Wednesday, August 27, 2008

"Yes, I'm from Toronto..."

If there are four words used as an introduction by a caller, which guarantee you're in for an interesting time, it's the following: "Yes, I'm from Toronto...". I just finished a call with such a woman. After she was done with her intro, she then proceded to inform me that she had "just finished being bounced around by several government phone lines". This kind of preliminary bitching is supposed to serve as a warning, I would assume. It says: "I already have a short fuse, because I have no idea who I should be talking to about this. I have already phoned several places which have nothing to do with my request. I am pretty much a total fucking moron...".

This is designed to alert you to the fact that you don't want to join the list of government agencies that are now already on her shit-list. So you'd better be able to deliver the information they're after, or you'll be sorry... Ummmm... R-rrriiiiiiiiiiighttt...

For any of you thinking of contacting a government information line with this type of dialogue or attitude in mind... don't. I am as professional as they come as far as Information Officers go. I will go out of my way (but not out of my mandate...) to get you the information you need, or if I don't have it, make sure I can refer you to where you can get it. I pride myself on being able to do so. But if you start off our conversation by trying to hold me liable for your inability to find the information you want, things will not go well. Oh, no... no. Not well at all. Not only will things not go well, but there is a very good chance that you will find yourself talking to a dead phone. You will accord me the respect which is due to me and you will know without a doubt, that I am in control of this call.

So "Toronto-lady" carries on: "I bought some fish recently and when I prepared and ate it, I found some worms in it. I want to know where I can go to report this and what I can do about this". I ascertained that she was looking to lodge a complaint about some seafood product she had recently bought. (The very first thing any consumer should do, is to return the product to the point of sale... meaning: bring it back to the store from which you bought it!!) By this time I already had the program opened in my database, which of course was the Canadian Food Inspection Agency's Fish Inspection Program. I ask her whom she had called within the federal government up to that point. She replied that she had called the CFIA's Food Recall Line. I advised her that the Food Recall Line would have nothing to do with the service she was looking for, unless of course they had instituted a recall for this particular product she had recently ingested.

After introducing the program, I advised her of what it is that these folks do:

The Fish Inspection Program regulates the quality, safety and marketability of fish and seafood products produced or sold in Canada through the following activities:

- registering and monitoring fish processing plants
- inspecting domestic fish and fish products for consumption
- issuing export certificates
- enforcing labelling and packaging regulations (including language requirements) for all fish and seafood products
- updating and maintaining databases on contaminants in fish and fish products
- inspecting fishing vessels, facilities used in the offloading and holding of fish prior to processing, vehicles used in the transportation of fish, fishermen packer facilities and cold storages.

The program also investigates consumer and merchant complaints involving fish products and takes appropriate follow-up action.

I then advise her that the local offices which serve her area are located on Courtneypark Drive in Mississauga, provide her with the address and offer their phone number, fax number and website. She decides to take their phone number, which I then procede to give her. After hearing the phone number, she says: "That is the number I called and there's no one there...".

I advised her that the line did in fact have a 24hr telemessage service on it, but that according to the information provided to us by the CFIA, they also had officers available between 0830 and 1630hrs, Monday to Friday. They were also closed between 1200 and 1300hrs for lunch.

"Is there a contact there...?"

"I'm not sure I follow, Ma'am... What do you mean by a 'contact'?"

"Is there a particular there a name of anyone I should speak to?"

"Anyone who answers that line Ma'am, will be able to help you."

"Well... there's no one to answer the phone there so what am I supposed to do? The voicemail won't even bump me onto someone else...".

This is akin to finding your local branch of the Royal Bank closed for lunch and then phoning Canadian Tire to complain about it. It really makes just that much sense... Here is a woman who already had the correct number for the service she was looking for, yet calls another, totally unelated federal government department JUST TO BITCH ABOUT IT!!!! Seriously??? Like do you think any branch of the federal government acts as a mother for another one??? Like by phoning DFO, we're going to tattle on the CFIA and get them in trouble for "not answering their phone"???

"Ma'am, if I might suggest, their offices are open from 0830-1630hrs, Monday through Friday, for in-person service." To myself of course, I'm thinking the reason they're not answering their phone is because they're busy tending to people who actually bother to show up at their office. They only have so many staff, you know...

"Oh! So now I have to go there because there is nobody to answer their phone?"

"I'm simply suggesting that as an option, Ma'am. You're more than welcome to continue trying to reach them on their phone line."

"Do you have another phone number for their office?"

