Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Riding Two-Up (Maybe)

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Last Saturday, I went out for a ride in the cool but sunny winter weather here in South Carolina.  The temperature was only about 31F when I started out, but climbed into the mid-50s by the time I returned.  It was only 129 miles on familiar roads, but it was good to get out on a beautiful day.  Amongst the routes was SC-130 between SC-11 and Whitewater Falls.  You can post some brisk speeds though the sweepers that populate this ten-mile stretch of road, so it can be quite enjoyable, and there is the nice waterfall and the Bad Creek overlook near Pushpin B. 
Click here for an interactive map.
I also rode two-up for the first time ever.  

At least I think I did.  Well, maybe it is possible that I could have. 

[Bucky, what are you getting at, here?  What’s with the obfuscation?  Did you ride two-up or not?] 

Let me explain. 

[Now, we’re getting somewhere….  Maybe….] 

I generally take along a bottle of water or Gatorade, and some granola bars or the like to munch on at stops.  This trip, when I wanted to take a slurp of water and eat a snack, I noticed that one of the foil packages for the energy bars was already open, and the contents half gone.  I don’t usually leave any when I start on one of the bars, but I shrugged and ate the rest, then started on my way back home, never giving it a second thought. 

Later, at home, as I was unpacking my tank bag – the place I carry my food and drink, along with some other necessary items, and I noticed little pieces of foil wrapper littering the inside of the bag.  “What is this?” I said aloud to no one in particular.  I dug further.  One of the other granola bars had some of the foil torn off it too. 

Now, I know I didn’t do that twice. 

Wait a minute.  All those shreds of foil look like teeth marks.  Mouse-size mouthfuls, in fact. 

In MY tank bag, eating MY granola bars!  And I ate the other half of one of them, to boot!  Yuck.  No telling what diseases that mouse might have.  Can a human catch mouse mung or some other malady?  I was seeing red

Then I got to thinking.  Was this little brown fellow a passenger with me?  Had he ridden pillion with me, so to speak? 

If he did, I wonder what he thought?  At least he had some snacks to eat while on his trip.  (That’s more than some airlines give you these days, and at a lot higher fare than Mr. Mouse paid.)  Or maybe he hopped out when I opened the bag to eat my snack at the waterfall.  If he did, I’ll bet he misses his family now, being out in the cold, cold world instead of in my nice cozy garage. 

I went and bought some mousetraps later in the evening. 

I’ll ride a human passenger some time, perhaps, but hopefully not another four-footed hitchhiker.  
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Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving, Before the Turkey

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I have a scheme for Thanksgiving Day: Maybe I can slip out of the house for a quick ride early in the morning before the turkey gets to cooking, and before the sweet potatoes are peeled. There'll be nobody out on the roads, so I should be able to ride unimpeded. 

We’ll see.  I'll let you know what happens. 

See report below.

Meanwhile, it is good at this time of year to stop and give thanks to God for our country, for the bounteous blessings we have been given, and, in particular, for our freedom.  

Freedom from Want
Norman Rockwell, 1943

The documents that set down these freedoms were brilliantly written by true scholars and patriots. 

Take a minute and refresh your memory by reading these excerpts:  

The Declaration of Independence
July 4, 1776.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal,
that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,

The Constitution of the United States
September 17, 1787
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Enjoy your day on the bike and with the family, but remember the reasons why we can do what we do so freely.



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Ride Report:
 
Well, the day dawned cold, but clear, so I went out for a quick ride of about 97 miles before the preparation for the feast of Thanksgiving began.  [Yes, I did help my wife get the house ready, and she didn't even have to ask me!]   

There was almost no traffic, because most of the retail stores were closed.  

Way back there in the distance, the parking lot for Wal-Mart was full, however.  They were the only major retailer open.  Seems to me that they could have let their employees have the day off to be with their families.  

The ride I took went up to the foot of the mountains, but not into them.  There were constantly-changing views of the sky and the mountains like these during almost the entire ride: 


I truly give thanks for the beauty of creation I was able to see. 
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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Ninja 650R Seat Fix Up

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My Kawasaki Ninja 650R is a 2006 model year that I have owned since September of 2007.  I bought it with about a thousand miles on it, and I have put on more than 45,000 additional miles.  The bike has been very reliable, and still looks good.

