Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Bridge to nowhere


On another blog, I have two friends who don't exactly see eye to eye on the political front. They brought up the bridge to nowhere that has been in the news recently. I posed a question. What is the bride to nowhere? Neither one had looked it up for sure. I have to be honest. I didn't know myself until I just happened to see a documentary on the discovery channel. It seems that it is a bridge across the Bering Strait. It would provide a way to drive or take a train to Russia. It would also include an oil pipeline. It is said to "nowhere" because there is no roads on either end. The bridge is such an undertaking that engineers have been discussing it for some time. If it were to happen, a massive land road and rail construction would also have to be built, both in Alaska and in Siberia. I was surprised to learn that Siberia and Alaska are only 58 miles apart. That is closer than Cuba to Florida. I wonder if there was a way across the Bering Strait if we would have Russians trying to come to this country as we do Cubans. It would be easier to police a bridge than it is a water crossing. The water is frozen for 8 months of the year in the Strait. The fact that no one tries to cross is that the ice is flowing, and they can't get to it because there are no roads. That is the challenge of the bridge. It would have to be on piers in the water. The ice would be pushing against them with great force. It would be economically, a plus for both countries if it could be accomplished. The cost would be in the Billions to build. Palin was for it until she found out that Alaska would have to absorb 100% of the cost. Then she changed her mind and was against it. The news media neglects to tell the whole story. Most people as well have no idea what the bridge to nowhere actually is. But they know there is a controversy and Palin is in the middle of it. The Democrats use it to add fuel to the negative fire, even if they don't know what it is about. The Republicans use it to add fuel to the positive and they as well have no idea. I love this country.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

NEVER FORGET THE DAY THE WORLD STOPPED

On a bright sunny day in September.











It has been 7 years. Everyone remembers where they were and what they were doing when those animals attacked the innocent people in the World Trade Center.

343 New York City Firefighters lost their lives that day. Every one of them just, "doing what they do". Many called them "heroes" for what they did that day. They in reality did nothing different that day than they did any other day. The difference is they lost their lives doing it that day. I think public service personnel are heroes everyday. But they don't consider themselves heroes and will tell you the same thing....."We are just doing what we do".
Since that day we have been at war with the ones responsible. Many think it is wrong to be in Iraq fighting for the freedom of those people. On Television we see how "bad" it is there. Most don't think of how "good" it has become there.
If there is a flood in your town, the news shows the flood area. Anyone watching the news is thinking of how awful it must be to live in that town. If the news showed the entire town, those watching would see that most of the town is going about their daily lives normally. Only those in the flood zone are affected.
If the news media were covering the entire country of Iraq, instead of only the worst part of the war zone. People would see that the forces being there has made the lives of most of the Iraqi people better. We have not found and destroyed Bin Laden as of this date. We have not stopped hunting for him either. We have however kept him or his followers from affecting any further destruction on the innocent people of the United States. We have lost many soldiers in the war. We have not lost any more innocent citizens in this country who were just going about their daily lives.
If someone is killed in war, it is tragic. For someone to get killed just because they were there that day is beyond words. That is what those cowards did that September 11, 2001. They killed people just because they were there that day. Any one of us could have been there that day. If you are thinking the war is wrong, I wonder if you would think differently if one of your loved ones had been killed that day, just because they were there. WE MUST NEVER FORGET.
Together we stand. Let's stand together as one and never become divided.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Saturday, August 23, 2008

