You can follow my ride via Spotwalla from the link below.
You can follow my ride via Spotwalla from the link below.
“The Last Six Seconds”
One can hardly conceive of the enormous grief held quietly within General Kelly as he spoke.
On Nov 13, 2010, Lt. General John Kelly, USMC, gave a speech to the Semper Fi Society of St. Louis, MO. This was four days after his son, Lt Robert Kelly, USMC, was killed by an IED while on his 3rd Combat tour. During his speech, General Kelly spoke about the dedication and valor of our young men and women who step forward each and every day to protect us.
During the speech, he never mentioned the loss of his own son. He closed the speech with the moving account of the last six seconds in the lives of two young Marines who died with rifles blazing to protect their brother Marines.
“I will leave you with a story about the kind of people they are, about the quality of the steel in their backs, about the kind of dedication they bring to our country while they serve in uniform and forever after as veterans. Two years ago when I was the Commander of all U.S. and Iraqi forces, in fact, the 22 ND of April 2008, two Marine infantry battalions, 1/9 “The Walking Dead,” and 2/8 were switching out in Ramadi. One battalion in the closing days of their deployment going home very soon, the other just starting its seven-month combat tour. Two Marines, Corporal Jonathan Yale and Lance Corporal Jordan Haerter, 22 and 20 years old respectively, one from each battalion, were assuming the watch together at the entrance gate of an outpost that contained a makeshift barracks housing 50 Marines. The same broken down ramshackle building was also home to 100 Iraqi police, also my men and our allies in the fight against the terrorists in Ramadi, a city until recently the most dangerous city on earth and owned by Al Qaeda.
Yale was a dirt poor mixed-race kid from Virginia with a wife and daughter, and a mother and sister who lived with him and whom he supported as well. He did this on a yearly salary of less than $23,000. Haerter, on the other hand, was a middle class white kid from Long Island. They were from two completely different worlds. Had they not joined the Marines they would never have met each other, or understood that multiple America’s exist simultaneously depending on one’s race, education level, economic status, and where you might have been born. But they were Marines, combat Marines, forged in the same crucible of Marine training, and because of this bond they were brothers as close, or closer, than if they were born of the same woman.
The mission orders they received from the sergeant squad leader I am sure went something like, “Okay you two clowns, stand this post and let no unauthorized personnel or vehicles pass. You clear?”
I am also sure Yale and Haerter then rolled their eyes and said in unison something like, “Yes Sergeant,” with just enough attitude that made the point without saying the words, “No kidding ‘sweetheart’, we know what we’re doing.” They then relieved two other Marines on watch and took up their post at the entry control point of Joint Security Station Nasser, in the Sophia section of Ramadi, Al Anbar, Iraq.
A few minutes later a large blue truck turned down the alley way – perhaps 60-70 yards in length, and sped its way through the serpentine of concrete jersey walls. The truck stopped just short of where the two were posted and detonated, killing them both catastrophically. Twenty-four brick masonry houses were damaged or destroyed. A mosque 100 yards away collapsed. The truck’s engine came to rest two hundred yards away knocking most of a house down before it stopped. Our explosive experts reckoned the blast was made of 2,000 pounds of explosives. Two died, and because these two young infantrymen didn’t have it in their DNA to run from danger, they saved 150 of their Iraqi and American brothers-in-arms.
When I read the situation report about the incident a few hours after it happened I called the regimental commander for details as something about this struck me as different.
Marines dying or being seriously wounded is commonplace in combat. We expect Marines regardless of rank or MOS to stand their ground and do their duty, and even die in the process, if that is what the mission takes. But this just seemed different. The regimental commander had just returned from the site and he agreed, but reported that there were no American witnesses to the event – just Iraqi police. I figured if there was any chance of finding out what actually happened and then to decorate the two Marines to acknowledge their bravery, I’d have to do it as a combat award that requires two eye-witnesses and we figured the bureaucrats back in Washington would never buy Iraqi statements. If it had any chance at all, it had to come under the signature of a general officer.
I traveled to Ramadi the next day and spoke individually to a half-dozen Iraqi police all of whom told the same story. The blue truck turned down into the alley and immediately sped up as it made its way through the serpentine. They all said, “We knew immediately what was going on as soon as the two Marines began firing.” The Iraqi police then related that some of them also fired, and then to a man, ran for safety just prior to the explosion. All survived. Many were injured, some seriously. One of the Iraqis elaborated and with tears welling up said, “They’d run like any normal man would to save his life.” “What he didn’t know until then,” he said, “And what he learned that very instant, was that Marines are not normal.”
Choking past the emotion he said, “Sir, in the name of God no sane man would have stood there and done what they did.” “No sane man.” “They saved us all.”
What we didn’t know at the time, and only learned a couple of days later after I wrote a summary and submitted both Yale and Haerter for posthumous Navy Crosses, was that one of our security cameras, damaged initially in the blast, recorded some of the suicide attack. It happened exactly as the Iraqis had described it. It took exactly six seconds from when the truck entered the alley until it detonated.
You can watch the last six seconds of their young lives. Putting myself in their heads I supposed it took about a second for the two Marines to separately come to the same conclusion about what was going on once the truck came into their view at the far end of the alley. Exactly no time to talk it over, or call the sergeant to ask what they should do. Only enough time to take half an instant and think about what the sergeant told them to do only a few minutes before, “Let no unauthorized personnel or vehicles pass.” The two Marines had about five seconds left to live.
It took maybe another two seconds for them to present their weapons, take aim, and open up. By this time the truck was half-way through the barriers and gaining speed the whole time. Here, the recording shows a number of Iraqi police, some of whom had fired their AKs, now scattering like the normal and rational men they were – some running right past the Marines. They had three seconds left to live.
For about two seconds more, the recording shows the Marines’ weapons firing non-stop the truck’s windshield exploding into shards of glass as their rounds take it apart and tore in to the body of the (I deleted) who is trying to get past them to kill their brothers – American and Iraqi-bedded down in the barracks totally unaware of the fact that their lives at that moment depended entirely on two Marines standing their ground.
If they had been aware, they would have known they were safe because two Marines stood between them and a crazed suicide bomber. The recording shows the truck careening to a stop immediately in front of the two Marines. In all of the instantaneous violence Yale and Haerter never hesitated. By all reports and by the recording, they never stepped back. They never even started to step aside. They never even shifted their weight. With their feet spread shoulder width apart, they leaned into the danger, firing as fast as they could work their weapons. They had only one second left to live.
The truck explodes. The camera goes blank. Two young men go to their God. Six seconds. Not enough time to think about their families, their country, their flag, or about their lives or their deaths, but more than enough time for two very brave young men to do their duty into eternity. That is the kind of people who are on watch all over the world tonight – for you.
We Marines believe that God gave America the greatest gift he could bestow to man while he lived on this earth – freedom. We also believe he gave us another gift nearly as precious – our soldiers, sailors, airmen, U S Customs and Border Patrol, Coast Guardsmen, and Marines – to safeguard that gift and guarantee no force on this earth can ever steal it away.
It has been my distinct honor to have been with you here today. Rest assured our America, this experiment in democracy started over two centuries ago, will forever remain the “land of the free and home of the brave” so long as we never run out of tough young Americans who are willing to look beyond their own self-interest and comfortable lives, and go into the darkest and most dangerous places on earth to hunt down, and kill, those who would do us harm.
God Bless America, and SEMPER FIDELIS !”
My Dad served as an Aerial Gunner on a B-17 during WW2 and C-47 crew during the Korean War. One of his fondest memories of service food was S.O.S. (Shit On a Shingle). He use to prepare it based on the recipe he learned during WW2, made with Ground Beef. S.O.S. evolved over the years, and you’ll find the recipes varied. Being a Foodee, I’ve done a lot of research on the subject, so I will give you a history from what I learned.
One of the first published sources I could find was in a U.S. Army Manual for Cooks printed in 1910. The main ingredient in that publication just said 35 lbs of “Meat”. Back in those days in the field, Cooks could never rely on a reliable source of meat so they used what ever they came across, from Horse to Buffalo, Pork and Beef. At the end of this article, I have listed the Official recipe from a 1957 edition of the Army Cooks Manual, along with several other Military Variations.
S.O.S. Is primarily a White Gravy base made from a floured roux, made with animal fat and or Butter, water, milk, cream or a combination of the aforementioned liquids. Combined with the Meat, it is typically served over slices of toasted bread, the Shingles. A modern version is usually made with Sausage which is popular in Texas and the South, as Sausage Gravy and Biscuits. S.O.S. has become a traditional staple in Military Chow Halls and I experienced it myself during the 70’s in the Air Force, where it was made with Ground Beef. Air Force recipes often use Ground Beef since WW2, because their kitchens were on bases located in the rear areas and they had access to refrigeration.
During WW1, canned meat was widely available and was used as refrigeration in forward areas in Military kitchens was rare or non-existent. This evolved into the recipe known as Cream of Chipped Beef, Creamed Beef on Toast or Chipped Beef and was often found in Diners prior to WW2 and is still found today, mostly in Eateries along the East Coast. The Navy adopted the recipe and tweaked it, mostly using the Dried Beef, Salted Beef or Minced Beef as refrigeration on board Ships was limited, so they relied on the canned delicacy. Recipes appear in Navy Manuals as early as 1927 and was called Minced Beef and Gravy. You can still find Dried Beef, usually made by Armour in the Canned Meat section of your local grocery and is packed in a glass jar with metal lid.
