READERS RIDES

BARB AND LANCE’S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE

Editor’s Note: we were very pleased to receive this letter and photos. If you’re wondering why I named it “Excellent Adventure” its not because of the movie at all. It’s about two people in love with each other and their motorcycle and beating cancer and being together as they lived the dream right up until the end. This sure sounds like an excellent adventure to me.

“Dear Editor, I thought you might like to hear this story….My grandma recently had the pleasure of helping another family of rider’s story continue long after the actual ride was over. This is a story about Lance & Barbara Smith both 55 years old and ready to begin the ride of their lifetime together. Lance had just beaten throat cancer and so they both decided it was time tp retire and take their dream trip on their 2006 Harley-Davidson Ultra Classic. They bought the Ultra Classic brand-new from a dealer in Farmington Hills, MI. The trip started in June 2010, leaving from Detroit, MI they set out to spend the next few years enjoying the open road and visiting as many states as possible within the USA on their HD.”

Barb n Lance at Harley Dealership

February 2021

Barb and Lance rode every day and saw all the captivating sites the US has to offer from the comfort of their Ultra Classic. They’re both bikers to their very core and you would often hear Lance say “If it’s not a Harley it’s just a bike, real men own Harley’s.” Lance’s first vehicle was a Harley, and he always owned one throughout his entire life. Barb, who adored Lance was just happy to see him living out his life-long dream of a USA HD bike trip. Along the way, Barb always stopped to buy a Harley-Davidson T-shirt at every HD Dealer location they visited while on their bike trip.

Three years into the trip Lance’s bad knees were struggling to hold the bike upright safely. In 2013 while making their way through Michigan again, they purchased a new 2013 Ultra Classic and had it modified into a trike so  they could continue their journey together through the USA. They visited with their 2 children while the trike was being completed. Once the trike was finished, they set back out on the open road once again. They traveled through Maine into Canada then took the Trans-Canada Highway all the way to Alaska and through every state in the lower 48.

The trip was everything they hoped for and more. Some pictures and a lot of T-shirts is all they brought back home with them, besides the great memories. A few years later sadly Lance & Barb both passed away of natural causes. Their Son (Mike Smith) decided to have his parent’s T-shirts made into a quilt. A huge beautiful quilt that displayed their many stops along the way.

My 95-year old grandmother (Dora Zakrajsek) is the one who made the quilt for Mike. Mike is a tall brute, just like his dad, so the quilt is huge! Dora was not able to use every T-shirt in the quilt (no matter how big it was) there was just so many shirts. (2 huge contractor bags full) So Dora made Mike the quilt he imagined, large and HD proud with a black/white backing. Dora also made him a throw blanket using up more of the shirts and covering the back with a Harley-Davidson bright orange fleece. A warm cozy personal throw that will always remind him of his parent’s ride of a lifetime. The ride ended up being the longest and best ride they ever took.

I’ve added small clips/pics of the quilt below, which as you can see, we were standing on Mike’s huge jacked up truck trying to hold that large quilt up and keep it off the ground. There is also a picture of Dora, at 95-years old she made that quilt by herself and still everyday (to the current day) she continues to quilt daily. She’s currently making a quilt for the church, a quilt for her brother, another for a sister-in-law, and finally just one more for her at-home quilt inventory. Which all are hand-made and many made custom. I hope you enjoyed this story. Thank you!