1st Poker run

I went on my 1st Poker run today. It was to raise money for "Get behind the Badge". A charity created to help the families of firefighters, police and peace officers who have given the ultimate sacrifice. Todays run was the Terry McDowell Memorial Poker Run. Registration was at 10 am and cost $15 per bike and $20 if you had a rider. Terry McDowell was a police officer who was shot and killed in the line of duty.
I have heard about and done my research of Poker Runs and was excited about getting to participate in one. A friend and I showed up around 10:30. My friend has ridden in several runs in the past. I was glad he knew the ropes and what to do. We registered and was looking at the map. He had told me that usually groups of 5-10 bikes go out every few minutes and at the different stops you either get your map signed (and chose a card upon arrival at the end) or you chose a playing card at the stop and have your card recorded on the map.
As we were looking at our maps and trying to figure out the route, a guy said that we would leave at noon all together and would have an escort. My buddy and I discussed leaving with the group and thought there would be long lines at each stop to get your card or signature. We decided that with the provided map, we could find the stops and not have to wait in the lines if we left before the group. After watching the people a little, it was obvious that some of the others were thinking the same thing as we were, and leaving early. My buddy sighted a couple that looked like they were planning to leave. He asked their intention and found out that they indeed were thinking this also. He then asked if we could tag along with them. They told him that they had a GPS and was confident they could find the stops.
We left following the couple on their Softtail. Me on my Road King and my buddy on his Sportster.
The route took us past a memorial erected for Terry McDowell, then into a nearby cemetery past his gravesite, back onto the state road to the first stop approximately 20 miles away. We stopped to get what we needed done to our maps and they told us that all we needed to do was ride the route and show up at the last stop (Captain Jacks). Without drawing a card or any proof we were there. We had a refreshing drink and went on our way to the next stop about 17 miles away and then stop for another drink. I personally wasn't thirsty and passed on the drink, but sat while the others had something. On the road, I had been thinking that without the need to get something done at the stops. Why would one ride the route? You could go home, take a nap and then show up at Captain Jacks that evening. This took the wind out of my sails (so to speak). It made less sense for me to follow the map. We did leave an hour early and followed the map and so arrived at Captain Jacks about 2 hours ahead of the scheduled group arrival. They had planned about a half hour for each stop. The four of us on our 3 bikes didn't take near that long for a cool refreshment. The group would need longer since they would have to wait on the 2 or 3 barkeeps to take care of all their wants. At Captain Jacks, we waited for the group to arrive. Food was provided and we did enjoy it, ahead of the group. We were done eating and enjoying a beverage when the stampede came in. The food line was endless and the bar was crowded waiting on the few to serve the masses. After the lines finally shortened to stragglers and the room was full of bikers. Someone came on a microphone and said that we would have to be patient. We were told that 3 bikes had gone down today and the chase car with the cards on it was delayed. We 4 had been waiting for 3 hours now and still no cards had been drawn. My buddy said he was getting tired of waiting. I thought and said that after the cards do arrive, everyone who paid the entry fee would have to get in line to draw cards. This time we would be in line waiting as well. No one would find out who won the contest until all had chosen their cards. Even after the cards arrived, it would likely be another hour or more waiting before a winner would be announced.
We cut our losses and went home without drawing our card.
Next week is another Poker Run and maybe it will be better organized.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Road trip on the Road King





A friend whom I went to High School with, had been like a brother. We even worked weekends together at a bakery. After Graduation, we kept in touch. I got a job, bought a house and moved to Ohio, East of Columbus. He got a job, bought a house and moved to Ohio, East of Cleveland. We stayed close. Most weekends, when possible, he would drive to my house or I to his. Our houses are 3 1/2 hours drive time apart. At his house, we would spend the weekend fishing on the lake or working on something he had that needed fixed. At my house we would spend time at the race track or working on something I had that needed fixed.
Then we were seperately shot by cupids arrow, and both acquired wives. We found it better to spend more time with them than with each other. They had much more to offer. We kept in touch through the telephone and maybe two or three times a year one or the other with their female partner would make the trip to visit the other. On his end, his new wife came with two tweenage girls and a small boy. (She came with baggage.) He was alright with this and right away added another boy to the mix. One of his own. (Total of 4 noisemaking kids, now that's unbelieveable). My new wife and I had discussed children and chose not to go that route. Some say we are selfish, and maybe so, but that was our choice. (Quieter around the house that way).
The phone calls and visits came less often as time passed, and over the last couple years any call either way were messages to "call me", as the other was not at home. We hadn't even talked for over two years. I have been wanting to see how he is doing but we just couldn't connect.
Finally, last Saturday night after leaving a message for him to "call me". He called Sunday morning and I answered. It sure was good to get to talk to him again.
I have been looking for somewhere to go on my new bike, a road trip somewhere. I asked him if he would be doing anything the following weekend. He said that he works most weekends but was off next week. I told him I would like to come up and visit if he had a place to lay my head. He said that I could occupy a spot on his couch anytime.
Saturday morning I left my house at 9 am. It was 49 degrees so I was in long pants, gloves and a coat. The sun was shining brightly. I didn't get cold but I was not too warm either. I wanted to get to his place quickly so I decided to go the direct route even if it required some time on the interstate. State roads for 1 1/2 hours, then 4 and 6 lane interstate (I-71 and I 271) for 1 1/2 hours, and 1/2 hour through town and back roads to his place. I arrived at 12:30. We both grew up in WVa. and now live in Ohio, but we are still hillbillies. He even still dresses the part.
We spent the day and evening catching up on old times in his garage until after midnight. We did take a short trip (10 min.) to the lake to get some pictures. And just like old times, we spent some time working on an old car he has and we fixed a chainsaw as well. His wife suggested we cut down the old pine tree in his front yard that she has wanted gone for a long time. It is in the power lines and as she was suggesting we cut it down he was behind her shaking his head no, with a grin. It is still standing.
His wife's two girls are grown now. One has a two year old child and now lives with him. I don't know about the other. His two boys are still at home. One is 17 and drives so he was gone most of the day. The only boy that is truly his, was there (now 15) and is a mirror image of him and acts just like him as well.
Sunday morning, we got up and he fixed a couple eggs, toast, and bacon. He said he is the one who usually cooks up breakfast on the weekends.
After breakfast, we talked for a while and I decided it was time to head back Southwest.
I headed for a fuel station about 11:00 am. It was warmer on Sunday and I didn't need my coat or gloves. I filled up for $16.39 and bought an Ohio road map and a iced tea for the trip. I decided that without anywhere to be quickly, I would ride the back roads home. I consulted the map and headed directly South instead of West on I-90. It took me just over 4 hours (only 15 minutes longer) to get home but the ride was much more pleasant. Also I got to see more of the heartland of Ohio. Ohio is truly farm country, the corn and bean fields are standing tall this time of year. I headed South going east of Akron/Canton and then headed West in Dover traveling through Amish country. I pulled in my driveway at 15:45. Even riding the back roads and taking it easy all the way home, it was good to get out of the saddle after nearly 4 hours. And it was nice to be home, and see my wife. I miss her when I'm gone.
The whole trip, since I stayed on his couch, with buying fuel, a map (I should have brought one with me) and a drink, only cost me $35.00.
Now all I have to do is think about where to go on my next road trip. Maybe I will take my wife next time.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Fuel costs



