Tuesday, December 27, 2016

God's Will, Man's Will by Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum

I "finally" finished the book God's Will, Man's Will by Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum. (Someone pronounce that last name for me please.) It was a bit of a slow read. It's a hard subject.

Not much is known about Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum. Until this book I hadn't heard of him. In the arena of scholarship, he doesn’t seem to be known in an academic sense. According to the book, his family is from Russia, passing through to Germany and finally to America. This also includes living for a time in Israel. Raised as an ultra orthodox Jew, he separated from his family due to an interest in Christianity. Yes, a Christian Jew if I'm allowed to use that terminology together. He is apparently the founder of a missionary organization called Ariel Ministries. Really, that’s a fascinating background.

To the primary points. I’ve always had an interest with the spiritual and philosophical perspectives of how much is God in charge versus how much is mankind. Do things come about by God’s will? Or Man’s will? Or nobody’s? Or something else? The book God's Will, Man's Will was advertised as offering “a balanced and biblical plea in this engaging study that examines the issues of God's sovereignty in relation to human responsibility.” In this book he passes through most popular critical questions.

Some parts of the Biblical text are not that clear. They really aren’t and that's acknowledge in this book. This is not meant as a +1 for Calvinism, but I do find the concept of a freewill, odd. When you have a Bible that describes sinners in bondage to sin, and followers of Jesus as slaves to Christ, I don’t know how you have freewill.

At the end of the book, he does conclude that a moderate Calvinistic view is compatible with the Bible. His real conclusion is one of an antinomy. An apparent contradiction between two perspectives, both can be obtained by balanced reasoning and not going to the extreme of either side.

If you are just climbing on board with this subject matter, this is not a bad book as a one stop that incorporates a lot of the views and critical thought. But be warned it's very involved and may not be the best for someone new to this. And don't jump to conclusions about what he's saying until you finish the book. If an interesting topic came along again, I would read another book from Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

A Minute of Vision for Men: 365 Motivational Moments to Kick-Start Your Day

Warning, I like to ride motorcycles and it's become a problem. Sometimes the NWRoadrat character will step out of reality into make-believe, satire and fiction. I also do product reviews. If you would like yours reviewed, please contact me through this blog.

This book was supplied by Tyndale Publishers for this review. All opinions are my own. For those in the United States the aforementioned statement is for compliance with FCC rules.

Tyndale Publishers entrusted me with reviewing a new devotional, A Minute of Vision for Men: 365 Motivational Moments to Kick-Start Your Day by Roger Patterson. Though I’ve read and used devotionals in the past, this is my first review of one.

This book uses a lot of American sport figures, especially from American football. As someone who’s more business minded I generally don’t always look to sports figures. If you love sports, this is probably a perfect devotional for you.

Vison for Men is intertwined with Christian thought. It’s a 365 and meant to be fully read in a year. It’s easy to follow. The version I have is hard cover. It’s a quality made book which is a Tyndale Publishers norm. The small size is perfect for carry and travel. It’s also not centered around the hard to read King James version but includes multiple translations. I like that as a reader.

I’m enjoying the daily messages. It challenges me and that keeps me coming back. Whether you're religious or not, a book like this is perfect for parking your attitude in the morning and preparing you to have a meaningful impact throughout the day. It will be released Dec. 6 in a few days.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The Bible's Cutting Room Floor: The Holy Scriptures Missing from Your Bible

I finished reading (finally!) The Bible's Cutting Room Floor: The Holy Scriptures Missing from Your Bible by Dr. Joel M. Hoffman. That’s probably another strange titled book for me to be reading. But I do have an interest in this area, sometimes.

The title is a bit of a tease and acts as a hook. There really wasn’t a cutting room floor as such. But the author does offer some fresh insights and new approaches for the history of the Bible(s), and perhaps why they contain the writings they do. This book really covers two bibles. The Jewish one, and the Christian one. That distinction will probably not be fully clear for topic novices. His strength is the Jewish topics as that is his primary background.

The Jewish and Christian Bibles are not a complete historical account for the time periods they cover. That’s probably shocking to a lot of faith diehards. I don’t believe the ancient authors ever meant all their writings to be historically fully comprehensive, or even to have them all mashed together in one book and followed like a rule book we do in the modern age.