"No, Ma'am... That is THE number for the offices that serve your area of Canada".

"There's no other 'central' number for them...?"

"No Ma'am... That is the only number which we have for those offices, which by the way was provided to us by the CFIA.

"And just to situate you Ma'am, we are the General Enquiries line for Fisheries and Oceans Canada... we have nothing to do with this situation whatsoever...".

"I know that", she bristles..."I'm not stupid!"

A smile pops onto my face as a little voice in my head screams: "If that were true...we would not be having this conversation!!!"

So I'm grinning like some demented hyena as I ask: "Is there anything else I can get for you today, Ma'am?"


Ahhhh.... Yet another satisfied caller.

The Doc is happy...

I went in to the Ottawa General Hospital yesterday afternoon, for yet another follow-up appointment with my orthopedic surgeon Dr. Pollock. Predictably, I had to go through x-ray for an updated series of shots, before we got to chat. In the end, he again was quite happy and enthusiastic with both his own handiwork and my healing progress. He then slated me for a return visit in three weeks' time (16th of September), at which point I am to formally begin my physiotherapy.

In the meantime, he has instructed me to begin doing some 'pendulum exercises' with my arm, following my stretching exercises in the evening. These will allow the new ball and rotator at the top of my arm (where it connects to the shoulder socket...) to get used to moving around in small circles. Just one more small step forward, I suppose. I'm surprised that I've never asked him point-blank whether I'd have any problems riding again. I guess I'm just taking it for granted that I won't. Let's face it, there is nothing that I would let stop me from getting back in the saddle.

My good doctor was also kind enough to provide me with a prescription for some Tylenol 3s. Thanks to these, I managed to have an actual night's sleep last night. The first one in ages. I felt decidedly better as I drove into work this morning.

While I was standing outside on my break this morning, someone asked me if I hadn't been traumatized by the accident. The only thing that would traumatize me in any of this, is if there was a possibility of me not being able to ride again. Am I nervous about getting back on a bike? Hells, no!! I can't wait to be able to stretch out and grip the clutch lever. There will be no stopping me once I've managed to accomplish that...

Monday, August 25, 2008

A successful Sunday...

Although Sunday did not play out exactly as I had planned, it was nonetheless a resounding success and my daughter and I had a wonderful day of it. We left Orleans by way of the 17 at about 1030hrs. By the time we found ourselves approaching West Island Montreal, it was already well past noon. Actually it was closer to 1300 or 1330 hrs. We decided we would stay on the 40 instead of heading South to join up with the 20, which would have led us to Île Perrot where my Mum lives.

I called up my sister on her cell to advise her that we would now be stopping by on our way out of town instead. We followed the 40 until it turned into the Metropolitain Expressway, that elevated horror show which rockets traffic over the North End of Montreal, on their way to the Hippolite -Lafontaine Tunnel in Montreal's East End, where it then dives under the St.Lawrence River, funneling traffic to the South Shore and on to Québec City and all points East. My daughter gamely negotiated traffic as I attempted to serve as her navi-guesser, guiding her from one lane to the next as we approached our exit.

Before long, we found the off ramp leading to St.Laurent. By now, she had become conversant with the fact that the use of turn signals in Montreal is simply a suggestion. The true name of the game is to keep the other drivers guessing about your next move. We opted to skip over one block to the West and ended up on St.Urbain. This street and it's surrounding neighborhoods, figure prominently in the works of Montreal's Mordecai Richler, one of our most outspoken and venerated late Canadian authors.

This area of the city simply oozes history and culture. It is a tangible and visible confluence of Montreal's diverse ethnic roots. The long, graceful and sometimes spiral wrought iron staircases, are not only iconic but are virtually unique to the older sections of Montreal, Verdun, Côte-des-Neiges, Westmount, LaSalle... You'll not find these anywhere else in North America. Once we figured ourselves far enough South, we headed East along one of the small cross streets which then cut across St.Laurent. Our first try, we noted that we were not far enough South. So we carried on until we found another small side street heading South. We then headed West, crossing over The Main yet again, in a bid to end up back on St.Urbain where we could once again head further South. It is a maze of one-way streets which we navigated patiently, despite our hunger which by now had reached epic proportions!

Despite my daughter burning a red light (not recklessly, mind you... but just as casually as you please...), we managed to find a 'parking space' on Rachel Street, fairly close to our final destination. I say fairly close because at this point, St.Laurent was closed to vehicular traffic for about 2 blocks North of Schwartz's. The street was filled with vendors and tents and people. They were milling about in the thousands, as far South as you could see along the length of St.Laurent.

