Thursday, December 24, 2009

Is Santa Real?

On this Christmas Eve evening I just imagine how many thousands of times the questions about Santa being real is asked. My daughters were always told that Santa was the Spirit of Christmas and that alone made him real. I thought I would share this story that someone sent me and let you decide if Santa is real or not.  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone.

I remember my first Christmas adventure with Grandma. I was just a kid. I remember tearing across town on my bike to visit her. On the way my big sister dropped the bomb. "There is no Santa Claus," she jeered, "even dummies know that!"

My Grandma was not the gushy kind, never had been. I fled to her that day because I knew she would be straight with me. I knew Grandma always told the truth and I knew that the truth always went down a whole lot easier when swallowed with one of her world-famous cinnamon buns. I knew they were world-famous because Grandma said so. It had to be true. Grandma was home and the buns were still warm. Between bites I told her everything. She was ready for me. "No Santa Claus?" she snorted."Ridiculous! Don't you believe it! That rumor has been going around for years and it makes me mad, plain mad!! Now put on your coat and let's go."

"Go? Go where Grandma," I asked. I hadn't even finished my second world-famous cinnamon bun. 'Where' turned out to be Kerby's General Store the one store in town that had a little bit of just about everything. As we walked through its doors Grandma handed me ten dollars. That was a bundle in those days. "Take this money," she said, "and buy something for someone who needs it. I'll wait for you in the car."

Then she turned and walked out of Kerby's. I was only eight years old. I'd often gone shopping with my mother, but never had I shopped for anything all by myself. The store seemed big and crowded full of people scrambling to finish their Christmas shopping. For a few moments I just stood there confused, clutching that ten-dollar bill wondering what to buy and who on earth to buy it for. I thought of everybody I knew: my family, my friends, my neighbors, the kids at school, the people who went to my church. I was just about thought out when I suddenly thought of Bobby Decker. He was a kid with bad breath, messy hair, and he sat right behind me in Mrs. Pollock's second grade class. Bobby Decker didn't have a coat. I knew that because he never went out to recess during the winter. His mother always wrote a note telling the teacher that he had a cough, but all the kids knew that Bobby Decker didn't have a cough, he didn't have a good coat. I fingered the ten-dollar bill with growing excitement. I would buy Bobby Decker a coat! I settled on a red corduroy one that had a hood to it. It looked real warm and he would like that.

"Is this a Christmas present for someone?" the lady behind the counter asked kindly as I laid my ten dollars down.

"Yes ma'am," I replied shyly. "It's for Bobby." The nice lady smiled at me as I told her about how Bobby really needed a good winter coat. I didn't get any change, but she put the coat in a bag, smiled again, and wished me a Merry Christmas.

That evening Grandma helped me wrap the coat (a little tag fell out of the coat and Grandma tucked it in her Bible) in Christmas paper and ribbons and wrote, "To Bobby, From Santa Claus" on it. Grandma said that Santa always insisted on secrecy. Then she drove me over to Bobby Decker's house explaining as we went that I was now and forever officially one of Santa's helpers.

Grandma parked down the street from Bobby's house and she and I crept noiselessly and hid in the bushes by his front walk. Then Grandma gave me a nudge. "All right Santa Claus," she whispered, "get going." I took a deep breath, dashed for his front door, threw the present down on his step, pounded on his door and flew back to the safety of the bushes and Grandma. Together we waited breathlessly in the darkness for the front door to open. Finally it did and there stood Bobby.

 Fifty years haven't dimmed the thrill of those moments spent shivering, beside my Grandma, in Bobby Decker's bushes. That night I realized that those awful rumors about Santa Claus were just what Grandma said they were: ridiculous. Santa was alive and well and we were on his team. I still have the Bible with the coat tag tucked inside: $19.95.

May you always have LOVE to share, HEALTH to spare and FRIENDS that care. And may you always believe in the magic of Santa Claus!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

From the Finger of Babes

Tis the season to be jolly, but I hear Health Reform is getting ready to pass the Senate.  This finger might be more appropriate than any of us would like.  I wish my grandbabies could spend their own money, but the voters who believed in change are about to have some.  There won't be any dollars, just some loose change that drops from the hands of the freeby grabbing freeloaders.

Wonder if we'll live to see the end of it?

Friday, December 11, 2009

What Can I Do To Help With Change That We Can Believe In?

Pass this on to your church, co-workers, family, and friends. What do you have to lose, but 44 cents? What do you have to gain? ----------- More than you will ever know.

What a clever idea!

Yes, Christmas cards. This is coming early so that you can get ready to include an important address to your list. Want to have some fun this CHRISTMAS? Send the ACLU a CHRISTMAS CARD this year. As they are working so very hard to get rid of the CHRISTMAS part of this holiday, we should all send them a nice, CHRISTIAN card to brighten up their dark, sad, little world...and make a donation by gluing a penny inside for good measure. Make sure it says "Merry Christmas" on it. Here's the address, just don't be rude or crude. (It's not the Christian way, you know.)

125 Broad Street
18th Floor
New York, NY 10004

Two tons of Christmas cards would freeze their operations, because they wouldn't know if any were regular mail containing contributions. So spend 44 cents and tell the ACLU to leave Christmas alone. Also tell them that there is no such thing as a "Holiday Tree". . . It's always been called a CHRISTMAS TREE! And pass this on to your email lists. We really want to communicate with the ACLU! They really DESERVE us!!!

