Thursday, December 19, 2013

The survival arguments, but why?

One thing stands clear within the firearms community, there is no shortage of opinions ranging from gear, weapons and tactics.
For years I engaged in the nonsense of the caliber argument, failing to see the answer straight before my eyes simply as a hunter.
Looking at the most successful hunters I learned that merely using a good bullet which expands within any reasonable caliber and being compitant and accurate with said round, would garner you a full freezer. Fail in any of those accords and you will have an empty freezer.
People who used the largest magnum calibers tended to flinch and to be afraid of their weapon, not something you want as a hunter nor in a shit hits the fan scenario. Their theory being that the increased power would compensate for their poor accuracy, I am here to say that shooting an animal with a ill placed shot will result in you huffing around in the mountains wishing it had been better placed.
A weapon which fits you best and you are comfortable with makes all the difference in the world, while nobody wants to be shot, I would far rather the person shooting at me not be familiar and be as incompetent as possible.
The solution to all the above is practice, practice know your weapon which in  the end brings confidence, knowing you will make the shot and comfort, being relaxed in making that shot, both = success.
Next we move on to the tactical scenario , and there is by no means any  shortage of opinions on what is best, so what is the answer?
Well today I was talking to a friend, someone whom I used to train with, a wonderful man, and one of the best long range shooters I have ever encountered. 
I was talking how I would like to get back into long range game, and he asked "do you really think in a SHTF scenario you would use it?
I dono, what is that scenario? Where will you be? what will you have? The answer is we really do not know so being astute in all skills be it CQB to long range certainly is a must.
What I do know is distance = safety in regards to accuracy, and certainly if one is applying himself in a hide the added benefit of not being seen certainly would help.
The best overall solution? The same I apply to travel in risky areas, do not make yourself a target, learn negotiation, barter and be smart.
The reality is regardless of how well armed and trained you are a mob will run your ass down and take over that house you are securing. You certainly no matter how good you believe you are will have the ability to take on an overwhelming force of trained aggressors, all you can do is possibly take some with you. Screw that, I am playing to win, come on in boys, have some vodka and let me cook you some fish! Oh no sorry to see you choking on that black powder ;)
Maybe IM getting old but the Idea of being Rambo becomes less appealing with each year and with more wisdom gained traveling I also learn that it probably is not so needed anyhow.
At one time I believed guns and ammo were a good thing to keep, and lots of them. If shit hits the fan money becomes usless so food, water, weapons and ammo are good for trade.
Hold on here, lets think about this for a minute, why the hell would I want to trade weapons to someone who may possibly use them against me?
Screw that, I want food, water, booze and titty magazines for trade, maybe a little Mary Jane, an attacker to lazy or stoned out of their mind would be optimal.

I will with that said continue to practice, mainly within firearms and of course I will always practice some martial arts as well since for me as a traveler that is the most likely weapon I will ever use, the one between my ears and hopefully nothing more ever again.

How those dirty wanderers influenced my life.

I grew up reading novels about hero cowboys, men of adventure who challenged the world and marched to their own drum.
I rode a horse, herded cattle, carried a pistol, sometimes a rifle and loved to camp in the wilderness lands where the spirits of old whisper upon the wind.
I believe in the old adage "ride hard shoot straight and speak the truth, and damn it, I have shoved my fist in more than one nose of those evil villains bringing a scourge upon someone innocent.
I guess I never really realized it but as I write this, I now realize that those readings influenced my desire to travel and my ability to push the fear of the unknown aside.
Maybe it helped me to want to be that new person, to see new things, and to trade with those indigenous people and share their customs.
As I write this I realize the lasting impact upon my life, Craving a strong history I believe that one of my favorite Authors Mr Louis L'Amore  more gave me some of that history by way of fiction.
His writings always brought forth someone willing to venture into the unkown, willing to see all things new. His book on medieval Europe peaked my interest and made me read about all those areas which Mathurin would travel, being a poet, a warrior and a physician what more could we model ourselves after?
For the past month I have been busy readying my steel horse, I have changed the filter, put on the Aluminum Saddlebags known to the motorcycle world as Paniers.
My steeds shoes are rubber and hopefully I will not throw any on the way, if I do, I carry spare in those water proof bags you missed out on.
My gear is not leather, nor wool, but rather textile which is waterproof and abrasian resistant, let us pray I never have to find out how well the later is.
My tent is loaded, my camping equipment washed, matches ready at hand to light that fire that will carry the hot ashes to the heavens.
A campus I will not carry, rather a GPS with all the maps of the US under my fingertips and all my trails shall be plotted, even into the abyss of the unknown.
Soon as with my Idols of my childhood I will sit under the open stars again, my head not resting against a saddle, like so many times of my youth, but rather against a nice modern inflated pillow.
Could be I am cheating a bit, but hell, the western saddle was technology in its time.

Travel music is also something which shall soon be my companion, an Ipod loaded with tunes to make my mind wander with the humming of my tires on the road adding to the strum of the guitar in my ear phones.
I really wanted to learn the Harmonica, but as it turns out I am incapable of learning a blow instrument, my cat had been horrified, now with him leaving this world only his spirit arches its back as I try to play.
I should have learned to play the guitar, I mean after all what could be more romantic than strumming a tune while gazing at those stars, what more could bring those savages to my favor?
The String Bass I played in highschool is to big to pack, and hell to be honest it has been so long my Rockabilly days are probably gone anyhow.

I hope that poor singing and a hearty appetite willing to eat nearly anything, my big smile and resemblence to Shrek will have to suffice & will win over their hearts, so please put down those torches and pitchforks!

So thank you Mr L'Amore, I loved your stories and have many of them, though they are all the same in some regards, they have molded me into the adventurous person I am today.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Celebrating a Terrorist, what gives?

People have asked me several times over the past few days what was so bad about Mandela? I guess they missed my link on him so here goes

We all know he went to prison, but most do not know why.
It seems in their mind he was a freedom fighter and went against the big bad regime. That would be true, but he sure had a roundabout way of getting there.
First off he orchestrated the Church Street Bombing, an event where he wanted to maximize civilian casualties, 19 Civilians would die.

He would become a leader in the African National Congress, A heroric patriotic group you hear. I guess if you think operating death camps in Angola is a good thing. Thats right, they terrorized villages, tortured and murdered people to "make them" go along with them. They along with Mandelas wife also had another way of coercing people, it was called necklacing, where they would put a tire around someones neck, fill it with gasoline and light it on fire.
Those people were anyone who were even suspected of talking to the government. Desmond TuTU would become famous for selflessly tossing himself on a victim and stopping the lynch mob.

Mandela would go on to Burn Farmers fields, encourage African Youth to Burn Farmers fields before he went off to the clink.

He wrote a book, where he showed no remorse for his past actions. He also never would separate himself from the African Congress which continued their terrorist ways while he was in prison and afterwards.

His refusal to distance himself from Militants has led to the slaughter of some 60k whites in south Africa, many of whom were farmers who have their throats slit.
Did he change after prison? Nah, a changed person is at least apologetic, he never was anything but arrogant, and i find it sad that the Western Media put a Terrorist on a Pedalstool.

We have a war on terrorism, I see the ra ra bullshit posts on here every day from the left, and the right.
I find it repugnant then that you would send your Brothers, Sons, fathers off to fight terrorists, who really are only people being victim to living in a certain land, and then put a single one on a pedalstool.

No freedom fighter bombs innocent people intentionally, that is what terrorists do, strike terror in the hearts of civilization.

You might not have wanted to hear this, but it needed to be said.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Why I choose an Adventure over a Vacation.

