Looking Out The Window

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About this blog

Ramblings by an old biker

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grizzz

Going Home

Today as I look out my window, I no longer see the green of the park or the flag fluttering in the breeze, but I see the mountains and the sea from my chair in the living room.  The mountains have a "cloud halo" where the clouds ring the middle portion of the mountains.  The sea is calm as the single freighter makes its way to the harbours in Seattle.

But today, I think the halo has a special meaning.  You see, today we send one of our brothers home.  He will take that one last ride and those clouds will be there to steady him as he travels and when he gets to those pearly gates, he will be greeted by his brother who left us several years go and his other brothers from across the land.  It is not a time to morn, a time to cry or a time to be sad, rather a time to smile at all of the crazy things Recycle said and did.  A time to remember that ear-to-ear grin when he was on his Red Steed.  His wave to everyone on two wheels - yes, even scooters.  A time to share that smile and remember times like when he looked into his empty beer bottle and swore there was someone drinking it because it emptied too soon, or when he bit into his hotdog and it shot out the other end like a cartoon clip.  Ron was a man like no other, he is Recycle, CMC65092

If you would like to donate to Ron's Memorial Fund, please go to: http://cmc-victoria.com/donate.html  Thank you.

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Safe journey home brother Ron.  We are going to miss you.  RIP

grizzz

Back in saddle again

As I look out my window…

I want to apologize for the lack of writing.  Creative energy block, a magical force-field, a black hole – who knows.  I just could not “get it going” for a while, then all of a sudden, it was like Popeye eating his spinach – BAM!  But this has me worried, as I could only think of the word of the day as given to me by a staff member….

Constipation - <his words> “a high level of constraint or restriction; a pronounced lack of ease; your boss when he is full of crap (properly said, use the sh word).” 

OMG, then I got thinking, has anyone ever died from constipation?  Will they explode?  Will their lack of knowledge and crap be strewn everywhere?  What if it gets on me?  Will I then too become all dumbed down and wreak like that idiot who wears different coloured socks and forgets to zip their fly and uses the public swimming pool as their personal bath tub?

That reminds me a boss I had back in 1999/2000.  Those of you that remember the Y2K hoopla will appreciate this.  Since I am in the Information Technology field, my task for the Y2K adventure was to plant my butt in a chair out at our local damn.  The damn provides Greater Victoria with our drinking water.  My job – to ensure that water continued to flow downhill.  Yes, you read that correctly.  Like the entire world was going to change the direction it spun or something.  Maybe the aliens were going to come and flip our axis, I don’t know.

But then, as I look out my window, I see the entry walkway into our little park across the street.  It is red brick and just before you come to the cenotaph, there is a large poppy in grey brick.  Now, while the thought is beautiful, I can only think that the designer was constipated.  Why aren’t the entry bricks grey and the poppy red?  Oh well, this and many other things in this world don’t make sense.

One of our other staff members was complaining of a headache.  He went to the doctor and was told to loosen his pants as this was causing the headache.  Huh???? 

But this has to be the best – this young lady saw the low oil light come on, so she drove to the gas station, bought a  gallon of oil and…. 

Oh this world we live in… but I can’t think of a better place to live.

grizzz

Pittance of Time

As I look out my window today, the flag is fluttering in front of a partially blue sky and the mighty Gary Oak trees are shedding their golden leaves.  The Parks personnel are diligently blowing the leaves away from the Cenotaph and the military members are pacing off the positions where everyone will be tomorrow.

In one day the park will be full of poppies, wreaths and vets as we commemorate another Remembrance Day.  This year there will be fewer vets from the World Wars, fewer from Korea but more from our recent scrimmages.

As parents, it is our jobs to tell the story of those who served and how they fought for our freedoms and the freedoms of others.  Tell your children to talk to the veteran and find out their stories. 

Click on the link and think about the words.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2kX_3y3u5Uo

grizzz

New Contest

Oh my, it has been a long time since I was last on to make a post - it seems work has a way in getting the way of having fun these days. Anyway....

We are going to have another contest!!!! A member approached me last week and said that we need to have a bumper sticker in the store. So here is the contest:

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The bumper sticker needs to be 11.5" x 3"

Contain the CMC logo

Contain "www.cmcnational.ca"

Theme must be centred around Watch for Motorcycles, Motorcycles are on the road too, etc (similar to Motorcycle Awareness).

CANNOT contain individual chapter information

Must NOT contain copywrite material.

Post your completed works here for judging.

Contest ends July 31st

Winner will recieve a $50 CMC Gear credit and full bragging rights!!

Good luck all!!

grizzz

900 People?

The one thing I know for certain is that for every one idea there are 900 people that think they have the answer. Of those 900 people, you can write off half of them as being 100% undeniable whack jobs. This leaves 450 that think they have the answer. Of those 450, half of them plus one only think they know the answer because they are pretty sure that that answer is correct. This leaves 224 that think they know they answer. Of those 224, half of them have never really been right about anything, so they are throwing the dice about the answer – yup, drop ‘em. Now the remaining 112 people…. 60 forgot their spouses’ birthday, 41 went to church last Saturday thinking it was Sunday, 10 take mind altering drugs. So that just leaves me, and I have no freekin’ clue. Ok, now I forgot where this was taking me. Darn it. Stafford – bail me out will ya???

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No seriously folks, where this was really taking me was down a long trip on Highway 66. Two of our members went a few years ago. They went with a group of people that departed from Chicago. As they told their story, I got to thinking – this is one trip that is on my bucket list, but I don’t want to do it like they did. They may have had the time of their lives and that is great for them. But for me…. Well, I have never been one to follow the crowd.

This is where the 900 people come in. Everyone has their story to tell. But it is just that – theirs. They can offer ideas, but it is up to you to separate what is for you and what isn’t.

I want to take a full 30 days. More or less – who cares? No hurry. I thought about leaving from Chicago just so I could watch and ride into the sunset every night. I thought about leaving from California so I could get through the heat in the morning and ease off in the evening (ya, that really did not make any sense to me either).

So, I kinda made up my mind to ride through the Rockies (in Canada), spend some time in Jasper, etc. and just enjoy some of our country first. Then skirt down the Rockie foothills to Salt Lake and then bee-line it to Chicago, taking a break in Iowa to take in the Victory factory at Polaris and then another one in Green Bay to take in the Harley Museum (visiting family along the way for cheap accomodations) and then once in Chicago, re-kit and ready for the 30 day journey to the Santa Monica pier.

During the Route 66 trip, I want to take the real roads. Yes, some are now dead ends and others are grassed over. But that is going to be half of the fun. Rely on the old timers and not those that “have done that” (they lie anyway :) ).

Once at the pier - - Hang the Madison for all to see :)

Now the million dollar question - when?

grizzz

What A Good Morning

A strange thing happened this morning, one that has not happened in over 25 years – I forgot to set my alarm clock last night and I slept in this morning. Normally I am up at 05:30, grab my first cup of joe, do some Club business and some work stuff, take a shower, get dressed and off to the office I go. Not today however.

I looked at the clock, my heart started to pound, the adrenaline kicked in, jumped into the shower, threw on my clothes, grabbed a cuppa and downed it, filled it back up, jumped on the bike and flew up the driveway. I turned on the tunes and headed down the lane and then…. Nothing seemed to matter anymore.