The most interesting parts of Dr. Hoffmans book for me was, his extensive research covering the writing of the Roman-Jewish scholar Josephus, the writings of Enoch, further analysis of Adam and Eve, etc. Hoffman gives you a rather detailed and fascinating background for the dead sea scrolls. It’s almost an Indiana Jones like story. If you're a reader of the new testament writings, the exploration of the political situation in Judea during the time of Jesus sheds a whole new light on the new testament.

For anyone with an interest in this subject matter and it’s a slow slog at times, but a recommended read.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Unsettled Matters: The Life and Death of Bruce Lee

Unsettled Matters: The Life and Death of Bruce Lee is one of those books some followers and fans don’t want. Looking online it appears its author Tom Bleecker has received a mostly positive response. There are those that are distrustful, if downright dismissive towards this work. The author was an acquaintance to Bruce Lee as well as later becoming Bruce Lee’s wife’s second husband.

Unlike other biopics that have created a fantasy around the subject, this authors intention is to dispel the saint Bruce mythology so prevalent today. The author felt he was obligated to write this due to his commitment to the martial arts community. This book covers the multiple Bruce Lee’s. The two I’ll briefly mention is the young, raw and pure martial artist, and the later abusive drug ridden one.

Qualities often unknown with the younger Lee is, he faced tremendous obstacles. Extreme nearsightedness, language barrier, small, legs of different length, stuttering and cryptorchidism (look it up, it’s complicated). Overcoming these challenges, he changed an aspect of martial arts where someone would just appoint themselves a great master to never be challenged or proved.

In the end, he succumbed to rivalries with Hollywood stars. He fell into drug use. He used some of the most damaging anabolic steroids. They were physically damaging to him and well as his mental health. This resulted in physiologically debilitating behavior, unpredictable violent outbursts and attacks on people. A famous film maker once said his martial art failed him. Really, he had lost his way.

A more honest account like this one made me appreciate Bruce Lee more. Not so much in trying to repeat his footsteps but addressing his fears, hopes, and human behaviors we’re all challenged with at some point. He was no exception to human frailty.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Birth of the Dragon - Bruce Lee

Birth of the Dragon - 2016
As a youth my interest in Chinese martial arts came from my father. He picked up his interest from public figures and authors like Bucksam Kong, TT Liang, etc. and of course Bruce Lee. I still remember the commotion from his solo practice in the makeshift gym he created. He made a lot of his own workout equipment just like Bruce Lee did.

As someone who grew up around Seattle who’s familiar with the memories of Lee, when I saw the trailer for the new biopic about him I thought,....uh oh. This doesn’t look good. Could the new show really miss the mark this wide and be that bad? The reviews are starting to come in on this effort from our progressive masters, and the first ones aren’t complimentary.

Reviews For the Bruce Lee Biopic are Out and Asians Should Be Pissed.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Hell's Angels: A Strange and Terrible Saga

I read Hunter S. Thompson’s book the Hell's Angels: A Strange and Terrible Saga . I’ve also seen it titled “The Strange and Terrible Saga of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs.” Written in the late 60s this book put a rather unknown journalist, Thompson, on the national stage. He’s since passed on, but it was once said about him that he made himself ugly to expose the ugliness he sees around him.

According to the book he spent time with the Hell's Angels. A lot of time. What he reports was shocking to me. I really didn’t enjoy this book. It’s not because of the author or writing quality, it’s the subject matter. It’s not the bikes, brotherhood or counterculture sentiment, but the violence. The frequent discussion of rape was disturbing to me.

There’s probably no other motorcycle book that contains what this one does. Anyone interested in these types of motorcycle clubs will probably find this book intriguing and unsettling. Hopefully it turns you away.

They say deep down you really want to be them. Considering the broken body your left with as described in the book, the financial problems and as you get older the rotting teeth (if they haven’t been punched out), no, I don’t really want to be part of this.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Viking Trianion Motorcycle Windshield Bag Review


This product was supplied by Motorcycle House (motorcyclehouse.com) for this review. For those in the United States the aforementioned statement is for compliance with FCC rules.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Reading the Bible Again For the First Time: Taking the Bible Seriously But Not Literally

I completed reading, Reading the Bible Again For the First Time: Taking the Bible Seriously But Not Literally. Did you get all that? It's a long title.

This is the first book I've read by theologian Marcus J. Borg. If that name is familiar, you may remember him from the Jesus Seminar sometime back. Jesus seminarians got together and decided the truthfulness of Jesus' teachings through voting on colored beads. I never participated. I've just read about it, and it sounded a bit hokey.

