2 Wheels To Adventure

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Alaska/Canada Trip--2006
Two "Adventure" Bikes

Ride boldly, Lad,  fear not the spills! (From "The Man From Snowy River," by Banjo Paterson) 
 
I'm not the man I used to think I was. (RBW)
 
"Cast a cold eye
On life, on death.
Horseman, pass by!"
(William Butler Yeats)

For a looong discussion on motorcyling in general and Adventure riding in particular, see the archives (or scroll down) for the first post on September 28, 2006.
It gives some opinions and ideas, along with a bit of philosophy; one (old) man's view of the world of 2 wheels.

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New Scooter---2014 R1200RT
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Cap'n Ron in the Straits of Georgia
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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Death Cafe

There is a relatively new organization spreading around the world, called Death Cafe. Started by Jon Underwood in the UK, it has taken root in dozens of countries around the planet, and these so called meetings have been held over 1000 times since the inception in 2011.

Death Cafe is, in short, a meeting of like-minded people to have coffee and cake and discuss different aspects of death and dying. Mr. Underwood was interested in the Western attitudes regarding our demise, to wit, our seeming denial of death itself and the unspoken taboo about talking about it at all. 

We seem to regard death as an enemy to be somehow conquered, an unnatural event that curses our very existence. That can be an unhealthy attitude, one which leads to unnecessary grief and suffering. An example of that might be the refusal of family, loved ones and medical personnel (not to mention religious practitioners) to allow the critically ill to leave this earthly life with some shred of dignity and without needless suffering. 

We all get to die. No one gets out of life alive, and we can come to understand that death is a natural conclusion to birth, an end that may, in the view of some sages over the millenia, be a blessing. It clearly is a blessing for those in the latter stages of painful and debilitating illness or injury. 

So, why do we fear it so? People who attend Death Cafe are interested in it, and at least some of us think that talking about it in a protected environment, out of danger from being labeled "morbid," can alleviate the fears and at the same time make each other more aware of the short time we have, and how that awareness can give us new vigor in pursuing the best life we can. 

I have attended several of these gatherings, and found all of them of some value. I have had no instance of repetitive discussions, and each one had plenty to pique the interest.

So, I have decided to host one of my own here in Scottsdale. An acqaintance and I will host/facilitate a small DC in a local coffee shop on January 27th. We have an artist acquaintance doing the art work for poster, which should be ready right after the first of the year. This may or may not be a one-off. We'll see how it goes.

Check it out at www.deathcafe.com. 

8:29 pm mst 

Friday, December 12, 2014

And Now For Something Completely Different...

Current events intrude.

The United States Senate released a long-delayed report on the CIA and America's use of torture in the so-called War On Terror. Facts that were already known for years were somewhat amplified as well as added to, and the ugly picture got worse.

The report was flawed in that the committee did not interview participants and relied on thousands of e-mails and other documents to verify their findings. Criticisms were many, and from many different perspectives.The Right ranted about the fact that the summary (650 pages) was made public, contending that it was old news, and that it should be left in the past. Unfortunately, that is pretty much the attitude of the President Of The United States himself. He has said that "We tortured some folks," and that we should try to prevent this in the future and move on. So much for any accountability, any reckoning, any justice.

Others complained that the methods were ineffective, and for that reason should not have been done. The Right once again disputed that, and Mr. Richard Bruce Cheney held press conferences to make the case that the report was a partisan attack and largely a bunch of crap. He will now be afforded a forum on the coming Sunday "Meet The Press." I am sure that he will reinforce his case with more bullshit, giving his supporters some more distractions to attempt to defuse and sanitize the facts.

A few people are finally coming to grips with the nub of the situation: torture is wrong. Senator John McCain, bless his Republican heart, stood on the floor of the senate and made an eloquent and impassioned case for the fact that torture is an anathema to America's stated values, not to mention against our and international laws. He did add comments about the ineffectiveness, but  the overriding theme of his speech was that  torture is not what America is about. He wasted his breath. His fellow Republicans and conservatives almost to a man turned their backs on him and defended our hideous tactics---torture by any reasonable measure or definition.

General Michael Hayden has said that waterboarding is not torture---legally. He stated that the CIA "Did what it was asked to do", as if that is justification. He might recall that that is exactly what the Nazi criminals said when we put them on the dock following WWII, at Nuremburg. That was Adolph Eichmann's defense before the Israelis convicted and executed him for war crimes.