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The cool morning air caressed my face as the clock hit 80 – nothing worried me anymore. I looked at the time – ya I was late, but would rushing make me any earlier? After all, where I work – late is late. Five minutes or an hour – it doesn’t matter. So what to do? I think of this as falling from a skyscraper. Hey, there is nothing you can do. All the screaming in the world will not save you. You may as well turn on your back and enjoy the ride!

I have noticed that as I get older, the sense of freedom when I get on my bike gets greater. When I turn the engine over and hear her growl, I stop and think about the first shaky experiences I had learning to ride and how far I have come. I think about the days of riding with my first Club and how it compares to the CMC. I think about the fact that I never knew what chaps were let alone electrics. About how we rode with one thing in mind – where the next fuel stop would be.

Then all of a sudden I am brought back to life when I hear this loud obnoxious noise behind me. It is some jerry wad wanker who thinks he is right out of Sons of Anarchy (ya, don’t get me started on that one!). Reving and reving and just making a royal fool out of himself. As he gets closer – I notice he is on a Shadow with Vance and Hines (knock-offs) slash cuts, 12" apes, slit fender and forward controls. I have nothing against Shadows – they are great bikes, but come on, really!!! Now the good part – he is wearing a SOA vest!!! Oh Lordy!! A royal wanna be. I guess he thinks if he puts on a wanna be vest, he is actually part of something?? Oh ya, the "wanna be" club.

So the question now becomes – do I hand him my card and ask him if he would like to belong to a REAL club? That answer came faster than the thought – NOPE! Yes membership is in the decline, but – there are some people that are just not a good fit and this is one of them. As he hit the throttle and sped by me and did a quick lane split, I knew that I had made the right decision. For my luck, he would wear the Madison and ride like that.

When I jump on my ride, I put on my Madison 80% of the time. Not that it is protective gear, but because I am proud of it. It symbolizes Canada, freedom, choice, strength and fellowship. It tells all that see that I am a member of the best motorcycle group in Canada. I ride with pride.

grizzz

I'mmmmm baaaccckkkkkkk!

Back from a refreshing break and raring to get at the mounds of work on my desk (NOT), I look out the this great window only to give the one finger salute to the weatherman for being wrong yet again. I now, after 50+ years, have finally accrued enough data to inequitably confirm that:

  1. It will either rain or not
  2. It will either be sunny or not
  3. It will either be cold or not
  4. It will either be windy or not

So with this newly created data, I can now ascertain that it will be a crap shoot tomorrow and if I want really good weather, I need to move to Phoenix. Oh well…… can’t change it, so we need to learn to live with it I guess :) .

Over the long weekend, I took some time away from the everyday hustle and bustle and decided that I was going to get back to what I LIKE to do and not what I HAVE to do when it comes around to these boxes called computers. “Back in the day” I did a lot of animation and video producing. Time, money and life took me away from this, but I never lost the urge to get back to it. So this weekend I started the first cut of what will become our Province’s CMC Group Riding video.

Loosing track of time more than once and found myself working through the days just like old times. You know you like what you are doing when this happens, however I also found that my old software was now useless with the new operating systems and was no longer available even to upgrade. This was the crapper!! I resorted to some of the other “professional grade” software that I have, but it does not do the job that I was used to back in the 80’s and early 90’s when I did segments for some of the productions back then, leaving me with a less than perfect score for this one. The one thing that I did notice was that when “Chapter One” was completed, the size was stupidly big. “Back in the day” when I did a score this size, it would fit on a floppy disk (whoa – what is that??) and I could easily pop it in the mail and have it at the producer’s office in Vancouver in a day. The score I just finished requires a hard drive the size of New York and the bad part is - - it is only 5 minutes in length!! So much for allowing hi-res.

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The one thing that always came to mind though was May is coming on us FAST. May being Motorcycle Awareness Month, is a great time for us to get our name out there and show Canada that we want a safe environment to ride in. In a previous article, I made a challenge to have Chapters submit a poster that we might be able to use for this. To date, I think there was only one submitted and that one was in the draft stages. Who else is in?

So until next time......

Ride often and ride safe!

grizzz

Still here

I am still here, looking out the window. Not much to say these days as work is beating us really bad. Long ungrateful hours just so someone else can take the credit and look good. You know the story. But hey - I'm working.

I will kick back into full gear later this month when these projects are put to bed and I have time to breathe and look out the window and let my hair down (oh wait - I have no hair, maybe that is the problem :) )

See ya later this month folks

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grizzz

FREEDOM

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This morning as I was sitting in my office looking out my window at the park across the street, I received a text message from my youngest son. A simple word with so much meaning – FREEDOM!

For most of us, freedom means to get on our scoots and cruise to wherever the front wheel points. No timeframe, no destination, no one to bother us.

For others, it may mean to live in a land where you are free to say what comes to mind, to eat when you want to eat or live where you want to live.

But for my son, it meant that he was finished with his five year obligation in the Royal Canadian Air Force. As a flyer, he flew in some of the rattiest aircraft in the RCAF’s fleet, a miracle that he landed safely some days. He was involved in a couple of incidents where things that go boom flew by him, so close a baseball bat would have taken them out of the sky. He saw some things that I know he would like to forget, but never will.

FREEDOM. Freedom can mean so much to so many, yet means so little to just as many. Freedom is taken for granted. Freedom is unrecognized.

You have heard the expression that freedom is not free. The truth is, it is not and never will be. But what grabs my goat is watch these people on the steps of the Legislative Buildings and say, “Free us from Russia <or substitute a country here>” just gets to me. You are now living is Canada, you ARE free from Russia <or substitute a country here>, and for you to fly any flag other than the Canadian flag is a disgrace, and may the gods above help you if you burn my flag! You live in Canada – MY CANADA. This is your home, and if it is not – move on. You are here today because of my son, our sons and daughters, our mothers and fathers, our grandparents. If you cannot accept their sacrifices, then you do not deserve the right to stand on those steps.

FREEDOM. A simple word with such a strong meaning.

As a father to a son who served, the two of the proudest days of my life where the day he entered the RCAF and today, the day he exited. I am just thankful that he is coming home. My heart falls heavy when I read about our sons and daughters that do not make it home. They made that ultimate sacrifice in the name of FREEDOM.

FREEDOM. What it means to have men and women who are willing to put their lives on hold so we can say that word. To all those in uniform – Thank you for your service.

grizzz

Once again looking out the window I am greeted with the dark grey skies filled with moisture, while I listen to my people out east (anything east of Vancouver is ‘out east’) complaining of snow and the northerners complain of ice. I guess in the light of things we are fortunate here that we have the rain.

There is an old saying that spring is not here until you can have nine daisies under one foot. Yet, I heard on the news last night that Victoria is boasting over 1 BILLION flowers already this year!! So I guess I have to place the question – is spring here or not? And if the other saying – April showers brings May flowers is true…. OMG my allergies will being going every which way. How can we have MORE than a billion flowers?

Ok, enough dreary talk…. I read a very funny article in the LA Times this morning that I just have to share. A study was conducted by Vouchercloud.net, a coupons website, to determine how knowledgeable Americans are when it comes to tech terms. Here are some of the results:

  • 11% saying that they thought HTML — a language that is used to create websites — was a sexually transmitted disease.
  • 77% of respondents could not identify what SEO means. SEO stands for "Search-Engine Optimization"
  • 27% identified "gigabyte" as an insect commonly found in South America. A gigabyte is a measurement unit for the storage capacity of an electronic device.
  • 42% said they believed a "motherboard" was "the deck of a cruise ship." A motherboard is usually a circuit board that holds many of the key components of a computer.
  • 23% thought an "MP3" was a "Star Wars" robot. It is actually an audio file.
  • 18% identified "Blu-ray" as a marine animal. It is a disc format typically used to store high-definition videos.
  • 15% said they believed "software" is comfortable clothing. Software is a general term for computer programs.
  • 12% said "USB" is the acronym for a European country. In fact, USB is a type of connector.

