8 Ball In The Wind

Sunday, February 27, 2011

"Brother, I need you..."

Those four words would bring everything else to a halt.  That was a phrase I am proud to say I never failed to respond to.  But it is also one I always hated to hear.  Now don't get me wrong, I hated to hear it, because that meant someone was in trouble.  The fact that it usually ended up with ME getting into shit one way or another, didnt really matter.  I couldn't count the times plans had been dropped instantly, or put on hold.  Usually it was just to go on a minor rescue mission, but once in a while...

I am sad to say that all of the "Brothers" from those days are all long dead.  A few of the close friends, who I now consider "Brothers" are still around, and there are even a few new ones.  But the facts are that the times I have heard those words are becoming few and far between.  Which I hope is a sign that thigns are getting better.  Or maybe it is just that there just is only one or two people that know I will be there if needed.

I hope that everyone reading this, has had both the pleasure and the shit, that comes with those words.  Because that means you have had a life shared with people who knew you were there to cover their back when the feces impacts the rotary oscillating blades.  And, vice versa...

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

You Don't Fuck With Family

Well, I got word that the Judge actually sided with me in the hearing a week ago.  She decided I had been fired, and has set aside the states decision to withhold my unemployment.  Which I am happy about.  I guess the asswipes 30 minutes of stating his position, double talking and contradicting himself, and all his bullshit documentation that he tried to submit as evidence didn't obscure the truth.  That, or my 5 minutes of making my point, asking only two direct questions, and quickly answering any question the judge asked me without pausing and having to think about or refer to something seemed more logical.  I'm not sure, and I don't really care.
What I do care about, is that the lowlife tried to submit documents as evidence against me that not only had nothing to do with whether or not I was fired at the end of November; but that were from July, and were from the confidential assistance files of my wife AND stepson.  This smeghead, used his position as executive director of the local community services organization to go on a fishing expedition through their confidential files.  The documents he tried to have put into evidence had everything from my wifes; name, date of birth, address, social security number, phone number, the amount she gets in disability from social security, on them.  The ones from my stepsons file had some of his information, but still was mostly focussed on my wifes info.  Luckily, I objected to them as being both irrelevent, and Privacy Act violations, and the Judge didn't accept them into evidence.  Even though the dimwit tried to object to my objection, after the Judge ruled against accepting them as evidence.
A man doesn't let someone fuck with his family, and not do something about it.  He isn't going to walk away clean.  I intend to use his own arrogance, and powertripping mentality to fuck himself up.
I am too busy right now trying to get back to work and keep my house , and bike, and the rest of my life together, to truly go after this scum sucker like he deserves. 
But I am not so busy as to keep the pressure on him for trying to release the material in the first place.  So I have contacted all the local newspapers with the story, as well as all the major TV stations.  The bad publicity will not help his ego, and his board of directors won't like the fact he is drawing all this bad press down on their little community organization.  I am also going to start to add more direct pressure by parking my bike directly in front of their front door with protest signs stating what he did with the confidential documents. 
I will park the bike there, and walk away.  That way it looks like the bike is unattended.  But, I think we all know better than that, right?  I've already talked to a couple people, and we're going to have them
parked within sight of the bike, and with cameras in the car. 
That will leave him with the choice of leaving the signs stating he released clients confidential records in plain sight for his other clients to read, or try to do something to remove the signs.  As soon as he so much as touches the bike, or tries to remove the signs (which will be zip tied to the bike), he will be photographed doing so.  Then I will return to my bike, and call the police, and the newspaper down the street.
As much as I would love to just dropkick this nimrod, I'll let the legal system do what it is supposed to.  I won't start a fight, but I will defend myself.  If he tries blocking all the parking spaces in front of his office, protestors walking the sidewalk holding signs will appear.
The wife has an appointment with an attorney, and she will apply pressure in that direction.  Sooner or later this Yahoo will lose his cool, and either do or say something that will screw his pooch completely.  He has fucked with the wrong person, and I will use any legal means open to me to see he doesn't get away with it.  He expects me to come after him, I am sure, but I seriously doubt he thinks it will be something legal, so that is the route I am going.
It's not as fun as the old ways, but maybe, just maybe, it will be almost as satisfying.
Ride Free