The very fact that torture is even debated in this country is a telling comment on the state of our national moral values. Current polls evidently show that over 50% of Americans think torure is acceptable under some circumstances. People who would and have raged against those who tortured our prisoners in WWII and Vietnam, as well as other torture regimes worldwide are largely the same ones who somehow, through twisted and illogical thinking, think that when we do it, it is different. It is not. Torture is torture. You can call it whatever you wish, but it still is torture. Euphimisms may work for the ignorant and the stupid, but a rose is a rose...

We have thrown our moral compass overboard, and we are standing on the deck of a sinking ship, quibbling about the size of the hole in the hull.

It is argued by Bill O'Reilly and others that we are in a war, and we must do whatever we can to save lives. I can only respond that what good are our lives if they are saved but we lose our soul? I am a proponent of "Death Before Dishonor." 

I am an American. I will always be an American. I will never deny who I am. I now am ashamed of my country and no longer proud to be an American. I never dreamed that it would come to this. 

11:18 pm mst 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

1:14 pm mst 

1:08 pm mst 

12:59 pm mst 

Moving On...

OH MISS is history. Sold and done with, finalized on October 22. I let her go with mixed feelings---it  was not the second happiest day of my life---the first being the day I bought her. It just got to be too much expense and trouble for what I was getting out of her. I had originally entertained the dream of sailing out into the Big Blue Water, but decided that my advancing age, along with my relative inexperience was not a good combination for venturing far, far from terra firma. Had I more experience or less years on the old Bod, I would have pressed on,  but it just was not in the cards. Discretion is sometimes truly the better part of valor.

So, she is gone, and I wish the new owners all the best in their pursuit of The Dream.

The new scooter is doing well. Since the last entry, I rode "Mein Schatz" out to the coast, then up the California Coast, cut inland to Berkeley to finalize some items on the soon-to-be-gone boat. After a couple of days, I rode up to Redding to see my remaining uncle, of whom I have written previously. He is now 94, and  is slowing a bit.  He had a minor stroke recently, but has recovered all faculties from that, although is has had a weakening effect overall. His new bride, Marie is a dear woman, and she takes good care of him. She is a good companion for him.

I rode the California coast north of the Bay Area on my way to see Pete, then rode back down the coast on the way home, cutting inland south of San Luis Obispo toward Bakersfield. From there, I took a mountain pass through the Sierra Nevada to Bishop, and dropped down through Death Valley. The temperatures there were quite pleasant, and I enjoyed the trip. From there I took US 40 through Kingman east to Flagstaff rather than the usual route (US 87) down to Wickiup and Wickenburg to Phoenix. Instead, I took US 89 out of Flag, through Oak Creek Canyon. I had not been down that road in several years, and re-acquainted myself with how beautiful that ride is. There was no apparent fire damage visible from the road (big fire there in 2013). After Sedona, it was down across I-17 to Verde Valley and Camp Verde, up the hill to US 89 again and into Payson and Scottsdale through the "back door." Good trip, and Mein Schatz was a joy to ride. Very comfortable all the way,  although I had no bad weather at all, and never  needed any heated gloves or jacket.  Good thing, too, because I forgot the correct electrical 12 volt plugs, so could not hook up the heat even if I needed it. My Aerostich riding suit (they call it their "Transit Suit") is pretty good insulation against all but the chilliest days. It does get hot in the warmer climes, but is well worth it when it comes time to fall off, as will happen sooner or later. 

It looks like the original title of this blog:  "2 Wheels To Adventure," somewhat undermined by the six year sailing diversion, is back on track, and I hope to add to this frequently in the years I have remaining in my motorcycle second childhood. I hope to underplay the "adventure" part. Adventure I have had plenty of in my eight decades (and counting), so I am content to have experiences as opposed to adventure. There is too much connotation of risk in the latter, and at this stage, I am content to experience life in as much calm and tranquility as possible.

The boat pics will stay up for a short time, and then they too will go aglimmering along with OH MISS herself. 

12:52 pm mst 


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For future use

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Our New Best Friend, TRES

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My Hero, Uncle Pete, two days short of his 90th birthday.

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Meet Mort--- Mortem "mors me cum equitat"
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The view from 50 feet up the mast
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The Old Guy At The Helm Of "OH MISS"
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Adventure Bound
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The Old Guy, Back Home Unscathed
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2005 BMW K1200LT, long gone to bike heaven
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"Der Klunkenschiffter" at age 4, 102,000 miles