motorcycle

The German Kradmelder, motorcycle dispatch rider in English, could be used at any time in history, but in this case, they were used during World War II, specifically on the Eastern Front. The Eastern Front of World War II was a theatre of conflict between the European Axis powers against the Soviet Union (USSR), Poland and other Allies, which encompassed Central Europe, Eastern Europe, Northeast Europe (Baltics), and Southeast Europe (Balkans) from June 22, 1941 to May 9, 1945. The Soviet Union called it the Great Patriotic War, but everyone else called it the Eastern Front.

Dispatch riders were used by armed forces to get information from headquarters to the military units. They often didn’t have radios, and depending on the message, they might not have trusted the airwaves with some of the top secret messages. The Nazi Regime never really cared about its soldiers or its people, so the Kradmelder were sent out in the heat of summer or the frigid temperatures of winter. They were expendable, and that was all there was to it. Nevertheless, they played a vital role at a time when telecommunications were limited and insecure. They were also used to deliver carrier pigeons. The pigeons were used to send information back to headquarters, concerning the current situations on the front.

This type of dispatch was essential, but riding on an exposed vehicle in the Russian Winter, was brutal, and even deadly sometimes. During the winter the riders had better have protective clothing, or they could freeze to death. The Kradfahrer (motorcycle rider) might wear a sentry’s fur-lined overcoat, heavy mittens, the fur-lined cap of the reversible winter suit, which is no doubt being worn beneath the overcoat, and a gas-mask for face protection…with the air filter canister removed from the gas-mask. Special extra eyepiece lens were issued for cold weather to prevent fogging by creating an airspace between the two lens.

In the summer, the German Kradmelder might wear his rubberized coat (Kradmantel) wrapped and buttoned around his legs to keep dirt and dust off his uniform. Personally, I can’t imagine wearing a rubberized coat in the summer simply to keep the dust off of a uniform. The rider would surly be melting from the heat, but the regime would require that the uniform be neat and clean at all times…even if it was soaked in sweat!! During World War II, the German military was the largest employers of motorcycles. On June 22, 1941 Germany launched its Operation Barbarossa, the 3-million-man invasion of the Soviet Union. The Kradmelder served a variety of functions including chauffeur service for officers, delivering dispatches, hot meals, as scouting patrols, as point vehicles taking the brunt of battle, sometimes as specially equipped tank destroyers. As with all motorcyclists, there was a kinship among these soldiers who called themselves “Kradmelder.” They bravely rode exposed without the armor plating of the Panzers Tanks and without the safety of hundreds of foot soldiers beside them. They were moving targets and sniper magnets. They never knew when they would encounter mine fields, artillery fire, and strafing aircraft, but they bravely went, because Hitler’s orders must be carried out…even if they died trying.

Besides the known enemy, there was another enemy…the Russian weather. As Autumn approached, the roads had turned into nearly impassable bogs, the fields over which the motorcycles traveled turning in to “seas of jelly three feet more deep.” If that weren’t bad enough, Winter brought falling temperatures, often down to -40° Fahrenheit, causing engine oil and exposed soldiers froze solid. The “lucky” German Kradmelder benefited from special heating systems grafted onto their bikes, including foot and hand warmers. Still there were those who did not have these things, and even these things didn’t totally protect the rider. By the end of World War II, many if not most of the motorcycles, along with their riders, simply never returned home.

My nephew, Tucker Schulenberg is quite a guy!! He loves wheels…all kinds of wheels!! He loves to go out on the four wheeler, his motorcycle, and his rip stick. If fact, he has used his rip stick so much that he wore out his wheels. He just may be the first kid to ever do that. It certainly isn’t something I’ve ever heard of before.

Tucker is a soft hearted guy, who likes to do things for other people. He likes to sleep in, but he gives that up in the winter months do he can get up and build a fire for his dad, my brother-in-law, Ron Schulenberg, (who recently adopted him…the best day in all of their lives). Tucker is very dedicated to keeping his dad warm and usually is a very good helper doing oil and sweeping the garage. Tucker loves spending time with his dad, and even work doesn’t seem like work when they are together. Although Tucker has this “hard-core armor” on outside he is very sensitive on the inside and always worries about his family especially his brother, Riley Birky and his sister, Cassie Iverson! He loves them very much because he has such a huge heart. Tucker also loves his dogs and his cat.

