Friday, July 24, 2015

memory lane

Most of my riding lately has been local, but in the last week I've been riding over to the area near the mall because that's where the military recruiters offices are. Anyone who's been paying any attention to the news is by now aware of the sad events last week in Chattanooga TN, and that many citizens have been quietly and calmly keeping watch over recruitment offices, hoping to prevent a recurrence. I've been doing what little I can to help.

This got me to thinking, since I'm armed while standing watch, when didnI learn to shoot, and I remembered getting my first BB gun when I was ten and my dad telling me, "Always keep the barrel pointed at the ground until you're ready to shoot. Never ever point it at another person. It is not a toy." I'm sure he said more than that, but it's so long ago I can't recall.

Then I remember Mr. Osowski. I don't recall his first name, but he was a former CIA agent to whom I delivered papers when I was 14. I don't remember why, but for some reason he took a looking to me and would take me fishing, and to the firing range. So it was from my dad I learned basic gun safety, and it was from Mr. Osowski that I learned to actually shoot.

We spent hours at the range. It was there I grew to love lever action rifles. It was there I fired a .45 for the first time. It was there I learned to be accurate with my shots, and added to the advice from my dad the wisdom of a man who had served in the military and in the CIA.

Those are memories I will treasure.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Just two dogs out for a ride

For a while I have had a deep yearning for something rather silly to augment my riding experiment. Someone sent me the following picture on Facebook:

Which I found hilarious. So, I went looking for one, but the only place I could find that sells anything of the sort, Iron Horse Helmets, was sold out. They did have an alternative though.

And that works for me.

Yes folks, it's Rowlf the Dog, though for the sake of avoiding copyright/trademark infringement, they have it labeled simply as "Dog."

So, I got the cover today and it fits well over my helmet. There are a couple issues, the first being that it completely obstructs any vents on the helmet, though this is solved by removing the face-shield (which makes bugs up the nose an issue), but I often run with the shield up anyway, so it's no huge change. Secondly, the nose is a bit in the way at low speeds, but it pops up and out of the way upwords of 50 mph.

It seems well made, though not perfect, and it was allegedly made by hand right here in the good-ol' U.S. of A.

Maggie enjoyed a ride to Lancaster Honda to get some oil, and it was observed that we were observed by several other motorists and pedestrians who found the sight quite humorous.

We shall see how it holds up and in the meantime, I shall enjoy the silliness of it all.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Changing the oil

We all are motivated by different things. The simple reason for this is that we are all unique. Some are driven to pursue power, others are driven by wealth, others pursue sensation and pleasure. Then there are those people who are driven by duty, by obligation, or by deep conviction. I am primarily one of the last, but like all things that are driven, I at times need to be taken off my wheels and given a thorough tune-up and oil change (figuratively speaking)

Personally, the arts thrill me.

Painting gets my blood pumping, as does playing music. It's not the same thrill perhaps, but it's the feel of the paint and the resistance of the brush or knife on canvas, and the feel of the music.

This past Sunday, church was a two part thing. The first half was spent in Ephrata with the folks from the Christian Motorcyclist Association. My guitar and one harmonica went along in a back-pack gig-bag.

Riding a scooter with a guitar on one's back is not for the faint of heart. The wind resistance gets a bit tiring. Just the same, it was nice to sit with the CMA folks and play hymns and praise songs. My current guitar is a Yamaha APXIII Slimline. It's nice and light which makes it good for my purposes, and the sound is crisp and bright.

Sitting in the shade, hearing the rumble of passing bikes with the sound of guitar strings and harmonica reeds intermixed was restful and calming. Being able to sing about my faith in a public place, accompanied by other believers, that was refreshing. Around 10:30, I headed to my own church and was further renewed by the hearing of God's Word.

We aren't all motivated by the same things, but it's important to take a step back from those things that drive us and take time to refresh and revive the weariness of soul, mind, and body. All three are important and need maintenance. Neglecting any of them will eventually cause them to give out when they may be needed the most.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Spring is finally here!

It took its time, but Spring has arrived in force. The trees are in bloom and the weather is finally good enough to encourage daily riding. 

It's somewhat of a difficult choice these days since I have two vehicles that I enjoy equally, but today was different. Today is the National Day of Prayer and the Christian Motorcyclist Association arranged a group prayer ride around Lancaster county.

We met at the Sheetz on Oregon Pike, just off route 30 and I joined up with the Western Lancaster county group. The route took us through New Holland, Terre Hill, Adamstown, Denver, Ephrata, and Akron. We stopped for about half an hour in each borough to pray for each community, then rode to East Petersburg for the final staging to ride into the Day of Prayer event at the WJTL Radio, "Junction Center."

The event was imense. There were many hundreds of people there, perhaps over a thousand, and the speaker; Ravi Zacharias, was amazing. He's one of those people that is very intelligent, yet he puts out so much information that it's difficult to process it all at once. What stood out to me most was when he said something about reaching out to the hand of God in the darkness and learning to trust.

After the message, it was time to head home. The scoot was parked in, but it gave me more time to chat with some of the other riders.

All in all, a wonderful day. I'm feeling drained, but rejuvenated all at once. 

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Those old forgotten roads

I used to hate driving. Nearly seven years ago, a little red scooter offered an alternative. Five months later, a silver Kymco added more joy to the idea of vehicular excursions. Riding a scooter was unlike driving any car I'd ever sat in. That's changed a bit. Turns out I was driving the wrong cars.

A vehicle that hugs the road is loads of fun. A pleasant interior, good suspension, and a decent power to weight ratio makes a world of difference.

Then there's the roads.

Roads make the ride. If the vehicle isn't up to the challenge, the ride won't be much to talk about. Leaning into a corner on a bike, or feeling the g's as centrifugal force battles with the grip of the tires over possession of one's spine in a good car, the feel of flying down arbor arched first lanes, the excitement of whirring along between fields on a snaking farm path. All the perfect road needs is the perfect ride. I now know this can come in both two and four wheeled varieties.

Often, my work days come as split-shifts with a five hour window between. Days like today give opportunity to hit the unpopulated asphalt capillaries between the major arteries used by the bored masses in their humdrum voyage from A to B. Lower fuel prices make it more affordable to indulge in some wandering and G-forces; the fully repaired suspension hugging tight to the road surface, and a light breeze sneaking in through the sunroof.

Something about those roads. Those who have taken the road less traveled in a good car or on a bike or scooter know, they know and they look for every opportunity to take it.