Regarding Borg, he writes well. His views are easy for the non-theologian to understand. However you probably what some base of understanding with Christianity, or the book could be lost on you.

The primary premise of the book is making a case for reading the Jewish and Christian bible's through a historical-critical lens. This is the opposite of what many modern conservatives do. In fact, Borg makes a rather effective case that the conservative approach is really a rather recent approach. One starting with the Protestant Reformation.

One area Borg was very effective was when he made the case for using the term creation "myth," and what myth means to high education. Myth in this sense doesn't mean a nonsensical and untrue story. However in common English is does which is why religious conservatives at the laymen level, Jewish and Christian, see the term applied to the Genesis story they get incensed.

Keeping that though in mind, the author isn't directly questioning the truthfulness of the Jewish and Christian Bibles, but he does make the case many events like the creation story, Noah, Moses, etc. are potentially allegorical. And events especially around Jesus of Nazareth have been embellished and or changed.

Historically nobody read a bible, at least at the commoner level. They listened to it being read in synagogue or church. The bines of scrolls, the many books and letters, it was complex to haul all this around. That was until the printing press was invented and then everyone could get their own pressed copy.

While many of Borg's theological views are outside the conservative norm, where he really shines in my opinion is as a biblical historian. He was one of the early ones outspoken in how Christianity originally sprang from Judaism and how most authors of the New Testament were committed Jews. If your willing to take in much of what Borg is saying, you will learn a lot around how one side views things along with a pretty good history lesson. A worthy read for anyone interested in the subject matter.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Killing Jesus by Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard

I completed the book Killing Jesus by Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard. I’m not a follower of Bill O'Reilly, but he appears to an entertaining author. Joint author Dugard seems to represent the historical research side. His authorship in recent years has contributed to millions in books sales. His focus has been on historical figures.

This book isn’t meant to be a biblical account, as in based on the Christian Bible. What is does is, use the Christian Bible as a base and wrap it with other historical accounts from the time period. Such as lifestyles and personalities of leaders, and key figures, information the Bible doesn’t record in detail. It also brings to the forefront the politics of the day within the Roman Empire and the state of Judea.

For the reader there’s more context around the Judaism of that time period and the workings of the second Jewish Temple, the good, the bad, and the ugly. This book functions as neither and both, a religious and historical book. It was a rare joining of perspectives.

The complaints I’ve read about the book are sometimes along the lines of “too much history about the Roman Empire.” If you want a 100% Jesus book, this isn’t for you. You will either like it or have no interest.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Please Stop Helping Us: How Liberals Make It Harder for Blacks to Succeed

I completed reading Please Stop Helping Us: How Liberals Make It Harder for Blacks to Succeed. The book is written by Jason L. Riley, a journalist and a member of the wall street journal editorial board. In short, the book makes an effective case that government assistance often impedes more than it helps. A worthy read.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Iron Man: My Journey through Heaven and Hell with Black Sabbath

A book by Tony Iommi, and a founding member of the rock band Black Sabbath, what could go wrong? Well, nothing! This book for an autobiography has to be one of the most original I’ve ever read.

Most autobiography’s employ writer assistance. That’s because the person the book is about is generally not skilled enough to write for a national or world-wide audience. Iommi does no such thing like employing a ghost writer, and it shows, but in a good way.

One of his frequent word uses is the word “bang.” We went around the corner and “bang.” This happened and “bang.” That happened and “bang.” While he may appear educationally soft, nothing could be further from the truth. A lot of his learning is self-taught, that’s sometimes the most effective.

All the not so glamorous details in the history of the band are recorded. Ozzy, Geezer, Bill and Tony, engaged in some pretty dumb antics when they were younger. Nothing is hidden in this book.

One of the more revealing parts was a part time member named Jeff Fenholt. After a brief time working with Iommi, Fenholt launched himself as a Christian Evangelist. Iommi had good things to say about him, but was rather shocked at his directional change. I’ll leave this and other details for you to discover.

Black Sabbath’s dark and devil image was more created by record company marketing. I was surprised one member claimed the Roman Catholic faith, with other member expressing a positive belief in God. After reading this book, it clearly sounds like the mockumentary movie Spinal Tap was based off of Black Sabbath. This book is an adult read, but a fun read.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Motorcycle Training

I keep a record to track my training. It’s not to rave, but more to help me remember. I like looking back on it and it might be useful, and a resume of sorts.