Tucker is a comical guy. In school he is very popular because he is the class clown. He is always funny and joking around. Nevertheless, he is smart as a whip, and does well in school. He has a couple of really good friends…Joey, who he has known since preschool, and with whom he is very close. Their friendship has been a strong bond for both of them. His cousin Easton Moore is another of his close friends. They love to play Xbox games together, over the phone, since they live in different towns. And…like many boys his age, Tucker has a girlfriend. I’m not surprised, because he is a cute guy and so all the girls swoon over him.

As with most teenagers, Tucker sometimes gets “a little mouthy” and his mom, Rachel Schulenberg had to threaten to take away his privileges. Like most men, he never picks up his clothes or his towels. He definitely not a “neat freak,” but she is trying to teach him the way to be a good husband in the future. I’m sure his future wife will appreciate that effort very much. It’s funny that Tucker doesn’t pick up his clothes, because he is very “into” the way he dresses. He enjoys looking nice and up-to-date with the current fashion trends. He was real excited to get a new leather jacket and cowboy boots for his birthday. Tucker has his head on straight, and in very informed about politics. He is a Trumper all the way, and that makes all of his family very proud. Today is Tucker’s 13th birthday. Happy birthday Tucker!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

It seems like these days, the more unique a motorcycle is, the more attention it gets. I don’t think anyone who as seen an unusual motorcycle, can say that they weren’t impressed, amused, or just shocked. You can’t really believe what you are seeing, but it’s hard to look away too. I sometimes wonder how these people came up with such an idea. I guess it takes a great deal of imagination. Some of these designs, are hilarious, and there is seriously no other word for it. People just think of something that is important in their lives, and turn their motorcycle into so version of that thing.

While strange bicycles, and even motorcycles, seem like a hilariously funny idea, that might land you on the ground sometimes, some strange looking motorcycles would seem to me like something a little riskier…especially if you get some speed behind it. Such is the case with the monocycle. I’m not a big fan of motorcycles anyway, so to modify one just to make it a novelty seems an odd idea, indeed. Still, as long as the safety of the motorcycle doesn’t enter into the picture, I guess it’s ok, but some people really got carried away. There were a few monocycles that people rode, and for me, that seems like a dangerous thing to ride. Motorcycles are hard enough upright with two wheels, but to remove one wheel and ride that contraption on the remaining wheel…just crazy!!

Nevertheless, that is what Messrs Cislaghi and Goventosa of Italy did, when they built the Motoruota in the 1920s. While it looked so unusual that is was sure to attract attention, it really was a dangerous motorcycle. Apparently the design was popular in Europe, especially France and Italy. They were interesting, to say the least, and I’m sure everyone would want to see it, but you would never get me on one of these contraptions. I value my life much more than that.

Most people know what the paddy wagon is, and nobody wants to end up in one. An old term for arresting vehicle, the term gets it’s roots from the Irish. Apparently, many of the police officers in early America were of Irish descent. According to Dictionary.com, “Irishman,” 1780, slang, from the pet form of the common Irish proper name Patrick (Irish Padraig). It was in use in black slang by 1946 for any “white person.” Paddy wagon is 1930, perhaps so called because many police officers were Irish. Paddywhack (1881) originally meant “an Irishman.” I suppose that many would look at this slang name for police officer as disrespectful, and they might be right, but no more disrespectful that pig or even cop. Nevertheless, the Paddy Wagon was just a vehicle used to transport prisoners to jail. These days, unless it is a big group being arrested at one time, paddy wagons aren’t used much, but they used to be much more common. I’m sure there were many outlaws who knew the inside of a paddy wagon well…at least the ones who were’t very good at their skill. Those who were good at it usually avoided the paddy wagons.

