Today (Memorial Day 2013) we ride to Patagonia.
I got up at 5 and went for a 10 mile bicycle ride alone before getting cleaned up and digging out the 'ol Harley. I had just pulled the cover off of it when Kelly came out barefooted to see if we were still on for the ride. We were on the motorcycles at 7:38. We rode about a half mile and stopped to fuel the machines when I noticed mine was leaking quite a bit of fuel from the connection beneath the tank. Barb asked if I "maybe" should have checked out the Harley instead of riding the bicycle. Duh! There is a quick coupling similar to a compressed air hose coupling into the tank. Actually it is right into the fuel pump which is mounted inside the tank. As long as I didn't turn the ignition switch on it didn't leak...which only meant the ride was off. I fiddled with the coupling disconnecting and reconnecting until finally it quit spewing fuel. Was the tank empty? Nah, only lost a pint or so. Let's ride before this thing changes it's mind! We rode 60 miles to Patagonia, and I checked for leaks about 60 times.
We stopped at the park to empty the coffee that had been filtered through our kidneys, and were jawing about where to go for breakfast when an old dude on a four wheeled scooter cruised up and asked if we wanted to race. Crazy old dude said he'd win if we gave him a 17 mile head start. It was about 10 miles back to Sonoita, and he said the scooter would go there and back if it was fully charged. He claimed he had been the Constable of Patagonia 5 times, was a Vet and was going to ride the scooter in the Memorial Day parade. He had quite a few photos and suggested that we try "Mercedes Cafe" across the street. He beat us there!
We reluctantly sat down and he went into high gear with his stories backed up with photos and certificates. He had been a Motorcycle cop in Palm Springs, A Firefighter in Scottsdale, a Pilot with the Marines until they found out he was color blind. He then became a gunner in a Douglas A-24 Dauntless (SBD). He told us of battles at Midway and how they (the SBD's) sunk four of the Japanese warships. He had flown with George Herbert Walker Bush and then Kelly asked if he knew any movie stars. He said, with a gleam in his eye "I knew them all". In fact he was wearing a shirt given to him by John Wayne. He knew two of John's wives, and had personally been married eight times. In fact he still "dated" his most recent, but she lived with her 94 year old mother. He told stories and answered questions for 2 hours. He would have gone on and on, but we needed to get back home as we all had other plans.
What an incredible Memorial Day ride. I know we'll be talking about this one for the rest of our lives. If you ever go to Patagonia Arizona, look for H.Paul Smith at Mercedes Cafe. You will not regret it!
Thanks for the stories Paul, and thank you for your honor, courage and commitment to our country by serving in the U.S. Marine Corps. You came home and served us again as a Firefighter, Policeman, Sheriff, and Constable. They truly broke the mold after you were born. With all sincerity you are the epitomy of Semper Fi