Monday, May 11, 2009

Day 5

In the morning the four of us--Chaplain Duane, Mr. Dean, Dad and I--started getting ready for the day. Meanwhile we talked all the way from when we woke up through breakfast.

Then we went up to the second level of the casino hotel. It was all business up there. We got signed in for NCOM, or the National Coalition Of Motorcyclists. NCOM is a great big meeting where bikers from all over come and discuss some of the issues in the biker world--and, as I would be learning later, it was created for unity among bikers. We would be listening to these discussions for most of the day.

Dad checked the mail for his new phone that had been over-nighted to the hotel the day before. It was there, so in the few minutes left before the first meeting of the day began, I rushed back to our room and plugged in the brand-new phone to the wall charger so it would be ready for Dad when the meeting was over.

When I came back, the meeting had started. I quietly slid into my seat and started listening. What the bikers in front of us all were talking about was bikers' rights. Every once in a while some biker in the rows of seats among us would stand up and tell his opinion to the rest of us. Right then the bikers up front were saying that they didn't like having helmet laws pressed down on them.

Then they moved on to people grouping bikers with terrorists and that their rights were being taken away. I did not know how much of this was true, but if it was true I knew it could lead up to no good.

One man stood up in the crowd and said that if some of our rights as bikers were being taken away, then they might make more laws that would continue to make the biker life harder to live. Like the right to have guns, travel in large groups, etc. One club's patch was even taken away by the government.

My Dad pointed out that loud pipes are necessary for the safety of the biker. People in cars sometimes know where bikers are only because they hear the loud pipes, and so are able to prevent hitting them. If loud pipes were to be outlawed, it might be harmful to bikers.

One person wondered if it would help to have all the bikers gather up and go to the state capitals to raise awareness for bikers. But one person at the front said that one individual standing up for what he believes in can be more effective than a thousand others chipping in a bit for something they want.
We stopped for lunch. We got out of the hotel and walked to a burger diner called "In 'N' Out," a kind of fast food place that appears only near California. I got a burger there--"the best burger in the world," Dad commented as we walked away when we had finished.

We reopened with a pledge to the American flag. Then came more complaints about unfair treatment by the police, friends getting hurt or killed in accidents and nothing changing to prevent that from happening again and more. Then two men came, one after the other, and explained how to "fight" a ticket. When charged with something that a biker thought was not right, like a speeding ticket when the biker knows he wasn't speeding, they showed what to do--like ask the officer to check if his instruments for checking speed were working properly. But one thing stood out. The biker was always supposed to be respectful to the police and not give them a hard time.

Just as a lady came up to do another speech, we left because we knew we would see her presentation later.

We went up to the room for a break, but Mr. Duane stayed behind. Dad got his new phone to start working in the few minutes we had in between meetings. But then we had to hurry to the Christian Unity Meeting.

The first speaker was Mr. Ron Baptiste. He spoke about his ministry in giving health care to bikers. He also gave tips for those who wanted to go into the same kind of ministry.

Then came Chaplain Duane Gryder. He told everybody one story about when he had had a welding job. He was doing a particularly dangerous one in which he had to weld together gas pipe lines. Three other welders were with him, but they were just sitting down doing nothing. He asked his boss why they were there if he was the only one welding. His boss said that they were there to replace him when he got hurt.
Chaplain Gryder said he wouldn't do the job unless his boss stood right beside him the whole time--but the boss wouldn't, knowing he could get hurt. Only when they had made the job completely safe did his boss stay with him.
Unlike the One who is really in authority, Chaplain Gryder said. If the bikers couldn't follow the authority, they shouldn't wear their patches.

Then came Reverend Todd Kezerian, who spoke of (among other things) obeying God and working, without worrying about the result.

Then the last speaker came. Mrs. Denise Nobs, who we had seen earlier, came and we heard the rest of her presentation about the government hiding chips into parking passes, books and even (somehow) tattoo ink! It was all very strange.

We ended the meeting with awarding plaques to certain people: one person called Peter, two people, both with the name Mike, Richard Lester, and one more person named Peter. They all came up, spoke a little, received the plaques, and went down. The last told a humourous poem about faith, then we closed in prayer.

We had dinner later that night at another casino where we thought we might get a better deal. After that we went to bed.

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