OK, granted some of these are a bit on the “techie” side of things, but MP3 being a Star Wars robot? Come on.

Keep smiling all and remember – spring will spring and we will soon be able to put rubber to road.

grizzz

RIP Tina

The rains outside my window today should be cleansing the roads from salt and gravel, but when is it going to end and let us have our normal weather back? A wish I am sure so many of us have these days.

But these days seem to be bringing more than doldrums of weather… Recently we lost another CMC sister to that damn ‘C’ word.

Tina was one of our Charter Members, starting with the Club when we formed in 2006. Always the life of the gatherings and wisdom for the younger crowd. I met Weener in Guelph when I went out to Ontario for the 1st CMC Rally. Her big grin and warm welcome will never be forgot. Rest in Peace sister and protect your fellow members as we ride.

grizzz

An Open Challenge

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This has got to be the worst day on record!! Ok, I will rephrase this – this has to be the worst day on record!!! Yes Stafford, this is just for you and all the rest of you.

I am looking out the window and what do I see? People running around sleeveless and in shorts. The bikes outnumber the cars – well not really, but there are so many out! My ride is sitting all covered up, plugged into the charger and crying. Yes, crying. She wants to be out on the road so bad and the only excuse I have for her not being out is that I have no excuse. At 11° it is so hard being penned up in this cage like the other wild animals. To make matters even worse, I just checked the forecast for the weekend - it is supposed to be rain, rain and more rain. I hate Fridays.

But seeing the sunshine and all the scoots tearing up the road, I can only start to think that spring and summer are around the corner. May is coming and that means Motorcycle Awareness Month. As with any tradition, the Law Enforcement Crews will be out in full force to make their statements, the bikers will be out in full force stating that loud pipes saves lives (I am really getting tired of hearing that one) and there will the cagers who don’t give a rat’s a$$ about the biker and will be hell-bent to take us out no matter what.

So at this point, I would like to put out a challenge to all CMC Chapters to come up with a poster for Motorcycle Awareness Month and post the link to it here. That is the easy part. I will attempt to get the Provincial Officer’s Board to spring up bragging rights for the Chapter that makes the best poster and see if we can do a National Campaign. You might end up with only the bragging rights, but the truth is, you will also be helping the motorcycling community as a whole. So who’s up for the challenge?

grizzz

Gettin' Ready Fer The Road

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Today as I look out my window, I see the sun shining again. Oh so long it seems as we were hit by old man winter and the snow that just yesterday covered the ground is now gone. The bikes are once again out and I start to think - Dang, I have to get new tires AGAIN!! As this thought scurried around my head, I found this article from Harley - good words to share: Harley-Davidson Offers Tire Maintenance Tips

Courtesy of Harley-Davidson

A patch of tire rubber no larger than a credit card is what connects a motorcycle to the road, and maintaining those tires is critical to motorcycle performance and to the safety of your ride. The motorcycle tire experts at Harley-Davidson have put together the following tire-care tips for all riders.

1. Dial In Tire Pressure

A number of factors can influence the rate of motorcycle tire wear. One of the most critical is also frequently overlooked by riders: maintaining proper tire inflation pressure.

With riding season right around the corner, it's time to check those tires. Harley-Davidson offers up these motorcycle tire maintenance tips.

“Checking tire pressure is one of the most important tire-maintenance functions a rider can perform,” says Steve Bindl, H-D Product Portfolio Manager. “Properly inflated tires wear longer, and correct pressure promotes better braking, better fuel economy, maximizes traction, and reduces the risk of tire damage or failure.”

Tire pressure should be checked before every ride as a part of the pre-riding checklist in the motorcycle owner’s manual. Pressure should be checked when the tires are cold (before riding), and adjusted to the pressure listed in the motorcycle owner’s manual or on the tire information sticker located on the motorcycle. Use a high-quality gauge intended for motorcycle use when checking your tires. The Harley-Davidson Digital Tire Pressure Gauge provides accurate pressure readings in 0.50 psi increments up to 60 psi, and features a 12-inch braided line and 90 degree angle chuck for easy access to valve stems.

SERVICE TIP: Pressure gauges can become inaccurate over time due to wear and tear and should be replaced or checked against a gauge with known accuracy.

2. Loaded for Trouble

Exceeding the load capacity of any motorcycle can lead to loss of control and sudden tire failure, either of which could result in an accident. The load capacity of the motorcycle should always be considered when adding accessories, a passenger, or luggage to the bike. Check the motorcycle owner’s manual or the information label on the motorcycle’s frame down tube for the load capacity and never exceed the maximum load.

Another factor that can greatly impact load capacity is trailers and sidecars. Trailers should never be used with a Harley-Davidson motorcycle. Pulling a trailer will void both the motorcycle and the tire warranty. Sidecars are appropriate for some motorcycles but should not be fitted unless approved by Harley-Davidson.

SERVICE TIP: For every 4 psi a tire is underinflated, you could lose up to 80 pounds of load-carrying capacity.

3. Replace Those Tired Tires

After checking and adjusting the pressure, give each tire a careful inspection for cuts, gouges, or foreign objects that may cause punctures and loss of air pressure. If any damage or excessive wear is noticed, contact an authorized Harley-Davidson dealer immediately, says Bindl.

Worn tires can adversely affect motorcycle control and traction, and are more prone to road damage. Most tires have tread wear indicator bars that will appear between the tread block when tire tread depth reaches 1/32 of an inch, which is the legal limit. It is best not to wait until the tread is at the bare minimum. Once a tire gets to 2/32 of an inch or below, tires should be replaced. The pocket-size Harley-Davidson Tire Gauge Tread Depth Indicator Tool provides a precise tread depth measurement, and also has an air-pressure gauge.

4. Get the Right Tires

Motorcycle tires are integral to the dynamics of the bike, so choosing a replacement tire is an important decision. Harley-Davidson has partnered with Dunlop and Michelin – two of the premier tire brands in the world – to create Harley-Davidson co-branded tires which are exclusively designed, tested and approved to deliver optimal performance on each Harley-Davidson motorcycle model. These tires can be identified by the bold “Harley-Davidson” script on the sidewall and are available through authorized Harley-Davidson retailers. Harley-Davidson advises its customers that it is essential to use only Harley-Davidson service replacement tires that are the approved fitment for each individual year and model motorcycle. Using non-approved tires or mixing approved tires from different manufacturers on the same motorcycle can adversely affect stability, which could result in death or serious injury.

For more information, visit Harley-Davidson's website at www.h-d.com.

grizzz

Just Rambles

Boy, I am in a total melt down today and I don’t think I am standing alone. For some reason, this winter seems to be dragging on longer than any other year. As I look out my windows today, I can honestly say that I have not seen one motorcycle go by. This is a first, but then again, so is the weather. It is not sure if it wants to rain, or sleet, or snow or shine. The only thing I know for certain is that I am getting a bad, and I do mean BAD case of PMS <parked motorcycle syndrome>.

So, now that I bawled and got that out of my system, here is a nifty neat product soon to hit the market.

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Personally, I don’t see myself using a heads up display when I am riding, but then those brainless wonders that fly by me on their crotch rockets might very well have a need for them.