For those of you who aren't aware of them, the ACLU, (the American Civil Liberties Union ) is the one suing the U.S. Government to take God, Christmas or anything Christian away from us. They represent the atheists and others in this war.

Help put Christ back in Christmas!

I'm off to the dollar store to get a dozen cards. Instead of twelve maids a milking, I'm sending twelve cards a stalling.

Merry Christmas ya'll!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Not To Worry.....A Ride Report

I rode to breakfast yesterday in 39 degree cold air. It felt like my ears were going to fall off. I warmed up with a cup of coffee, or six, ate, and rode home. Had to stop for gas and shivered most of the day while watching some football. Just gotta love winter.

The forecast is for rain in Phoenix Monday and Tuesday, while staying cold. I find myself wondering if I'm crazy enough to ride to school if it is raining and cold. I'm not sure yet, but I just laid out the Froggs Toggs. I wasn't a Boy Scout, but if they are laying there it might influence the decision.

To those who commented on yesterday's post don't worry I won't quit posting ride reports. While it is true that all the other stuff that is reported in blogs is entertaining, rides is why I look forward to everyone's posts. Kudos to Fasthair.......he got the intent of the post. Now Fasthair if you would just take a video of your laugh and post it we could all see why all those folks were looking at you.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Life Lessons From Mom and A Fellow Blogger

Rick Slark over at Keep the Rubber Side Down wrote a post about blogging about rides we have been on. I don’t care if ya’ll don’t want to read about my rides, that is what freedom is about. But, while some might want to tag along during these cold, damp, snowy, winter days, Rick got me thinking that some might stay away because motorcycle rides might be a bore on a motorcycle blog. In an effort to connect with everyone I offer this life lesson that has absolutely nothing to do with motorcycles or riding.

I was reading the paper this morning and came across this article out of York, Pennsylvania. It seems that someone climbed a 400 foot radio tower to hang a bedsheet from the antenna. Not having any suspects to this serious crime Springettsbury Township Police Lt. Scott Laird announced the perpetrator should seek medical attention right away. He explained that the tower releases high doses of radiofrequency energy that could affect said perpetrator’s health, including tissue damage especially to the eyes and testicles.

Now after reading the above article a time or two I’m sure some of you are wondering how in the hell is this a life lesson. Be patient, I’m getting to it.

The calendar is rapidly ripping off pages to the tenth anniversary of my mother’s passing. It struck me a few days ago that, at the time, it was 28 days away. That realization made me sad, but also gave me the opportunity to again remember some of the things You Momma did that left a lasting impression on me and reading this article made me laugh and reminded me of something she used to tell me.

Mom used to say, “If you don’t quit playing with that little thing, you’ll go blind.” Well, she was my mom, so that explains knowing about the little thing part. But, how did she know I was playing with it? I guess I’ll just never understand a woman’s intuition. The life lessons here are don’t climb radio towers and in the 21st century the police are now using age old mother’s wisdom as a crime fighting tool. I will bet not one single biker reading this would volunteer to go blind and at least half of us would run to the doctor if we thought our nuts were going to fall off.  Life lessons indeed!

So, Rick, thanks for setting me straight about what to blog about. I seriously am thankful.

And Mom I just wanted to let you know, I now wear trifocals.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Arizona Biker Present

Seems Arizona is getting ready to quit screwing the biker community.  Us two wheelers have been paying for emission tests every year, while cars only have to pass every other year. 

by Shaun McKinnon - Nov. 30, 2009 12:00 AM
The Arizona Republic

The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality asked federal authorities this month to exempt motorcycles from the emissions testing program in the Phoenix area, the only big city where bikes must meet smog limits.

ADEQ officials say motorcycles make up just 3.5 percent of all vehicles tested and fail less often than they once did. Testing and repair of bikes doesn't significantly improve air quality, according to a recent analysis.

Tailpipe emissions remain a significant contributor to metro Phoenix's air quality problems, which include dust and ozone pollution serious enough to trigger health advisories throughout the year.

The Legislature passed a bill in 2008 to let the state drop motorcycle emissions tests if the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency approved the request by July 1, 2010.

ADEQ Director Benjamin Grumbles said the rule change is in line with Gov. Jan Brewer's request to streamline government.

"This is a great example of how our agency can make the lives of state residents simpler and still ensure Arizona has clean air to breathe," he said.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Hearing Voices

It is a dark, clear, cold November morning as I approach the intersection at about 45 mph. A semi is in the left lane about 50 yards ahead of me already in the intersection.  I slow a little, look left, then right, and continue when the light flashes to yellow.  I’m to close to stop, so I downshift and accelerate through prior to it turning red.  Catching the semi I’m comfortable and maybe not paying as much attention as I should be.  Then the morning takes a serious turn.

The car came from the left across four lanes of traffic from a side street.  The semi and I were both over 50 at this point with me just beginning to overtake it.  As the paramedics were working on the driver of the car she kept saying, “I never saw the motorcycle until it was to late.”

