Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Humanity in the workplace, whatever happened to that movement?

I have learned lots in my travels, but one is how backwards America truly is, this is most noticeable in a popular saying in other countries "We work to live, Americans live to work" that alone should say something. Not only do we live to work, we want to do it as hard as we can.
One thing they do right in other western countries is have ample vacation time, less overtime and the one I absolutely love, they actually allow their checkers to sit on the job, yup thats right, but you remember that dont you? You remember going into a parts store and there were not only seats on the customer end at the counter, but the parts guy had one as well, but now?
Well those seats are gone, to go along with the modern slaver mentality of America. Apparently as the Manager of safeway told me when I mentioned other countries have stools for their workers "That is just lazy" she would tell me.
"Is that so, looks like you are a little hunched over and having a hard time getting around" I replied, "maybe if you had a chair and could give your feet and in turn your back a rest you would be a bit better off" She just gave me a stern look, which quickly turned to sadness as she realized I was probably right.
So why is it we need to have this American toughness of more work, more cruelty to the worker itself?
Where exactly does this idiotic notion of working harder come into play anyhow?
A good friend of mine who is retired, and disabled said "I do not want to know the guy that never missed a day of work, I want to know the guy who only worked one day and figured out how to never work again"
That has always stuck with me, and I only wish I had heard it when I was a child, rather than already having prided myself with not missing work days and always busting my ass.
I used to look down on the Greeks who wanted to retire at 55, but now my body busted up from a lifetime of blue collar work, I see the wisdom of their ways. Hell I loved Greece and their relaxed way of living, just coming and going and taking their time in life.
Hell that is something I love in my wifes village, where she was always relaxing under the Mangrove tree, where exactly is your Mangrove Tree, do you have one? Now I realize the person reading this is saying "well yea, I am on the couch relaxing" but you are not, the TV is on and the computer, your mind is busy trying to keep up with what is going on, where is your down time? That is what happens under a Mangrove tree, total relaxation.
Some realized we needed that, President Hoover was the first president to state Americans needed a 30 hour work week. Really nothing came of that until Henry Ford came along with his 40 hour work week proclaiming "The common man should have time at home" but that is no more.
My cousin, who hopefully is reading this is talking about going right to work after having her baby, meanwhile in Europe mothers get months of maternity leave to spend with their children. Which do you think is more healthy? Clearly the EUropean approach, and incidentally did you know that most of Europe shuts down in August? Even your Burger flipper will end up with a Month off at some point, and in America we look forward to a jolly good week off, if you are lucky you might get two weeks vacation!.
But if you work a low paying minimum wage job, you can just say fuck Disneyland cause there is no vacation time at all.
That has to end, we spend most of our time at work, most people hate their jobs, and we wonder why heart attacks, strokes, and cancer are all on the rise. Our bodies need that Mangrove tree, we desperately need that down time, and more time to spend with our families. But we are not getting them until we retire, and then it is simply to late, all those good moments with your family are now gone and you are to damned old and crippled up to enjoy life fully.
And this brings us full circle to needing to get back to our roots. Somewhere along the way I read a study which stated in prehistoric times man would only work about 15 percent of his life to surive, now we work 80 percent.
At some point we decided we were better off to not simply Fish fuck and eat, but what exactly is better than those three things?
Not much in all honesty.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

I am sorry, the game is over.

This is something which I have been contemplating for some time but until this morning, I was unable to put it together.
It was a few years ago when the first clue really slapped me in the face. I was working a temp winter job at a food warehouse when a man in his early sixties came up and was complaining about how sore and sick he was. Now mind you if you know me in person I am a very chatty guy, and like my father, I have never met a stranger, this guy would be no exception "I ache all over" he said "jesus I grew up with a hard life, but not nearly as hard as my dad, and even his dad, they both lived and were farming until their 80s, here I am in my 60s nearly crippled."
I replied "Yea we do not have a very long life expectancy in this valley"
"No" He said "Look around you, everywhere you go its the same, our generation is crippled, we cannot fully heal, it has to be the food, everything we eat is just horrible"
I can understand this, my father died from nash, or non alcoholic sorosis of the liver, which is actually becoming quit common in the US. Our food intake of horrible fatty foods is so high, our livers are now retaining a unnatural layer of fat about them, which in turn makes is sick. Further your liver being a filter stores up toxins you have consumed, slowly it keeps up building as everything is cumulative.
Now you are reading this and saying "I eat a healthy diet and exercise" yes that is true, but you unfortunately have no real choice in regards to your entire environment. You can move places which are cleaner, that is fine, but overall you are effected as we all know the effects of roundiup on our crops and GMOs being spread into modern agriculture.
This coupled with the toxins you use to clean make you just as susceptible, all be it on a slower scale to the carnage we are laying forth upon ourselves.
I knew a woman who had lupas, doctors wrote her off, in desperation she went to a herbalist who gave her some herbal concoction but gave her advice which overall probably saved her life. She worked at a casino so was exposed to all manner of cleaning solvents, his solution was simple, quit using chemical cleaners. She did her Lupas is no more.
Studies have shown that modern children have higher levels of overall toxins in their bodies than their parents, think about this, we now have lead removed from our fuel as well as our homes, not to mention doing away with asbestos, but our bodies are simply saturated. We are sponges and absorb these toxins.
Now this brings us to our next area, a few years ago Fukishima dominated our news for a far to short time but its terror will live wit us for 2000 years. Thats right for 2000 years that radiation will sit in your environment, slowly building up and effecting you.
This is no surprise, we have known this for some time and you can actually follow health problems from the good old Nuclear testing decades ago. The closer you get to the site, the more severe the illnesses, the further away the less effected.
Everything is cumulative, and slowly it all is adding up. From our exposures in every way shape or form and our love for synthetic goods puts us near the end. The worst part is our children inherent our mess, not only from the environment, but genetically as well. We can see this via marine mammals some of whom hold toxins better than others. The Orca Lpod off the coast of Washington will be extinct as they can no longer reproduce at a successful level. Scientists are unsure of exactly why but suspect their contaminated milk is killing off their calves. Without calves the obvious happens, extinction.
They are not alone, Seals are suffering, star fish disappearing and we all point to one thing Climate change while ignoring the elephant in the room, Pollution overall.
We are killing ourselves in every way shape or form, the one creature essential for the survival of mankind is the Honey Bee, it is desperately needed for pollination, they are disappearing at breakneck speeds.
bats are becoming sick, bats eat insects, care to guess what is making both species disappear? Pesticides, Bees are insects of course they are effected. Our response is to try and create crops which do not need bees, are we insane? Wouldn't it be easier and simply more intelligent to simply stop using the chemicals killing off the animals we need to sustain us?
Do you relaly think all those toxins you ingest are good for you? They build up as well.
Pollution even effects our minds folks, violent crime is at an all time low and a big contributing factor to that has been cutting lead from our fuel and overall air pollution.
Pharmaceuticals are in our water ways, fish are becoming A sexual, that water is then in turn consumed by you and people are sadly are unwittingly being effected by someone elses treatments. We have only now began to figure out how to purify water to the extent those drugs can be eliminated, the problem being this will take decades to implement, we no longer have that time left.
The bible says "You have to change your wicked ways" that does not mean on a individual basis, but for all of us as a whole, what you do effects me so on and so forth. It also says we are stewards of our planet.
I am by no means a religious man, I detest organized religion, but I am here to say that I both those points are spot on, and indeed, if we do not change our ways, there simply is no future.
It is time to start caring, your children's children depend on it, remember the whales, our future will be the same, nature always shows us, it is time for us to listen.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

My first Mountain bike Night ride!

It was the night before Halloween and dubbed the "Halloween ride". I was stoked, I had purchased a light for my bike a couple years ago after finding out the hard way, you can actually outrun light while riding not the best of roads, I would avoid that nightmare with a real bike light of 900 Lumins.

I simply could not wait to truly try this light out and since the Elite Athletes I would be riding with would be in costume, even better!

I would show up on time at dusk ready to hit the trail, the wind was blowing and carrying with it the usual late October fridgid air, I was early so I chatted with the other four people there and noticed a distinct lack of real costumes. WHy would I care you ask? well three standing there were Pro level riders, all having competed in some of the hardest Mountain bike races in the United States. Two I have ridden with a couple times and always had fun, the third a man with another 25 years on me I had only ridden with once but his Pedigree is as impressive as any athlete can have. I did not know the sole woman who was already in attendance and I counted on her being on the sucky level as myself to help facilitate my boat anchor reputation.

Two riders would show up in costume, one guy in a TU TU and his wife with a basket where ET Road, I was becoming more confident, this Ride would be as I expected. Then the next Legend of Montana showed up, known as one of the best technical riders in the state I was a bit afraid, but he again was fun to ride with, and he brought his wife and a Tandem bicycle, this would be wonderful!

We joked, laughed and headed off, our lights piercing the night and showing the single track trail in brilliant fashion, I knew my choice in lighting was good at this time, I was however less impressed with the choice of trail. It was one I would love to ride in the say light, well groomed but with rocks and stumps here and there to manuver around and over, and the occasional tight switch back which makes it fun in light, but near scary in the dark. I kept going but I felt the cold air tightening my Lungs, my Asthmatic conditions came to play and damn my lungs burned, I just had to complete the first climb. A half mile under my belt yay!

