8 Ball In The Wind

Sunday, June 29, 2014

WSP "Bogus Helmet Brochure" IS BOGUS!!

The Washington State Patrol produced a brochure on motorcycle helmets that they entitled "Bogus Helmets".  While I applaud their basic desire to enforce the law of the state, there are several glaring problems with the WSP's brochure.  Partly, it seems to stem from their fixation, if not obsession with what they call "novelty helmets".  Their use of the term doesn't quite fit wiht the helmet industry's usage of the term.  Whether intentional or not, it is their continued focus on this one type of "novelty helmet" that gives the impression they are unable to tell the difference between a FMVSS-218 (Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 218) compliant helmet and a non-compliant one unless it is this obvious type of 'skull cap' helmet.  

Another problem with this brochure is the WSP's repeated use of the term "approved" in regards to FMVSS-218 compliant helmets.  There is no such thing as a "DOT approved" helmet.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does not "approve" helmets.  Here is a quote from a NHTSA executive regarding this subject; "NHTSA does not provide approvals of motor vehicles, or motor vehicle equipment.  Instead, manufacturers are required to self-certify that their products conform to all applicable safety standards that are in effect on the date of manufacture."

What that means is; that the manufacturer, by putting the DOT mark or sticker on the helmet, that they believe the helmet is compliant with all standards currently in effect.  They don't have to test the helmet to ensure that it does.  Their self-certification is effective until such time as that model of helmet is actually tested.  If the helmet fails the test, from that point on it is no longer compliant with FMVSS-218, and cannot be sold as such.

Many of the companies that sell helmets simply continue to manufacture and sell the helmets as "novelty helmets".  Without the laboratory testing facilities, there isn't any way of determining if a helmet is compliant or not.  Except of course for the labeling.  Which is a part of FMVSS-218 (a helmet can actually fail if the labeling is faulty.  Even though structurally it is completely compliant with the standard.)

So, basically, when the WSP refers to a "novelty helmet", they mean something like this.

Basically hard shell with a starp, and maybe a thin foam or styrofoam padding inside.  They sell for $20-30 new.  Everyone who has half a brain can tell this helmet wouldn't pass a compliancy test in the lab.  But what about THIS "novelty helmet"?

This helmet is sold by Biltwell as a "novelty helmet" for just under $100.  Take a look at the picture, and see if it fits the description of the WSP brochure as to what is an "approved" helmet (remember that is a non-existent thing anyway, but let's just see if this non-compliant helmet fits the WSP definition.)

"A legitimate helmet meeting the federal safety standards has a inner lining of firm energy-absorbing material, usually one inch thick.  It's this energy-absorbing material that makes the biggest life-saving difference."

"A legitimate helmet will have a chinstrap that is thick and well riveted."

Okay, with those descriptions in mind, does this helmet meet that standard?

Let's see if this is a "bogus" helmet or not: 

1. A "inner lining of firm energy-absorbing material, usually one inch thick".  Yep, it sure seems to have that.

2. A "chinstrap that is thick and well riveted".  Yep, that looks right.

But this is sold by Biltwell as a "novelty helmet".  It isn't a DOT compliant helmet.  So the WSP in it's obsessive focus on the 'skull cap' style of "novelty helmet" has completely missed the boat on a much broader range of helmets that meet their description.
However these helmets are still not DOT compliant.

Another quote from the WSP's brochure is one that I have a hard time believing.  Especially when I look at the various "novelty helmets" on the market today.  That quote is, again, obviously focussed on the 'skull cap' type of helmet that doesn't even really hide its non-compliancy by simply looking at it.  Here's the quote, see what you think;  "You are more likely to die in a motorcycle collision if you are wearing a bogus helmet than if you don't wear a helmet at all." (Quote ascribed to Peek-Asa et al, 1999, Accident Analysis & Prevention)

According to the brochure, there is suppose to be a label on the inside of a DOT compliant helmet that states; the name of the manufacturer, the helmet model, the size, the date of manufacture, and the construction materials.  I just looked inside my own personal helmet.  There is a label inside, but it is no longer readable.  But then, I don't plan on taking my helmet off and letting a cop "inspect" it without a warrant anyway, so I am not going to worry.  

What this all boils down to, is the WSPs seeming obsession with 'skull caps' as the only form of "novelty" or "bogus" helmets is ridiculous.  It actually shows that they don't really know what is a helmet and what isn't.  Here's an example, a few years ago, during a committee hearing, a witness brought several helmets into the hearing as part of his testimony, and challenged the WSP witness to identify which helmet was DOT compliant, and which wasn't.  The witness from WSP couldn't tell which was which.

Catch you on the road sometime...

Friday, June 27, 2014

Another Tool To Use

I have been playing around making videos for my personal enjoyment and entertainment for several years.  Just in the past week or so, through conversations with a couple of different people, I have decided to try making a different type of video.  Short, 30 second Public Service Announcements, and longer 5 minute presentations for legislators and others.  Going to try and see if I can't get something going, and express the desire I share with a great number of people.  To be free to exercise our Right to Choose whether or not to wear a helmet while riding my motorcycle.