The semi driver, uninjured and mad, kept repeating it wasn’t his fault because the car never even slowed down and he had no place to go because I was there,

Wait; let me back up 10 seconds.  As I pulled up even with the semi and moved to the right of the lane something screamed, “STOP NOW!!!”   It was that little voice that I have learned to mostly listen to and when it screams I always listen.  I hit the brakes hard, just as I saw the front of the car come around the semi.  I wasn’t sure where it thought it was going, but it wasn’t going to get there.  Somehow, after running a stop sign and not seeing a semi, she saw me on the other side of it and decided now would be a good time to stop.  Slamming on her brakes put her directly in the path of a loaded semi without time for him to react.  There were squalling brakes, a big crash, and the car spun around the semi, slamming into the side of it.  They both were sliding toward the right of the roadway and I aimed for that opening. 

When everything came to a stop the car was pinned to the curb, resting almost under the semi on one side and a tree on the other.  I was pinched between the semi and curb, two inches from the front bumper of the car.  Not even enough room to fit my fist between Petunia and the car.

I’m not sure where that little voice comes from, but this isn’t the first time I’ve avoided a major incident by reacting so quickly.  The girl still doesn’t know she didn’t hit me and the trucker couldn’t believe he didn’t.  The police kept asking how did I manage to avoid getting hit.  Me?  I was thinking I was going to be late to school and have a new post for my blog.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Thanksgiving is just over a week away and many out there are preparing for a great feast. Dessert is part of that planning and pumpkin is a big part of dessert. Do you know where your pumpkin comes from?

Bon appetit

Friday, November 13, 2009

Veterans Day Ride

Change just for the sake of change isn't always a good thing. Take my blog as an example. Last weekend being bored I changed the format and went from something I was comfortable with to this new style. I like the look of the new style, but it isn't as user friendly as the old style. Maybe I'm like my students and don't want to put in the effort to learn something new. Well, I'll give it a couple of posts to see how it shakes out before giving up and returning to the old me.

I've already posted the short video of Ann popping her highway cherry. This is just a bit more on the ride. Wednesday was a warm day for us desert dwellers, with an overcast morning of 61 degrees and raising to 89 in the middle of the day. I’m talking Chamber of Commerce weather. The kind of weather that makes folks say, “I just gotta move there.”

This was the view behind me as we made our way out to Lake Pleasant Road. That is Ann directly behind me nearest the yellow line. The only problem with this formation is Big D would pull right up next to me at stop lights and when it turned green it was like a couple of school boys racing to be the first one out to the playground. The bad thing about that is that damn Marie is a lot faster than Petunia and I was beginning to get a case of acceleration envy.

These shots are out on New River Road and give a great idea of just how perfect the weather was on this Veterans Day. After eating lunch at Rocks Springs Cafe it was decided that we would take the long way home. A girl just needs to log miles and a guy is happy to go along with that plan.

We made a stop out at Lake Pleasant just to take in the view. I haven't been out to this lake in years even though it is the closest to my house. The other lakes are farther, but the roads in to them are a lot more fun to ride on with all of those twisties.

The only think about it minute on the ride was coming back into town on Grand Avenue. We were closing on the first traffic signal in the last 50 miles and of course it turned red. Big D and I were close, but the other bikes wouldn't make it, so we braked to a stop. Everyone stopped as you would expect and when we stopped right after that to get a drink Ann said,"Hey Paul, I saw you watching that mirror back there. Worried about a Harley enema?" Wasn't worried about her stopping though, she has proven her ability to handle that Annabelle, but on any quick stop that enema thought does cross my mind be it a Harley or a Buick.

Hey Ann, ever ridden to Bartlet Lake? Lots of great bends in that road.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Motorcycle Sex Tape

Disclaimer:This should have posted yesterday, but my Blogger account is screwed up and I couldn't get the videos to load off of my camera. I can't post pictures and finally this morning got only this one short video onto my computer.

Veterans Day found me riding with Ann, Big D, and and four of their friends. The conversation went like this. Ice was saying, "Take the back way over by Lake Pleasant. There are some twisties and we can stop at the Roadrunner Cafe for breakfast."

"I thought you had to run the Interstate to get to Roadrunner," Ann replied.

"No," I offered, "you take 83rd Avenue over to Lake Pleasant Road out to Carefree Highway and catch New River Road. If you want to ride a little farther about 12 miles up I17 are two great places for breakfast."

Kickstand chimed in, "But, that is on the freeway and Ann isn't ready yet."

Now those of you who know Ann know that them just had to be fighting words. Not ready yet! "Hey," Ann shot back, "it isn't that far and I have to ride it sometime. We're going to Rock Springs!"

Yes, Ladies and Gentlemen this is a tape of Ann busting her highway cherry in the first week of riding Annabelle.

This gal has got some kind of spunk and when arriving at Rock Springs admitted to being a tad apprehensive when getting on the freeway, but quickly added, "It wasn't that hard." Then there was that ear to ear grin with all those pearly whites exposed to entice the bugs to plop in and there is no question that Boston Ann was born to be A RIDER not just go along for the ride.

Thanks Ann and Big D for letting me participate in this deflowering event today. I'm pretty sure the newest member of the Road Whore Club was born on that ride today. I see many multiple mile experiences in Ann's future.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

New Look

OK, I was bored this morning and started playing with the blog while waiting to go for a ride. Just wanted to change it up a bit. So, what do you think? Is it easy to read or was the old format better?

Weigh in please. Thanks.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Treats Not Tricks

Halloween is a fun time that is made even more so when there are precious little ones that enjoy the festivities.

