Goodbye Barry - Welcome Home AMERICA!

Sunday, June 28, 2009


Now this is an interesting story! Last year, on my motorcycle ride from Grants Pass OR to West Point/Clinton/Roy Utah, I spent the night in Winnemucca NV, as I always do. Shortly after checking into the Motel 6 I met a visitor from Finland, named Juha Lyytikainen, who was vacationing in the States with his wife and sister-in-law in a motorhome. As Juha was a motorcycle enthusiast, we shared some motorcycle stories, and just generally had an enjoyable evening. Inasmuch as I had a long ride ahead of me the next day, I excused myself at about 8:30pm to retire for the night. At 3am the next morning I departed to finish my ride, and that was the last I saw of him.

Today, June 27 2009, I attended a bike show at the Riverside Park in Grants Pass. I was wandering around with a couple of fellow riders, when one of them decided to take a seat at a picnic table in the shade. So the three of us sat down for some relief from the 99ºF heat. As we were sitting there, I noticed a couple sitting at the other end of the same table, were speaking a foreign language, but it was not one with which I was familiar. After a few minutes, the man turned and introduced himself as being from Finland. He said he was a mechanic and welder in his home country. I said, "Last year I met a man from Finland who was traveling with his wife and sister-in-law who was a welder and mechanic in Winnemucca NV." His eyes got big, and he said "That was ME!" I was dumbfounded... we were both dumbfounded. Imagine our surprise at meeting the same people we had met a year before, in an entirely different state. We shared another hearty handshake, and spent the rest of the afternoon visiting, listening to the band, and swapping motorcycle stories like long-lost friends.

Juhan and his wife, Piaive (my spelling is probably wrong, but her name is pronounced like Pie-avey) are lovely people, and we had a great visit. They came over to the house, and Juhan and I continued our visit until almost 11pm, while his wife slept in the motorhome. We're going to breakfast in the morning, and we will probably visit some more during the day.

I'm still amazed at the coincidence. If Roger hadn't decided to sit at that table, we never would have met again - even though we were within 20 feet of each other - after being half a world apart for almost exactly one year!

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