A friend and I went to a Dodge show over the weekend. I took these pictures along with several more. These guys like to put on a show for the crowd. They stop, hold the brake and do burn outs. The crowd just loves it. With all the talk and pain of prices at the pump. I wonder what the cost of running those old muscle cars from the past is? A few of us at the station have bought motorcycles to help cut the edge of the pump prices.
I am glad it was their money and not mine.
I suppose if I had one of those classics, I would have been there as well. It don't hurt to have some fun what ever the cost. And they looked like they were having fun.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Freedoms



I was going through some old photos in my files and found these.
A buddy and myself went on a road trip last year and along the way made a side trip to Gettysburg Pa. Neither of us had been there before. It is an interesting place. Just being there thinking about the battles that took place over 100 years ago in that very spot. The soldiers that fought for what they believed to be the right cause on both sides.
Someday, perhaps a hundred years from now, someone will stand in front of a memorial for the soldiers that fought in the Iraq war. I hope this country still has the freedoms and rights that we have today. Hopefully those people can still make road trips and side trips along the way to enjoy the memorials as we did that day.
Pray for our country and our soldiers fighting for our freedoms and the freedoms of others in Iraq and other parts of the world.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

People can be so stupid


I hate stupid people. I suppose we all have our moments but sometimes when you come across someone, you just know, its just the way they are.
Yesterday, Saturday, we allowed a local charity organization use the department for a benefit to help someone with cancer. A good cause. A good organization. When someone uses the dept., someone has to be there to at least open the building and someone should be "around" in case a problem comes up. They use the kitchen, paper towels, toilet tissue, electric, etc. They do make a donation to the dept. for use of the building. This time, it amounted to a $50 bill. They have requested the building next week for another event. I wonder if there will be another donation or if they figure this 50 will cover both times? That set aside. The cost verses the donation is probably a wash. Anyway, We run two paid people weekdays 7-4. One full time and one part-time person. I am the full time guy. Being the full time person, I usually take on the responsibility to go the extra mile and take care of these events. Even on my "day off". So I made time to make sure I was at the dept. on Saturday morning at 09:00 to let them in and to be there at 18:00 to make sure the building was secure. And during the day, I asked my wife if she could be "around" to watch things. She sometimes helps this group. She agreed, and was at the dept. helping most of the day. I went on a motorcycle ride with some friends. There were six bikes, and we rode about 100 miles. We got back to the dept. around 17:00 and to help out the benefit, I bought spaghetti for the three of us who stayed, the rest went on home. I don't even like spaghetti, and it wasn't worth $6 a plate. But to help out, I donated my $18 for the three meals.
Back to stupid people.
The group was cleaning up after the event and carrying out their stuff. As I said they are planning on using the building next week for the same and asked if they could leave some things in the corner. Now this is a fire dept. and we work and "live" here through the week. But to make things easier for them I said ok and they stacked things in different corners. I will move some of the stuff on Monday to make "work" easier for us. About that time, the tones went off for an illegal burn. Now, we were at this address two day before for the same (Stupid person #1). Evidently a neighbor don't like these people and called 911, twice. The first time there, we found out that the offenders are moving and trying to clean the place up by burning trash. At that time we put it out and advised them not to burn the "illegal" stuff and went home. That time it was near midnight and someone had to get up and go "see" about the offense. Knowing this was the same address and knowing the case, the three of us spoke briefly about who would take care of the situation. My two fellow FD people asked if I wanted them to take care of it and I said that would be good. Two minutes from dispatch until the truck was enroute. I stayed at the station to run the radio. At the address this time, the same was the case. Upon seeing the fire truck pull up they put water on it and put it out. Some words between the offender and the FD personnel about being called back and they said they would be gone after today. The truck went back in service. Four minutes later.
Back at the station, this is Saturday and all involved are volunteering their time.
