Thursday, December 30, 2010

Time Flies With Retail Help

It seems each year time passes faster and faster.  Yesterday, it seems, our children were newborns or toddlers.  Today they are graduating high school, college students, working professionals, and parents.

Each year we bemoan the retail ploys of promoting the holidays earlier and earlier each year.  Halloween decorations in September, Christmas decorations and paraphernalia  in October.  This is getting ridiculous. What are they thinking?

Ok, I know, this is nothing new, so where am I going with this?  Yesterday, December 29, mind you, I'm in the grocery store.  Of course there is the typical after Christmas clearance of holiday items which I bypass but when I get to the register, what to my wondering eyes does appear?  EASTER CANDY!  117 Days before the big day when the proverbial bunny comes hopping, they are selling Easter candy!

I wouldn't have been terribly surprised to see Valentine candy, but Easter?  As I ponder this insanity, it occurs to me that this candy is either left over from last year (ewww) or made so early that by the time the holiday finally arrives it's going to be pretty old (again, ewww).

Commercial retailers, please take notice.  I know time is passing faster each year.  I know the holidays are coming sooner and sooner each year.  I do NOT need you to help me along with getting older.

Maybe in this time where governments are legislating whether or not fast food chains can put toys in kid's meals we can get them to pass a law that prohibits marketing holiday candy more than 30 days prior to the holiday itself.  I don't know about anyone else but it would also help my waistline if those things were not not available 117 days before the holiday.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Tax Cuts - How about a general election to decide?

The hottest political topic these days outside of the wikileaks cables (do people even send cables any more?) are the soon to expire tax cuts.

Back in February 2001 George Jr. was in the white house and there was federal surplus.  In a joint session of Congress Mr. Bush said  "The people of America have been overcharged, and, on their behalf, I'm here asking for a refund." Who doesn't want to hear politicians talk about refunds and tax breaks right? With the coffers full, why not give a little back to the people?  When all was said and done, the tax breaks pushed through by the Republican Congress heavily favored the wealthiest of Americans.  


On February 8, 2001, Senator Tom Daschle made the following comparison. "If you're a millionaire, under the Bush tax cut you get a $46,000 tax cut, more than enough to pay for this Lexus, but if you're a typical working person, you get $227. And that's enough to buy for this muffler."  Under intense pressure, Democrats supported the bill under the condition that the tax cuts would expire in 10 years.  


Now, fast forward to December 2010.  I can't tell you what a Lexus costs because of the 183 new Lexus vehicles within 30 miles of my zip code, not a single one lists a price.  But that's really neither here nor there since the majority of the people who really NEED these tax cuts couldn't afford a Lexus.  


Millions of unemployed Americans are sitting in limbo because a certain political party refuses to approve extending benefits unless Congress agrees to renew the tax cuts for the richest Americans in the country.  In the grand scheme of things, is $46,000 (in 2001 dollars) really going to make or break someone whose income is in the millions?  Are they even going to notice?  On the other hand, if someone is unemployed with a family, wondering where their next meal is coming from, are tax cuts and unemployment extensions going to make a noticeable difference?  For that family and all the others like them, yes.  


Republicans are screaming for a balanced budget, not that they bothered to keep it balanced while they had control of Congress.  How about killing those tax cuts for those making over a million dollars a year?  How do they plan on making up for the income they are cutting from the budget? They are going to refuse to extend unemployment benefits to the poorest of Americans. That's right, if richest of the rich don't get what they want, they are going to punish those who are struggling to just get by and keep their families clothed and fed. How is that fair?  If you voted Republican and are unemployed, I hope you call your congressman/woman and thank them for holding you hostage to either directly or indirectly line their own pockets


My suggestion, since the politicians can't seem to make a fair and reasonable decision is to hold a general election.  A series of line items with a simple yes or no answer. Tax cut for those making under $50,000? yes or no?  $100,000? yes or no? $200,000? $500,000? $1,000,000?  Yes or no? What bracket do you fall in? If you are in the higher tax brackets, are you willing to pay a bit more to help those who are less fortunate?  Seems to me the party supported by the religious right isn't acting in a very Christian manner, but then, that's par for the course, isn't it.

Friday, November 26, 2010

SyFy - The New SciFi

I admit it freely and shamelessly, I love science fiction and B horror movies.  And up until recently, I loved the SciFi channel, now SyFy whose new slogan is "imagine greater".  My question is greater what?  


Merriam-Webster defines science fiction as "fiction dealing principally with the impact of actual or imagined science on society or individuals or having a scientific factor as an essential orienting component."  From www.syfy.com - "We've always defined "sci-fi" a lot more broadly than most people, and Syfy is a way to recognize the programming we already have on our channel, from Stargate and Eureka to Ghost Hunters and Scare Tactics. For us "sci-fi" includes a broad range of imagination-based entertainment, including science fiction but also fantasy, the paranormal, adventure and others. Syfy helps us define our unique take on the genre." It seems SyFy is moving further and further from their own definition of their programming. 


Even with this broad definition of science fiction, I have a hard time seeing where RAW, NXT and SmackDown fit into the sci-fi genre.  The last few days SyFy has had a Bond marathon, nothing against James Bond, but, really?  Maybe with all the cool toys Bond had specially made for him, I guess you could stretch that far enough to reach science fiction.  Then you have those goofy Ghost Hunters and their spin off shows.  Really?  Come on, that is a real step down.  Those guys were boring, badly filmed and badly produced before they ever made it to SyFy and then they made it even worse by adding the spin offs.  


Scare Tactics, which is on its third, fourth, fifth.....who knows...host/hostess is as bad as it has always been.  Seriously, if any of your friends did to you some of the things they do to people on that show, would they still be your friends?  Perhaps SyFy hopes by changing the host/hostess every year they can make it a better show.  New Flash:  It isn't working!