Cinderella was having a ball. Her costume included glass slippers that lighted when she walked.

And what would Cinderella be without a House Mouse? The girls Nona made this special 1st Halloween costume.

Saturday, October 31, 2009


Where does all the time go? Here it is Saturday again, a week later, and I haven't posted about the Bisbee ride last weekend yet. I'm going to buy a couple of Lottery tickets and maybe be able to retire to a life of full time Biker Bum.

A week of sitting grandpuppies was ending with taking them and Pongo to my daughter's house for the next three days. Moving three energy filled dogs with kennels and all accessories is more trouble than diaper bags and kids. Got them all settled, picked up Linda, packed up Petunia, and we got out of town a bit after 9. Traffic was light and with just over a half tank of gas we were off. Running in the HOV lane, with cruise set at 74, I planned to stop over on the east side of town to top off, but the needle never moved. OK, I would stretch it to Casa Grande. Didn't need to stop there, so I kept rolling all the way to Eloy and exit 200 before I began to get anxious and finally stopped for fuel. Since having Petunia tuned in Sturgis she has run great and has been getting great fuel mileage. This tank took us all the way to Bisbee where I topped off for the anticipated riding to be done there.

Bisbee is an old copper mining town. It originally was an open pit operation, but switched to underground sometime in the 1930s.

Today you can sample some of that underground experience by taking the tour, riding about 1200 feet below the ground, and listening to old miners telling about their experiences.

These pictures of Linda and I going on the tour are from the trip over Labor Day.

Linda's Noni worked in this bar, St. Elmo, while raising six kids back in the late 1920s. We stopped in and there were critters to accost.

And while the boys were bellying up to the bar what should appear? Hey, fellas, what about me? Only in small town America. The little fella stayed on the stool the whole time they were there.

We spent some time down on the Giacoletti Ranch, a 680 acre cattle ranch, owned by Linda's uncle and cousins. The ranch butts up against the US/Mexico Border fence. How do you get there you might wonder.

Riding down about 15 miles of rutted, dirt road would be the answer. Oh, and by the way Sherrif Joe has nothing on the US Border Patrol when it comes to stopping folks. On three occassions in two days they had people who appeared to be walking down the road stopped, sitting a line, and appearing to be waiting for a method of transporting them somewhere.

Sunday morning it was time to head back to Phoenix and was a brisk 38 degrees. Linda, who has been waiting for cooler weather, got her wish and decided that she might need something stronger than leather chaps. She went shopping when we got back and bought ski pants. I told her it hadn't even got cold yet.

It was a great weekend and escape from the real world that was over to quickly. I need more rides like this. It is only a couple of weeks to my next day off of school, I need to plan a ride for Veterans' Day.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Anatomy of Tire Issues

This is in response to Ms M and Dave's comments on the Riding Post? post.

I bought Petunia in February 18, 2007 with 3,890 miles on her odometer. I had a 5,000 mile service and a new set of Metzler 880s installed in March with 9,953 miles on her original Dunlop tires. As luck would have it the tire went flat as I was talking to the service writer at the dealer scheduling that service. Because of changing to Metzler I changed both front and rear.

My next rear tire change came after 8,787 miles and I stayed with Metzler. I was very happy with the ride quality of the Metzler and found them to be quite good sticking to the road. Many of these miles were on the highway in wet weather and I was very confident of their gripping power.

Metezler was my choice again in 6,840 miles. This was going to be my fourth rear tire in 25,580 miles. There were miles left on this tire, but I was getting ready to head to Alaska and opted to change it prior to leaving. This time after only 4,747 miles I had to replace the bald Metzler, in Anchorage, after pulling a trailer across the AlCan Highway. The Anchorage Harley dealer only carried Dunlop and so I was a captive audience.

Arriving back home in Arizona I put on the set of Metzler black walls I bought before leaving for Alaska. This was the first time I changed the Metzler front tire in 24,946 miles and only changed it because I bought the set. The Dunlop had 4,572 miles and was well worn, but would have lasted a while longer. This change was chronicled here and all of these miles were with Piggy attached and traveling the highways coming home from Alaska.

I went with Dunlops when I changed this summer prior to heading to Sturgis. I put these on with 43,125 miles on Petunia and that made the Metzler last only 8,226 miles. That brings me to this week when I again changed out a rear tire after only 7,328 miles. Granted 4,000 or so of those miles were pulling the trailer and most of the others were two up, but only over 7,000 miles seem odd. The shop did find the caliper misaligned and maybe the tire was as well.

So, in my world there have been seven tire changes in 50,453 miles. That averages to 7,207 miles a tire. Three of those tires were Dunlop and four have been Metzlers. This recent tire change is only the second that I have had done at a reputable location, if you count the Stealer as reputable. That dealer installed tire lasted 8,787 miles which by far is the best except for the original. Also important to note is all the tires listed here, except the dealer and this last one, were purchased from the Internet. There are those who subscribe to the theory that all of the Internet tires are seconds, blemish, and old stock tires. I only know changing rear tires every 7,000 miles is getting expensive.

So, when this new Metzler is getting thin I will make arraignments to have a set of Avons at the Wheel Shop and give those a shot. The Metzlers have a great ride and I find they stick to the road very well even in wet conditions, but I'm looking for more miles out of a tire. A part of the trouble is timing for long trips for me and I always opt for leaving with maximum thread. I'm now thinking of adjusting that philosophy and just changing a tire when needed during the ride.

