Wow What a Busy Week !
Friday December 8th
Friday night Chapter FL1-M participated in the Clearwater Holiday Parade. The weather was windy and cold. Would you believe that some of our members from Canada actually whinned about our weather ! Due to our positon (#96) of 100 enteries we had about a hour wait until we got moving and then proceed down through the middle of downtown Clearwater. Our Chapter had more than 20 well decorated bikes in the Parade.
For those of you that interested , Bright House Channel 15 C-View, will be airing an edited version of the parade starting either Friday 6:30 PM or Saturday 8:30 AM. The schedule after that is as follows:
Tuesdays 5:30PM, Fridays 6:30 PM, Saturdays 8:30 AM and Sundays 6:30PM . The showing will be run through mid-January on those days. We don't know at this time if any of the footage includes our Chapter. You can also view streaming video of this event any time by clicking on this link.
Saturday December 9th
Thank goodness for a 8:45 AM riders meeting. At least the sun had started to warm things up from the previous night and the cold north wind had deminished somewhat. About 40 of our members headed out to Zephyrhills and Chapter FL1-S annual Mingle Jingle. The rally was well organized and we had lots of things to keep us busy. They put on a great meal with all the holiday trimmings. There were lots of nice prizes and awards. Our chapter won the largest chapter present within 100 miles and Maxine and Jim Jackson won oldest rider and co-rider. Some of our members held lucky numbers for some of the prizes that were awarded. Our hats off to chapter Fl1-S for their efforts in making this rally a success.
Following the rally we had just enought time to grab a quick meal and check-in to the motel before returning to assemble for the "Lighted Bike Parade" and the bike decoration contest. As the sun set and the evening turned to nighttime we turned on our lighted bikes and the judges gave them a good going over. Our chapter won two first prizes and a second place in the contest.
As the clock hit 7 PM, Ed Ford of Chapter FL1-S lead the more than 40 bikes in our group into downtown Zephyrhills where we officially started their holiday parade. It was very enjoyable to see the smiles and heard the Oohs as we passed through the crowded streets.
Following the parade Ed led us through about 15 of the many mobile home communities. As we wound down the many streets in the communities both young and old greeted us with a smile, a wave and a "Merry Christmas". Time permitting we would stop and sing a few Christmas Carol's and enjoy a quick snack provided by the residents.
Without a doubt this evening turned out to be one that we will not forget. As we exited the last community and headed eastward down a dark rural road towards downtown Zephyrhills, there in the cold clear eastern sky was a bright light, much like was what this season was really all about. But, rather than a star over the babies crib in a manger in Bethlehem, was the space shuttle lifting off on its journey into space. As the shuttle ascended, it passed through a few layers of thin clouds. The brillant white flames turned to a orange and then back to white. We followed it as it continued to ascend and saw the booster engines separate and then there was just the single white glow of the shuttle's main engine as it faded out over the eastern horizon.
In our efforts to enhance the holiday spirit by decorating our bikes and then traveling though the mobile home communities for those that might not have otherwise been able to make the local parade, we received a special gift in turn. Imagine seeing the smiling faces of the young and elderly, the cheerfully " Merry Christmas" and the many well wishes as we passed by. And then, at the end of a great day seeing such a spectacular sight - the shuttle launch as we ended our ride. It just doesn't get any better than that.
Merry Christmas and A Happy Holiday Season
From Chapter FL1-M