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Bubba's last ride.
Bubba's last ride.
Published by Papa-Ken

Gary B. was a very dear friend to all us Oldfarts and many more people in many places. Better known as “Bubba”, he was a native-born Texan and had a smile as wide as the state. He also had the grace and talent of many that come from the South -- "The art of telling a story" -- along with a booming voice like Conway Twitty and a line of bull so smooth and thick you couldn’t cut it with a chainsaw. This dog could hunt and he was way ahead of the big dogs.

"Hello Darlin’ you sweet thing, how you doing?" The girls would just melt. He was a very attentive admirer and would shower the gals with attention such as ironed sheets with baby powder sprinkled lightly on them, a single rose, and a special chocolate mint placed on their pillow. Well, let me tell you people, it worked.

Once you heard him speak you would recognize his voice again, even if you had only heard and not seen him. One of our bunch, Griff, and his wife Ellen, were visiting a daughter in the hospital a few years back. When Ellen met Bubba some time later and he greeted her with Hello Darlin’ she was intrigued and asked him if he had been in the hospital at such and such a date and he replied, "Yes I was, why?" She told him about hearing his voice there while visiting her daughter, never expecting to hear it again. As it turned out she would not only hear it much more, but also come to know him and love him as Griff’s riding partner.

Gary died last winter, but not before he defied the prediction by his doctor: "You have cancer of the urinary tract and there isn’t anything we can do. Go home and get your affairs in order as you have a short time to live.” That was over 11 years ago.

As he left the doctor’s office, he stopped, turned around and asked, "Isn’t there anything you can do for me?" The doctor said, "No. Well, maybe, I’m not sure. There is this new experimental drug, not approved, but you might give it a try." This drug was made from a female hormone and it helped Gary fight his cancer for 11 more years. The drug, along with strong pain relief medications, made it possible for him to continue to ride his many motorcycles, travel, and camp out with his friends and family.

During the final months of his battle, he was self-administering morphine to control the pain, but it was a fine line: over medicating would put you in a stupor that ruled out riding; not quite enough would leave you in intense pain. Bubba seldom complained but you knew he was in pain when you watched him shift his body in all kinds of contortions to try and find a comfortable position in which to ride.

Gary had many hats he wore and activities he pursued: active participation in the Polka Dots Racing motorcycle club, private investigator, veteran of more than one military service, spelunker (or caver), and a novice historian that would give us blow-by-blow descriptions of our surroundings over his CB radio as he led us on some of the best rides in the state. Charlie and Tricky Dick have a great knowledge of the roads like Bubba, but not the history he could recite.

He was born in Texas, traveled all over in the military and found paradise in California. It is hard for people that haven’t been exposed to what we take for granted here in northern California to understand why we love this place so much. But Bubba knew. He said before he died that his place in the town of Fair Oaks was all the home he ever wanted.

It has just been a few months since he left us and his birthday just passed so a few of us Oldfarts had a gathering to remember Bubba and share our favorite stories about him. It was a good time, reminiscing about our old friend.

We miss you buddy and this story is in memory of you.

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By motowriter on 06-27-2005, 03:34 PM
Re: Bubba's last ride.

A note from the Editor:

I am honored to share with you the latest article from Papa-Ken, the most seasoned member of the Pashnit Forums and a frequent contributor of memorable ride reports from Ken’s long years on two wheels. Ken pays a wonderful tribute here to a departed member of the Oldfarts group, Texas-born Bubba, who retired to the twisties in the sky in 2004 out of Fair Oaks, California.

Papa-Ken began riding motorcycles long before most of us dispensed with our first set of training wheels. A Sacramento resident, Ken is a retired log hauler who is intimately acquainted with the northern Sierras from many years on the logging roads. Ever wonder what the condition your favorite Sierra road was in before CalTrans paved it? Ken can tell you.

I was touched by Ken’s memorial and am certain you too will smile in sympathy reading Ken’s excellent tale of a last ride with a good friend. This one’s for you Bubba….
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By acki2b on 06-27-2005, 03:54 PM
Re: Bubba's last ride.

Great write up. I did not know Bubba but I can sense his spirit from your trubute to him

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By motorrad on 06-27-2005, 07:20 PM
Re: Bubba's last ride.

What a nice tribute Ken. Made me feel like I knew Bubba, and I admire his full of life attitude in confronting his illness. Sounds like you have a great group of buddies up there.
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By Toyuzu on 06-28-2005, 12:11 AM
Re: Bubba's last ride.


I cannot immagine at 31 years of age what it must be like to lose a life-long friend.

Thanks to you, however, I now know how to pay tribute to any friend who goes on before me. I grieve with you for the loss of Bubba. I hope you will continue to ride each day remembering him. Keep telling his story. That will be his legacy.

Thank you.
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By Backmarker on 06-28-2005, 05:45 AM
Re: Bubba's last ride.

Excellent story as usual. Very touching. Makes me think long and hard about my best friends and what a true treasure they are. Thank you for sharing yours with us.
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By Helmetdance on 06-28-2005, 07:13 PM
Re: Bubba's last ride.

Said it once before, but that was even before I could see all the pics, which are gorgeous. What a beautiful and thoughtful tribute to your friend.

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By motowriter on 06-28-2005, 07:54 PM
Re: Bubba's last ride.

Thanks for re-posting your comment, Mark. We had some technical challenges getting this one posted and haven't gotten the previous comments re-posted.

Ken, I get a shivery chill when I read over this. But it's a good chill, accompanied by a smile. It really is a lovely memorial. Thanks again...
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By Papa-Ken on 06-28-2005, 08:18 PM
Re: Bubba's last ride.

Gary,Jack,Tom,Matt,Renee and Mark........Thank you all so much for your kind words. Bubba was a force to be dealt with and bigger than life, but he was also a very kind and giving person that seldom met a stranger. One of his best friends Richard U. called him WAG because he was always talking. It will take some big feet to fill his shoes........Ken
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By demenshea on 06-29-2005, 06:21 AM
Re: Bubba's last ride.

What a fantastic and wonderful tribute you have created here in a place that Bubba would have enjoyed visiting.
Wonderful pix Ken, and your text gave me goosebumps. I only wish i had had the privilege of meeting him when we rode together, although he was probably there as well.
Beautiful tale! Thank you for sharing this gentleman.
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