Riding Post?

I woke Wednesday to a wonderful 63 degree, sunshine filled morning. My plan was to get in a bit of riding, but first I had to go some new skin on the rear of Petunia that I didn't get around to doing on Tuesday. The last several sets of tires I put on her were bought off the Internet and installed by Bikers Bay. On the last rear tire their price for installation almost doubled and the quality of their work has become suspect. So, I called around for a price and remembered a place named The Wheel Shop . I had used them for tires years ago and was happy, but they were all the way over on the other side of town. I was sitting in their drive when they rolled open the doors and after a quick chat I changed my mind from Dunlop to a Metzler 880. I have used Metzler in the past, but the last three, starting with the one I needed in Anchorage were Dunlop. Because the current one only lasted 8,000 miles I was thinking of trying an Avon, but they weren't in stock and we are riding out of town this weekend.

During the installation the tech called me over saying there was a problem. On the last tire the caliper was misaligned and it tore up the rubber caliper bushing. That was an easy problem to fix and everything was installed and I was on the road in just over an hour and a half. So, for only about $30 more than my buy over the Internet, pay some flunky to install it, good deal I have a quality installation that feels great when rolling down the road. But, than again new tires always make a bike feel good.

That road took me out US 60 on a perfect early afternoon to break in the tire.

I headed over to Superior to try the food at Los Hermanos. This was one of the stops on the BACA runs a couple of weeks ago. When I sat down they brought out the chips and hot sauce. These homemade chips are fried to a perfect crisp and the sauce is terrific. I ordered the #7 chili relleno dinner with green sauce for $7.50. The first bite tasted of well worn grease and I was thinking bad thoughts. But, that first bite wasn't what the meal was about. The chilies were flavorful without being burning hot. The beans were homemade and some of, if not, the best I have ever eaten and the rice was good also. It also came with a homemade, hot, flour tortilla that was also great. So, now that I have my personal seal of approval I will have to take Linda there so she will forgive me for going without her.

Coming back I detoured to Tortilla Flats to ride the twisties and break in the chicken strips on the new Metzler. I thought I was leaning over until I looked this morning and see that I didn't even remove the rubber tits out on the edge of the damn thing. So, we'll see how she looks when we return from Bisbee.

Now it is off to find a place to dump some old oil and change fluids in Petunia. This seems to come around pretty darn regularly. I guess that is better than parking in some stuffy garage or something.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

How's Your Day Going?

What a day this is turning into. Starts off innocently enough with a doctor appointment because at the advanced age of 56 it is time to be checked out. All is going well until he opens the drawer and removes a tube of lube and announces, “It is time to examine your prostate. Lift the gown and bend over the table please.”

Please? Hell no I don’t please, but for the sake of good health and fear of prison I comply with the request. I’m not real sure about the term a bums rush, but that is just what happened to me. PLOP! Scratch, scratch, me struggling to get away from the intrusion, and it being over. Whew! Maybe getting run over has its rewards.

To celebrate I take myself to IHOP for breakfast. Get a feeling someone is looking at me. Look up to see twenty-something, tall, slender, eyes framed in stylish glasses, dark green hair fashionably pulled back in a matching headband, with a devilish smile, walking to the booth in front of me. Sits down facing me with a low cut top and a wink. I try not to look, wishing the waitress would hurry with my change so I can leave. As I stand to leave I notice hands suggestively run across chest, enhancing the cleavage. Head turns up and I hear, “I can make you very happy.”

“What? Are you going to introduce me to your mother?”

“It’s your loss,” he replies.

I think I’m going to the motorcycle shop to get a new tire. Hopefully it will be safe there. But, the way my day has started I’m not counting on it.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Thought for the Day

Have you ever wondered if the one dollar bills in your wallet were ever in a stripper's butt crack?

If not, you're wondering now. So folks, always remember to wash your hands after handling money.

Have a nice day …

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Weekend Wrapup

I did get in a bike ride this past weekend, but that is only the second best thing I did. Sunday found me taking my daughter, son-in-law, and two grand daughters out to breakfast. After breakfast it was back to their house to spend the rest of the morning, up to nap time, playing in the sand box, pushing the swing, pulling the wagon, playing catch, and generally being at the beck and call of these two beautiful little bundles of joy.

Saturday was overcast, cool, and perfect for the East Valley BACA Run. It took us out to Superior, Arizona, out US 60, for a stop at Los Hermanos. I am going to have to go back and try the food soon.

Surprise, surprise, surprise! There were critters lining the streets in east Mesa.

While I spent time with the grandbabies Linda, her daughter, sister, and grand daughter were walking in the Susan G Komen Race for the Cure. It has been reported that the male coach of the ASU women's softball team penned the slogan, "Save 2nd base." I've also heard that some people don't get it and that is the part I don't get.