They pointed to the next single track and said "after this it is road" I assumed at this point we would hit the road, circle back to the cars and off I would happily drive home. I sucked up my shitty lungs, sucked on my inhaler like it was candy and off we went. This trail was a bit easier excpet more switch backs and some deadfall you really had to watch out for, but as promised we hit the road. I was however starting to wonder as I was already in the back having been passed by the Tandem bicycle, uhhgg.

I would have my vengeance on the climb up the fire road with the tandem bicycle having a flat, well at least I got to pass someone! Yea that lasted two minutes until I was passed again, lol how humiliating.

We made it to what I thought was the top and I was ready for the decent down, my lungs were burning and I sucked on some more candy to open them up and hopefully alleviate my cough. we laughed and I took a sole picture of the night which did not turn out nearly as well as I would have hoped.
They then started off not on the road down, but up a trail whose first obstacle was tightly between two boulders and over rocks! something I would do in the daylight despite the sharp drop off on the left, but no way at night.

I was again ahead of the tandem but I fought myself walking over some obstacles not confident enough in my night riding ability, I would again be passed by the tandem and for the next half hour or more I would be riding in darkness by myself with no light to be seen. I really do not have the fear of normal people, so that aspect did not bother me, I was growing concerned over the pain in my lungs and how long my light would last, I also wondered if I would be seen if I was to drop off the edge?

I kept going with my head down, listening to the wind talking and the trees creeking, I pushed out any thoughts of fury fang and clawed animals from my head, and I would not allow any visions of a hocky mask clad individual crashing thru the trees.

I would end up at the top by myself and nobody would be seen, where the hell to go now? I thought I saw some bicycle lights but as I rode to my left following the trail I realized it was merely part of the lights overlooking Butte Montana, where did they go?

I kept riding and ended up crawling over dead fall several times, wondering what did I miss? I would yell but only heard the echo of my voice, the trail was starting down and I realized there were only one other set of bicycle tracks on this trail, I could be in trouble.

I knew I did not have much time left before my bicycle light died, and I briefly was angry that I had not grabbed a LED headlamp from my glovebox, but it is what it and you cannot turn back time. I debated on building a fire as the temp was only in the high 30s, I was covered in sweat and no change of clothes, I just hope I packed some matches, now for decision time, do I use the reseto f my light ot find them, or to gather firewood and find a good place to hunker down for the night?
I decided on the first since I did have a couple of glow sticks in my pack for just this occasion, but I wondered, do they have an expiration date? I had bought them 9 years earlier!

I would pull my cell phone wishing it was fully charged, I did have reception which is a grace in the back country of Montana making it a rare event indeed. I called hoping members of my party would have reception as well, fortuantely Ray did and he answeed, asking "Where are you?"

Now If find this to be a silly question when you are riding at night, in a maze of trails in terrain with no real markings so my reply was calm, cool and exactly how I perceived my surroundings "ON the top of a fucking mountain with trees and rocks around where do you think?"

There was a bit of a silence then "Bry and such and such are looking for you, just tell me what direction you went" Now would have been a nice time for a compass, but I did not have one, he instructed me to go back the way I came and start yelling.
I did so but one thing happened that would not have happened on foot, the terrain looked different. When I hike or ride horses I always look over my shoulder every so often to see how terrain looks in the opposite direction as it always looks different, not a luxury I would have with my handlebar mounted light.

After crawling over the dead fall I would lose the trail and end up walking in the trees, I looked back but I could not see where I had came, holy shit this sucked! I walked forward yelling on occasion and then at the right moment, what little moonlight there was somehow glinted off the edge of the trail, making it clear as day, I was back on!
I rode down and shortly after I heard yelling, I kept going and soon I saw lights, I found the others and I could tell by their faces they were a bit worried realizing their mistake of not waiting at the branch in the trail.

MY light would go out.

Thankfully the woman carrying ET had an extra quality head lamp and we would decend down a trail called "The drunken Indian" yea that was encouraging, and it lived up to its name.

Switchbacks are not my thing and like bridges, I have trouble with them in the light as well, since the penalty for failure was pretty drastic in most of these switch backs in our steep decent I would end up walking the tightest, as the trail continued and my confidence grew I found myself riding most of them. I still opted to walk around a Switchback whom Mike on his Tandem would still manage to balance precariously with the front of his tire not having a inch to spare before the ten foot drop on the other side, insane!

Our ride would continue to another road, thru a old rail road tunnel which was absolutely Amazing and made the night complete.

We would hit another single track with more switchbacks and nothing eventful to report.

As always I am happy I went out, as a good day in the woods is better than a bad day on the couch and who can turn down adventure? Everything turned out alright in the end, which is always the most important thing.

If you are sitting here wondering if night riding is right for you, please give it a go, the world is a different place at night!

Why the environment and economy cannot handle another vote for the left.

Another election cycle is upon us and we are up against some tough issues which are of paramount importance and must be dealt with.
On the surface the two parties are very different, and at the level of POTUS, they end up essentially the same, however at a lesser level, we often feel the effects more drastically at state levels.
First I shall address the area which of course I feel is the most important, the economy and here is why.
If you have a strong economy then social issues can more readily be dealt with. If your economy is booming then industry flourishes and jobs are plentiful, if the economy fails, then ultimately industry falls on its face.
As the left comes down on industry for various issues, specifically on pollution, something which is extremely important, those industries simply move their manufacturing to China where there rae less regulations. Whether you believe in Global Warming or not, the simple fact of the matter those factories will pollute like crazy overseas and there simply is a point our planet with us on it, can no longer deal. You see if we keep industry here in the states we can mitigate that risk, as the economy goes better and industry has more money, they are also more willing to part with some of that cash, not to mention of the people have a better life, and fear for their safety on an environmental level, they can force via their pocket books industry to change.
At an economic level it is paramount to keep industry here in the states, we need the power and of course the jobs. The more industry, the higher and better paying jobs as they compete.
The left also pushes Wilderness areas, something which has zero benefit to us on any level. Mind you I have spent the first half of my life in the Pintler Wilderness area be it by horseback, or foot, and I loved it, but here is what I found. Very very few people are actually in the wilderness, often I would go days without seeing a single soul. With less people, there is less firewood gathered and more deadfall, which is a boon for small animals making it easier for them to escape predators, but negative for large animals, which have a tougher time walking thru it. It is common therefore to find large animals using the same walk ways as us.
Wilderness areas also are a bust for the economy as essentially, who fills that economic void? Answer almost no one making it a drain on tax payers, vs forest service where people not only pay to access, but OHV use goes directly to the maintenance of the land itself as does that for hunting privileges.

In the end if we have industry we as the people can control it, I am not saying the Right is where we want to be either, I truly despise the right as well. All I am saying is what I have in this instance, observed from the left.

Regardless your own feeling, go and vote, many people would love to have the opportunity you have to cast that right, please do not squander it.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

A lifetime of love

Recently my Wifes Mother would die, only a short two weeks after my Gurls arrival in the states.
She handled it well, better than I would have being so far from home. I cannot imagine, even with my travel background having something like that on my mind.

She of course misses her mom, as it is hard to not just pick up the phone and call her any longer, but she is not alone.
Despite leaving four boys and a daughter behind, Pedrina also left someone who was always in her heart, her husband.

Filipina are loving caring woman who often cater to their man, every day without fail she would cook a meal for her family, while this may not seem like such a big deal to us westerners, in a country where most people fail to eat a full meal every day, this indeed is a grand thing.

She was also a consummate worrier, wanting the best for her children and with a nice guiding hand she would try to push her children forward to the happiest of lives. She would stay up late and fret over that which she had no control "why is my son dating this girl, and why are they not doing this"

She would guide my gurl to me, telling her to put aside petty anger as it is short lived, but love is long.

Unfortunately she also left behind her Husband Gorge. A bit wild, he likes to gamble and drink but has always provided for his family, again something which is lost upon us in the west.

Since she has moved on, he is left alone, his close by sisters quick to take up the role and make sure he is fed and cared for, but it has not been the same.

Since his soul mate has left him, he has quit drinking, and for the past three months since she left this earth, he has spent every morning, and evening at her grave, gently talking to his wife, his words lost upon the wind.

I think we all can learn from that, and all can dream of such a marriage. It truly is a lesson that despite our shortfalls, there is always someone who is there for us, day in and day out, accepting us for who we are, often those people are someone we look past until they are gone, then the heavy loneliness sinks in upon us.

I do believe in next lives, and with a love as strong as they, I believe they will meet again in the next life, for how can they not? Two souls intertwined in destiny, surely they shall be guided to each other once again.

Motorcycle Trip to West Yellowstone

Recently finding out the wife is going to calve, I decided it was time to take our honeymoon while we are still "newly weds".