The British Navy have a version they call S.O.R. (Shit On a Raft), the Raft being toasted bread. Other slang terms for S.O.S. include (Save Our Stomach’s), Camel Puke used by Troops deployed in the Middle East. Other names include Mystery Meat, Semen On a Shingle, Bull Fuck, Shit On Toast, Stew On a Shingle, Something On a Shingle and Same Old Shit. As varied are the names, so are the recipes.
I’ve made variations to include chopped Onions & Celery, additional spices such as Curry Powder, Paprika, Cayenne Pepper, SPAM & Mushrooms. If you want to cheat, you can even use Cream Soups such as Cream of Mushroom, Chicken or Celery. For healthier versions, you can use Ground Turkey, Pork, or even Tuna and serve it over Noodles, Whole Wheat Toast, Hash Browns or Rice. If using Tuna, you need to create the Gravy first and then add the Tuna at the end to warm it through and you can add Peas and or diced Carrots.
If you wanna try it the way my Dad enjoyed it during WW2, then follow my basic recipe “351st Bomb Group S.O.S.” below. The ingredients and how to cook are also on my You Tube Channel, so try it out. Kids love it!
WW2 351st Bomb Group (S.O.S)
1/2 lb. ground beef
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
4 tbsp. sifted flour
1 cup evaporated milk
½ to 1 cup water
¼ cup of butter
Brown ground beef in its own fat on med heat. Remove half the excess fat. Season with salt and pepper. Add butter and flour to the Beef in the pan and Cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring constantly. Do not brown. Combine milk and water. Add Milk and Water, stir until thoroughly blended. Simmer for 5-10 minutes, or until desired consistency. Add additional season if necessary. Serve on toast.
The following version of Shit on a Shingle is from April 1957, in: TM 10-412-1, “Department of the Army Technical Manual. Army Recipes (Meat, Poultry, Fish, Gravies, Sauces and Dressing.)
No. A-34 Creamed Ground Beef on Toast.
100 servings of 1 cup each. Preparation and cooking time: about 1 1/4 hours
35 pounds of Beef Carcass, cut into pieces and ground finely OR 24 pounds of finely ground boneless beef
Brown beef in its own fat in roasting pans on top of range. Remove excess fat during cooking period.
1 pound (3/4 quart) dried chopped onion
5 oz (1/2 cup) salt
1 oz (1 tablespoon) black pepper
1 bay leaf
Add onions and seasoning and mix thoroughly.
2 gallons evaporated milk
2 gallons of water for milk
Add 3 gallons of milk to beef mixture and heat to simmering, stirring frequently.
2 pounds (1 3/4 quarts) hard wheat flour.
Mix flour with the remaining gallon of milk and stir into hot mixture. Bring to a boil, stirring steadily, reduce heat and simmer until thickened.
100 slices toast.
Serve on toast.
Here are the recipes they provide:
CREAMED BEEF ON TOAST (S.O.S.)
1 (3 or 4 oz.) pkg. sliced dried or smoked beef, chopped
2 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. all purpose flour
1/8 tsp. pepper
1 1/3 c. milk
1/4 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
English muffin or toast
In large skillet, melt butter. Stir in flour and pepper. While stirring, add milk and Worcestershire sauce and heat until thick and bubbly. Add beef and continue to cook while stirring for a couple of minutes. Spoon over toast or English muffins.
U.S. NAVY STYLE – S.O.S. (MINCED BEEF)
1 lb. ground beef
1 med. onion, chopped
1/4 c. celery, minced
2 tbsp. flour
1 (20 oz.) can tomatoes, chopped
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 c. water
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
Brown beef, onion, celery; add flour. Mix thoroughly. Add tomatoes, salt, pepper and water, sauce and nutmeg. Simmer 1/2 hour. Serve over crisp toast. Serves 6.
April 1st, 2015 the Tour of Honor Ride launches and lasts until Nov 1st, 2015. This self directed ride`not only provides a reason to ride but honors those who have served in the Military, Law Enforcement and Emergency Services Fields. This year I am sponsoring two of the most desolate States in the Union, Nevada and New Mexico. If you want to see just how vast our Country really is, both States are fine examples.
I just finished my final review of the 7 Sites I selected in each State for Riders to visit, along with recommendations for places to eat or visit along the way. Remember, once Registered as a Rider with the Tour of Honor Ride you can ride any of the other States for recognition, not to mention competing for Trophies for the First Three Finishers of each state, or the Jack Sholamire award for the most sites visited. For more information about the TOH Ride go Here: 2015 TOH
One of the only sites I can reveal, the Veterans Memorial in Angelfire NM, is a permanent site not only for its grandeur but for Vistas and roads you will see to get there and the view is spectacular and therapeutic. I’ve included some pictures from my last visit. I always take a fixin’s to make a meal and take a break, eat and relax on the Memorial grounds.
Sign up and do something special on your Motorcycle for an adventure you can remember, Enjoy the pictures of the Angelfire Memorial Grounds.RIDE SAFE!
One of the many controversies for Concealed Carry Weapons License Holders, is whether to carry a loaded round in the chamber. The Israelis with their Citizen Soldiers have had many accidents in public places and when you do something long enough, there are bound to be accidents. I am just demonstrating the difference it time in takes, which visually is almost undetectable without a timer.
If you train consistently with any technique and become proficient, it won’t make much difference. More than likely, most criminals do not have the discipline to train in any form of activities, that’s why the prey on others or act like scavengers. Any well trained and armed decent citizen, will always come out on top.
This is the 6 Shot Rhythm Drill. I am using a AR Platform Rifle I built, which I call the ZAR (Zeke’s Autmoatic Rifle). This is a good drill to help you learn to manage recoil, sharpen trigger control and maintain your sight picture. With reaction time, I am shooting slightly over 6 rounds per second, for a cyclic rate of 360 Rounds Per Minute. Don’t forget to check out my other Videos.
Here ya go from Fail Army
A new Video Forum has emerged for Gun, Tactical and Shooting Enthusiast. A new way to enjoy your favorite Shooting Sport related Videos with like minded Folks, without the Haters and Gun Grabbers. Sign up for an Account and check it out.
A Man was arrested for Shooting a California Condor. Standing before the Judge, the Judge said: “Mr Warren. You have been charged with Killing a California Condor,, an Endangered Species. How do you plead?”
Mr Warren: “Well you Honor, I admit I shot it alright. You see, I’ve been unemployed and have been living in my Van with my Wife and 4 kids. I lost my job over a year ago and we had run out of food and my Family was hungry. I had no money and shot the first thing I could, in order to feed them”. The Judge replied: “Well Mr Warren. Under the circumstances I must find you guilty but I will suspend the sentence. I have just one question for you. What did the Condor taste like?” Mr Warren replied: “Well your Honor, It tasted like a cross between a Bald Eagle and Spotted Owl”.
What is forecast to be a record Winter Storm is currently moving onto the East Coast, expecting to impact over 28 million people. Huge deposits of snow and ice accompanied by high winds have already affected Air Travel and Airlines have already cancelled thousands of Flights and wide spread power outages are expected. This will be a true test for those who are Preppers and an eye opener for those who are not. Here is a You Tube video illustrating the panic buying which has already occurred in NY State. The peak of the storm is expected to last through tomorrow night.
Barring SHTF or Zombie Apocalypse, you never know when Mother Nature will rear her head. This illustrates why every family should maintain stores of Emergency supplies and Food in their homes. Wishing the best for those on the East Coast.
I will be heading to the 10th Anniversary of the Two Wheeled Texans Annual Pie Run to Hico Tx. For information view the details at the thread below and RSVP, so the staff has a heads up.
I will be staging at the Country Store in Briggs, Tx on Hwy 183 at 0830 hrs with Kick Stands UP at 0900 hrs.
I’ve been neglecting my site, posting mostly on Facebook and have grown disenchanted with it in general. I am going to revise my blog and content, to included shooting with links to my You Tube Channel Videos, providing my view on Tactical Shooting, Guns, Cooking, Adventures and of Course, Motorcycle Riding. Please check back soon. Wishing you all a Happy and Healthy 2015.
For the past three years I had acted as the State Sponsor for Texas on the Tour of Honor Ride and most recently New Mexico. Last year, I completed 6 States and visited 42 Memorials and it left me with a great deal of satisfaction. I did secure 3rd to finish Oregon in 2013 but I wanted to try for one of the top three finisher positions for my home state of Texas. I asked Glenn Copeland, last years Jack Shoalmire Achievement Award Recipient and first place finisher for Texas in 2012 to act as State Sponsor. I would remain as State Sponsor for NM, so I could vie for a Texas Trophy.
The Texas TOH sites for 2014
As the sites were released on April 31st, 2014 at 2301 hrs Central Time, I quickly looked for the shortest and quickest route. Sometimes the shortest isn’t necessarily the quickest, as I have learned riding long distances over the past decade. The way the Texas sites were located from my starting point which was smack darn in the middle of Texas, one could either ride counter or clockwise. The clockwise route was approx. 100 miles longer, 1300 miles vs 1200 mile and change. My goal was to complete the Texas route in 24 – 26 hours, so I didn’t bring extra clothing or my toiletries. Just one pair of extra underwear and some diaper wipes.