It was a terrific weekend and I spent it doing my favorite things, biking and Poppying. Been a busy week having conference with parents and it will last until six tonight. But that means out of school for a week at noon tomorrow. That is why I love this job!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Just Saying

My mood heading into the day can best be described as;

Keel over
Pissed off

After my meeting with the Superintendent this afternoon it might get better, or worse. However there is a ride this weekend that should make everything good again. And if that doesn't work there is breakfast with the grand babies on Sunday that is a guarantee to brighten life.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Hells Angels Fallout Begins

After a three month investigation, and just over a week after getting a jury designation of being a street gang, the Phoenix Swat Team busted a suspected chop shop here in North Phoenix. Four of the six arrested are suspected of being associated with the Hells Angels. Of course every media outlet was on hand to record the big moment.

Those arrested were charged with owning or operating a chop shop, participating in a criminal street gang and possession of marijuana among other things.

It was reported that Phoenix PD seized multiple items of evidence at the scene that included jackets and patches associated with the Angels, major components from different motorcycles, altered VIN numbers, four ounces of marijuana as well as a shotgun and two handguns.

Curious timing for the bust to wait until a week after finally finding a jury to name the Angels a street gang. I would also suspect unless these fellas have criminal backgrounds one shotgun and two handguns aren't against any law that I know of. Stealing and chopping bikes ain't cool, but it is only alleged and still needs to be proven. I'll post updates as this travels through the system.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Arizona Labels Angels Through Backdoor

The following as it was reported by staff here in the Phoenix area.

PHOENIX – For the first time in Arizona, a jury has labeled the Hells Angels a criminal street gang when they convicted a gang member in an assault case at a Scottsdale bar, officials say.

County Attorney Andrew Thomas made the announcement Wednesday, after a Maricopa County Superior Court jury handed down the verdict in the trial of Nathaniel Sample on September 15.

Sample was convicted of aggravated assault and of acting for the benefit of a criminal street gang, both felony charges.

Jurors were specifically asked by prosecutors to find that Sample's actions were in furtherance of the Hells Angels as a criminal street gang.

For the first time ever in Arizona, jurors did just that.

Officials say this is a significant development, as the Hells Angels are known for fighting allegations against the group labeling them a criminal street gang.

According to investigators, Sample severely beat a man on March 28, 2008 after he accidentally bumped into a member of the Hells Angels at the Billet Bar in Scottsdale.

The victim was kicked and punched as he lay on the ground and some witnesses reported they saw the victim being struck in the head with a beer bottle.

The fight ended when a woman threw herself on top of the victim screaming for the beating to stop.

Sample will be sentenced on November 2.

Thomas said about the case, "This verdict sends a message to all street gangs that their acts of violence and terror will not be tolerated."

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Truth in Advertising

From the fingerprints, this "switch" gets a lot of action.

'If the light stays on for more than 4 hours, call your erectrician..'

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Read and Learn Fellas

A husband and wife are sitting quietly in bed reading when the wife looks over at him and asks the question...

WIFE: "What would you do if I died? Would you get married again?

HUSBAND: "Definitely not!"

WIFE: "Why not? Don't you like being married?"

HUSBAND: "Of course I do."

WIFE: "Then why wouldn't you remarry?"

HUSBAND: "Okay, okay, I'd get married again."

WIFE: "You would?" (with a hurt look)

HUSBAND: (makes audible groan)

WIFE: "Would you live in our house?"

HUSBAND: "Sure, it's a great house."

WIFE: "Would you sleep with her in our bed?"

HUSBAND: "Where else would we sleep?"

WIFE: "Would you let her drive my car?"

HUSBAND: "Probably, it is almost new."

WIFE: "Would you replace my pictures with hers?"

HUSBAND: "That would seem like the proper thing to do."

WIFE: "Would you give her my jewelry?"

HUSBAND: "No, I'm sure she'd want her own."

WIFE: "Would she use my golf clubs?"

HUSBAND: "No, she's left-handed."

WIFE: -- silence --

HUSBAND: "sh*t."

Saturday, August 22, 2009


The first week with students is in the books and it was the most tiring week ever. I'm worn out and don't feel well. But, a ride has to make it all better. Then we get a big monsoon storm Friday evening and the weather guessers say rain on Saturday. I try to go to sleep listening to the claps of thunder, watching the lightening streaking into my window, and watching the rain come down. Finally peaceful sleep comes at the end of a very busy week.

I'm awake at 4:30 planning to ride. I make coffee, let Pongo out and step onto the patio to check on the weather. Light wind, partly cloudy, humid, but cool. Looks promising. I prepare to depart and when I open the garage door it is raining. Well, raining is to strong of a word. It was sprinkling, but the reports I just read called for thunderstorms throughout the day and it is already raining. Leaving the garage open I return to the house to pour the last half a cup of coffee and return to stare at the sky and argue with myself about just riding anyway.

Hell, I won't melt and I really need the windshield time after the week I just had. I put on my rain jacket and head out. After three miles I'm stopping to put on the matching rain pants....sprinkling, I won't need the pants....or so I thought. Looking at the sky I need to make a decision if I should abort my planned ride and take an alternate shorter ride. HELL NO, I NEED THIS RIDE! Twenty miles later the rain has stopped and other than a few sprinkles here and there never returns. Great decision to just go for it.

After stopping in Fountain Hills for gas I head up to Payson, through Pine and Strawberry, and head to breakfast in Clint's Wells at the Long Valley Cafe.
The ride is uneventful and therapeutic in the true sense of the word. It is briskly cool and the threat of rain is there, but easing. The higher I go in elevation the better I feel about choosing to ride today.