People often ask me why I travel as I do, why do I spend my time in a country traveling from area to area and needing a vacation when I come home, and the answer is very simple.
When you plan a vacation, you know what you will see before hand and everything else is planned out, when you plan an adventure, you are going into the unknown with no real time frame, only the beginning, and an end.
I grew up as a traveler, my father during my childhood was an over the road bus driver so I spent much of my youth riding with him.
I liked it as I am a chatty inquisitive person so I always got to meet someone new and interesting as on the bus there is only time for three things, talk, reading and sleep.
My parents also were into adventure. On my fathers days off we would saddle up the horses, load up the fishing poles and head into the wilderness.
I grew up thinking my head on a saddle was supposed to be a pillow when camping.
I thought a tarp was better than a tent as I had better things to do than sit in camp, there were caves to explore and fish to be caught. I honestly thought that bathing in a cold creek for a few seconds was a true bath in the wild. I drank out of every stream I came across and it was not until high school would giardia find my father and me on a much milder level. Cooking over the open fire and picking ash out of ones food is the best. I loved to forage when I was younger, and often would grab me some elk thistle and a grouse or two that happened in front of me.
Along with our trips came the usual mishaps of riding horses in the wild. They would of course become spooked or simply have a bad irritable day. I remember vividly Satan losing her cookies and being used as a pack mare at that time, tossing everything we had all over the trail.
We would spend the next few hours wandering around in the brush trying to locate our basics, my aunt would complain as we never found her toothbrush.
I liked this, it was fun, and I saw the wilderness in a way most never will, in a way that early explorers and settles often saw it. As such I never really bought into the boogyman nonsense, mind you my mind like everyone elses wanders, but it is much easier for me to control those thoughts.
I know there are dangers, but those are part of life in general, tens of thousands of people die in a car accident every year, yet nobody thinks twice about jumping in a car. There have only been a handful of documented Grizzly Bear attacks resulting in death, yet people panic at the very thought of one.
When a journey becomes an adventure your life is expanded upon, you will probably meet some person whom you never knew existed, a person who is helping you fix that broken strap on your back pack, or pull your motorcycle from a ditch.
When you are in an adventure you find things and places you never would see as a tourist, but unfortunately you miss a few things that other tourists may see, that is ok to me, as I believe I get a far better understanding of what a culture truly is about, and that rarely is what a tourist sees in a tourist area.
I often recount this, as it has had a major impact on my life, and that is when in 2007 I was backpacking about the Philippines province of Luzon and would stay in a small town where I was the first white person since WW2. I wrote a story about it which you can find among my blog, but the most amazing aspect of that story is the beginning of it all. When I would arrive at the house to which I would stay at 4:30 AM and breakfast would be waiting for me. After a morning of hiking I would return for lunch and there would be no food as they had cooked the last of it just for our breakfast.
I ask you, where can you find such genuine generosity when staying at a Sands?
Since my last trip to the Philippines much has changed, some of the things that I saw were destroyed in the earthquake and now the typhoon. How fortunate was I do have seen those things while they still stood.
I guess I will continue to travel on in my own way, I do not mind flying somewhere, but when I do, My feet will hit the ground running.
My next adventure is by Motorcycle and shall take me over some 4000 miles in three weeks, I am beyond excited. My ignorance of the area shall be lifted and hopefully I will meet more wonderful people to share stories with, and whos life I will change, and who will again change mine.
One thing more I shall gain, is more knowledge, and ultimately, more fulfillment as a person.
I leave you with one of the most Amazing quotes ever written.

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.”

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Take this job and shove it, one of those days you didnt want to be at work.

Yesterday was one of those days you just wish had not happened.
Started out with a delivery for Accessories to a mine on Monday, nice 10 hour day.
Would check into the Hotel at 7 PM, relax, ate a nice light chefs salad purchased form the grocery store and just relaxed.
Sleep was my usual four hours of non constant BS grr.
Would crawl out of bed at 4:45 Am and eat a banana, 15 minutes later I would fire up the work truck, visit the hotel eh ehm, diner for some usual hotel food.
Two hard boiled eggs, one minature slice of french toast and one microwaved sausage I was ready to hit the road.
Nothing eventful as I drove the hour 15 minutes to pick up the MMU truck, or mobile manufacturing semi truck I would use on another site.
It was left at a different mine. It fired up after its usual five minute crank fest, doing the walk around I found that a fuel line used to tell how much fuel as in the auxiliary tank was broken do to age.
I fixed it at least as best I could in the truck headlights. Fixed the burnt out bulb in a clearance light and would be ready to go.
Not so fast, the less than dependable fuel guage only registered just over quarter of a tank, which ment it probably was empty.
A quick kick and a feeble attempt to see into the fuel tank would confirm my suspicions, my ever caring previous co workers had failed to not only mention any problems, but also that it needed fuel.
I would proceed to the mine shop and see what I could find out, namely how far a gas station would be.
I parked amongs the line of Miners vehicles who had just showed up, people were walking about everywhere and there right in front of me was a fox. She was looking scared confused and licking her chops. HOLY SHIT A RABID OR DISTEMPERED FOX! I prepared to jump back into the truck as she looked at me and took a few step forward, visions of the seven shots in my stomach came to my mind. But some crazy fool miner would walk right up to her, I almost yelled, he put out his hand and she sniffed it, he walked on past.
Turns out the Fox is a wild pet of sorts, they feed her breakfast and she follows them around, what an amazing experience!
Next I would have my fuel fear confirmed "Nearest station is 30 miles" yea I was screwed.
I managed to beg a tank of fuel off of them. By then it was now 7:30 am, I was supposed to be on another mine site 50 miles away already grrr.
Off I went, worried about hte scales as this is one of those barely passes trucks, not eventful at all.
I would ring my co worker and tell him to inform the boss I was running late and to please let the mine know.
40 minutes later I was at the mine.
First attempt to load the truck did not go so well, but it worked.
We began to fuel the axillary fuel tank and the crap hose I had tried to fix earlier broke, diesel everywhere.
After listening to a guy who didnt know what to do, I should have just used my years of plumbing experience and fixed it how I wanted, which I would do.
My boots were soaked with diesel and I was praying not enough to get into my socks, this sucks.
Boom swings out over the hole, I hit the switch, and, nothing, flip the switch back and forth, nothing.
Outside mess with the manual hydrolic override controls, nothing.
Miner helping is just staring, I am swearing out loud everyone knows how much I hate this job.
The Auger was not emptied properly so another half an hour following my co workers mistake we would finish loading the first few holes.
Back down to refill, this requires driving under and chute from a Amonium Nitrate bin with a flexible 14 or so inch hose hanging down.
Hose would fall off, and the hose clamps were rusted, one hour later it would re attach.
Miner whom I was contracted for "We HAVE to be done by 4pm today, nothing can stop us.
Trip to the bench, load more holes, back down for the hose to fall off again grr, Im hungy, and at this point it is 1:30 and I realize I left my sandwich in the delivery truck along with my extra water and vitamin water damn it!!!
Back up on top I would load on a hill most people would only want to drive a 4x4, not a semi truck.
We would finish, of course after I had to clean the auger two more times grrr.
3:30 pm, with a picture of Tom Cruise and Mission impossible music playing in my head I would strap down the boom on the truck and head out.
First stop at a gas station to get some  diesel and hopefully a snack.
I would grab the last hotdog off the tray and it would roll off onto the ground unreal.
I would be back to the first mine site at 5 pm on the button, only one hour 15 minutes back to the hotel.
The Sandwich I left in the truck had melted cheese from the sun, luckily I had left a banana so I would have that. IT had only been twelve hours since my last snack even, and wow was I starved. Soaked work boots off, had not got to my socks which was great, but they stunk. Flip flops I would drive back in. 
Upon checking into the hotel  AGAIN I would ask where the best steak in Laural Montana was.
The bowling alley the old lady said who had worked this mediocre job far to long would inform me.
So off I would head up to my room, throw away my work shirt, tear off my stinky diesel covered clothes, shower and down to the kick ass diner.
And wow was I ever craving a good steak, and yea well it wasnt that at all.
A trip to the IGA and some snacks would tide me over with a six pack of beer would finalize another day in the mining industry.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

"I told ya it was gonna snow", my first interstate motorcycle trip with a childhood friend.

It was 23 years ago and I had purchased my first Street bike, a 1982 Yamaha 750 Virago.
I was a badass, and I knew it, the thunder of the road was a refreshing change from the years of tearing up dirt trails and jumping out and into gravel pits.

It was not long into the summer when one of my childhood friends and I decided to make our first journey by motorcycle.
Much debating began, roughly three minutes before we would settle upon our destination some 400 miles and change to the Amusement Park known as the Lagoon.

We set a date and began our preparations. My father was insistent that it would snow, even at the end of August.
"Your batshit crazy pops" I would tell him, watching carefully out of the corner of my eye as usually a smart ass remark was followed by the back of his hand, a tool, or even in one case a dinner role which would smack me right between my eyes and knock me from my chair.
"boy, you just wait and see, its going to snow"
Seriously he was nuts, we would be gone for three days and be coming back on the 29th of August, not a chance.

I had little for gear back then, I had a Nolan helmet and a Harley Davidson leather jacket I had purchased locally. I am not exactly sure where the money came from for this ,as both were around 300 dollars each. Its kind of hard to Imagine a time so long ago when we were subject to what the local store carried or what was in the back of a magazine.
For saddlebags I literally decided upon a set I used often. Since we had horses there were plenty of saddle bags hanging around. Dad was quick and handy modifying anything and soon he had those bags fitting my bike nicely, and I would be ready.
We had little knowledge of how to pack back then, there was such limited information in those days it seems. About all I had in my head were visions from the worst movie I had ever seen "Born to be Wild"
We would have crap strapped everywhere and my blanket would be tied by bailing twine over my front fender.
We would depart, no fanfare, no parades, just two guys on a mission.
We would stop at the hardware store and buy some rain gear, Steve swore up and down that goretex gloves were the best thing under the sun if our hands were to get wet, so we would try.
It is unfortunate that I have not written this before, as so much has already escaped my mind over the years. The next thing I remember is stopping in Idaho falls to see my cousins. Wonderful people and I had stayed there before. I tried to talk Megan, one of my favorites to come along, she was a wonderfully beautiful girl and why I would want the extra attention she would garner was beyond me.
Perhaps I thought if I had a beautiful girl with me other girls would find me attractive.
She saw thru my ploy, or in reality saw my bike loaded to the brim strapped down in a way only a farm boy could and kindly said "I think I'll stay". FOILED again damn it.
We would arrive in salt lake to crazy traffic, darting here and there and at one point Steve felt it necessary to give a lesson to a corvette on his KZ750. One of the fastest bikes of its era it certainly did well and in triple digits,  well I assume so at least as my speedo was buried at 85 *Grin* and Steve nearly a dot for me he would let off the throttle and I would catch up, seeing his big grin under the full face helmet as if his smile was painted on the outside.