A person from the benefit, says to me as I am sitting at the radio. (She is on the couch while the others are still cleaning up.) " My cousin is a firefighter and that is what I hate about "West undershirt fire dept." (Us) I asked "what do you mean?" My mistake. I should have ignored the comment thinking this is just another stupid person shooting off her mouth. But no I had to ask. She said " I didn't like it when you guys argued about who was going to go on the run" Saying "You should have just run and got in the truck and went".
I felt my blood pressure go through the top of my head. But I kept my composure and said that it all depends on when it is and what it is and that we knew the address and what was going on and since we knew of the situation. We wouldn't even run "hot" as to protect the safety of all concerned. She said "I live in West undershirt twp and won't allow West undershirt FD to come to my house because of that."
That is when I realized just how stupid this person really was. I hope she never needs us but if she calls, West undershirt FD will be dispatched and will respond, she has no choice. Also, anytime she needs help, she will call. And when she calls, West undershirt FD, will come as fast as we safely can and we will do our best to take care of her problem what ever it might be. Regardless of how stupid she is.
I hate stupid people.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Rides like a caddy


I got my new ride home on Monday evening. The guy I purchased it from rode it half way and let me ride it on home with his tags and insurance on it. He said to just mail his plate back to him. He told me to ride it all I wanted that evening. He said he would keep the full coverage insurance on it until 9 am on Tuesday. What a nice guy. I rode it straight home, (about 20 miles on the interstate,) as it was getting late and I didn't want to take advantage of his generosity. I put his plate in the mail first thing Tuesday morning. Then on Tuesday afternoon after my shift, I got my own tags and insurance. Off I went for a ride. I rode about 50 miles before going back home. Then I rode it to the station this morning. I think I am going to get a lot of time in the saddle. All the stats that Harley have on file state that the '02 Road King gets 54 miles per gallon on the highway and 35 in the city. That is a huge difference from my 3/4 ton Dodge truck with the V-10 engine getting 9 miles/gallon. As long as the snow holds off, I expect to be on two wheels. Maybe we'll have a mild winter this year?

Monday, July 21, 2008


Today was an ordinary day. We were at the station doing our usual daily duties. Checking off the squad, drink coffee, plan lunch, answer the phone, Go check on the controlled burn someone called in, drink more coffee, etc.
At my station we have an average of 1 run per day. Saying that some days we have none and some days we have 2 or 3. You just never know. Today was an ordinary day as I said. The usual until 15:50. 1 hour and 10 minutes before quitting time. A call came in for Chest pain. Now most of the time we take the patient to the hospital and go through the protocol for chest pain. ( Oxygen, asprin, nitro, monitor (12-lead) and sometimes but not often Morphine.
Today, when we got to the dispatched address, someone met us at the driveway and said that he is hurting real bad. Again most times that means little. This time when we got to the patient he was diaphoretic, grasping his chest and pail looking. On the scene was myself, my partner and two volunteers. First, place 02, NRB 15L. Upon attempting the 12-lead, the ECG patches would not stick because of the sweat. They would not stick long enough for a 3-lead. He had an elevated BP and irregular pulse. This guy was not obese and he was only 54. As the volunteers brought the cot in, I said let's get him in the squad and get going. After getting him in the squad, and getting enroute, Volunteer driving, I made the decision to "Light them up", the usual took place. IV, nitro, asa and dry him off to attempt 12-lead again. This time we got the 12-lead. He was having a septal STEMI. He then said the pain would not let up. I gave him a second nitro and went for the morphine. Then the pucker factor set in for real. He went unresponsive and the monitor said V-fib. ACLS went into full swing. Long story short. If you can call this short. After 2 shocks and one round of drugs and a brief period of CPR, we got a pulse back and he sat up. I never did get time to give the Morphine. Upon arrival at the hospital, they did their thing and raced him off to the cath lab.
Sometimes in this business, there are so many "bandaide" runs and you get kind of "tired" of the Crap that you have to put up with. Every time I think there is so much crap that it is not worth all the hours of training and working on our skills, then today happens, and you really make a difference. Bottom line is that if not for the Medic crew on station today, that man would be dead right now. I don't know if this guy will make it back home or not, but he has the best chance anyone could have. He was in the cath lab before we were done with the report. If you are a person who prays as I, remember him and his family tonight and remember all the Medic crews out there who put up with the crap day in and day out just to make a difference once in a while.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