From the time I left Phoenix until after I stopped for breakfast I only saw about a dozen bikes out and on the road. Three of those were at the gas station in Fountain Hills and they appeared to be trying to decide if they should ride or not. At the intersection with the Beeline Highway they turned around. At Long Valley Cafe two women rode up and came in. Then three bad ass biker guys showed up and sat at the table next to me. As I was eating one of them said really loud, "Look at this shit!" His friends turned, toward where he was pointing, and started to laugh. I turned and looked at two guys and two women walking toward the door. The two guys were in black wife beater tee shirts, bandannas pulled down to their eyes, wrap around glasses on top of their heads, chains hanging down and attached to their wallets, and biker boots. Both women were in matching OCC shirts and bandannas. As they walked in the biggest of the bad ass biker boys said, "Nice minivan assholes." They went out to the patio to snickers from most of the people in the cafe especially the waitresses.

The ride home was pleasant and only interrupted by a needed gas stop. The completion of the 250 mile ride made me glad that I didn't bail out because of the sprinkles when I was leaving this morning. I also stopped by Linda's before reaching home to look at a sprinkler head. Mmmmmm...seems like sprinkles were the theme of the day.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Just How Lucky Am I?

This is how Petunia looks after I opened the garage this morning and found the dash lights, radio and lights on. WTF is all I could think. How did I leave the switch on? I went to turn it off and it already was off. It wouldn't turn either direction and the lights wouldn't go off. I took off the seat and disconnected the battery.

Now since I got home from Sturgis I have only turned that switch one time. That was yesterday to check the mileage from the trip. I didn't see the lights on when I turned it off after getting the numbers or when I left yesterday afternoon. I took the switch out and because I'm hard headed I took it all the way apart to see if I could just fix it.

The problem is that small round thing in the center of the picture. It rides in the slot on the switch and appears to be needed to make the thing work. So, with all the stops for gas, water, and picture taking in the dead of the night coming home from Sturgis, Petunia chose to break down while sitting in the garage instead out in the middle of nowhere. Yes, I am lucky. Very lucky indeed. Well, except for the fact that it is a special order part and won't be here until Thursday. Hey, but I'm at home and not waiting for a tow truck.

While I'm at it, anyone ever wonder just how hot it is in Phoenix? Well, someone broke into my truck while I was gone. This is the third time in the past six months and I assume they are looking for the garage door opener that I never leave in the truck. Anyway, I ordered the window regulator and used duct tape to hold the window up until the part arrived. I did this on Wednesday afternoon about 4:30. These pictures show what it looked like Friday afternoon about that same time.

The tape effectively melted and let the window begin to slide down. That my friends is how hot it gets here in Phoenix.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Sturgis Wrapup

While in Sturgis my thoughts were that it was just a bike rally and the only real difference was the location. Since being home I realize that IT IS the location that makes Sturgis what it is. The amount of roads to ride alone makes it more than just a rally. The people of South Dakota, in all the small towns, go out of their way to make for an enjoyable time. Having had the experience once doesn’t seem to quench the desire to want to go again.

My first trip to Sturgis was a learning experience. Listening to people who have been there and to their advice, while helpful, doesn’t prepare one for the actual experience. My first revelation was this guy trailering his bike there. I took several pictures, after he pulled out in front of me, and was planning on what all I could write about not being a real biker. But, it came to me that I didn’t know his story about why he was trailering. After watching the number of folks who pulled in with their bikes on a trailer I realized that they had experienced Sturgis before and knew more about it than I did. Those folks were a lot better prepared to stay for a week than I was. Grills, larger ice chests, more necessities needed for an extended stay are only possible with a vehicle larger than a motorcycle.

Camping out is still my preference, but I will be getting an air mattress. I’m getting soft in my old age. The Buffalo Chip Campground is another lesson I learned. They seem to way over book it, it is dusty beyond belief, they would flood the roads with water to try to control the dust, muddy roads and bikes don’t mix and many were dropped, the showers run out of hot water by 5 AM, in six days they never emptied the trash cans and they were all overflowing and people just threw the trash at them, the out houses are just gross and also were never cleaned in six days, and being as far to the back as possible is better. I would rate the Chip a D-.

The particulars of my ride to and from Sturgis are as follows;

3,197 total miles
1,343 going
545 while there
1,309 coming home

Gas mileage going was 29 mpg with Petunia not wanting to run
Gas mileage coming home after having her dyno tuned was 37 mpg
Gas mileage average, overall, for the entire trip was 34 mpg

I planned to make it home in less than 24 hours, but had to settle for 25

Beads!! Jerry beads or Madi Gras beads, whatever you call them, you need them

Friends!! It was fun, but would have been more so with friends to share the experience

It is really easy to see why people keep returning to Sturgis year after year. It really is more than just a rally. It is an Experience that needs to be lived. I’m already researching different campgrounds for next year. Start planning and saving now. It is only 358 days until the 70th annual Sturgis Bike Week.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity Jig

Tuesday broke cool and partly cloudy at 4:30 for me. Rolling out of the bag I broke camp, loaded up Piggy, and was about to leave the Sturgis experience behind. Just before strapping on the brain bucket I had to stop and slowly look over what had been home base for the past five days. Soaking up the memories of this first Sturgis foray like a kitten lapping up that first taste of milk, it was over too quickly, but I felt it was time to go. Gassed up and on the road at six, I rolled through the downtown area at 30 mph trying to linger just a bit longer.