We would pitch a tent in the camping area of the lagoon, wander about, run into friends from Anaconda, how amazing and do the usual Teenage idiocy.
We would find ourselves in the carnival games, as it turns out Steve was not so big into Amusement park rides (nice time to let me know Steve!!)  as he would get sick.
So there we stood, trying to win stuffed animals, and in particular a four foot tall gorilla that we thought would be funny as hell tied behind our bikes.
I quit after a few dollars, proclaiming the game was rigged, I would fall for Steves urging and all my cash save enough money for three tanks of gas, I would give in. Realizing at that point that I could have went to the store and bought a damn life sized gorilla for the back of my bike for cheaper.
Uhgg tomorrow would suck as I drifted home on Fumes in my gas tank and an empty stomach.
We would load up in the morning and head out with temps in the high 90s. Our fuel stops were the normal and in Lima MT we would stop for lunch. Let me make a correction, Steve would enjoy lunch and I would drink some coffee as I was not sure if I had enough money to even make it home at this point.
The weather was cooling off substantially and as we entered Dillon MT the temperature would have dropped to a Balmy 31 degrees.
We would find at this time that the Gore-Tex gloves let in to much air and our hands were frozen. Back to leather for me. I remember some kid thinking we were his heros riding in the cold, I thought he was nuts. A woman in the gas station stated it was snowing up yonder and I heard my dads premonition ringing in my ears. "You probably should stay here she said"
All I could think about is it was my last tank of gas and only a couple dollars left in my wallet, a hotel room was beyond out.
Dillon is normally only an hour ride from home, should be easy enough to make we thought.
We put on sweats over our pants to stay warm and rain gear over the sweats to of course stay dry and the biggest thing, to brake the wind.
In another ten miles we would find that snow, and we found piles of it. It was beyond a mild storm and it was an absolute Blizzard.
Visibility was zero, snow was piling on so fast we could not see the tire tracks of cars in front of us.
We would stop and look at each other and my last words uttered to Steve for the next hour would be "We do not know what these things will do on these slick roads so lets take it easy." Steve would Nod and would tear off into the sunset, er blizzard.
We road at a blistering pace and I am still not sure how we knew where the road was at, the snow was piled up so heavy only the occasisonal non iced over reflector let us know our path. My Visor was iced up so I found myself cracking it open slightly and looking between the visor and the chin guard.
Steve was flying, from what I could see on my icing up speedo we were doing 65, way to fast.
Cars were crawling at below half that pace and we tore past them as if they were going backwards.
I was cold, so cold, the rain gear had iced up and froze stiff, my fingers were almost beyond numb and all I could think of was if we could pull over we could warm our hands on the open motors.
But Steve had other Ideas, and kept up the blistering pace, I followed close behind him only because I was afraid he would slide off the road and I would not see him. By this time snow was over our feet planted on the foot pegs.
I would flash my light, nothing, pull up beside him, nothing. I would try one last ditch effort trying to wave my hand and point to the upcoming rest stop, nothing. It was all for naught.
Finally he would stop, 12 miles from home at the intersection of I 15 and I 90 and proclaim in a just above a whispered stutter "I am so cold I cannot go on."
Seriously I thought, we were almost home why let blood flow to our extremities now?'
We headed to the truck stop which was about a mile away. I remember sitting at the table with our helmets on, fingers to cold to pry the Ice from the clasps.
The waitress thought we were crazy, everyone made sure to let us know we were and the coffee would be free, well after our helmets came off of course.
Two pots of coffee later Dad would show up and rescue us with the car trailer, laughing with his booming laugh as always "I told you it was gonna snow"
It is unfortunate that such a wonderful adventure was not captured on film.
It seems to me that the next morning I took a picture of our bikes on the trailer, snow dripping off in the following day 70 degree temps.
I know not where that picture may be, nor if I ever actually had it developed, hell the way film used to be maybe it never came out.
I talked to Steve about this ride a couple days ago, which set forth this story before it leaves my mind.
I am happy to have shared it, cold fingers and all, and I have recounted it far to many times over the years.
Epic adventures come and go, but they always stay in our mind, this was one of them and would set the stage for my future travels. Sharing things like this with friends is the best and I only wish I could persuade more friends to share future travels with me.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Road of Life

I often wonder where the road in my life would have been had I followed my dreams, and not what others thought best for me.
I think living a lie is the absolute worst thing we can do, and unfortunately in todays society that is what most of us have done, and hell, maybe historically has always been the case.
To me I think we can take a lesson from the story of the Essex, where a captain went thru hell and after surviving, went back to society and took the lowest job he could find. He would live his remaining days a happy man in that position. Adversely his first mate would go on to be captain, would live a life of paranoia and gluttony with a predictable end.
We are so programmed in society that success is measured in dollars and wealth that we lose ourselves in the processes.
Now I realize that a Euphoria of relaxation with everyone achieving their dreams is not realistic. But wouldn't it be nice to simply live a life without unnecessary pressures? A life without others dictating or tearing you down?
Maybe that is why we all find solace in books, TVs, and even sports, to escape our own real demons and make our dream life come true, even so faintly for an hour or two we live vicariously thru others.
I say to hell with that, it aught to be a reality, our reality.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Thoughts from the Montana Economic Summit

Max Baucus is a Senator I have never really cared for to be honest. He just seemed like a very dim man, easily bought, who rarely put much thought into anything. Now I realize that is probably not the case, he does after all have a law degree from one of the best schools in the world, Stanford.
Despite that, I differ with him on politics greatly.

But in regards to his business summit, not only did he hit the nail on the head, he did something every state should be doing every single year.
The summit for those who did not know focuses on bringing jobs to Montana, this was its sixth year and it has grown every year.
The part they got wrong was in regards to advertising, it really did not say much on the website, but it listed  an A list of successful people we all dream of being.
I would only attend the speakers on Monday and they were heavy hitters, from Elon Musk, Sheryl Sandburg of Facebook to Eric Scmidt of Google. Hands down the best speaker IMO was Fred Smith Founder and CEO of Fed Ex.
Max had Stated he wanted to keep politics out of this, but come on Max, we are talking about business here, did you really think that would not happen?
The first people to capture my attention would actually be the Ambassadors.
Incredible people and I only wish our congressman followed their fashion. Canada's really stood out and if any Canadians are reading this, you aught to be pushing him to be your next PM.
He really was dumbfounded as to why the keystone pipeline, being years in the making, was not happening. He stated clearly it was easier to import crown royal than to get something we all really needed, oil, into America.
The others all stated something which we seem to ignore, that nobody really knows anything about Montana. I agree, every advertisement I see about Montana is about the wild west aspect of us. It always pictures some rancher and someone riding a horse. Screw horses, Montana is a very diverse area where Mining, Logging, Tourism, and gambling are our major money boons.
The Ambassador or Germany I also enjoyed, and for the life of him he could not understand why we were not doing a better job promoting and exporting our vast mineral riches.
I agree, we are one of the worlds most mineral enriched areas yet we also are one of the highest poverty states in America, BS, that needs to change.

Now we went onto the A list of Speakers, not as if five ambassadors are not enough.

The Chief Executive Officer of Delta did a good job of avoiding politics, but I felt he gave kind of a drab rah rah this is what delta is doing speech, not much more.

Elon Musk did a nice job, being somewhat of a quiet guy he is hardly the greatest speaker in the world. But he is a true genius, very much can be compared to Howard Hughs.
Elon as it turned out came to fame in the last hour on Christmas, having squandered all of his money from his selling of pay pal (I will never forgive you for that Elon) he would invest in his Tesla car.

On the last hour possible I believe on the 26th of December, he would finish, meeting the required time frame of his investors and keeping his dream alive. Good for you Elon thanks for bringing a new spin to that industry.
He tried to keep out of politics, but did insinuate that it is easy to export his cars to china as the cargo containers are empty, hmm paying attention yet people?