Back in the Old West, paddy wagons really were wagons, but then so was every other mode of personal transportation, and many forms of business transportation. With the invention of the motorized vehicle, came a different type of Paddy Wagon too. And with the invention of the motorcycle, came an even more unusual type of Paddy Wagon. I can’t really imagine being taken to jail in a cage attached to a motorcycle, but there were those who were taken that way. This seemed to be common in Los Angeles, which makes sense, because many other places would be too cold for that. Still, imagine being hauled to jail in a cage for all the locals to see. No privacy there. I suppose that would be a special type of punishment for sure, the crime and the embarrassment. Or maybe criminals don’t get embarrassed. I can’t really say. All I know is that if I ever had to be hauled to jail in a Paddy Wagon, I would prefer the type we have today, with no windows.

My nephew, Steve Spethman is a great husband and dad. I have known Steve since he was twelve, and like most kids, he was carefree and a little mischievous. Nevertheless, he has grown into such a great man. Steve’s top priority is his family. He is very active in the activities of his three boys and his daughter. Steve loves guns. He wants his kids and his wife, Jenny to know how to defend themselves, and he also loves to hunt, so he wants the kids to be able to hunt too, as they come of age, so he has trained them on every aspect of gun use and safety. Of course, they have to take the hunter safety classes too, but the two older boys have passed with ease. I know that his younger two children will do so too. Steve is an excellent marksman and is willing to help anyone with their shooting ability. I have been blessed to have him show me some things to help me shoot better, so I know that he is patient, and qualified. Now, I just need to go with him again to practice, hahaha!!

Steve is a hard working man, and even takes on extra work to help out family and friends, and to earn a little extra money. He does excellent carpentry work, and has helped .y sister, Caryl Reed and her husband, Mike to build the home they have been working on at their ranchette near Casper. The work Steve has done there is beautiful, and I know that Mike has been grateful for his help. He is currently working on so renovations at the family home, and while Jenny is dreading the mess, she is really looking forward to the nice new kitchen she will have when all the renovations are done. I can’t wait to see the results. I know their kitchen will be just beautiful!!

Steve is very active. He loves to ride his motorcycle with his wife, Jenny. They really enjoy the summer months. If they aren’t riding the motorcycle, the might be taking their kids to the lake to swim, or on the mountain for a picnic. Winter finds them on the mountain on their 4 wheelers, but summer is their favorite season. Jenny and Steve love to be outside playing with their kids and enjoying the great weather. This year they had such a great summer, that they all hate to see it end, but fall brings football, and that’s ok too. Today is Steve’s birthday. Happy birthday Steve!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My son-in-law, Travis Royce is without a doubt, the most social person in our family. Travis can talk to anyone. There isn’t a shy bone in his body. I think that is one thing that made him such a great DJ when he and my daughter, Amy lived here in Casper. Travis was born in San Diego, and spent a number of years in Puyallup, Washington as a child. He loved it there, and loves the coastal areas in general, so after their children graduated from high school, they made the move to the Seattle area, and now to the Bellingham area. They truly love the area, and I can understand that, because it is quite beautiful there. I don’t know if would love the rain, but they seem to, so it’s all good.

Travis can make friends wherever he goes, and he loves to entertain…especially with a barbeque. He loves to go all out with the feast he puts on too. He might cook steaks, lobster, or jalapeno poppers…or just burgers. No matter what’s cooking Travis is a good cook, and he is a great host. As I said, he loves to entertain, and he is quick witted, so there is never a dull moment. When Travis is around, there is always a joke going on. Even when my daughter, Amy and Travis aren’t entertaining, they love to sit out in their back yard with a fire going, just enjoying the peace and quiet. Their home is out in the country…or at the edge of town anyway, so it is quiet a quiet neighborhood.

