I yelled out, “Hey motorcycle man!” He put his head down and made believe he didn’t hear me. Later he told me that he thought some bikers were harassing him. So, I yelled out again, “Hey motorcycle man!” Kevin looked up and said, “Al Stanko!”
Almost one month ago, we’d hung out in Montana, never exchanged personal information such as addresses or phone numbers, and now, down in Tecate, Mexico, we meet again. Had I just had “one more” after my “one more,” this remarkable coincidence would never have happened.
Well, we did hang out and ride for awhile and because of this strange coincidence, we exchanged phone numbers. I keep a journal with me whenever I travel, so all this information is in my “Summer ‘87” journal. Because I recently got to retire from teaching, I was going to compile my journals and start writing a book about my adventures.
It was in the summer of 2010 that I found Kevin’s phone number and gave him a call after all these years, and asked him if it would be okay with him if I used his name in my book. He said he did not mind at all because he used my name in place of his when he met some young (less than legal age) girls.
We talked for hours exchanging stories about our different adventures. He told me about more of his motorcycle trips and also how he got into sailing and how he sailed all the way across the Atlantic Ocean to Europe. I told him I’d contact him again when I finished my story about our adventure from Montana to Tecate.
I called him just a few days into the new year, 2011. The woman who answered the phone was shocked and bewildered that somebody was asking for Kevin. I told her I was not the law looking for Kevin (just in case he was in some sort of trouble) and that I was a friend who met him when we were on motorcycles up in Montana and then again down in Tecate, Mexico, and I just finished writing this story. There was a long pause and silence from her end of the phone, and she said Kevin died on December 22. He was only 50.
It only took me a few days to write this story, and I do believe that K.P. Ward had some kind of influence on me to get this written. So, thanks, K.P., and I remember what you used to say, so I’ll pass it along to readers of this story: ”Whistle, and spit through your teeth.”
And when I write “R.I.P. K.P. Ward,” I mean “Ride in Peace.”