Touring Ruled Out

I have long wanted to go on a motorcycle tour of New England through the Canadian Maritimes, then west, ending in Toronto. This isn’t a type of trip that one would take alone. You need at least one other person to be with you, in case something happens and to enjoy the experience together.

I tried appealing to my club through its newsletter for someone to go with me on such a ride, but nobody wanted to go on a slow trip as I described. That is, I suggested riding no more than 250 – 300 miles each day. Most people in my club ride much more than that in a day when they go on long trips. I prefer to “stop and smell the roses” as they say, and take my time. Plus, riding long distances gets tiring. These guys like to ride all day and drink all night… which doesn’t work for me.

I went on-line and found five motorcycle tour operators who offer to take you on rides in that area varying from 5 to 14 days in length. However, the fee for the tours that I found began at US$2,300 for the five-day tour, and went up (and up and up) from there. Meals, gas for the Harley, and incidental expenses would be extra. Nah-ah; I don’t want to spend that kind of money.

I regret that my partner is unable to ride with me as my passenger, or we would take such a tour by ourselves. But he can’t due to his disability. It doesn’t make sense for him to drive a car and me to ride my bike. It’s no fun that way, plus the trip would become just as exhausting to my partner as it would be to me.

I guess my dream will not be fulfilled this summer… but I will continue to look for a motorcycling companion with whom to ride on such a journey.

Life is short: dream.

No Wall Riding

Today, Sunday May 30, is a big day in Washington, DC. Bikers from everywhere descend on the city for an event that they call the “ride to the wall” or “Rolling Thunder.” It is held annually on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend. For those blog readers not from the U.S.: that’s today!

The purpose of Rolling Thunder is to pay tribute to those who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces, especially those who were captured and endured being held as Prisoners of War, or who were missing in action (MIA).

Biker dudes (and dudettes) gather in the parking lot of the Pentagon, and wait… and wait… and wait… then at noon, the ride begins. Leaders of the group that organizes the event go first, followed by everyone else. The departure can (and does) take several hours. Bikers ride from the Pentagon across a bridge into the city, around the National Mall, past the U.S. Capitol building, then end up near the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial, which is at Henry Bacon Drive and Constitution Avenue, near the Lincoln Memorial.

Imagine… tens of thousands of bikers on their bikes — all trying to get from one place to another and try to find a place to park. It’s crazy! I appreciate what they are doing, and honor their commitment. I’ve gone on that ride a few times. It’s fun — when you’re riding. It’s the waiting for the ride to take off that is a killer. It can involve hours and hours of standing in the full sun. Finding a place to park at the other end is very difficult too, and by the time you get there, if you get there, a lot of the ceremonial events are over. It kinda defeats the purpose of riding in the event in the first place.

Well, anyway, we’re not going on the Rolling Thunder ride this year. Not because of some likely inconveniences, but rather, for the required Spring visit to the mother-in-law. Her place in da ‘burgh needs to be redded up. (If you don’t understand those terms, don’t worry. I didn’t either. That is, not until I got into a relationship with a Pittsburgher.) So once again, I’ll be lost in neuroticisms of the M-I-L and not riding on Memorial Day weekend. Such is partnered life. You win some, you lose some.

Remember those who have died, been lost, and some who were never found — all these brave warriors gave service and commitment that is honorable, and for that reason, we should thank them and remember. Even if we may not have supported the war in which they served, the point is, they served … and some didn’t come back.

Life is short: Remember.

Wesco Boots Confirm Recovery

Flash: this just in!

BHD is wearing Wesco boots again!


Why so excited? It’s like this: Wesco pull-on boots — even if made custom — tend to fit a little tightly on the ankle at the instep. Normal ankles fit into the boots just fine. However, a recently broken ankle (lower fib, I keep having to remind myself), still has swelling that can continue for up to a year (according to orthopedic specialists.)

I had been having that swelling, so I resigned myself to accepting that I can wear only certain boots — those without a tight instep — until the swelling continues to go down more.

Back to the Wescos. Do you remember my story of a Wesco Disappointment? I received a cool new pair of tall Wesco harness boots made from two colors of roughout leather on April 1. Since my left leg and ankle was not injured, I tried pulling the left boot onto my foot. Ouch! It wouldn’t fit. The boot was made wrong.