I have created a couple of videos already.  Both were made relatively quickly, and in my opinion it shows.  But they are a start, and with a little time, and focus, they may be the foundation of much better ones coming down the road.  Check them out, and see what I mean.

Catch ya on the road sometime...

Wednesday, June 25, 2014


It has come to my attention, that the Bill I mentioned the other day, the Road Guard Bill is still being pushed by it's proponents.  That's their right.  But I have read the Bill, and it makes me wonder if the most vocal supporter of the Bill has done more than glanced at it.  I have seen an editorial he wrote that makes claims for the Bill which aren't substantiated when you actually read the document.  Which leads me to believe he hasn't read it very closely, or is just going on hearsay.  I am not sure which.  To me, his comments in defense of the Bill (HB2494) are either the misinformed assumptions of someone who has been told about the Bill, or intentional misinformation given for some unknown reason.  Below is a link to the complete text of HB2494 in a .pdf document.  After you read it (it's a short Bill), I will add some of the comments being made about what the Bill will do.  Perhaps you can find in the Bill where it says what he says is true.  I haven't been able to, and I've been looking.


Okay, have you read the page and a half long Bill yet?  I hope so, because now I am going to show you how far from the truth some of the misinformation being put out about this Bill is.  After each quote about this Bill, go through it, and see if you can find where it states in the Bill what it is claimed to say.  If you find it, PLEASE let me know, because I haven't been able to.  I will emphasize the points that aren't in the Bill that I can find.  Alright then, let's get this shin-dig on the road, here goes:

 1.  "Last January, a bill was introduced to the House and Senate
that would allow groups of 20 or more motorcyclists to provide
their own road guarding under certain conditions."

That is the first sentence of the editorial about HB2494.  And it already is giving false information.  There is no mention in the Bill of  groups "of 20 or more motorcyclists".  It only mentions "group".  So in the opening sentence it is already inaccurately stating what the Bill will do.

 2.  "This would require some advance planning on the part of the
organizers of the group ride and the plan would be submitted
to the proper agencies for review."

Again, there is no procedure stated within the Bill who the "proper agencies" are.  It DOES mention the "Washingtonn State Patrol or local law enforcement", but only says if they are "unavailable to control vehicle traffic".  By inference, the ride route would have to be submitted to the WSP or local law enforcement.  But the Bill does not state procedure, or the cost incured by having WSP or local law enforcement provide escort services.  They certainly won't be doing it for free.

 3.  "There is nothing that says that you must absolutely use this bill if
it becomes law. It is just another choice available to you, should
you decide that it fits your needs. Opponents to this bill failed
to disclose this fact when they were making statements all over
Facebook and writing letters and making phone calls to legislators
saying how terrible this bill is. This bill would provide you
with another legal and lawful choice."

Section 4 pretty well says it all.  "A violation of this section is a misdemeanor."  So if the Bill becomes law, and you perform road guard duties without a certificate you are susceptible to being arrested on a misdemeanor charge.  It doesn't say who violates it, just that violation is a misdemeanor.

 4. "Another thing that opponents were saying is that Road
Guards could be arrested and go to jail, according to the bill.
This is simply not true. What the bill states is that if the driver
of a car does not obey the directions of the certified road guard, 
that driver would be subject to a misdemeanor citation. Even
that would not send someone to jail. I don’t even know where
that came from."

Where does it even say anything about the "driver of a car" not obeying the certified road guard?  As for going to jail for a misdemeanor, if you are found guilty of a misdemeanor in Washington state, there is supposed to be a minimum of 24hrs mandated, and up to 90 days.  I know, I've experienced that personally.

 5.  "ABATE of Minnesota recently passed a Road Guard Bill in
their State, as well as ABATE of Ohio and ABATE of Illinois.
The Patriot Guard Riders are very much in favor of this bill, and
it is approved by the MRF, and the AMA."

The state of Minnesota did pass a similar Bill.  However, they have yet to even finish making the rules for their system.  Illinois passed their Bill, and it became law effective January 1, 2014.  However it is in a similar position as Minnesota, and the system in notorganized yet.  As for Ohio , the Bill in thae state has been introduced, but as of the last time I checked, it had not yet been passed.  It seems that most of the problems extend from the rule making agencies having difficulty trying to get a handle on some of the details.  Bureaucrats given the opportunity, will always take a simple concept and make it as complicated as possible.  It seems that is the current situation in Minnesota, where it has been over two years since their similar Bill was passed into law, and the rules for the program are still being worked out.

 6.  "Nobody is required to use it, but it would be there if your group wanted it."

If it becomes law, everyone would be required to obey it.  Just as the Helmet Law requires a person to wear a helmet whether they want to or not.  A citizen not obeying the Road Guard Law, would be in violation.  As I pointed out earlier, the penalty for violating the Bill if it becomes Law is a misdemeanor.  Currently it is only a ticketable offense.  This Bill would increase the penalty for anyone who violates it.