On the flip side, SyFy has produced some really cool new shows.  Caprica has been an interesting combination of a future where they can build cylons, have robots to run their homes and offices, maintain their security systems, travel to other planets but they still drive cars. Go figure.  Haven, the gated community for vampires and werewolves whose head of security (a tarnished former big city cop) was totally clueless about until one of the vampires saves his life.  Let's not forget all the Stargate shows, SG-1, Atlantis, Universe.  Then we have Eureka and Sanctuary. These shows are science fiction.


While SyFy has a bevy of B movies, they have also produced some pretty decent original movies.  There may be a tendency to overdo the natural disaster theme, although many of them are done well enough.  I love the fact that they will string together a whole weekend of movies on one theme, one weekend it might be all snake movies, or alligator movies, the next it might be a series of tornado terrors or fire storms.


SyFy, why have you strayed so far from your roots of science fiction?  Please ditch the paid programming, wrestling and reality shows and give us more of shows like Caprica, Stargate, Sanctuary and Haven.  I miss the old SciFi that was my favorite channel for so many years, my "go to" channel is fast becoming my "why bother" channel.  Someone please, stop the madness!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Skewed Religious Ideas

Yesterday I'm on my way to work and I noticed the bumper sticker on the truck in front of me. "God bless our troops" was the first line.  I'm good with that, our soldiers need all the prayers and blessings they can get.  It was the second line that disturbed me "Especially the snipers".  WTF?  God does not support or bless killing.

Over the centuries, way too many wars, murders and crimes have been committed in the name of religion.  God doesn't "hate" anyone, he doesn't condone murder, war or abuse in any way.  Nor does he support those who instigate those things in his name.  However, God does, in his infinite mercy and grace forgive those who use him and his name to oppress the innocent, harm the weak and wage war based on hate.

Please stop using God to justify your mean spirited feelings.  If you have negative feelings for a group of people, be honest, name it and claim it and STOP justifying it with religion.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Harley Demo Rides with Friends

This morning we met up with a friend of ours and headed out to one of the local Harley dealers where the demo fleet was doing rides for a few days.  I have to say that I have never been a big fan of Harleys for a couple of reasons.  First, I'd been a passenger on a few Harleys and always felt as if my fillings were going to jarred right out of my teeth.  Second, the practical side of me knows that they are over priced because you're paying for the name.  Often you can get a metric cruiser of equal caliber for considerably less than what you would pay for a bare bones Harley.  Finally, I'm not a designer kind of gal, it doesn't matter to me what label is on my possessions as long as they fit and serve me well.  So I don't "need" a Harley to be a biker.

All that being said, before today, my only other experience riding a Harley was a demo ride on a V-rod several years ago at the AMA conference in WV.  Back then the V-rod was so different from the standard Harley that it almost wasn't a Harley, in fact, some dyed in the wool HD riders looked down their noses at the V-rod, saying it wasn't "really" a Harley.  Anyway.......

The lines for the demo rides were pretty short today because the big shindig was yesterday, so we were able to ride pretty much whatever we wanted.  Right away I was drawn to the Street Bob for the lines and color scheme.  Unfortunately, I think it's intended for a shorter rider because when my feet were on the pegs, my knees felt as if they were under my chin.  Looking around, the next bike that got my attention was the Wide Glide so that was my first demo.

Starting the Wide Glide I got the expected vibration although not quite enough to unseat my fillings.  What I didn't expect was how quickly the bike got up and moved as I eased out the clutch.  That was a nice surprise since I expected a clunky slow start.  The bike was amazingly well balanced with plenty of umph and responded well to every rider input.  Highway speeds were a bit different without a shield but the ride was smooth and enjoyable.

After returning to the dealer, I looked around at the other bikes for demo and kept being drawn to one particular bike.  I was hesitant to ride it because of the rather large fairing and floorboards on it, I had never ridden a bike with floorboards or a fairing like that and felt a bit intimidated by it.  Eventually desire won out over intimidation and I signed up to ride the CVO Street Glide.  What a sweet ride!  Smooth, considerably less vibration than the Wide Glide and handled like a dream.  The floorboards would take some getting used to as would the heel/toe shifter, the fairing was no issue as all.  The only thing that didn't work for me on this bike was the width of the seat which bothered my hips when putting my feet down at a stop.

I still love my VTX and I'm not ready to give her up, however for the first time, I can actually see myself on a Harley.  Don't look for that to happen any time in the near future my friends, I still don't believe I can get past the sticker shock.  Yet if someone gave it to me I wouldn't turn it down :-)

All in all it was a really fun time with Scuter and Deb with an early dinner afterwards.   Great time catching up and riding together again.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Blurbs on Unrelated Topics

The Economy
Almost daily I hear or see someone comment on the poor state of the economy.  Often these comments are followed with one pertaining to President Obama's failure to turn everything around.  In this time of instant gratification many of us have a difficult time with not getting what we want right now.  Our economy is in a sad state, that is true, however, it didn't get there overnight and it won't be fixed overnight.  It took the previous administration two terms to get us where we were when that administration finally ended.

Stop and think about it, let's say you have a decent job and modest savings  when suddenly your spouse/partner goes on a spending spree.  This partner spends all the cash on hand, empties your savings account and runs up all your credit cards.  After you're in dept up to your eyeballs, this spouse/partner says "See ya!" and leaves you.  Maybe this has happened to you or to someone you know, it happens frequently to every day people.  It takes a long time to crawl out of this hole.  How long usually depends on the depth of the whole you've been thrown into, but in any case, it doesn't happen in the blink of an eye.

Now, let's say you with your decent job and salary is our government and the spouse/partner is George W. Bush.  Would it not stand to reason that it would take the current administration more than 2 years to climb out of the hole dug by the previous administration?  Granted, things aren't getting better as quickly as we would all like but they are getting better.  Don't lose hope, to borrow a favorite phrase from our former president "stay the course" and things will get better bit by bit.

Be Careful What You Wish For
Back in the day, when I was an adolescent in the 70's and easily embarrassed by the numerous TV ads for various feminine hygiene products, my peers and I often bemoaned the fact that boys didn't suffer the same embarrassment.  After all, back then the only thing they occasionally advertised was a product called (if I remember correctly) Blue Star ointment, an anti-itching product which was recommended for, among other things jock itch.  Hardly the equivalent to the bombardment of Stay Free, Kotex, FDS, and Summer's Eve commercials.

