I have been thinking a lot since we left the "Beehive Beemers" gathering yesterday, and trying as one might say as I usually do in such situation to "let it go"… and this is after two years or so on the road "growing up"! I have not been able to. This is a sad story, a facet of Life I thought I would never see again, and even more disturbing is the fact that it has originated from fellow motorcycle riders! The photos are from our ride to Penguitch and back, not necessarily from that day, a beautiful stretch of road passing through the Red Canyon area. The changes of colors from white sandstone to red are just amazing! Also some photos from the Rally…
From the time we set up camp in Penguitch, the beginning scenario did not play right. On the positive side quite a few familiar faces came by to see us, "we met you in Louisiana… remember?"… "we met you in Oregon…" "in California…" It took us back in time with much conversation, much talk on roads taken, even maps pulled out, awesome past acquaintances, new ones made, they played with Spirit, many took pictures, it was like reliving our past adventures as we had been to a few welcoming Rallies these past couple years. An Adventure Rider one in Kernville where we felt so welcomed, a Pashnit gathering which to this day has the great memories of a "feel good" weekend with families including all the kids, dogs, wives, where I even cooked for about 70 attendees on a Friday night!… A Louisiana Rally where so many land us a hand after we crashed… and before! Louisiana!… where they even put on a ride for us while going through that wonderful good food eating and friendly people State!
But this time, within an hour of us being there, the Rally Master, with no introduction of himself whatsoever, impersonal and cold hearted as it could be, came to me and warned me a couple times to restrain Spirit as some members had a bit of a concern about him specially being a Pit. I understood! But yet at that time, the good did still outweighed the bad. A couple riders, amazed at the "demand" and fond of our web site went on to find out the source of it all! A group about 500 feet away… sitting in a circle and commenting out loud that dogs should not be allowed… It was not the fact that Spirit is a Pit… it was only as I found out a bit later that this individual "David Friese", seemingly I was told, the leader of the group… is a "dog hater". Strong words… indeed. I never use the word "hate" as it should not be part of the human vocabulary… but that is the word used later on by the organizers of the Rally themselves to describe this individual…
My mood of course became somber, Spirit is my "Life"… he is who I have left through my nights and days, throughout this Journey, he is a generous well behaved and kind Soul. We have learned from each other, we are both survivors and have grown together for the best of it all.
As time went on, as small crowds gathered around us to check out the rig and play some more with Spirit, and some more conversations going on regarding the Rally Master’s comments and warnings, more where surprised as other dogs where also present. A couple more riders went on again toward the gathered group and came back telling me that they could only hear out loud the non stop comments about Spirit! They were shocked themselves. Nothing else to do maybe?
At one point I had to use the facilities, Spirit was tied to the rig and I could hear his barking at times while away. That is what he does when we are camping as we do mostly in desolate areas. He becomes the guardian of the rig! No growling, no teeth showing, just barking as suddenly at that moment alone with much crowd around him specially if one nearing the rig a bit too close. A friend of mine, Jim, the owner of Mountain Sun Touring products from who I had bought a few items years ago was only about 40 feet away with some friends of his, a few barks did not bother anyone, it only lasted a very short time off and on.
Returning a few minutes later, walking myself by the group, I decided to meet them, introduce myself and maybe shed some light that Pit Bulls are as other dogs as one would raise them! Asking very politely "what the complains where all about?", this individual, David Friese, definitely the leader of his own pack, "told me" to shut my dog up… already not such kind words with an insulting tone, it bothered him even though 500 feet or more away from him. And as I replied that I was on my way, trying my hardest to stay undisturbed after introducing myself, something he would not do, suddenly, unprovoked, the profanities and foul language started flying in my direction.
Belligerent… insulting… loud… profanities. Yes, I stayed very calm, but for the first time in this Journey, a sudden heat formed and took birth within me. My Family, my Dog and myself will not be insulted… I do not accept and will not accept such outburst… Keeping my composure I calmly asked him to watch his language… three times, as his obviously well trained mouth would not stop and the depth of his profanities escalated to the point that, could have been his wife next to him till then very agreeable, finally asked him to no avail to tone it down. We had many witnesses. With the fear of escalating the situation, I turned around and walked away toward the registration desk to find the person in charge, turning out to be the same Rally Master I had met earlier. Ah! Valley of the Gods! How sweet our time was there! California Lost Coast… how serene the moments lingered throughout our stay… How could this happen?