One day when I’m older and my work isn’t so consuming, I may consider being a rider coach. I say older because I want years of experience riding. Not just a “few” years. I also want additional experience on different types of bikes.

I think being a rider coach would be fun. For most, managing the controls on a motorcycle can be learned. The harder aspects are controlling fear, understanding blind spots and a willingness to accept our limitations. Training has made me a better rider, and driver for that matter.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Loud Pipes and Irony

From the Triumph America days...

I changed out the stock pipes on my bike for another set. The new set is much louder. I’ve had a post partially written about it, but it’s not finished. I want to rush this out because an incident happened today.

Where I’m living now the traffic is thicker and more intense. It’s almost unforgiving during the morning commute, and the trip home. Sudden lane changes by vehicles will move right into you, without warning or signal. It can happen quick.

I’ve often ignored some advice from rider training clinics. It’s like having someone tell you all about how to do something, while the teacher has done little of it themselves. “Loud pipes save lives!” was one of the early tenants preached.

It’s hard to say how many lives have been saved by having a louder motorcycle. The problem is tracking the successes. I don’t know how you do it, but we can track failures.

I added the new pipes to due to my present living location and the intensely thicker traffic. I mostly want the extra power. Personally, I do think the volume helps but the conditions have to be right. What I mean is, if I’m not in the right spot for them to hear my bike, or their stereo is blasting (…boom, boom boom), or they’re distracted in some other way, they shovel their car right into you. I’m talkin lane changes with no signal no warning. I try to keep my position staggered, but it’s hard when there’s little room.

You do what you must, which is to be mentally prepped when the traffic is this thick. It happened again today. Another lane change right into me with no signal or warning. About two minutes later I rolled up behind the offending vehicle at an intersection. Another rider, if you can believe it, rolls up on a quiet Harley-Davidson. He saw the whole thing. We both open our helmets and the conversation goes like this…

Laughing he says: “a-Hahaha, I saw that! Man, people just don’t look.”

Me: “Well, fortunately I was awake and ready.”

Him: “I saw, they didn’t look, didn’t even turn his head!”

Me: “I couldn’t believe that. I hit my horn and he just kept going.”

Him: <He's cracking up.>

Me: “Watch out for that one!”

The light turned green, waving we went our separate ways.

I think during rush hour traffic when people are making quick ill informed decisions, keeping up with the flow and staying out of the way has been a good strategy. Putting your trust in other things to do the job has mixed results. Now, if we want to talk about how louder pipes open your bike up for more power for escape, now we’re talkin’.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

My New Tachometer -- Triumph America

From the Triumph America days...

The silver dash piece if from my tank and will hold my new tachometer. I’m wrapping the new tach. in tape so it has a tighter fit in its holding hole. And yes, that’s an adult beverage in the background. And no, I didn’t ride after consuming it.

I decided to purchase a tachometer for my bike. Its hard when you can’t hear on the freeway to remember if you’re in 4th or 5th gear. Now being able to view the rpm will help.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The Triumph America Days

My 2006 Triumph America.
On this blog, you’ve probably seen some posts with the introduction, “From the Triumph America days...” I've been sharing old stories from my first motorcycle. I’ve been migrating over to Blogger for a while now and have a new audience.

The Triumph America was my first motorcycle. With it I also got my first bike jacket and helmet. For the jacket I went with an Olympus Hi-Viz. For the helmet I went with a Nolan N103, and Rev'It! riding pants.

My first jacket and helmet.
Those days were special. I'm learning. I'm honing skills. I'm figuring things. I participate in classes. I practice in an industrial park. I weigh and inspect other riders advice, which usually fell into one of the following categories; the good, the bad and the ugly.

I read a few books, but not the popular ones. I've learned through experience the popular books are not always the most informative. I searched for books like Road Craft, the London Riders Police manual or books and information from David L. Hough.

Practice in the industrial park.
I think fondly of that first bike and that time period. They say never get rid of your first motorcycle and I now see why. I traded it in for a more powerful bike and what I considered the next step in the evolution of my skills. While I wish I still had it, compared to the Road King I have now, it would just be setting there neglected. I hope its serving its current owner like it served me.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Riding in the Rain on Easter

Planned a nice relaxing ride on Easter, but it rained dammit. So I sat on a beach front after the sun came out. Happy Easter!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Motorcycle Fuel Taps

From the Triumph America days...