Fred Smith got on stage, and to be honest, he seems to be a very unassuming man. He started out talking with a slow southern drawl and at first, I thought how the hell did this guy stumble into this wealth.
Then he continued, and I was glued. He very clearly and concicely pointed out that America has one of the highest business tax rates, and the worlds highest business start up rate. Those two factors alone make it very hard to compete on a world level.
He made it very clear that our failing infrastructure needed to be dealt with, and man does it.
Without that being addressed, what will happen? how will we transport goods? get our water? Move our sewage? damn it people this needs to happen.
Outstanding man, I hope I may talk with him in person someday, hell I hope he runs for President, and I sincerely hope the people of this country are able for once to look beyond a smile and to vote for substance.
Eric Scmidt was alright, he was kind of raw raw but I am honestly not a huge fan of google, I feel them selling us out to the government is friggin scary and dangerous.
Sheryl Sandburg is obviously an impressive woman. I don't care what anyone says to truly succeed at her level they have to be the absolute best and the brightest. Women at the top are fighters, truly geniuses pushing men aside and whatever bias to make it. That however makes them somewhat unappealing to the average person who is often intimidated, both men and women.
Im not a huge fan of Facebook, and I honestly do not consider it more than something of a dream world so I cannot compare it to other companies which I really think have done something amazing.
yea I know, like I am someone special. I am not, but what the hell, your reading for a reason right?

Now the next aspect of this all that I really want the country to take notice on were the classes.
they had a multitude of hour  long classes covering a variety of topics.
I cannot list them all but I attended Three classes I took , Biofuels, Alternative Energy and Patents.
I have always been fascinated with Biofuels and Alternative energy so those were a given.
The biofuels tried to push Ethanol, as it is a government standard, many in the class pointed out how horrible that is. And if you research it, nearly every horror store is true about it.
All you really need to know is the history of it and why it lost out to oil. To be frank it lost out because it sucks. Not only are you taking a food source, you are taking the number one crop for water consumption, so areas that previously did not have a drought now do since the federal ethanol standard was developed. Crops are also subject to disease as well as harvests depending on the weather. It was easy for oil to win out in the mid 1800s.
Trees as a power source look somewhat promising, but the eco freaks are making that impossible.
People we simply cannot continue to have more wilderness areas, we need to use that land, its imperative to our survival and future.
Algae looked far more impressive than I knew, not only as a fuel source, but as a fertilizer.

The Alternative Energy was very interesting, and I was happy to see new Drilling mud being made from natural corn syrup and sugar beat syrup. Other than that I still hate fracking.
There is a company who are using escaping CO2 from well and converting it into a powersource! FRIGGING AWESOME!!

The patent information was invaluable for me as I have a couple of inventions I have tooled with for some time. I think I got much out of it and Talking to Susan Anthony and Raquel Cohen was amazing and enlightening. We are in very good hands in that regard.

I hope this continues after Max, and I hope other states pick up on it. Not only is this good for us Entrepreneurs, it is good for students as well.
Just imagine how many more people would be able to make a college decision if they had dozens of hour long overview classes they could attend ?
And people these classes were general but extremely in depth.
Lets do it, let us push for this in not only Montana, but in every state. Education is our future, and without it, we are back to cavemen.
One last point on that. It is said that in the Sunday edition of the Washington post there is more information than was once available to the average person in the middle ages.
Lets make sure everyone has that Sunday edition.


Sunday, September 8, 2013

A small ride in poor weather, dinner and a crazy goldwing towing a snowmobile

Today was a day of house cleaning, as was yesterday.
There is a saying, there are two types of bachelors, those who are gay, and those who are not, I am very much not, making my place barely habitable.
So after a weekend of cleaning I as ready to break out of the house.
I tried to Coerce Chad for an evening ride, but he had been napping, hard life that he lives and having slept to long, was unable to go.
I would have to brave the 40 mile ride on my own.

The one thing about motorcycle riding is it is never quick. Gear for those of us who live by the AGATT code, can be a PITA.
So there I was, in a hurry to get to Herbergers before it closed, trying to get my liner in my jacket as I knew it would be cold and the items to return to Kmapart.

I would venture of with some crazy wind gusts. Now wind does not normally bother me, I can smoke a cig and drink a cup of coffee wile riding in gale force winds normally. But tonight was a different kind of wind, the kind where you are just getting bitch slapped from side to side, only your helmet. So after about 10 minutes of that nonsense I was wondering exactly what I had done to piss off the wind sylphs, and why on earth I didn't just drive a cage.
It would relent as I passed over Fairmont hill and the rest of my ride would be very comfortable all be It a bit drafty, kind of like the 100 year old house I live in.

Herbergers was the usual, no help anywhere to be found, and with only minutes until they closed, why would anyone be anyplace but talking to their coworker about what a rough day they had standing around not waiting on people.

I would not get the assistance I Needed until the store was officially closed "come back another time and we will check on that for ya" yea sure thing, I will go next door then, which I did.

Outside I was complemented by a couple who had just existed their car on how nice it was that I was wearing very bright glow in the dark gear. Being visible is everything when riding a bike, I am happy it did its job.

I would do nothing more worth noting except inquiring about the better Mexican restaurant in a five mile area. I would learn that the two closest were owned by brothers, so hoping they were twins and both their food was equally decent I headed over to the closest restaurant/casino.
Outside would be what made anyone wonder, why, why do you not just drive a cage?
There sitting on the edge of a parking lot was a 1200 pound Honda Goldwing towing a 700lb Snowmobile. I would say I saw it all but I am sure that is no where near the truth.

Dinner was good with fairly authentic Mexican food. I really do not eat as much as a normal American so I chose the Half you are a cheap assed meal, which turned out to be the perfect size.

I had brought along a friends book. IT has only been a year since she has mailed to me and I felt I aught to start reading it.
SO far, it is very good, the first two pages have me Riveted Kerry :D
The ride home would be the same as back, about five miles outside of home I would get a massive bitch slapping from mother nature.
I was happy my new Tourmaster jacket seemed very windproof and that my new tires gripped well in the assault by the sylphs.

Now for a beer to complete my evening, cheers!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Ride to Crystal park, and a little hand diggin

09:00 hrs I stepped out to start my bike and head out to Crystal Park Montana.

09:01 I stepped back inside to look for my eye drops

09:10 still looking for eye drops, gave up, leaving now on bike. Ray is here and tired of waiting.

09:12 go around the block and grab ear plugs out of the house

09:13 back on the road

And it would go well, thankfully I stopped and put in the quilted liner into my riding jacket, thinking it would be cool going over the divide into the Big Hole valley, I would be right, it was a bit frosty.

We traveled along, enjoying the amazing scenery of South Western Montana, heading to Crystal Park for the morning. This was a place I had always wanted to visit, and even though I had spent a summer doing mine reclamation only 10 miles away, I had never gotten the chance to visit the park.

A Cow Moose would jump in front of me, I would brake so as not to excite her and get a taste of her big hooves. Ray pulled up wondering what I was doing, he apparently did not see the moose. I held up my fingers and he correctly Identified four, we moved on.

We stopped a couple times for me to take my usual menagerie of pictures, the photo of Ray says it all.

I would stop about 45 minutes from the park, my vented riding gloves were not helping keep my hands warm, I really wanted to be able to grip the controls so a pair without venting was in order.
I set my helmet on my seat and going to the tail bag I would dig out my other gloves, and at that moment my helmet tried for its escape, it would roll down the bank, looking for freedom. That freedom was not to be, not being a round object it would wobble and turn straight into a tree. Thus saving me from having to repel down the cliff to retrieve the safety device.

We moved on again taking in the scenery, not much moved on the roads except a couple towing their child behind their bikes.
As they heard me coming up they crowded the side of the road, meanwhile I was digging in my jacket pocket for my camera. They would give me a frightened glance as I coasted up, no hands, trying to get a picture, bike wobbling from lack of speed.
Its ok, they lived, and we moved on.

Enjoying the copious amounts of curves I would drive past Ray in a drive way, looking at me as I tooled by, I assumed he was merely waiting for me to catch up as I had stopped a mile back on the road to take a picture of the curves.
10 miles later after I would stop half way down the other side of the pass, whipping snott from my face of joy Ray would tool up and inform me we missed the turn.
"Oh just back on top of the pass"? I would ask
"No ten miles back, where I was sitting looking at you" nothing new there, he spent quit a bit of time looking thru his helmet wondering what the hell I was up to.
"I just wanted to do these curves a second time, you got a problem with that?"
His eyes lit up and we tore out after enjoying another amazing view

I found the turn no problem, it was right next to the big stack of wood next to the road, just as Ray had described it, in my defense the sign was partially covered by a tree branch.
People of quick thinking will note that I was coming from the opposite direction initially, yea well there was a branch over that sign too.

The park was not at all what I expected, there were holes everywhere, and I wondered if this was what a hillside looked like after a carpet bombing.
People would be digging in chest deep holes, you would think they were looking for gold with this much effort.

I did not bring a shovel, or any tools, I really did not know anything about this place, and I honestly thought it was a private park. It was not, so I would end up finding a child's toy bucket of some sort to do a little scooping.
I thought I was all cool with my little pile of Crystals, I soon found out why they were sitting on top of the ground, they were to small. but alas I would find a couple nice ones to bring home, along with the rest.
My attempt at becoming a radio receiver was at least partially successful.