But the seat not so much.

The two-tone seat cover is made that way to simulate a rear cowl, but since it is padded, it acts as a passenger perch too, albeit having a pretty small contact patch.  The part for the operator's rump is covered in heavily-textured black vinyl, and the passenger's seat is covered in lightly-leather-grained silver vinyl.  I have never carried a passenger -- mostly because there don't seem to be many who would risk life and limb riding with me at the controls -- so I don't have any experience riding two up.

Here is the original:

The silver part of the seat was getting pretty bad looking because I frequently scuff it with my boot when I am mounting and dismounting.  Must be my old joints not being as flexible as they once were. 
Anyway, the scuffs were unsightly and nothing I used seemed to clean it of the marks. 

I came up with a scathingly brilliant idea to make it look better, that cost very little -- my kind of project!  Certainly, the cost was much less than a new seat cover from the factory or a custom cover from one of the aftermarket seat purveyors. 

I went to the local Hobby Lobby and bought a third of a yard of black vinyl in a grained pattern that matched the silver original, and applied it over the rear portion of the seat.  You staple the fabric on the underside of the plastic seat pan just like the original.  No adhesives are used. 

The front edge of the new piece is covered by the grab strap, so it looks almost like it was supposed to be that way from the factory.

Easy.  It took only about half an hour, total.  What do you think?  Is it an improvement? 
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Saturday, November 15, 2014

T'was Like Riding in a Windy Freezer Today!

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I went for a ride today, as is my usual routine for a Saturday, but boy, it was like riding in a freezer with a wind machine turned to high just for good measure.  

Here in South Carolina, it doesn't get below freezing very often, and this is awfully early to have it.

I suspected it was pretty cold, so I peeked out the back door at the thermometer, and sure enough, it was chilly.  Frosty.  Wintry.  Cold.  Frigid.  Glacial.  Arctic.  Gelid.  Hyperboreal.  Siberian. 

Look at the thermometer for yourself: 

25 degrees!  There has not been any rain, so there shouldn't be any ice spots.  Just have to watch for slippery leaves.   So, what to do? 

Ride! 

What else? 

I bundled up as I usually do when it is cold, and went up to Table Rock State Park and on some surrounding roads.  Was I cold?  After all, this is about the coldest I have ever ventured out on the bike, and the wind was quite gusty. 

My insulated gear along with my Respro Foggy helmet insert to keep my shield and glasses from fogging, my heated grips, and my handlebar muffs all served me well.  Just my neck got a little chilly, and after about the 40th mile, my toes were beginning to get cold as well.  

The leaves are about all turned brown now, but there is a little color left and the sky was crystal clear. 
View of Table Rock from the Lake Oolenoy parking lot. 

View of Table Rock from the lodge. 
That is a 1973 Volkswagen bus.


Table Rock.

I saw two sport touring guys and one little scooter out, too.  All of them waved, including the scooter guy, which is unusual.  We had a certain unity, being intrepid riders out on the coldest day yet this season.


I only rode about 65 miles, but it was good to get out, even if it was a cold day.  


How cold is too cold for you to get out?  

Reference:
  • Dressing for Cold Weather Riding, Take One
  • Dressing for Cold Weather Riding, Take Two
  • Dressing for Cold Weather Riding, Take Three
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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Thank A Veteran Today

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Flags

Don't forget to go out of your way to thank a veteran today for having put his life on the line for our freedom. 

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Saturday, November 8, 2014

The Election is Over -- Now What To Do?

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You have seen this logo for BMW, right?


Yes, they make fine machinery, some of which has two wheels.

Well, I have a tee shirt that plays on the logo, but carries a different message.  See?:


I think that is apt for the election just tallied, that turned out better than almost anyone predicted.  

Republicans were elected because almost every one of us has been hurt by the liberal governance we have had for the last six years. 

This guy…

…is in denial, but he himself said that it is his policies that were being voted on. 

Well, we did that, and he lost big time.   You can be sure that he won't give up trying to damage our country and take away our freedoms, but the House of Representatives and the Senate can now present legislation that will correct many of the problems we are facing, caused by failed liberal policies. 