I was a bit worried about this as she is a bit temperature sensitive, so I stressed about taking her on the motorbike, but she was insistent since this was our last big hurrah before the baby was born. I warned her about Montana weather, how it can change in an instant, and how riding a motorcycle in September in Montana is often a bad Idea. Yea well it was her desire, and we all know how good life goes when you challenge a woman.
After spending two hours deciding on which way to drive thru Yellowstone, you know, this is a problem for a world traveler in his own backyard, I mean god forbid If I just took off like I do my grand adventures. ANYHOW after stressing we were off at a late 2pm.

The weather was wonderful and the road felt good.
I kept checking in the mirror with the "thumbs up" but she insisted she was fine, I was not, i was cold the entire way down, at 65 degrees I was not sure why.
We would arrive at the hotel in the evening having reservations at the Days Inn. Reviews for the hotel were mixed, it would prove to be clean which is the number one thing I am looking for and well located. If you are looking for nice amenities, stay elsewhere.

The morning was cold and my windscreen was iced, it was also covered with bugs so a wet towel in the sunlight would help make the bugs wipe right off.

I had thought the hotel across the street looked nice, but every car in the parking lot would have a tire slashed in the morning.

I also would find out as I went to put my jacket on, why I was cold all day yesterday, I had a hole in my jacket where the seam is so air was blowing in and circulating around, brrr, we would sew it and move on.
Seems like everywhere I go, there is a pass named after me

Traffic was normal and our first animal sighted would be a crow, a crow let me just say that again, a crow. The second animal we would see would fortunately be what we came for, a Buffalo, always big and intimidating I did not want to sit around to long since we lacked any protection with a motorcycle.

Next up was old Faithful, always spectacular

We would come back to the bike to find my tank bag partially opened with my map chewed up, my first aid kit which carries some aspirin empty of aspirin, and the bag of peanuts which my gurl had left in the tank bag, all gone. A crow flew over, undoubtedly the thief!

We had intended to ride around Yellowstone lake up to Yellowstone falls, but the bridge was out so we would have to backtrack, we saw a few more Buffalo but not the huge herds I had hoped for.
Waterfalls are always amazing, and these are not to be outdone, especially being twice the height of Niagara falls!

In the parking lot I would end up in an argument with a woman who felt I needed to move my bike, so she could park her RV, really lady? She was not nice about it either, and neither was I, she would leave.
We would find the last room within 200 miles in Gardnier montana, very fortunate or I would have had to deal with an angry sleep deprived pregnant woman!
In the morning we would venture back into Mammoth Hot springs to see that magnificent place and hope for more of Yellowstone wonder, I hoped to see more animals but it was not to be.

From Mammoth we would head back north as south thru the park had road construction, nothing either of us wanted to deal with.
Three days long It would prove to be a Wonderful trip, glad we had it, sad she will be unable to accompany me for the next few years as our child enters this world.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Big Game Hunting in Africa, conservation at its finest.

So the Kendal girl who has been posting pictures of her Hunts in Africa is all over the Media not to mention FB deleted many of her Pictures.
Here is the thing, Hunters in America are the single biggest conservation groups in America, that also translates over to Africa. While The Rhino, Lion Etc are very amazing majestic animals I personally would never hunt, most are cared for on Big Game Safaris who want the healthiest largest animals for their clients. The Meat then goes to the Local villagers who are often struggling. People like Kendal pay thousands upon thousands of dollars to hunt that game, this helps for the local economy obviously from everything form airports, to ammunition, cooks and of course tourism. While I personally could not shoot an Elephant, they are Pests to Farmers.
Save your Hypocrisy please and enjoy the last major conservation effort, without people like Kendal these animals would not get the protection they needed from overwhelmed corrupt bankrupt African Governments who cannot even care for their own people more often than not.
Oh yea, do not forget that the single biggest conservation effort ever put forth in the United States was Pushed forth by a Big Game Hunter, Mr Teddy Roosevelt.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Understanding why a well bred Pitbull is a wonderful pet, and a poorly bred one is gasoline near a fire.

Over the years like everyone I have heard about every Pitbull Argument there is, like most people I was ignorant as to the history of the breed, talking to a championship Great Dane Breeder once who said "it is not a well bred animal that is the problem, it is those who are not properly bred who are a threat" His words always stuck with me so being curious I did some research, this is what I found.

The history of the Pit is interesting and its exact origins are unknown, the breed we associate to pits was actually raised as a fighting dog, that much is true. They were bred for their ferocity, strength and ability to withstand damage and give it, that is all true. The dogs were so dangerous that if one showed the slightest aggression to a Human they put a bullet instantly in their head, breeding old west style, the result was what happens with any select breed, a Dog which did exactly what the breeder wanted.
Think of it like this, a retriever will always want to retrieve, a guard dog will always want to guard, a pit? well it has fighting DNA, it can like any breed be controlled but that DNA is its inherent characteristic. A pit who is well bred and worked with from its youth will be tolerant and get along fine with other dogs, with some oversight.

The breeding went so well that a Pitbull became known as a Nanny dog, it gained fame as "Petey" on the little rascals and even as Helen Kellers Dog. IT went to war and arguably one of the most famous Dogs in American History is a Pit bull with the name of Stubby. They went on to have great fame as the Nanny dog, often the dog of choice for watching over children and taking care of disabled as a guide, being known for intelligence & incredible devotion, then came the problem.

An attack from a Pittbull was almost unheard of until the late 1980s, since then they not only dominate the Media, but dog maul/kill statistics by leaps and bounds, so much so that all other of the top fifteen dangerous dogs still do not add up to the deaths of a Pit. What happened you ask? Simple, just as the start, breeding has become the problem.

In the 80s breeding the dogs again for fighting became popular and unlike the breeders from over 100 years ago, they simply began top breed any dog which showed aggression, sadly those aggressive strains have made it into our living room. They carry the "loving traits" as well but unlike other dogs an attack is savage and often debilitating. Many people believe they can simply be present around their children and can react fast enough, no, not in your wildest dreams with any animal. Dogs attack at a blistering fast pace and you being a few feet away the damage will be done, with a Pit, that damage is beyond Severe and often life changing. Even if you are fast enough to be there, then what? do you have the strength to control the Animal? can you withstand a bite yourself? Then what? It is a breed which strong consideration, actually any breed should be of careful consideration before bringing into your home.

In conclusion while a well Bred Pitt is indeed an Amazing wonderful dog, those bred in the background, who need rescue, or come from questionable ownership should be avoided at all costs. While odds are you should have a long life, the danger is simply to great as they are known to be a wonderful pet and then one day, in an instant, they "Snap" that instant is all it takes to injure to kill someone you love. My father was an old Ranch boy, had zero fear of any dog, or animal for that matter and was built like the typical old school ranch boy, big meaty powerful hands, while trying to break up a dog fight he suffered a bite from a Rot which nearly left his hand usless, something to think about as I seriously doubt the average person has near the power, nor the ability to withstand a bite as someone who was raised in a biting/kicking somewhat abusive environment.

For my friends and family who think differently, I certainly respect your decision to own one, however since the only dog in my life I was ever unable to control was a pit who tried to attack me, I will respectfully decline a visit. If I know you spent some serious cash for a well bred wonderful animal, I will stop by, however without knowing it is not worth a confrontation with myself, or especially my loved one. Oh yea, one last thing if you are going to say "well poodles bite more often" that is true, but when is the last time you heard of someone losing a finger, eye, or their life to a poodle? A Golden Retriever, or any other breed for that matter?

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Super Tenere, first day long tour and riding impressions.

Last year I purchased a KLR 650 hoping for it to take me on a grand new adventure down to South America. The contingency being my Gurls visa had to be finished, well as usual plans rarely fall into place and her Visa would not be ready until the end of May.

Instead of South America, I would spend a week riding around the deserts of Nevada and California. I did fall in love with the KLR, but with a new life comes new requirements, and as much as the KLR is one of the most chosen steeds for grand adventure, it is anything but a two person bike.

I tried, really I did to make it work, when she got here we Embarked on a couple of 300 mile trips, one with 60 miles of dirt road, the KLR did fine thumping along as only a thumper could do, but the engine struggled up Montanas Grand passes and the brakes are anything but barely adequate with a single person, with two we actually rolled thru a stop sign rolling slowly downhill, yea enough is enough.

I went shopping, and looking at a V strom 1000 used purely because I could afford it I thought maybe a sport touring bike would be the ticket until I got a chance for my big trip. I thought the KLR would be nice simply for some off road use as well, but alas I kept adding up to close to the price of a new bike. I also had made a promise to myself everytime I bought something new, to get rid of the old Vya con Dios KLR!

I drove over to Hamilton last week to look at a new legend on the cycling market. They had a great price on a Demo Model blue Demon.
The bike is amazingly well put together with stunning looks that beg the bike to be flogged off and on road. I drooled but the proof is in the pudding, I saddled up and after a quick introduction in all the unnecessary bullshit electronics I do not need, nor care about I was off on the New Yamaha Super Tenere.

Lemme just say this bike has sportbike DNA, less than a mile from the dealership I ran into some twisties and it was everything I could do to keep from dragging the pegs, not normally something I will do on a bike I am unfamiliar with. It begged, to be beat, the torqey motor yanked at my arms and the akropovic system told the story of a motor made for power.