Monday, February 7, 2011


Last friday I had a job interview in Chehalis on the other end of the county.  Since I somehow got there almost 40 minutes early, I headed down the road a few blocks to see if The Horse was on the shelf at Wal-Mart yet.  There are only two places I have found here in Lewis County where I can get it.  And since both are at least a half hour from home, and I can't afford to waste the gas, I only get out that way when I can.  Anyway, when I got into Wal-Mart, there it was.  I snagged it and headed for the check out counter.  While waiting in the line...Why the hell is it, when Wal-Mart has 35+ registers do they only keep a couple of them open?...I noticed that the pics of my riding partner T and his daughter were in the magazine.  Damn the timing, she had just come up on leave for a visit, and left two days before.  I didn't have time to make it back to buy another copy, so I knew I would be back after the job interview to snag a copy for T.  When I finally made it back to Morton, he wasn't home but I left the mag for him.
The next day I was out in the garge screwing around with the bike, and checked the battery.  It needed a bit of a charge, so I hooked it to the charger for a few mins and then fired her up.  As she sat there slowly warming up in the 40 degree air, I figured fuck it, lets go see what T thought about his pics in the magazine.  I walked back into the house, grabbed my leather jacket and a hoodie, and that damn coconut they make me wear and headed off to his place.
As I pulled up into his driveway, I saw his bike pulled out front, and he was just stepping out his door to come over to my place!  Two great minds with a single thought and all that shit.  Well, we went for a short putt, stopped at the Bucksnort Pub for a quick one before hitting the road, and decided we'd go to Mossyrock.  That plan lasted until we got to the stop sign at the corner.  Instead of turning right to head towards Mossyrock, we just looked at each other and turned right, and headed up over The Divide towards Mineral. 
T was so touched by having the pics of him and his daughter in the magazine, that after we got back home to my place that night, he had me send Englishman an email thanking him for putting the pics in the mag, and telling him how much they meant to both him and his daughter.
I sent her the pic posted here on the top of the blog in an email, and she immediately replied wanting to know where she could get a copy so she could take it with her when she deploys again in a few months.
I had completely forgotten even sending in the pics when Englishman had posted asking for some on Back Talk awhile back.  Over the years I have submitted articles, pictures, and other stuff to different magazines but never had any of it make it.  This makes the 2nd time I ahve submitted something to The Horse, and had it published.  Just another reason it has become the only mag I go out of my way to buy every new issue.  Anyway, it is late, and I am rambling, so I am going to head off to bed. 
Have a good one, and I hope to catch you on the road sometime.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

They'd Never Believe It If This Were A Movie

I was thinking earlier today, about some of the numerous times I have somehow  escaped major problems and at times death by some small twist of fate.  What I suppose could be called a “But for the Grace of God, there go I” moments.  That may sound odd, but it is true.  There have been a number of times in my life, when plans have for some unforeseen reason been altered, and I realize how precious life is.  I was telling a friend on Facebook, that if they tried to make a movie of my life, and the things I have survived, and sidestepped, it would be unbelievable.  Mt St Helens is by far the most dramatic of those times, but not the most deadly. 

