Ingleside, IL -- I walked through the door of the house turned bar & grill to find my husband, Matt sitting at the bar. He glanced my direction and lightheartedly called to me, “Baby, we’re doing shots!” Confused, as this was quite unlike him, especially at 10:00 in the morning, I meandered around the stools to get a better look. Upon closer inspection, I found the culprit guilty of coercing my husband into such unusual behavior: a four-year-old boy named Parker doing shots of cranberry juice, simply because the little cups were his size. After Matt’s second swig of juice, he hit his limit, said goodbye to his drinking companion and headed outside with me to interact with the other patrons.
Before I could even finish pulling my camera equipment out of the saddlebags, Kross Inn Cook, Beverly Moreno was upon me, warmly hugging me, remembering our names after only one brief meeting. Her husband and fellow cook, Reverend Dan would be conducting the First Annul Bike Blessing in a couple of hours. He and bartender, Kristin Masopust came up with the idea for the event that would bring dozens of people to visit the local watering hole on this sunny, Saturday spring morning.
As Matt and I made ourselves comfortable, we learned a bit more about the crowd. We met young men, old men, firefighters, families, couples and a retired Chicago police officer. We saw Harleys, Hondas, Kawasakis and BMWs. We talked about our kids, our bikes, our businesses. We learned that although Kross Inn owner Rob, “Opie” Altman and wife, Linda don’t ride, they enthusiastically supported the event and the locals who patronize their establishment. Having moved to Ingleside less than 6 months prior, we felt like home even before Linda welcomed us to the family.
Before blessing each motorcycle individually, Reverend Dan addressed the crowd, “On their travels around this great country, may the rubber always meet the road and the sun be on their back. May the rain and the wind be light and breezy, and they always have a safe place to rest, in the name of God our father, Amen.”
After listening to a few classic rock songs from the band, “Still Joel and Just Jake,” Matt and I gathered our things and took our motorcycles home. After feeling so inspired, we wanted to take advantage of the beautiful day and ride.
As I geared up, I turned on my Florida-Georgia Line station on my iHeartRadio app and heard the song, “May We All” begin playing. Matt was sitting on Providence, our BMW R1200R waiting for me to mount the bike behind him. The sun shone brightly on my face as I heard the lyrics, “May we all get to grow up in a red, white and blue little town” and I felt blissful. Even writing these words brings me right back to that moment and I can recall the feeling as if it were happening again. Gazing at my husband, a single tear rolled down my cheek. I hopped on the bike and gave him our standard thumbs up to signal my readiness and he hit the throttle. We drove by the lagoon and the channel leading to Duck Lake and the epiphany slammed into me like a defensive lineman into a quarterback. This was my favorite thing to do. Legs wrapped around my husband, sun on my back, light breeze keeping me cool, feeling the raw power and acceleration of the machine beneath me, camera in my saddlebag, listening to country rock. In that moment, I understood.
Motorcycling was my favorite thing to do.
I immediately said a prayer for our safety and gave myself to God. I realized that I get on this bike because it’s my favorite thing to do. It connects me to God, to nature, to my fellow man. And if God decided to call me home while on this bike, I was okay with that. What better way to go than doing my favorite thing with my favorite person…
This is why an event like the Kross Inn Bike Blessing is so meaningful and brings such a variety of people together. Those who ride motorcycles do it because they love to ride motorcycles. On two wheels, we surrender ourselves to the will of God and the universe. We accept the danger because the freedom and the feeling of connection are far more powerful. And we connect to other motorcyclists because they inherently understand these things. And we like their tattoos.
Concluding this wonderful event with such a powerful ride made for a perfect Saturday. This red, white and blue little town is truly blessed to have The Kross Inn and those who support events like the Bike Blessing. In the words of my favorite country stars, “May we all” get to experience a sense of community the way Matt and I did today.