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Northeast Passages: February, 2017

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Hearts are thumping this month as lovers embrace another holiday, possibly one fraught with chocolate. It’s a month to hope that love takes a straight path toward the long run instead of the quick sprint. It’s like riding the plank after winning the slow race. If you don’t focus on the far end of the board, you likely go off track. I last rode the plank at the Reading Motorcycle Club in Pennsylvania. And I won. Here’s to full hearts and long planks for all of us in the Northeast… Greenbacks flooded the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke, Massachusetts, on December 22 when a $50,000 check was presented for continued improvements at the spacious state facility, one whose motto is: Care with Honor and Dignity. The funds came from a Victory 4 Veterans annual ride, the Haymond Law Firm, the American Legion and Indian Motorcycle of Springfield. Ryan Flannery, president of the V4V organization, said some 1,200 to 1,500 riders attended the May ride through the area. Elsewhere, they weren’t Harleys but 55 new bicycles and helmets were presented on Saturday, December 17, by the Wyoming Valley Motorcycle Club to youngsters at the Salvation Army of Wilkes-Barre in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania. Club members Jim and Carol Gill were clones of Santa and Mrs. Claus. Linda Armstrong, the club’s public relations officer, later told me that ample funds to pay full retail for the bikes at Walmart came from the club’s August run, Bikes 4 Tykes. “The event was magical for the kids,” Armstrong said. “The spirit of Christmas was in their eyes.” The club has 150 members… Christmas gifts elsewhere included not a bike, but a book. This one was penned by Charlie St. Clair and Jennifer Anderson, the principals of the Laconia Motorcycle Week Association. The book of 130 pages is titled Laconia Motorcycle Week and is loaded with vintage photos. Buyers included Christy Sperrazza of Amherst, New Hampshire, who gifted longtime Harley rider John Ellis of Dunstable, Massachusetts. She bought the book at Amelia Rose Florals, a Merrimack, New Hampshire, shop owned by Krista Lehoullier, a rider from way back whose family spent many a summer on their dirt bikes. I wonder if Charlie has ordered a fabric replica of the book cover to be sewn onto his denims, duds already layered with souvenir patches from rallies across the country and on Mars… A little closer to home than Mars is a new Indian dealership, Brookfield Indian Motorcycle, 20 Federal Road in Brookfield, Connecticut. It is owned by attorney Robert Gaulin and his son, Eric Gaulin, whose anthropology degree from Elon University in North Carolina was topped with a capstone course in motorcycle culture. The new shop, opened September 1, offers sales of Indian and Victory motorcycles, service and merchandise. Robert’s wife, Patti, and daughter Chelsea—Eric’s mom and sister—also are on board. Robert told me the family’s love of the riding community and the scenic majesty of the region are sure to make it a favored destination Now, it’s time to think about warmer weather and the 76th annual Daytona Bike Week, scheduled for March 10–19. Put it in the truck, or ride it there. That’s all for now, friends. See you down the road.

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