I just happened to be in Indiana in time for the 4th annual Exotic Feline Rescue Center Rescue Ride.
After their Facebook reminder (which I had seen before but didn’t respond to while traveling through Russia) came up again, and I quickly asked if I can be involved! What an opportunity to combine two of my favorite things!
Directors Joe Taft and Jean Herrbert were on the case. With one phone call I had somebody to ride with straight away. They are always looking after me.. and about 211 big cats – how do they do it!?
We started off in Indianapolis at a local restaurant, with a very large American breakfast buffet.. Mmmm… American food. I love my Russian food, but this was good. Biscuits and Gravy!! French Toast!! Syrup..Butter..Scrambled Eggs..!!! I ate it all, but they all had a laugh when I ordered my hot cup of tea..(not so American).. And this is my adopted family for the day. Passionate EFRC volunteers who love their bikes! John on the right is my hitched ride for the day..poor thing. After negotiating rocky sandy Siberian trakts for the last 4 weeks, how am I supposed to sit back on a big bike and be a passenger on tame paved Indiana roads?!
With over 250 participants – all to support the Big Cats
I might add!! Onto the highway we go, with police escort. Just until we could get off the exit and onto the smaller roads.
No helmet law in Indiana, but I borrowed one anyway. I owned a Harley for a few years when I lived in Indiana, and never wore one.. now I couldn’t ride without! They can be darn handy when you need one!
I spotted an interesting billboard. Never have I seen such an advertisement.
I had a few comments to make about that one… but I will leave it..
Away from big city and onto some country roads – yay! So nice to feel the warm weather and the smells of the country I come from. Cut green grass and corn fields..
Time to stop into a small town joint for a break and a drink.
I’m still completely flabbergasted at the amount of bikers that turned up for this ride. Amazing support and much needed fund raising for those very special kitty cats.
After a beautiful morning ride, we pull into the EFRC. They just keep piling them in..
Have to admit, I was surprised to see some of those bikes travel down the short gravel road to the park. I can just imagine the polishing cloths getting to work after that one!
Rosie gives Joe a welcoming hug – I love it, I think he was honestly caught off guard! Those who know Joe would understand he can be a pretty tough guy around the place. He doesn’t mind walking into an enclosure full of male lions armed only with a pooper scooper!
We take everyone around for a tour amongst the cats. It was good to see Uncle Sam alive and well on this guys arm. I was wondering what happened to dear old Sam, he seems to have found a home here. Along side Brittany! Now wouldn’t they make a great couple running the country!
I have his book in my dining room at home and everybody loves to look through it when visiting.
He gave me sneak peak at the newest book set to be released shortly. Can’t wait to get home and order my copy!
We get around to seeing my adopted child Joey. I named her with my nephew Joey when they were babies.
She came up for a visit and kisses… but they were all rather nervous and couldn’t stay still due to the noise of the Harley’s.
This is Mickey. I saw him in a circus cage on my last year’s visit as they had just recently been rescued from an abusive farm. He had open wounds everywhere and extremely skinny from where he was rescued. I just found a photo I took after Mickey’s arrival in November 2009. You can click the photo to enlarge it to see several open wounds on his head and just how skinny he is…
Now look! Completely fat and happy, a totally different cat!
I interviewed Mickey for a while, and when I asked what he thought of his previous owner, this is what I got.. (I told him to keep it cool, this is a family show and to put that 3rd pad down)
That is what is so good about EFRC. We get so many abused cats in from all over the country. They are only so lucky to end up with Joe and Jean. They get large enclosures, swimming pond, plenty to eat and lots and lots of love from everyone. You would wish any abused animal could come and live here. Unfortunately, funding keeps us turning away more cats than we can take. The land is available, but since there is no government assistance, we rely soley on donations.
As good as it was to raise money on this organized ride, it would not be enough to cover the cost of even one enclosure. It is so hard to turn cats away, and it also is a massive job to feed 211 of them every day as you can imagine. So if you have time, click the link above, or the link on my website http://www.sherrijowilkins.com
Go and visit the cats if you can. If not, I highly recommend Stephen McCloud’s book, full of dramatic beautiful photos of lions, tigers, cougars, leopards, bobcats and more. And of coarse, donations can be taken through their website!! 😉 Sorry to sound like such a sales lady… but I love those cats.
The end of a brilliant day…still can’t get over how many bikes on this ride.. so honored to be there at the right time to be a part of it. And ironically, the man I rode with on the back of his bike is John, my Dad’s name..