A lot of misinformation within this editorial.  I am not sure if it is intentional or not, and don't really care.  It is quite possible that the author of the editorial is using the concept behind the Bill to make their point.  He certainly isn't using what the Bill states.  Check it out for yourselves, read the Bill, and compare it to the six points I showed you.  If you agree with me that this is a poorly written Bill, that can have undesired consequences, oppose it.  If you disagree, by all means, show me where I am wrong.  Let's discuss it.

We don't need anymore restrictions on our ability to ride when and where we want to without government involvement or control.

Catch you on the road sometime...

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Helmets Fail The Test

As many of you know, I hate this coconut that the state of Washington mandates I wear if I want to ride.  The Washington State Patrol tell me that if I wear a helmet that the manufacturer claims meets the federal standard, it will make me safer. Obviously they haven't researched the failure rate of helmets that have been tested over a nearly thirty year span of time.  Between 1980 and 2008, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (the federal agency within the Dept. of Transportation that sets the standards for vehicles and equipment) had independent laboratories test helmets the manufacturers claimed met the Federal Standard (they all had "DOT" stickers on them from the factory).  Over that twenty-eight year period of testing, what do you suppose the average failure rate of those "DOT" helmets were?


The average "DOT" helmet failure rate over that period was 61%.  That is almost two out of every three "DOT" helmets failed testing.  Yet we are still MANDATED to wear them.  Don't believe me, do the math yourself.  Between 1980 and 2008 there were 1,506 "DOT" helmets tested.  Of that number, only 583 passed the tests.  That means that 923 failed.  While some years testing were better than others, there were a couple of years with 100% failure rates.  The lowest fail percentage during that time was 30% in 2004.  So even in the best year of testing, there was still a nearly ONE IN THREE FAILURE RATE.

Yet we are still MANDATED to wear what amounts to defective equipment.  Think about it honestly, would you, if you had the choice, want to wear a safety device that effective 39% of the time?  If there is a 61% failure rate, then there can only be a 39% effective rate.

Even the "DOT" helmets that passed the tests are only certified to withstand lowspeed impacts.  The impact velocity helmets have to withstand to pass testing is a mere 13.4 MPH.  Even SNELL certified helmets (which must withstand slightly higher impact velocities than DOT requires) can not be expected to perform effectively at much greater speeds.  To quote one of their own people, Ed Becker; "Our standards call for impacts with a velocity of about 17.3 mph followed by a second impact at the same point on the helmet at about 14.8 mph.  A helmet that can take one of our headforms through these two impacts unscathed could probably handle a single impact somewhat greater than 17.3 mph but certainly no more than 23 mph." (emphasis added)

So even the manufacturers admit that effective helmets aren't going to be much good over about 23 mph.  Think about that the next time you are riding in a town or city and see the speed limit sign saying 25 MPH.  The "DOT" helmets we are mandated to wear only have an average effective rating of 39% at 13.4 MPH.  That effectiveness drops drastically at higher speeds.  Which begs the question: "We are forced to wear these, WHY!?!"

Even Harry Hurt, author of  "the most comprehensive motorcycle safety study of the 20th century" the famous (infamous in some circles) "Hurt Study", stated; "When those impact speeds get up to be 25 to 30 miles per hour, no helmet in the world is going to save you."  (Again, only emphasis added.)  Think about that the next time you HAVE to strap on that helmet.

Catch you on the road sometime...

Monday, June 23, 2014

Giving Up Control

I can understand that when a bill is introduced into a state legislature, perhaps all the details of the workings of the finished law might not be worked out.  But what I simply can't understand is when a bill simply gives its soul up to the bureaucracy.  When a bill states that it is 'authorizing  the (named Dept. or Agency) to 'adopt, amend, and apply reasonable rules' regarding how this bill will work, it is giving away all power and control to the named government body.

Think about it for a moment.  Let's say that you were introducing a bill to create a  training program for a certification of some new position to help control traffic under a specific set of conditions created by the bill.  Then, in the first paragraph of your bill, you write something to the effect of; "the Director of (Whichever Dept.) will create, adopt, apply, and amend rules and regulations regarding the certification process for those seeking certification as a (whateveritis)."

Sounds all official and legal, doesn't it?  Except for one thing.  That one sentence just stripped all control of the futureof your bill, and dumped it into the lap of some group of bureaucrats.  Even if the legislators pass your bill and the Governor signs it into law, the heart and soul of your bill will be molded entirely by bureaucrats.  You may have had a grand and glorious concept for this new position.  They don't care about that.  they may not even understand completely what the position this new law creates is.  But they do know they have the power to regulate every aspect of its existence.  Including what conditions must be met to earn certification as a "Certified Whateveritis".

In your mind, it may have been a simple thing to set up.  But that was before you gave your newborn law over to the bureaucracy.  They will spend a great deal of time breaking down the position your new law created.  Then they will create regulations on to when this position can even be used.  The training to gain certification will be adopted and applied in whatever way they feel is appropriate to maintaing their control over this new law.  Guess what, that may even include any special items or clothing that they deem this certified person  must wear or use.  Whatever they feel is necessary to comply with their regulations.  The cost of the training program for each person?  Again, that is solely up to the bureaucracy that was tasked with creating it.

