It’s not just his new bike that purrs |

It’s not just his new bike that purrs

Brian Mestel, of Seabeck, Wash., packs up his Harley-Davidson motorcycle while his newly adopted 7-week-old kitten, Arrow, climbs around Wednesday outside of Rosi's Little Bavarian Restaurant and Pastry Shop in Glenwood. Mestel is riding cross country with Arrow back to Washington, after buying his new bike in Canton, Ohio.

With nothing but a pair of wheels and wind in your face, the open road can be a lonely place.Brian Mestel needed a riding buddy, and he had a long road to ride. Sitting in Canton, Ohio, with a new Harley-Davidson motorcycle, home – Seabeck, Wash. – was still more than 4,800 miles away. Mestel found his riding partner at a party.”He ran right up to me and jumped inside my coat and slept for 312 hours,” he said. His co-pilot for the long trip home was a 7-week-old kitten, topping out at about four pounds – most of it orange fur.Being the life-long biker that he is, Mestel isn’t too macho to admit that he’s a cat guy.”His name is Arrow, after the Harry Nilsson song ‘Me and My Arrow,'” the 46-year-old cat guy said.A little more than half way into his trek home, Mestel and his Arrow hopped off Interstate 70 and grabbed a room to wait out the storm in Glenwood Springs. On Wednesday, with Arrow hanging out on the Harley, Mestel grabbed some breakfast at Rosi’s Little Bavarian Restaurant.Then it was homeward bound on the not-as-lonely highway.

Being a cat guy has its advantages, Mestel said.”He’s a real chick magnet,” he said about Arrow’s appeal.But that’s not important to Mestel, since he’s got Kimberly, his girlfriend of 16 years waiting at home.Arrow took to the Harley like a hog to slop, and Mestel said he just makes himself comfortable as soon as they hit the road.”He usually starts on the seat behind me,” Mestel said, adding that Arrow is on a short lead. “Then he crawls up on to my shoulders; then when I get over 50 miles per hour he climbs inside my coat and hangs out there.”The little guy doesn’t just appeal to the chicks, everyone seems to enjoy saying hi to the Arrowdynamic kitten.”He just sits on the back of the bike, and people come up and take pictures and pet him,” he said.A few people have voiced their displeasure with Mestel taking Arrow along for the ride, but most have been positive.Mestel’s trip started in Detroit where he picked up a Moto Guzzi Italian motorcycle he bought on eBay. He rode that to Canton where he bought the Harley from his brother. It was Mestel’s first Harley.

“I figured after riding for 30 years, it was time to buy a Harley.”He refused to jump on the Harley bandwagon before partly because they were too expensive and, more importantly, “they were a yuppie thing.”But this time the price was right. Mestel said that he likes that the newer Harleys aren’t as loud as the older ones. But they still have that distinctive roar that Harleys are known for.”They still turn heads,” Mestel said proudly.Just like Arrow does. But Arrow does it by being adorable.Mestel is heading to San Francisco, then plans to make a right turn and cruise up the Coast Highway.The Denver native figures that he’s made about 15 cross-country motorcycle trips in his life, but this one is special.”This has been great – one of the best without a doubt.”Mainly because of his co-pilot.

He’s sure that Arrow won’t be ready to give up his Harley seat anytime soon.”I think when I fire up the Harley that he’ll come running,”Arrow isn’t the first critter that Mestel has cruised with. “I used to have snakes, and they would be around my neck when I rode.”But now it’s Arrow’s turn.Mestel said back on his little Washington farm that Arrow will join Stubby and Manaut – the cats – and a bunch of sheep, a few chickens and some other animals.”I’m sure (Arrow) will fit in fine.”As the dynamic duo head for Washington, there’s no doubt that the wind will be in Mestel’s face and the Harley will be growling and Arrow will be purring.Dale Shrull is the managing editor of the Post Independent.

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