Now, fast forward 30 years.  We are now watching TV on hundreds of channels via cable and satellite.  We are even streaming satellite radio in our vehicles.  We've gone from wired phones to cordless phones to cellular bag phones to smart phones.  We've gone from handwriting to typewriters to word processors to computers to surfing the Internet.  We have gone from being bombarded by commercials for feminine products to commercials for "E.D."

In case you didn't know, "E.D." is the polite way of saying erectile dysfunction, in other words the inability for a male to get it up.   Nothing personal, guys, frankly I'm glad there is something out there to help you out if you need it but do I have to hear about it every 15 minutes?  Is nothing private anymore?  Back when I was a kid and bemoaned the injustice of all those feminine commercials, I had no idea what the future held.  Be careful what you wish for, one never knows what will happen in 30 years.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Reaction to proposed Koran burning doesn't faze Florida church - latimes.com

Reaction to proposed Koran burning doesn't faze Florida church - latimes.com

What on earth are these people thinking? Shouldn't this church be trying to encourage peace, especially with the "Dove" in their name? Being that the dove is a pretty universal sign of peace one would think they would "reach out" in peace not try to stir up more hate and violence.

This church is to Islam what Fred Phelps is to the GLBT community.

It never ceases to amaze me who a few people can capture the attention of the world with their hate and intolerance.

Assorted Tidbits, Stories and Opinions

StoryCorp
I listen to talk radio a lot and on NPR they have a weekly series called StoryCorp. It is a series of recorded conversations between two people, usually but not always related. These stories are heart touching, from the couple talking about the husband's Alzheimer's, t0 an immigrant who was a plumber by day and a healer by night, to sisters who grew up on the "divorce ranch" in Reno, to a man who was at Stonewall when the NYC police raided it and the now famous Stonewall Riot happened and the man with the first bionic hand talking with his children. If you have never heard this show, I encourage you to check out either the podcasts or transcripts at NPR.org. If these stories don't touch your heart, I don't know what will.

Politics
Every time the TV or radio is on, someone is complaining about the economy, unemployment and the deficit. Now, I'm not saying these things do not deserve discussion because they do, however the issue I have with these complainers is that they 1) expect this will turn around overnight, that the damage which occurred over several years can be corrected in one or two years. And 2) shifting the blame from the previous administration to the current administration. This country was in a pitiful state, already in a deep recession, entrenched in a war we had no business starting and experiencing high levels of unemployment when President Obama took office. We didn't get here overnight, and it can't be fixed overnight. One thing is for sure, our service men and women are coming home from the war Bush started. Time is essential, we must keep moving forward and supporting our president.

Ride Like a Pro
I took the Ride Like a Pro class this past weekend. If you are a motorcyclist and think you know how to ride your bike, you need to take this class. You will not only learn things that you didn't know but you will learn how much you don't know and the value of practicing your skills to avoid getting killed. This is really a tough course, physically and mentally. While I didn't do all the exercises perfectly, heck, I doubt I did any of them perfectly, this class has definitely improved my riding, my confidence and taught me some valuable skills.

Bad Ass Bikers or Dumb Ass Bikers
So, to take the above mentioned course, we had to ride from Phoenix to Playa Del Rey, CA slightly less than 400 miles from our door to the hotel. Even though we left our home at 7 AM we still had to spend a great deal of time riding across the desert in broiling heat. Temperatures that day were about 109, add to the heat from the asphalt and motorcycle engines, and it was a tad toasty. We stopped several times to cool off and rest, pouring water over ourselves. At one particular rest stop, I simply stripped off my shirt and soaked it in the sink before leaving the ladies room. Just about the time we hit LAX the temperature dropped dramatically, maybe 40 degrees. That was more like it, of course, by then we were almost at our destination. The following morning was damp and foggy, a nice change for these desert rats and stayed that way until halfway through the morning class.

After the class we headed south to San Diego to meet family in comfortable to cool temperatures. We spend the night there then headed back to Phoenix via Yuma. After about 50 miles on the road, once again we were riding in the heat. Could that be why they call that area of I-8 Devil's Canyon? Again we battled the heat, one of the few thermometers we saw showed the temp at 106 before noon with the hottest time of the day still ahead. We didn't see too many other bikers this trip, maybe they had more sense than we had. Of course, the closer we got to home the worse the traffic became. On I-10 near 303 the traffic became stop and go, as we went from medium rare to well done to charred. Getting off the interstate we took the surface roads home which was slightly better.

Finally making it home and we first cooled off then jumped in the pool to lower our body temperatures to a more normal level. Through out this weekend we decided that we were either bad ass bikers or dumb ass bikers but weren't sure which, Maybe they are one in the same.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Well, it's been a while

I didn't realize that how long it had been since I updated my blog even though there are many times when I hear or see things and think "that's a good blog topic". So, what follows is an assortment of mini blogs on various topics.

Motor Maid Conference
OMG! What an experience! I'm really into the history of women in motorcycling so it was great to meet legends, daughters of legends and granddaughters of legends. Not to mention world class bike builder, racers, writers and even a film maker. More importantly, these women RIDE and I'm not talking around the corner. There were several women who were over 70 and still riding, one brave woman learned to ride at 70. If you ride and have never visited the Motor Maids web site, I encourage you to do so at www.motormaids.org.

Political Campaigns
I hate election seasons, not because I don't want to exercise my right to vote but for a number of other reasons. Why do politicians insist on throwing stones at each other? One ad proclaimed President Obama as the "worst president ever". Now, why is that necessary? Certainly he is entitled to his opinion, however disparaging our president in public ads is not acceptable. If you have specific issues that you disagree with, by all means, talk about those but don't generalize your statements based on the person.

My second pet peeve with elections is the signs. Signs hang out for months after the election has passed polluting the roads and sidewalks. All candidates should be required to remove their signs within a week of the election.

