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Archive for June, 2010

Canada, its 2:30 am and still light. The mosquitos are the size of spiders with wings. And when dusk comes they swarm you. I would not have believed it had I not seen it with my own eyes. We ran into six Hoka Hey Challengers who all had great stories to tell. All were feeling like heroes. Three of them are police officers, two of them Blue Knights. One challenger has 18 grand children who now think grandpa is a hero. He was so proud of the fact that his entire family showed up at the last check-point to be with him he was beaming.

One of the policemen said he layed down to take a nap along the road today and when he opened his eyes a bear was walking toward him. He jumped up, mounted his bike and took off.

When we arrived in Fort Saint John, Canada I saw a group of Hoka Hey riders standing at the corner so I yelled “Hoka Hey”. One of them said later that they thought they were about to get flashed and said’ “Uh oh hide your eyes guys here we go again!” Then they recognized me! He said it was great to see a familiar face so far from home.

Canada is so beautiful it makes me cry. To be surrounded by this kind of beauty is a gift from God. The riders I’ve interviewed have said the same thing. The rider from Arizona told me he stops and takes pictures because no money is worth missing this and that he had planned to see this his entire life but never got the chance so…

There are still fourteen hundred miles to homer and I would prefer to keep going but we have been warned over and over about the moose. So after seeing two moose standing along the side of the road as we pass, I am in agreement that we should stop for the night such as it is. We have been traveling for over 16 hours now and there is no end to the wildlife, beautiful mountains and nice people. The Canadians have been curious and very helpful. Even the Canadians are offering the guys something to drink and a place to rest their heads in their homes and front yards. Unbelievable.

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South Dakota – Pine Ridge Reservation. Chief Red Clouds home was a stop for the riders. In his home his grandaughters fed each and every rider including us. Fry bread, buffalo stew, cherry pudding and lemon-aid was handed to every person who walked in the door as they were seated around his kitchen table. Chief Red Cloud held each riders hand, looked deeply into each soul from his ninty six year old eyes and prayed with each and every one for their safety and the safety of the other riders. He did this with every rider who walked in his door.

His grand daughters who cooked for three days straight were kind, happy and so accomodating that we were humbled by the fact that these women who stood at the stove for three days straight cooking and taking care of riders all day and night live in homes with no running water.

My crew and I asked and were offered the opportunity to go into their homes and see how they lived. The people in this community have no running water because it is polluted by Uranium from the mining company. To use the toilet they go outside even in the dead of winter which if you know South Dakota is bitterly cold and the snow can be two feet deep. They have no heat except for the space heaters, no showers, no bath tubs, no laundry facilities and the homes they live in are not as good as the homes I have seen in Mexico. My heart went out to them and I had to ask why has this been allowed to go on.

We Americans take care of people all over the world. Haite got a new water system. Africa has a ton of people and organizations throwing in to get water to it’s people. What about American people here? How were these people over looked? And how can we fix this oversight.

You all know how I feel about bikers and veterans! They are the heart of America! The last bastion of guts and glory left in America. The real of what America stands for, so it was easy to bring this problem to the Hoke Hey Riders as they came to Chief Red Clouds home. It was no surprise that they all said the same thing. “We’ll be back to help!” “Let’s get out buddies together and get this fixed!” “Are you kidding me? What do you need us to do, just tell us and we’ll get’er done!”

I don’t feel like sorting out why this is happening or who is accountable. That would take years of finger pointing and bullcrap. We just need to jump in and get the problem fixed. In some cases I know the water pipes are in but they have not been brough to the homes. I’m not an engineer or a pipe layer but after the Hoka Hey is done I am returning to South Dakota with my crew and we will take an indepth look at the problems, figure out a course of action and call on all my friends. My friends by the way, of which there are many, are the most honorable people you could ever know. The “do the right thing” hero kind of people. Many of them military veretans, most of them bikers and all of them people you can count on. Is it going to be a grassroots call for help. Of course it is! But we can do it because we are Americans.. We have already learned in the past few years it’s not about race, religion or location. It’s about the haves and have-nots.

If the “haves” working for the Government in Washington won’t help the “have-nots” then we will step up. We are more trust worthy than they are. We are more honorable than they are and we are the only people we can rely on. Americans helping Americans.