I hit some dirt and damn, the 600lbs was quickly forgotten as the traction control and ABS I previously did not want, did their job. The amazingly well balanced machine never once felt heavy or awkard, superior in every way save price of the KLR.

I took it back grinning ear to ear and thought about it overnight, and less than a week later a good friend would help me unload it from my pickup proclaiming to his co worker "If I am not back, know that I sacrifised my body for Craigs bike" fortunately that was not necessary, but the crap weather would prevent anything more than a couple trips around the block.

Yesterday I had enough, unable to contain myself I tossed on some Saddlebags I had told mom I never wanted "They are too damn big" I had stated back in my sportbike days "Well use them when she can" she said. THe KLR came with Aluminum paniers so I just could not fathom when I would need them, however enter the new bike and a perfect fit.

We would leave saturday at 11:30 to make a nice just sub 400 mile loop. Not sure what I was thinking but I could have sworn when I mapquested it that it stated 250, oh well. The thunder clouds looked ominous but using my usual theory of riding to them they would part, it worked all day.

The Bike ran amazingly well and cruised at speed like it was gliding in the air. The motor is scary torqy and honestly with the jumper mod it makes it so the passenger really has to hold on tight at all times. For some reason and maybe i simply did not notice in my test ride the engine seems viby, almost anoyingly so on quick accelerations then quickly levels out.
The suspension does its job amazing and the tires grip well.

We would stop where my fathers ashes are buried first off for his blessings. The road going in was somewhat muddy and gravely, the bike again acted like a light 250, not the beast it truly is.

From there we headed north and the power of the motor was apparent going up the Boulder Hill not needing to even think about grabbing a gear.

We would circle from Helena to White Sulpher springs and the bike would again soak up some twisties checked only by me worrying about a ticket. Passing again with the big 1199 cc engine was easy as hell and effortless.
We would stop for a ocuple of Photo Ops and to speak with some local ranchers. My gurl had never seen cattle so it was a must for her.

I get a kick out of people, for some reason people have always thought I was a city boy despite growing up in the country with our own livestock. The Cowobys approached me as such and laughed when they found out otherwise, we chit chatted and I eyed the predictament I had put myself in. I had pulled down a incline facing their gate with my only out thru the burrow pit back to the tarmac. Or I could push the heavy beast back up the drive, ok times like this you realize how heavy it truly is. I decided to shoot down into the marshy section knowing that help was only a fence hop away should I get stuck, nothing, not a wheel spin it just ate up the marshy area and climbed back on the road like it had claws, DAMN! what a ride!

We would continue down with my Gurl being amazed at how big Montana really is, one cannot truly appreciate the vastness of hte area until you ahve visted, when you do, be prepared for hours and hours of driving wondering when your destination will appear.

We would make one more stop on the way home, at the grizzly rescue just outside Livingston MT to see us some bears! I have only seen one Grizzly in the mountains so it was more than worth while and I encourage you to do stop should you see the signs.

We would finish up the ride at 7:30 Pm finally rolling home with the ODO showing exactly 380 miles. I was sore as your butt always is when stuck in the same position but overall I loved the bike. My Gurl was very comfy and would often simply sit on the bike when I stopped for a photo op, mission accomplished finding a proper two person ride!

I need to do some reading to see if the buzzy feeling when accelerating is normal or if I need to adjust the power commander. Iti s minor compared to the ride and the stability, I look forward to longer ridesin the future and I will not hesitate to hit more 300+ day rides in the future.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Why we need to change our ways, not tomorrow, but today.

Reading on a forum the other day, ok actually having a debate over healthcare someone said "what would you do without modern medicine, someone else relied "Live longer"
I laughed, how absurd that was. I did my usual quick search to prove the moron wrong, but what I found absolutely blew my mind, he was right. Turns out at the turn of the 20th century life expectancy was only shorter do to child mortality being very high, if you made it out of your childhood, your odds of living to a ripe old age was actually pretty good, think about it, how old was Franklin when he visited France in behalf of the fledgling US?

Let us continue, It has been a couple of years, but talking to a good friend of mine who is a Cancer research about finding a cure he remarked "We have to quit finding ways to cause it first"

That always struck me in my head, and as I look around I wonder, while other countries seem to take precautions, and go forth with a healthy lifestyle, America slowly fights off the healthy lifestyle leading the world in heart attacks and obesity, not necessarily in that order.

We seem to take pride in shoving our faces full of the worst possible crap there is, so much so that we even make jokes and laugh about it, but I ask you, if someone was playing Russian roulette would you be laughing? If someone buried a note in your highschool time capsule that said in x amount of years you will have a stroke if you open this letter, would you open it?

We co go farther with this, there is a panic among many people over vaccines and if they cause autism. That may or may not be the case, I realize the science is heavily against it causing autism, I still hold the door of plausability while knowing in the meantime it is probably in our best interest to still vaccinate at least against certain very nasty diseases. With that said there seems to be a great deal amount of irony knowing that someone who will not allow their child to be vaccinated, will then turn around and feed them meat soaked in Ammonia and radiated, with twinkies for desert.

We then move on to our Beloved Lawns where our all American tradition of BBQ takes place. Sounds innocent enough right? well sort of, while that very person who has a lawn which uses roughly 50 percent of your household water consumption, will then also complain about global warming and drought, I guess I missed the class where this made sense as well. We can take this a bit farther with even a more troubling and known cause of evil, pesticides.

Now mind you we have a love hate relationship with pesticides. We love them for keeping the bugs off of crops, and we love them even more for keeping bugs off our beloved flowers. But pesticides are a carcinogen. Bugs eat the pesticides and birds eat the bugs, what do you tink will happen? Worse yet bees which we desperately need for pollination area also an insect and are suffering dramatically because of it.

The next lawn/crop loving chemical which is killing us specifically what we know as "Roundup" definitively causes autism. I am willing to bet those same moms worried about autism in Vaccines will still spray their lawns and eat vegetables coated in the garbage. Not in Europe they do not, it is already banned.

Look I can go on but we really need to clean up our act, hell our bread does not even mold anymore, things have got to change, and I do not mean tomorrow, but I really mean today, your kids and their kids depend on it.

Oh one more thing, while ya'll are worried about the radiation from fukishima did you know that many of those chemicals we create never go away? they stay in the water, slowly building up, how many centuries until this is a major problem? Probably not as long as you think, pharmaceuticals from our over medicated bodies also do not digest and mutations are being caused in aquatic lives because of it, guess what, people are being effected by it as well.

Time to shape up people, and I mean now.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

I have always been asked "How do you do it?" It is not hard, here is how

For my entire life people have asked me how I managed to do so much when I was not working.

While working my business I often worked 100 hour work weeks, that of course was for only about half the year, the rest of the year I did kind of what a wanted.

Before I became self employed I rarely worked steady but readily enjoyed life, owning what I wanted and doing a fair amount of traveling. Truth be known I could have, and should have done far more traveling.

I always heard the same thing, and reading the posts on a fellow world travelers wall when she went to Russia "how do you afford all this travel?" it reminded me why it is simply so easy.

We are without want, in other words we do not need what everyone else thinks makes life complete.

I do not need the latest or greatest of anything, never have, never will it is just not how I am.

Rather than wasting money I set money aside, dont get me wrong, I enjoy life, but how many of you have stacks of toys sitting in the garage you never touch? how much are those toys? I am willing to bet for that stack you could have done an equal amount of traveling as I have.

Look life is all about compromise, but really falling into the American Dream trap is nothing more than a nightmare, people work their entire lives to aquire shit, they cannot wait to get rid of when they finally realize its burdon shortly before they die.

I am like many people, I still have far to much, but I have heard it over and over again in my life when people walk into my house "you do not have anything" and they are right, by American standards, I do not.

Life for me is about experiences, I would rather be out riding my Mountain bike, Motorbike or simply seeing something new and great.

You can win that battle with "who has the most toys wins" go for it champ, I want to be the guy who did the most, that world out there is big, or small, depending on how you see it, I will send you a post card.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

65 Year old Lady Summits Mt Haggin in a day

What a day. I was supposed to ride motorbikes with a fellow from a chat forum, I did not hear from him and I ended up working with my business and bogged down with paperwork.

Secretly all day I craved my Yellow Mountain Bike, I had ridden it in a fun ride last night and I could not get it out of my mind.

I finished my paperwork as 6:15 rolled around, I knew Dave would want to ride and would be home around 6:30, I called and told his son to tell his dad to be ready, 7:00 we rolled down the street.

We decided to climb up to Hurst lake at the base of Mt Haggin. We knew we would not make it all the way but it is 3.5 miles from our doorsteps of solid climbing. The climb was as always a difficult one this time of the year with the ground being spongy and the fingers of hell called new grass gripping at your tires making every peddle difficult.

We would pause and watch the sunset, then continue up the road, soon at the gate, our destination there was a dog whining looking back up the trail.

Not sure if this was a lassie moment I took off up the hill following the dog to see if its master was ok. I would see a black shadow and yell "are you ok"

"I am fine" came a faint obviously tired voice. I decided to climb up and see for sure as the figure was moving downhill so incredibly slow.