But then, scooting around the internet, I found these the other day. Now this is a product I could sink my teeth into. Add an extra level of safety to your ride.

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One last thing before I go today. How many of you carry a medical response card in your wallet? Here is a link to the computer generated card that I carry and strongly recommend for anyone who rides. You never know.

http://medids.com/free-id.php

That’s about it for today. See ya tomorrow.

grizzz

The Keepers of Wisdom

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Today as I look out the window at that beautiful park, I notice that something is missing. The park was home to two old WWI German guns. They have been moved earlier yesterday to an off-site facility so that they can be restored to their original condition.

The restoration project will involve replacing missing parts, repairing damaged and rusted components, and cleaning, coating, and re-painting the guns using the original German colours and pattern. Once refurbished, the guns will be re-mounted in the park with recessed lighting this summer.

The two field guns are German 77 mm Feldkanone 99 Neuer Art Field Guns, both captured by the 2nd Canadian Mounted Rifles, a BC regiment, in 1917 – one at Vimy Ridge and the other at the Battle of Cambria. They came in to Township’s possession in 1920 after a request to the federal Commission of War Records and Trophies by the Township Council of the day. Properly caring for and maintaining the guns – which together comprise two of only three known guns of this type in the province – is the responsibility of the Township and is the condition of taking custody of them.

Every now and then you will see a school class in the park with a member of the Legion who will tell them stories of the two Great Wars. Then throughout the year, the classes will do projects and end with the Remembrance Day Ceremonies where the children lay a wreath. This passing on of history is so important to all of us. It makes us remember why we are speaking English and French and not German or Japanese.

A simple old gun in a park, captured from a country hell bent on destroying the world, has so many stories to tell. Without the folks at the Legion to pass these on, they would be nothing but a chunk of rusty old metal taking up space. As our members are still battling the world’s Mephistopheles, let’s give them a “thank you” for their service, and when we see a member of the Legion, don’t think of them as an aging old person, but a historian and the keeper of wisdom. Take a moment to think where we would be without them and make sure you thank them for their service both past and present.

grizzz

Just a little humour today

As with most days so far this year, god did not give me enough hours in the day, so today column is going to filled with a bunch of humour that I have scraped off different sites over the years. Be prepared for some belly laughs and keep in mind - these are not of my making, so please be gentle. :)

Texas Assembly Bill 7036: The Sit The Hell Down And Ride Act Of 2013. To staunch the epidemic of stand-up freeway wheelies that have become a pox upon the land, all street-legal motorcycles sold after January 1, 2013, in the great state of Texas must have a seat-mounted mil-spec ass detector. Spark shall be interrupted unless the detector determines at least one cheek is planted firmly on the seat. Financial impact: $318 per vehicle. Personal impact: Invasive at first. Later, mildly intriguing.

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Colorado General Assembly Bill 2386: The Grow A Spine And Pick It Up Act Of 2013. To stem the societal decline as bikes (and riders) grow fatter and heavier, each motorcycle over 400 pounds shall be equipped with a breakaway sidestand that will spontaneously and unpredictably fail. Those machines that are not lifted upright within three (3) minutes of spontaneous sidestand failure will be rendered unlicensable, except within the city limits of Leadville.

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Daytona Beach Beautification Advisory Board Gentle Suggestion 1340: The Harley-Davidson Big Twin Drapery Act of 2013. Henceforth all Harley-Davidson Big Twins shall be draped in heavy cloth and hidden from view each Thursday during Bike Week. We’ve frankly seen them quite enough; we totally get that they have a 45-degree V-angle, they go potato-potato and there’s chrome and such. But we’re all getting pretty tired around here and we’d appreciate a little rest, even if it's only for a day.

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• While riding one day, alone Biker met a Farmer riding a horse with a dog and a sheep alongside. The biker began a conversation . . . .

• Biker: "Hey, cool dog you got there. Mind if I speak to him?"

• Farmer: "Dogs don't talk."

• Biker: "Hey dog, how's it going?"

• Dog: "Doing' alright."

• Farmer: Look of shock.

• Biker: "Is this your owner?" pointing at the farmer.

• Dog: "Yep."

• Biker: "How does he treat you?"

• Dog: "Really well. He walks me twice a day, feeds me great food, & takes me to the river once a week."

• Farmer: Look of total disbelief.

• Biker: "Mind if I talk to your horse?"

• Farmer: "Horses don't talk."

• Biker: "Hey horse, how's it going?"

• Horse: "Cool."

• Farmer: Extreme look of shock.

• Biker: "Is this your owner? " pointing at the Farmer.

• Horse: "Yessiree Bob."

• Biker: "How's he treating you?"

• Horse: "Pretty good, and thanks for asking. He rides me regularly, brushes me down often, and keeps me in a shed to protect me."

• Farmer: Total look of utter amazement.

• Biker: "Mind if I talk to your sheep?"

• Farmer: "The sheep is a liar."

<------------------------------------------------->

A gynecologist was getting sick of his job and decided that he needed a career change. He'd always enjoyed tinkering with motorcycle engines so thought he'd become a motorcycle mechanic. The good doctor went along to the American Institute of Motorcycling, the best motorcycle mechanics school in the country, and completed the training class. The final exam was to strip a bike engine completely and reassemble it - obviously back into perfect working order. So our gynecologist friend did the test and anxiously awaited the result. The day he received the results he got quite a surprise, he got 150%! He quickly phoned the instructor and queried the mark. The instructor said, "No, no that's right. First I gave you 50% for stripping down the engine -- a very thorough job. Next I gave you 50% for reassembling it - a fantastic job really. Then I gave you a 50% bonus for doing it all through the muffler."

<------------------------------------------------->

A missionary went to an island to teach the natives English. His first student was the tribal chief. The missionary pointed skyward and said "sky".

The Chief said "sky".

The missionary pointed to his foot and said "shoe".

The Chief said "shoe".

This is great, thought the missionary as the two began walking together. He's really catching on! After a few minutes of more such lessons, they went around a bush and saw a man and woman hot and heavy in the throes of passion. The very proper missionary, totally startled and highly embarrassed, nervously said, "Man riding bike".

Instead of responding as he had been, though, the Chief ran up and put his spear through the heart of the man on top of the woman, killing him.

The horrified missionary asked, "What in God's name did you do THAT for?"

The Chief calmly replied, "MY bike!"

<------------------------------------------------->

OK, I'm done. See ya tomorrow.

grizzz

New Blood

Looking out the window this morning, I am trying to find a topic to write on, then it hits me. It hits me hard.

In yesterday’s UPS shipments, I received our Chapter’s new recruiting cards. They are business cards, very generic, that tells people where we meet, what time we meet and who to contact. All of our members will carry a few to pass out and hopefully boost our membership.

This is what I am having a hard time understanding…. Why is our membership dropping on a National level? Why are we having problems getting new, young blood into the Club? Maybe the answer lays here:

My office not only overlooks a beautiful park, but there is a motorcycle dealer next to the park. It is the busiest metric shop in town. They sell Yamaha, Suzuki, Honda and now Victory. Their repair shop always seems to be busy as you cannot book an appointment for months and they have now restricted their repairs to injected machines – if you have a carb, you are out of luck.

I can always tell when the ship comes in from an extended deployment. It seems that all the young sailors have a pocket full of cash, so off they go to the dealership and buy - - - - a crotch rocket! Crotch rockets out sell cruisers 12 to 1 in that shop and most of the cruisers are sold to the more “mature” crowd.