Out of town on 14A a great road to Deadwood and points south, but this time the road seems different. I only see one car and another bike pulling a trailer for the first thirty miles. I play keep up with the other bike to judge how Petunia runs with Piggy tagging along. Keeping up isn't a problem, but I get the sense that he isn't very happy with me and gets to a speed that I wasn't willing to match, so I just let him go. I have a noticeable uncomfortable feeling this morning sitting in the saddle. I just can't get comfortable and riding begins to feel mechanical as it takes some effort and not the usual free flow that I am used to. But I press on.

Forty five miles from Newcastle, Wyoming I catch up to the bike with the trailer on two lane winding roads. We encounter two trucks pulling trailers and it is slow going. Finally he pulls out and the trucks close up to prevent him from getting between them, so he flies blind to pass both of them. I'm riding in second gear creeping along watching and waiting to make a move. Finally I can see around them enough to make a move and the first asshole moves over the yellow line to block me. I pull back behind him and as soon as he comes back into the lane I shoot out again and am next to him before he can react. A short while later I encountered some fog and it had cleared considerably when I felt it was safe to stop for a picture.

My only real issue on the ride home happened just after stopping for gas and a bite to eat in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Getting back on the highway Petunia wouldn't move. I'm talking about entering the freeway and having her slow to 15 mph and not budging. I realized that the harder I twisted the throttle the only response was the grip turned. All the way around it turned and I pulled on it and it came off in my hand. I stuck it in my jacket and twisted the nub and was off again. I was past Denver until I could find a place to get some super glue to put it back in place and then took an hour having dinner while it set up.

I was very fortunate the entire ride home skirting the weather. It sprinkled a bit in Denver, but being warm it felt good and I didn't bother with rain gear. Between Pueblo and Colorado City in Colorado I came by after a huge storm. There was standing water out in the fields, running water in the gullies, and hail along the edge of the highway and median. There was enough hail that people were stopping to play in it. Leaving Albuquerque, New Mexico at 9 PM the sky began to light up with a brilliant light show and a few sprinkles. I had seen this before and stopped and put on the rain gear. The lightening began to grow more intense and I started to plan on stopping. But, it appeared there was an opening in the weather and I pushed on. There were never more than a few drizzles and the rain gear was all for nought.

I was at the Arizona border just after 12 and stopped to rest. I slept for about 90 minutes and was going again. Just before Winslow, Arizona I began to see trees canopy over the road. I blinked, talked, and even tried to find a radio station, but had to settle for a Denny's for coffee and a Grand Slam.

I was at home, safely, at 7:05, 25 hours from the time I left Sturgis. I took a four hour nap and started unloading things and getting ready to get back to normal. Today I am tired and while I should be at school I think I need to get a few things done here at the casa. Funny how things quit working when you're gone for a few days.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Monday in Sturgis

Sunday was damn hot up here in Sturgis. That and the horde of people still flocking to the Rally is amazing. Leaving the Chip this morning there were another 60 or so campers/motorhomes that arrived after 8 last night. They don't allow them in after sunset to prevent damage to things they might run over in the dark. Sunday night I went to see the Credence Clearwater Review concert. The ladies' tops were disappearing before it was over. Unfortunately I wasn't close enough to get any pictures. There was almost nobody at the Saturday evening show, but Sunday it was packed. Toby Keith is tonight and I'll bet it will be packed and rowdy to the max.

It was 61 degrees this morning, but with the humidity if felt a lot colder than that. It started to warm up around 11 and has been pleasant. Even the little bit of rain felt good. I rode over to Wyoming this morning to see the Devils Tower National Monument. It is supposed to be about an hour from Sturgis, but I found a longer route and round trip was almost three hours.

Next, I headed down to the Custer State Park. This park has some great, if not on the verge of scary, motorcycle roads. There are five single lane bridges that have been blasted through the mountain with a width of nine feet. Some of the road isn't much wider than that and there are many miles without a center stripe. The problem being I was going up the hill, on the outside, with no guard rails and the folks coming down the hill had a tendency to think the entire road was their lane. There were a couple of really close calls. I was following a couple of bikes from California and at one scenic stop they commented about it and decided to turn around and go back down instead of continuing on the outside.

Inside the park as I rounded a corner I saw a sign for buffalo burgers. A barbecue right on the side of the road. There were quite a few folks that also had the idea of sampling buffalo burgers. My review of buffalo is it seems dryer than beef and a bit tougher, but was really pretty good.

I have been up and down both streets in Sturgis and seen everything there is to see. I have ridden about 700 miles of the great scenic roads they have here. Because of those reasons I am pulling up stakes and coming home Tuesday morning. This has been a great experience and I am thrilled that I have had it. But, there is only so many times to ride the same roads in five days. I wanted to wait to meet Iowa Harley Girl, Joker, and the Blackstone group, but I've done everything that I can do. That and traffic here is insane and leaving later in the week means that that same traffic will be with me all the way home. So, the Holy Grail of Motorcycle rides is coming to an end for me. Would I do it again? Never. Never until next year because it is an experience not to be missed. Start planning now for next year and remember the first time is a learning year. I can't believe how many things I didn't consider when coming up here. But, that is also part of the whole Sturgis experience.