New Ride




A while back, I said that I was looking for a motorcycle. Well, today was the day that I became the proud owner of a new Harley Road King Classic. It is a 2002 model with just less that 4000 miles. It is for all practical purposes, a "new" machine. I will be the third owner, but with only 4000 miles, this machine has not been ridden. At least not much. I looked at different machines on the net, and last weekend, a friend and myself went to a salvage shop, and a couple stops at dealers, "to look". Nothing at the salvage shop for me. Brand new machines cost around $20,000. That is a bit above my funds availability. I was thinking that I would limit myself to $10,000. Everything I found under the 10,000 mark was significantly older and with age, they had miles, lots of them. Most were in the 1992 year range with over 30,000 miles. And they were still near the top of my limit of funds, somewhere between 8 and 10 thousand dollars.
After much thought, I came to the conclusion that if 16 year old machines were still bringing that much, that money spent on a "new machine" could be recouped down the road, after I ride it those miles. That means, in fact, that if nothing changes, I should be able to sell the machine in 2016 and still get near $10,000 for it. That being said, the Road King will only cost me the dollars over that amount that I had to come up with. Plus maintenance and repairs, if any, (and that comes with any machine).
I had to do much talking, (to the wife), to get her to agree with spending the $12,500 that my new ride cost but with convincing, she agreed. She even went with me to look at it. And (upon my suggestion) she was the one who signed the check. I thought that was a good idea. That way I can always say she bought it for me.
I did have to take her to dinner on the way home. That was another $50. But she did buy ice cream at the dairy queen.
I can't wait now to get it home and take a ride. I should have it in my garage later this week. The current owner wanted to wait for the check to clear before I could take possession. That was agreeable. I would want the same. He even threw in a leather "Harley" jacket that he never wore. It still has the tags on it with the price of $192. I hope he is as happy with the deal as I.

Friday, July 11, 2008

15th Anniversary

Yesterday, July 10 was exactly 15 years that I married my wife. A lot of the time people say that it was a mistake to get married. Not for me. When my wife and I got married, I knew that it would be a good thing. Don't ask me how, but some things you just know. We usually plan to go somewhere on a trip. This year we went over the 4th. We were gone for 3 days. It is good to get away but always good to get home.
When I got up yesterday, there was a nice card from her on the table for me to see first thing. Last week, I ordered roses to be delivered to her work on the 10th. She called me at about noon to thank me for the flowers. They had arrived. Bonus points for me....everyone at her work saw them being delivered.
After getting home from the dept. she asked me if I wanted to go out to dinner. I told her that I had a late lunch and would likely enjoy that after a short nap. She agreed to the nap. Well, me on the couch and her in the bed, we each got some shut eye. She was up first and woke me at about 8ish. Well, I was not in the mood for a heavy meal then.
I asked her where she wanted to go, and she said for me to decide. I did just that.
I took her to Dairy Queen. I got her a chilli dog and me just a milkshake. It appears she was thinking something more.
I am now going to go a little further and take her to a "nice" place tonight. Maybe "Red Lobster" or "Road House". I think she might enjoy that more. I think I will eat an earlier lunch today and not nap first.
And YES, I would marry her all over again.
Only 35 more and we make 50 years.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

The last evening of our trip.





On Saturday night, we were in Strausburg, Ohio. They were having a festival and fireworks in New Philly, about 10 minutes down the road. After dinner at a pizza buffet, we decided to see what the celebration was like. We got to see fake tattoos, green hair, and a fake Kiss concert. What was most impressive was the amount of people they could squeeze into such a small area.