Our work has just begun, however.  Conservatives must now let their elected officials at all levels know what we want them to do. 
 

Like this basic list:
  • Cut taxes
  • Cut regulations
  • Eliminate Obamacare
  • Cut spending
  • Close the borders
  • Reduce the size of government
  • Go after terrorists with a vengeance
  • Stop political control of the IRS, the EPA, the CDC, and other agencies. 

I would also go so far as to have the Senate and House members conduct a public opinion poll and hold a news conference as each bill is presented to the president, explaining what it contains, what the poll results are, why it is a good thing for the American people, and how it will help get us out of the big-government morass we are in right now. 

When the president vetoes a bill -- as he surely will if it is beneficial to the country -- then hold another news conference to explain why what he did is bad for the American people.

Make the president very publicly accountable for every single bill he stops from becoming law with his vetoes. 

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So, how do you find your elected officials so you can tell them what you want them to do?  Go to this website to find out who your legislators are.  

Then, tell them what you want them to do!

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Other reading:

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Saturday, November 1, 2014

Don't Miss this Critical Issue to Act on NOW

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This November 4 is a critical time in the history of our nation.  It is voting day across these United States, and you have a chance to do something significant about the following: 

  • The economy is not robust.  This is because of excessive rules, regulations, taxes, and the uncertainty of what government is going to meddle with next.
  • Social programs such as welfare and other transfers of wealth from working people to others amount to 3 trillion dollars every year -- that is 3,000,000,000,000 dollars, or about 10,000 for every American.  It is about $16,000 for each working-age person.
  • Real unemployment is about 12.6%, so the cost of social services is more like $18,000 for every employed person. 
  • Our health care system has been turned upside down and everyone will end up paying more for less treatment.  Not only that, but Obamacare mandates that everyone buy something they may not want or need. 
  • Our electrical generation system is in jeopardy because of supposedly "green" concerns about carbon dioxide buildup, despite the fact that carbon dioxide is harmless and is vital to plants for survival. 
  • Plentiful oil in Canada and the northern United States must be transported by more dangerous railroads rather than by a pipeline that has been repeatedly held up for "environmental" reasons. 
  • Gasoline prices have about doubled in the last six years.  Food prices are not far behind.  But the official government figures do not include these in its calculation of inflation. 
  • Global Warming -- restated now as Climate Change -- has sapped trillions from the economy but it is now obvious that it was based on junk science, that the climate changes naturally, and is little affected by man. 
  • Our young people are getting the worst public education ever at the highest cost ever due to federal government meddling, lack of local accountability, and due to teacher unions putting profits ahead of educating our children. 
  • Abortionists have killed 56,000,000 babies since 1973 and it is labeled "choice."  It is murder, plain and simple.
  • The IRS is corrupt.  Taxes on nearly everything have gone up, and many new taxes are to piggyback on Obamacare, on proposed immigration legislation, and on environmental regulations. 
  • We are in danger of disease from illegal immigrants who are being allowed into our country, and from Ebola that has been invited in.  Even the Center for Disease Control is now politically controlled. 
  • Immigrants get free health care, free education, and many other things at the working man's expense. 
  • The Middle East is completely out of control because our president pulled out of Iraq after the blood of our fighting men pushed back Islamists there, and where the civilian population was beginning to have the possibility of living in something other than a combat zone.  
  • Our president tells us repeatedly that there is no terrorist threat, yet beheadings are occurring right now, including here on United States soil.  Islamists in our own military have slaughtered other fighting men and the president calls it workplace violence. 
  • We are in grave danger of terrorist attacks and are largely unprotected as a result of liberal policies. 
These -- and many more -- are the legacy of the liberals, mostly in the Democrat Party.  The fact is that the Democrats wish to control more and more of us and spend more and more money -- with them in control.

I want your money
and

your freedom
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Now, a simple choice:
  1. If you want more of this, then vote Democratic. 
  2. If you are tired of it, vote Republican or Tea Party -- even if you don't agree with everything a particular candidate says.  He is by far the better choice for the future and prosperity of our nation. 
Make it a point to go to the poles, whether raining, or snowing, or whether there are lines clear around the block. 

Let's get started toward fixing this mess. 

Vote right! 


Other reading:

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