I was shocked as I got closer, there came a wrinkled silver haired lady, slowly trodding down the trail "What a long day" she would say.

I was honestly taken a bit aback and asked her how far she went "oh all the way to the top, and last week I did this mountain and this mountain the week before"

What could I say? She was 20 years my senior and climbing stuff I had myself never accomplished.

I would ride out on a thrilling downhill pondering life as always, what lays up the road? Not to long ago I was thinking I did not know how much left I would have, but after seeing her, who knows?

We talked to a fellow slightly older than us at the bottom in town, he commented how amazing that was and she was lucky to be mobile "Well": I replied "Better to die up there than dreaming about being up there"

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Lets wrap up this Bundy thing shall we? A lesson in Hypocrisy

Lately on the news has been nothing but the Clyve Bundy Patriot standoff.

Constantly we are bombarded by two sides of this, one side saying he is a welfare leach, the other side claiming he is a Patriot standing up to an Abusive big brother, so lets sum this up.

For over 100 years the Bundy Family has used Public land to make a living.

In 1993 Bundy figures out he can now make more of a living by not paying the Government whom he decides he despises and no longer wants to deal with.

The Big Evil Government takes Bundy to court several times all the while letting Bundys Cattle roam about on Public land, to date Bundy owes an estimated six hundred thousand just in grazing fees alone. Not counting money profited by using public land as he sells his cattle fed and watered on the Government land he hates.

The Big Evil Government decides they want their money so begin to round up the squatters cattle, who throws a fit and goes ot the news claiming they are violating his freedom, he was there first.

Militia groups hear this and are furious, right wing programs join in stating "Bundy was there before the feds" and now people are up in arms. Apparently everyone forgets who was there before the Bundy Family ever dreamed of setting foot on the land, do they even count?

Back to the story at hand.
After watching a ten minute clip on the Internet created by the Federal Government on Computers Made in China they begin to rally.

They gather their supplies filling water jugs from Government sourced water, then removing the food held to standards by the FDA into the Toilet which goes into a Federally Regulated Cesspool for safe treatment.

They then jump in their American owned au but largely foriegn built automobiles built to Federal Government standards and drive on Roads created by the Government for ease in transportation, they have had enough of the Governments nonsense!

Now they arrive at the ranch to stand beside their Welfare hero who opens his arms gracefully, and why not, he has made millions by being a Patriot, and hell, he wears a cowboy hat!

Ok I can continue but I hope by this time you realize the absolute absurdity of this entire fiasco.

Bundy has had his day in court, he lost, and is now making claims which while honest, bare no real meaning to the case at hand nor how wrong he actually is.

I truly feel a bit depressed over this all, I cannot believe that Humans can be so short sighted and poorly educated.

Sorry folks, I am by no means a BLM fan, but they have point of fact catered to the Rancher for decades, Bundy is one who benefited from that catering.

There are far, far more important issues in the world, let this moron go to Prison where he belongs and lets start dealing with real problems shall we?

Like why Americans are so eager to kill other Americans over a Constitution they themselves have never read, and those that have do not understand, and why on earth they hate a government which provides them with so much?

Why Liberalism is not what you think it is.

False, first off Liberal and Conservative is not necessarily merely Republican or Democrat it is a base belief system which constantly is switching between the two parties and on Ideas in general. Conservatism are people a bit more steadfast in their ways cautious of change.
The Republican Party was actually founded by people who were tired of Slavery who came primarily from the Democrat and Wig Parties. They Freed the slaves while the Democratic Party fought tooth and nail to keep them. The Democrats so would go on to be called the Dixiecrat and would found the KKK. The first black people to hold Elected office came from the Republican Party. It is to note that the Democratic Party also elected the Longest Senator in history who incidentally was a Grand Dragoon of the KKK, Mr Byrd.
The first President to even eat dinner with a Black man in office would be Teddy Roosevelt who incidentally was a Republican. It caused great outrage at the time.
The Womans movement was little different, spearheaded By women often belonging to alternative parties it again would be passed by Republicans.
The Civil Rights Legislation would be rammed thru by a Democrat president who absolutely loathed blacks, it would pass nearly completely on a party line of Republican votes with a few northern Democrats siding with it as well.
Democrats passed "Under God" to be placed in your Pledge of Allegiance as well as on your Money.

Friday, April 4, 2014

A Milestone in excercise, and why you can do it too.

Yesterday evening my new Mountain bike turned 300 miles in just under a year ownership. Now mind you I have another Mountain bike but this was my primary ride last year. What makes this significant is the fact that last year I suffered a blow to my health as my lungs were not processing Co2 properly and I ended up with asthmatic conditions for the first time in my life.
Doctors would place my on an Inhaler and tell me to netty pot to help alievate the new post nasal drip causing bronchial spasms and making life difficult.
I had to give up my normal favorite climbs early in the year as at first my lips would go number and I would simply would want to lay down and go to sleep. Then I found out my problem got over my issues with medication and accepted the Inhaler and my life started moving slowly forward.
I have always been athletic so having any kind of a set back drives me nuts and certainly gave me respect for those who have lived with lung problems their entire life. All I knew was I did not care if I fell over I would keep going foward and die in the saddle, I refuse to be the sit on the couch looking out the window dreaming while I degraded type of a person.
So I pushed on, coughing up mucus on each ride with my nose burning like crazy. Soon my lung problems would transfer to a new ailment and I would discover some of my numbness in my face and legs was actually abnormally low testosterone previously misdiagnosed as thyroid disease. I did my research and used the bundle of information on the internet to force the proper testing to get the treatment which would help.
So you understand Testosterone treatment therapy is not like you think, some people simply quit producing enough testosterone based on environmental conditions, stress and fighters from simply to many blows to the brain, which is where the signals come from to produce the T. With treatment I am now at what would be a Low normal someone not athletic would probably have. I am ok with that and I feel much better and I am going forward. A new obstical came forth as a new study suggests that TRT therapy also results in a 27 percent increase in the potential for Heart attack or Strokes.
I have always felt that Medication is something you need to be without if possible but if all the tables are turned and you have no other choice, by all means take advantage of modern medicine.
I have been tapering away from TRT only using it sporadically and trying to increase my levels simply by doing the proper exercises as well as changing my diet completely. The numbness is back but I will hopefully live with it, if not I will go back and take the risks. Atrophy is not an option in my life.
I have always ate fairly decent, better than most people but I am changing it into a 1 percenter where I eat as well as only a very select few people. I force myself to exercise vigorously 5 days a week with no more excuses that being my priority. The result is my Inhaler is almost non existent now and I rarely ever use it, hopefully the later will be said for TRT as well.
So yesterday was a milestone that surprised the hell out of me, five to 14 miles at a time I racked up 300 miles on a single bike,pushing foward knowing only it had to help me.
We would ride 14 miles yesterday with 7 miles of my front brake squeaking, which it has done for hte last 30 miles and I thought little of it, I turned the bike upside down when a friend had a breakdown, I would spin the front wheel and it would stop short of a complete revolution, my front brake was not lightly dragging, it was severely dragging lol.
The next 7 miles would be downhill with only peddling to keep my freezing extremities working in good order until I found the comfort of my home.
I guess in all this long winded bs I am saying that there have been a few people with true disabilities who have inspired me. And damn it, even if you think you cannot, with practice you can. I started riding seriously in 2010 pushing my bike up a hill I can now ride up easily.
It comes with patience and determination. Whatever your fitness goal make it a priority in your life, if you are overweight ignore the comments, I still get the occasional billowing hillbilly yelling out a passing car window "Training is over Lance" and I tune them out.
You can only go forward in life, going backwards is simply not acceptable.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Unerstanding Climate Change

For years now people have been banging the drum for Global Warming. Al Gore came out with a movie which would go on to be award winning, despite the fact that almost nothing within the time frame he stated within the Video has yet happened.
Now Global Warming has changed to Climate Change, all encompassing which also allows itself to be explained by the Global Warming crowd.
For years I have had a suspicion that Global warming was a hoax, that certain people would push and benefitfrom it.
It is clear that the Media manipulates people in the same way the Bible does, by promoting the same things which play on your emotions and fear, Famine, Floods, powerful storms, if you do not obey, the powers that be will come down on you.

Recently a MIT professor came out saying to slow down on Global Warming. Pretty much stating exactly what I have, "Global Warming is a Politicians dream come true, the opportunity for taxation, policy, control & Crony Capitalism"
He is swept under the Rug by the popular left wing media and not taken seriously. Look I do not care if you believe in Global warming or not, but do you really think people are not hyping this in order to make some extra coin, policies and control?

I know right now you are saying but what about all the Changes which occur, all the new hurricanes, floods death and destruction.
Well none of this is known, as the Professor pointed out, most of it is simply do to where we live and more importantly, how we live.