I have to admit that I did get some of the crystal fever, we spent about an hour kicking dirt up looking for crystals that may be laying on the surface. I did a bit of tunneling myself, but my little plastic bucket did not work for crap so that was that.

By the time we reached wise river my stomach was growling so loud I could hear it over the thumper motor.
The cheeseburger was not just good, but damn good, crystal digging had worked up an appetite so to be fair, cardboard at this point would have tasted good.

We would then merely head back home, taking I 15 back to avoid the potholes on the Big Hole highway.
People think that Montana is all trees and mountains, that is not true, I took this picture to prove otherwise.
My glove however was not cooperating and infuriated it had not been in any pictures so far, it made a point to be in this one. Ok well several others as well, it is a bit of a Ham.
From this point on it was about 45 minutes from home, I was tired, I admit it, a full belly and the drone of my single cylander bike would lull me to a passive state I do not like to be in.
Although I have to say I enjoyed the dream of the busload of cheerleaders broken down alongside the highway.
Meh, or not, but Im home, another wonderful day, so happy to have had this experience again.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

The people we meet shape our lives

I have met some truly inspiring individuals over the years.
I would be here all day if I was to talk about them all, but there are three who have influenced me recently
One is the Author Kirsten Koza, she is an adventure author who rides her beat up old mountain bike in countries most people think of as simply being hell.
She has a wonderful nack for excitement, and a natural wanderlust.
She discovered me on an online forum, and encouraged me to enter her journalist contest.
I did so, twice even, I would do well in her competitions but even with her encouragement I was unable to finish the books I have been writing.
While I sit at another miserable job, she is off on another amazing adventure in South America. Maybe its time I finished those books.

A few months ago doing laundry I began chatting with a fellow cyclist who came up with a bike loaded way to heavy.
His Name was Jacob, he saved up some money, quit his job, saddled up his bike and decided to ride to the east coast.
What an amazing adventure! changing his life while he was still able, and in a big way.
We would talk for quit some time about his journey, and where it would lead, both helping to chase each others demons out of our heads.
Meeting him simply helped to re affirm that I am still able to make my dream ride of South America via Motorcycle come true.
While I sit, plan, and try to come up with the money, he has already completed the first phase of his trip, and sits to contemplate going back to the mundane world, or riding further south on his bike.
I sit here blogging.

In Park City while scrounging the crappy continental breakfast at the timeshare I was staying at. I would be entertained by a 91 year old harmonica player, I wondered how much of a hint that was, I have made a feeble attempt at learning to play the harmonica as it is the perfect instrument to carry on my journey. So far, I have been unsuccessful.
The man working the front desk would interest me though, and I would not unfortunately catch his name.
He came Africa, he has lived here much of his life but his accent was still thick.
We would talk about his homeland, and the easier way of life, and the healthier way of life.
We talked about helping people, and apparently where he grew up, if a woman who was nursing was no longer giving milk, they would pass the baby onto another woman to nurse. I found this amazing, nothing like the Africa I have been told.
I talked about how I am trying to help a school out in the Philippines, how I wanted use my construction experience in each country to teach basic sanitation we take for granted in the US.
"You were ment to do great things" he would tell me

I dono about that, I am still just sitting on my ass trying to make a dream come true, but his words, simply meeting him, would inspire me to push harder to make a difference.

If you take a step back, you will never stop going backwards.

dollars a day they claimed. Cept a single beer in Northern Europe cost 4 dollars, a hostel room 35 dollars on and on.
nearly three months later I had blown about eight grand, I had a 1200 stash at home to look for work get another apartment ect (this was 95).
However I was tired, exhausted from riding trains, the guy I was traveling with was cantankerous and we were tired of looking at eachother. We stood at the tunnel entrance from France to England and neither of us could justify the 75 dollar ticket to the island.
We then decided for Ireland, but we missed two ferries, tired of all the trials and tribulations we came home.
I will most likely never go back to Europe, yet one of my greatest regrets was not finishing that little bump as we had planned.
I heard something way to late in life, and I wish I had heard it when I was young.
A man motorcycling south America was kidnapped by rebels.
He spent weeks starving and abused, when finally free the FBI was willing to fly him home. He refused, saying "If I go home they win"
I was shocked, how could he say that? they already won? so what? go home, get well you can always go back.
He didn't go home, instead he took off riding South America and that later turned into riding the world.
Recently those words rang true to me.
Unable to get the time off I needed to ride my Motorcycle to visit my Sister and her friends vacationing in Park City Utah, I almnost called it quits.
But waking up Saturday morning I said screw it, I tossed my already packed motorcycle saddlebags in my truck and off I went.
The trip would be somewhat normal, until I would find myself spending 75 dollars ( I see a pattern here) to go on the Olympic bobsled ride at the Olympic Park.
Trouble is that ride is only for one minute, ok but "Once in a lifetime ride" everyone kept saying, loving adventure and chance, I as in.
Until I thought about it, I looked upon the entire track and wondered what in the hell I was doing. How could this possibly be any different than riding a roller coaster?
I would mention this to the guy working the sled "Its like nothing you have ever done"
Im like man, that is a tough one to fill, I have done some pretty crazy shit"
"have you ever experienced 4 gs?" not sure on that one, probably when I was being tossed around in a rolling car, in a safe environment? No

My sister pushed me forward, and hearing the words "Never step back" In my head I sucked it up.
But then I couldn't fit right in the damn bobsled, my broad shoulders jammed me in like a sardine in a can.
" I just don't fit, this sucks" I would say
"You will be fineeeee" they said as they pushed the bobsled off.
It tore down at unbelievable acceleration, I found myself initially staring at the drivers back, being in the second seat my view was not to great.
The uncomfortable feeling and the rough track started to make it suck, but I began looking down the track, as if I was driving/riding to ease my mind, and the enjoyment began.
The world would blurr around, with only the track coming in clear, it shook hard. I could not believe the violent nature of the shaking within the bobsled, it felt like my brain was actually moving around, proof that I indeed do have one.
And then it would end, and wow, the minute seemed like five minutes, what a unbelievable experience.
Nothing like I had ever done, nothing, it was like no roller coaster ride, and certainly not like any race track I had ever been on.

The ride had lasted 69 seconds, so that boiled down to a dollar forty four each second and worth every damn penny.

It came back to that statement, had I never stepped forward on this, or any other adventure, I would have missed out on incredible experiences.
I am sure at some point I missed out on some fabulous things, like everyone I look back and wonder what if?
It does not matter though, what is done and cannot be changed, it is important to only move forward and see what lays beyond the next corner.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Changing directions again

6 years ago I bought my dream bike, I still remember seeing it the first time thinking if the guys selling it had told me it was orange I would have told him to go to hell, but the right music was playing and Three Days Grace "Animal I have become" played and Dads only words "that is one nice damn bike" I was in love.
Over those six years that bike took me to a new level, it would introduce me to the most comfortable ride I could ever experience, its rubber would grab the pavement as I carved canyon corners the rubber melting off the sides, it would stay rubber side down as I explored the roads in rain, ice, now and left over spring gravel on the best corners left on any canyon anywhere.
It would introduce me to the track and like the wild animal it was, leave me behind as I spun like a top wondering where my steed went, reminded of my younger days riding a horse, my my how steel and flesh could be the same.
But now, that ride gone, inspired as a child by Homers Odyssey travel is in my blood, and my desire to see the rest of the world inspires me more than anything else, so off it goes to a new stable and as I wipe a single tear the wind blows into my face, bringing with it the scents of the world, the laughter, the crying the horror and my nostrils breath deep the faint scent of fine spices in India, sand brushes my cheek and I just know it was carried over the vast ocean from the Sahara, but my next goal calls where the Spanish sought to tame, many fell but ultimately they would conquer, and so shall I.
I look forward to the next start of my life, For the past few years I saw the hooded man with a scythe ominous finger pointing. I only recently discovered the true meaning, it is change, as with the skull in south America a new birth, and so my life moves to the next phase, without common comforts my body shall endure and I shall finally touch those grounds that have called me for all of my life, just as other wanders, perhaps me in another life, have trod upon.
I hope the gods guide me, I hope Wodins single eye watches me and gives me strength, I hope Libras scale allows me to give the justice many deserve, Gia helps me teach others how to use the earth properly & reap her gifts for generations to come, , their talismans and Runes shall unlock my mind &I hope those I leave will get to share the journey of a lifetime.
I read once a phrase that so many of you have seen me use. I always post when someone dies, and hell, even when great changes beings I use this. I read in a another book that helped shape who I am today, Louis Lamoure's "The walking drum". That line gives me hope and lets me know that there is always one more road to travel, real or not it is who I am.
Yol Bolson
May there be a road

