Oyster Run 2012

The Oyster Run is a growing event for bikers across Washington State that’s held annually in Anacortes, Washington. For those of you that don’t have a general demographic idea of Washington State, Anacortes is pretty far north depending on your location. This year alone, because of the amazing weather, nearly 20,000 bikes turned out. There were a lot of different walks of life at the event, and lots of different motorcycle clubs. The Bandidos made an appearance along with just about every Bandido support group in the area. I met a few Belltown Boyz, I saw a lot of Patriot Guard Riders, and of course, the association I’m involved in, the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association, was there in full force.

The day started out for me around 7am. The weather absolutely sucked and I was cold as a shaved dog in the dead of winter, but I roughed it out and made the short ride from Everett to Arlington where I’d finally meet up with my new brothers from Chapter 11-5. When I pulled into Arlington, my hands hurt so bad I could barely pull my wallet out of my back pocket to get my debit card to buy gas. But I’d soon warm up with friendly smiles, a new family, and a nice warm cup of Joe!

Here we are staged at Denny’s in town:

We had our first ever Chapter meeting inside Denny’s and we basically just talked about official chapter stuff that had to be covered. I had a sense of brotherhood already with these guys. A lot of them approached me first, introduced themselves, shook hands, and hugged. I was sort of amazed at first, but I sat back and gently took it all in. I was supposed to be patched in on this day but due to some administration bullshit beyond my control, things were put on hold. But I was listed as an official member. And not only an official CVMA member but an original Chapter 11-5 member. Being that the chapter is brand new, whoever showed up and signed in, you’d be one of the first. I think that is so fucking cool. It’s sort of like the Sons of Anarchy’s first 9. But we aren’t like the Sons of Anarchy in any way.

Our next stop was to Soundview Harley. We’d meet up with our brothers and sisters from 11-4 and 11-1 and then proceed to Anacortes from there in about four or five groups of 10-12 bikes. Yeah, we rolled fucking deep and I was thoroughly pumped. I was excited to ride into Anacortes with a bunch of guys like me that served or are still serving and done a few combat tours. When we staged outside and finally got the rubber to the pavement, my body was so full of adrenaline. Everyone’s’ bike starting one by one, the exhaust pipes spitting fumes, and grey smoke, the pounding of the engines, the music blasting from one of the bikes..it was surreal. It was like being in a dream that you’d never want to wake up from.

That was the scene at the Harley store. Un-fucking-believable. There had to be 2,000 bikes or more in this tiny little parking lot. And more kept coming in!

We met up with our brothers and sisters from 11-1 and 11-4, had a quick brief of what was to come, our route to the Run, and a quick safety brief. You know, just like in the Army. Or Navy. Or whatever. The CVMA isn’t a wreckless bunch of hoodlums that like to run out and cause trouble. We did the speed limit, didn’t ride wreckless, and we all got there in one piece. For that, I am thankful for. I appreciate a responsible group to ride in.

We didn’t just jump on I-5 and haul ass to Anacortes either. We took some back roads, hit some switch backs, saw a lot of pretty country side and kept the rubber to the road. It was a lot of fun. For the most part, we rode in a staggered formation. Sometimes we had to switch to single file due to close two lane highways or whatever, but we usually doubled up on the road and road with style. CVMA style.

I think it took us nearly an hour and some change to finally make it to the Oyster run. We took the R Ave exit and parked behind Rite Aid, which was surprising it wasn’t already full of bikes. Every other parking lot was littered with chrome, Harley emblems, and Honda swag.

That’s the majority of the bikes from the Association parked in the above photo after we arrived in town. Eventually we all departed and went our separate ways. At first, I was a little disappointed I wasn’t flying CVMA colors on my cut. But that would soon change once I got patched in.

My first stop and my only concern was to find some BBQ-ed oysters and try them. Mind you, I’m a goddamn seafood connoisseur, but I was a little timid when it came to these pearls of the sea. I didn’t know what to expect. Would they be slimy and gross? Would they be chewy and rubbery? I didn’t have any clue. But I absolutely had to have some….