I had been in contact with Preston Bebee of Georgetown, 1st place finisher in Texas for 2013. Preston had completed last years 2300 mile route in 52 hours and Preston is no stranger to LD riding. Preston thought I was trying to find out if he was competing for strategic purposes but I contacted him to see if he wanted to ride with me and I thought it would help motivate me to ride hard. We both agreed that Houston would be our first site and tackle the State with the shorter Counter Clockwise route. Our main concerns were hitting commute traffic times in Houston and Dallas, which if we kept on schedule, we would miss.
My Cockpit: Garmin Nuvi, Iphone all weather case and my Farkle Box.
I was riding my 2000 BMW 1150 GS and Preston had his trusty Honda 1100 Black Bird. We met up at midnight Central time at a Shell Station on Hwy 195 and I-35, from where we would ride to Houston, Waco and then Canton. The GPS showed 197 miles to Houston and as far as we knew, no one was openly competing for the first finisher spot.
Zero Dark Thirty in Texas
As we left Georgetown, we hit the 130 toll road which has a speed limit of 85 MPH. Gotta luv Texas! We popped out on I-10 and quickly found the site in Houston after short bouts of intermittent rain. As we were talking with the Houston PD Officer guarding the Peace Officers Memorial I received a text from Glenn Copeland. Glenn said that there was a rider who left from Houston and was on his way to Canton, vying for the First Place Finisher and a IBA sanctioned Tour of Honor Saddlesore Extreme. The Rider had his SPOT tracking device and ride displayed on Spotwalla for public view. Further information from Glenn said the “Rider” was named Paul and he was operating an Gold Wing, in case we ran into him.
Houston Peace Officers Memorial
I told Preston and he agreed that unless Paul gave up or screwed up, there was no way to make up the 3.5 to 4 hour lead if he road at the same pace we did. Preston is 62 and I am 56 so our pace is a quick relaxed, steady pace kinda like the Tortise. We rarely exceed the speed limit by more than 6 MPH which over the years seems to keep me from getting ticketed. As we left Houston, we were resigned to just keep riding and hope there were no other surprises and settle for 2nd Place.
More rain was forecast, so we decided to double back to the toll road and then rejoin the interstate to Waco. Even thought the route was 80 miles longer, it saved us from slowing down in the small towns and maintain a higher average speed. Staying on the slabs also reduced the chances of animal strikes at night, a real threat here in Texas. The ride to Waco was uneventful and the similar fuel ranges of our machines made managing fuel stops easy, as our fuel reserve lights came on about the same mileage.
Waco Tx. The Texas Ranger Museum
We reached Waco and the Texas Ranger Museum after some light rain on I-35 for about 30 minutes. Our next stop was Canton, Tx and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial there. Both Preston and I had cheap Garmin Nuvi GPS units. Preston had the GPS coordinates for all but one stored in his GPS, while I had the street addresses. I also had my Iphone in case we had to consult the website for clarification.
On the way to Canton and 9 hrs into the ride I started to develop the nods. I had a few micro sleeps, so I was trying inventive ways to jar myself awake. One big help was some Sweet Tarts, whose tartness helped keep my mouth awake but not my eyelids. 10 o;clock in the morning seems to be the hardest time for me to keep awake as my blood sugar seems to dip at that time of the day.
Canton Texas, Vietnam Memorial
As we pulled into Canton, I was in front of Preston. The GPS address showed the Memorial to be up ahead on the left. I was scanning the left side of the road when I heard Preston’s horn. Due to my focus, I had completely missed the Memorial location at the intersection,which was on our right. As we dismounted and took our picture, I was greeted by David Smith. David is new to the Iron Butt Association but has a true passion to ride. David is also a Deputy in Williamson Co Texas and member of my Blue Knights Chapter. David had just left Houston, hitting Canton and then he would hit Waco to on his way home. David, AKA: Sasquatch didn’t have enough time to do the whole state, so would finish the rest on a second ride.
David Smith Blue Knights of Texas Chapter 30
At this point, we stopped at a Golden Chick to get our first sit down meal, if you want to call it that. I got two chicken legs and Preston some Chicken Strips. We didn’t was to eat too much, for fear of getting drowsy. I don’t like to drink caffeine on a long ride unless its to get me the last couple of hours to the finish. Otherwise I will suffer a Caffeine Crash and have to pee every 20 minutes. I find sour candy gives me a little sugar boost without overload and the sourness keeps me alert and doing something.
We left Canton and got thru the Dallas/FT Worth area without any back ups. We stayed on I-20 taking advantage of the 75 MPH speed limit, before we veered onto State Hwy 84, through Snyder and onto Lubbock our Northernmost stop in the State. From Lubbock to Kerrville out final stop, it would be only 334 miles as we picked up the last three sites.
I had Shinko’s dual sport tires on my GS with 13k miles on them. They still had some tread with the front looking barely worn. But from past experience I know the last level of rubber on a tire seem to go fast, so I was checking my tires at every fuel stop. With over 700 miles logged so far, I became confident my tires would last the rest of the trip and then some tread wise.
Just past Sweetwater Texas, we made our way onto Hwy 84 and we stopped in Snyder for fuel and a snack. We then rejoined our route and got up 85 and up to 90 MPH in some sections as we neared Lubbock. The area surrounding Lubbock is Desert like terrain with no major towns within 50 miles in all compass directions. Not a good place to break down.
Lubbock Tx Veterans Memorial. 18.5 hrs for 1018 miles
After 18.5 hrs and 1018 miles logged in, we reached the Memorial in Texas and quickly took our pictures. With his 3.5 hour lead a non stop relentless ride, the Mystery Rider “Paul” had beat us to Lubbock and became the first to finish Texas. We still had 7 hours to go and 334 miles with 3 sites to hit. Just as I was getting back on my bike, Preston brought my attention to my rear tire. Entire sections of the tread lugs had flown off, leaving the inner core of my tire exposed. My ride was done for the night and I told Preston he could go on since there was nothing left he could do. I would have to get a room for the night and start making phone calls to get a new tire in the morning. Fortunately this happened in town and not on the desolate highways that surround Lubbock.
When Tires get Tired
Unplanned Steak Dinner in Lubbock at Outback.
Preston agreed to hang with his Wing man and we were only a mile from a Hotel. I had a short bumpy ride and found a Hotel. I let Glenn Copeland know and he sent me a list of local Motorcycle shops in Lubbock. Since it was near 8 o’clock at night, there was nothing to do until morning. We checked two Hotels which were booked, before securing a room at a place with Vacancies. Quick calls to our significant others, I decided to make Lemonade out of the Lemon I was handed and get a nice steak dinner and a good nights sleep. After dinner, Preston immediately went to snoring in 6th gear and I made a list of Motorcycle shops in order of location to the Hotel.
Getting the new tire put on
Kudos to Damron Cycles of Lubbock Texas for getting me on the road again and the T-shirt.
Up early, we grabbed the complimentary breakfast at our Hotel and at 9 am I called the first Motorcycle Shop on my list, Damron Cycles. The had a biased ply tires my size designed for a Harley but I wasn’t in a position to be picky, if I wanted back on the road. A short bumpy 1.7 mile ride on my tire core and Damron had my new tire installed and us back on the road in 40 minutes. One plus was the service manager, a Retired LEO like myself, gave us each a free T-shirt. My bill for the rear tire was $307. This was a bitter pill to swallow compared to the $72 Shinko tire but that’s what you get when you by stuff made for a HD, “Heck of Dinero”.
Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Big Spring Tx
The Military Murals in San Angelo Tx
Well, the day turned out with great weather as we finished our route without further interruption. We arrived in Kerrville which was a warm 88 degrees. I got a passer by to take our last site photo of us together, which we would both submit as our final photo and documenting our joint venture.
Kerrville Tx 2014 Texas TOH 2nd Place Finishers, Preston Bebee of Georgetown and Moi
Our total ride time was 24.5 hrs to cover our route which ended up being 1384 miles. Add another 12.5 hrs for our total elapsed time from when we started the ride, which included the night in the Hotel and bike repair. After submitting our Photos, we quickly received confirmation that we tied for 2nd to finish the 2014 Texas Tour of Honor Ride. It was a great ride, with a great rider for a good reason and a great cause. Remember, “Its just a Motorcycle Ride until something goes wrong and then its and Adventure!”
My Spotwalla Trip Viewer Image of the Ride
By the time I reached home it was 39 hours and 1500 miles later.
It’s getting to be great riding weather as it begins to warm up and in another 2 weeks, the Tour of Honor Ride begins at Midnight, April 1st, 2014. This year I have stepped down as State Sponsor for Texas, giving the reins to Glenn Copeland, so I can compete for one of the Top 3 Finisher trophies for the State. I continue as State Sponsor for New Mexico and hopefully have picked some good sites to see and enjoy.
Last year I was in the Top 15 out of 436 Riders for total sites visited, riding over 20 K miles and visiting 42 different Memorials in 7 different states.
The ride has grown from 7 to 49 participating States, plus some select Provinces in Canada with over 400 riders signed up already. If you like to ride as wish to Honor those from your home State who serve or have served, or you just need a reason to ride, sign up.
Ride hard and Ride safe!