I knew at the time that there would not be any way that I could wear a Wesco pull-on boot on my right leg, but since the left wouldn’t fit, it didn’t matter. I shipped the boots back to Wesco and with the help from my friend Mike, we convinced Wesco that they goofed up and the boots had to be remade.

I received the new boots on May 24. I knew at first glance that the boot shafts were wider, which was the main reason that the pair that I received on April 1 did not fit. I pulled off the boots that I had on my feet and pulled on the left boot first, then gingerly tried pulling on the right boot. It came right on! No pain! No problem! WOO-HOO! I am Wesco booted again!

This is a damn good sign that my recovery continues to progress well. I will know that I am absolutely 1000% recovered when I can wear my Dehner patrol boots. Those boots have the tightest instep of all. Once I get them on, I’m golden. (healed, fixed, recovered, whatever….)

N.B.: These burgundy/brown roughout Wesco boots aren’t for everyone. I’ve had a “boot intervention” threatened by three close friends, including my eighth brother. No worries, I’m older, wiser, and more adventuresome while they’re boring in their booted blandness.

Life is short: celebrate victories measured through your boots! (giggle)

IML Time Again

I had almost forgotten that this coming weekend, thousands of leather dudes from across the planet will be gathering in Chicago for International Mr. Leather, or “IML” for short.

What’s IML? It is the largest gathering in the United States of the leather-geared clan. Purportedly, the contest is the main event, though most attendees go for other reasons: to meet friends, feel free to strut around a major city all decked out from head to boot in leather, to have sex, and generally have a weekend of fun and debauchery.

Chicago is a great town to visit. There are lots of things to see and do. It is fairly level, so it is quite walkable. Restaurants are great, and the locals are friendly and helpful if you need directions or a recommendation for things to see or places to eat. Public transit works well, and can get you most places — including from the airport to the city for only US$2.25, which is much better than a $50 cab ride.

I wrote a blog post just a few weeks ago that explains my outlook on going to leather events. I think they’re fine if you’re single, sociable, are a night-owl, and don’t mind noise (“music” at various venues or men clomping in boots up and down a hotel hallway in the wee hours of the morning while you’re trying to sleep.)

The LeatherMart at IML is second-to-none, with the variety of vendors and gear to touch, examine, ask questions about, or to buy. There are vendors that sell things that I haven’t the slightest clue what they’re to be used for, and expressions of such wonder don’t fit within the G-rated parameters of this blog … so I will suffice it to say that if you want some kind of sex toy or to try something new, someone will have it.

My partner and I went to IML in 2007. It was interesting, and I am glad that we can say that we went and have an idea what it is like. I enjoyed meeting some guys who I had exchanged messages with about boots, leather, etc., through various on-line activities, but before this blog was born. IML is quite the experience, so if you go, remain open to experience new things, meet new people, and have fun — but by all means, guys, be safe! Sheesh, there is no “cure” for HIV infection, and “the cocktail” is not the answer. Use the head on your shoulders… (wink).

While IML isn’t for my partner and me, there are a lot of guys our age (and older) who attend every year. They love it, and we’re happy for them. It’s not an “age” thing as to why we’re not into IML (or MAL for that matter). My biorhythms don’t fit the IML activity schedule, nor do I have much of an interest in taking a bus to go to some crowded bar — even if it is full of lots of guys in leather.

My commitment to my partner (and vice-versa) drives our complete “disinterest” in activities that you can imagine happen (they actually do happen) behind closed doors among consenting adults. And finally, it costs a lot of money when you add up airfare, nights in an expensive hotel room, meals, drinks, registration, and so forth. Even if we have our own leather gear and don’t want or need to buy another thing, the base cost of going to IML if you don’t live near Chicago is beyond what we’re willing to consider shelling out.

If you ARE going to IML, don’t forget my tutorial on Air Travel with Leather Gear. This experience can help you make the best of your travel, particularly when dealing with airport security and carrying “interesting items” with you.

Have fun!

Life is short: BE SAFE!