The Sky Is Falling
There are a number of legitimate scams, viruses, phishing, etc schemes out there. There are even more that are that are untrue, made up by some goof ball who knew someone was going to believe it. The reason these hoaxes continue to grow is because of the number of people who receive this "OMG, XYZ Company is run by communists and they are putting mood altering substances in their products" accept it as gospel and forward it on to every single person in their address book without bothering to check the validity of the claim.

Oh no! They are building a mosque at Ground Zero! Uh...no, they aren't. They are building a community center which, among other things, has a small mosque inside. Oh and it isn't at Ground Zero, it's several blocks away. Besides, one of this country's core beliefs if freedom of religion, remember that from elementary school?

And for heaven's sake, Barak Obama was born in Hawaii. Hawaii is a state. Ergo, Barak Obama is a native born United States citizen.

Before spreading the fear or bigotry, try googling the topic to see what comes up or visit www.factcheck.org for political issues.

Well, that's it for today. Look forward to more posts with multiple topics.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Cody Trip - Motor Maid Convention Days 1 & 2

Day one started out with a "get to know you" type meeting. All the red ribbons (first time conventioneers) were seated up front and asked to turn their chairs around to face the rest of the members. All the regular member introduced themselves, periodically the president would stop and ask members questions, such as their advice to red ribbons, fondest memory, something they got away with, about previous trips to convention. Then life time members, silver and gold members were recognized and introduced themselves. Wow! these women are an inspiration. Note to self: next time bring tissue.

Next was the red ribbon/golden life members lunch where new members were able to enjoy some time with the members who have 50 years or more active riding membership. It was a great time to get to know people and hear great stories.

That afternoon there were district meetings and the ride meeting for the Dot Robinson Time Race the next morning. The basic premise for this race is that riders are given a trip sheet and draw numbers for starting positions. Riders are started at one minute intervals until all riders are dispatched. The goal is to average 30 MPH from start to finish.

Wednesday morning we are up and early, sign up for the time race begins at 6 AM. Even though we were there by 6:30 we were still numbers 51 & 52. This actually allowed us time to get some breakfast and shower before heading to the starting point.

I started off a bit rocky by forgetting to reset my trip meter and missed the 4th or 5th turn by a couple of miles causing me to back track some. By the time I reached the first check point I was already behind. Then I got lost again, had to stop along the way to fix my mirror that was coming off due to the vibration in the construction zone. Unfortunately I didn't gave the correct size hex so I ended up riding most of the race holding it on with my thumb. Hit a couple more check points, got lost AGAIN and took a detour down a road where the pavement just stopped and I had a couple miles of gravel. Finally, more by luck than anything else, I made it to the end point.

We had a nice BBQ lunch then, like a line of blue and white ants, made our way to the bleachers across the street for pictures. When that was complete, we were back across the street to line up for our parade through Powell.

We had a police escort through Powell and as far as I could see in front of me and behind me were motorcycles with blue and white riders. It was really awesome. When we finished in Powell, we hit the highway and gravel construction zone back to Cody where we paused at the local Ford dealer for a photo op and water. Then Cody PD escorted us as we paraded through Cody. What a blast! Can't wait to see pictures that were taken of the parade itself.

Finally back to the hotel after a long day, dinner, photos uploaded, blog updated. Time to relax and watch a little TV.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Cody Trip - Rexburg, ID to Cody, WY

We left Rexburg this morning before 8 AM and boy was it chilly. Bundled up in as many layers as possible to stay warm. The temp was about 56 when we hit the road. Fortunately for us most of the traffic was headed away from Yellowstone so the traffic to get in at the west entrance was not bad. Just before entering the park we spotted a couple of Motor Maids stopped for gas. Turned out they were in Rexburg last night also at another hotel. We agreed to ride into the park together. After stopping for some pictures we agreed to meet up with them again at Old Faithful.

The speed limit in most places is 45 so it was a nice sedate ride with big sweeping curves. We were along the water almost the entire time. As we entered the geyser area we got to see a couple different geysers go off from the road. It was pretty spectacular and a bit smelly due to the sulfur. The scenery was breathtaking. We made it to Old Faithful and I walked up to the viewing area. It wasn't scheduled to go off for quite some time and clouds were rolling in so I headed back to the bikes where Deb was studying the map to get us out of the park and on to Cody. While we saw the bikes of the other Motor Maids we had intended to meet there, we didn't see them.

As I approached the bikes, who do I see parked in a group on the row behind us but the Conga Crew! A group of riders, all decked out in pink who started in British Columbia and are traveling around the states to raise money for breast cancer research. Deb & I had been following them on Facebook, so we went over to say hello. Ended up having a great chat with them, got our pictures taken with them and wished them a safe trip as we parted ways.

Continuing throughYellowstone we were enjoying the ride even if we were a tad cold and hungry by now. We hadn't had much luck finding breakfast on our way into the park. At the next gas top we picked up something to tide us over and continued on. A few miles down the road what do we see? Several buffalo grazing in the field off to our left. Of course we stopped for the photo op, then moved on.

The last 50 miles or so in the park were nice easy S curves along the lake or river. We went up in elevation, we went down in elevation. The ride was quite lovely with very little traffic in our direction. However, having started early and had poor luck finding decent food along the way neither of us were feeling at the top of our game. So we started singing silly songs and making up even worse ones. The town where we thought we might be able to get coffee was all of 5 buildings, none of which served coffee, so we pressed on the final 20 miles to Cody.

In the middle of Cody, on a main street as we were waiting for a light, I looked to my right and there were three deer grazing in the yard next to me. I could have almost reached out and touched them they were that close. I'm saying "deer...deer....deer" Deb's saying "where? where?" I think she thought I was kidding, after all this was a main thoroughfare with heavy traffic.

Finally we found the hotel, cold and hungry. Checked in and found out that we had a brief district meeting at 5, so we decided to wait until after that to eat. We visited with some friends, picked up our registration packets, did a bit of shopping at the MM store then off to dinner.

