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Archive for the ‘Lady Luck’ Category

MC (right) at Laughlin River Run 2014 with Shark Week III Crew

MC (center) at Laughlin River Run 2014 with members from the Shark Week III Crew

According to this recently published survey, Utah has the second best drivers in the country.  Using statistics primarily from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the compiled results scored every state on the quality of their drivers.

It is apparent to me that whoever conducted that study has never driven in St. George, Utah and they never talked to MC.

Who is MC?

Just a motorcycle enthusiast, from Oregon, who on July 31, 2013 was part of a multi-state group riding through the area attending the Shark Week III motorcycle rally. He had split from the group early that morning and was heading home to attend a friends wedding ceremony.  It was around 7:30 a.m., as he traveled northbound on Bluff Street through the Red Cliffs Parkway intersection.  While doing so, there was a left turn yellow light and he was initially cut off by a southbound car making a left turn toward Red Hills Parkway. The  first car missed MC before he was hit in the side by a second car also making a left turn on a yellow/red light.  (Note: This intersection is now under construction and will have a flyover to help prevent accidents!)

Bluff Street will now pass over Red Hills Parkway

Bluff Street will now pass over Red Hills Parkway

Although MC was wearing full protective gear, he had head trauma and the impact left MC with significant injuries to his left leg.  It’s St. George county protocol for trauma patients to be flown directly to University Medical Center in Las Vegas as a matter of course, but MC’s blood loss was so severe due to multiple open fractures, the onsite EMT decision was made to fly him to Dixie Regional Medical Center.  You can read the local newspaper report HERE.  Previous blog posts related to this incident is HERE.

The Sheriff who was on the accident scene (MC was lucid enough to give his cell phone to the officer and had him call) called us and we arrived at the accident within 15 minutes and prior to the life flight landing on scene.  Perhaps an ambulance ride directly to Dixie Regional Medical Center should have occurred, but I won’t second guess or revisit the sequence of events.  In fact, Dixie Regional Medical Center created a recovery video testimonial HERE.

There is an old biker adage that many of you have heard before.  “There are those who have been down and those who are going down.”  It’s often described almost as a self-fulfilling prophecy—a mental process whereby an individual subconsciously creates the belief in the inevitability of that event.  The point is, I don’t buy into it and don’t think of accidents as a right of passage to be a motorcycle enthusiast.  I’ve certainly dumped a dirt bike more times than I care to admit, but I never viewed it as inevitable or part of the hobby—I just made some poor choices.

MC

MC at Bryce Canyon, Utah – 2013

Like many things in life there are inherent dangers with motorcycling.  Risk is part of the package.  An accident can have all sorts of negative repercussions.  And any accident that involves someone you know or is a good riding buddy only amplifies the situation.   From a psychological perspective it wouldn’t be unreasonable for the entire riding group to weigh the risks and rewards of riding and question why do it.  But, I’ve digressed.

The EMT’s put MC on life flight and we helped clear the wreckage from the Red Cliffs Parkway intersection.  The underinsured driver was cited for failure to yield to oncoming traffic and attempting to beat a red light while not paying attention to the rest of the traffic in an intersection.  The male driver was in his girlfriend’s well-used Honda.  Clearly the vehicle driver penalties in the state of Utah are not proportional to the suffering inflicted onto MC.

MC was in St. George’s Dixie Regional Medical Center for exactly 12 weeks and underwent 12 surgeries before being transported home to Oregon.  In Oregon there were more doctors, more surgeries, more physical therapy and mountains of medical forms.

Five months after the crash, MC reached the point where a fixator was removed from his foot.  And a few months later, May 2014, he underwent his 15th surgery—”de-bulking”—to remove the surplus transplanted muscle tissue from around his ankle.  There’s been a lot written on his path to recovery HERE (warning – graphic images).  The scope of this life-changing accident has been very challenging, but through it all MC remained mostly positive with the help of friends and family. There was also significant outreach from the motorcycle riding community especially the Shark Week III crew who deserves a big shout-out!

Today, a year later,  MC is mobile and self-sufficient.  For the most part, life is returning to a more normal pattern.  Those of us who know him, know that the year has been one of the hardest in MC’s life.  The medical decisions, the money worries and trying to smile every day and be grateful didn’t come easy.  It’s unclear if MC’s best motorcycle riding days are yet to come or if the risk-reward ratio tipped somewhere along the line.  Only he can answer that question.  In reality, it is possible for a motorcyclist to never go down. Ask around. You’ll be surprised how many motorcyclists have never actually been in an accident. Oh sure, they’ve had scary moments, war stories even. But, most have never been down in any kind of a serious way.

The dog days of summer are upon us, and I believe all MC really needs to think about is how much body hair does a guy have to remove from your face before golfing.

This blog post is to mark the 1-year anniversary and to provide a quick shout-out to all the folks who for the last 12 months provided prayers and positive vibes.  You’ve been awesome and we’re all grateful that MC is doing so well!

Photo’s taken by author and courtesy of MC.  Road map courtesy of UDOT.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

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Harley-Davidson Advertisement

Harley-Davidson Faux Advertisement

It makes a lasting impression in only seconds.   It’s provocative.

I’m talking about ads.

We see them every day, everywhere we go, whatever we do… advertisements for products and services plastered in front of our faces.

Good advertising “tricks” the average person into believing that they need a product or service even when they don’t, and the tricks are usually well-constructed.

This advertisement came to me via the Northwest Harley Blog Daily.  It is sublime and will have many motorcyclists wondering if they’ve gone too far.  After clicking on the “play” button my immediate thought was… “What am I watching?”  “Should I look away before something happens that I won’t be able to forget?”  Then you’re left wondering.

I can’t recommend watching it, but if you must the video advertisement is HERE.  The ad seems to focus less on particular features of the company’s products and more on the way these products are used.  Maybe it’s different in your part of the world, but I’m not exactly sure the message or what product is being “evangelized”…  it’s likely I missed the point, but some of the choices might be:

  1. A Harley will make a man out of you!
  2. Even a cross dresser wants a Harley?
  3. Someone who adopts the dress of the opposite sex wants a man or woman on a Harley?
  4. A new stylish dress and Clothing line launch for Ladies of Harley®?

There are times when I can be influenced by advertising techniques.  Although creative, this is not one of them!

Photo courtesy of Jung Chantme.  Harley-Davidson has stated they are targeting all demographics, but the odds of this being an officially sponsored deal is remote.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

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teal-bike

Motorcycle parked between the “sidewalk” proper and a building (Japan)

This is the kind of culture we live in. One of selfishness.

It’s a country where what I do counts and I’m not even thinking about you. Global warming? Income inequality? The big issues don’t matter, I’m entitled to live my life how I want and if someone else suffers… well, that’s your issue.

Or is it?

If you drive around downtown Portland, you already know how difficult it is to find street parking.  In fact, you’ll barely see a spot through all the SUVs in the parking lots.  As a result, we see everything from the tiny moped to the biggest Harley-Davidson cruiser taking up space on the sidewalk.

So, what is it about motorcyclists psychology that we feel “entitled” to park our motorcycles on the sidewalk?

There are a large number of non-riding people out there who when they see motorcycles parked on the sidewalk their first thought is “what a total selfish douche”.  It’s a similar reaction to how some see lane splitting…you are cutting the line, getting ahead of them, doing something others cannot. It’s unfair to them.  It’s highly unlikely they are thinking, “what a considerate individual, leaving parking spaces for the rest of us and our SUVs.”  It simply doesn’t dawn on them that we’re leaving more open spaces for automobiles.

Sidewalk-motorcycles

Motorcycles parked between “sidewalk” proper and building (Belmont area)

When it comes to parking a motorized two-wheeler in Portland, it might look like anything goes as scooters and larger motorcycles have become more popular and are an easy way of getting around the city.  Sometimes there isn’t street parking or when there is, the kinder motorcyclist would rather not use up street spaces and risk angry cagers ramming their bike or backing into it when parallel parking.  I’ve even heard of people getting their scooters or motorcycles moved by people wanting to take their parking places!  In fact, in Seattle it became such an issue they created legislation that made moving scooters illegal. Click HERE to read more about the legislation.

And speaking of legislation, the Oregon House looks well on its way to passing HB 2963.  It’s legislation that allows Portland and other cities to consider stricter sidewalk regulations.  The area of focus is on a sit-lie ordinance – prohibiting sitting and lying on the sidewalk, but f the new ordinance passes it will bring increased law enforcement scrutiny to cities sidewalks and sidewalk parking.

I decided to go to “the people who keep Portland moving”, the Portland Bureau of Transportation and ask the questions:

Q: Are motorcycles allowed to park on sidewalks?
A: Not in Portland.  Sidewalks and the side walk between the curb and property line, whether paved or unpaved, are for pedestrians.  Click HERE for more information.

Q: Yeah, but what about that unused part between the sidewalk proper, and a building? Often places put tables and chairs there if it’s a coffee shop and often is paved. Again it is not the “proper sidewalk” but space between it and the building. If up against the building, are you OK since that is not the sidewalk but private property?
A: No.

Q: Can you park in that strip between the sidewalk and the street? That strip that has the utility poles, squares cut out for trees, and bicycle racks?
A: No

120830biketix4660

Sidewalk being used by Portland Motorcycle Police to ticket.

Q: Can a motorcycle be parked at a bicycle rack if you chain it to the rack?
A: No

And since were talking about parking, have you heard about Portlandia’s war on civility?  Busybody do-gooders running around town with the goal to promote civil values of mutual respect, personal responsibility, compassion, tolerance and adherence to the rule of law.  They are out there to remind us lest we forget.  I don’t know about you, but the last time I walked on SW 3rd Ave., from Stumptown I saw what looked like a dope deal, a shouting match at the bus stop over a grocery cart and another couple nearly break-out into a fist fight over what, I’m not sure and all the cussing was just a bonus.  But the icing on the cake was the “Urban-Outdoorsman” urinating in some business doorway while giving me that “do you mind look”.

Yeah, I missed a couple opportunities to raise my civility score, but it’s not my war.

At this point you might be asking yourself; “so, where’s the advice for those of us who plan to park on the sidewalk”.  Again, parking any motor vehicle on city sidewalks is unlawful and subject to ticketing and towing… But, it seems that in Portland enforcement is spotty.  The “ticket people” will more often leave motorcycles and scooters alone, if they’re parked “correctly” and no one complains…

“Correctly” as I’ve defined means it’s an art, always risky and not a science.  Here are a few tips that I’ve “heard” about:

Tip #1 – “Make It Short”
The longer you park in any one spot, the more likely you are to get a ticket. The longer you intend to be there, the better the sidewalk spot needs to be. If you can’t find a decent spot near where you’re going, then settle for an out of the way mailbox, street sign or lamp post.

Tip #2 – “Be Stealthy”
The more visible you are, the more likely you are to get a ticket. Don’t park on the sidewalk during “no parking” times, or someplace where the sign says “no standing” (Although I’ve seen people park in “Commercial Parking Only” streets on the sidewalk during the day…)  It’s been suggested to find a spot where a parked car hides your bike from being visible from the street. But try not to get in anyone’s way – make sure you’re not blocking access to a car door or to an entrance, etc.

Tip #3 – “Motorbike Lockdown”
One benefit to sidewalk parking is that you can chain it to something immovable. Street signs are okay, but a lamp post or mailbox are better.  The ticket people are unlikely to pull up a street sign to tow your bike, but a thief might.  Use a heavy duty chain.   On a side note, I’ve seen bikes parked (“legally”, between cars) on the street near a street sign locked up with a cable. This is not a bad idea either, but you need a longer chain or cable than most.

Tip #4 – “Missing License Plate”
A sketchy thing that the more aggressive sidewalk parkers attempt…  if you’re parking and chaining on the sidewalk anyway, some people take their license plates with them. You can stick velcro on your license plate mount and just take it with you when you go. A side benefit of that is, no one will be able to steal your plate!  However, the VIN number is usually accessible and an annoyed ticket person (with nothing but a lot of time) might ticket your VIN number. Sure there are things you could do to hide the VIN number – like a good bit of grease smeared on the VIN plate to make it unreadable, but this aggressive action is a slippery slope.

I’m not guiltless in trying out the sidewalk, but these days I most often park in designated vehicle places.

Teal motorcycle photo taken by author in Japan; Motorcycle parked on sidewalk (Belmont area) photo courtesy of Wikimedia; LEO on Sidewalk courtesy of KATU.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

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Hollywood (circa:1921)

In Hollywood, morals clauses began cropping up starting in 1921, when silent-film star Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle was accused of raping and accidentally killing a young actress at a wild party in San Francisco.  A series of scandals led to popular outrage and calls for censorship.

A morals clause allows a buyer to bail on a contract if a star’s conduct is detrimental to the buyers interest.

In the late 1940s, morals clauses provided a convenient out for studios looking to get rid of suspected communists in Hollywood.  For example Ring Lardner Jr. was among the “Hollywood 10” who were notified that their studio deals were being dumped under the morals clauses.  These days there are other forces that push on top stars as an actor who has a ‘history’ can be much riskier to employ because bond companies generally don’t want to insure a motion picture or TV show that depends on such a person.

And speaking of morals, communists and conduct being “detrimental to a buyers interests” we have TV personality of defunct West Coast Chopper fame and Austin Speed Shop owner, Jesse James –  a heartwarming story of a man who dresses up in Nazi garb (a joke he states), cheats — repeatedly — on his universally beloved wife with a tattooed stripper, the Amish-raised Michelle “Bombshell” McGee, but turns it all around and gets engaged to yet another tattoo enthusiast, Kat Von D (a.k.a. Miami Ink).

So in a world where words speak volumes, Gallery Books, a Simon & Schuster imprint determined that a Jesse James memoir is what you’ve been waiting for and is going to hit bookshelves later this year.  James who writing experience is limited to, uh, well, nothing I can think of will write the tell-all book for those fans that want to know all the details about re-hab, his infidelities and how he found true love.  The memoir is called “American Outlaw” not to be confused with the movie of a similar title, but it looks like bad is good again!

And speaking of tattoo chronicles… Kat Von D has her own illustrated diary that offers up an intimate look at her life and art.

Photos courtesy of Kat Von D, and Ralph Barton/Vanity Fair (circa 1921).

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

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ObserveToday is the first day of fall and I’m on the road with the wind in my face.  Street Vibrations is the destination, but the journey is what it’s all about.

As I admire the scenery along the country roads of Oregon, I can’t help but think about the book, Crisscrossing America. It’s a story of one man’s journey across the United States — twice.  On retirement, John Gussenhoven, did something a lot people dream about doing. He bought a motorcycle, took a Rider’s Edge class and learned how to ride. Then he loaded up his saddlebags and made a two-year, two-leg journey crisscrossing the U.S.

In the book, John writes about his experiences on the road and some of the people he encounters along the way.  As a photographer I can tell you the book contains some beautiful pictures of the U.S.  It turns out that each night, John carefully recorded his thoughts as well as his GPS locations from the day. Then he shared these with his friend, Jim Wark, who took arial photographs of the same places. Cool photos with out a doubt.

I’m not doing a book, but I do appreciate the unique perspective of the landscape in our country.  I’ll be observing and reporting back from this road trip in a week, but for the next several days the comment approval process will be delayed.

Ride safe.

Photo courtesy of film web site.

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DonkeyKanye West is a ‘jackass’.  And not because of his 2007 video for “Stronger” which used a genuine Japanese motorcycle gang in the video.

Here’s the 411 — President Obama ‘off-the-record’ called Kanye West a ‘jackass’ for his outburst at VMAs when Taylor Swift won.  You can listen to the audio HERE

Yes, Kanye did hand the microphone back to her, but like the 19 year old she is, she was overwhelmed and couldn’t speak.  Thus cementing her status as a singing teenage naif.   The ABC reporter, Terry Moran, who overheard the casual between-us-folks chatter — which is often a part of the technical set-up before an interview officially begins — tweeted yesterday that President Obama was “off the record” in an interview with CNBC which a few hundred thousand people @RT the Kanye ‘ass’ outing.

I have a new level of respect for Obama.  Calling out Kanye was the right thing to do.  Yet, the jackass quote was soon retracted!   ABC issued an apology to both CNBC and the White House (and removed the Tweet, but not before folks screen-grab images of it).  It’s difficult to know, but what if a Caucasian had stormed the stage and used such language to an African-American entertainer?  Yeah, I’m on thin ice with an inference to the “R” word, but it does create a moment of pause.  For those who think the entire event was scripted or “staged” then you’ll appreciate this site.

The losers in all of this is the American public.  Real stories can’t get traction.  Health care is too complex and we’ve got ADHD.  We’ve become a nation of public spectacles, gossip, and misinformation.  Sure frivolity has a place, but what we revere in popular culture has almost nothing of value.  Furthermore, who didn’t know the “K-man” had been acting like a jackass previously?  It’s like his jackassed-ness was his career.  Finally now he truly is a superstar!   Stay classy Kanye! 

You might think I’m over doing it here, but… People spend money dressing and living like rappers, going to the Palms in Vegas to splash in the pool while consuming overpriced liquor and flash hand signs.  In a “me” society, who can expect anybody to behave properly, with humility.  Twenty four hour news from one celebrity mishap to another not twenty four hours on explaining bills in Congress, or Supreme Court decisions.  We indeed need a readjustment.  But they need the ratings!

Kanye is, ratings.  For anybody who’s got a trinket to sell.  And we’re buying it! 

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

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Carmen

Carmen

At work early.  Coffee, check.  Raisin bran muffin, check.  Opening Outlook email…waiting…, check.  Whoa, what’s this?  A half-dozen “business proposals” from London and several people in South Africa who I don’t know are waiting for my “urgent reply” with a bank account number…  Important, I am.

According to a recent survey about one in six consumers have at some time acted on a SPAM message.  Huh?   Don’t they realize this only reaffirms the economic incentive for spammers to keep churning out millions of obnoxious pitches per day.  And now comes Twitter SPAM… designed for all us motorcycle enthusiasts who click the “follow” button to stay in touch.  There are many Twitter pages which are simply redirect links for suspicious activity and/or violate usage rules with ad’s about personal body part enhancements.  You know the ones… “I’m now following you”… then you click the link to validate the person and find 3 updates in as many months, but wait… they are following 2,714 people… if you dare click on the web link up comes a clear ruse with no social redeeming value!

Rather agitated on the last “following you” notice, I was going to report the violation – but, then I thought I’d SPAM the SPAMMERS!  I know… I’ll pose as a 35 year-old single mom (Carmen – likes Cars/Motorcycles and Men – get it?).  I have this wounded bird theory and selected a profile with 4 kids. My oldest son, Ricky, is 16 so he’s taking care of Tabitha, 6, and Billy, 4. My youngest, Jeremy, 3 months, is somewhere around here. He’ll turn up. He usually does.  Since I’m still evolving my faux on-line landscape I’ll evangelize my Fav’s as: “Likes to go on long motorcycle rides in the moonlight…” You see, I’ve got this hot body with money to burn and looking for a guy who doesn’t believe everything he reads!

Twitter Suspension Notice

Twitter Suspension Notice

I’m hip and learned from a piercing article in Tattoo that unemployed spammers spend half their time trolling Twitter and other social networks to try and help or pick up 30-something’s.  So, as Carmen I took joy in making my profile very public. It’s good knowing that a lot of spammers scour these sites looking for hot single moms. I posted my pics from before I had my 4 kids and before the crank took my teeth so, I look pretty good in my profile. Just got an email from an unemployed car salesman in Miami, Florida. He could be the one! But, the businessman from South Africa made a lasting impression with that Queen offer in Benadir.  I had no idea it was so easy to travel to Mogadishu!  Wait, as long as they’re still collecting unemployment benefits in the U.S. bring them on! After I finish this post I’ll head over to CafeMom and surf the boards to see how many people responded to my moonlight ride post. Still looking for a real man to take care of my kids. My welfare check arrives on Friday’s and I can’t wait to buy a new iPhone 3Gs.

honestyWhat’s my point?  Clearly people on-line are not always honest.  More important though is being careful out there with your information.   In my previous post about how to leverage Twitter I did not reinforce the need to block people who randomly want to follow you… especially if they have suspicious motives.  And finally, in surfing the information on the web its disturbing to say the least. The type of information being shared is pretty scary and I often see detailed information about the person and their family.  Or you’ll see links to Facebook proudly displaying H.O.G holiday photos of the kids including geo-tags of their house location along with other content that could be used to identify them. Some of the things people post makes them look completely clueless or like they are sitting at the computer “tweeting” while their kid festers in a dirty diaper. Are single parents really this dumb? As far as I’m concerned, parents posting too much information aren’t really fit to be parents because they put their families at risk or at the very best look like they are wasting time on the computer when they could be doing something productive…. with their kids!

Have to go now. Billy can’t find Jeremy. He’s probably stuck behind the furnace again. *Sigh* Do I have to do everything around here?

Photo taken at CES.  Full Disclosure: Carmen is a fictional character.  Email or comments about a “ride in the moonlight” is barking up the wrong tree.

All Rights Reserved (c) Northwest Harley Blog

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