Now you might think that with their love of the country life, quiet would be the order of the day, but that is not always the case. As summer approaches, both Amy and Travis look forward to getting out their motorcycle and cruising the area. With all of the water destinations in their vicinity, they have a lot of pretty drives that they can take. Travis is definitely not a snow lover, so Western Washington is pretty ideal. He wants as many warm months as possible. I can relate to that, but I don’t know that Washington is the ideal place. Still, as Amy says, they don’t like the extreme heat either, so there you have it. All I care about is that Travis loves my girl, and he does. Today is Travis’ birthday. Happy birthday Travis!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

13265986_257222344634488_4589898347726366777_n13406763_265886647101391_3366028807812107235_nMy grand niece, Reagan Parmely is a busy little girl. I think that her most important job, at least in her opinion, is being the big sister. Reagan takes it upon herself to help her little sister, Hattie to do things like climbing the hay bales. She also takes her for walks in the mud, and for rides in her truck…yes, Reagan has a truck…that runs. Together, they help around the farm, taking care of the animals, and cuddling the babies. As sisters go, Reagan and Hattie are best friends. Reagan teaches Hattie things…like pushing her big sister on the tricycle, and how the tell the difference between weeds and flowers. They have great times together.

Reagan is a helper. She loves the farm animals, and is a great help when it comes to their care. The size of these animals doesn’t bother her one bit. Most kids would be at least a little apprehensive around a cow or horse that is more that twice their size, but not Reagan, or her sister, Hattie. They know how to act around the animals, and the animals are very gentle with them. Reagan likes to make sure that all the farm animals are where they are supposed to be, In fact, all animals have a proper place, and they should stay there. In Casper, where we live, 13876265_292781794411876_617624038936402311_nimg_5512there are two statues of horses eating the grass at the Quality Inn, and every time Reagan’s family drives by there, Reagan proceeds to tell those horses that they need to get back home to their corral. Now, don’t misunderstand me, she knows they are statues. She just likes saying that to be funny, and we all think it’s funny too.

Reagan likes mobility…of any kind. She rides horse, motorcycles, her truck, bicycle, and of course, the standard walking and running. And she’s pretty good at all of them. I think she was born riding something…or shortly thereafter. She takes everyone in her truck, or at least the ones that fit. I’m not totally sure how the dogs feel about it, but they ride along, so I guess she must be a pretty good driver. Reagan has grown up around a dad that loves motorcycles, a mom who loves horses, and an uncle who loves trucks, so none of this is particularly surprising to me. She has already had her first motorcycle accident, and while she had a shiner, she is a tough 13873017_287974464892609_4907685120331456178_n12049279_134764306880293_1923635950844667072_ngirl, who doesn’t give up. She gets right back on and goes again. She loves hiking with her Oma, my sister-in-law, Jennifer Parmely, and riding her bicycle with her Aunt Brenda Schulenberg, who goes by BR. Together they all work on staying healthy and active. Reagan also loves to work with her grandparents, Albert and Kari Eighmy. They have safe tools for her to use, and she helps them build things around their farm. She loves having all of these people who let her help with things, because she likes to be busy. Today is Reagan’s 4th birthday. Happy birthday Reagan!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

On the road againI know that everyone jokes about how awful their in-laws are, but I have to say that I have been very blessed in that category. Whether we are talking about Bob’s family, or my sons-in-law, I can honestly say I feel truly blessed. My younger son-in-law, Travis is a unique person. He is his own man, with his own ideas, and yet, he is totally in love with my daughter Amy and a very devoted family man. While he is very traditional in that way, he is unconventional in most other areas. I love his sense of humor. He is very witty and quick with a joke. While most people are still trying to come up with a response to something, Travis has already said it. I think most of us need someone with a quick wit around us, to keep things lively…and trust me when I say that with Travis around, there is never a dull moment!!

Travis has very definite ideas about how things should be, and he doesn’t mind telling you if you have somehow missed it. Unfortunately when it comes to football, my daughter Amy has Packers FanBears Fanreally missed it…at least as far as Travis is concerned. Their house, during football season, can be…well a bit of a challenge. You see, Travis has always been an avid Chicago Bears fan, while Amy likes their arch rival…the Green Bay Packers. During football season, it’s open season in their house, with each one telling the other just how awful their team is. And each one will tell you that they are right, and their spouse is completely insane!! Personally, I think they could solve the whole problem, if they both became Broncos fans. Funny thing, they aren’t taking to that idea.