We strolled along through the vendors stalls, right down the middle of the street. It had rained briefly as we were preparing to leave Ottawa, but the temperature was now a beautiflly sunny 30 degrees. Within 10 minutes we were coming up on "The Sign". That hallowed orange, white and black sign which told us we had arrived! Of course, the cue outside was enough of an indication. This day, they had actually set up a tented area outside the restaurant on the street itself, for those who might choose to enjoy their smoked meat 'al fresco'...

We had not been in line 10 minutes, when true to form, one of their waiters emerged outside, walked right up to us and said: "For two...?" I nodded and he said: "Follow me!" He spun on his heel and charged for the door as we passed probably a dozen people in line before disappearing inside. Once inside, we were surrounded by that familiar din, which can only be described as organized chaos. There was a snag, however... The two promised seats were no longer vacant. Gasp! How could this be? I had never experienced this type of situation here, ever... No worries, we were herded into a corner and asked to not move. That's akin to standing in the middle of Sherbrooke Street and being told the same thing. With the wait staff and dishes of food flying from one point to the other, there's no way We were going to step out into that! My daughter took the occasion to indulge in a washroom break...

Soon, our patience was rewarded and we found ourselves being seated with 4 other strangers. I was elated. Finally, here we were. Sitting down at Schwartz's, about to get a decent feed of smoked meat on. Happy days!! We discussed the menu briefly and were in agreement with what we would order. Our waiter was very soon back with us, pressing us for our order. It wasn't long in coming: "Two smoked meat platters, medium, with two sides of coleslaw and dills!" He confirmed that we wanted the meat 'medium' and headed off. Both of us were ravenous by this point. Just prior to our meals arriving, the rest of our table left, making room for a group of four from Connecticut. They were an amiable bunch and we bantered back and forth with them.

Then, with a fanfare provided by the Heavenly Hosts and angels singing in the background, our platters arrived. It doesn't matter how many times I go there, the anticipation and the elation when the food finally arrives (and the wait is never long...), is always the same. This time however, I got to share it with my daughter. She seemed well into the spirit of things and as we dug into our meals, I was pretty sure I was witnessing yet another convert to the "Power of the Schwartz", if her eyes rolling back in her head were any indication of how much she was enjoying it. (Yeah...just like a shark...).

I'd say that we ate our fill, but I'd be lying. We ate more than our fill and still had to get the leftovers bagged up for transport. I believe my little girl used the term 'Uber', so I think it was a hit with her. We waddled out into the afternoon sun at about 1500hrs. "If you hear screaming", she confided "that's just the stitching in the seams of my pants!". I laughed... No Bonsecours Market for us today. It was considerably later than I had originally planned on (by some 3 to 4 hours...). We slowly made our way North up 'The Main', casually inspecting the many wares which were for sale. Finally we reached Rachel Street, where we had managed to park. We found my daughter's car and were happy to discover that she had not incurred a parking ticket, for parking in what was not even a parking space, technically.

We slowly wound our way East for a few streets until we hit St.Denis, which we then took South. St.Denis leads you straight through the heart of Montreal's Latin Quarter. Again, a plethora of shops, boutiques, restaurants, and pubs line the street, on both sides. Eventuelly we hit a sign for the 720 West, which leads you to the Ville Marie Expressway. This marvel of engineering allows you to travel under the city, from the downtown are to the Avenues in Lachine. The very next thing you know, you're heading westward along the 20.

I phoned my sister to advise her of our progress and give her some sort of idea about out ETA (Estimated Time of Arrival). Little did I know that on weekends, the 20 narrows down to one lane, where it crosses the Galipeau Bridge at Ste.Anne-de-Bellevue, leading into Île Perrot. The resulting backlog of traffic, means that it will take you about 30-45 minutes to cover the last 2.5kms. As we finally made it across the bridge, we shot by Perrot Blvd. I called my sister so she could guide us in on our final approach.

"Where do I turn after we cross the bridge?"

"Right at the lights when you come over the turn left on Perrot!"

"Crap! We just blew right past there...".

"Okay... no sweat! Just keep on going along the 20 until you come to the next set of lights and turn left...".

"Okay...we just passed those too! Wait! There's another set coming up... Hon, get into the left hand lane, we have to turn left here...".

"Okay... we're at De l'Île...".

"Holy went far!!"