So the question I have is “Do these young crotch rocket crowds not want to mix with the cruiser type crowd?” I think yes. They are in it for the speed and the “daredevil” aspect. You know, stoppies, standies, hoppies and all the other “p-pees” there are.

The young people will be the ones that keep the club going so I would like your opinions on how we can booster the membership and get some young blood into the club.

business.jpg

grizzz

That Old Engine

As I sit here working on the FY2014 budget, I hear a rumble outside my window and when I look out, I see a motorcycle that looks like it has been left outside for a decade to be raped by Mother Nature.

Here in the Pacific Northwest, it does not take much for an unattended bike to turn into a pile of flaking red metal. You see, with any inkling of frost, the brine trucks are out in full force. The roads are covered with the watery goo that soon turns to an ultrafine white powder that will find its way into any micrometer hole or crack and begin its metallic dinner. There is no metal sacred and chrome begins to masticate before the rider’s eyes.

Upon further inspection, I noticed the bike, as chewed up from rust as it appeared, had a beautiful clear coat applied and the upkeep was beyond what most of us perform. It was designed to look that way. It was a rat!

My mind flutters back to 1966 when I started to build my first bike.

There was this little old house on the corner of Payne Street and 8th Street North. The yard was cluttered with old engine parts, tins, wood and just about anything else most people would have thrown out long ago. The house was in need of paint and the yard - what you could see of it - could use a good manicure. There was a ramp that leads to the front door. All of us kids were afraid to go to the door because the old man who lived there would put little kids in a wheel barrow, wheel them into the house and eat them – hence the ramp. He had a vicious dog named Stinky – who in their right mind would name a dog “Stinky”? Those rumours had to be true.

One day I gathered the courage to knock on the door and see if this old “kid eater” would like to become one of my newspaper customers - I needed one more to make a quota. The fall night was cold and the damp air easily penetrated the old clothes I wore. The outside of the house was very dark. As I slowly walked down the path to the front door, I could feel my knees starting to tremble as the old oak tree let out a blood curdling ka-reeeek . “Did I really need new customers this bad?” I thought to myself. “What if he gets me? No one will know that I was even here!”

I cautiously approached the front door and with all the courage I could muster, I softly knocked on it. I thought that if I knocked too loud it would really piss off the kid eater, and if I knocked quiet enough, he might not hear it and I could then say “Oh well, I tried, but no one answered.” and take the easy way out.

Stinky started to bark. Shoot, I forgot about the vicious dog! My legs really started to tremble harder now. I felt like I was going to pee my pants. I wanted to run away as fast as I could, and as I turned to run, the door flung open. Oh my God, this is it! I am going to die!

The old man cursed as the door opened with a loud bang. Stinky was barking, but wait a minute, this was a yapping kind of bark. Just how vicious could this animal be? He jumped up on the door. His tail going so fast I thought he might take flight like a helicopter. Yeah right – vicious my a$$.

The old, short man now appeared at the door. I am sure he heard me gasp. It was true. He was an old man – but then I was only twelve and everyone older than twenty five was old. But there was something really odd about this. He was in a wheelchair. How could he eat people? Surely any one could out run him, and even if he sicced his dog on you, one swift kick and the dog would be well on its way to the moon.

I had never seen anyone in a wheelchair before, so I stood there like someone who had just seen a Martian or something. Finally, the old man growled, “Well?”, and with that I went into my sales pitch, my voice shaking as badly as I.

The old man laughed when I was finished. Looking me square in the eye he said “Took you long enough. Afraid I would eat you or something?” Right. That was it. Kids would hear those remarks and run away at this point. After all, this was the old man that ate kids.

“I have been waiting a long time for a paperboy to come here.” he said. “Not many people have the guts to come up this god damn ramp.” After talking for a short while, he signed the contract and took not only the weekend paper, but the morning paper as well. WOW! I made my quota plus one!!

It was not long and old Charlie and I soon became good friends and on one summer’s afternoon while we were sitting under that scary old oak tree that let out the blood curding ka-reeeek, I looked over at the heap of cast iron carcasses and saw something I did not think belonged there. I went over and picked up an old engine and asked Charlie what it was. He told me it was an old Westinghouse wash machine motor.

“Yeah, right!” I said. “Since when did wash machines run on gas motors?”. Charlie very proudly began to educate me like he would be doing from this day on. It turns out in “the old days” wash machines were outside and since there was no electricity on most of the farms, the wash machines ran on these old motors.

It was a single cylinder, pedal start motor with more rust on it than moss on the old oak tree. I tried to turn it over and it was seized as tight as a bass drum. Charlie just laughed. “That old thing has not run since the war!”.

“Charlie, the war is still on, or haven’t you been reading the papers I have been delivering?”, I retorted, thinking that everyone knew about Vietnam by now!

Again the old man let out one of his many his belly laughs. “Talking about the ‘War of Wars’ – the 2nd War”.

Days went by and I would look over at that silly looking engine and try to imagine it working and running a wash machine. Finally, I got the nerve to ask the old man if he would help me get it running. Again with a belly laugh, Charlie said “If you can get that god dammed thing running, you can have it!”.

I took the engine and placed it on an old tin five gallon pail and attempted to tear down the engine. The bolts were all seized with age and years sitting out in the weather. Charlie began to introduce me to required tools of the trade – penetrating oil, WD40 and a BFH – a Big Freekin’ Hammer. Gradually the bolts came loose and parts were thrown into an old coffee can filled with a concoction of kerosene, vanilla extract and Coca Cola. He said this will eat away all of the rust and lubricate the parts at the same time – “an old farmer’s trick” he would say.

After few days of beating on stuck parts, the old engine was finally apart. Charlie would be testing me along every step by asking what the name of that part was or what its function was. He told me that unless I knew what it did, it did no good to know the name.

We took inventory of the good parts and another of the parts that needed to be replaced. I took the “replace inventory” down to General Trading and had them price up the parts and how long it would take to come in. The man behind the counter started to laugh when I told him the model number of the engine. “They have not made that thing in over 30 years!” But sure enough, Briggs still had lots of parts for the beast.

A week and twenty-five bucks later, I had all the parts that we needed to put that old engine back together. We headed over to the old oak tree and pulled back the musty smelling canvas and exposed a naked hulk of cast iron and steel. That old Briggs was a simple engine – the case, crank, piston, cam, valves, magneto, plug, points and carb. It was not long and the engine was back together and all nice and clean complete with a new paint job that made it look factory fresh.

We fabricated a gas tank out of an old brake fluid can by making a hole in the bottom of it and screwing in a petcock from an old lawn tractor that had also been sitting out in the yard. I tied a piece of old leather around it and tied it to the tree. Charlie found some old surgical tubing that he used on his stumps which we used for the gas line – hey it was only temporary and according to the ‘master’, it should work! I filled the can with gas and put a few drops of fuel into the carburetor, turn on the petcock and kicked the engine over.

Charlie’s face was beaming like a lighthouse beacon as he saw me fire up that old engine. There was a large cloud of smoke as the putt-putt-putt of that three quarter horsepower Briggs and Stratton wash machine motor came to life. He knew something about the future that no one had a clue about.

grizzz

The Sky Is Falling!!!

It is a crazy morning today. I had a totally different column to post this morning, but when I looked out the window I saw it was snowing and on the way into the office I came across two situations that I thought would be a great way to start the day.