Now we are settled in our room, relaxing. We didn't ride terribly far today but the temperatures took a bit out of us. Oh and the dead skunk count for today - 1.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Cody Trip - Arco, ID to Rexburg, ID

Not a whole lot to tell today, we don't have to be in Cody until Monday so we have been meandering around Idaho. When we started packing up to leave Arco, we discovered that they were lining up for a parade right in front of the motel so if we didn't get out quickly we would be stuck there for a while. So we hustled out figuring we would have breakfast in Atomic City.

While we had dressed about as warm as yesterday, we quickly realized that this was going to be a much colder ride. We missed our turn off to Atomic City and didn't get breakfast until Idaho Falls. We had to stop to put on more clothes because we were freezing.

Since our reservation in Cody isn't until Monday we had two days to dally. So we found a Quality Inn in Rexburg and decided we would stay here until Monday morning then move on to Cody. Tomorrow we'll do a day ride somewhere in the area. Dead skunk count for today - 1.

Cody Trip - Meridian, ID - Arco, ID

We left Meridian around 9AM I think headed east. Missed all the morning traffic through Boise and the temp was a chilly 64 degrees. After 20 miles on the interstate we pulled into a rest area so Deb could put the liner in her jacket and I could put on my glove liners.

We got off the interstate at Mountain Home on Hwy 20/26 called Peaks to Craters Scenic Highway. The phrase for the day was "freaking gorgeous" wish came out of our mouths around every curve it seemed. Who knew Idaho was so beautiful? Mountains to the west still capped with snow looked like they were covered in green and rust velvet. Lush green fields, awesome rock formations, cliffs and creatures. The dead skunk count for the day is 4.

For lunch we stopped at the quaint yet modern General Store in Peekaboo. This is the town that the skier Peekaboo Street is named after. Darling little place where the few locals hang out as well as sportsmen fishing or hunting in the area. it was a combination gas station, post office, general store, deli, museum really pretty cool.

Also, we spent the majority of the day in heavy winds, leaning left to go stay in our lane. We started seeing evidence of Craters of the Moon long before we got to the entrance of the park. The 5 miles loop through the park is well paved and breathtaking. The rock formations are eerie and the fact that trees and flowers actually grow there is amazing. In the flatter areas the whole area is covered with tiny yellow and pink flowers. The wind here was enough to nearly blow the bike over which made stopping along the way for pictures a tad dicey.

Back on the road towards Arco, where we found a darling old style motel called Lost River Motel. High speed wifi, fridge, microwave and cable all good, unfortunately the beds suck. However the submarine monument we came to see is practically in the front yard. The con tower or sail of the USN-666 Hawkbill aka The Devil Boat is planted right off the highway.

Dinner at Pickles' Place, home of the Atomic burger and down for the night.

Today I think we are headed to Atomic city, not sure where else as we wind our way toward Cody.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Cody Trip - Jackpot NV to Meridian ID

With a planned short day we took our time getting started and since the temp wasn't even 80 we weren't concerned about the heat. Two miles from the hotel we passed into Idaho. Lovely scenic winding road into several small towns. There were some of the cutest little cottages lining the roads through the towns.

We stopped in Buhl for coffee where they were experiencing a heat wave. Apparently last week it was freezing. The temp at noon was 74, now depending on where you live that is either sweater weather or bikini weather. Most of the folks there were clearly enjoying the warmer weather and dressed accordingly.

Deb's been frustrated with issues with her camera and not able to take as many photos as she would like. Since she lost the batteries a few days ago the issues have been intermittent. We believe it is because of the cheap batteries we had to buy so today we will get higher quality ones that should last longer.

Going through Boise, just when we needed our communicators the most they died. Our fault for not fully charging them the night before. However, we did make it through to Meridian and were just unloading the bike when Deb's aunt and uncle pulled up. We cleaned up and went to dinner with them and their son and daughter-in-law. Great conversation, good food.

Decided that since we have the time, we will spend and extra day here, do a day trip, oh and did I mention that Sierra Trading Post is across the street from the hotel? We'll do laundry and just relax. We're going to look at maps with Terri and Don to determine the most scenic way to Yellowstone. I want to go to Arco and see the Devil Boat.

Well, Deb is sitting here waiting for me to finish so. That's yesterday's update and today's plan. More later.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Cody Trip - Pioche NV to Jackpot NV

We were up and out early and enjoying the cool morning and for the first time not soaking ourselves with water to stay cool. It's nice to be dry and cool.

It's a lovely scenic road, snow capped mountains on either side of us, great rock formations, more Joshua trees, finally more trees, pines ans mesquite, than cacti and scrub brush. Very little traffic for the first part of the day which is also nice. Down through Great Basin National park.

Did 100 miles before breakfast at one of two restaurants we could find in Ely, at a casino. Back on the road, gassing up every chance we get which turns out to be about every 75 miles or so. Because you can never be sure about where the next gas will be.

On a side note, we are really enjoying the Scala Rider headsets. It's really great to be able to talk along the way to point out things of interest, road hazards, make decisions on when to stop and just general chit chat and silly stuff.

Approaching Lages Station we started noticing the clouds gathering on either side of us and while we were stopped for gas spoke to a trucker who was "hauling 'taters from Idaho to San Francisco" about the weather up the road. She informed us that while she got a deluge for about a mile 10 miles up the road, all else was clear. We decided to pass on the rain gear and headed up the road. We did indeed get rain mixed with hail a few miles up. Deb's hollering "ouch, ouch, ouch" in my ear and the wind was ferocious. One of those lean left to go straight things for many miles even after the rain had long stopped.

We came into Wells and stopped for lunch and to check the weather. The clouds were looking pretty ominous. While we were eating, there was a down pour. After talking to some truckers we learned there was construction between Wells and Jackpot. We wanted to make Twin Falls. We also met a couple of older guys from Milwaukee who were traveling about an hour behind us. They gave us some great tips about Yellowstone. After the rain stopped we were on the road again.