Its been a while since I’ve been active here on my site. Over the last year, I’ve had a resurgence of interest and got back into the shooting world. This was actually spawned by all the Gun Control controversy and pending attempts to legislate what is supposed to be one of our fundamental rights. I’ve built a few rifles on AR (AR-15) platform and having been having fun shooting stuff, filming it and posting them on You Tube. You can visit my channel Mark KratzMC and check out some of my vids and sick sense of humor. I encourage you to Hit the “Like” button or subscribe to my channel.
I have also been exploring the Prepping Mindset. I think there is a fine line of being obsessive but I am a big proponent of being prepared for disasters, either contrived by Mother Nature or Man Made. I will delve more into that in the future as I consider addressing being prepared.
I have continued to collect and build up my personal WW 2 Museum and hope to do a little story on that and feature a Historical Item once a month. The RPG in the Photo above, is part of something I ran across. Although it is out of place with my interest in WW2, I just had to have one. I donated and loaned some of my artifacts to the Williamson County Museum in Georgetown, Texas, which is running a 2 year exhibit on WW2.
So stay tuned and I hope you come back to see where I go in the near future.
Follow my 3 week ride to Utah and beyond.
Gen 2 SPOT
When I bought my SPOT Connect Satellite Tracker, I was unaware that it is not a stand alone device. What this means, unlike the other generations of SPOT trackers, it cannot send out tracks, unless paired with a smart phone or other device via Blue tooth. It is only good as a 911 device. I find this to be a big, big disadvantage. What they also fail to tell you except in small print, is there are data charges to send text messages, post to FB, Email and Twitter. It has a 2 hour auto shut off to save batteries.Here’s an example of why its bad: Say your hiking in Borneo and weight and space are premium. In order for you to send out tracks via satellite, you would need to carry a Smart Phone or other device, in order to use the SPOT Connect. You could summon 911 but all the other features would be useless. So although you would have no cellular service, you would have to carry a Smart Phone and worry about the logistics of charge two devices instead of two. I could live without posting to FB or Twitter but not without being able to track my journey, like you could with the older device.
I have had bad luck with other blue tooth devices with smart phones, which seem to suddenly disconnect and inappropriate times. This would be unacceptable on a vacation or trip, or in an emergency. So newer is not always better. Fortunately, a friend had some extra Gen 2 SPOT trackers and along with the Gen 1 devices, exhibit much longer battery life. Ex: Gen 1 3 AA batteries good for 30 days of continuous tracking, Gen 2 3 AAA 21-24 days vs. SPOT Connect, 6 days.
So here is my SPOT tracking URL if you want to follow me to Utah and beyond as I leave late tomorrow for the Utah 1008 rally.
There comes a point when technology continues to march on but sacrificing good common sense.
Well I lost my first generation SPOT Device a few weeks ago when it flew off my Motorcycle on Hwy 60 in NM, just east of the Arizona border. I guess it was about time, since I had already purchased a replacement device, the new SPOT Connect.
Screenshot from my Iphone. The last know location my SPOT transmitted from. It must of shattered since it ceased to transmit any further.
My new SPOT Connect with Iphone App. I now have the capability to text, email and even post to Facebook via satellite. You can find my SPOT PAGE HERE
This was published in an AF Village monthly news publication. Elmer Bendiner was a navigator in a B-17 during WW II. He tells this story of a World War II bombing run over Kassel, Germany and the unexpected result of a direct hit on their gas tanks:
“Our B-17, the Tondelayo, was barraged by flak from Nazi antiaircraft guns. That was not unusual, but on this particular occasion our gas tanks were hit. Later, as I reflected on the miracle of a 20 millimeter shell piercing the fuel tank without touching off an explosion, our pilot, Bohn Fawkes, told me it was not quite that simple.
“On the morning following the raid, Bohn had gone down to ask our crew chief for that shell as a souvenir of unbelievable luck. The crew chief told Bohn that not just one shell but 11 had been found in the gas tanks… 11 unexploded shells where only one was sufficient to blast us out of the sky. It was as if the sea had been parted for us. Even after 35 years, so awesome an event leaves me shaken, especially after I heard the rest of the story from Bohn.
“He was told that the shells had been sent to the armorers to be defused. The armorers told him that Intelligence had picked them up. They could not say why at the time, but Bohn eventually sought out the answer.
“Apparently when the armorers opened each of those shell, they found no explosive charge. They were as clean as a whistle and just as harmless. Empty? Not all of them! One contained a carefully rolled piece of paper. On it was a scrawl in Czech. The Intelligence people scoured our base for a man who could read Czech. Eventually they found one to decipher the note. It set us marveling. Translated, the note read: This is all we can do for you now
Tomorrow, 18 April, 2013, myself with fellow Texas Tour of Honor Riders, Vets and fellow Patriot Guard Riders will be escorting the Traveling Vietnam Memorial wall to camp Mabry In Austin, Tx. Austin PD Motors are providing traffic control and did I mention Napalm Motor Sports is providing FREE Hot Dogs!
WRFF, (Will Ride For Food).
The wall arrives at 1100 hrs Central time with the processing leaving the parking lot at 1200 hrs for the ride to Camp Mabry.
RSVP via this link and to get additional information: http://tinyurl.com/cr94e94
What: A self directed ride to visit 7 Military Memorials, Military or EMS Service related sites in your home state or 39 other states. Prove you visited these sites by photographing them with your Rider Flag/towel in your picture just like an LD Rally. Submit your pictures anytime before Nov 1st to receive a Certificate and Pin of completion. Collect as many pins as you want at no extra cost.
When:The ride runs from April 1st thru Nov 1st 2013.
Why: A reason to Ride! Learn about the Military History and Service contributions made by those in your home State, To learn History. To Honor those that have served. As means of Mental Health Therapy. To accomplish a goal using your Machine. To Honor someone special who served and to raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project.
Cost: Rider $75 Co-rider $65. Costs cover $10 minimum from each registered rider donated to the WWP Wounded Warrior Project. More is donated with the left over funds after costs are determined. What you get for the remaining 65. Materials: 1 shirt, one personalized towel/flag, certificate and pin upon completion, cost of the trophies if vying for first three to finish. Postage of your items. Additional state pins and certificates are awarded at no extra cost to you if you decide to ride more states. Operational costs are yearly website and forum maintenance fees
Registered Riders wishing to compete to be one of the first three finisher in a State will receive Plaques. Vie for more plaques and get those at no extra cost, all you gotta do is ride.
How: Go to http://www.tourofhonor.com/ for more information.
To register go here: http://tourofhonor.com/pages/register.html
This summer, registered Riders will be invited to an RTE in Vanderpool, Tx to the Vintage Motorcycle Museum. Date TBA.
If you want a Flyer go here: http://www.tourofhonor.com/misc2/Flyer_2013.pdf
Print as many as you want and post em all over Texas.
Check out the Forum. There are many great stories and good info: http://www.tourofhonor.com/tohforum
I hope to see you out there! If you have any questions, let me know.
Ride Hard and Ride Safe!
Running Traffic Control during escort duty is one of the most hazardous tasks for a Motor Cop. You are constantly racing ahead of the formation to clear the upcoming intersections. Now doubt his ballistic vest saved him a lot of trauma by absorbing a lot of the shock. One reason to “Dress for the slide and not the ride!”.
Its time to reflect on a pivotal moment in Human history, The Attack on Pearl Harbor. It’s no longer called the Anniversary of Pearl Harbor but Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. I guess our Freedom of Speech isn’t so free when we are governed how we must speak. But this is not about politics, its about our duty to remember and honor those who lost their lives on in defense of our Nation.
Ironically, if Pearl Harbor did not happen, we would’nt have the world we have today. It set off a series of events which changed the World and gave us unprecedented technological advances. On Dec 8th, Hitler declared War of the United States following the Japanese Attack. This lead to his ultimate downfall, the freeing of oppressed peoples in Europe and end of the Final Solution. Advanced Aircraft, the first computer and medicines were developed that changed the human condition. The advent of Nuclear power arose as a means to make War obsolete and created new moral questions.
“Those who fail to remember the past, are doomed to repeat it”.
Take a moment to read about the event via Wikipedia by clicking on the photograph below.
Well, after being in Texas for five years, I finally hit a Deer. I was driving to California towing a trailer with my 3 week old FJ Cruiser when a mighty Buck appeared from my right, on Hwy 29 west of Llano, Tx. I was doing 65 mph when the Buck jumped up at the last moment, hitting high along the upper leading edge of the engine hood. Any lower and it would have caused more shock and a air bag deployment. The Buck cleared the entire highway before touching down after clearing the 6 foot high fence of an adjoining ranch.
The Accident Scene. Highway 29, approx. 10 miles west of Llano at the west Llano county line. Plenty of daylight. The actual impact occurred about 200 yards before the bridge in the foreground.
Immediately after pulling over a local Rancher stopped and asked “Did you bag a good one!”. I said “Yep, he’s gutted, skinned and neutered”. Anyway, this great guy was on his radio before he could reply and had a tow truck at the Sheriff there in less than 15 minutes. A quick call to my buddy Glenn Copeland, who drove 120 miles to pick me up. I owe Glenn. I was just fortunate that I wasn’t hurt and that the vehicle can be fixed after $13k in repairs. Kudos to GEICO for how they have handled this so far, I should the car back in a week. Anyway, if you live in Texas, watch out for those Deer and the Wild Pigs most folks forget about. It makes me more aware now when I am riding the Motorcycle and I am rethinking my night riding philosophies.