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Today the bikes started rolling in and roll in even now as I sit in my hotel that overlooks Flaming Gorge Harley Davidson in Rock Springs, Wyoming. Most of the guys today were riding alone. Everybody was happy and dying to talk to me. Much different than the first three days when they were hot and in misery. A sense of balance and pride of accomplishment has come over the competitors. For the most part the guys at the check in point in Wyoming are all military except for a few. One of the marines dumped his motorcycle on a curve at night, his buddies did some field medicine on him and the bike and he rolled in with a tiny led flashlight attached to a fairing which by the way was mostly duct tape. Go Marines! Go McKinnon!

Our Scotsman John arrived chipper as ever and still in Kilt!!

I heard the story of the dead skunk that was run over and sprayed the guys behind him. And the near misses with everything from fox to moose.

I spent a few moments applying fingernail polish to what appears to be a million chigger bites on DJ the Army Ranger. No! I didn’t use pink!

Chris Carr had some great things to say about the route and all the amazing pieces of America he has seen since Key West. Actually all the riders today were upbeat, slapping each other on the back, hugging and everyone had a wonderful story to tell.

The owners of Flaming Gorge H-D are great, they stayed late, fixed motorcycles, fed the riders orange juice, ham and/or roast beef sandwiches, muffins etc. They also had a massage therapist. They pulled out their schampa gear, ready for Alaska. Which by the way was quickly bought out.

It was easy to tell the difference between the guys who were riding for the money and those who were there for the adventure of a lifetime. The money guys have a fixed focus. They check in, eat quickly, ask about the amount of riders before them, jump back on their bikes and head out. The others are full of excitement and tales about what they just saw or how they avoided an animal or bad road incident. Or they have first hand knowledge of a wreck we have all heard about. Alex for example. I don’t know Alex, I had heard and read all sorts of things on the internet but getting it from the mouth of the riders who were with him was a relief first because I learned it was just an accident. Not that I believed any of the conspiracy theory on line.

Oddly enough I did hear something that gave me pause. One of the Europeans was listening to some guys in Key West talk about how this was a hoax and it was fixed. All prior to the race I might add. And the European rider heard another rider say that if it was a hoax; he might as well stay home. The European took note of the riders with the story and then talked the guy out of quitting. Thank Goodness. He told the guy that these fellow riders were just trying to thin out the field. As it turns out these same guys who were spewing this rhetoric in Key West are putting it all over the internet. And people are actually believing them. It’s a good ploy I guess.

Transparent really, almost juvenile but they say, “all is fair in love and war”. I believe this group thinks they are going to war. It’s not the biker way nor is it the military way to turn on your fellow soldier. But again, we are separating out the men from the boys here and these boys have not passed the Wyoming check point.

I have to applaud everyone who came through the check point today. I know where you’ve been and what you’ve seen and I am so proud of each and every one of you. Keep up the great work. I love hearing your stories, thank you for sharing them with me. Your stories and spiritual journeys are so worth documenting and we can’t wait to share them with the world. This is a modern day pony express run and it’s very exciting. Keep safe out there. And God bless.

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The Hoka Hey Challenge

Alystar Mckenneh For the record from Alystar McKenneh

I am shooting the ride. There are three crews shooting the ride and of course we can’t follow the 687 riders left in the challenge but we’ve been running ass to elbows to get the great stories. For the record there has been no verifiable taking down of road signs because these are all road and street signs. Hoka Hey did not put up little paper signs to follow. And it is almost lunacy that we have seen someone off their bike, wrench in hand, unscrewing street signs.

There have been NO deaths. Some accidents, the worst one has been two broken legs to date. Most of the wrecks have been motorcycle damage and scraped riders.

No one has been disqualified for cheating by Hoka Hey but there have been riders who have disqualified themselves at the check points and telling the people at the check points that they were lost and did all freeway miles but still want to continue the ride just for the challenge and not the money. Brave and Integril is what I would call them because it is a very difficult and challenging ride.

There are no roads that do not have food and water so if the riders are prepared to stop and eat instead of thinking they are going to bomb right through at 90 mph with no thought to pacing themselves then they are going to be just fine. For the most part a lot of the riders are ending up at the correct check point, some bikes are breaking and HH has had calls that the rider got off track to repair but will be continuing back to the spot to continue the ride.

Many of the riders I have interviewed are amazed and intrigued at the country and the fact that they have to think as they figure out the route. The riders from Australia are loving the heat. we will see how the cold gets them. I’m sure the North American riders are having a tough go of it in the heat but will probably have a leg up in the cold. The riders who have theBikeSentry/ lojack type of tracking systems are helping me keep track of some of the pack although the group is stretched between four states and there is no way of telling who is out front until they arrive at the check points because there are guys sleeping or peeing or eating all along the road. As well as all the other tourist riders along the highways of America in this summer. I myself have to keep calling the highway patrol who are helping me keep tabs. As well the HHC company and the other camera crews.

