Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Blessings

It is that time of year when we think of cool weather, gift giving, family time, and a few days off from the workaday world.  For those of us who live in warmer climates, it could be that we can sneak out for a few miles on the roads or in the woods on our scooters. 

All good, these things. 

There is one more thing about this season, though that is paramount.  The reason for our celebrating in the first place.  It is the birth of Jesus Christ around 2000 years ago.  Christ is God's son and his teachings are fundamental to our lives now, and into eternity. 

It is at this special time of year, that we would do well to hear the Christmas story once again.

The prophet Isaiah wrote about the coming of Jesus to earth about seven hundred years beforehand:
For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given: and The Government shall be upon His Shoulder: and His Name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty GOD, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of His Government and peace there shall be no end, upon the Throne of David, and upon His Kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of Hosts will perform this. 

Luke wrote of the birth about thirty years after Jesus' death:
And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with Child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.

And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the LORD came upon them, and the glory of the LORD shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the LORD. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the Babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into Heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the LORD hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this Child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them. And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the Child, His Name was called JESUS, which was so named of the angel before He was conceived in the womb.

Around thirty-three years after Jesus' birth, he was killed by crucifixion, laid in a borrowed tomb for three days, then arose from death.  He was seen by multitudes here on earth after that. 

If you don't know Jesus Christ as your living savior, then find a church that preaches from the Bible, and where they believe that it is the inerrant word recorded by writers inspired by God.

They can explain the wonder of the birth of Jesus Christ and what it means to you and me. All you have to do to go to heaven after you die is to believe what happened to Him, and to ask Jesus to be your savior. 

Merry Christmas to all, and happy riding in the new year.

Here is a bit of inspiration for you, by a group of ordinary people.  

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

40,000 Milestone

....News Flash!....

I made motorcycle history a couple of weekends ago.  You won't see it in the papers or elsewhere online.  Only right here on Bucky's Ride Blog, can you find out the whole story.

Here's the scoop: I've ridden the motorcycle 40,000 miles since I bought it.  [Wow, what a story, Bucky.] 

You may recall that back in May of 2011, I wrote about having ridden it 25,000 miles, and before that, in April of 2009, I wrote about another milestone, 10,000 miles, at that time.

This 40,000 mile mark has come sooner than I ever imagined it would.   In fact, there have been times that I wondered whether it would happen at all.  Well, it has, I am pleased to say.  When I got the bug, my friends and family certainly were shocked to know that I was interested in riding, but one fellow at work, Jeff, a former rider, encouraged me.  Then, some others like Ryan helped me further. 

Thank you, sirs, for that assistance and encouragement. 

Remember that this is my first real motorcycle, not counting the old minibike I had when I was a teenager, so I have ridden only this motorcycle all that way.  And there have been very few long-mileage days in there, the longest being a trek into northern Georgia with an accomplished rider, Stretch, on a cool day in February of 2007.  That was all of 259 miles, some of which was at elevations high enough that there was ice on the rock outcroppings beside the road.  

Stretch was kind enough to ask me to tag along with a small group, and was also patient with my slow pace.   He was on an FZ1 at the time, but is riding a dualsport bike now, exploring gravel roads and trails within a few hundred miles of here.  And I hear he toys with the sportbike riders on the twisty roads when he is out riding this bike.  (By the way, he gets his name because he is a very tall guy.  Stretch -- get it?) 

My 25,000 mile mark was passed in a pastoral setting not far from home; one of those old country roads where the trees occasionally meet overhead, forming a canopy. 

Right here:

The 40,000 mile mark occurred at a place that was not so picturesque, I'm afraid.  It happened in front of the local landfill, close to where I had the encounter with Big Bird a while back. 

This present occasion was commemorated with the following pictures. 

The countryside nearby: 

The landfill sign as proof of location:
Beautiful spot, isn't it?  ...Well, the sign is nice, anyway. 

The time in the afternoon of the auspicious event:

I bought my bike in September of 2007, so I have owned it about seventy-four months. That is around 540 miles per month on the average, but during this last year I have logged about 75 miles per month less than the average.  Real life intrudes more into motorcycle life lately, I guess. 

I have never ridden another bike, though I have sat on a few at motorcycle shows and in dealers, and I spent an hour on a dirt bike once.  Some of my friends encourage me to look at a cruiser next, since I am getting so "up in age," according to them.  (Funny, I didn't notice that.)  Maybe, but I seem to have become accustomed to the riding position on this bike, and it would be hard to change.  I think a dualsport might be a nice addition, since it would better handle the gravel roads I have sometimes traveled on the 650R. 

I ride year around, thanks to the mild weather here in South Carolina, and that helps maintain what riding skills I have.  If I had to abandon the bike all winter, I would need to relearn much more every spring, I am sure. 

The bike has performed well over its life in my stable thus far, but I do note that a motorcycle is not an inexpensive thing to own.

Tires are high, even though I get very good mileage from most of them. I have spent $1200 (about $0.03/mile), including mounting with wheels off the bike, for 3 front and 4 rear tires so far.  One rear tire was punctured on my trek on the gravel Musterground Road.  So for the fronts that is a range of 9-12,000 miles for each tire, and for the rears, 12-14,000 miles each.  You more aggressive riders use up tires much faster than I do. Frugal, I am, and not very aggressive in riding. 

Maintenance and repair expenses have not been cheap either, amounting to some $670 ($0.016/mile) over the life of the bike; And, I have performed all of the labor myself.  Farkle and accessories have been $400 ($0.01/mile).

All together, that is about $0.056/mile, not including gas or insurance. 


By the way, while I was out making motorcycle history, my wife was at a church craft fair (didn't they used to call them bazaars?), selling some knitted items she had made.  There were dish cloths, and fuzzy ladies' scarves [fuzzy ladies??], and some of those pillows for the ring bearer at a wedding so he doesn't lose the precious symbols of the union, ...
Lucia Paul Design
...and a couple of Christmas wreaths made from all sorts of stuff bought at the local Hobby Lobby.  She has been working on these things for weeks ahead of time to have enough to sell. 

Here are her display tables:
Quite the artisan, she.

Some views of the other ladies' work, and some shoppers:

I think I'll keep my bride; she's a good 'un. 


Back to the day's ride for a second.  On my way to the record, I rode from home up SC-28 and SC-107 (on a route similar to this ride) to the Wigington Byway going toward Whitewater Falls, and stopped at the overlook on the Byway. 

The view was breathtakingly..................................absent!

The fog was so heavy I could not see a thing.

It usually looks like this over there beyond the concrete:
February 2012
I then rode with four-way flashers on for several miles until I got to a slightly lower elevation again. 

SC-130 from the falls down to SC-11 was an enjoyable series of sweepers, as usual. 

So, lets plan to meet again when I reach, say, 50,000 miles.  At the current rate, that will be on August 30, 2015.  Mark your calendar. 

I'll meet you at the landfill with fly swatter in hand. 

...I still wonder how far I rode that little minibike.


farkle -- accessory; generally accepted to mean a combination of "function" and "sparkle"
bazaar -- a sale in aid of charity, esp. of miscellaneous secondhand or handmade articles