You see, here in sunny (or rainy depending on the day) Victoria, we get little snow, hence the reason for all of you easterners (anyone east of Vancouver is an easterner) like to move here. So the obvious joke of the day is, “How can you tell if someone is a native of Victoria?”. “By the way they drive when it snows.”

Oh yes folks. We have the “OMG OMG OMG the sky is falling syndrome” out here. People go into a mass panic; they run to the stores looking for survival gear, they stock up on food, candles, sterno and salt. They jump in their cars are travel at a break neck speed of 10 km/h. If they have a 4x4, it automatically goes into 4L! The phones start ringing with people calling in saying they cannot make it to work (they are the smart ones as their tires are probably bald). It is mass panic. You wait to hear if the Emergency Operations Centres are going to open and if they have room at the shelters. How many schools are going to close today? Are the busses running? Do I need to call a cab to get to work? (why would you call a cab when there is too much snow for you to drive yourself?)

My journey to the office takes about 45 minutes during the week and 20 minutes during the weekend due to the amount of traffic on this poorly planned infrastructure. This is a normal day for me, and today the roads for the most part are very clear because of all the brine they put down, it is snowing very large flakes and they are sticking, but here comes the first encounter….

A van going 30km/h in a 60. I am looking for the slow moving vehicle sign, but there is none so it cannot be a farm vehicle. We soon come to the double lane so I can get around it and discovered that it was a young person, holding tightly to the wheel and focused straight ahead – I mean straight ahead with that OMG OMG OMG look in her face. The shear panic on her face would have been worthy of a $144 ticket for using my cell phone to take a picture.

No sooner did I get around her, I was greeted by a young guy on a motorcycle. It was an old two cylinder, two stroker that looked like it had been around the block more than once. He too was travelling slower than molasses on cold winter’s night, dragging both feet as he went. When we stopped, I saw why – I have more wrinkles on my a$$ than he had tread on his rear tire. There is one born every day they say and he was the one that was dropped on his head as he popped out of the chute.

The only reason I bring this up is that today is Friday and it is a long weekend coming up for us here in BC and we all need a good laugh once in a while. Happy long weekend folks. See you Tuesday.

Drive safely and don't forget - - if it is snowing, try to find something to laugh at. You won't have to look far - they often come to you. :)

grizzz

That Guy

In a previous post, I mentioned about getting off the beaten path and onto the gravel roads to go places you have never seen. If I placed ten bikers in a room and asked how many would prefer gravel over highway, chances are I would get 100% saying highway. And if asked “why”, the most common response is “I don’t like it.”

Looking out my window I begin to reminisce a trip from Phoenix to Las Vegas. I stopped short of the Grand Canyon to marvel the mountains and a waterfall that saw off in the distance. I checked the maps and there were no highways that lead over that way, however there was a gravel road that looked like it might go there.

I usually don't spend much time stopping to think about which way I should go when I'm riding motorcycles, but this time was different. I really, really wanted to go to that waterfall. It looked like it was one of those rides that you'd talk about with your buddies for a few weeks afterwards. The reason for my moment of consideration was that this road was gravel, and I was riding my eight hundred pound Harley Davidson.

It was a tedious ride and took the better part of two hours, but when I got to the base of the water fall, there was not a car in sight and the view was beyond words. One of those Kodak moments that should be the cover shot of some tourist magazine. Something I would never have witnessed if I was not afraid to get off of that blacktop.

If you tend to shy away from gravel roads when riding, you are missing a whole new world of possibilities. Some of the most incredible places that I've found have been off some old gravel road that rarely sees a car, much less a motorcycle.

So why is it that we do not like riding on gravel roads? The answer is the same answer as to why we do not like riding in the rain. We will if and only if we have to, but if we don’t, we won’t. It comes down to skill, practice and feeling comfortable riding your machine and riding on the gravel. If you are afraid of your motorcycle, you will have a white knuckle experience at best and no experience on gravel whatsoever.

The key to riding on gravel is moderate your speed and go easy on everything. The motorcycle knows best.

Don't jerk the handlebars to make a sudden turn. Don't "panic jam" the brakes to slow down. Your rear brakes are your friend. Don't roll your throttle back like your blasting off the line (unless you're trying to throw gravel out from behind you and hit your buddy in the head). Keep your speed under control.

"Reading the Road" is the single best thing you can do to raise your confidence on gravel, BUT, "Realizing that your motorcycle knows best" is the single best way to increase your enjoyment of riding a gravel road. Your motorcycle is going to wiggle on a gravel road. It's going to feel like its sliding all over the place. Your front tire is going to jerk about. Let it. Your bike knows best. This awareness of what your motorcycle is going to do will help you form the appropriate behavior.

The natural tendency for most riders is to try and control every movement on gravel - don't. Just relax, keep a firm but not tight grip on the handlebars, and a light touch when controlling the motorcycle. Don't try to control every movement of the bike, allow the bike to move under you. The law of science that a body in motion tends to stay in motion definitely applies in this instance. Remember, with good tire tread you can ride over oil puddles as long as you don’t panic and grab a handful of brake or throttle - the same holds true here. Smoothness is the secret.

Some riders nervously take both feet off of the pegs and dangle them near the ground when riding on gravel, especially when cornering. That is crazy! If the bike does tip over, the rider may try and hold it up causing ankle, leg or groin injuries. Also, if your right foot is off the peg then the only brake you have left is the front. Yikes!

Keep your head up and your focus on where you are trying to go, the bike will wiggle its way there. This rule probably takes the most getting used to, especially for those with heavier bikes.

In Summary:

Tips for Riding on Gravel

  • Don't do any quick braking or swerving.
  • Get used to some wheel wobbling.
  • Relax your grip on the handlebars but keep it firm.
  • Keep BOTH feet on the pegs.
  • Slow and steady is the key.
  • Try to maintain some speed - it is safer and more stable to be moving.
  • Find the part of the road where the gravel is less dense.
  • Keep your distance from other vehicles.
  • If you have to brake, avoid the front brake, and do it gently.
  • Remember, there is good road ahead!

I still don't enjoy motorcycling on gravel roads, but I have learned not to dread it. The reason I have learned not to cringe at the sight of those pesky little stones is that there are some pretty wonderful sights and places found at the end of the gravel; and best of all - I'm not climbing the road on foot! Be confident in yourself and your motorcycle and you'll be fine. You will be able to enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of places that you will talk about for years to come.

As motorcyclists, we don’t tell the stories of cloudless skies and straight, flat roads - beautiful though they may have been. We tell the stories about dropped bikes, torrential downpours, wrong turns, mechanical failures or the first time we experienced reaching for the fuel reserve switch as we panicked in traffic. But now that you are ready to conquer your first gravel road that takes to you to somewhere totally unexpected, you will have that new story to tell. You are going to be “That guy”.

grizzz

Survival

I cannot teach anyone how to survive in a short blog post, however I can give you the tools in which to survive. Because most of us will be travelling on the highways or the byways, chances are we will never get into the boonies where we will need many of survival tools that people would use while backpacking or hiking in the wilderness. In fact, the majority of our “survival issues” would be solved with a simple cell phone call to 911. However, there might be those times when the highways and byways just don’t cut it and we want a REAL adventure. We will go off the beaten path and take a few gravel roads (heck why not? It is time people learn there is another world out there – this is a post for another day however). So in this case, you might want to be prepared for no cell signal and not another vehicle in site for some time. Make sure you have a paper map of the area that you are going into however, because chances are, it is not going to be a road on your GPS!