As above, the same facts of the incident were related to the Rally Master… adding the question after only a shoulder shrug on his part, "are you going to allow one of your members to unleash toward a visitor with such foul language and profanities"… and the answer was with an empty and unconcerned look… "I am so sorry!". He was not. I asked again, as by that time others were listening on to the conversation. I asked again if anyone was going to talk to him… It was like talking to a wall with many faces! Everyone sitting behind the registration desk only trying to pass on the issue. They all seemed to fear this individual, the only answer I got was "I don’t want to talk to him"… "Oh! him, I don’t want to deal with him.." he is a "dog hater" and "he was under the assumption that there would not be any dogs at the Rally".
I could not believe that lack of concern… and it just made the matters worse realizing by then that I truly was on my own in this situation! Who was this individual everyone seemed to fear so much and themselves dislike so much?… but would not have the "courage" to go talk to him? Maybe a big contributor to the Club? I openly communicated my thought that if I would have been the Rally Master I would have asked "him" to leave as such behavior is shameful, or at least reprimanded him following a public apology. No one moved… no one backed me up… only empty faces looking at me… The Rally Master? Well, it did not seem to be his problem at all, barely moving his figure to express his indifference. A disgrace for this Chartered BMW Club and as I realized that we are not welcome, I packed and went on with much thinking, back on the road, my hands shaking gripping the handlebar and my mind in a turmoil as never before since we had left. I could not put a cap on my emotions, having just experienced a facet of society I was hoping to never see again!
What an irony it was I was thinking, as we finally stopped at a rest area, a shaded area, wanting to give Spirit a big hug. If his kind heart only knew the ugliness of such fellow riders… and maybe he did as he lovingly put his head against my chest with a big sigh, seemingly happy to be out of there. What an irony to have been featured in "BMW WORLD Magazine" from Africa to Europe to the USA… to have been invited so many numerous times at events we could not attend… even today finding this Article on SpeedTV… and there was, suddenly, this disgraceful little BMW Motorcycle Club with such a lack of any sort of humanity and a coward attitude toward an incident that should have never been allowed. So disgraceful that BMW MOA should uncharter such organization.
We are doing better today, I have much thinking to do about another Rally I wanted to attend next month in Paionia, Colorado, to finally meet a Friend of mine that has been of much support toward us, and I hope vice versa, but I just don’t know anymore! We cannot avoid to be in parallel at times with the society surrounding us. The good outweighs the bad by far as I have found out these past two years, as I have also found out through all our readers supporting us in more ways than one.
The President of the Club, Bob Mabey, has send us an apology. I was however surprised to find out that he himself is a dog breeder, Malamutes, as his biography however reads and I quote…
"Bob currently rides his favorite BMW, a ‘84 R100RS, and his other favorite BMW – and the world’s greatest motorcycle – a ’06 R1200GS After 24 years and 250,000 miles of being Beemer mounted he has come to appreciate the fact that they are both loyal and spirited, don’t need to be fed and watered twice a day, don’t crap in the garage, and don’t have unexpected vet bills once or twice a year."
I don’t know about that statement, but I still would choose Spirit over any motorcycle or other vehicles even having to "feed him and water him twice a day, clean up after him if I had to and pay for his unexpected vet bills as many times a year it takes!" A strange biography for a breeder I find!
I have demanded a written apology from their member "David Friese" and from the "Rally Master’ and if it is any consolation ready to take this up with the parent organization "BMW MOA". For everyone else, I thank you all for your conversations, you playfulness with Spirit and all the kind words you have expressed, even if we were there only for a few hours. Life goes on… Mother Nature is waiting, speechless maybe, but beautiful as ever, she has never had a prejudice toward Spirit… of toward myself for that matter!
Till next time, as always, you be well…
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Ara & Spirit