I ride a 2006 Triumph America. While I rode a few bikes before its purchase, it’s the first bike that’s my very own. It’s not fuel injected, but with an old fashion carburetor.

As with any piece of machinery that uses carburetors, they normally have what’s called a petcock or fuel tap. In short it’s to release and close off fuel from the holding tank. If you don’t turn it off and your bike sets for a long time, you can end up with gasoline mixed with your oil. For mechanical novices, that’s bad.

Triumph America Fuel Tap or Petcock
I've suffered with a very sticky and troublesome fuel tap. Sometimes turning would be difficult, to downright stuck and frozen. Doing what is most often recommended, spraying it with WD-40, wasn’t cutting it. Sometimes I felt WD-40 made it worse when the weather warmed.

I was starting to desire a fuel injected bike just to be ride of this tap. Seeing new fuel taps were $100 USD and reading the problem just comes back, I was weighing the options of trading my bike in for something newer and fuel injected. It was that irritating.

I solved my problem or at least learned how to manage it. My fuel tap works well with the right kind of lubricant. One theory for stickiness is the ethanol fuel that is commonly sold today. That could be true, but my bike also sat unused for a few years until I adopted it. A combination of E-10 fuel and storage are a recipe for problems for sure.

Holding screw to remove innards.
I’m not a trained mechanic. What I’m about to write, I’ve tried but the long term affects are untested. You take the risk.

Some internet forum posts recommend loosening the screw at the bottom of the fuel tap to release pressure. This screw holds the innards in place so I passed on doing that. When the screw loosens and falls out, there’s a spring behind the lever and the innards will come flying out.

For starters on solving my problem I turned the fuel tap to OFF.  I removed the small screw below the fuel tap and held the on/off lever in. There’s a spring behind the lever and it will all come flying out if your not prepared. I found out the hard way and thank goodness and found the little spring that sprung

I cleaned the inside of the tap, cleaned the turn lever, cleaned the spring and took out the rubber O ring and cleaned it also. There’s another piece for fuel shut off that was blue, but I didn’t take it out. I sprayed a petroleum based spray inside the open tap (Blaster). I then put it all back together and it’s been working like it just came off the show room floor.

I don’t think you have to take the fuel tap apart a lot, but maybe a once a year cleaning, like in the spring season could be a good idea. Most times you can spray a lubricant into the fuel tap and not take it apart. There’s a lot of back and forth on the internet about WD-40 and what’s best to use. Here’s what I think…

◾WD-40. It’s good at breaking things loose, but I find it’s not a long lasting lubricant. Others have had excellent results in making their problems go away. Seems to turn sticky in hot temperatures.
◾Teflon Chain Saver. Yeah, call me stupid, but I was desperate and tried chain lubricant. I got mixed results and still its sticky sometimes.
◾Blaster Penetrating Catalyst. I’ve had good results with this.
◾Blaster Garage Door Lube…mixed results but more to the positive. Seems to turn sticky in hot temperatures.
◾Seafoam Deep Creep. Really good results.

YMMV. There you have it.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Proficient Motorcycling

You've got to plan for the stupidity and arrogance of other motorists, including other motorcyclists. -- David L. Hough, Proficient Motorcycling.
If you want to improve your riding, I highly recommend Proficient Motorcycling: The Ultimate Guide to Riding Well. This book is a best seller. There’s a reason for it.

The author encourages riders to be prepared for anything. That’s includes inattentive drivers, and crazy motorcyclists. The book opens with a chilling story of life altering events unfortunately created by an aggressive sport biker.

In this book you will be exposed to analysis techniques, how to enter corners to your advantage, more on steering, etc. This author hasn’t recently trained or been riding for the last decade. These tactics come from his study and lifetime on the road.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Triumph America, Robbed!

From the Triumph America days... 

I was robbed at work. They got into my saddle bags. It wasn’t too bad in a way because it appears the actual bike wasn’t damaged.

They weren’t locking bags but they cut and tore both my saddle bag rain covers. They could have just pulled them off. Instead they had to ruin them.

A fellow employee saw them in the act but couldn’t get out of the building in time. They were on bicycles. I called the police and then I did a quick search of the area. I had a good description from my co-worker that witnessed the act but they were long gone, with all my stuff.

