Long Haul Paul’s Viral Affection

Long Haul Paul
Long Haul Paul with a Chasing the Cure fan, during a Yamaha showcase

For a few years, going viral had become a positive term, a winning strategy for fame and fortune. I certainly wish one of my Youtube videos would go viral.

It sometimes takes a world wide pandemic for some of us to realize we are not invincible. It certainly was a quick wake up call to me, remembering I have a compromised immune system and should be a bit more careful about staying healthy. As a motorcyclist and an adventurer, I tend to err on the side of thrills and excitement verses safe and overly cautious when it comes to taking risks. As my disease and symptoms continue to remain manageable, I’m lucky enough to forget once in a while I have an incurable progressive autoimmune disease. But I do.

When the pandemic started to get real, I was on my way down to Daytona Beach for Bike Week, along with 300,000 other riders. Before leaving New Hampshire, I expressed to my wife that I was worried this was going to be a big deal, a virus that could possible change our entire way of life for quite a while. She thought I was over reacting, but as I was persistent, she agreed to pick up a few extra groceries; some dry goods, canned vegetables and a few extra rolls of toilet paper the next time she went to the grocery.

I sure hate being right.

While hanging out in Daytona, sharing my story with hundreds of people, the virus and it’s world wide destruction indeed became more serious. It had landed in the states, and the news of the nursing home deaths in Washington began to scare the hell out of the 60 plus year old bikers at the beach. Yamaha had awarded me with a $5000 donation to my charity for being the first to reach 100,000 miles on the new Star Venture, but hardly anyone noticed. The stock market crashing and food hoarding took over all the dinner conversations and motorcycles were no longer the main focus of bike week. The Virus was infecting everything.

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