Remember one thing here – the items below are tools, but the best tool you have is your mind. You can overcome almost everything if you think things through. You need to stay calm and don’t panic – easier said than done I know, but this is the key to survival. If you stay calm, you will be thinking rationally and not making rash and quick decisions which can turn out to be the wrong ones.

Don’t forget, you will be packing other “survival tools” with you as well. Your cell phone, your first aid kit, tools for bike repairs, maybe some rope or extra bungees, oil, gas and water. Do you have food or snacks already packed? Your mirrors on your bike work as signals to aircraft or ground crew if required. If needed, your battery can be used to start a fire or connect a single light as a light source. Use your head light to signal help. The stuffing in your seat can be used to keep warm. If needed, an inner tube can be used to carry water or used as a sling.

Here is a small survival kit I carry when going off the beaten path:

  • A large clean empty tomato sauce (680ml) (or any large) tin
  • Large pocket knife
  • A fire starter.
  • A survival blanket
  • A large plastic lawn bag
  • A small plastic garbage bag
  • A travel bottle of Imodium
  • A travel bottle of Tylenol
  • A Multi-tool – the one with a pliers.
  • 2 pairs of knee high nylon stockings (out of their packaging)
  • 4 thick rubber bands
  • A Micro-fiber towel
  • Some band aids
  • Two feminine napkins (the thin unscented kind)
  • Small roll of electrical tape
  • Pkg of steri-strips
  • 2 bungee cords
  • 2 large key rings
  • 2 Kem lights, small

With a nail and a hammer, make a hole near the top of the can large enough to feed the key ring through. Then directly across from that hole, make another for the other key ring. Make sure that you tap the holes on inside of the can so there are no sharps that might cut you or anything you put inside the can. These key rings will give you something to hold onto when using or suspending the can.

The can is going to be large enough to put all of the above items into. When you have everything inside EXCEPT the Micro-fiber towel and the rubber bands, use the towel as a cover and secure it with the rubber bands.

Now I know you are going to question some of the items.

Starting with the can itself. The can is used not only to hold everything in one place but to heat water or cook food. To carry coals or hot rocks in. To transport burning embers. You get the point.

The Micro-fibre towel is multi-purpose and goes pretty much without explanation, as does the Band-Aids, bungee cords, Tylenol, Imodium and steri-strips.

The large lawn bag can be used as a rain cover, to lay on or as an under layer when riding in cold or wet weather.

Garbage bag is used to carry water, food stuffs you gather, you name it.

Now for the really questionable ones:

The two feminine napkins – used as gauze to dress a wound, they are much more absorbent than surgical gauges or sponges. Use as pot holders, shoe inserts to cover blisters, etc.

The knee high nylon stockings – used to strain water, tie things up, used along with the feminine napkins to dress a wound, a tourniquet or sling, add a few rocks and you have a weapon.

The survival blanket is used to wrap yourself up in at night to stay warm or during the day to stay cool. Use it as a shelter cover or a signal device.

You will be carrying rags for checking oil and to clean the bike anyway. Use these as toilet paper (you can wash them out in a river or stream so you can re-use them – I know – Yuck, but it works in a pinch).

If you need to “hibernate” until you can either get on your way or until help comes, find a spot where you can be seen but still have shelter. Try to find a place where water is close and easy to get to.

Remember, the key to survival is keeping calm and keep your wits about you. Those are your best tools and if you think clearly, everything else will fall into place.

This of course is not the most complete list and you may need to adjust it for your riding area and weather, but in most cases this will be a good starter kit without taking up a lot of space.

grizzz

OMG - What Next??

Ever have one of those days when you weren’t sure if you were coming or going, came and went or were just plain confused about everything and thought the best solution was to go back to bed and get back up? Looking out my window today that is exactly how I feel. It is a beautiful day with the sun shining, but there is a horribly cold wind blowing and even though the thermometer says 7°, it feels more like -7° and the thought of climbing back into that warm bed is more than a temptation.

That is an easy thing to say when you are sitting in an office, but what do you do when you feel like this and you are on the road? You are really not in any shape to be riding. Your head is not in the game and that is how accidents occur. So what should you do?

The best thing to do is sit it out and rest. It is hard not to be the macho man and carry on, but that is the worst thing you can do for yourself and your fellow riders. If you are feeling ill, don’t be afraid to ask for help and seek medical attention (make sure you have your medical card with you when your travel). It may be a simple case of food poisoning or it could be something worse.

I was on a ride with several others one summer. We left for we were calling the South Ocean trip. Well everyone knows there is no ocean between California and New Mexico and the Gulf of Mexico starts in Texas, so we headed south into Mexico. You all have heard the stories about not drinking the water, well what are you supposed to drink to keep hydrated if you are not going to drink the water? Yup, you guessed it – Montezuma’s revenge struck half of us while the other half managed to get Bali Belly. Now the trick was to carry on with our trip and still be safe and not make a mess as we went.

The trip started to become stupid. We were stopping every 15 minutes with someone having to void. We were not making any headway and the Imodium and Pepto was not helping anyone. Since we were bed rolling it, we did not have any tents so campgrounds (which were almost non-existent) were not in the cards. Hotels were not an option (only one head for all of us). So, time to break out survival training and put it to use.

We found a semi-shady spot along a running river, isolated from any humans that we knew of. There was wood to use as fuel and as supports to create a lean-to. We found a large log to use as a “hang-over” latrine. The river allowed us to clean up and cool off as well as to fill our cooking pot to boil and have liquid to re-hydrate. We used a couple of the blankets and created a cover to keep the sun and weather off of us as we crashed on the remaining blankets laid across the warm sand, and since no one felt like eating, that was not a problem. I guess to anyone that might have seen us, we looked like the walking dead and were a real sight - a bunch of hard-core bikers, bent over like a bunch a babies. Oh well, what can you say when Mother Nature takes over your body – you do what you have to do. The key here was to get healthy before we carried on, or at least as healthy as we could get.

After two days of roughing it – oh yes, it was rough – we headed home to recover and to plan our next trip. This time, some place we would not get sick. We learned a lot from this trip, like how to put survival skill to work when nothing else does. This is one thing that I think everyone should learn – at least the basic skills like how to create shelter and survive in your element for at least three days.

Tomorrow I will present the survival kit that everyone should have with them when they travel. It may save your life.

grizzz

From the Phoenix life is born

I looked out the window before I left home for the office this morning to see a light dusting of that white stuff they call snow. My first reaction was “Snow day!” but that would hardly go over very well – after all, it was the day after the Super Bowl and I surely would get pegged as “That guy with the big hangover”. The thermometer read a crispy 1° C, so on goes the cold weather gear and said a quick prayer that Old Blue would start this morning. Open the garage door, unplug the trickle charger and plug the ‘lectrics in and with a push of the button, Old Blue comes to life with a loud roar. Oh, the music to my ears.

But now forward the clock three hours later and I am here in the office day dreaming about my little journey of September 2006. Trouble was brewing in the home front, the woman I was living with turned more and sourer, so I did what any good man would do – I bought a bike. Not just any bike, but a project bike. I figured that if I had something to keep me busy and out of her way, everything would turn better. You see, there was a common trend in my life with women - it seems it was always "the bike or me" and you know who always won that battle.

So now that I have decided this is no longer going to be the case, I sat before this project as she rested on her new, albeit temporary, perch in the garage. Soon I was reminded that it was a “Purple bike” by that mindless woman. That did not matter to me, it was just noise in one ear and out the other as my mind started to crank out blueprints and drawings on what this project was going to transform herself into. But not long into my visions, my partner screams out “Aren’t you going to work today?” I guess she saw the confusion on my face because she very gruffly told me it was seven o’clock – IN THE MORNING!! Yes, I sat there all night dreaming what ‘Bear’ was to become.