Floods have, and always will occur.
There are areas which are called 100 year flood planes meaning every 100 years it will flood. The real irony here is people actually live in those planes and feel they will be dead before it happens.
I was a contractor, and I asked someone "Do you know at what part of the century the next flood will happen?" His eyes were blank and I think like everyone he assumed that nature only did things at the turn of each century, hell why not it sounds easy.
When people started moving to America unfortunately we ended up with the lower class people, who were the least educated. Those people took away the old countries rule of building on higher ground, and started building next to rivers and right smack in flood planes. This became so much of a problem the LA river was actually re routed and concreted in to accommodate this nonsense.
The Bible played on Floods using Noah as your guide, GOD WAS ANGRY WITH THE PEOPLE SO HE FLOODED THEM! unfortunately believe this or not it is ingrained in your psyci, you will recognize a politician as someone of power and like it or not, some fear will come into your existence. Trouble is with the Noah story it has happened dozens of times over again and is a story retold long before the bible, and guess what, it still is being retold, Al Gore used it, made sure you knew if you did not do what the government said, you would be flooded as water levels ARE RISING WE ARE YOUR SAVIOR!

Well what about hurricanes and the mass damage, surely they are getting stronger?
Yea not so much. WE have taken to building in Hurricane prone areas, that is all fine and dandy, to top it all off we build right up to the water. It was such a poor Idea that insurance companies would not cover those wealthy who wanted the best view and beach front property. So the Federal government stepped in to offer insurance to cover these people who would inevitably lose their home, but get a very cheap remodel on YOUR tax dollars
Yup thats right, someone is benefiting, but lets move on to the poor people, using Katrina as an example, what about that?
Katrina became nasty because natural barriers which slow down wind and storm surges are now gone. Marshes were drained and trees cut down the results are predictable and down goes man. This is the same everywhere.

What about Forest Fires, god they are worse than ever.
It just so happens that I was a contract Wild Land Firefighter for nearly a Decade, so I learned a bit about that.
First off every five years roughly we have a bad fire season, those of us who contracted counted on a big year in that midst.
But wait you say, you live in a drought zone and fires are more predominant.
Droughts are nothing new and again the earth has its cycles. Forest fires are bigger and badder now simply because we want them to be. Let Burn policies have allowed fires to grow in size, and provided fires are not heading to civilization, we let them burn fairly unchecked.
Fires are not only big money for the contractors, but huge money for the government employees themselves who are paid away from home pay, over time, & hazard pay. Fires are so much of a boon many retired Forest Service Employees actually work summers just to fill their travel coffers. In other words incentive to put the fires out simply is not always there.
The most efficient fire I ever was on endangered a couple of local Politicians homes, we could not understand why all the resources were thrown at this tiny fire until that little fact was found out.
Roadless initiatives are another major factor. At one time they created a fire line and if a fire was not so large, it often would be stopped there. However with roadless initiatives those roads were decommissioned and grown over.
So now fire lines have to be cut, this does not happen in the blink of an eye and takes some time to do, days are often added to a fire in this alone. Further after the fire is out, those lines are decommissioned and turned back to original.

I have always wondered how much of this was all planned for the bigger scheme. Looking at history I suspect much is and often a bungling government on the outside, is controlled by someone organized on the inside.
Likely we in our lives will never know, what I do know is what I have put forth. I also look to the source themselves and I watch NASA very carefully. Over the past few years we were bombarded by unprecedented solar flares. NASA at the time was worried power would be knocked out, it did not, but what is that effect on your weather?

What about CO2 emissions? Can you think of an easier way to control and tax people simply by looking at a common every day tool and vilifying it? Even if CO2 is as nasty as claimed, then the easiest solution would be not not allow the lung, trees, to burn nor to allow them forests to be decimated in South America. Which brings about yet another panic, dont you remember 30 years ago when the world would perish if we did not stop deforestation in SA?
What happened with that? Someone decided those forests were best converted to farm land for Soy and Ethanol.

While I am at it one last point, Ethanol is such a horrible Idea it was tossed aside in the mid 1800s during the battle for what would power the combustible engine. Corn, where ethanol comes from is a very high water consumption crop, areas which previously did not grow corn started to, and why not, guaranteed coin. The problem came however as those corn crops caused droughts in said areas. Further corn as a crop is subject to natural droughts, soil depletion, weather, disease and poor harvest. It also as a power vs oil is no where in the same ballpark.

I can go on and on, this is something a book really would encompass better, but you are getting the Idea.

Look I am all for taking care of the planet, that is out duty, what i am not for is encouraging panic based on nonsense and offering unrealistic solutions which not only do nothing, often cause as much or more damage in the process.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

The Eighth wonder of the world, Banaue Rice Terraces

After spending the night in Baguio we would be ready to head off in the morning.

But hold on, I am an American after all and a breakfast buffet was offered so I had to check it out.

Not quit what I was looking for, dried fish, fish heads and something that looked like like Grits. I am not a fan of Grits but dried Fish is not something my Pallet preferes and fish heads are one of those things I just cannot get myself to choke down.
SO I scooped up a healthy bowl of Grits. They were yummy, and I was savoring the dish with the usual outstanding Philippines Pastries which honestly I consider the best I have to date had. My girl is staring at me so I know something is up.

"Do you know what you are eating?" she asks

"Well I assumed they are grits, but they taste different" I replied. She would go on to explain I was eating entrails and rice. Yea well damn good entrails and ironically I happen to love the insides of an animal so I helped myself to seconds.

We would get catch a Bus to Sagada to see the Hanging coffins and their Rice Terraces which were impressive, but not as apparently. However upon sitting on the bus we found we were mislead, and indeed Sagada was on the way to Banaue but we would not as told, be able to make it there by evening.
After playing hide and seek with a couple girls We decided we wanted to see the famous terraces, and while the Hanging coffins would be cool, they are not something I have dreamed of seeing. We departed the Bus and unfortuantely my girl would badly sprain her ankle on a curb. There I would be, my backpack, carrying her with hers and stepping out in the street to make sure a cab would stop.
We told him where were looking for a private cab to go to Banaue and this being the Philippines a deal was quickly made, he assured me he could get us there before sunset and we could see the Terraces, it was 10 am, an hour later after securing the documents he needed from the city to operate out of town we departed.
He started out driving like a sane man, but that quickly ended as we left the city and it would be pedal to the medal from then on.
And we would speed thru some of the most amazing countryside I had ever seen. The pine trees mixed with palm trees would give way to only pine, and I would feel at home. All the sights and smells were complete, tall pine trees which resembled evergreens they were called Benguet Pine. The Bamboo and Thatch Huts slowly transformed to pine slab homes, and it honestly reminded me of a living ghost town in Montana.

Our driver was screaming though, there was no slowing down for a picture, and I assumed the bus would come back thru here, so I could grab some pictures then, I would be wrong.
The pine would slowly give way to the normal jungle one would expect in the tropics.

We would slide around miles upon miles of corners and leave tire tracks on the pavement, he would rally style dive straight off the assphault to scream down dirt roads blistering past the huts and workers. THe strangest part is there would be signs up at each village to slow down, even with some baracades yo uwould have to maneuver thru, it mattered not he barely blinked.

Some of thee baracades would even have Law Enforcement and they would do nothing, I wondered what could they do as there was as shortage of patrol cars. Soon I would find out as he flew past one of these check points and then suddenly came screeching to a hault. "what are you doing?" I asked.

"They pulled me over" he said

So there I am looking behind us for some cherries and there is only a couple cops walking to the cab.
"Hide do not let them see you are American" he would say.
Out of the Cab he jumped and I slouched down, only looking thru the car mirror to see the frantic hand signals and pointing at us. Soon he would pay the Bribe I mean fine and off we would go, slowed down not at all.

We would climb into the clouds but there would be no pines, It was rainy as we continued to get closer to Bageuo, the Myst danced between buildings adding to the spiritual value of our journey.
My heart pounded with excitement, in between the trees over the buildings I could see glimpses of the terraces themselves.

We were told we would not be able to see the terraces themselves do to the cloud cover, but I argued I again wanted to see the spiritual aspect and I would be rewarded.

The villagers were concerened seeing me carry my girl, and not having any doctors they quickly sent for a Shaman to heal her.
He would confirm it was not broken. Laugh if you will her foot felt better.

It was also here that I would find the famed wooden bicycle I had seen pictures of and always dreamed of seeing. Every spring they would have a race down the hill. god no way in hell would I try that.

The man on the bike is one of the Original crew first photographed to encourage tourism. Nice gentleman who had suffered a stroke, he asked what was good for one and I would give him baby aspirin and instructed to take one every day.
Though without modern medicine they certainly realized they could benefit as well.

After taking in the breathtaking terraces our Cab Driver was a bit concerned with going back, but wanted dinner of course. Since he got hosed on the fine I treated him.

Now eating a developing country can be interesting and one has to watch where you eat. My rule is to always eat foods which are not touched after they are cooked, and fortunately for me one of my favorite meals in the Philippines is called Pancit Canton. A thin noodle mix with vegetables and shrimp.

Banaue was a very small developing city which was like being stuck in time, the resturant we were told was the best in town for a westerner. It had no windows and the Customers were wearing jackets, my girl was frozen.
Normally Meals in the Philippines run close to American prices however here I bought a nice meal for all three of us, with beer for me and the cabby for under five dollars.