Men’s Style Article That Is Not All Anti-Leather

As I was surfing the net over the weekend, I came across an article on the Men’s Flair website (as of Sept. 2016, site not working) that talks about men wearing fashionable leather. While the article still makes some stereotypical comments, such as:

Do not do a full head to toe leather look unless you are going to an S & M club.

Unless you’re a rock star or work in a more liberal work place, leather pants are not suitable for the office.

Once you get past the glib stereotypes, the article has a fairly positive outlook about men wearing leather. That is a vast improvement of what most men’s style websites and magazines have said, which in my observation have been rather strongly opposed to men wearing anything more than a leather jacket.

What the article is saying is that it is okay to wear leather in reasonable amounts for appropriate environments. A leather vest with a dress shirt, or a pair of leather jeans with a turtleneck in casual settings, work well.

Some of the most cogent points the article made include:

  • Leather is a winter fabric not intended for warm environments.
  • A good fit can make all the difference between looking elegant and looking scary.
  • Men sporting the correct leather look exude confidence, strength and sophistication.
  • …[leather] can be suitable for business as well as fun, pairing leather pants with a monochromatic shirt and tie. (Though the article immediately contradicts itself by saying, “However, leather in the workplace are still not accepted.” Well, either it is or isn’t okay in business. My vote is “for.”)
  • When you opt for leather pants, ultra masculine is the way to go. Don a heavy sweater or turtleneck and blazer with black leather pants and boots. [I am shocked! A men’s style site actually recommending leather pants AND boots to be worn in public! I’m going to faint!]
  • Functional and fashionable, masculine and elegant, leather is this season’s hottest look.
  • Men purchase leather accessories all the time with wallets, briefcases, belts and shoes so it is not unfamiliar territory for most men.
  • … who can resist the appeal of that rich, earthy scent of leather?
  • … it’s time to branch out and get some leather wear that will make more of a statement.

I am pleased that some men’s style website somewhere finally had something good to say about men wearing leather garments (including boots) in public, rather than one cliché after another imposing opinion of some leather-fearing queen.

Woo-hoo! Now you have it — the style site proves it — wear your leather! wear your boots!

Life is short: (but is more fun in boots and leather).

Even Cops Have Trouble with Dehner Boots

I posted instructions on how to break in Dehner patrol boots about six months ago, here.

It is unfortunate that motor officers, much like anyone else, just pull on a new pair of Dehner boots when they get them, rather than take the time to break the ankles properly. Photos of this post are of motor officers wearing Dehner boots. (Real cops in their actual boots.)

One of the cops whose boots are shown below told me that his boots were very uncomfortable. I can understand why. The sideways-turned bend at the shaft of the boot where it meets the foot must rub his ankle on the inside and cause sores.

Anyway, if you get new tall police patrol boots, take time to break them in correctly before wearing them. Otherwise, you’ll be very sorry with the permanent, uncomfortable results.

<==== sideways ankle break         =====>
boot shafts not wide enough for calf circumference, causing the boots to sag badly at the ankles because they cannot be pulled on all the way up, as well as the fabric of the breeches to bunch up at the boot tops because the fabric cannot fit inside the boots due to lack of adequate room.

Life is short: wear Dehners well!

Light Leather

We had another busy day yesterday. It was raining, and while snuggling longer in bed would have been desirable, we were “up and at-em” by 6:30am. I chose to wear lightweight leather for the day: a short-sleeved leather shirt tucked into lightweight leather jeans. And believe it or not, my Wesco Motor Patrol boots are light, too. These are the lightest Wesco boots I own.

My partner and I went to the local building supplies retailer early, hoping for no crowds. We were right: the weekend warriors slept in and avoided going out in the rain. My leather protected me just fine. We bought a few more annuals for our front garden — my partner can never have enough — as well as some other things we needed.

After that, I dropped my partner off and then picked up a few of my elder buds to take to the grocery store. There they are, nice prim & proper older ladies, with this leather dude helpin’ out. A guy in the parking lot noticed and said, “I guess it keeps you dry, huh?” Yep… sure does. Feels good, too.

I escorted my friends back into their homes — very very carefully as I learned my lesson about slipping and falling (and breaking a leg) when bringing an older friend home after grocery shopping on a rainy day. Then I went to care for my elderly aunt for a while.