Several stop and go construction areas along the way but not too bad because the weather was a bit cooler. About 20 miles from Jackpot we pulled over to stretch and take a few pictures when we noticed lightening off to the east in the general direction we were heading. Short stop and back to it. Got rained on more, got a bit chilly too.

Finally made Jackpot and after checking weather info we decided to stay the night here. If we are going to have massive storms we would rather be rested, besides, it may be gone by then. Our Milwaukee friends caught up with us and checked into the same hotel. Nice guys.

Time for breakfast and then about 200 miles to Meridian ID where we will meet some of Deb's family for dinner .

Wish you could all be here with us.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Cody Trip - Henderson, NV to Pioche NV

Monday's trip posted on Tuesday.

We left Henderson, NV later than we planned this morning, around 10:15 so we missed all the morning traffic in Las Vegas and headed towards Ely, NV. After yesterday’s ride in temps up to 110, we were pretty drained. We had dinner last night with Deb’s step sister and her husband, great people. As a result we had a hard time getting going this morning.

Once we got through Vegas we stopped to gas up and for Deb to check her oil then off again. We got off at Hwy 93 and gassed up again even though we had gone less than 25 miles because we weren’t sure how far our next gas was going to be. Fortunately we found out at the truck stop that we could get gas after about 80 miles in Alamo.

The ride was beautiful, there was another large stretch of Joshua trees. I’m going to have to look up how they got their name. Very interesting looking trees. Anyway, lots of great scenic rock formations and landscapes. This was one of the longest , most deserted, straightest roads I’ve ever been on. Every now and again there would be a sign with a curve symbol and 65 MPH limit. We thought it was funny. I think they were there to simply bring the driver’s attention to the not straight road. Speed limits went from 70 to 55 to 45 in about 100 feet.

We stopped in Alamo for gas and lunch in a funky little place. The town was less than 2 miles on the highway. There we chatted with a woman and her granddaughters while eating lunch. Discovered that somewhere between the gas stop and the lunch stop (about ½ mile) Deb lost the batteries in her camera.

At the first gas stop outside of Vegas we had already put on cooling vest, chilly pads and soaked ourselves pretty good since the temp was already over 100. By the time we were getting back on the road in Alamo, the temp was 110. Clouds were gathering in the distance and at one point God gave us rain, a whole 10 drops each J . However, the clouds did provide some welcome shade as they passed overhead.

Out in the middle of this desert is an animal preserve, not sure what they are preserving but we saw signs for deer and cattle. There was even a nice lake and some marsh lands…..who knew? Lots of fabulous rock formations and some breathtaking scenery. Later we stopped in Caliente to gas up and get something to drink. After looking at the clouds and realizing how drained we were from riding in the heat , and we ARE on vacation, we decided to stop in Pioche a tiny (once mining) town. It’s an adorable little town with some rich history. We are staying at the Mother Lode Motel, got the “best room in the house” the handicapped room, no phone, no wifi, no remote for the TV, no pool, no soda machines. However it is a room, clean and fairly comfortable in a rustic sort of way. We had dinner at the Silver CafĂ©, a building over 100 years old. Took some great pictures that will be posted soon.

Now, it’s off to bed.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Cody Trip - Morning Day 2

Yesterday we started in Glendale at 7:15 and landed in Henderson, NV at about 4:30pm. To say it was hot is an understatement. We passed through the Joshua Tree forest which was beautiful and different. Out in the middle of no where so, we didn't have any good places to stop for pictures. Met a couple of Austrians who were touring the SW on rented bikes. And passed through Nothing.

The last 40 miles were probably the longest 40 miles of my life. We crossed Hoover Dam in slightly less than an hour. Great place to practice your slow ride skills but I wouldn't recommend it in the heights of summer. We stopped once just to poor water over ourselves, the heat from the engines scorched our thighs. When we finally got through we stopped at strip mall for some shade where I worried that I might be having heat exhaustion. After cooling off and drinking plenty, I felt much better and we went another 10 miles or so where we planned to stay for the night and meet Deb's step sister.

We pulled into the Fiesta Casino Hotel, talk about service! We scared the parking valets to death when we pulled up to valet parking. We told him we were just looking for motorcycle parking, he directed us to that and then met us at the bikes with a luggage cart, unloaded our bikes and sent us off to the front desk to check in. When we had done that, he met us at the desk and followed us to our room, unloaded the cart and set the AC for us. Definitely worth the hefty tip we gave him and it was still less than staying at the Holiday Inn as we originally planned.

Deb's step sister Sharon and her husband Bob met us for dinner. We had a great time with them, laughing a lot. Later we took a little ride to the cemetery where Deb's father is buried.

Finally, it was back to the hotel, about 30 minutes of TV and snooze city.

Packing up shortly to head out on the next leg of the trip. Look for pictures under Debbie's Facebook page.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Motorcycle Prep for Cody

I spend a good part of yesterday in the garage getting my bike ready for our upcoming trip to Cody, WY. Last week I had my stock bars swapped out for some CP Punishers and was floored at the vibration I experienced. So, after doing some research I ended up making my own bar weights.

Removed the new Pro Twisted Grips, trip to Ace Hardware and bought some 3/4" OD 5/8" ID vinyl hose and appropriate end caps. Cut to 6 inch sections, tossed a couple of fishing weights and filled with RTV silicone from Auto Zone. Inserted those into the bars and reinstalled the grips. Haven't tested it yet but think it should help. Also installed mirror extenders so I can see something besides my own arms. Also installed under seat base for Kuryakan Gran Tour bag. Getting the seat back on was a PITA. Had to take the Leatherlykes off. Now I need to adjust the shocks and test ride and we'll be good to go.

Oh, and I'll need a new manicure.

Monday, June 7, 2010

YouTube - The Rev. John Dorhauer - SB1070 rally

I am blessed and proud to be a member of UCC and the Southwest Conference.