Because your original bill read "adopt, apply, and amend" they can make rules as they see fit.  Which can be disastrous if the position was something originally opposed by the agency in the first place.  By using words, and phrases that have a sound good, but are vague.  Or that give unspecified control and power to an agency, you are asking for trouble.  Do not expect any bureaucrat to make simple, even logical, regulations.  There is an old, but sadly true joke about bureaucrats that goes something like this; "The sole purpose of a bureaucrat is to take something simple, and complicate it beyond all recognition."  Do you really want to give the future of your bill to caeer bureaucrats who earn a living by creating regulations for everything?

I use this example of a new position to help control traffic, because last year in the Washington State legislature, there was a bill introduced that was intending to do just that.  It was intending to create a "certified road-guard" position to control traffic  at intersections for groups of motorcycles to stay together.  While it's language was not exactly as described above, it was very close.  They had a concept in mind, and even had their own estimation (although I have no idea how they arrived at it) of what the certification program would cost an individual.  Let's just say there was over a $1,000.00 gap between what the Dept. of Licensing estimated it would cost an individual to take the course, and what the people advocating for the bill thought.  That was before the bureaucracy had even really begun to disect and regulate the bill.  The Dept. of Licensing was opposed to it, as was the Washington State Patrol.  So the bureaucrats were going to do whatever they could to regulate this position into irrelevency, even if it had passed into law.  Which I am glad to say it didn't, and not just for the reasons I have already mentioned.

Giving the government the power to make rules, and then change them as they see fit, is a dangerous gamble.  As long as the rules do not violate existing law, or appear to, there is little to constrain bureaucrats from creating whatever policies they wish.  As an example of another law, already existing on the books of Washington State, take a look at RCW 46.37.005.    Title 46 of the RCW (Revised Code of Washington) relates to "Motor Vehicles".  Chapter 37 of Title 46 of the RCW relates to "Vehicle Lighting and Other Equipment".  Now here comes the tricky part, Section 005 of RCW 46.37 relates to "State Patrol -- Additional Powers and Duties".

RCW46.37.005 reads;

"In addition to those powers and duties elsewhere granted, the chief of the Washington state patrol shall have the power and the duty to adopt, apply, and enforce such reasonable rules and regulations (1) relating to proper types of vehicles or combinations thereof for hauling passengers, commodities, freight, and supplies, (2) relating to vehicle equipment, and (3) relating to the enforcement of the provisions of this title with regard to vehicle equipment, as may be deemed necessary for the public welfare and safety in addition to but not inconsistent with the provisions of this title.

     The chief of the Washington state patrol is authorized to adopt by regulation, federal standards relating to motor vehicles and vehicle equipment, issued pursuant to the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966, or any amendment to said act, notwithstanding any provision in Title 46 RCW inconsistent with such standards. Federal standards adopted pursuant to this section shall be applicable only to vehicles manufactured in a model year following the adoption of such standards."

Now I don't claim to be an attorney, but my reading of that one sentence seems to say that when it comes to "vehicles", "equipment", and sepecially "enforcement", the chief of the Washington State Patrol has a fairly free hand to "adopt, apply, and enforce" any regulation he wants.  You see, the RCW gives the authority to the State Patrol to create rules and regulations.  Those rules and regulations become "WAC"s (Washington Administrative Code).  Those are laws created by bureaucrats that affect all of us in Washington state.  Laws that regulate our lives in so many ways, and slowly strip our Liberties, our very Rights & Freedoms from us.

Every state agency is run by WAC.  They get their power, and their control over aspects of our lives through the WACs.  Everything from requirements for getting Food Stamps, to Vehicle Licensing (had to by a new license plate because your old one  is "too old" and supposedly no longer "retro-reflective"?), to getting Insurance and more.  Don't get me wrong, some level of bureaucracy is necessary in a society.  But be wary of creating, or allowing to be created, needleass bureaucracy with little control that creates its own rules and applies them to your life.

Get involved in some level with the protection of our Liberties.  Whether it is joining a grassroots organization that is registered and licensed to work towards a political end, or just getting to know your legislators on a personal basis.  If they (and their legislative aids) get to know you by face and name as a constituent (and not a raving pain in the ass), you might be amazed at the results of your efforts to protect our Rights and Freedoms.

Catch you on the road sometime...

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Social Networking Works

As can be seen on the video linked to below, social media can have a positive effect on political situations.  http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.kimatv.com%2Fhome%2Fvideo%2FNo-restrictions-on-colors-or-patches-at-this-years-Smokeout-Chokeout-264064101.html&h=IAQF2Nuat   While originally, the word that sparked all this outrage stated that the City of Yakima had already mandated the exclusion of "Motorcycle Club/organization patches", the video states that the City hadn't made that decision...yet.  It also states that a firestorm of social media pressure was brought to bare.  Personally, it sounds more like  a bit of political 'face saving'.  I know that my previous post about emailing the  City Manager Tony O'Rourke was taken up.  But by how many people, I do not know, and the City isn't going to admit it was very many.