There are some very spiritual riders, one is Rob Keller who is riding an Indian. He is very determined to carry as many lost souls from the American dead with him as he goes. He is in the back if the pack riding with an Ex-Navy Seal who has brain cancer and Rob is determined to be the support for him. My bike was outfitted with cameras from the get go and I was fortunate enough to follow those two in the beginning. That story is so heart wrenching and even though I could not stay with them for long my heart is still with them both.

This is a very difficult challenge. That’s why it’s called a challenge and not a race. The military guys seem to be doing well, the Australians and Kiwi’s are as well. They are all used to rugged terrain and being alone and uncomfortable for long periods of time. Some of the short sighted people on the trip seem to be having a bad time of it but then again this will seperate the men from the boys every time.

I have been on the road for 78 days now to raise money for a feature film I plan to direct called Road To Sturgis. I know how difficult it is to ride this way but I put myself out there, one woman, one motorcycle and 14 thousand miles to date. No chase vehicles, no hotels and well some of you know me and you’ve followed me for the entire trip. I can’t really answer to some of the silly rumers on the board that I’ve read.

But what I can tell the riders is this… Keep yourself focused. This is your ride and only your ride. You alone know why you took this challenge and if you can keep your head and trust your own abilities you will be fine. Never never never give up. Many of you are Americans and Americans don’t give up. Your biggest battle will be with the naysayers and the people trying to discourage you. Some to shorten the field because they have a dog in the fight, some because they live their lives in hell themselves and don’t really know how to keep the faith and spread joy.

Riders keep your head away from all that. Don’t listen to the message boards, don’t listen to anything but what you have going on inside. You can ALL do this. If it were easy everyone would be doing it. If it were easy the naysayers would be doing it. It’s not easy. No one said it would be. But you can all finish this race if you choose to. Thoughts become things. Chose the good ones, choose them wisely and keep your faith in why you chose to do this in the first place!

Alystar McKenneh
Road to Sturgis
516-507-9592

a few seconds ago · Edit Post · Delete Post

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Man-Hater

Am I a man-hater? Someone suggested I am. In fact he has said it to me three times and it hurt my feelings. I had to ask the men in my life. Am I a man-hater? “God No!” came the answer “but… you take your time letting men close in on you.”

I don’t like men who act vulgar or make me uncomfortable. I detest married men who hit on me. I know how pretty I am, I know that I have a sexuality that seems to waft through the air. I don’t dress like someone who doesn’t own her own femininity but I don’t feel like I have to advertise myself either.

I am a “people who take advantage of other people” hater, I can tell you that. When I was a kid I saw my mother get beaten by my father and I was helpless to do anything about it. I didn’t get hit but the feeling of helplessness and anger of seeing that has stayed with me. Now that I’m grown, I can be a bear when it comes to protecting those I love. People know it and people feel safe with me. Beyond that particular man that I do hate…

I grew up at the knee of a very wise old man who was my grandfather. I worshipped him. He was very quiet but when he did speak he spoke from the heart. He was honest, he could be counted on and people came to him when they were in need. He was a carpenter who loved to fish, draw and play guitar.
He never laughed at me when I sang out loud with my headphones on. He let me drag a net in the water so the fish he caught wouldn’t suffer and when the fish escaped he wasn’t mad. He helped me paint my bike tires pink and years later my bedroom walls purple. He helped me repaint my walls white when I came to my senses. No matter where I stood, no matter what I wanted His words to me were, “you can get there from here!”

And when he was really tickled by something he laughed so hard that big tears would roll out of his azure eyes and down his face. I would do anything to make him smile at me and it wasn’t difficult because he loved me more than life itself. When he died I felt that no one on earth could ever love me the way he did. Even though I prayed someday I would meet someone who would.

Possibly the problem is that my grandfather set the bar so high that I keep myself from the frivolity of silly men or men who don’t have the same integrity as he had. My grandfather was passionate about life and made a difference in the lives he touched, my grandfather wasn’t afraid to speak up for people who couldn’t speak up for themselves. And yet he was a quiet observer most of the time.

I try to emulate him, I try to stand tall where I know he would have, even though sometimes, many times I am afraid and inside I’m curled up screaming “make it stop!”. He was never called a man-hater but then he was a man.

