As I sit down to write this month’s essay, Thanksgiving is only a few hours away. We all get tired of hearing the old cliché telling us to “be thankful,” but for the last couple of years, I’ve tried to make it a point to be more thankful each day. Not just thankful for my family and the roof over my head, but thankful in an extended way. Thankful that I survived the accident that could have killed me and for the incredible doctors thousands of miles away that have helped me. I’m also thankful that even though I can’t ride as long or as hard as I used to—I can still ride. I can hear the sound of my Samsons rumbling beneath me and feel the wind that still stirs my soul from somewhere deep down inside me. You know, that little fire that only another biker understands. When my non-riding co-workers ask why on earth I would want to ride again after staring down the Grim Reaper, I just have to tell them, “If you don’t ride, you wouldn’t understand.” Enough of my philosophical side; let me tell you what’s been going on. With the end of October came more events benefiting either a gal with breast cancer or an organization that aids in research or treatment. On October 27, friends of Regina Bonnay showed up at the Iron Horse in Ormond Beach to throw down their money for a run to help offset the medical bills she has incurred in her battle against breast cancer. The ride was supported by American Legion Post 348 and VFW Post 10131 and ended up in Cocoa at the H&D Roadhouse where the after-party included a bikini bike wash and plenty of vendors… Closer to home, riders and local citizens came together for an afternoon of fun to support Debbie Turners Cancer Center located in Apopka. Registration for the poker run began at 7:00 a.m. with riders then heading off to parts unknown. Seems there was a little mix-up in directions, so riders showed up a little later than expected at the all-day street party at the old Albertson’s parking lot where vendors, a DJ and kiddie games were set up… Gator H-D in Leesburg decided to party the whole weekend with Rockin’ Days of Thunder, starting October 31 and running through November 3. This event was held in conjunction with the Florida H.O.G. Rally, so there were all kinds of things going on at the dealership and in Leesburg—poker runs for the riders and poker walks for the non-riders, pancake breakfasts and various forms of entertainment including the ever-popular Bobby Friss Band to wrap up the event on the last day… Head east toward Sanford that day and you would have encountered the first toy run of the season at The Barn hosted by the United Sanford Alliance. Admission was an unwrapped toy and $10. Riders returning to The Barn were treated to a lineup of vendors, prizes and musical entertainment provided by a popular local group, Dreams, The Band… The next weekend, the theme of the benefits switched to honoring our military heroes. Starting on Friday night, November 9, the Veterans Day Weekend Rally ran through the entire weekend down in Titusville at Sand Point Park. The popular kick-ass band from Jacksonville, Big Engine, took the stage on that night to set the pace for the weekend, and on Saturday the Jimmie Van Zant Band kept the momentum going. There was something for everyone at this event—a 5K Run, a local art contest, a kid zone and even a beer garden… Back in Leesburg on the morning of the 10th, riders showed up at Gator H-D for a ride to benefit Disabled American Veterans. After registration and a nice hearty breakfast, everyone headed south toward the sister store, Stormy Hill Harley in Clermont. The lineup for the afternoon included special military speakers, a Blues Brothers Revue and various items for auction… That same afternoon, over on the east coast in Melbourne, the 1st annual Wild Dogs for War Dogs Poker Run took place. Funds raised at this event went to help the USWD Association, which is responsible for sending supplies to active Military War Dogs and their handlers. In my opinion this is a great cause, since many of these four-legged heroes give their lives in service of our country and in loyalty to their handlers. The ride started in Melbourne at American Legion Post 83 and made stops at Rocket VFW #4534 in Rockledge, American Legion #22 in Cocoa, and American Legion #200 in Satellite Beach before ending up in Palm Bay at a private residence… But veterans were not the only focus close to our hearts. On November 4 in Tampa, an escorted ride to benefit the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation left out of the Heinrich Center. The ride took a leisurely putt through some scenic back roads before ending back at the starting point where participants were able to enjoy meeting some of the young brain tumor survivors—the real stars of the day. The prize patrol for this event must have worked extra hard ’cause there were some great prizes up for grabs: helmets, tires, luggage and even a new bike… Another ride to benefit a great organization, St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, was hosted by the Fallen Few MC in Mt. Dora on the 18th. Registration was at the AmVets #1992 in Mt. Dora with riders then riding to area stops before the last one at the Corner Pub in Eustis… And I wanted to mention an upcoming event worth your time. Orlando Harley-Davidson is presenting an escorted bike convoy of Bikers Against Child Abuse on January 20. Registration takes place at Downtown Disney West Side with I-4 being closed to the public via rolling roadblocks during the procession that ends at the shop’s Historic Factory Dealership. Go to www.orlandoharley.com for time schedules, admission fees and further details. That’s about it from my corner of the world this month.