There are lots things they do agree on though, like making wine, travel…especially by cruise ship, and motorcycle riding. They like to get out on his bike and cruise around town, or head over to Sturgis for part of the rally. And now that their kids are getting to be all grown up, they have an easier time of just hopping on the bike and heading out on the spur of the At Bob's Placemoment. Their first cruise took a little more planning, but one stop that was a given, was Jamaica. Travis has been a Bob Marley fan for as long as I’ve known him, so the stop at his home was an epic moment in Travis’ life. Travis’ choices, when it comes to music do surprise me a little bit. I never would have expected him to like music like Blues and Reggae, but those are his favorites. I would have expected him to like rock, but everyone has their own ideas, and sometimes we are surprised by them. I really shouldn’t be surprised by anything about Travis, because he is very much his own man.  Today is Travis’ birthday. Happy birthday Travis!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

 

Amy in a Shoe BoxOur daughter, Amy was a little girl from the start, and that didn’t change as time went on.  We are not a tall family for the most part, and we like it that way. Height is not everything when it comes who a person is…in fact it has very little to do with it at all. Amy excels in anything she puts her mind to, and that is what really says who a person is. I can fully attest to how Amy works and how stubbornly she sticks to something until she gets it right, because I work with her every day. Amy has been an insurance agent for three years now, and she is one of the best.

Now, Amy’s abilities do not save her from getting teased…I mean, after all, there is nothing quite so fun as picking on the short kid, right. Amy’s husband, Travis is one of the best in that department, often calling his wife…lovingly, mind you…Midget. We have laughed about that over and over, because as we found out that depending on the source, a midget can be 5’2″ and some say 4’10”. Either way, Amy falls into that category at 4’11”, but Travis uses the term lovingly, and as I said, we like being short. My niece, Kellie, who is tall, lovingly calls us “The Wee Ones” as she picks us up to hug us. Being short is not something we are bothered by, but rather embrace.

Amy leads a busy life. She is a full time insurance agent. She works out daily. She has been instrumental in the care of her grandparents over the last 8 years. And she and Travis have started the new hobby of wine making. They love to ride their motorcycle and hanging out with friends. They have two kids, who have kept them very busy I over the years, although imageless now than before they were in high school.  When you look back at the activities of your life, sometimes you have to wonder where you found the time for everything, but Amy managed.

I am very proud of the person Amy has become. She is everything I had hoped she would be on the day she was born. And, I know that the best is yet to be. She has so much potential and she is very motivated, so I know she can do anything she wants to. Today is Amy’s birthday. Happy birthday Amy!! We love you very much!! Have a wonderful day!!

When Barry was a little kid, he liked to ride motorcycles. Like a lot of boys, the ability to drive…even if it is only on dirt…makes them feel like men. So, if given the chance, they will ride the motorcycle or four wheeler. And if their dad is into bikes, the boys are even more likely to want to ride one. These days there are tracks with cool jumps for the kids and lots of ways to make it a family outing, but back then, Barry rode around the dirt roads north of Casper, where his grandparents lived.

Barry thought anything that had to do with motorcycles was cool back then. In fact, he would sit on the parked bike, just to be on the bike. But, riding was the most fun, of course. Barry was always a kid who liked tractors, motorcycles, four wheelers, and even riding lawn mowers. Anything that was mechanical, so it made sense that he would want to ride non-stop.

What was really kind of cute though was that when he got his helmet, he didn’t want to take it off. I think that kid would have slept in it if he could have. Every time you saw him, he had that helmet on. He wore it in the house, and out to play, and of course, riding. It’s a natural thing for a kid to do. It always seemed to Barry that he was having to wait on others to ride, and that was a bummer. He always felt like he had to fight for his turn to ride.

These days Barry is all grown up and has his own toys. He doesn’t have to ask permission now. He can get out there on his riding lawn mower and ride to his hearts content.  Boys never really outgrow their toys, the toys just get bigger and more expensive, right? Well Barry, now you can have any toy you want…as long as you want to pay for it, so enjoy. I don’t think anyone will fight you over this one. Happy unbirthday Barry!!

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