Would Deer whistles have made a difference? I have them on my RV and my BMW 1150GS. Haven’t hit any deer on my GS but I am an Ace with birds and have two rabbits under my belt.
Factoid: More people are killed in the U.S. every year by Deer, than all the other animals combined, Ie: snakes, sharks, etc
You can almost see the outline of a flying Reindeer in the damage to my front end. The plastic on the bumper shows the outline of the Deers lower legs, with the knee as the right part of the triangle and legs trailing behind.
The scene about 30 minutes after. I hit the Deer in the right lane headed the other way. You can see the distance the Deer flew after going airborne from the point of impact, to the fence line out of view to the left.
Veterans Day is an official United States holiday honoring armed service veterans. It is a federal holiday that is observed on November 11th. It coincides with other holidays such as Armistice Day or Remembrance Day, which are celebrated in other parts of the world and also mark the anniversary of the signing of the Armistice that ended World War I. (Major hostilities of World War I were formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 with the German signing of the Armistice.)
Veterans Day is not to be confused with Memorial Day; Veterans Day celebrates the service of all U.S. military veterans, while Memorial Day is a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving.
My vision of a Utopian society would make it mandatory to commute in something like this innovation.
I usually don’t get political here but I saw this today and thought it worthy of thought and sharing. I lived in California most of my life. In the early 60’s it was the promised land of the United States. A great place to raise a family and jobs were plentiful. After spending 28 years with a California Law Enforcement agency and watching the quality of life slowly slip away and fed up with how the State was mismanaging my tax money, it seemed very clear to me, Move!
In 2007, months before I retired, I got my Ducks in a Row and bought a ranch in Texas. Little did I know that soon after, the Real Estate Market would implode. I felt so blessed an lucky I left in time. My thoughts as I crossed the California Border and I became a former Californian, I couldn’t help but surmise how a Survivor from the Titanic felt, watching a glorious Old Lady sink into oblivion. My timing and decision to move, literally save me hundreds of thousands of dollars in the sale of my home.
This guys letter mirrors what I could see 5 years ago and I am still amazed that many of my friends who can leave, just remain there. I know its to be near family but if I choose, I can be in California in a matter of hours so I don’t buy that. They are just afraid. This guy must be smoking the same stuff I am or we are in parallel universes of thought.
There is no California
By Victor Davis Hanson
Driving across California is like going from Mississippi to Massachusetts without ever crossing a state line.
Consider the disconnects: California’s combined income and sales taxes are among the nation’s highest, but the state’s deficit is still about $16 billion. It’s estimated that more than 2,000 upper-income Californians are leaving per week to flee high taxes and costly regulations, yet California wants to raise taxes even higher; its business climate already ranks near the bottom of most surveys. Its teachers are among the highest paid on average in the nation, but its public school students consistently test near the bottom of the nation in both math and science.
The state’s public employees enjoy some of the nation’s most generous pensions and benefits, but California’s retirement systems are underfunded by about $300 billion. The state’s gas taxes — at over 49 cents per gallon — are among the highest in the nation, but its once unmatched freeways, like 101 and 99, for long stretches have degenerated into potholed, clogged nightmares unchanged since the early 1960s.
The state wishes to borrow billions of dollars to develop high-speed rail, beginning with a little-traveled link between Fresno and Corcoran — a corridor already served by money-losing Amtrak. Apparently, coastal residents like the idea of European high-speed rail — as long as noisy and dirty construction does not begin in their backyards.
As gasoline prices soar, California chooses not to develop millions of barrels of untapped oil and even more natural gas off its shores and beneath its interior. Home to bankrupt green companies like Solyndra, California has mandated that a third of all the energy provided by state utilities soon must come from renewable energy sources — largely wind and solar, which presently provide about 11 percent of its electricity and almost none of its transportation fuel.
How to explain the seemingly inexplicable? There is no California, which is a misnomer. There is no such state. Instead there are two radically different cultures and landscapes with little in common, each equally dysfunctional in quite different ways. Apart they are unworldly, together a disaster.
A postmodern narrow coastal corridor runs from San Diego to Berkeley, where the weather is ideal, the gentrified affluent make good money, and values are green and left-wing. This Shangri-La is juxtaposed to a vast impoverished interior, from the southern desert to the northern Central Valley, where life is becoming premodern.
On the coast, blue-chip universities like Cal Tech, Berkeley, Stanford and UCLA in pastoral landscapes train the world’s doctors, lawyers, engineers and businesspeople. In the hot interior of blue-collar Sacramento, Turlock, Fresno and Bakersfield, well over half the incoming freshman in the California State University system must take remedial math and science classes.
In postmodern Palo Alto or Santa Monica, a small cottage costs more than $1 million. Two hours away, in premodern and now-bankrupt Stockton, a bungalow the same size goes for less than $100,000.
In the interior, unemployment in many areas peaks at over 15 percent. The theft of copper wire is reaching epidemic proportions. Thousands of the shrinking middle class flee the interior for the coast or nearby no-income-tax states. To fathom the state’s nearly unbelievable statistics — as the state population grew by 10 million from the mid-1980s to 2005, its number of Medicaid recipients increased by 7 million during that period; one-third of the nation’s welfare recipients now reside in California — visit the state’s hinterlands.
But in the Never-Never Land of Apple, Facebook, Google, Hollywood and the wine country, millions live in an idyllic paradise. Coastal Californians can afford to worry about the state’s trivia — as their legislators seek to outlaw foie gras, shut down irrigation projects to save the 3-inch delta smelt, and allow children to have legally recognized multiple parents.
But in the less feel-good interior, crippling regulations curb timber, gas and oil, and farm production. For the most part, the rules are mandated by coastal utopians who have little idea where the gas for their imported cars comes from, or how the redwood is cut for their decks, or who grows the ingredients for their Mediterranean lunches of arugula, olive oil and pasta.
On the coast, it’s politically incorrect to talk of illegal immigration. In the interior, residents see first-hand the bankrupting effects on schools, courts and health care when millions arrive illegally without English-language fluency or a high school diploma — and send back billions of dollars in remittances to Mexico and other Latin American countries.
The drive from Fresno to Palo Alto takes three hours, but you might as well be rocketing from Earth to the moon.
Victor Davis Hanson
Victor Davis Hanson is a classicist and historian at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and a recipient of the 2007 National Humanities Medal.
It’s that time again, Oct 19th & 20th 2012, for one of my favorite Motorcycle gatherings in Luckenbach, Tx. This will be my 5th year in a row attending. Its a great place to see Vintage Machines, watch Trials events, look at and vote on different classes of cycles, ride, camp and have good fellowship with other like minded riders & enthusiasts. This year will be something new, a Swap Meet.
There is plenty of Motorcycle Only Parking and FREE Camping for Motorcyclists. If you plan on staying over night, which I recommend to get the most out of the weekend, get reservations now!
As the Texas Sponsor for the Tour of Honor Ride picking the Audie Murphy Memorial was an easy choice. Growing up, Audie Murphy was my first real Hero and in my mind the Ultimate Hero, the epitome of what someone can achieve in this country from nothing. I learned of his Military heroism from the 1955 film, “To Hell And Back”, in which Murphy played himself. It wouldn’t be until later when I read his biography and followed his career, what a great man he really was. Out of my respect for Audie, I paid personal tribute with my own account of his history, which you can read here: AUDIE
From what I learned about Audie, I find I have no tolerance for those who claim their bad childhood is the reason their life didn’t work out. Anyway, no politics, ride with me to Greenville, Tx.
My friends Thom and Betsy Schumacher called last minute to see if I wanted to join them on a three week ride to Dayton, Ohio the next morning. I declined to go the distance, since I went there with them last January but Isure could ride part way, grab breakfast and hit another Tour of Honor site. Ride, eat and see something cool…I’m in!
The Audie Murphy Memorial and Audie Murphy and American Cotton Museum are located off of I-30 (exit 95) in Greenville, Tx about 220 miles from my place. Leave at 0700 hrs and I can be back home covering 400 plus miles before Supper.
I met up with Thom and Betsy AKA: the “Mach 2’s” at the Shell station on Hwy 195 and I-35 in Georgetown, TX. Their Mission for the day was hit the TOH too and get out of Texas to somewhere in Arkansas. The Mach 2’s had their Honda GL1800 and trailer. As I arrived to top off my tank, Thom was fiddling with his GPS. Thom and Betsy work for Dell Computers, so high tech is in order for his Wing. Blue Tooth, Iphone, GPS, Phone/Audio interface, intercom, drink holders, volt meters, the works. Thom was worried that his Garmin GPS screen was blank. I snickered underneath my helmet as I fueled up, thinking about Murphy’s Law (no pun intended) and lack of preparation.
I checked the Menu on Thom’s device but couldn’t figure out the problem either but it self repaired. The GPS unit was just taking a while to process and initialize the data. Thom was relieved and I was glad he got the problem resolved.