When I arrived home, it was time to get cooking! Woo-hoo! Home-made ravioli and tomato sauce was prepared all afternoon. My partner and I can do this smoothly and we make a good team as we prepare one of our favourite “make-ahead” meals. We enjoy eating it on days when there is little time between arriving home from work and my having to leave to go to an evening meeting. I also am giving a batch to some friends who have experienced a devastating loss — their son — who was killed in a car crash a week ago.

As readers of this blog know, I like to wear leather as often as I can, and I have no worries about wearing full leather in public. However, I don’t like to sweat. Lightweight leather works great for these intermediate days when the temperature is mild, but not excessively hot.

Life is short: wear your leather!

Civic Life in Boots

Yesterday I attended three homeowner and civic associations’ annual meetings. I was asked to speak and give updates about various things going on in our community: the county budget and its impact on taxes we all have to pay; construction of the most expensive toll highway in the country, going right through our area (can you tell I’m not a fan?); and development projects in the area. This is what I do. This is my life. I do it as a volunteer.

… and I attended these meetings dressed comfortably in a pair of Wranglers, a t-shirt from the local university which has my state’s name on the front, and 17″ Chippewa engineer boots. Why those boots, in particular? To be honest, they were the first boots I saw in the closet this morning, and I know they are comfortable. I drove to the meetings outside my neighborhood on my Harley, so I wanted biker boots, not smooth-soled cowboy boots. The engineer boots are my newer of the Chippewa engineer boots that I own, so they look good. My older pair of these boots are kinda dirty with residual mud stains, so they wouldn’t look all that good when walking into someone’s home or civic meeting space.

As usual: not a single person of the hundreds of people before whom I spoke said a thing about the boots. No one ever does.

Life is short: contribute to your community!

Cowboy Boots Back On My Feet

I am pleased to say that the entire range of boots that I own are now wearable again. The swelling in my formerly broken ankle is negligible. Sure, I feel a little pain from time to time when rain is threatening, but not on an ongoing basis, and nothing that a couple aspirin can’t mask. However, I sure know what it means when people who have had broken bones refer to themselves as a “human weather barometer.” I tell ya’, earlier this week it rained, and my ankle hurt. When it’s sunny, it doesn’t.

I am happy that my cowboy boots are back on my feet, which look better with dress clothes that I wear to work.

Woo-hoo! Recovery progresses!

How Heat Damages Dehner Boots

Shown here and below are photos of boots worn by motor officers who participated in the Law Ride that was held in Washington, DC, on May 9, 2010.

Look at the areas on the side of each officer’s right boot that is inside the red circle. You will see that the boot shaft in that area is a dull gray. That dull gray area on the boot demonstrates what happens to Dehner’s Dehcord (Clarino) product when it is exposed to heat of a motorcycle engine.

I have often pointed out that such damage occurs, and now can show visible proof.

It’s kinda a love-hate thing about Dehner Boots. They style is great. The quality of the material on the shaft of stock boots cannot withstand ordinary exposure to the heat of motorcycle engines. Why? It is plastic, not leather. The change of color and loss of shine is due to the plastic slightly melting and changing its composition just a little bit. Unfortunately, once damaged, the material cannot be repaired, fixed, or restored to its once lustrous shine.

Many cops have told me that they like stock Dehner boots because they are easy to care for. A quick spray of furniture polish and a wipe-down restores the boot shafts to a very shiny appearance. All except the area exposed to the hot engine, which dulls out rather quickly. Some cops don’t care, and some do. Those who do replace their boots quickly enough that it doesn’t matter to them if the boots “show character” from such damage incurred when worn on a police motorcycle.

I have to point out, while I am a Harley guy (thus the name), this damage occurs to Dehner boots worn on a Police Harley. The other manufacturer of police motorcyles — BMW — has its engine, engine guard, and exhaust pipes configured in such a way that the rider’s boot shaft doesn’t get close to the source of heat, so the boots do not discolor like they do when worn on a Harley.

If you like Dehner boots but don’t wear them while riding a Harley, then the stock version should suit you well. They are much less expensive than the all-leather version, which costs more than twice as much.

Life is short: know your boots.