However it has been proven that the efforts of a few can spread the word over a broad arena using the social networking techniques that have been around for decades.  Using the internet to increase the speed of the networking only adds to the effect.  I was surprised, but very pleased to have received an email from the attorney for one of the national organizations representing a large majority of motorcycle clubs.  It was gratifying to know that what I wrote was being seen, and also was being taken seriously by such powerfulan organization.

It only goes to show that with the right connections, people can be brought information that if acted upon can affect their lives in a positive way.  While if left unknown, or not acted upon will lead to further erosion of our Civil Liberties.

It can be something as simple as having an old friend on facebook who happens to know someone a grade or two below you in school that became a local newscaster.  Or who also, has contacts with others positions of influence in other national motorcycle organizations.  One should never be too surprised by who your friends and acquaintances know and keep in contact with.  Reinforce the contacts you are aware of, and work to build new contacts when you become aware of them.  Just remember, each contact is a two way connection.  There may come a time when your contact needs help or information from you.  When that happens, be as open and helpful as you would expect them to be.  Yeah, I know, it sounds corny.  But using the old "Golden Rule' in a networking relationship will only tend to help build it stronger.

Personally, I have decided to focus myself on using my personal 'social network' for researching and fighting Washington States mandatory helmet law.  I don't care if you choose to wear a helmet or not.  That is your personal choice.  You have that Right.  Personally, I choose to decide whether I want to wear one each time I ride.  I demand my right to make that choice for myself.  Not to have it MANDATED by some faceless bureaucrat who has no idea; who I am, how I ride, and when I ride.  It is my personal belief that we have the RIGHT TO CHOOSE as adults, what is best for our own safety.  I would not claim to have the RIGHT to make that choice for another person.  It is an INDIVIDUAL RIGHT that each person should exercise in the way they feel most appropriate.  Just as you have the RIGHT to own and carry a firearm, not everyone will choose to do so.  As it should be.  We as a society must get off this kick of trying to enforce safety concerns on 'the other guy'.

You say that you "didn't see" the motorcycle that you just pulled a left turn in front of, causing it to crash into you?  But instead of taking the care to be more vigilant; you blame the person riding the motorcycle for being hard to see, then you demand that motorcyclists wear flourescent 'safety vests' so that you can see them better?  These are the sort of things we need to use our social skills and networking capabilities to fight against.

If, as individuals, we do not work together to help preserve our individual Freedoms and Liberties, the government and it's bureaucrats will simply, to quote George Carlson; "Nail sandals onto the soles of the natives."  When that happens to us, our Liberties will have been lost, and our Freedom to resist will have been stripped and nailed to the wall never to be used again.  It is our DUTY to band together as individuals and to fight to protect our RIGHTS and LIBERTIES.  Using our connections to draw attention and focus on issues, and gaining by the strength of second, third, or even more disparate connections in our social networks it may just surprise you how much can be accomplished.  Even if there isn't any fanfare about the victory.

Now if you will excuse me, I have some more research to do on the mandatory helmet issue.  But before I go, here is a quote from Ed Becker of the SNELL Foundation; "A helmet that can take one of our headforms through these two impacts could probably handle a single impact somewhat greater than 17.3 mph but certainly no more than 23 mph."  Remember that the impact that a motorcycle helmet needs to be able to survive, and is tested at, is only 13.4 mph.

Catch you on the road sometime...

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

It's Not Justice...It's Just-Us!

Just a couple of years ago, Washington State became the first state in the union to pass a 'Biker Anti-Profiling Law'.  But, it seems like some of the police departments in the state just didn't get the memo.  Or they just don't give a damn about it.  The most recent case in point is the Yakima Police Departments decision to mandate exclusion of anyone wearing 'Motorcycle Club/Organization and Supporter shirts" into the Smoke Out Choke Out being held for the 9th year in Yakima.

Since the fact that the law clearly states " For the purposes of this section, "motorcycle profiling" means the illegal use of the fact that a person rides a motorcycle or wears motorcycle-related paraphernalia as a factor in deciding to stop and question, take enforcement action, arrest, or search a person or vehicle with or without a legal basis under the United States Constitution or Washington state Constitution."  A reasonably intelligent person would consider excluding anyone wearing the aforementioned patches and shirts as taking 'enforcement action' against people simply for wearing "motorcycle related paraphernalia".  Because they included 'organizations' in the restriction, one would conclude that they are mandating the exclusion of members of; A.B.A.T.E., the MRF, the AMA, H.O.G., Goldwing Road Riders, or even the Bikers For Christ.  

Whether you are a member of one of the 1% Clubs, or even just a supporter of one, or a member of any motorcycle 'organization'.  The Yakima PD just mandated your exclusion from an event in their city.  Not because of anything you may have done, but simply because of what you wear.

Open your eyes people.  This is the police violating the law they are sworn to enforce.  Once again, a law enforcement agency in Washington State is violating and openly ignoring state law.  Discriminating against a group of people simply on the basis of what they are wearing.  If they are allowed to do this to us, where will it stop?  What law will they decide to ignore next?

Here is a photo of the announcement from the promotors of Smokeout Chokeout 9 with their explanation of the problem.  I fully expect one of two things to happen in July.  Either the event will be inundated with the excluded groups, or there will be a crushing drop in attendance.  If it is the latter, I hope the 'City Fathers' of Yakima realize the money their PD just excluded from flowing into the cities coffers.  