After a few sips of coffee to ward off my morning haze, we rode 70 miles to Waco, Tx on I-35 in light commute traffic. We got an hour down the road and had breakfast at the Cracker Barrel. I ordered”Chicken” or “Egg in a Basket”, a meal Thom inquired about. I told him what it was, which was a favorite of mine when I was a kid. It was the only way I would eat a fried egg.
Thom Schumacher and his first Eggs in a Basket. Heat pan with butter, cut hole in bread, put bread in pan, crack egg into hole and cook, then flip and finish cooking.
After breakfast, we continued on with temperatures in the mid 70’s and slowly climbing. By the time we went around Dallas and made our first fuel stop, it had reached 95 degrees. Since I was in the lead, I hadn’t noticed a minor problem with the Mach 2’s trailer.
Betsy’s tries to replace their edge trim which Thom had been dragging for the last 60 miles.
From the fuel stop we made our way to Greenville without further fanfare. The Museum and the Monuments location is clearly marked by signs on I-30, so its easy to find. It’s located on the north side of the Interstate and is visible from the w/b lanes.
One more Texas TOH site down, Moi with my flag. Now 97 degrees.
This monument depicts Audie during the action for which he was awarded our Nations second highest military decoration, the Distinguished Service Cross. After the death of his close friend, Audie took out several German Machine Gun positions single handed, which had pinned down an entire Company. After expending all of his own ammo, Audie took the MG42 machine gun from one of the position he destroyed and destroyed the remaining positions.
Well said President Reagan! The Memorial is not only for Audie but all the others from Hunt County who gave their all for our Freedom.
$5 bucks to see the Museum. I always make a extra donation to support these places. It takes money to keep them running and history alive.
I made a $20 donation if the Museum Lady (Cathy) would pose with my TOH flag.
Clowning in the Museum Store. Audie Thom Murphy and Audie Zeke Murphy.
Many different era War uniforms and relics are contained in this excellent Museum. What a hidden treasure trove. This is a WW1 “Doughboy”
One of the best examples of a Maxim gun from WW1 I’ve seen.
The German WW2 MG-42. In my mind the best machine gun in the world and copied by the U.S. by design for the M-60.
A lineage of U.S. Military Small Arms.
Weapons from other Nations too.
Korean War relics
Japanese WW2 Weapons, one of the best examples of a Type 92 machine gun I have seen.
One of Audie’s Uniforms. Audie was 5’5″ and weigh 110 lbs upon his enlistment.
Audie’s Military Decorations. Many Brave Men have distinguished themselves in Battle. Few have distinguished themselves in every battle in which they were engaged.
Our Nations highest Military Honor, the Congressional Medal of Honor. Recipients receive special entitlements as directed by Congress.
Audie Leon Murphy, War Hero, Movie Star, Song Writer, Benefactor and just a plain decent guy.
The painting depicting Audie’s Medal of Honor action. After ordering his men to safety, Murphy stood alone and directed artillery fire against a Battalion sized German Counter Attack. When the enemy got too close for the Artillery, alone, Murphy climbed upon a burning Tank Destroyer and killed scores of enemy soldiers with his .50 cal machine gun. Receiving fire from three sides and wounded Murphy continued firing from the burning tank until he ran out of ammunition and routed the German Attack. Estimates of the enemy soldiers killed are approx. 240.
I loved the parking lot signs.
Audie in the moment of reflection. His deep devotion to his Men is probably what spurred him to protect them and put himself in harms way in order to save them. This took a toll with a case PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome). This coupled with his wounds received in battle, caused him to become addicted to the prescription drugs. Realizing this fact, Audie locked himself in a Motel Room for a week, until he felt he was cured.
The Mach 2’s prepare to head to Arkansas and I prepare to head home.
This Museum is really well put together. For my TOH friends who were too busy to stop and smell the Roses, you need to come back. I neglected to talk about the American Cotton portion of the Museum which has great examples of the local Cotton Industry and early American Life and Native History. Kudos to the Museum Foundation and Staff for maintaining such a great place to visit.
After departing the Museum on my own, I made my way back home but first I had to check out a weird site I saw on the way.
WTF? Its along the east side of I-35 E south of Dallas in Italy, Tx and looks like the Starship Enterprise.
One reason I like to ride alone, is that I can stop and check out things my friends don’t think are interesting. Most folks I travel with just want to get from point A to B but I wanna look at the shiny stuff laying along side of the road. So I went further down the road, where I saw what looked like a whole community of Domes. Down a private road from the Starship is Dome Park Place, leading to this unique community.
I almost felt like I was trespassing on the 10 mph private road but then saw a sign that said Visitors Center with signs on two 314 sq ft Domes that said “Open”. These were models, which cost $30 per sq ft (unfinished). I went inside the models and then into the Sales Office. I asked the kind lady about the Community and the history behind it. She told me “They” moved here from Idaho about 20 years ago. I asked if it was a Commune or a Co-op and she just smiled. I got the hint she didn’t want to share specifics but she gave me a DVD and brochure. Anyway, here there are Private Residences which are clearly marked and other smaller units for rentals. There was also a grouping of what looked like Agricultural buildings. Every building in this area was a Dome, even the sheds, garages and Dog Houses. I thought it was pretty cool and I’ll research it more later.
One of the many creative homes on Dome Park Place in Italy, Tx.
Well, I made it home or at least the Starbucks in Georgetown by 1548 hrs, after covering 445 miles, beating the early evening commute without incident. It was another great day, a boring ride on the Interstate but it was about the destination. Now I only have four more TOH sites to visit before November, two N/W and two in the South and S/W.
Round trip 445 miles
If you find yourself east of the Dallas Metro area, stop at the Audie Murphy and American Cotton Museum. I think its worth it. Also, heads up on the loops around Dallas, especially hwy 635. The speed limit drops to 60 mph and there are LEO’s all over the place.
Ride Safe and Ride Hard.
A last minute tire change and I am ready to head to Denver for the Iron Butt Association International Meet. Held every other year, its a time and a place that Long Distance Riders can relax and enjoy Fellowship, without the bustle of a Rally.
There are many rides planned for those who want to part take, a couple of Rallies, Dinners, lunches, vendors, demonstrations and seminars. Its also a time to get reacquainted with Comrades, usually only seen at events or once every year or so.
My plan is to leave late Monday afternoon to arrive in Denver (1000 miles) by Weds afternoon for Check In. I put on some new, Shinko brand tires on my 1150 GS and I plan on riding hard and into the night while its cooler.
I thought I would try these Shinko tires. The price was right, $49 for the front and $79 for the rear. I’m just going to wear them down on the slab anyway. We’ll see how they perform and hold out.
If you want to follow along, I will be running my SPOT Device and you can follow me on Spotwalla
Tomorrow my main goal is to get out of Texas and see how far I can go and try and push all the way into Denver if I can. All I have left to do is get my garden ready for my absence and pack some clean skivvies.
The only bad thing about heading West is during Sundown and having to look directly into the Sun as it dips past the horizon. That’s usually a good time to take a break and grab a bite.
Denver, Colorado. I lived here in 1960 and my Brother was born here at Lowry AFB.
I’ll Post more as things progress. See you on the road!
I got a couple of these left. They are High Quality, embroidered, Navy Blue, “Stretch to Fit”. Great to carry on the Bike in the Tank Bag or Saddle Bags to cover up that Helmet Hair.
Casey Howell of DAC Embroidery did the work. Thanks Casey! If you need something made for yourself, check them out.
If you’re interested the cost is $15 plus $5.25 Priority Mail S&H, Total $20.25. I will only ship to the U.S. Addresses and only take Pay Pal. Just click on the tab below and Pay Pal will take care of the rest.
My buddy Glenn Copeland and his wife Betty are leaving today for N.M. prior to meeting me in Denver on Weds, at the IBA International Meet. Glenn and Betty plan on continuing on for an Epic 30 day ride, taking them into the Pacific Northwest. You can follow their trip here at: Spotwalla Gcope
I’ll post before I leave on Monday.
Glenn has a lot of stuff on his Wing so I call it the “Starship”. I took the liberty of designing Glenn the ultimate Gold Wing Touring Platform.
Click on the pic of the “Starship” to enlarge
As we find our way into Summer and with heat waves hitting the Northern States, I thought this would be a good time to mention something about riding in and coping with the heat. Central Texas gets pretty warm in the Summer, with average temps around 95 degrees and highs in the low 100’s. Last year we had 100 straight days with temperatures over 100 degrees. This discourages many riders or confines ride times to early morning and returning to base before reaching the hottest part of the day. I love to ride so weather usually doesn’t deter me, except when there is no visibility, ice, or lightning.
From doing month long rides, riding in Long Distance Rallies and my general love for riding, I’ve have learned to cope with the heat. If you ride a motorcycle, you are going to be hot, cold and wet depending on the weather. This is part of the rugged appeal of riding and sets a Rider apart from the Monkeys who ride in a cage. You can never beat Mother Nature but you can take steps to reduce your chance of heat injury, fatigue and other factors which will usually lessen the pleasure of your ride.
Typically, when temperatures reach 95 degrees, Wind Chill ceases to exist. So instead of the wind cooling you, it’s evaporating your body’s own natural freon, sweat. Here in Texas, there are many riders who forsake safety gear. Standard gear here tends to be black leather boots, dark colored jeans, a wife beater t-shirt, no gloves or black gloves, black leather vest, sunglasses, no helmet and usually a “Do Rag” or what I call a “Aunt Jemima Helmet”. This type of gear in the long run makes you even hotter and more vulnerable to heat injury such as Heat Stroke or Heat Exhaustion. This type of dress is not okay but if your just doing a half hour ride not much of a factor but after an hour, you risk heat injury.