When you look at that picture, take a moment to realize that the land down in the valley was 200 ft lower before May 18th.  That all the land you can see was a densely forested area before the landslide and eruption that followed.  This photo was taken 3 miles from the mountain, and the devastation goes one for miles farther.
Gerald Martin was a Ham Radio Operator manning a volunteer observation post 8 miles to the northwest of Mt St Helens.  My Dad was scheduled to relieve Gerald the weekend of the 17th-18th of May.  I was going to drive him there, and spend a few days with him before coming back up to Tacoma.  I realized the week before that it was Armed Forces weekend, and my destroyer was one of two Navy ships “visiting” Seattle for  those two days.  So I had to have my Dad to ask Gerald if I could bring him down on Sunday night or early Monday morning.  Gerald said no problem, he wasn’t in the “Red Zone” anyway so no big deal.
At 8:32 AM on Sunday morning, Gerald was on the radio describing the “whole north side” of the mountain sliding away.  He described it as it swept over  the observation post on what is now called Johnston’s Ridge.  Gerald signed off the radio, saying he was going to “get out of here”, only to return to the airwaves a few seconds later to state the was no way out.
Gerald’s body was never recovered, nor was his RV.  Had I not been obligated to be in Seattle aboard the ship that morning; it would have been myself and my Dad, who were never found.  That is why I have such a connection with Mt St Helens.  It is for that reason, there is a photo of St Helens on the top of this blog.  That is also why I lead a motorcycle ride up to the mountain every year for the anniversary of the eruption.
As I said, that may have been the most dramatic, but not the only time, or the most deadly.   In September of 1978, a few of us decided to take a trip up to Los Angeles for the weekend.   We took a PSA shuttle flight up on Friday, and the plan was to make the return flight Monday morning.   Being the young, and spontaneous sailors we were; by Sunday we were back at the airport trying to get a return flight.  I do not remember why, but for some reason we had decided to come back Sunday and not wait until Monday.  We cashed in our tickets, and rented a car back to San Diego.  Monday morning we all reported in for duty.
The week before I had volunteered for plane crash detail…a real gravy duty because we only had to muster ever four hours and then go back to whatever we were doing… how often does a plane crash in San Diego? 
I went up to the smoking deck of the building my “A” School was in, and was looking around before the school started at the rising smoke from several large grassfires.  I remember looking at the smoke rising up as I finished my cigarette before going down for muster, and school to begin.  A couple hours later, I was again up on the smoking deck, but this time there was a fresh column of smoke to the southeast.  It wouldn’t be long before word was passed for the plane crash detail to assemble.  The PSA jet we were originally scheduled to return on had been struck in mid-air by a Cessna 176 whose pilot was undergoing instrument only training.  The PSA jet then crashed into a San Diego neighborhood.  So my first day on plane crash detail, the plane that crashes is the one I was supposed to be on.
In the early 1980s, I rode a chopped BSA that I used to joke was “possessed”. .  It is also the only bike I have ever laid completely on her side in a turn and still came back up out of the turn.   I remember one time actually rubbing the rubber off the end of the left foot-peg, and grinding the peg from pivoting on it doing about 40 mph.  There were times she wouldn’t start no matter what I did for up to a half hour, then she would fire up first kick.  Then, at other times she would just stop running and wouldn’t start for awhile.  But it seemed that every time this happened, there was a reason for it.  Either someone came over while I was trying to get the bike started that I would have missed otherwise, or someone wouldn’t have been where I was going had I arrived when I had planned.  There were also a few times that the delay ended up keeping me out of the middle of an accident that had occurred when I would have been reaching that point if I hadn’t been delayed.
The most remarkable time to me though, was when I was returning home to Port Orchard after a weekend out of town up on the Olympic Peninsula.  As I pulled up to the toll booth, the bike just died.  The motor quit, and I ended up having to push it to the parking lot.  By the time I had the bike pushed to the side of the parking lot under a light, even the bikes electrics had gone dead.  After working on the bike without even finding anything wrong for almost an hour, I decided to just chain the bike to the lamp post and hitch the last 30 miles home.  I’d get a truck to haul the bike back the next day.
Within a couple minutes of having made the decision to hitch, the first car coming by stopped.  It was the young gal from the tollbooth.  She had just gotten off work at midnight, and was going right into Port Orchard.  This seemed like my lucky night.  More than I knew, because the fact of her picking me up when and where she did ended up giving me a ironclad alibis for an assault someone else tried pinning on me.  If J.C. hadn’t broken down when and where she did, I would have had absolutely no way of proving I wasn’t in town.  But because she did breakdown, when and where she did, I had a state employee, who vouched for me when the cops asked.
I ended up having to rent a Uhaul to go get the bike.  Seems everyone’s truck was either busy or broke down for a few days.  When I got back to the parking lot at the Hood Canal Bridge, just for shits and grins, I decided to try to start the bike.  She coughed on the first kick, and roared to life on the second.  After that, I never had a problem with J.C. not running properly, until I had to trade her for a car…I should have never done that…I still kick myself for it almost 30 years later.
These are only a small portion of the times things have somehow stepped in my path and made me change what was going on only to find out it was some sort of weird twist of fate.  I do not know what it is, but I firmly believe there is a reason I am here on this earth.  It might be some small thing, and I may never even know what it is.  But I have had too many things happen for me to believe any other way.  Many of them I won’t talk about.  Either because they are too personal, or for legal reasons, but the things I have posted here will give you an idea.
I am not sure what tomorrow will bring, but I am sure it will bring something.  Until I have served whatever purpose I may have in this life.  I am no one special, but I do believe there is someone or something watching over me.  I just hope it keeps on watching for a long time to come.

A Ride To Paradise

Last August a few friends came over to party over the Loggers Jubilee weekend here in Morton.  This is an annual shindig, and we always go for a ride somewhere each day, so it gets us out of the frenzied craziness that is Jubilee.  Besides, we like to make our own craziness.

So come saturday, when it was time for us to go for a ride, we were ready for it.  But, the road we were going to take was closed because some granny in a car took out two state patrol sickledicks, and they were going to be doing an investigation for a few hours.  Needless to say we headed out anyway...and ran right into the parade through downtown.  Well it was a HOT August day, and we were right in front of the Bucksnort Pub, soooo.