Monday, August 5, 2013

Suriving Walmart

I stopped at Walmart today to exchange some sweat pants, standing in line I soon realized the trouble I was in, before me were to Mongloids, drooling, fussing over their baby, they glanced over their shoulder at me and I quickly looked away, but my eyes drifted to a Troll walking by, club dragging behind him as he shuffled his feet.
A Zombie walked up and I knew he could smell I was living, I reached behind my back but my Zombie tool was not there, I was alone, left with a pair of oversized sweat pants, car keys, and quick thinking. Another zombie came up, they drooled, the mongloids grunted and drooled, they all seemed to communicate as their gaze drifted to me.
My mouth went dry, I knew I was cornered, there was no escape, my mind raced with responses, and first was the usual Montana response "Looks like it might rain" DOH! that will not work, quick, think, think, wait, don't think, that is the key, so I spoke quickly and surely in their language "Uhhh, uhhh, UHHHH" spittle ran down my chin. It seemed to work, they grunted back and their empty gaze shifted away from me.
The Mongloid baby was glaring at me, its innocents may not have been fooled by my speech, maybe my dialect was wrong ? I could not be sure, but it looked with coal black eyes, its teeth sharp and I was reminded of chucky, my mind raced and I so wanted to scream "Throw it a rat, feed the beast" but I kept calm and tried to keep focused on the cashier.
Only one, that just did not make sense, with the sound of feet and clubs dragging around me I knew it must be a trap. Only having one cashier in a a situation like this was like Vampires having a blood drive, my time was short here, I had to keep the act up to survive.
A blonde came up behind me, her deep blue eyes suggested she was living, I wanted to speak to her but I noticed the Zombies merely shuffled by her, she was safe, safe by her natural hair color and empty headed nature, there was no brain to eat here and the knew it.
"Next" came the humanoid voice, and I shuffled up dragging my foot, not wanting to give myself away.
She spoke "What U want"
"Pants no Fit" I responded "need refund" I replied.
She looked, still seemed somewhat normal but I was not fooled, I would not be brought in, it was a test, I know it.
She handed me the money, and I instantly turned and dodged thru the Mindless Hoard, their eyes more fixated on the shelves than me.
I rushed out the door and Tires squeeled as a bumper stopped just short of my leg, inside the car a woman sat, her eyes wide with terror, I waved, thankful she was human and she yelled "GEt out of the fucking way there is a sale"
I hurried away, knowing better than to confront that one, zombies were deadly but a woman being stopped from going to a sale was like trying ot keep a hippo from getting to water.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Food Food All around and not a bite to eat

I try fairly hard to eat pretty decent, and like everyone I fall off the wagon from time to time.
Today I set out off the wagon and ended up trying to climb back on, in half an hour of wandering around the IGA in whitehall all I saw was food which honestly is barely fit for human consumption, and in the long run really is not.
I had the cheese isle where nearly everything they have was processed and therefore not healthy, I settled on a small 8oz block of cheese which was on sale.
The Meat isle had no Organic presliced meat, so rather than buy hormon, raised turkey and chicken injected with antibiotics I decided to opt out of meat in that respect, and finally settled on some Chicken Pattys all natural from Tyson, probably not all that natural other than being raised but nothing else so it is what I settled upon.
For bread all I could think about was even the best most healthy bread before me, was so infused with preservatives it would not mold for at least a couple of weeks, do I really want that inside me? no
I settled for whole grain crisp crackers, again, not that great but less bread and they are filling so the desire to continually much is not there.
I browsed the fruit isle but with no Organic fruit all I could see was pesticide laced fruits grown from oil based fertilizer with only half the nutritinal value of fruit raised in the 50s and 60s.
I was of course reminded of the story "water water all around and not a drop to drink" and my mind drifted to other countries where a healthy lifestyle is promoted, not shunned.
Why are we not promoting healthy living more? why are people who eat well often looked upon as strange?
Shouldnt those eating unfit fuel for their bodies be looked upon as strange? After all, you would not fill your car up with bad gas, so why your body?

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The myth of Oil

Make no mistake about it Oil is hands down one of the best resources we can use to gain power out of, in other words it really takes very little energy in order to get max energy from it, so with that, I love oil.
It is used in absolutely everything in our mainstream life, to the best known Gas, Diesel and of course oil. Without oil and hte ability to make synthetic rubber the poor Rubber trees never could have kept up, so from that alone it was a huge enviromental mircale. It is also used in clothing (nylon for instance) fireproofing, rubber, plastics and Pesticides. You really cannot touch barely anything in your housee without something being made from oil in some way shape or form.
But with that said it has one big problem it is finite and we will and are running out.
BAM up in your seat you get "Oh that is bs the oil boom is going huge in the Dakotas right now and eastern Montana.
Your right, they are but that boom has already came and went, drained dry we are now using Fracking to get oil from the ground. In other words we force Cracks in the earths crust so as to push out hidden oil, take this as the equivilent of squeezing a sponge, in other words, put a fork in her, that goose is cooked.
The problems from Fracking are now coming to light despite millions upon millions to keep the problems hidden.
The first is the polution of water wells, quit simply wells in fracking areas are now completely undrinkable.
Second we have earthquakes, people anytime you crack something what happens? it spreads, it may not be noticeable today, tomorrow or even in 100 years, but mark my words, those crack will spread and hell will come.
Once oil caverns are drilled water fills in those caverns, where does that water come from? Ask texas where lakes are drying up, thats right, water has to come from somewhere so it is seeping into those chasms forever polluted.
So I ask you how much is to much? We have to slow down, not only on the consumer front, but on the government front as well, I keep saying this, and nobody is listening, this is the only rock we have, once its gone, where will your childrens children go?

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Motorcycle gear, choosing the right gear for you

Motorcycle gear what to buy? In nearly 25 years of street riding, with lots of thought, research this is what I have come up with.

Well first off choose what you know you will be wearing, whatever the case you want something visible, in the Hurt Report, the most comprehensive study ever made on motorcycle accidents we know that bright colors save lives, so try and avoid anything dark.
Not only that but Black, the most popular color is also hot as hell, something to think about especially if you live in the south. That little bit extra of heat absorbtion does make a noticeable difference and I have had people comment as such who converted to lighter colors.
I know first hand bright colors work, with a lock of gear locally I bought a Harley Leather Motorcycle jacket when I purchased my first street bike, back then I didnt know better, and honestly the market didnt either.
I would wear that jacket for 13 years, have many close calls, and rely in my skills to get me out of bad situations.
Purely on accident I would later with my first sportbike purchase a red jacket to match the color of the bike, I started to notice that I had less close calls, people did tend to see me.
Arguably the most important piece of gear is your helmet, I cannot for the life of me understand why people gear up and then ride around without a helmet, you dont look cool, you look silly IMO.
Anyhow when choosing a helmet first do your research online, is an excellent source to see how your helmet rates in the event of a crash.
Dot is the absolute minimum you should accept with any helmet rating, I personally dislike snell but it is what is required as the base of all race tracks, ECE and BSI euro standards are also accepted now as well.
Next you want fit, you should wear each helmet for about ten minutes in the store to see how it feels, and also if you can tolerate whatever type of lining is inside the helmet. My first Street Helmet was a Nolan, and while it was an excellent durable helmet, it also had a fabric which made my head itch, so I was unable to wear it as often as I liked, if your head is itching or you are otherwise uncomfortable, you are at that point not paying attention and are in possible danger.
There are two types of fits, one is the street fit, in which you cannot fit your pinky between your forehead and the helmet, next is the race fit, which is snug and pushes your cheek up, this is optimal but understandable why people do not like it.
Also consider that most helmets are made for the standard egg shaped head, Shoe And Arai are expensive but both offer many different inside shapes to fit a variety of heads, they almost always will be lighter as well, something to think about.
Next is venting, the more venting, usually the louder a helmet is, not always but that is the general saying.
Consider you do not have to spend several hundred dollars on a helmet, you do not get more base protection, what you do get is painted graphics as well as more comfy lining, chin snaps to keep your chin strap from slapping around, usually they are more acceptable for sun glass/eye glasses and have padding in the chin piece should your face impact.
Also consider that over 40 percent of accidents include facial impacts, so avoid open face helmets if possible, but they certainly are better than nothing, you can if you tend to feel sophisticated at slow speeds, opt for modular helmets which face flips up completely.