YouTube - The Rev. John Dorhauer - SB1070 rally

Monday, April 26, 2010

AZ SB 1070

On April 23, Arizona Governor, Jan Brewer, signed into law one of the harshest immigration bills ever written. So far, The Christian Science Monitor has challenged the civil rights aspect, the Catholic Church has equated it with Nazism, clergy of UNITED Church of Christ and other Arizona denominations have joined with people of all faiths to take the pledge against AZ Law 1070 via 1070 I Pledge. If you believe this law is wrong, regardless of where you live, please add your voice to those who have already taken the pledge of peaceful resistance.

New York Mayor is already targeting tourists who are now refusing to visit Arizona due to this law. Organizations are reconsidering Arizona as a location for conferences and conventions. The Southwest Conference of the UNITED Church of Christ has already voted to move next year's annual meeting from Sun City, AZ to a yet to be named city in New Mexico. Hispanic News is promoting a Boycott Arizona campaign.

With the economy already in the toilet, Jan Brewer has set Arizona up to suffer even more by alienating all non-citizens (although the bill is aimed at Mexican immigrants it could just as easily be applied to European, Asian and other visitors or immigrants), family and friends of those immigrants as well as organization that promote social justice. Even citizens whose citizenship is "questionable" can be retained until things are "straightened out."

Thank you Arizona lawmakers and governor, just wait until you try to balance this year's budget without all the tourist revenue.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Language of Love

The Language of God from United Church of Christ on Vimeo.

This is an awesome video regarding religion with relevance, taking the bible seriously but not literally.


Watch it, think about it and feel free to comment, I'd love to hear what my friends and family have to say.


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Eating on the Road

Like many motorcyclists when traveling whether on 4 or 2 wheels, we always tend to visit the out of the way or local place whenever possible. This has led to a couple of interesting situations. There was the restaurant in Grant Ferry that was out of everything we ordered, the hole in the wall restaurant that's "mild" food was so hot we could barely eat it, and the place in Tuba City where we had pasta alfredo soup and a loaf of lasagna.



This past weekend was another one for the books. We spent the weekend in Lake Havasu with other Motor Maids having a great time. We talked motorcycles, trips, friends and family, we talked about women & motorcycling history and all sorts of things. There was a lovely sunset ferry trip across the lake to California for dinner.



Ok, back to the food thing. On our way back from Lake Havasu we stopped in Salome for lunch and to warm up a bit. Little did we realize that the day before had been the some sort of huge chili cook off. So we pull into Christina's Cantina, the parking lot was full so we thought that was a good sign and if not for the afore mentioned chili cook off, I'm sure we would have been correct.



The inside of the cantina was typical southwestern nowhere charm having been added on to an existing tavern. There was a large wooden bar surrounded with bar stools that were bolted to the floor and covered with yellow-gold vinyl. The awning of what must have been at one time the entrance to the tavern was decorated with green pottery. The ceiling was open with large duct work and exposed wiring all painted brown to blend in. The door to the ladies' room only opened halfway before it stuck on the cement floor.



We settled on a table among the Sunday afternoon snowbirds. When the waitress came over we ordered coffee and water, then she told us that the deep fryer was broken so we couldn't have anything fried (i.e. french fries, chimichanga, etc). Deb orders the chili relleno....oops, they are out of that. While she is pondering the menu again, I ordered a grilled ham & cheese. I asked what they put on the ham & cheese (because I didn't want mayo), the waitress said she would check. When she returned, she looked at me and simply said "cheese". I started to say that was great, could they add lettuce and mustard, she cut me off by saying "we're out of ham". By now, Deb has studied the menu and decided that she would have the green chili burrito enchalada style, I ordered the red chili one and we settled down to drink our coffee.



Five minutes or so later, the waitress reappears to inform us that we are 95% there. They have the green chili but...surprise...they are out of green sauce, would she mind red sauce on her green chili burrito? At this point I think we were so hungry they could have put chocolate sauce on it and we wouldn't have noticed. Deb agrees to the red sauce.



While we wait for our food we overhear another waitress telling the patrons recently seated behind us that "the fryer is broken so no fries, burritos or chick strips, we're out of ham so no ham omelettes or sandwiches and there is one shell left for a taco salad". When our food finally arrived, it was quite good, Deb said it was the best green chili with red sauce she had ever had. So, I guess some time soon we will be heading back to Salome and Christina's Cantina on a day when there isn't a festival in town and we might have better luck with the menu.

Monday, February 1, 2010

How to Speed Up Your Computer - Cleaning and Defragging

This is a quick article I wrote for some coworkers explaining why and how to perform some simple computer maintenance.

Why do I need to clean my computer?
Here is a common scenario. You receive and email from a friend, coworker or boss with a file attached. You open the attachment, review the information it contains, and decide you do not need to keep the document, close the attachment and delete the email. Poof! It’s gone, or is it?

If you empty the Deleted items in your email on a regular basis, the email itself is gone, but what about the document? Probably not. Computers are designed to retain images, called temp files, of documents, web pages, graphics and other items, like cookies, to make viewing them again quicker and easier, particularly sites that are graphic intensive. These images are kept in a Temp or Temporary directory on your hard drive. Now, imagine keeping every magazine, newspaper, brochure, sale paper and letter that come into your home and stacking them up in a corner, never throwing anything away or recycling it. Imagine the stack growing and growing until you can barely move around your home. This is basically what happens to your computer if you don’t clean it periodically. The more room your temp files take up the more sluggish your computer becomes. Before cleaning your computer, if you have any stored passwords be sure to write these down because the cleaning process will wipe them out.

So, how do I clean my computer?
Microsoft has been kind enough to include a tool to clean your computer for you. To locate this tool select Start > All Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Disk Cleanup. A small box will appear while the items are gathered and compressed. When it is complete you will get a window like the one shown here.

Most of the appropriate boxes will already be checked for you. If you scroll down you will also see Recycle Bin, Temporary files, WebClient/Publisher Temporary Files and Temporary Offline Files. If these items are not checked, check them before proceeding. Do not check the Office Setup Files box or Compress old files unless you have been instructed to do so by an IT professional. Select OK.

When it’s complete, the box should close by itself and you are ready to move on to defragging.