First, lets talk about what happens to you on a hot day. Your body gets hot through direct exposure to the Sun (radiant heat) or convection, hot air. You can also get warm through contact with your hot seat if left in the Sun, the hot air emanating from your engine and your clothing. To combat over heating, your body has an amazing mechanism for keeping the body cool, protecting your internal organs and most important, the brain from overheating. When your sensors tell your body its getting warm, your respiration increases and the body produces sweat, a saline like fluid which adheres to the skin more so than plan water. Air passes over the sweat and cools the skin like a burlap desert water bag, or a swamp cooler. This process of evaporate cooling is very effective in dry air but less effective in areas of high humidity. I haven’t figure out how to cope with high humidity, so when that occurs, I head to a different area of the planet. If anyone who reads this and has a way to deal with high humidity, let us know.
When your body becomes over heated you become fatigued, you’ll get a headache, experience cramps, have lapses in judgement and can loose consciousness. Your speech can become slurred, your body will even stop producing sweat and the skin becomes hot. On a normal working body, the sweaty skin should feel cool to the touch. If you touch the skin of someone who is suffering from Heat Stroke, it will feel hot and dry. You can feel nauseated and actually have no thirst at all, compounding an already dangerous situation. Even worse, your brain will over heat like in a fever and cause serious injury, brain damage, shock and even death can occur. Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke have different symptoms. Familiarize yourself with the symptoms so you can detect the onset and treat the injury effectively. The U.S. Army has done extensive research and this is a great resource to educate yourself. http://www.armystudyguide.com/content/powerpoint/First_Aid_Presentations/heat-injuries-2.shtml
Some riders don’t like to sweat. They think if they aren’t sweating they’re staying are cool. That is not the case! People who ride with skin directly exposed to the Sun (tank tops, wife beaters, shorts, etc.) in my mind are crazy, not only from a crash standpoint but in keeping their body cool. They think they are cooler but they are actually making their body work even harder and are increasing the evaporation rates through breathing and off the skin evaporation. They may experience a slight sensation of cooling due to the air moving over the skin but they are depleting moisture faster than their body can produce it. The Sun shines directly onto the skin, heating it up, making the rider even hotter. Hot air moving over a Rider drys the sweat rapidly and thus it is not allowed to do its job. Your body has to increase sweat production to keep up, rapidly depleting your stores of moisture. In as little as an hour you can be in a state of dehydration and you will be playing catch up. Your body is 90% water so you are depleting the most essential element your body needs to function.
Your body loses moisture through respiration. This is compounded when you are moving in 60 mph air which accelerates the evaporation process. As a kid, I use to fly my hand out of the window of the car and put my face into the airstream like the family dog. I learned that if you opened your mouth you not only got some protein but the mouth would dry out almost instantaneously.In desert survival situations, its advisable to cover the mouth and nose with a light cloth to help control the loss of water through respiration.
It is important to hydrate, drink lots of water when its hot. When you think you’ve had enough, drink more. This is the best insurance and provides your body with the tools it needs to do its work. When temperatures reach over 100 degrees, you require up a liter or over a quart an hour to meet your natural air conditioners needs. If you don’t replace the body’s freon, electrolytes and other elements you lose during the cooling process, you will eventually over heat. When your body senses it is getting low on fluids, it triggers a thirst response. By the time this happens, you are responding to a situation of depletion and its already too late. You didn’t hydrate enough! The key is not to get thirsty and constantly sip on water in small amounts throughout the day. Drinking excessively cold or iced drinks can actually interfere with the stomach’s ability to absorb fluids and some cases cause cramps. Cool liquid or tepid liquids are best. Force yourself to drink. You will notice an amazing difference in how you feel. Yes you will sweat but if you maintain a positive balance of fluid, you will be able to ride all day without any harmful effects.
I always tend to under hydrate. I have to force myself to drink water, sipping constantly. Most riders tend to hydrate only when they stop for a break or fuel, which could be more than and hour. This is not sufficient in hot weather. I have a tank bank which came with a Camelback Bladder. There is a clip for the hose which is right in front of me. If you don’t have this arrangement, you can wear a Hydration system on your back, passenger seat or if you have Pannier Bags, keep a bottle of water handy. Some Iron Butt riders have gone as far as building a hydration systems by sticking Camelback hoses into an Igloo cooler, using retractable tethers to secure their hoses. They fill them with ice and have hours of available liquids. More inventive riders will by a cheap 12 volt windshield wiper pump and install a switch to have pressurized water on demand. Most Rallies will have a tech inspection and riders are required to carry a minimum of a liter of water on board. I always carry a liter of water in case I breakdown and have even used it in first aid situations. Some riders complain the first sip from a Camelback is hot or warm. Simply blow the heated water from the tube back into the bladder and then suck. Your first sip will be more refreshing that way. When you stop, toss in more water and ice. For electrolyte replacement drinks, I use a separate vessel like an old water bottle. Putting crap in your hydration systems other than water requires constant cleaning and is susceptible to mold, etc. Most convenience stores or gas stations will let you have a cup of ice for free or charge .25 cents. If it comes down to it, a Quarter is a small price to pay for the luxury of ice.
Stop more often in Hot weather. Not only to get more water but to get out of the Sun every now and then. Find some shade to park your machine under if available. Cover your seat and if your going into an air conditioned building, take your helmet and gloves, or put your gloves so they are not sitting in the Sun. If you have an large windscreen, take an old t-shirt a pull it over the plastic. This will protect your dash from UV damage and keep components of your dash cooler. The old t-shirt also comes in handy if you need a rag. I use a “Bead Rider” seat cover. This elevates you slightly off the seat, so you’re not in direct contact with the black leather and it provides a layer of air underneath you.
Gear selection. Helmets: The HURT and MAIDS studies have shown that White Colored Helmets are the safest and most visible color in daylight to the human eye. White is also a little cooler than darker colors when exposed to the sun, which I hope that is common sense to most of you. Motorcycle clothing tends to be dark in color, especially black. Black leather gloves, black leather vests, chaps, boots, the whole gammit. Clothing is very important to keeping your body cool but it goes against the need for someone who needs to look mysterious, bad, or cool. I usually wear a flip up style helmet in the summer. This allows me to flip up the visor at low speed to get some air flow in and offers better crash protection than 1/2 or 3/4 helmets. I wear either a Silky Helmet liner or LD Comfort liner with extended neck flap. You can soak these items and it prevents your sweat and oils from permeating your helmet liner, which damage the liner. Using a helmet liner keeps your helmet cleaner and you can rinse it or clean it every night in the motel room.
Clothing protects your skin from the direct rays of the sun. People who wear tight jeans or clothing as stated above, are helping transmit the heat from the Sun directly to the skin. There is no air to circulate over the skin and it also increases the rate of evaporation. Clothing keeps you either or warmer or cooler by creating a dead air space, so air can move over the skin to cool, or heat and insulate you from the outside cold air. One only needs to look at what a Desert Nomad wears when its a 138 degrees out. They actually layer in light colored, lightly constructed fabrics which control evaporation. They are experts in staying alive in the desert, where Americans are ignorant to what is necessary to regulate their body’s temperature. We just go adjust the thermostat and marvel at our survival skills.
When I ride in temperatures over 100 degrees, I will have no skin exposed. When I hop off my Motorcycle somewhere in my “Stich” (Aerostich Roadcrafter Suit), people look at me like I came from Mars. I keep hydrated and allow my body to sweat. I open the front vents and sleeve cuffs to allow air to flow into my jacket. At speed it billows up and controls the evaporation and actually feels cool. Note: It doesn’t work to well in stop and go trafficwhen there is no air flow. Opening the rear vents keeps the jacket from billowing open. The immediate rush of air feels refreshing but over an extended period of time, acts like a perforated jacket.
The Aerostich “Stich” RoadCrafter Suit.
To facilitate the evaporate cooling process, I wear cotton or clothing made of wicking type fibers such as LD Comforts Riding shorts and shirts. These materials wick and retain moisture from your skin and help facilitate cooling process. They also make a cool sleeve which goes on your lower arms. If it is really hot, I soak these items with water and with your jacket on, it will last up to an hour on a good day. Enough to get you to the next stop. Note: Perforated Jackets defeat the above process, allowing too fast a rate of evaporation. I usually use my First Gear Rainer Jacket with reactive armor on shorter rides, under 300 miles. It is light colored, in tan and light brown, not black! When I ride in a Rally, I typically wear my “Stich”, as temperatures can vary 100 degrees during my 24 hour adventure, especially in Mountainous states like Utah. Thus, I never need to change gear when it rains or gets cold or hot.
On short local rides I use a Tactical Pant called “511 Pants” available at Galls. I wear tan colored pants and use the old knee armor from old gear, which I cut with trim to fit in the pockets built into the knees for impact protection. Make sure you get a size at least two inches longer in the inseam, because when you sit on a Motorcycle the length rides up when seated. Motorcycle clothing always looks baggy when you’re standing as they are designed to be comfortable when you’re sitting. Underneath my pants I use LD Comfort shorts. They have no seams, don’t get tacky and wick moisture. Under Armor also makes wicking type undergarments. These fabrics are also easy to wash in your motel room sink and will be dry by the next morning.
