Wednesday, April 8, 2015

The Paths of Legends

The number of riders actively engaging in the sport of long-distance motorcycling is incredibly small when compared to the millions of motorcyclists around the world.  At the top of the sport is an even smaller group of passionate riders who have ridden in and finished the Iron Butt Rally, "World's Toughest Motorcycle Rally." As recently as 2013 more individuals have gone into space than have finished the Iron Butt Rally.

One of those at the top of any list of long-distance "Legends" was Ardys Kellerman.  A four time finisher of the Iron Butt Rally, Ardys was also famous and loved among the long-distance riding community and with members of the BMW Motorcycle Owners of North America club.  In 2011, "Queenie" to her friends, was one of only two woman motorcyclists to have ridden over 1,000,000 documented miles.  She was 79 years young. 

I had the pleasure of crossing paths with her several times.  She and I, both Texans, traded at Lone Star BMW in Austin.  It was amazing chatting with this kind Lady about her hard riding adventures.  She and Robert Krull, one of the owners of Lone Star, were lifelong friends.  So much so, that when she passed away in 2013 her family asked Robert to take possession of her motorcycle memorabilia.  He attended her Memorial Service.

Last week I was at Lone Star getting a 100,000 mile service and a new driveshaft for my GS Adventure.  Sitting in the customer lounge I picked up  (for the second time, but that's another story) one of the many books laying around with the magazines and such.  It was a book every long-distance rider has probably read;  "Against the Clock", by Ron Ayres, the story of his amazing motorcycle ride to all 49 states in north 7 days!  Ron is also documented as having ridding a motorcycle over 1,000,000 and is a two time finisher of the Iron Butt Rally.  I was tickled to sit next to Ron at the "IBA Legend" luncheon during an IBA International Meeting one year.  I had read all three of his books...several times.  Sadly, I didn't have any of them with me so I couldn't get his autograph.  I asked him to sign my International Meet name plate instead.  Cool....!

Back to the book.  As I opened the cover, I noticed an inscription on the title page.  It read....

You were always
someone I knew I could
count on for help.  Thanks
 again for being in Oklahoma
 in the middle of the night -
Ron Ayres
September 7, 1999
I immediately recognized this as being something very personal, special and a sentimental treasure between two Legends of the sport.  Not something that should be laying around in the customer lounge of a motorcycle dealership.  I called Robert Krull, who recently sold the business to the local motorcycle superstore.  He still owned all the furniture, fixtures and decorations, of which the book was among.  He had acquired the book as part of Queenie's personal affects and somehow it got tossed to the dealership reading basket. I asked him if I could buy the book or replace it with my copy.    Robert told me to just take it.  I knew exactly what should be done with this artifact, this treasure, this very special book.
Voni Glaves, is the other 1,000,000+ mile Lady long-distance Legend, a Bronze Medal finisher of the Iron Butt Rally and life long friend of Ardys Kellerman.  Both Voni and Ardys appear in Ron's book which is replete with his tributes to the long-distance personalities of the time.  Many are now Legends of the sport.  If anyone would appreciate the uniqueness of this book it would be Voni. 
So, I will ensure this book...written by a Legend ... personally autographed and presented to a Legend ... is delivered to a Legend for safe keeping.  I will take it to Voni by motorcycle of course....Ardys wouldn't want it delivered any other way.