Now here is the email address for the Yakima City Manager, Tony O'Rourke:  tony.orourke@yakimawa.gov
Let's fill his inbox with emails informing him how the cities PD is in flagrant violation of RCW 43.101.419, the Motorcycle Profiling Law.  Explain to him the money that won't be spent in Yakima because of his cities PD unlawfully excluding tax paying citizens from attending an annual event simply on the basis of what they are wearing.  Discrimination based on a persons attire.  

The Yakima PD is taking "enforcement action" against an entire class of individuals simply based on their wearing certain 'motorcycle paraphernalia'.  This is discrimination pure and simple, and should be opposed in any legal way possible.  If we don't do it now, it won't be law enforcement saying it is justice...they'll be saying it is 'just us'!!

Catch you on the road sometime...

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Spring Opener Pt 3

After getting a little something to eat, and enjoying some more refreshing beverages, we headed back down to check out the music being played by Hells Belles.  They're an all girl AC/DC tribute band.  And pretty damn good in my humble opinion.

Refreshing Beverages

Jell-O Shots anyone?

Hells Belles

Hells Belles
They really cut loose and were rocking the joint hard.  Then, out of seemingly nowhere, came about a 6 foot long inflatable cock in the audience.  The guitar player saw it and called for it to be brought up on stage.  When it was, she straddled it and began rocking the song All Night Long while riding the cock.  For some reason, none of the pics I took of that came out...either out of focus, or just blurry from moving.  A shame, because the cock popped on her.  I guess Princess Karen from South King County Chapter will need to patch it or get a new one.

After they finished performing, we moseyed back to camp.  Stopping to talk and share a flask with friends along the way.  I could already tell, that even though the raffle for the 2014 Road King was going to be at 10:00 O'Clock, I wasn't going to make it.  Only getting about three hourse sleep since 5:00AM on Friday morning was catching up with me.  After about an hour of sitting around the campfire I knew I was done for the night.  I hate to admit it, but I crashed about 9:45.  I was still awake when word came that Amigo Mungo won the Road King, but was just too damn burned out to get up and and enjoy the fire with the few left in camp not already passed out.  Yeah, it seems they were almost all as beat as I was after partying since Thursday around Noon.

When I woke up, and finally rolled out of bed, it was just after 6:00 AM.  Jim was trying to get a fire going, and having a tough time with the wood that he had bought.  So I opened up one of my flasks and poured some 190 proof onto the wood.  When he put a burning piece of paper against the wood a few seconds later, it lit right off. Ah the wonders of Chemistry!!

It wasn't long, and we had fresh hot coffee, and something solid to put into our stomachs.  After that, it was time to break camp and start heading back.  Since I was having issues with a leaky rear tire, Jim offered to haul the tent, chairs, and sleeping bags I had been hauling on Gypsy back on the truck.  Even with all that gone, Robin and I still come close to max weight load on the bike.  So it was a well appreciated gesture.  

The sky was still a bit grey, and the wind was just a bit breezy when I rode off to put some air in the tire.  I bought a can of 'fix-a-flat' ($10 for 1 can) just in case of emergency, and rode back to camp.  Within a few minutes, we were all heading back out to get fresh coffee before everybody hit the road.

Breaking Camp

Jim's bike

Heading Out

Heading Out

Coffee Stop

After a couple quick cups of coffee, we headed back home.  Mo & Christine headed west with the truck and trailer.  While the rest of us headed east.  We wanted to spend as little time on the boring freeway system as possible.  So we were going to ride the two lane back roads down through Ellensburgh.  Then ride through the Yakima River Canyon and then head back west on Highway 12 over White Pass.  The nice mellow scenic route.  The weather was great for the most part.  Some gusty winds west of Ellensburgh, but that's normal.  A friend of mine who lives there likes to say; "Ellensburgh doesn't suck...it BLOWS!"  Which is pretty close to the truth.  Thats why they built a few big wind farms with those huge electric wind generators around the area.  But anyway, the weather was fine.  Until just before we reached White Pass.  It suddenly got chilly, and a few miles after coming off the pass we hit rain.  But nothing too bad.  Just enough to make us all want a hot bath when we got home.

The Long Way Home

The Long Way Home

The Long Way Home

The Long Way Home

The Long Way Home

The Long Way Home

The Long Way Home

The Long Way Home

The Long Way Home

The Long Way Home

The Long Way Home

The Long Way Home

All in all, it was a great time.  I'm already looking forward to next years Spring Opener.  Although, I am hoping to have Gypsy up good enough to compete in the bike games as well.  Maybe even enter her in the bike show.  Who knows...that's next year.  I'm going to enjoy this year first.

Catch you on the road sometime...

Spring Opener Pt 2

When we pitched the tent, we had gotten all the rocks out from under it.  Or so we thought.  We were just too damn tired, and it was too dark to bother moving the tent to get a few half buried rocks out.  So we just lay there listening to the bikes and rigs and music from the band.  Finally, I fell asleep.  Sometime around two or so, and got about three hours sleep.  When I woke back up, I just laid there with my eyes closed and sort of cat napped off and on for another hour or so.  It was about 6:30 when we finally got up and dressed.  We just couldn't resist answering natures call any longer.  We got the bike warmed up, and headed out looking for the campsite with a flat tire.