I’ve used this bike for some pretty long trips. I mostly pack a few cheap tools in case I get stalled or have a flat tire. This changes things up. It looks like I’m going to have to switch to some hard cases with locks.

A ripped rain cover.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

The Encyclopedia Of The Motorcycle

The Encyclopedia of the Motorcycle: An Illustrated Guide to the Classic Marques 
I purchased the most wonderful book, The Encyclopedia Of The Motorcycle by Peter Henshaw. This almost 500 page book and in colorful photos covers almost every motorcycle manufacturer that’s been in existence. It’s already been the cause of a number of late night reads.

Classic Suzuki's, Honda, Triumph, Harley, BSA, etc. its all here. This book covers motorcycles worldwide. It not just isolated to a region.

Yes, included is a bike from Czechoslovakia, and other places that have produced motorcycles outside the norms of Japan, America and England. While I would love to display more photos, I'm sure that would be breaking a copyright something. Do check it out.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Trip to the beach

The beginning of March in the west coast of Washington is always a cloudy and rainy experience. A trip to the beach is at best cold and dreary around this time. However this day a reprieve opened.

This morning I woke up to the sun somewhat beaming through my window. Would it last? Would it stay the afternoon?

I headed early to the beach of Ocean Shores. It was oddly warm and I immediately headed for my favorite Fish & Chips place. The City of Ocean Shores is on a peninsula. Before European settlers the Chinook, Chehalis, and Quinault American tribes used the area for trading.

Today Ocean Shores is used for recreation, vacation housing and events. While it's not a grand place to visit, it's one of the easiest recreational beach areas to get to in Washington. While places in Oregon and elsewhere are more elegant, you won't find the tasty Fish and Chips you do here, Bennett's does the Halibut just right.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Spirit Lake Highway (State Route 504)

From the Triumph America days...

My Sunday ride was a romp down Washington State Route 505 cutting over to Spirit Lake Highway. Riding up to Mount St. Helen's started out cloudy but quickly turned to rain. Halfway up to the mountain I decided to turn back. The clouds and rain had thickened to a point it wasn’t going to be possible to see the old Volcano.

On my way back down I stopped at an abandon Army Corps of Engineers post. Their purpose back in the day was to control the volcano's debris. Near the post I found an abandon road into woods. It went to an odd shed that was probably used to lock things up. I’m not sure what was being secured.

On the way I saw so many businesses that I remember from past trips. Quit a few were closed up. The ones that were open were in disrepair. They keep telling us it’s getting better, but I’m not seeing it.

Is that an old building in the woods?

It sure is!

But for what?

Gifford Pinchot National Forest

Signs of the times

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Olympic National Forest

From the Triumph America days...

With the weather becoming sunnier, this weekend I wanted to spend the night in the Olympic National Forest. The forecast was perhaps a bit of light rain. No big deal. After work I loaded up the Triumph and I was off. I needed to get away.

Halfway I stopped at the last open store for a few food supplied and a sandwich. I then realized I had left my video camera at home. Rats. It took longer than I anticipated getting to my destination.

I reached Olympic forest at dusk. There was still open sites in the campground and found a good spot. This one had a soft moss floor for my tent and sleeping on.

The next problem was trying to find where to pay the camp fee. Round and round the dark campsite I go with my motorbike, probably annoying the sleeping campers; only to realize the camp host collects the fee and they weren’t there.

Like my last trip, I’m setting up my tent by flashlight. The better part about this trip was, it wasn’t so wet and cold I couldn’t start a fire. The next problem was half way through my dinner sandwich, I’m eating an odd taste…mold! Good thing I brought a bottle of brandy…I needed it to get the mold taste out of my mouth!

At about 4:00 am I wake up to pouring rain and my tent mostly soaked. Fortunately I had my backup rain jacket in my saddlebag. So I broke out the flashlight, tore down my campsite and loaded up the drenched bike for home.

I didn’t feel safe riding at full speed in the dark down a mountain road. I mostly putted in 3rd and 4th gear. I did stop for a few photos with the cell phone. The night was wearing off. The Olympics having a reputation as a rain forest and didn’t disappoint.

Dawn is breaking

Spooky forest at dawn.

Long rainy road home.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Motorcycle Tire Pressure EZ Air Gauge for Cruiser

Link to the EZ air gauge.

