Del "Lonnie" Lonnquist
- Entertainer - Adventurer
Houston, Texas Chronicle
By Leah Binkovitz,
From there, he became a "flower sniffer," the term bikers use to describe riders who meander through trips. He wound to Baltimore through Virginia and down to Florida, sometimes staying with family, sometimes camping. He saw the Orion launch. Took a photo by the sign that marks the country's southernmost point – "every motorcyclist's dream." His family followed his adventure through his blog and their Facebook group, "Where in the world is grandpa?"
He left Lafayette in a pouring rain.
Everywhere he went, people were helpful – "neat," he says, forever a Scandinavian from Minnesota. "People have just been wonderful." Like the guys at Ace Hardware in Panama City, Fla., who replaced his solenoid free of charge. Or the Wendy's manager in Louisiana who couldn't believe he rode his bike all the way from Montana. "Come in," she said, "I'm buying breakfast." There was just the one grumpy cashier who told him he should be acting his age. "I've never been old before," he told her.
This is his first go at it, being old. His first time in 60 years living without Lois. Once, he entered all his information into one of those websites that then spits out the date you're going to die. "Too late," it told him, "you're deceased." That cracks him up.
Fargo, North Dakota to Helena, Montana
For Joni Rodgers, Del and Lois's daughter who lives in Kingwood, the dream happened the same way every time. She was in the airplane with her dad, the plane her parents bought for a side business taking aerial photographs when she was young. To get a shot, her dad would lean out an open door.
"And he would fall out the door," Joni recounts. But instead of the dream becoming a nightmare, "I would leap into the front seat and pilot the airplane in a big loopty-loop and catch him on the way." They'd laugh together, delighted by the stunt.
Iron Butt Association sanctioned rides www.IronButt.com