With any Jacket you should have something which is comfy, but somewhat snug, depending on if it has a liner or not, you may want to choose something which can allow for a sweater underneath.
You should look for something which has venting, usually in zipper form, and something with elbow, shoulder and back protection, preferably in the form of "CE"
Textile is my personal preference for regular riding, it offers excellent abrasion resistance and better water resistant capability, it is also lighter and a bit cooler.
If you go with leather you should if living in the south especially look for perforated leather, dont worry, it will not come apart, racers wear perforated leather suits and do just fine, keep in mind while it is probably not so noticeable, leather does offer a bit of impact resistance in and of itself and is the best for abrasion resistance although some tracks have approved Kevlar suits.
You can in hotter climates also opt for mesh jackets which offer hands down the best venting, many also come with liners for cooler riding & dont worry, they should offer adequate protection in the event of a street slide, and keep in mind most accidents happen under 35 mph, even if you are cruising down the highway and something happens odds aer that 65mph crash really was around 35 by the time you slowed down and actually hit the ground.
Next for pants there are great options, if you are riding to work you can in colder times wear textile pull overs, or there are also excellent options of pants with Kevlar and leather lining. I have a pair of Cortech "Jean" pants which also have adjustable knee padding and have light perforated leather lining, very comfy and I like to wear them when I go out.
Chaps were used by cowboys for several reasons, first protection against brush, second, protection against rope burns as the rope often would be laid over their legs while pulling a steer around.
The lack of ass protection makes these nearly useless in the motorcycle world, in the event of a crash more than likely you will end up sliding on your ass, and yes, butt cheeks have been torn off.
Gloves are also of course Important, think, how many times as a kid when you wrecked your peddle bike, your knees and hands got the brunt of it didnt they?
Any leather glove is ok, your basic fencing gloves offer excellent abrasion resistance but poor comfort, riding specific gloves will be very comfortable and come as vented or not. My personal preference in this regard are kangaroo palms, Kangaroo skin is half the thickness of cowhide with the same abrasion resistance, they feel like a second skin, pardon the pun.
Gauntlet offer wrist protection as well but are something of a pain in the ass to take off and on, they also have the best padding in key areas of your palm should you go down, they can be a pain to take off and on if you do a lot of stop and go riding.
Last but not least are Boots, something like 60 percent of all motorcycle injuries are ankle injuries, you do not have to have motorcycle specific boots, but they help, anything which comes up well over your ankle is optimal to help with protection from your ankle bending. However keep in mind that laces can catch on your pegs and I have wrecked because of hiking boots, how you ask?? well I was in mud, turning my motorcycle around when I lost traction, I went to put my foot out and my hiker hooked on my rear sets, I fell over, wow was I humiliated. This is something that would not, or should not happen with motorcycle specific boots.
There are racing boots which offer all kinds of wazoo protection and padding in all the right areas, not overly necessary, but if its important to you, get em.
There are rain resistant boots, summer perforated boots and some with optional slide vents which I personally love On my Sidis.
Hope that helps, any questions please feel free to ask.


Harley Davidson, why I want to make a boat anchor out of one.

First off consider I have some damn good friends who ride harleys, and I know many other good people who own them as well, so take what I have written as my personal thoughts on why the brand makes me feel as I do.

I think like everyone I remember watching easy rider, the vision of freedom that movie portrayed was pretty cool, but I also remember thinking "are they drug dealers? where do they get their money? Maybe if they were not such jerks, they would have less problems with the police.

Other movies have dragged up the same convoluted picture to me, the sense of freedom that it was trying to portray, merely in my mind portrayed some strung out druggies rebelling against "the Man".

My thoughts were re affirmed by a cousin who owned a Hotel in West Yellowstone, as a child I remember him turning away harley riders saying "They are nothing but trouble, they trash the rooms and do not want to pay their bills" not looking good, so at this point my fascination for the brand and those associated with it dwindled.

In high school I would work with an old biker, a true Harley man, he had two, one he worked on while he rode the other, I didnt get it, sounded like a pain in the ass, maybe if he had a dependable bike he would not have needed to wear duct taped boots, but it was obviously not his priority so whatever, it was his life.

In 1990 I wanted a street bike, It became a toss up between a 69 Triumph, thoughts of Fonzie danced in my head but it was a chopper, bad ass, kick start, well losing some appeal as I had grown up with Dirt bikes, and with the Cylinder relief valve out on my yami 360 enduro, I had suffered from the classic "launch" from the kickback as well as a heel swelled up to unnatural balloon to the point I had to soak my foot to get my boot off once. The leaky engine revered in the triumph did not sound like much fun, with only two contact points to the ground via your tires, the last thing I wanted was oil dripping possibly making my rear tire slip at a critical moment.
SO upon much decision I would end up with a Virago 750 v twin kick ass bitch.
I rode that bike all summer, all winter, and all summer again, and all the while I would put up with the "is it a Harley"
"NO it most certainly is not, I actually get to where I am going :P." yes that was a standard reply.
Regardless two wheels is two wheels and I always respected others who chose the same route, apparently that did not carry over to the "true" Harley riders, where I would suffer the Usual "Rice grinder" & "get a real bike" comments at ever turn with them.
So I settled it with a drag race here and there, having nearly half the CCs I was supposedly at a huge disadvantage, but the Harley never came close, not by a long shot, the last thing they would see of course would be my middle finger as I tore away.
To be fair Harley did make a bike line that was fast, and could be built into scary fast drag machine, those were the Sportster line.
Those bikes were actually made to compete with the Japanese market, they were a fast ride and could be built into a fast scary machine, maybe that is why they hated em, I dono, it seemed they picked and chose who was in their ranks based on bikes, silly.

I would have my first race with one about eight years after buying my Virago, he would pull up next to me proclaiming how fast his bike was and how nice, brand new he would say.
"I am not interested, those are a fast bike and should beat me, you aught to break it in properly first though" I would tell him
But he persisted, the light turned green and I chewed him up, I even gave him the chance going from a rolling start, but to no avail, it needed to be broke in obviously, and I told him as much "come back when those rings have seated"
He would at the three hundred mile mark I would see him out yet again, and from a rolling start we would have at it, again, to no avail "probably not seated still" I would tell him, and off he went, obviously frustrated.
Finally the last and final straw he woul see me riding with my x and pull up "its broke in now lets go"
"well that is not fair I have an extra 140lbs on the back"
He looked at me with a cocked smile "Scared?"
And there it went, I dropped the clutch and with the extra weight we rode a wheelie, side by side, going thru the gears, his teeth gritting as he caught buts, glancing over to see me smiling giving him the bird with my left"
He would turn off and I never saw that bike again.
Now a bike is not just about speed, I realize that, but it seemed to be the only way I could shut up the nay sayers, so that is what it was, but it is to note that Harley at one time was a name commonly associated with racing, and no motorcycle brand has ever dominated Dirt track racing as Harley has, it has unfortunately done everything it could to distance itself from the "racing image" and everything for the bad ass Image.
I did at one time want to buy a Harley, as a businessman I wanted one for the investment, and I will admit they are a nice looking ride and the iconic sound a draw. I had the chance to buy a close friends I guess it was a 84 FXRS ? with the motor built to the nuts and everything chrom, now Bill was a damn good guy, and road that bike to cali and back a couple of times trouble free. I would take it for a ride and going down the highway I couldnt see thru the vibrating rear view mirrors, now the motor had oodles of stump pulling torque, but if I wanted a tractor I would have been looking for a massey-Fergeson. All in all I hated it, I pulled up and Bill could see the look of disgust on my face "well"? he would ask timidly, "nice bike Bill" I would reply.
"Dont lie to me Craig, I can see the look on your face"
"To be honest" I would reply, "My 750 over there would eat this thing any day of the week, and it rides a hell of a lot better"
that would be that, he was a good man and it certainly was not my intention of discrediting him, or what he owns, but he asked for honesty, and I gave it.
Irritating me further would be the bogus "made in America" drivel they constantly repeat, nothing could be further from the truth, in the early nineties, the most American made bike was actually the Honda shadow, with only the shaft being made and imported from Japan, Harley rides on that minimum requirement of 60 percent made in America to carry that banner, they also are one of several "American" companies lobbying to have that standard lowered, how absolutely repugnant and deceitful.
Next would be the Betrayal of Mr Eric Buell by the Harley logo when they tossed him to the curb, not once, but twice, the second time nearly destroying him altogether, for someone who was so loyal, who could have easily designed his own engine yet chose to use the Sportster engine for his innovative motorcycle designs, just more bad taste.
Then we have the nonsense put forth by the Harley crowd of "Textile jackets will melt" false they are actually quit good with modern blends and nothing like the same jacket you will buy for winter or casual wear use, then we haev the "Helmets will break your neck" nonsense, obviously, that is why Racers wear them, have multiple wrecks, and keep going.
That along with the "you are not a true biker" bs I have heard for two decades while riding the street simply because someone does not own a "Harley" and "the Harley" of their standards has honestly been a great "grating of nails on a chalkboard" for me.
At any given time there is a saying that "there are 12 KLR 650s circling the world" would those not be true bikers? Would not anyone who rides rain, snow nor shine be a true biker? The blatent contempt for other riders not only by old school harley riders, but by the company as a whole, was enough for me.
Someday if I am ever rich, or to old to ride again, I will buy a Harley and use it for a boat anchor, I would love to see the look on peoples faces when I pull that ride straight out of the abyss, the seaweed covering it will pretty much give it my exacting opinion.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Can the Mundane world exist for an adventurer?

