after 5 so there was no way for me to call and try to pick it up any earlier.

Talk about a long week. The entire week ran in "Hot-dog Time" (Hot-dog Time is how time slows when you are cooking a hot-dog in the microwave, sure it only takes 45 seconds, but since that is too short of a time to do anything else you just stare at the hot-dog and it seems like forever). I did get to meet the ladies at the credit union when I went to pick up my check, so it wasn't too bad.

Walt agreed to go with me to North Carolina to pick up my bike. Since it was about 500 miles we knew it would take 2 days and we planed on camping somewhere in NC. We decided that if it was raining we would take my truck and the trailer that I borrowed from the Greshams. If it wasn't then we would ride up on Walt's GoldWing so I could ride back. Friday came and I couldn't restrain myself, I had to pack or I would drive Terri crazy. It was raining but it was supposed to clear up. I packed everything and took my stuff over to Walt's so we could load his bike. I helped him with an oil change on the Wing, and went home to toss and turn for a few hours.

September 28th

3:30 AM Saturday morning, my alarm finally went off and I jumped in the shower. I got dressed drank some coffee and went outside to wait for Walt. Surprise! He was at my driveway waiting for me! Either he was as excited as I was or he knew I would be a bear to live with if he was late (we agreed on leaving at 4 AM). So on the back of the Wing I went and off to North Carolina we went.

The weather was great and the time just flew by. We arrived at Rocky Mount Harley Davidson right around lunch time. We parked the bike, shook off some road dust and went in to find George so I could get my bike. When we found him, he asked us if we had seen the bike yet. I told him no, and he took us in the shop where it was waiting for me. There it was, raised up on the lift just finished with it's prep work, I was speechless. I was almost afraid to touch it, like if I did I would wake up from some dream. But this was no dream, after a few minutes, we went to sign the paper work. After the paperwork, it was time to pick out my free shirt (and a few items for Terri and the kids).

Walt and I waked around that store for a good hour looking at all the stuff, then Walt surprised me with a brand new pair of highway pegs for the ride home. Man, he just rocks. I really hope everyone has a friend like Walt in their lives at some time or another, he really makes good times great.

Now it was time to get my bike. I got a quick once over to show me where everything was and how it all worked and then finally I threw my leg over the saddle. Man this puppy was wide. It made my Shadow seem like a toy. Pull the choke (or enrichner as Harley wants to call it), turn the ignition, press the button. Ahh the engine fires, and the smile beams. Pull the clutch, drop it in gear, ease off on the clutch, give it a little throttle. The bike rolls forward and my smile grows. Man this is great. Walt and I say our good byes and we head across the parking lot for lunch.

During lunch Walt and I plan our trip home. I am have a 500 mile break in to worry about so it will be back roads for the ride home. Before leaving we take a break to put on the highway pegs and pack the bikes for the trip home. Right now I couldn't tell you if my feet ever would touch the ground again. This is right up there with getting married and the birth of my kids. I am giddy. The pegs are on, the ribbing about using a Honda tool set to put on Harley parts (since Harley can't seem to add a tool kit to the bike!) is done, it is time to once again hit the road. But this time my view is sooooo much better.

We miss a turn in a small little town and pull into this gas station to look at the map. While we are talking this black Suburban with a front tag of "ROADKING" pulls into the station and next to us. "Is that one of the new ones?" the man asks from the window. "Yes sir, just got it today. I almost have 30 miles on the clock." "Man, I got to get me one of those, they sure are pretty." "Thanks." He waves at us and takes off. Walt and I saddle up and we are back on the road again.

We ride for a few more hours, and decide to pull over for the night. We argue with the hotel guy about the price (never pay full price for a hotel if there is no reason to!) and get some dinner before calling it a night.

That morning, we check out, look at our map and head off. The ride is fantastic. Of course since we didn't really plan the return trip we get lost a little bit, completely miss the Blue Ridge Parkway. But we can't complain. We miss the rain that was threatening to hit us, and don't get home till dark.

Terri and the kids come out to see the bike, and notice that I got a bit of sunburn. Well, a lot of sunburn. Katie wants to get on the bike, but gets a little scared when I fire it up for her. Bev and Toni come over and marvel at the new machine. Finally I roll it into the garage, hand out the presents, and file it away as one FANTASTIC trip.