About 7:00, we got hold of Mo, and got somewhat better directions.  When we were getting close, we could see Mo waving at us, so we just rolled in and said "Mornin'".  Coffee was just about ready (Christine owns an espresso shop so I knew it would be good strong coffee) and we just chilled for a bit before I went back and move our gear over to this campsite.

It seems everyone had been partying like rockstars since Thursday night.  They were all moving a bit slowly on an early Saturday morning.  Life was beginning to stir all around the ranch as you could hear bikes firing up and heading out to the gas station and restaurant just outside the gate.  I rolled out there myself and filled the tire with air.  I have to tell you, it was a cool feeling seeing everybody ride around with no helmets on.  Even the store and gas station were still on private property.  So you didn't need to ride on any road to get there.

After getting the tent and gear moved, we had a good breakfast.  Then Robin and I went to check out the bike show and vendors, and to find some more friends, old ones and new ones.



Bike Show

While at the bike show, we were given an invitation for our entire chapter at the Opener to come and join in the anniversary party for the East Pierce County Chapter of ABATE of Washington.  It turned was a kickass BBQ and good time.  Many thanks to Noel and his entire crew there at EPCC.  Elk Country Chapter were the FNG's at Spring Opener this year, but we were treated like family without a doubt.

After the BBQ, we went back to 'the bowl' and checked out the bike games.  Tacoma Chapter of ABATE did a Hell of a job putting it on.  Especially confined to as small a spot as it was.




After the 'Slow Plank Race' came the 'Belt Toss'.  That's a two person event, but this year, the two top finishers were solo riders.  There had to be a run-off between Tony and Chops, who both had two belts over the cones after the first round.  After the run-off Tony won on his Heritage Softail with all three belts over a cone in one toss.  Chops came in second on his old Shovel with two.  It made for quite an entertaining show.

It figures, the camera batteries died after the Belt Toss, so I didn't get any pics of the rest of the games.  But the Weinie Bite had one gal who missed the hot dog and bent so far backwards trying to get it, that when the bike started rolling forward she damn near did a face plant on the ground behind the bike.

I wanted at least a few pics of the Hells Belles playing so we went back to camp to get fresh batteries and some good liquid refreshment.  It meant we missed the tittie contest, but we did at least get a couple pics of Rick getting his bike washed at the Bikini Bike Wash.

It's getting about that time, and I need to go out and do a little work on Gypsy.  So I will finish this up in part 3.  Until then, have a good one.

Catch ya on the road sometime...

Monday, June 16, 2014

Spring Opener 2014 pt 1

It has been a couple of weeks since my last blog posting.  I've been busy on a couple of fronts, so just haven't had the time to write anything that would have had any sort of coherent thought to it.  I've been getting ready to be without a job.  As well as trying to get Gypsy ready to make the 3 hour run up to Spring opener.  Friday was my last day on the job, and once I got home, we quickly loaded up and hit the road.

I had to replace the rear tire just a couple of days before we left because the weather cracking in the sidewalls was really making me nervous.  So I replaced the tire, but pinched the innertube I was using as insurance against the sidewall giving out.  I didn't have a valve stem to replace the stem from the now punctured tube.  So I had to find another.  Patrick gave me four of them.  There was a question as to whether they would seat properly since they were from a jeep, and not a Harley, but in a pinch you make do.  It worked, and the tire held air.  So I put it on Gypsy Monday and moved on to the next item on my list of  things 'To Do'.

After my last day of work for the year, we loaded up the bike and headed out.  Gypsy felt a bit squirrely in the corners on the 17 mile ride up to Elbe.  So I pulled into the rest area to check the rear tire.  The cotter pin was in place, but I hadn't bent it to keep it there.  I looked around real quick and grabbed a rock to beat it over with, and we hit the road.  I noticed the tire was a bit low, so I decided to put air in it when we hit Eatonville.  This was going to become a pain in the ass by the end of the weekend.  But more about that later.

We aired up the tire in Eatonville, grabbed a bite to eat, and topped off the tanks in Orting.  Then it was off to North Bend.  Still planning on making it to Spring opener before dark (although that was beginning to look sketchier by the minute). The weather was actually fairly good.  With patches of blue sky and warm sunshine between cloud banks.  At least until a couple miles outside of North Bend.  Then it got dark and gloomy, and we got hit with some severe cross winds trying to go down the freeway.  We topped off the tanks in North Bend and headed out into what looked like nasty weather up on the pass.  

I pulled over up on Snoqualmie Pass because the rain was coming down hard, and I wanted to put on some rain gear.  We called our friends, and were told the directions to camp.  Which made absolutely no sense.  But then when you are getting directions from someone who is hammered that is to be expected.  We headed on into the dark, with road construction having wiped out the lane markers, the water shooting up from the front tire (I don't run a front fender), and the handling going to shit from  the rear tire being low (AGAIN) we slowed down to about 55 and kept going.  The signs reading "Motorcycles Us EXTREME Caution" and "Grooved Pavement Ahead" kept me a bit tense.  But apparently they had paved over all the grooves, and about a half hour later we arrived at Spring Opener.