The 511 Tactical Pant from Galls. You can take the knee armor from your other gear and put them into the sewn in knee pockets. Available in Women’s sizes too.
Feet: I wear normal over the ankle riding boots (SIDI) and knee high motorcycle ankle socks, rated for summer use. These are available online and also facilitate wicking. I happen to wear BMW brand, who also makes a summer undershirt to wear under your jacket.
Hands: For Summer Gloves, I use the Elk Skin Ropers available at Aerostich. They are light, natural colored supple leather and when you sweat, they also help to keep your hands cooler. They even have a touch screen model and both models have a built in wiper on the thumb in case it rains.
Avoid electrolyte drinks such as Gatorade, etc. They are sweetened with Glucose. High quality electrolyte replacement drinks are available at REI such as E.R.G. which I’ve used for years when backpacking. Another trick I use is Pedialyte. I buy the either Bubble Gum or Pineapple flavored and dilute it with water by 50%. If you have medical conditions, consult with your physician before using them. Avoid Caffeine or drinks with Caffeine which act as diuretics. Also avoid alcohol. Alcohol is one of the worst things you can drink when its hot. I’ll be the first to say the first sip from an ice cold beer is refreshing but if I drink one on a hot day, its instant headache.
Here are some signs to tell if you are getting dehydrated and on the road to a Heat Injury. The color of your Urine or lack of frequency of Urination is a sign. The darker the urine, indicates that you are losing more elements and your fluid volume is being compromised. Normal urine should be clear. If you are hydrating and sweating properly, your urine production should he normal and not dark.
There are a host of products to help in coping with heat. Here is a link to Motorcycle riding cooling products and a cool vest which I use and works great in the dry desert heat, lasting up to three 3 before needing re-hydrating.
Confusion, fatigue, slurred speech, flush or red colored skin, hot dry skin, headache, cramps, nausea are all signs of something is wrong. I experienced a bout or onset of Heat Stroke while riding through Alabama during my 2005 50 CC ride to Florida from San Diego. It was 105 degrees and I hadn’t hydrated properly. It was humid as Hell! I had 3 hrs of sleep after 36 hours of continuous riding. I had a cool vest (one you soak) which doesn’t work in high humidity. It made me feel I was wearing a wet sleeping bag. I couldn’t get cool and felt nauseous. I immediately recognized the signs and stopped. I bought three bags of Ice. I found some shade, used one as a pillow, one for a foot rest basic first aid for shock. I made and iced up some E.R.G. and took the ice and started pouring down my pants, shirt, etc. I rested and after about 20 minutes my body began to cool and I started sweating again and felt better. After 40 minutes, I felt normal and was able to finish my ride with no further problems.
If you are riding with friends and see that your friend is not as talkative, looks beet red, start thinking about heat injury. Get them into an Air Conditioned environment, slowly administer cool liquid, not cold. Get some ice and cool the head and neck area at the base of the brain. Remove shoes and ice the feet. The feet contain a lot of blood vessels and capillaries near the surface and act like radiator fins. Treat for shock. Keep skin covered with a light, wet or cool cloth. You can rub ice on their clothes. Hands and feet are great ways for your body to get rid of heat so concentrate on these areas, as well as the arm pits and groin. Conversely, they are the first to get cold during cold weather. Placing ice at the base of the skull is the most direct way you can cool the brain. If you have tried all of the above and If they don’t start feeling better, get them to a Doctor.
In a nutshell, protect yourself from the Sun with proper clothing and gear and keep hydrated. Drink!, Drink!, Drink!. As you gain more experience and put them to practice, you will see how much easier it is for your body to cope and the light bulb will come on in your head. You will be able to tolerate the heat better and you’ll be more apt to enjoy riding in the heat a little more.
With proper gear and knowledge, you can endure the unendurable and broaden your Riding Horizons. You’ll be prepared for what Mother Nature dishes out and it can help you turn an ordeal into an or tolerable ride.
Ride Hard and Ride Safe
Now you can transfer files from your Iphone or Android to your home PC.
Open BUMP on your phone and select the files/pics you want to transfer.
Open your Internet Browser and go to here: https://bu.mp
Share your location with BUMP when prompted in your Browser.
Tap your phone on your space bar
Connect and transfer. It took me two tries before it work and it worked great!
If you need help, read this article on CNET: http://tinyurl.com/cy54j2f
Many Parents spent a lifetime raising their Children, only having to see them go off to War. What can you do but do your best to prepare them for the World. Parents of Service Personnel, I salute you!
The photo was taken at the Jacques Littlefield Collection with a Friend’s Daughter, in Portola Valley, Ca in 2005.
Click on pic to enlarge+
Having been in Law Enforcement for 28 years, I have a disdain for Mobs and the Mob mentality. I never thought a Mob would be a good thing, well I was wrong.
Enjoy the site of awaiting travelers who took some time and gathered around an Air Terminal Gate, to honor those who had served.
In an effort to make sure my fellow Americans know the true meaning of Memorial Day, which most folks get confused with Veterans Day, click on the Poster above. Take a moment to learn our History.
Here is a Poem by Moina Michael inspired by the Poem “In Flanders Field by John McCrae. Michael originated the idea of wearing Red Poppies as a Memorial Day Symbol.
We cherish too, the Poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led,
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies.
Here is the Poem “In Flanders Fields” by John McCare, written 1915
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
I got a challenge from TOH Master Steve Brooks to host a RTE (Ride To Eat) for the Texas Tour of Honor Riders and potential TOH Riders in Texas. Special Kudos will go out to the sponsor who gets the most riders in a group photo, holding their TOH Flags. Credit will be given to Riders who are not registered but sign up within 5 days of the RTE.
The Rattlesnake Inn is a local favorite and known for their juicy scratch made burgers. They even have a two for one Burger Special on Tuesdays and are Motorcycle friendly. Manager Tanya Mattson says she’ll give us a special price for a 1/4 Burger and Fries combo at $4.99. The Inn is conveniently located, just 9 miles west of I-35 on Hwy 195 in the middle of Texas.
The Florence site is just down the road and Fredericksburg, Tx is 90 miles, allowing those who need those two sites to knock them out before grabbing a Burger on Sunday.
Those who need a place to stay Sunday night are welcome to pitch a tent on my ranch or drop their sleeping bag on the floor. Just bring your gear. I’ll even feed you breakfast in the morning.
Rattlesnake Inn, Hwy 195, Georgetown, Tx
Date: Sunday June, 10th, 2012
Time: 1300 hrs Central or 2100 hrs Zulu
GPS coordinates: 30.757298,-97.72868
Google Maps: Rattlesnake
Please RSVP me (Mark Kratz): firstname.lastname@example.org or through FB or the Forum.
I hope to see you there and Ride Safe!
Riding a Motorcycle on a daily basis is a Win, Win for everyone. It cuts fuel consumption, reduces emissions, reduces congestion on the highways and frees up more parking. You can download an invitation to your work friends, challenging them to ride to work and pose for a group photo.
Click on the Poster image to learn more about Ride to Work Day & get free materials.
This year my Department is hosting a Motorcycle Skills Competition, so I will be heading to California to be one of the judges. So far there are 80 entries, so it should be a pretty good show. If you get chance and would like to see some skilled riders, you should watch a Skills Competition sometime.
Click on the pic to learn more.
This company has “Foxes in the Hen House”. I ordered a replacement part for my Poulon machine last week over the phone. Two days later there were several attempts to order items on the same credit card, $3k for Jewelry and $700 at Bed Bath and Beyond, for delivery in a city near their location. There is no way to contact the company to let them know other than to call but you don’t know who the crooks are. Their web address is: http://www.poulanpro.com/
The bottom line is never give a credit car number over the phone and insist they use Pay Pal. Pay Pal doesn’t let the Business know your account numbers and is the safest way to purchase online.
A little slide show I posted on Facebook a couple of years ago. A majority of the pics I took, some borrowed from friends. There are a couple of duplicate pics in the beginning but when I made the slide show, its all I had at the time. I had to stretch the show out to match the length of the song.
I thought I would recirculate this and get the juices flowing for another year of riding.
Airshow season is here. There are many shows across the country that you can attend near you. An airshow is a blend of the spectacular but also a place where young and old alike can share a common bond for the fascination of flight and it’s history. It’s a gathering place for Veterans who can reminisce and a living museum for things that may never be again.If you’ve never been, put it on the list.
Here a cool video which embodies my sentiment. Enjoy.
I was going through some old pics and made this slide show on Windows Movie Maker. Just a collection of some of the bikes I rode while living and working in California until moving to Texas in 2007.
I hope you enjoy. You need to have Windows Media Player or be able to play .wmv files.
If you ever plan to ride California, here is a great resource and it has a great Forum. Pashnit
Check out Hwy 36, it is one of my favorites roads in Northern, Ca. It has, or had everything. My favorite was the first 170 miles from the coast inland with twisties, sweepers and long undulating curves. Click on this image for a link to the roads, easy to navigate.
Although I enjoyed living in California, I don’t miss much. And if I do, its only four fuel tanks away.
To watch my slide show click the pic: