I've started many projects and finished few. My goals for this new venture, or possibly adventure, are few and modest at this time. I recently purchased a Honda CBR250R and I'll try to chronicle what happens as I try to relearn motorcycle riding skills after having not ridden regularly since about 1970. I hope to do a modest amount of traveling or touring, with my first venture planned for the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia. I invite you to follow along if you're so inclined.
Also, I'm going to be posting rants, if you will, about religion, politics, so-called complimentary and alternative medicine in addition to anything else that comes along that I find interesting. Please excuse how the format of this blog/website. Though I have many blogs, I'm a neophyte at best in how to properly design them.

Snap of the Blue Ridge Parkway or the Skyline Drive (Virginia), OK, I fess-up, taken on a trip with my Miata.

ROK Straps...A Replacement for Bungee Cords?

June 20, 2012
Recently bought four of these made in China ROK straps. Yes, I am still, it would seem, in the planning stage for what I might call, Pee Wee's Big Adventure, yes, my alluded trip to the mountains.
Actually, I have most likely spent more time in my planning than folks who are traveling the world. Will I ever make it to the mountains might be my mantra.
Anyway, back to the straps.
Prior to picking-up my bike at the dealership, I purchased an assortment of bungee cords. The ones I bought were strap-like and not the regular rope-like bungees that I remember from back in the old days. Anyway, they worked well and I use them to strap my rain suit to the passengers seat.
In previous posts I've shown snaps of my Ortlieb saddlebags and huge duffel that I have. If this trip ever gets off the ground, I have no plans at this time to use the duffel; however, if I do the ROK straps should work well.
The ROK straps differ from bungees in that they are actually two pieces with each end having a loop. The loop makes them easy to attach to just about anything, particularly the rear foot-peg brackets.
I think there are two basic seizes in the ROK straps. The ones I bought are the thin ones and have a range of 12" to 42", which should be fine for my purposes. The ROC straps have regular webbing, I guess I'd call it, with an elastic part of several inches that helps cinch down the straps. Yes, I did try them and they seem to work well. At least statically, hey...I ain't left the garage with them yet. And, so it goes.

Back To Motorcycling...Sort Of. Make Your Point...Carry Your Message Forward.

June 19, 2012
Do any of you folks have vanity or personal plates? Hmmm. Is there a message?
Actually, if you're passionate about a cause or you just want to make people laugh or smile, hey...your license plate is a good means.
I had thought about OLDSLO...but, this one will do fine and as far as I'm concerned aptly describes me. Actually, tried to get SKPTIC, but a fellow rider beat me to it.
Some plates I get, if you will, but wonder why. The ones that say TOMSTOY (car plates have seven numbers or characters), yes, it's a Toyota. BRADSVET, OK...Brad, we can see it's a Corvette. It just seems a shame or something to pay extra and waste the opportunity to carry your message forward.
Here are two of my favorites.
Eight or ten years ago I saw this plate on a 15-year-old battered Chevrolet....DOIOU2.
Another favorite, WIENER.
OK, folks, get creative out there with your plates.
My car is WN PGSFL. My last motorcycle was AXISII.
I paid a one-time fee of $10 for what Virginia calls a scenic plate and, an extra $10 a year to proclaim to the world that I'm a SKPTIK.

Don't Leave Home Without It! Can One Camera Do It All?

June 19, 2012
I should be somewhat embarrassed to admit that I have over 20 film cameras and...well, far-too-many digital cameras. In fact, I have several fairly pricey digital cameras that I've only used once or twice. My last purchase was a Pentax KX (?)...yep, two zooms, a 1.4 that I can't remember the focal length, and a pretty darn expensive Pentax prime lens.
And, with all of this camera power, what do I use? Yes, I use the Ricoh GR II. Even if I take one of my other cameras, which is rare, the GR is always along, and with few exceptions is the only camera I use.
I guess it goes back many years ago when my pal Eddie and I purchased the film version of this camera. At the time it was one of the few point-and-shoot type cameras that allowed you to select the aperture. Since that time, well...it's hard to not pickup the good old Ricoh. Frankly, though I know tons of photographic principles and stuff, I still basically haven't a clue as to how to adjust all of the stuff this camera will do. I keep it kind of simple as far as setting the controls. And, I follow through with doing almost no post processing.
If you look at this camera feature-for-feature, most of us would say it has nothing to offer. And, that may well be the conclusion you might arrive at.
It is a fixed lens. Yep, 28 MM and that's that. No zoom.......!
Wow, that's too wide angle for much of any kind of photography! And, you may be right.
All I know, is I really, really, like this little camera. It's small and is one of the few small digital cameras that you can get an optional clip-on viewfinder. Remember, if it ain't got no viewfinder it ain't no camera.
The Ricoh GR, the first digital camera is noted for its film-like black and white photos. Yep, about a year ago...I succumbed the the siren call of the original GR digital and bought one from a shop in England. Yes, that I did. OK, so, I have poor impulse control.
And, my pal Eddie, yes, a few months ago he bought the latest, the GR4.
I have several travel-type blogs that have tons of photos, yes, all taken with the GR.
I may go to an SCCA race this year. If I do, I think I'm only going to take my GR and see what I can do, if anything, with a 28 MM. And, yes, I'm going to leave my Canon 2.8 zoom at home....
BTW, all the snaps on this blog, except for the "three motorcycles" were taken with the GR. Well, the "doctor and nurse" photo was taken with the film version of the GR, yes, 28 MM. And, yes, taken many years ago....

A picture of my pup.... Her name is Sophie; however, I refer to her as The Moose. She's now 80 pounds (I think in the photo she may be 20/25 pounds) and a real challenge. Yes, taken with the GR....
And, so it goes.......

Yes, We're all Entitled to Our Fifteen Minutes, Aren't We?

June 16, 2012
You folks may have read about the horrible attack on the homeless fellow, described by the press as having his face eaten. Yes, the person who did this was shot and killed by a police officer after he refused to stop the attack.
In our Oprah Society, what happened next?
Yes, you’re correct. The attacker’s girlfriend just had to get her fifteen minutes. And, in typical fashion for us, yes, she needed an attorney. Of course, we might ask, why would someone need an attorney to spend a few minutes on TV to tell what they knew about the attacker?  Yes, you’re correct, there were of course no charges pending for this woman and of course there would be no way for any charges to be brought. But, yes…she needed an attorney.
And, of course, not just any attorney, yes, she needed Gloria Allred. You folks know old Gloria, don’t you? Yes, she’s like that whack-a-mole or what-have-you…in situations that are getting a little press time she pops up. And, in keeping with what you might call our junk society, what program does she appear on? Yes, good old Dr. Drew.
I guess we could ask whether knowing about her relationship with the attacker is news worthy. And, if it would actually give any insight into how something like the attack could happen, yes…it would be news worthy. Of course, we got no insight into anything.
How pathetic, old Gloria is in the studio with old Dr. Drew and the girl friend is across the country in another studio. Terrific. She surely didn’t pay Allred, so who arranged all of this?
Well, I guess this about sums it up; a hack lawyer who pops up whenever there is something out of the ordinary in the news, a doctor who should surely have something better to do than to interview the girlfriend of an attacker, and a woman who sought her fifteen minutes and got it. Was this the trifecta of bottom-of-the barrel pseudo journalism? Seems to be.

Why Would Anyone Want to Travel on a Motorcycle?

June 16, 2012
Good question. Over the past few weeks, after basically not having ridden a motorcycle for many years, I decided I would buy a motorcycle and go on a trip. Now, why would anyone want to travel on a motorcycle?
Let’s see, is it one with the wind, one with the road, one with the bike, or what?
I’ve lived in an environmentally controlled space, if you will, for years. In the winter, I turn the heat up, in the summer I turn the air conditioner down, and now, I’m saying I’m going to jump on a motorcycle and travel a few hundred miles out in the elements, with no control over the temperature and the weather? Does this make any sense? Nope, it doesn’t.
So, what could be my motivation other than some type of knee-jerk reaction to the so-called romance of motorcycle travel?
I guess one thing for a new rider is the challenge of learning to ride. Learning to safely go from point A to point B. Learning how to smoothly operate all of the controls, how to smoothly shift gears, learn about synchronizing RPMs with speed, and how to stop quickly and smoothly.
So, that’s where I guess I find myself at the moment. I need to get some more miles out there on the road. Lately haven’t been able to get out that much.
So, I guess time will tell whether this motorcycle purchase was another folly, if you will.

Hey, You Can't Do That...Danielle Harkins vs The Catholic Church...

June 15, 2012
Danielle Harkins, a literacy teacher, is now in jail. Her offense, she merely wanted to rid several teenagers of demons. At a gathering she held, she had the teenagers cut themselves so that the demons would come out. She then cauterized the cuts so that the demons couldn’t return.
Well, I would guess that the Catholic Church thinks that they have a lock on the old getting the demons out through exorcisms. Damn, I bet they were teed off when they found someone was trying to do exorcisms without being dressed in a tacky costume. And, yes, it's 2012.


One Man's Island....We Should All Follow Our Dreams.....

June 14, 2012.
At forty-six, Mark Gardiner, a Canadian, decided he would pursue his dream to race at the Isle of Man.He sold off his stuff and went to the Island. This a documentary about how he fared.
This should appeal to all folks whether they are motorcycles riders or not. I think his basic message is pursue your dreams.
You can buy this at Aerostich or at Mr. Gardiner's Website. He also has a book.

A Neat Little Book From Aerostich....

June 14, 2012. This is a neat little book sold by Aerostich for $5.00. Basically, the book advocates getting out there and touring. Also, has an overview of simple and basic equipment that's needed. If you buy more than $100 worth of merchandise, they'll send you one at no charge. Note: When I recently placed an order the person  who took my order said they didn't know anything about  the free book. However, I guess they asked a coworker and I got my book without cost.

Only in America? Zombie Bullets!

 June 13, 2012 Ahh, just when I thought I'd heard of everything...yep, here they are, bullets that can be used on zombies. As I understand it, one of the best-selling genres out there is, yes, zombies. Also, I understand zombie movies are extremely popular. Though I surely do not consider myself a gun guy, I do own a bunch of pistols. The last time I was at the range...yes, zombie targets. So folks, are you going to be stocking up on zombie bullets? You never can tell. Yes, I'm using this photo without permission from Hornady, though I don't think they'll mind.

Ortlieb Saddlebags and Duffel.....

Please note: The bags are just placed on the bike.  They aren't "secured" with the straps.
I went back and forth about which saddlebags to buy. My main concern with these were whether they could actually hit the wheel. I cut a cardboard template to try to gauge the clearance. I decided that if that was a problem, a piece of aluminum running from the taillight to the foot peg bracket would solve that.
These bags will hold a ton of stuff. They are 8" wide. And, yes, they are 100% waterproof. You close them by rolling the opening...hmmm. Not a good explanation. You just roll them closed and there's a strap on either end that draws them tight. There's
also a strap running across the top that helps compress the contents of the bag.
The U-shaped piece in the photo to the left fits in the bottom of the bags. 
There is a strap at the bottom of the bags that can be secured to the passenger's foot-peg bracket. And, at the rear is a strap at the top 
of each bag that click together. The photo at the left shows the left side strap dangling.
I am satisfied that when I am ready to use these, they will be able to be strapped on securely.
The bag sitting on top is a large (24") Ortlieb duffel. Not sure if I'm going to use the duffel or not for my first trip as I'm only planning on a few days.

Anyway, I hope this will at least give you some idea of what these bags are like.
No buyer's remorse. I'm glad I bought these.


Another, How am I doing in learning how to ride again, and other stuff....

Well, rode about 45 miles today. Yep, out there in the heavy traffic. I’m getting a little more comfortable getting closer to the cars in front of me. Well, maybe three/four car lengths. I am no longer saying, Dang…when I actually have to stop. You know, the light changes and I have to use the brakes.
Went out for a late ride. Thought I had found a Duncan Donut that was open 24 hours. Well, got there at 10:30PM and found out they close at 11:00PM, though the drive through is open 24 hours. Hmmm. As I ride fairly regularly late at night a 24 hour place would be good to find, though I have a McDonalds just down the street that is open 24 hours. Oh, well.
My Ortlieb bags got here today. I think they will work well. Dang, they have a million straps and I have to screw the plastic stiffeners to the bags. A job for tomorrow.
Well, I picked-up my plates today. Then went to Barnes & Noble for a coffee (hey, it was hot outside). Anyway, I’m fumbling around in my tank bag…and, guess what? Yep, found my “lost” wallet. It was in one of the compartments in the top that has several compartments. Dang, got my hundred dollar bill back. And, my driver’s license. And, my long distance telephone card.
I just wrote the DMV today and asked them to send me a license. Told then I’d send them a check. Hmmm…. Not sure if they do things like that.
Well, I fell off the wagon, if you will. Yep, I swore off CNN, MSNBC, and several other websites. Haven’t looked at them in, well…maybe three months. Anyway, today took a peek. May write more later.
Also, yes, ordered a vanity or personal plate today. Yep, will wait until it arrives and I’ll post a snap. Yes, I’m sure you folks, if anyone is reading this, well…you guys are on the edges of your seats.
And, so it goes.

Alaska Leather, Great Product, and Great Service

June 6, 2012
What a great buying experience. I spoke with Ms. Barb at Alaska Leather Thursday afternoon. And, yes, my Buttpad was in my mailbox Monday. Yes, the next Monday. Absolutely great service from the state that gave us you-know-who. Yes, the lady who can see Russia from where she lives. Barb sent the Pillion Type 1 which fits perfectly.
 It only took just a couple of minutes to install. Take out the two Allen-head screws, pick up the seat, run the strap underneath the seat, and that's it. You can see that some of the sheepskin goes up on the tank. I will most likely leave it like that as it would seem to offer a little protection from the tank getting scratched by zippers. If you're anal or OCD I'm sure you could do a little trimming and maybe tuck it under the seat or something. For me, this is fine.
So, how does it work? Well, went for a 60 mile (actually, two 30 miles rides) test ride today. Obviously, my comments are subjective. Did I notice a difference? Yes. I guess a better test would be for 100 or so folks to ride several hundred miles without the Buttpad and then several hundred miles with the Buttpad. Anyway, I feel, based on my total of 60 miles, that this is going to make riding more comfortable, at least for me. The pad is nicely made and fits perfectly as far as I'm concerned. No buyer's remorse here. BTW, with shipping $67.95. Here's a link...... http://www.alaskaleatheronline.com/servlet/StoreFront
I've had a heck of a time getting these photos on this post. But, am tired of messing with it. I hope this gives you an idea of what the Buttpad looks like.

Outside the dealership....

Outside the dealership....
Yes, taking delivery of my new bike, May 17, 2012. The Marsee tank bag fits nicely. It's the strap-on type and you can get to the gas filler by unsnapping two of the straps. It is not in the way; however, it does expand upwards. My rainsuit is strapped to the seat.

OK, I promise to keep snaps of me to a minimum.

OK, I promise to keep snaps of me to a minimum.
Yeah, I know. I look pretty old. Actually, I'm only 25, the years have been tough and they've taken their toll.

Ortlieb Large Dry Bag (Rack-Pack)

Ortlieb Large Dry Bag (Rack-Pack)

I was on the verge of placing an order with Aerostich for Ortlieb saddlebags and decided to see how this bag would work. It’s the large Ortlieb dry bag. It cavernous and holds a whopping 2990 cubic inches. And, no it’s not filled to capacity, I just stuffed it with some clothes. The bungees I happened to have, though if I decide to use this as shown, I’m going to order six ROC straps. The only things that I can think of that I’ll be packing that are damageable or breakable are my netbook and two small cameras. The cameras I can put in the tank bag and the netbook I can wrap in clothes. I know one thing, if I do decide to use this bag I’m going to have to do some stretching exercises, as I will surely not be able to throw my leg over this. Yes, definitely a step-through situation.