And another thing. In a woman’s life, she will have one man. Her choosing is critical and determines the best and the rest of her life…many girlfriends but only one man. So I don’t approach men as if they are girlfriends. I don’t want a man as a girlfriend. I love the whole mystique of men. I love men who are men and do secret men things. Not that my man won’t be my best friend but he won’t be my best girlfriend. He will not be sitting outside the dressing room holding my purse or chatting about nail color. That is my girlfriends job.

So am I a man hater? No I am not. But I have to wonder. The man who thinks I am a man hater. Is he a woman hater?

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WWH here!

I am constantly amazed and confused by the actions of some people. I have a pretty tight hold on myself, I’m careful not to entrust myself with the wrong people. Today I was handed over into the care of a non-biker by a long time friend. I know better. I wasn’t in danger or anything. I was left to help format a pilot for a new show with a couple of older gentlemen while my friend helped one of the guys wives with a surprise birthday party. I was asked to keep them busy until 4 and then get birthday boy to bring me to his house after that. At 4pm I promptly got us out the door and we left. He was driving us, his best friend was in the back seat. His friend in the back seat was texting me ideas to use to get him to go to his own house. Every move to get him to take us to his house was met by an evasive counter move. His friend in the back seat even went so far as to text the wife and she called and said she needed him home right away.

Several moments later he pulled up in front of a house. His friend asked where we were, he said he owned the house. He opened my door and said, “I’m going to leave you here for a while, I’ll be back in 15 min.”. I was unceremoniously left at this empty house he owned. I remember thinking, “Did I offend somebody?”

After they left I cried actually. I’m a big mushpot, I know. It was a simple lesson in never being caught without my motorcycle and resources. I remember sitting there and thinking; These people are not bikers!

I can’t explain my trust in bikers but they’ve never failed me. Bikers and/or military behave with a code of conduct I understand. This? This? I didn’t understand at all.

Unbeknownst to him, there was a surprise party waiting. Unbeknownst to me, he was afraid his wife would be jealous. (Unbeknownst to him the thought of that makes me want to puke) anyhow….His friend should have piped up before I was left.

When his friend returned to retrieve me an hour later I was fuming and heartbroken that my own friend would have trusted me to these type of people. My friend was upset that I refused to go to the party. No one apologized for this serious lack of integrity and judgement on their behalf.

But I learned a lesson today. Stick to your own kind.

Non-bikers are not my kind. People who have can’t be straight up are not my kind. People who do not see that I am a WWH (woman worth having) are not my kind. Sometimes I get tired of people complaining that I make them prove themselves before I let them in but it beats being stranded in an empty house because some mans jewels are in a jewelry box somewhere.

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The mark of a good life is how many people you can call when you are in trouble. And how many people call you back and stay engaged as you travel along the problem. If this is true then my life is so good that I just want to cry. I am so touched by everyone.

My bike is broken down in the one place where I don’t know anyone (Washington DC). And the bike shops I spoke to are either a week away from being able to look at her, cost prohibitive and or I can’t get her there. There are people I don’t know yet that would probably do a fine job but I can’t seem to get all the notches lined up. Chris Callen from Cycle Source gave me some numbers but those guys are hours away and won’t come get her. Howie is 8 hours away and has been giving me encouragement to fix her myself and he will meet me as I go there but I can’t get there. I got crazy excited by the prospect of fixing her, it was hard and not anything I thought I would do. I did do it but I was a bit off base and didn’t actually fix the problem.

I grew up in an environment of male family members fixing things. I had great male role models in my life from my grandfathers and cousins who for me were the original macgyver’s all the way down to my brother who suffers from my constant hero worship. No drinkers, smokers, drug addicts or whatever. Just can-do heroes. I am strong and independent because of them, not in spite of them.

So I’m here with a broken bike trying to figure out the right course of action. If I move too fast like I did this past weekend I’ll end up spinning my wheels. Not that I’m not proud of myself for pulling out the starter and changing the part but…. Again my GTF (going too fast) attitude was an exercise in futility.

It sort of goes back to “don’t push the river!”

And I’ve tried not to. After missing my connections at the beginning of the trip I didn’t try to catch up. I just took what God threw in my path. And thank goodness for it because I would not know some of the people I know now; and I wouldn’t trade them for anything!

So here I sit waiting for the next great thing the Universe has in store for me. And thanking God in advance for it!

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