Our cabby would ask before he left if I wanted a ride back to Bagiou, I said no, we would get the bus directly to Manila, he would bid us well with a scared eye of nervousness and leave. It occured to me after he left that he was probably scared to drive back in the dark with huge drop offs and bandits on the road. Truly I regretted sending him off so late but I simply had not thought it thru.

We would catch a First class bus back to Manila, there were no more seats and I would ride the full eight hours with only a piece of cardboard between me and the floor. I am to old for that shit.

IT was worth it though, another Amazing adventure brought forth in the country of Dreams.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The road to Banaue Rice Terraces, one of the Wonders of the World.

Wonders of the world are named such for a reason, their absolute magnificence and engineering when man made is at times beyond mental comprehension. It has always been a dream to see the Rice Terraces in the Philippines and I was determined to again make another amazing dream come true in this country of splendor.

I found myself in Manila with my girl, we would be conducing personal affairs and we discovered we had four days to spare before our next appointment, so what to do?

I would browse the internet and commented how I would love to see the Rice Terraces, she would reply "yes it is a dream of mine since I was a child, we need to go see them"

So I did some reading, discovered the bus ride was eight hours and we could catch one first thing in the morning, my girl was ecstatic and I was excited, another dream come true.

The following morning we would pack up and hit the bus station, first class accommodations as my woman booked our seats with first class accommodations for a mind blowing 15 dollars for both of us.
First class in the Philippines is truly that, you get a nice clean restroom, snacks and even a water bottle to start off the trip. Along with stewardess if you will to make sure your trip is comfortable.

The road is Amazing, the bus modern, and the Philippines despite being a developing country has some amazingly well kept roads and bridges

We would arrive in six hours rather than eight in Baguio, we had a bit of a walk to the hotel, there was a fellow ADV rider motorcycle parked and I loved his panniers.

The hotel was amazing on the outside,and had a first class resturaunt but the rooms were old, worn and not worth the 75 dollars a night.

Baguio is a very clean city, which is shocking after coming from Manila which is how people visualise cities in the Philippines, beggars everywhere, shanty's mixed in with Sky Scrapers and dirty. None of which were to be seen anywhere in Baguio.

The only Homeless people I saw where these two, the one actually was whistling while pushing all his valued possessions in his shopping cart.

I was very excited to be here, and upon checking in I would ask the counter girl where the Terraces where "Sir they are Eight hours away in Banaue."

I was shocked, I looked at my girl who had a blank look on her face, her dream of "seeing the Rice Terraces" had for her entire life only been visualized with the wrong city in her mind. Of course being a woman it was my fault as I was doing the homework the previous night and I should have known better.

IT was cold here a wopping 48 degrees, now before you comment understand that while the Philippines was undergoing a record cold spell, it by no means was unusual for this area where light winter jackets are sold.
Baguio also has Pine Tress mixed in with Palm trees, absolutely Mind blowing to say the least.

We would buy my girl a Jacket for the cold as she was complaining about her cheeks and hands "hurting" this was her first experience in anything below 78 degrees so I suppose that yes, she was indeed freezing.
The following morning we would rent a cab for one of the scariest rides of my life to the proper city where the terraces lay.

Until then.......

Monday, March 17, 2014

Run Over By A Whale Shark

What seems like an eternity ago, I took the opportunity to swim with gentle giants in Oslob, Philippines. My only information on the area came via an e-mail from a city sponsored website which had replied to my question of, "What are my lodging choices and how much to swim with these beasts?" with, "There are no hotels just come and you will find someplace to stay." There were low prices listed, which sounded too good to be true, and it turns out they were. So I decided to stay in Cebu, which is on the way to Oslob, because, I thought, Riding a bus is easy.

However, riding a bus in the Philippines is NOT easy, it is an adventure in itself. The streets are crowded, the traffic is measured by inches, and the only traffic law is that you use your horn to communicate via SOS signals.

Oslob is only about 70 miles from Cebu, but in Filipino time, that equals four hours of creeping, bumper-to-bumper traffic, and roads in desperate need of repair. The bus dropped us in front of a stretch of road where various former-fishermen-turned-tourist-guides advertised their services with big colored flags.

It was noon when I arrived at Oslob for my swim with the Gentle Giants and I was informed that swimming with the giants ended at 12 pm - I had just missed it. Frustrated and quickly finding that extra money would not buy me the happiness I demanded, I settled into a room at a house near the diving guides. The room was amazing and I wish I had cancelled my room in Cebu, so I could have stayed for a few days. The entire house was made from a red hardwood, which looked like mahogany and I have never been in a place that clean before. The owner was from America and had lived in this poor, quiet area for about 30 years. He was also a boat builder and I had the pleasure of seeing his latest sail boat skeleton. The owner talked my ear off, as he missed American company. He explained the only Americans he saw were the occasional backpackers who stayed with him.

That night it rained hard, and it was my first experience with a tropical storm. The sound of the rain was absolutely deafening, and as I tried to sleep, I wondered if it would ever stop, or if my dream of swimming with the giants would ever come true. By morning the rain had stopped, but water still dripped from the palm trees into puddles below which reflected the rising sun in their ripples.

I had to attend a small briefing on how to properly swim with the giants. With the smell of the clean morning damp air deep in my nostrils, I found it difficult to make it through even the short lecture as my mind raced about the experience to come.

We boarded a catamaran fishing/tour boat, which is operated by someone at either end, one of whom was a child of maybe twelve. He paddled away, and with his determination in hand, he would push forth as hard as any adult. The other operator was yet another kid of maybe 16.

The water pushed lightly under our bow as the air skipped gently off the turquoise-blue water. My first sight of the giants was a fin sticking up slightly out of the water and a giant mouth poking up ever so slightly as it followed a "trick boat". The trick boat is responsible for feeding the animals, to ensure we would have a show.

I was struggling with the new snorkel and mask I had just purchased. The normally easy task of peeling off stickers and attaching my snorkel made nearly impossible by hands shaking with excitement.

Finally we stopped and I slipped into the water. Looking through the clear water, I still somehow struggled to see about 30 feet. Then it happened!

The first beast was following the feed boat. Its body seemed never ending as it drifted past me. Camera in hand, I struggled to remember which button did what. The fact it was a new camera didn't help, but really, it was only a matter of pushing buttons, yet I still struggled keep my head straight.

I tapped into my instincts, and finally found the shutter button to take my first picture of the giant streaming by. My concentration was so deep, at the last second I saw a giant mouth open wide to filter its food. Now, let me just say, the knowledge of these giants not attacking people does not help steady the mind when a mouth that looked more like a cave is coming straight at you propelled by a 30-foot body. The theme song to Jaws played ever so quietly in my head.

We had a half an hour with the animals and it seemed like all day. As I swam about, and darted under tour boats, with their laughing passengers, I was having a blast.

Finally, I came to rest at my boat, chatting with my guides, a gentle giant swam to me, his mouth open at the surface, I struggled to get out of the water. The guides started yelling not to panic and stay in the water. However, their quivering voices were less than reassuring. What should I do? Its body was closing in and actually broke the surface as the water rose and tried to reclaim it. I lifted my legs and said a prayer to Poseidon as the beast got closer and closer. Keeping my body up and holding my breath, it traveled just barely below me. I finally exhaled.

I wondered if this was a game to it? How did it perceive me? Was I just a giant shrimp? I let go of the boat and followed the beast for awhile. It swam slowly and it was easy to keep close, only slightly losing the speed race. Another came at me, getting far too close, again.

Our instructors told us not to touch the animals. I really had no desire. I was worried about getting hit by its rear fin; I cannot imagine the force and energy that carried. I decided they were being a bit to aggressive for my liking and I headed back to the boat. I wasn't planning on being the first human attacked by a whale shark.

I got back to the boat, and relaxed by hanging off the side of a boat. Yet, another shark would come at me, again my guides yelled at me to stay calm and to not touch it. Yeah right! There it was by me, I lifted my feet high again, only to have its dorsal fin slam me into the boat. It was hard enough to leave nice cuts up my leg and arm. I had officially been run over by a 30-foot beast weighing 20 tons. I had enough and happily crawled into the boat.

What a day! I got to swim with one of the largest creatures in the sea and having battle scars to prove it. Scratch one more off the Bucket List, but then add more; heading to another island to swim with the thresher shark. One thing I love about the Philippines, it seems to somehow make each dream come true.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

In Rememberance of Moms birthday, Borrowing her car for a date with a Vegas Dancer.

I was working in Vegas and had only shipped my motorcycle down with me.

I had met a go go dancer and we planned a date the following afternoon for lunch.

I needed wheels, more than two, I promptly began looking for rental cars. Mom would have none of it and continued pushing me to borrow her car. Soon time slipped by as we bickered and she distrated me and with one hour left to find the meeting point I was stuck, and I had to borrow her car.