"Don't talk to me, I ain't drivin'...I'm a gimp, remember...?"

"Okay... turn left down De l'Île and keep going until you come to a stop sign... You'll then turn left onto 5th Avenue".

"Right...okay. Got it. We're at the stop sign. Turning left...".

"Keep going until you come to Don Quichotte...".

"Is that the opposite of Donkey Open...?"

"Very funny... just keep going until you come to your second set of traffic lights..."

Eventually we were guided in for a landing at my Mom's new digs. We had a very enjoyable visit with my Mom, my sister and my niece. We could not tarry long. but we ended up staying until at least 1730hrs, by which time our timetable was a bit out of whack, for getting my little girl back home for 1830hrs. Nonetheless, we enjoyed a casual trip back, opting to get off at exit 17, which would bring us back to Orleans the very same way we left. We pulled into my driveway at precisely 1930hrs. I noticed that my better half's van was not in the driveway. Either she had yet to return from work or she already had and proceded out to supper.

I was happy to get home as it had been a longish day, albeit very fun. My daughter still had a 45 minute drive ahead of her, to make it home to Winchester. I rested for a spell in our living room, watching some mindless show about who knows what kind of animals... At 2019hrs, I phoned my little girl's cell, to see how she was doing. As it turned out, she was just turning onto her road and was within sight of her home. I thanked her again for such an enjoyable day and told her I hoped that she had had as much fun as I did. I promised her that we would do this again, but next time we would have her other sister along. When those two get together, it's like back when they were 6 or 8 years old. They're a real pair of goofs and pretty entertaining. :)

Yes... Sunday was definitely a very fun, very enjoyable, very successful day!

Friday, August 22, 2008

A weekend outing...

Okay... now remember that I'm 'old school' here. When I use the term 'outing', I don't mean broadcasting that someone's gay. I use it in it's actual meaning, such as I am going on an outing with my daughter this weekend to Montreal. It's not always about the gays, ya know... And while I'm at it, we're taking back the fucking rainbow, too...

But I digress... So this weekend will see my eldest daughter and myself heading out to Montreal. The plan is to stop in on my mother for a short visit, then venture downtown for a stopover at 'La Charcuterie hébraique de Montréal', or as normal human beings around the world know it: Schwartz's! For any of you who have never had the experience of dining at Schwartz's, this landmark Montreal deli has been there operating in the same fashion since 1928. No shit! They serve what has to be considered by far, the very best smoked meat to be found anywhere in the known Universe. Their list of customers is a veritable 'Who's Who' of world celebrities, but never mind that... that just means that some rich folk have good taste too.

What's that you say? New York delis?? Fehhhh!!! Please... don't make me laugh! Oy vey!! Are you meshuguna?? In my very best Jackie Mason voice, I say to you: "A candle they couldn't hold to this place!!" I recall when I used to live in Montreal, when asked about where to go for some Montreal smoked meat, we would send the tourists to Ben's on De Maisonneuve Blvd., or to Myer Dunn's on Ste.Catherine Street. Oh, sure... I was always a big fan of Dunn's as well... but for the absolute best, you had to make the trek up Saint Laurent (The Main) and stand in line like everyone else. We wouldn't tell the tourists about Schwartz's... That was for us locals...

Schwartz's is not just a deli or a diner. It's not just a 'food experience'. To some, Schwartz's is too cramped, too busy, too noisy... yet it's all part of the Schwartz's experience. You're hustled inside by one of the staff who will lead you to one of the small rows of tables that has a free chair or two. Private seating? HAH!! Forget it. You'll be lucky if you end up sitting with the person you came in with... They shoehorn you in between total strangers, then whirl away to get your water.

Seconds later, they're back waiting to take your order. If you're a 'newbie', it's always good to decide what you'll have while you're waiting in line. These lads are all go-go-go and there is a line of hungry, salivating people out there on the sidewalk waiting to take your place! Get a move on!! The smoked meat brisket comes in three categories for your sandwich or platter. Lean, medium and fat. You can order one or several sandwiches, or you can order the platter. The platter comes heaped with smoked meat brisket goodness, enough to 'build' yourself at least 4 good-sized sandwiches. Fries are always optional. By the way, to avoid making this particular faux-pas... ordering a smoked meat sandwich without one of their signature kosher dills, is pretty much unthinkable. They probably wouldn't slap you for doing so, but they really, really should...