I have always struggled with the classic Mundane life, so the question I struggle with daily is, can it exist for the adventurer?
I guess it all depends on what kind of adventure one is into, I was complaining the other day how I had accomplished nothing since my fathers death, and a good friend Chad stated "that is not true, you have since began Mountain Biking and Snowshoeing."
That is certainly true, and both are a form of adventure and defiantly entertaining for those without the International lust.
Once a person experiences something great they can never return to the same, I struggle to think of what internal demons Teddy Roosevelt must have Struggled with after his Exploration of the Amazon and Africa. He must have sat longingly looking out of office windows dreaming of the next campaign, never again to come.
I know that for me the first time I stood in a Cathedral in Europe where the Black Knight lay, I knew my life was forever changed, when I spent weeks on a train sleeping in awkward positions, hearing the constant chirp of the steel wheels hitting rails as they were bolted together those sounds would always be in my head, and every bump I hit when I drive my car to work brings back those memories.
One of the oddest things has stuck in my mind for 17 long years now, it is the sound of a man with hot coffee in his back pack, and his voice which I can only equate to sounding something like the male version of Fran Drescher and his loud voice yelling the same word over and over again in my sleep muddled mind "Cafe, Cafe" always pops into my mind when I drink Coffee.
I sit each day and look out the window, each Motorbike loaded with bags that travels by brings to me the longing of adventure that comes with it, the hum of the tires and the wind tugging at my jacket just races thru my mind.
I have put off riding South America for the past three years, I was nearly ready twice, the first time in 2010 I quit honestly simply caved, my mind confused and lost from my father leaving this world I was unsure, with the economy in the toilet I held onto any dime I could get, but it was to much, and I made more plans, with my Mom being who would watch my dear Pets and home.
With her Passing as well my Trip was again put on hold while I struggled to deal with the Immense responsibility of someone passing in America yet again.
I then had yet another opportunity but settled for a job with the intent of working internationally for the company, but the realization that adventure is not the same as working nags at me, pulls at my sleeve.
All I know is at some point I would like a family, but until I get at least one last big trip under my belt I am not sure how realistic that dream is.
There is so much to see and do on this planet form e I know that at least for now, Local Adventure only further wets my lips.
I think every day of Swimming with the worlds largest shark, how my heart beat so, and I long again for that feeling, no desk, no amount of work can compensate for a dream coming true.
It has to be done.
I leave you with a quote from the one of the Greatest Men who ever Lived, Teddy Roosevelt.
"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievemt and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat."

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Tribute to a guardian

I got the phone call from dad some time ago "They have a lab at the shelter in Missoula I think I'd like a lab, all the others were good dogs", I would agree, and encourage him to go look at him.
Two weeks and countless walks later go by "I dono, such a great dog, you know he passed the hearing dog test?"
"Holy shit dad, you need to get him, perfect dog, you cant ask for more," He would after arguing and telling the pound to go to hell he would leave his dog outside if he wanted, "they wont tell me my dog has to stay inside" typical older generation.
Then a couple weeks go by "hey you know this dog brings me my slippers, keys, and rattles them when he has to go to the bathroom"
I pondered this, it ment he was letting him stay inside "So he's inside then?"
Dad got gruff "no more, he is outside IM not letting him wake me up so early in the morning
So it would be, Zack would stay in his outside hotel unless it was real cold, then he could come inside and rattle the keys.
He would be Dads constant companion, for every trip to the store "gotta get the dog" that dog would get to ride in the backseat, like the absolute best child, he would merely look out the window, never whining, never running around, he would just sit there.
He would end up getting my wrath when he would lead my Hound Bobbit into the woods, or run off out in the neighborhood when I would visit, gone all day our minds freaking out thinking the worst.
Only later in time would I see my old hound, literally nodding her head encouraging him to run off with her, would the truth be known, my wrath had been placed upon the wrong dog.
He would be dads constant companion, enjoying riding even on the back of the four wheeler with dad, never ever letting Pops get out of his sight.
When dad grew to Ill to care for him, I took him into my home where he had a nice bed next to Mine and would sleep in a climate controlled heaven.
He would be an outstanding duck hunter, jumping off the bank like the best dock dog, and after dad fell Ill, we entered him in a Doc dog competition, knowing he would jump with the best of him, and there, in front of a hundred people I would plead with him to jump in the water to no avail.
He had a staring problem, he would just lay there and stare, I remember when I was with dad in the hospital for some time my brother in law would watch him "would you do something with this dog, he just lays there and stares at me" Im like "well ya, thats what he does, itch his ear and rub his tummy with your foot and he will be in heaven. Didnt work, he still freaked Jeff out.
Before dad passed his joints began to come apart, and I would plead for him not to go before Dad as he needed him to make it through his ordeal.
That plead ended up going for another four years until today, he would keep coming back regardless of what the life expectancy was for a lab he would say "screw you IM going a few more years, I gotta be there for craig"
And this morning when I would open the curtains there he would be, looking at me thru the window in the yard, Im not sure how he could hear the drapes, cause he seemed to be deaf as a post, but he always heard my foot steps too.
I know now he is in heaven, running about with those before him, getting his ears loved by dad, wagging tails thinking of the next adventure with Bobbit.
Travel your road well my friend, may there always be a pickup box for you to ride in, and a stream for you to swim in.
Love ya old man, thank you for every day you gave us.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Life of a dog

As my Fathers old dog lay outside in his dog house, heat lamp resting on his old bones and stiffening muscles, his favorite toy on his paws, with a dish of milk laying next to him I thought how short their life is with us on this world, a mere dozen years or there about, what would I do if I was dog? From birth they come out and the first thing they do is start to sniff around, they tumble and look for some warmth, their moms gentle nudge, and her warm body to lay against. As their eyes open they begin to explore, sniffing around with their fellow pups, wrestling, building up muscle, trying to be the first to that warm milk in their mothers tit. They grow a bit more, now they can run, tackle each other, play and nibble on moms ears with sharp teeth, making her yip and nip back at them, as they run off, growling and talking to their fellow pups. Soon mom has enough and shows them how to eat on their own and they do, growling and wrestling for their place at the dish, they begin to sniff around more, taking in the aroma of the earth that only a dogs nose can find. Soon they find a master, they get their ears scratched, belly, and chase a toy, soon they think the slipper is a toy, get whipped, run, and have fun with it howling with laughter to the next dog that passes by who says in reply "yea, I did that too" Soon they hang out with their master, going for their first ride, with wide eyed wonder they put their head out the window and wow does the entire world come to them, in every mile are tens of thousands of different smells, at first they look about, but soon their eyes are closed just taking it all in, loving the easy way to explore. They get to nap in the yard, basking in the sun, their "master" will bring them food, and carry a scooper to clean up after the them, sometimes, they get a treat, all for messing up the yard and just being there. Eventually they return the favor, sitting nobly on their sick masters feat as he is sick, keeping them warm as only they can do, watching carefully over them. Later their time comes near, they spend more time hanging out in the house, lounging here or there, now making shorter trips, the yard itself being an adventure, the alley a distant memory trip away. Then their time comes and the joy they brought to a family is left and tears of sorrow fall. How can someone not envy such a life? They bring everything to the table with that big heart of theirs, always happy, only asking for a meal, water and a place to lay. And the best part about it, in their short time here they make the most of it and they do it the way most humans do not, with a happy heart.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The world is overpopulated, yea not so much

We hear it all the time, there are studies that claim it is true, there are simply to many people on the earth and it simply cannot sustain it. I heard this long ago when I was in highschool, that someday soon we would run out of food, then I took a job washing dishes at a truck stop, my mind was blown at the amount of food we tossed out and I started looking a little more into this claim. First off the United States of America is the worlds largest consumer of well, everything, yet we only have three hundred and fifty million of the seven Billion of the worlds population. We waste 40 percent of the worlds food, our leading health problems are from eating to much, our food waste along could easily feed all the starving people, comfortably. Why are they starving? first reason are horrible governments, places like the Philippines fruit abounds yet it is Illegal for locals to pick the fruit, now this is not the only problem, much of it simply is not enough industry to provide jobs for people packed in condensed areas, a near Chas system is in place where the wealthy live off the labor of the poor which make only a little over a dollar a day, not enough to live off and many children suffer from malnutrition and are listless vs their American counterparts who lack exercise and overeat and are hyper or lethargic depending on their diet. Will we run out of farm land? Nah, not in my lifetime or the next at least, we learned greatly from the mistakes of the Dust bowl, dont get me wrong,the US needs to get its act together, developing farmland has to be one of the most ignorant ridiculous things any country can do, that could cause a problem but I suspect if push comes to shove, those houses will get tilled under. Next how about resources? well again there is simply not a chance of this happening, minerals are simply not going anywhere after they are mined, recycling is always a possibility and something we need to do in groves right now. There are also companies who are researching how to mine Asteroids, the amount of minerals on a single large asteroid could sustain the earth for decades. Oil we will eventually run out of, however just under half of our oil is in the form of plastics, we already have the technology to get oil from those plastics which pollute the majority of our landfills. After that is gone? you turn our waste into Methenal, the non plant base of Ethenal, algae that produces oil will also be a viable source. We are gonna be ok after all.