We rode around the site about 4 times, but couldn't see any sign of our group so I finally just said uck it, and set up the tent over in a corner for the night.  Tomorrow we would find everyone, and move camp over there (where ever that was).  I assumed everyone must have passed out or gone to sleep, because they weren't answering their phones.  Oh well, the journey continues...

Catch ya on the road sometime...

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Controversial Idea

Once again, a "gun free zone" has been the site of a horrible attack by a troubled person with a gun.  It is a terrible tragedy whenever this happens.  One that seizes the headlines, and gives the perceptions that semi-automatic weapons are the bane of our society.  Even though the FBI has shown, that more people are killed each year by blunt force than by semi-automatic rifles, significant numbers aren't killed in one fell swoop.  Schools are the perfect target for these troubled individuals since they are well known as "gun free zones".  They can go on a shooting spree and not worry too much about getting stopped until the cops arrive.  That is, if they don't off themselves first.

Okay, here is a controversial, maybe even radical idea; the Secretary of Education should make it MANDATORY that all teachers and staff participate in firearms defensive tactical training.  They would then be given the choice to carry, or possess a firearm on school grounds for the protection of students and staff.  But only AFTER they completed the MANDATORY training.  Signs would then be prominently displayed around the school entrances stating that all teachers and staff have been trained in tactical defense of students on school premises.

Give the mandate a five year sunset date.  Then, if these mass school shootings do not show a drop, the mandate would no longer be in effect.  If, however, it does show a decrease in the number of attacks, and a corresponding decrease in the number of victims, would that not be a good test of whether the knowledge that the schools are now longer a safe place for these 'troubled individuals' to go try to make a staement by killing people?

If you had no idea if; the janitor, a secretary, or any number of other staff members might also be packing and trained in how to use a weapon, would you be more or less inclined to bring a gun to a school and try to open up with it?  Somehow, I doubt it.  I am not saying that all staff members be mandated to carry firearms.  I am saying that they should all be trained in how to use them in an emergency situation.  It would be up to the individual staff members to decide whther to carry or not.  Whether or not to accept the responsibility of carrying a firearm to use for the defense of yourself and others is a highly personal choice.  I would not presume to make that choice for another person.  However being trained how to use one in an emergency, along with a healthy dose of firearms safety training, I belive should be mandatory if you choose to work in a place that is so blatantly open to attack by someone liable to commit one of these 'Mass Shootings'.  Schools are the most widely known of the "gun free zones".  Teachers and staff should be trained for the possible emergency that can come with being such a public target.

Like I said, this is no doubt a radical idea.  But the status quo isn't working.  Maybe it is time for a radical idea to be given a try.

Catch you on the road sometime...

Monday, June 2, 2014

A Tragedy

Over the Memorial Day weekend, a family was out camping and riding motorcycles here in the mountains along the Cispus River.  They had been having a wonderful time.  Their 5 year old son, wearing all his protective gear and helmet was riding around the campsite.  Sadly he rode a bit too close to the river, and this young motorcycle loving child and his bike fell into the river.  He was only out of sight for a second or two.  But it was too late.  His body, weighed down by all his protective gear, was dragged under in the swift current until the boy was pinned amidst a log jam.  His father dove into the river when he saw the bike, and desperately searched for his son until he became hypothermic, and was almost lost himself.  The boys body was not recovered for four days due to the swiftness of the water and the depth he was in the log jam.

While this is a great tragedy, and I extend my deepest condolences to the family, the amazing part of this story is the reaction of some people when this news hit the social networks.  While most people showed support, a few were quite vocal in their condemnation of the parents.  Blaming the parents for his death because they allowed a 5 year old to ride a motorcycle.  Or blaming them for his death because he wasn't wearing a life preserver while around the river.  What has happened to our society?

When did it become even remotely acceptable to attack a grieving family?  To impose your own personal fears, and beliefs with hindsight onto a mourning and devastated family?  Making statements about how wreckless it is to allow a 5 year old to ride a motorcycle.  Impossible statements about watching the boy 'every second'.  Blaming the parents for allowing their son to do something that he loved deeply.

I simply do not understand the heartlessness of some people.  Why must people jump to place blame so fiercely, and viciously?  To me, it makes no sense, and I question the state of mind of some of the people that posted vindictive comments on various social media about this tragic loss of a young boys life.

This is a tragic story, and my heart goes out to the friends and family of this young boy.  Who had such a seemingly bright future ahead of him.  It just goes to show that no one is guaranteed tomorrow, and we should never take life for granted.

Out of respect for the grieving family I haven't given any names, and I won't.  However, the ABATE chapter here voted to make a donation to the family yesterday and present it at a special event at the Rainier Raceway where the boy raced.  They raised $170 in just a few moments.  Showing the support of motorcyclists for other motorcyclists in such a dark and tragic time.

Catch ya on the road sometime...