The opened shelled oysters were the BBQ-ed ones. And the ones in the plastic containers (which I didn’t try) were raw “shooter” oysters. I wasn’t about to try those. Yuck! But I did try the BBQ-ed ones and let me tell you. If you’ve ever been slightly squeamish about trying something like this, do yourself a huge favor and indulge a little bit. I loved them. They were soaked in some kind of steak sauce, seasoned with all kinds of shit and they were absolutely phenomenal!

As far as the shooters? Didn’t try them. Wasn’t going to happen.

Don’t judge.

More walking around ensued. I listened to some live music and drank some local microbrewed beers. I tried some amazing clam chowder at the Rock Fish Grill and then it was time to depart. They actually started kicking people out by announcing last call at around 5pm.

Here’s the line up of bikes more towards the end of the evening:

Let me tell you, leaving that place was pure hell. Traffic was so far backed up, it took nearly an hour of sitting in traffic before I was able to hit the open road on the iron sled. But it was fucking worth it. Oyster Run 2013!

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Please, Father Time. Take me with you.

 

It’s amazing how fast someone’s life can be flipped upside down so quickly. The more people I meet, the more I see others in the same situation as I once was.

When my ex-fiance told me she wasn’t happy in our relationship and hadn’t been happy for the past two months, It really took a lot to comprehend that. She was never mean or vindictive towards me and she always supported me in whatever I wanted to do. Especially with buying the house for us. We had been dating for roughly 14 months when I asked her to marry me and then a month later, we bought a house together. Things seemed to be working out.

Apart of me feels betrayed because I really wasn’t given a chance to make things better for her. The past two months, she was miserable. I had no idea. She gave no signs that she wasn’t happy. She just wasn’t happy.

She left in late May of 2010. I got out of the military September of that same year. I lived in that house, alone, beaten, and brought to my knees until I made the trek from southern Illinois to the great Pacific Northwest. I packed my car with as much of my shit as I could and I spent 7 days on the road. I also stopped in to see my sister in Utah and stayed with them for about five days.

I reminisce on the times I spent with my ex-fiance. All the good times we had. Going to Cardinal baseball games, watching the most boring NFL game in the Edward Jones dome when the Seahawks came to town and we spent the entire time making fun of the low attendance. We went out to dinner a lot. And we had a great time with her parents. Her parents loved me and I adored them. They were hard-working, blue-collar shmucks like the rest of us. But they had their shit together.

When she walked out the door, it all stopped. The promises, the love, the get-togethers, the calls, the text messages…it all ended. Just like that. And I wasn’t mentally ready for something like that. In the 14 months we were together, I had formed a bond with these people. And as a member of the Armed Forces, my family away from my family is just as important. I don’t get to be around my parents as much as I wanted to or needed to be. So I latched onto her parents. Her Dad reminded me so much like my own father. He was smart, articulate, crafty and indeed a man of his word.

Her mother on the other hand, was a tad senile, in denial about her aging body but she had a good heart. She always told me she loved me. And would help me any way she could. But she has an obligation to her own flesh and blood. She must support her daughter any way possible. It’s what mothers do, right?

I knew life would go on. I knew the sun would shine again in my pathetic existence. But at that time, I wanted to die. I loved her so much. I think the only other time I really felt that in love was with my very first girlfriend. We spent so much time together before I joined the Army in 2000. I thought I had a life long partner.

I felt the same way with my ex. Buying that house together was a pretty serious purchase and it meant a lot of things for us. We had a life together. Well, at least a start. The both of us were essentially living the American Dream.

I remembered when she walked out, though. I felt like a broken man. I stood in the kitchen and I just dropped to my knees on the cold kitchen tile floor. I didn’t even brace for impact. I took the hard floors punishment full-bore onto my knees. It nearly crippled me. But that’s not where the pain was the greatest. My heart felt like it was going to explode. And I wanted it to. I just knelt there, hunched over with my face in my hands, sobbing uncontrollably.

At first, I wasn’t sure why I was so upset. Was it because I just spent thousands of dollars of my savings on an engagement ring? Or the fact that I wouldn’t be able to make house payments to the bank without her income? Or the fact that I’d probably have to voluntarily give up my new motorcycle? Or the fact that I’d have to say good-bye to Oscar, our German Shepherd puppy? Or maybe it was because I was now alone, again. Without anyone. In a cold, lonely, unlivable home.

The next four months were pure hell. And my next stop was Lincoln Trails Behavior Health in Kentucky.