THIS TRIP to the USA was to be different—I was travelling to re-meet with a lady, do a rally together, and three weeks of sweet love making. I mean she did fly to Australia to see me—it wasn’t my fault we were flooded in and only got out of the house three days of the 15!

Guys, Roo says, “Never, I repeat, never, travel halfway around the world for a chick—they do change their minds!”

It all started badly when I landed in Fort Lauderdale and my bags weren’t on the carousel—they arrived two days later so maybe I was a bit ripe by this time?

Fortunately, she had a Corvette and a Marauder (gee, that should have been a sign) so while she worked I zoomed around Florida, burning time till my bags arrived. On night three she suggested it just wasn’t right, so in the morning she went to work and I booked a flight to Milwaukee—be fucked if I wasn’t going to have a good time.

Fortunately, the Wisconsin HOG Rally was on so I hire a Road Glide (one of my favourite Harleys) and rode to Delton. Of course I wasn’t to know that Lake Delton had just shit itself and emptied its entire contents into a river. All those beautiful water-front properties are now facing mud putting the long time ski school spectacular out of business. Still, the locals had an almost Aussie sense of humour; one said to me we may not have the water but fuck we got wide beaches!

Getting there I rode through some great country but with driving rains and many flood diverts. The rally was one of the smaller state rallies—only 10,000 attendees! I positioned myself in the bar behind a bucket of Millers bottles and commenced socialising.

I met one guy who kept telling me to dance with his wife, as he pulled down her top continually. We became drinking friends. He got real angry with one dude who was pushing into our foursome and suggested he find somewhere else to drink. The guy braced and pushed back. It was then that my drinking buddy pulled out his police badge!

The rally was held at a casino, owned by the local Indian tribe, so we watched local dancing, sang, drank and generally partied for two days. I then looked at my ‘Who do I know who lives in USA list’ and made some calls and arranged to ride out to meet her/them.

The next part of my sojourn saw me trying to coordinate a visit to three friends: Jane in Iowa, Tracey in Minnesota, and Wendi in Ohio. The plan was ride to Minnesota, stay a few days, then to Iowa for a few days, then back to Milwaukee, return the iron pony and fly to Ohio on the way home.

Like all plans this trip it fell to shit! Tracey got the flu so asked if I could leave it a few days; no problem, I’ll just flip Ohio then Minnesota. So I turned on the trusty GPS and aimed the beast south west.

They rain continued so I was stopping regularly to put on or take off rain gear. One of the favourite stops was on a small ridge overlooking the Mississippi where I stopped in amazement and watched the river boats and thought of all those childhood stories. The Mississippi was in a state of flux and had burst her banks upstream—boy, there was water everywhere.

Riding in the driving rain isn’t much fun; it becomes a hell of a lot less fun when your GPS battery runs out and you have no idea where you are. Due to the state of the roads I was pushed and shoved in all directions by sheriffs, National Guard, Highway Patrol, State Troopers, and at one stage, the Coast Guard (and I was thousands of miles from the sea). “You see, we were facing a state of emergency—the Mississippi has burst its banks, bridges are washed out and people are evacuating.”

I came to one roadblock and the trooper looked at me in amazement. “What in the God damn are you doing here?” he asked.

“Riding to Iowa,” I said.

He pointed to the horizon at an unusual looking cloud. “See that, boy, that’s a hurricane and it will be here in 15 minutes so get yerself out of here!”

“Where?” I asked.

“Anywhere! just go.”

I straddled the beast and headed off but to no avail—the big cloud came over me and I pulled into a truck station, laid the bike down, sheltered under the seat, and rang Big Balls (my son) in Australia to tell him what was happening. Fortunately, it was only a small one but the wind and rain were unbelievable.

I travelled another three hours coordinating my arrival via cell phone with my friend. About 20 miles out the hog made a strange sound and then I couldn’t change gears… yep, done the gearbox. I travelled till the next town, drove into a station and rang the dealership emergency number. Was stranded here for three days… then made my way to Milwaukee.

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