Why do I need to defrag my hard drive?
Going back to the example above with the newspapers, magazines and mail, if you toss those items in various places around your home, they tend to clutter things up and take up more space. The same is true with your hard drive. The system writes the file in a convenient place which may not be the most efficient place for the overall function of the computer. Now that we have cleaned out all the garbage in the cleaning process, there are empty gaps of disk space. By compressing all the remaining data into one continuous area, it allows the hard drive to function more efficiently.

So, how do I defrag my hard drive?
Microsoft has been kind enough to include a tool for this also. To locate this tool select Start > All Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Disk Defragmenter. A box similar to the one below should appear. In this particular case the box shows only a C drive, however, depending on how your computer is set up, you may also have a D drive.

Select the Analyze button in this box


When the analysis is complete you will get a new pop up box telling you whether or not you need to defrag the drive.


This particular drive does not really need to be defragged at this point. Below is an example of what the analysis looks like.


Green files are system files which are unmovable, white is free space, blue is contiguous files and red is the fragmented files. The more red you see the more fragmented your hard drive is. This drive has very little red. Running defrag will slow down the performance of your computer until the process is complete. If you have never defragged your hard drive or see a great deal of red, it may take quite some time to complete the defrag process. If this is the case, it may be wise to start the defrag process in the evening and allow it to run over night.

When it is complete, you will see the comparison of the before and after.


Close out of the Defragmenter using the X in the upper right corner and reboot your computer. The reboot isn’t required, just one of those nice things you do for your computer. :-)

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Good Old Days or Things I Miss and Things I Don't

How often to we hear people say "it used to be...." or "back then..." or some other variation of that sentiment? We miss the days when people picked up the telephone or stopped by the house instead of text messaging and email. Yet those things help bring us closer together with family and friends. Letters from generations past bring us comfort and sometimes knowledge of their lives. Is the art of letter writing gone with like the days of 45 records and 8 track tapes?

On the other hand, we have the convenience of paying our bills online, eliminating the tedium of writing checks, getting stamps and mailing them. Good for us, bad for the Post Office, but no, I don't miss that. As the world and technology continue to evolve, I watch as my life becomes more and more paperless. In almost every case, I embrace this change for many reasons, some personal, some ecological. Recently I had the pleasure of copying tons of documents for work, reminding me that one thing I don't miss about paper is paper cuts. Why is it that nothing hurts like a paper cut?

One thing I do miss, as much as I love my digital camera, there is a part of me that truly misses photographs that I can touch and feel.

Posted via email from BJ's posterous

Sunday, January 3, 2010

A look back at 2009 and hopes for 2010

I've been sitting here looking back on the year now past, thinking about all the changes, memorable events, and just stuff that has transpired in the last 12 months. Lots of joys and frustrations, lots of laughter and a few tears, some cool adventures and some plain Jane
ho hum.

It has been a year of watching my daughter and my grandson both grow in leaps and bounds. Seeing them both experience the joy of accomplishment makes my heart soar. I am so very proud of both of them. Of course, as is normal, they have both experienced frustrations and set backs, yet they have handled them with determination and stubbornness. Wonder where they get that from?

A good portion of the year was spent in remodeling and updating our house, an exciting and frustrating undertaking. With a little prodding we made some rather bold and fun decisions for us, since we are both pretty subdued when it comes to decorating. Our guest bath is totally motorcycle themed complete with toolbox red cabinets, chrome diamond plate trim, motorcycle plates, motorcycle based accents and art. So we are finally rid of the Pepto pink bathtub, the 1950's pink flowered wallpaper and have added a shower. Our formerly bland white living room is now a nice green, although when we decided to use green in the living room,. I thought we were talking about one wall, not the entire room. So you can imagine my shock when I came home to a full room of green. It grew on me pretty quickly and now I am really glad it was done that way. Our kitchen counters were also redone, extended out and raised to form a bar which is really cool. We decided not to buy pre-made counter tops and to have a company come in and refinished the rebuilt counters. Word to the wise, unless you can leave your house for at least a week to have it done, buy the counter tops. It's a huge mess and smelly, it didn't help that the
workmen didn't do as good a job as we expected. Finally got flooring in the rest of the bedrooms and grouting in the remaining tile. The entire process took a great deal longer than we expected and some stuff has yet to be completed, it will get done eventually.

We traveled to Keystone CO with friends for the AMA Women & Motorcycling conference. We took some extra time to that we could take a scenic route, passing through some of the most beautiful country I have ever seen. Met awesome new friends and spent time with old friends and remembered one we had recently lost who had touched our lives with her unique self and selflessness. Joined the Motor Maids, the oldest women's motorcycle club in the country. On the way home from Keystone we were on one of the scariest roads I've ever been on, in the rain no less. Thankfully my bike waited until AFTER we were down the mountain before breaking down in the dark in the middle of nowhere. The end result was that after getting it repaired and
going back to Durango two weeks later to get it, I decided that I didn't want to be in the situation again where I couldn't find a shop that could work on my bike within 50 miles. So, I started looking around and bought my first cruiser, a Honda VTX1300 and I am loving it.

Thanks to Facebook, I have had the opportunity to reconnect with old friends and relatives. I'm looking forward to exploring those relationships more and reconnecting with more folks.

We have been blessed to have not suffered the financial hardships so many others have experienced due to the economy. We have done our best to show our gratitude by giving back whenever we can. Our church has been a great blessing, allowing me to take a well needed break from the stress, responsibility and turmoil we had been feeling at our former church. I am so grateful to be a part of First Church, now that my batteries are recharged and I am looking forward to more opportunities to help those who need it and serve where ever I can.

Here is to the New Year, with hopes of more joy, growth, fun and riding. Prayers for those we know, and those we don't, who are suffering hardships due to the economy. Wishes for more adventure, more time with my love, more hugs and kisses from the grandson, more good times with the daughter, more time with friends, more forgiveness, more tolerance, more humility, more peace, more laughter, more of Steve's amazing sermons and more of a still speaking God.

Namaste.

Posted via email from BJ's posterous