Issaquah, Washington

From the Triumph America days...

Last weekend I took a bike trip up to Issaquah, Washington. A lot of places in Washington feel special. This one especially. After rampant housing growth and all the trees being lawn mower’d, A lot of places are just not the same.

Issaquah is an old town; old for Washington that is. Like many Northwest names, Issaquah pulls from a Native American heritage. It was once the 2nd fastest growing suburb in the state, and the 89th fastest growing in the U.S. While the town obviously has a traffic issue now, for some reason the growth hasn’t completely spoiled the spirit of the area, at least for me.

On the way to Issaquah is the most fascinating house. If someone lives there, I hope the owners can forgive my rude camera intrusion. See the picture below.

I stopped and visited Boehm’s Candy store. It was opened by Julius Boehm. My mother used to ski with him back in the day. I think the connecting tie was shared Austrian heritage.

Julius Boehm
Boehm's Candies
A beautiful house on the way to Issaquah.

Monday, February 15, 2016

A bee got me

I’ve always heard stories about this. Now I’m one of the stories. Here’s the little stinker that got in my motorcycle jacket. It’s a big Bumble Bee. He zinged me real good while riding to North Bend in Washington.

Of course, I’m traveling 45 mph through curves, a cars on my tail and there’s no shoulder to pull over. So I swated as best I could at my back with my clutch hand while maintaining control of my bike. I finally was able to pull over and dump him out.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

The Mountain Loop Highway ride

Triumph America packed up for camping.
There’s a very nice road to travel in Washington, well…used to be nice, called the Mountain Loop Highway. It’s outside Seattle. I spent some time there growing up. Now this place attracts visitors year round. There’s hiking, ghost towns, ice caves, camping, you name it. The place has been discovered. It was ominous to find the old trailer where I once lived.

Years later, I have returned to charge up and down that highway on a motorcycle. I spent the night in small tent in a barley open campground. It was cold and I couldn't get a fire going. What’s ironic about the bike thing is, my mother used to pick up a guy who lived on the highway, somewhere. He hitchhiked because he couldn’t drive/ride anymore. He had received a horrible head injury due to a motorcycle crash!

Mountain Loop Highway
Staying on the Mountain Loop at a young age, my morning television companions before school were JP Patches, Captain Kangaroo, Marine Boy, etc. My mother used to buy ice cream at the Ike’s Drive In. It’s now gone. I learned to ski at the Mount Pilchuck Ski lodge. It’s now closed and dismantled. I’ve heard there’s a hiking trail up to where the old ski lodge used to stand. I'll have to check it out one day when I'm better prepared.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Open House Time: Honda

Each major company often has an advertising catch line. Victory Motorcycles has been “ride one, and you’ll own one.” Triumph’s has been “Go Your Own Way.” I attended a Honda open house and theirs is “I Wanna Ride.”

Ironically, they didn’t have many bikes to test ride. I did make off with some loot. A pen, a wrist key chain and a shirt. While I like Honda’s catch line, somehow being who they are it feels like it should be something more…powerful. All in all, a good day!

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Riding weather is here

Copied from prior blog.

I ride throughout the winter, but only on safe days. A safe day to me is free of hard pouring rain, snow or ice. Nicer riding weather is finally here. I could not find a riding partner today, but that has never stopped me from taking a small trip.

I was curious to see if Mount St. Helens was open for travel. I took the easy side to Johnston Ridge Observatory (named after geologist David A. Johnston). I love traveling Spirit Lake Hwy 504. Mount St. Helens is a volcano. It erupted in 1980.

The history and story is fascinating. I lived through it all. Every year I visit the blast zone a little bit more comes back to life. Ironic it is the opposite of our life. Unlike the blast area that comes back to life year after year, year after year we die a little bit more. Now that was a positive thought.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Gauge Placement

I love where Victory Motorcycles places the speedometer-information gauge on a lot of their bikes. They place them out on top of the handlebars and headlamp, not on the fuel tank. It’s where it needs to be for me.

I know the fuel tank is traditional for cruiser bikes. The problem is it breaks the primary rule of a basic rider education course which is, never take your eyes off the road. It’s even more a problem for people with vision handicaps. So Victory going for usability, instead of tradition, scores with me.

I love the Triumph Thunderbird. You can’t go wrong with a Japanese cruiser. Today, Harley-Davidson IS the cruiser bike. Viewing the gauges and control lights is all wrong for me on most cruiser bikes. Due to my work in usability, their gauge makes me irritable just thinking about where they are usually placed.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

The perils of being seen on a motorcycle

I appreciate motorcycle training. I appreciate the mentoring when I was a new. I appreciate the books people bought me. After all, they just want you to succeed. If you are new also, welcome.

A while back I wrote a post challenging something I was taught. I challenged the belief about riding with your high beam on to be seen. I understand complaints about drivers not paying attention. I understand the dangers of intersections and oncoming traffic, especially when an oncoming driver decides to turn left in front of you without warning. There’s no doubt intersections are dangerous.

A head light on high beam can temporarily blind or cause drivers to squint their eyes obscuring vision. For a brief few seconds they can’t see well, if at all. I can vouch for this because it’s happened to me. Another problem is areas with a lot of building and street lights. A lone rider’s light may blend in with other lights, especially at night.

In some states it’s illegal to drive or with ride high beams on in close proximity to somebody. It can be a $100 or more ticket. Washington State and RCW 46.37.230 is one such example.

My purpose here is to provoke some critical thinking. You want to be seen, you want attention, but not the wrong kind. You don’t want to be the target of urban road rage. Don’t give an inconsiderate driver a reason for retaliatory behavior.

A few of my cohorts don’t link the issues together. In fact, I know riders who gave up riding altogether because of altercations with drivers. Crossing my fingers, my personal altercations with drivers are very rare. I want to keep it that way.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Learning to ride and a good starter bike

Sometimes people stop and ask me about learning to ride a bike. I give the same advice given to me which is, start with a bike that is small, low on horse power and torque. If you start on a bike that is too large or very powerful, it intimidates you and that creates learning barriers.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Red: My Uncensored Life in Rock

I finished Sammy Hagar’s book Red - My Uncensored Life In Rock. This book is unequivocally an adult read. Nothing about the rock n’ roll life style is hidden. True or not the best parts are the stories about his former Van Halen band members, like Eddie Van Halen for example.

“He told me he cured himself [cancer] by having pieces of his tongue liquefied and injected into his body.”

“He also told me when he had his hip replacement, he stayed awake through the operation and helped the doctors drill a hole. What a fruitcake.”

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Why ride a motorcycle?

Why ride? That’s a good question considering the dangerous reputation. You must deal with drivers flaky moods, bad weather, poorly maintained roads, vehicles leaking oil  everywhere and having to be on guard for any unexpected situation. Even with all this I believe a motorcycle can usually be piloted safely.

The positives…

Motorcycles reduce energy consumption and pollution. Most get better fuel mileage than cars and definitely trucks. Motorcycles produce less waste. You’re discarding two tires instead of four. You’re discarding smaller parts and you sometimes use less oil. They’re gentler to our roads and highways which saves taxpayer dollars. They’re also space savers because you can fit more than one into a parking space. You have many maneuvering options because you’re smaller.

The negatives…

The list is very short. There’s really only one that matters, and it’s huge. A motorcycle rider has little protection in an accident.


How to survive on a motorcycle is a topic with many sub-layers.  What an experienced person does is a bit different from a rider with much less experience. You could create an endless list of tips. You could talk on the topic for hours. I’m going to give you my theorization condensed. If your a new rider, my thoughts and reasoning's shouldn’t be the only ones you explore. Different perspectives develop from experiences.
  • Keep moving, but of course respect stop signs. A moving target is harder to hit, if not sometimes impossible. Keeping pace with the flow of traffic is a good safeguard from getting struck, bumped or clipped.
  • If it’s a street bike, start saving money for new tires when they get five years old. “Oh but there’s plenty of tread” you think. That means nothing! Old rubber turns hard and loses it’s grip. Riding on old tires is a good way to one day meet Mr. asphalt.
  • New riders should focus on as much as their distracted and overwhelmed little brains can handle. However they should lazar focus on two things; that being turning (cornering) and braking. If you’re fair to good at those two things, you can do a lot of safe riding.
  • Learn to corner (turn) confidently. Read about it, study it, watch others do it, obsess over it, etc. I preset it this way because if you are going to get into a newbie accident, there’s a good percentage a corner could be where it happens.
Oh…and before I sign off, riding a motorcycle is fun!