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I just haven't been able to bring myself to read the forum this week not needing another reminder of the horrible news from this past weekend.

Ken Morton (aka dread pirate kermit) died this past Saturday evening in Nebraska riding back from a bonus location during the Utah 1088.

I am so sick at heart to lose this friend. We go back to our first meeting as roomies during the 2003 IBR, and Ken and Ted Timmons spent two days last 4th of July weekend helping me farkle my new Wee. There is a memorial this Saturday for those who can make it and if you can't, there's an engine rev off at 4pm Saturday PDT. Included below are two of Teds' messages sent in the past few days.

Posted 6-27:

"Dearest Friends:

Late Saturday evening, our beloved friend, Ken, died in a motorcycle
accident while competing in the Utah 1088 rally. Ken will be greatly
missed by his wife Lisa, son Sam, and his many friends. We have all
been greatly inspired by Ken- his kindness, intelligence, warmth,
loyalty and drive are just a few of his remarkable qualities that have
touched each of us in many ways. Ken was finishing up his Associate’s
Degree and was eager to start nursing school, so he could repair
people in the same way he repaired everything else.

We will be celebrating Ken’s life on Saturday, July 2nd, 2011, from
2-5 pm, by having a casual gathering at the home he shared with Lisa
in Vancouver, WA. Ken wanted to be sent off, not with a formal
service, but with his friends and loved ones to be together. His
request is to have everyone rev their motorcycles at the some moment
in his honor; this will take place at 4:00 on Saturday. If you would
like to make a donation, Ken requested it go to Animal Rescue and Care
Fund Inc (Animal Rescue & Care Fund, Inc).

“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”
We miss you Ken,
Lisa, Cindy, Ted & Tamara


-------------------------------------------------

Date and Time:
July 2nd, 2011 @ 2pm

Engine Rev Send Off: 4:00 pm

Location:
9512 NW 23rd Ave
Vancouver, WA 98665
map: http://bit.ly/iWN7sT"

Posted 6-29:

"Feel free to forward this to other lists (mera, wetleather, stromtroopers, advrider, cat owners anonymous). Apologies for spamming disparate lists; I'm typing on my poor cell phone.

Okay, on we go. I am still in western Nebraska, waiting on Ken's cremation. It should finally happen tomorrow (Thursday), after being held up on paperwork.

I will be bringing the remains back late Thursday. That is great, because the remains will be in Portland for the gathering on Saturday.

I was able to walk the crash site today. I spent about an hour on the road. I was able to find some objects with personal meaning; some of them will be out on Saturday. There were plenty of debris that rallyists will recognize: spare earplugs, eyeglasses wipes, purple latex gloves, a GPS sunshield, etc.

There were six tornadoes on the crash day, and wind was coming from the north. Ken was headed west, so a wind from the north/his right could have been the root cause. We'll never know. It's clear Ken didn't suffer, thankfully.

By a stroke of fate, the county sheriff is not only a wonderful fellow but also a v-strom rider who knew of Ken's rides and builds. We've talked a lot, he got to see Ken's SPOT tracks, and he was able to piece together much of what happened. He is going to take me to the site tomorrow to show me what I missed.

I'm looking forward to seeing friends, digital acquaintances, and new faces on Saturday. We are collecting notes sent to some of these lists, and on Saturday there will be opportunities to leave a video message for remembering Ken and also to write some thoughts (his son Sam will get to see these).

I am getting a 'dread pirate kermit' tattoo on Friday based on Ken's tattoo and kermitlove. We will make memorial kermit stickers suitable for placing on your motorcycle, but that won't start for a couple weeks.

Alcohol and snacks will be served. In the tradition of Wetleather, please monitor your intake and others around you. Heavy intoxication or riding/driving under the influence is absolutely not acceptable and will be enforced by the group.

I wish I could ride to the event. I will be there, just not with my own bike. Safe travels to those of you who are riding. Contact me by email if you have questions; if there are more urgent issues, text or call:
Ted 760-483-3337
Tamara 760-483-3338"

Another rider also coming back from that same bonus saw huge red circular masses on his Nexrad Data on his GPS traveling the northern edge of I-80 and stopped with some other riders to wait it out. My supposition (and it's only my personal theory) is that Ken may have encountered the southern edge of a tornado about 10pm and with the darkness and severe weather probably didn't know what he was riding into. I've ridding tens of thousands of miles and ridden through some horrendous weather, but have never personally seen nor experienced a tornado and can completely understand Ken not recognizing the danger he was in and not seeing what he was up against in the dark.

Please keep Kens' wife Lisa, his son Sam and other family and close friends in your thoughts this weekend.

Russ Pagenkopf
IBA #278
 

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thanks for posting, Russ. Ken was an amazingly nice guy, my best friend.

Stickers and patches will come eventually, as will the 30gb of picture/video I've collected from the last week. RenoJohn will be assembling a memorial page, among other things.

If anyone wants to leave a message to Lisa or Ken's son Sam, drop me a PM or email.
 
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