While we were inside having a cool beverage, a few more bikes rode up.  Sitting inside the Bucksnort trying to figure out where we were going to ride, someone else in the place mentioned it was free admission weekend to all the National Parks.  So with that said, it was decided that we head up to Paradise on Mt Rainier.  Stopping here and there if anyone saw something they wanted to check out.  Other than destination, no other plans were made, and no time limits set.  Our usual sort of trip, starting out without even knowing where we're going, let alone when we'll be back.

We rode north once the parade was over, and turned right after crossing the Nisqually River into Elbe and headed for Mt Rainier.  There is a cool little spot I decided to stop and show everyone, and see how things went from there.  The band was already playing, but they seemed a bit stiff and rusty, so we hit the rode again and headed up to the mountain.

We rode into and up onto Mt Rainier.  The roads packed with everybody taking advantage of the FREE weekend.  But it was still a beautiful day, and as we rode up a few thousand feet the temperature cooled down into the upper 70s.  Perfect for riding on the twisting roads, even if we did have to do the speed limit because of the traffic.

We finally reached a viewpoint with a killer view of the mountain, and stopped to enjoy the view and a drink or two, and to just shoot the shit.  Everytime we would hear a bike come up or down the road, we'd check it out as we kicked back.  Including a blue FXR that looked familiar, but no one could figure out who it was.  At least not until a few days later anyway, after I posted some of the pics on the Back Talk forum, George The Painter posted saying he'd been riding that road the same day...

When we made the turn to Paradise, we hit stop and stop some more traffic on the steep hill about half a mile after the turn off.  Being as it was a narrow two lane, with a curve at the top, we split up and headed up the hill on either what little shoulder there was, or in the downhill lane, and just hoped no one would come aorund that corner.  But we all made it, and hung out for a bit before heading back down the hill to get away from the maddening crowd.

We stopped once we got back into Packwood, and the heat had begun to make itself known again.  Scott had noticed T  had a low front tire, so he stopped and put air in it, and the rest of us rode the 1/2 mile or so to the Blue Spruce for some cold refreshment before taking Hwy 12 back to Morton.  The fun part of the ride was over, now just 45 miles of boring, mostly straight two lane.  So we had a couple at the Blue Spruce and talked about the days ride so far.  Once we left the Packwood, everyone sort of drifted off to do therie own thing, with only the ones spending the night camped in the backyard riding back to the house with me. 

If you ever find yourself here in Washington State during the summer time, make the ride up to Paradise, and then down through Stevens Canyon.  it is one of the coolest rides in the state...unless there was a bad winter that had slides tear the road out...but usually it is a great ride.

Check it out sometime.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Stonehenge: Washington State Style

If you ever find yourself in the area of the Columbia River Gorge between Oregon and Washington, consider yourself lucky to start with.  Of the many good riding roads in the area, one of the best takes you to Stonehenge in Maryhill, Washington.  Set on a hill overlooking the eastern end of the gorge, and offering spectacular views.  Including the US 97 bridge just to the west of Stonehenge, that connects Washington and Oregon.

Stonehenge was built in the early 1920s as a war memorial dedicated to the men of Klicitat County that had been "sacrificed on the altar of war" during World War One.  The sightlines are the
same as at the original in England.  So if you are there at dawn on the morning of the summers solstice, the sun will rise at the same point as it does in England...the same with the moon.

Back in the 80s, the Outsiders MC held a run here everyear.  It was quite the bash, and bikes would come from all over the NW to do "the henge".  There is a campground less than a mile away, and a gas station and store about the same distance.  Good food and cold beverages are to be found close by too.  There is a lot to ride to and check out within a short few miles of riding from Stonehenge.

Depending on your state of mind, Stonehenge can go from cool, to flat out fucking trippy.  Its kind of hypnotically relaxing too...especially if you have already put 600 miles or so behind you.  Even though it is by two of the main highways in the area, it is
amazingly quiet.  With only the wind blowing through the gorge to really make any noise.

So if you ever find yourself up here in this neck of the woods, and want to find some cool place to ride, or just a quiet spot to kick back and cut loose, let me know.  I'll be more than happy to either show you, or at least show you how to get to some of the best riding in the region.  

This is a strange kind of place...in the NW, you can ride from the ocean beaches; through dense woodlands and over mountains to dry arid landscapes straight out of some western movie, to monstrous prehistoric waterfalls now dried up.  You can ride from Stonehenge to a Bavarian village to an Old West town.  All of this in a day.  IF, you know how to do it, and where to go.  So come on up to the NW and have a ride.  I am sure you will be glad you did.
Let's Ride!!!