Months pass and my garage soon begins to look more like a fabrication shop than a residential addition to one’s home. Bike parts scattered all over and an engine’s blood dripping to the floor as its heart lay exposed. The skeleton is bare, welding smoke and paint vapours fill the air as the new parts slowly start to arrive.

Weeks pass and the beast now had a new heart, new bones, new shoes and a new fur! A total rebuild, repaint and, well – a new life. Not only did I start a project which would breathe new life into a dying motorcycle, but I brought life to a new family – CMC065 was created. The stress in my life was gone as the woman that was holding me back was no longer part of my world.

Don’t get me wrong here folks, if it were not for her, the Bear would not have been created nor would the Chapter have been formed and many other relationships kindled, including the marriage to my Gazelle. I owe that woman a lot! So you see, great thing come from the bad – like the Phoenix which rises from the ashes.

My new found family stretched across the nation and soon I found myself on a road trip to the first National CMC Rally which was held in Midland, Ontario. The bear belching life into this old biker as we tore up the highways from the west coast to the Great Lakes and along the way, both to and from, more relationships were made and more lessons learned.

The biggest lesson learned was a simple one that we rarely really think about. No matter how bad one has it, someone else has it worse. Get on your machine, let your hair flow free and your attitude will change. Nothing seems to matter anymore. I hate to use the old jingle from Honda, but you meet the nicest people on a Honda motorcycle.

Thank god Gazelle rides, now I will no longer have to make that nasty decision :)

grizzz

The Cenotaph

cenotaph.jpg

My eyes go directly to the Cenotaph as I look out my window today. You see, my office faces Memorial Park – a great green area in the heart of this little Municipality; so it is hard for me not to get off into “day dream world” every now and then, especially on days like today when the sun is in its full glory and the temperature just begs me to leave this office and jump on my trusty stead and head off to wherever the front tire points. But as I look at the Cenotaph, I can’t but think of all those that served our country so proudly and lost their lives for the freedoms that we have today.

A very dear friend of mine – Hairy (yes, spelled correctly), was a bike messenger in WW2. His job was to move messages between commands on his WLC – a 45 cubic inch Harley that was designed for the military. He did this for three years, catching chunks of lead in his shoulder, his back, his leg and his arm and not to mention breaking his leg not once but twice. The life expectancy of the biker messenger was only 6 months, a year if you were lucky. Old Hairy did his time, going through eight WLC’s, several Royal Enfields and a handful of captured BMWs. When he returned home, he opened Harry’s Bar and Grill on Mission Bay in San Diego.

Over the years, the bar took its toll, but the clientele remained true to Hairy. If you’d bring in your stein and he would proudly display it on the back of the bar. If you were a biker, it would go to the right, military would go to the left and if you were both – it would be proudly displayed front and center. Each stein had its story and old Hairy knew them all as well as the people that would drink from them.

It would be about 20 years since I saw the old geezer, but when I eventually made it back to San Diego, I made sure that I stopped in. The place was still as dingy as ever. Peanut shells all over the floor and duct tape holding the bar stools together and as I made my way to my old spot at the end of the bar, Hairy so nonchalantly grabbed my stein, blew off the dust, filled it up and slung it down the bar like he had done so many times before.

With a raspy grunt, he just said “It is about f’ing time you show your f’ing mug! I was getting ready to sell that F’ing stein of yours. Thought you was either f’ing dead or in the pen.” and the conversation carried on like I had never left. Every other word was that old f bomb and his voice got raspier as he spoke and chewed that old fatty (which I am sure it was the same one he put in his mouth 35 years ago!). His stories were the same, a little more colour and took a bit longer to tell, but it was Hairy that was telling it. When I returned a couple of years ago, I learned that old Hairy passed and the bar was sold and torn down. My heart was ripped from my chest.

Why do I tell you all of this? Well, because as I look out the window at that Cenotaph, I realize that none of us are getting any younger and we do not tell the people around us just how much they mean to us. Hairy meant a lot to this ex-military biker. His stories, his wit and just him being there with his long grey hair and ZZ-Top beard. He was a character, a friend, a confidant, a biker and a brother.

He would always yell as we departed “Vita initum iam”. “Your adventure starts now (actually translated - life starts now, but he always meant it to be adventure and who was going to argue with him?)”. Because for him, there was never a good bye and life was always an adventure. He took the time to know you, something we don’t do enough today. So as we jump on our rides and head out – Vita initum iam!

grizzz

Frugality or Frivolity

It is time to break away from the ever present budget preparation and look out the window and ponder at the New Year. Even though we are now 30 days into it, I am finding that the old paycheque is smaller. It is going to be another tough year. So, as I watch the birds feeding merrily on their catch of the day I got to thinking….

Every time our group rides, we find ourselves ending up at a pub or restaurant for a meal. Now I get to thinking (yes that can be dangerous)… it is one of the prime differences between old school and new school, or frugality and frivolity. New school throws down cash at the first inkling of an appetite; old school can’t waste time pulling over to satisfy a hunger pang when a home-cooked meal is only six hours away. When I was a boy, the notion of eating out meant that dad got a raise (and this was one of those things that just did not happen!) Normally we would have to go to the lake or head out to the woods with our .22’s and bring home dinner. This, my dad would say, toughened you up, built character, and made you appreciate the value of a dollar. At the time, I would have traded that all in for a simple sandwich, but now I see the stingy coot was right.

Even though we've become a nation of softies, you can still find economical compromise. For one, you can pack your saddlebag with a picnic. Include beverages, hearty sandwiches, maybe even a piece of fruit for once. Pick a spot along one of your favorite scenic roads, pull over at some piney place, and teach yourself to relax and enjoy the view.

Best of all, it's cheap. If you are not with the group, bring a date and you’ve got a damn romantic getaway package. Variations on the saddlebag picnic include the backpack breakfast and the Tour-Pak dinner (candlelight and iPod optional). If you munch your lunch by a secluded little swimming hole, clothes become optional too. I'm sure there's a little-known amendment to the Charter of Rights guaranteeing the biker's right to get naked somewhere. (Look it up and let us know.)

Ok, you want MEAT? I mean MEAT!!!! Here is a trick I learned from an old timer years ago while riding in the Kentucky foot hills. No, it wasn’t all about ‘shine or road kill, but then that would work too ;). Carefully wrap whatever raw meat you've got in two overlapping layers of heavy-duty foil, and clamp that to your exhaust pipe. The higher up the pipe you locate the meat (closer to the jugs) the more well-done the meat. Make sure that the foil does not have any holes or you might have a mess on the pipes. Don't use ground anything as this really makes a mess. Figuring out cook times takes a bit of trial and error, but soon you’ll get it and be enjoying many a hot mobile meal, which, legend has it, is where the term, "piping hot" comes from. I found that 100 miles at highway speeds will give you a medium steak.

I just hate it when my mind starts to wonder like this. Makes me wish I was on the road again and not in this office – staring at computer screens and listening to that black thing ringing all day. But this also reminds me of something else…. Not to get all religious on you or anything, but remember the bible telling us about how Christ turned water into wine? When I think about that, I realize there was a miracle that makes that look like child’s play. Two men (Harley and Davidson) turned liquid (gasoline) into music.

OK, back to work…..