Off I went to the coffee place, I would park between a Mazarati and a 300z, in I walked. I found the Dancer and we chatted, sharing the same birth date we hit it off Immediately. She was impressed that I was a business owner, had my own house etc.
Soon our coffee ran dry and we decided to head out for her to show me the city.
Walking out in the parking lot bumping shoulders playfully she would walk up to the 300z. Sorry that is not my car, she walked over to the passenger side of the Maserati, her eyes lit wide and toyed the handle, no, not my car turn around.
There moms gem shown, a dull red Subaru Forester last washed when it was purchased a few years previously loaded with all her crap from stem to stern.
Not looking so impressed anymore she looked at me with questioning eyes and I would say "I told you I only have my bike, I probably should have just stopped and picked up a helmet, mom was in town and insisted I use her car.......
The inside was priceless, since I at least had time to throw most of the trash from the passanger floor out it was not all bad.
Other than the petty crap stacked between us on the council there was room for seating and to shift.
I Suppose the Buddah doll on the dash was a bit much, and Shiva hanging from the mirror was not the most impressive, especially swinging in the light on every corner and a coin here and there I guess for luck slid back and forth across the tray.
It was somewhat cool as it turned out "I like your mom I am into this sort of a thing" but no, not much else obviously would happen and I would always remember the Embarrassment of driving around the Subaru (Soobaruu) as she pronounced it with a GO GO dancer who thought I had a Maserati.

Thanks Mom I know your laughing and plotting again.

Happy B day

Friday, February 14, 2014

Scooter rental in Cebu Philippines, the ride south

After losing my fear for traffic I was ready for a second day of exploring. The Scooter ended up working out well and the mighty 125cc engine was enough to carry me and my passenger up to a zesty 80kph. Honestly I am not to sure I would want to go any faster with those tiny tires. I liked having the automatic better than the semi auto most common on small motorcycles here. 
I had ridden the semi auto on a handful of occasions just a few short miles playing in my girls village. I always had trouble with the all down gear pattern. The only negative I really could find with the scooter, which also had wider, more stable tires would be that my feet were slightly to big to sit on the platform and I found myself having to sit pee wee herman style. 
Day two proved to follow the previous day Filipino hurry, get ready and do nothing approach. I slept in and at 10am my girl was asking if we were going or what. Having rented a room in a decent hotel that I can only call a box with no real light coming from the window I had no concept of the time.
We would get ready and head to my gurls village to meet with her cousin and bro. An hour went by, then two, Keneth was apparently still sleeping. Glenn in trouble with is wife from us staying out to late last night was acting as if he would go, but we all knew it was show, he was whipped. 
After kenneth rubbed his eyes and filled his belly we would head off with Divis other brother Dave tagging along.
Being sunday there was far, far less traffic, more in American bad traffic level days. I had also discovered why Divi had not ridden with me the previous night, she did not think I had what it took to ride a motorcycle in the Philippines. Her brother Glenn had been the sacrificial lamb with his life apparently being of less value.
Now that she not only realized I did know how to ride (for the love off god I have been riding longer than she has been alive) but I also had the Filipino stamp of approval for riding like a jack ass she would be happy to jump on the back with me.

Her village would be about the end of any type of real traffic until the next town. The roads south were not in the best of shape with gravel dumped into giant potholes  it reminded me of home and our half assed road department.
On this road it would be filled with giant leafy trees which bared a resemblance to Maple trees, I felt like I was in Missoula MT save the palm trees mixed in. 

about an hour into the ride I would have a flat tire, they assured me someone to vulcanize the tire would be close by. So with Divi on Daves bike to lighten the load we went into the village to look for repair. The first place would be closed, and at this point we were concerned that I would need a new tire. The worn tire had a cut in the side and we thought it was tubeless. We would find that was not the case, filled it with air and off to the next shop which was a half mile away. 
The next place only vulcanized and had no tires. The scooter company I had rented from stated they would refund me money to replace the rear tire, obviously since that was not an option I would have the tube fixed and hope that was enough. 
My Girl had to use the bathroom and her Grandma was in this Village not far from the repair shop, so we would go there while my tire was being repaired. 
Her grandmother lived in a bamboo hut on stilts, she was elderly but still climbed the steep steps ever day. Inside would be evidence of her sons trade, restoring cars. Her recliner would be a bucket seat, how cool is that?
Her sons had there shop in her yard. They were building some sort of a frame and I chatted a bit, but my eyes were drawn to their welder.  To say it was primitive was a understatement. It looked as if something from the early 1800s, coiled wire wrapped in wood. I have no Idea how they controlled the amps but they seemed to do well. 
I as amazed and It really made me wish my father had seen this, how amazing that would have been for him being such a creative fellow himself.
We would bid a farewell and they were surprised a white man knew how to weld, waving in something of a quizzing manner as I left. 
It seems the popular myth here is that white man work inside office and pay everyone else to do their work. Apparently that work is not other done by other white men. 

We returned to the shop of the man repairing my tire. I almost felt guilty, while this was a breakdown it happened in such a beautiful location with wonderfully kept houses, little garbage and amazing foliage everywhere. I could only think what could make this better would be a table, umbrella margaritas. The repair would cost me .75 cents. 

Off we went headed to the white beaches. I would say we rode fast to make up time but that would be a lie, we merely road at the normal filipino near out of control speed.

We would blur thru more villages, see more amazing churches and friendly people smiling and waving at the white man.
We would stop only once for food. Now I love filipino food, wow do I, and street food is the best, but also the most dangerous for a foreigner who's stomach is not adjusted to the bacteria. 
Not close to the hotel and not wanting to squat over a hole in the ground with only a bucket of water to wash my bum I chose safe food and we ate at a pizza joint. 
Now things as you are beginning to know rarely work as I have envisioned. This would be of them, we were directed to a pizza parlor which was my choice asa the food would not be touched after being cooked, as safe as I could get. The trouble being the Pizza place would be more of a club, with four 20inch speakers out front pounding at the street to attract customers, it was quit deafening.
Inside would prove to be satisfactory other than the same beat dance music playing over and over again. The pizza tasted like Tonys store bought and certainly was not worth what I paid.
But alas, our bellies were full an we were rejuvenated for the remainder of the ride.
We carried on for another 45 minutes maybe to the beach, the stone stairs leading to the beach were  more like a ladder. I would not say the beach was white, but rather a urinary tract yellow. 
The beach would as always provide us with a stunning view however.

It was late by now, the flat having set us back a good hour but we would joke and play in the sand not wanting to ride home wet in the dark so none of us swam.
The ride home was quit uneventful, riding in the dark in the Philippines is not so bad. In the towns they have street lights and in between there are always houses s some lights besides your headlights are shed onto the road.
We would ride back at a bit of a blistering pace, with Kenneth thinking we were on the Isle of Man apparently.
However that pace would be short lived as I would get my second flat. This time we were about a mile from a shop, so I would ride with Divis Cousin and he would ride my bike alone being far lighter than I.
The shop proved to be in the best possible neighborhood I could Imagine. Quit literally it was on the edge of town in what could only be described as a hole.
It had the usual steel bars surrounding it which would prove to be a little ominous with the only light close being that coming from his shop mostly from the fire of his vulcanizer casing an eerie glow inside the poorly lit area.

A drunk would stagger by, looking at me wanting to chat and get closer than I liked. I was a bit on edge and finally I simply told him to go as this would not end well. He reached in his pocket and thinking he was about to pull a knife I prepared to strike him straight in the throat. He possibly not being as drunk as he was acting and realized it was to his best interest to carry on, he would.
Our tire would be fixed shortly with the mans young daughter helping, we thanked him and the price had went up to 1.30 USD.
Happily we motored off wanting to pick up a bit of time and hoping in each of our minds that my quickly wearing rear tire would not allow another flat.
Soon we were back in Minglanillia and Divis brother would venture home with Kenneth, Divis cousin deciding to take us back to Cebu in case we got another flat.
His instincts should prove accurate, just as I was doing some lane splitting right as we entered Cebu I would feel the rear tire go flat yet again. Everyone loves a flat tire on two wheels in heavy traffic.
This time a shop would be only a few feet away, we stopped and quickly let them get to work, it was already 10 PM and way past my comfort zone. My rule when traveling in the Philippines was to try and be in a well lit area and especially someplace safe after the sun goes down. But alas the gods had different purpose for me and I would instead be where everyone wants to be in a bad area, broke down on the side of the road.

They would also have a rear tire to fit my bike, I was not interested as we were only maybe ten minutes from the hotel. Be damned if I was going to buy a rear tire and have this rag tag company not pay me back. Kenneth had them install a liner inside the tire instead. I would still be charged the outrageous night rate of 1.30 for the entire job.
Little more would happen the rest of the way, although Divi would choose to ride with her cousin not feeling safe with all the flats and to lighten my load a bit.
I was happy of course to make it back to the hotel with nothing more happening.
The following morning of course the man picking up my bike would try to tell me about the "brand new tires" on his bike. Obviously they were going to try the "look what you did to the sidewall of this tire" and blame it on me. With a quick Quip I made short work of that Idea and off they road, both of us being a little disappointed.
Overall I am happy with it though, the flat tires added to the adventure and the third one helped me get over my night time shady area jitters in the Philippines, maybe its a good thing, maybe not that remains to be seen.