So... following this gastronomical delight, we will then meander southwards towards the old part of town by the docks. Old Montreal... home to cobblestone streets and the Marché Bonsecours, where pedestrians rule. There are no end to the shops, boutiques, restaurants and pubs. The many, many outdoor 'terrasses' are the perfect place to cool one's heels while sipping on a cold drink and playing at being the fashion police. It's only considered rude to do this by the way, if you break out into braying laughter while pointing at someone. Such are the rules of the game, I'm told.

So yes... I am looking forward with great anticipation to this weekend. It will provide us with some quality Daddy-daughter time. Something there has been far too little of over the years, I fear.

I'm pretty excited...

Thursday, August 21, 2008

A fundamental lack of understanding...

Recently, certain parts of New Brunswick and Quebec have had their coastal waters invaded by an inordinately large series of 'red tides'. A red tide is a discoloration of the sea caused by an accumulation of micro-organisms (dinoflagellates), which produce a substance that may contaminate shellfish. They are also sometimes referred to as algae blooms. Red tides occur naturally in coastal ocean waters, when certain environmental and climactic conditions are favorable to them. They are like the monsoons, earthquakes, volcanoes, tornadoes or the cycle of the locusts. They are created by nature. There is no defense against them and certainly no way to prevent them. Nature will simply have it's way...

Paralytic shellfish poisoning is a condition in humans caused by eating shellfish that have been contaminated by the micro-organisms that produce red tide.

So with this basic understanding under our belts, witness the contents of a translated e-mail which we received only yesterday from an irate woman in Quebec:

"For many days now, we have heard talk of these toxic red tides which are travelling up the St.Lawrence River, towards it's estuary. These tides have been responsible for the deaths of many sea birds and mammals (?). The body count increases daily. Fishing has been closed in many areas, which leads to the shutting down of the fishing industry and lack of work for the fishermen.

I want to know why Canada (note: not 'our government', but you guys...the other country next door...) doesn't get out it's pumping gear for these red tides. I understand there are heavy costs associated with this type of operation, but then again if this had been a marine oil spill, actions would have ben taken by now.

It seems as though everyone is just standing by waiting with their arms crossed, watching the ill effects of this red tide on our environment. Yet it is producing damages similar to any oil spill."

The only element missing from this 'Super Bowl of Stupidity', is the usual rant of: "If this was happening anywhere but the province of Quebec, the Canadian government would do something about it!!!" Oh yeah... they ingest their persecution complex straight from their mother's milk, from day one.

It should be needless to mention this, but why not: There is no government, force or entity that we know of, which can stem a red tide. Not even Superman could combat the effects of one, if he were real. So for any individual to think that our own government has some sort of overriding control over Nature herself...? Well, that's just pretty special...

It's like suggesting that respective governments cork all active volcanoes. Or perhaps that we ban the forming of tornadoes anywhere in Canada. Or forbid the presence of tsunamis along the West Coast... Sign a moratorium on heavy snowfalls, perhaps...?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


This morning I stepped outside the house before coming into work, intent on getting a couple of pictures of our 'new' vehicle. It is a 2004 Mazda MPV, with a paltry 34,000kms on the clock. As I stepped outside, I felt the first irreversible sign of fall knocking on our door. It was all of 9 degrees. That's not summer morning weather anymore. Not even up in the wilds of Cape Breton... If I would have had shorts on, I would have suffered 'shrinkage'.

The seasons are once more in flux, as they continue their inexorable changes. My high aspirations of enjoying the serenity of a final road trip, before the end of the season, are looking more and more like empty boasts. Pie in the sky, some might say... Castles made of sand... I am nowhere close to starting any type of physiotherapy, I know this. The mending process itself will likely take far longer than what I may have hoped for. Let's face it, there is a lot to heal in there. The shoulder and the top section of my arm were completely reconstructed. I am slated for a follow-up appointment on the 26th of August. I do not hold any great hopes, but I have yet to throw in the towel either. I'm just trying to keep my hopes and expectations realistic.

I have always loved fall riding. Yes, I love riding any time of the year, but the fall provides such wonderfully comfortable weather for gearing up. Fleece tops under riding jackets, neck wraps, heavy, sturdy gauntlets... all designed to provide warmth, comfort and security. No worries about overheating either. The air is crisp and cool, with a different flavour to it. It brings me alive... I can still recall a trip last season to Oka, QC in mid-fall. The air was filled with the aroma of apples, as the trees lay heavy with them. What an experience that was.

I stopped for a couple of 'hot dogs steamés' and a bottle of spruce beer (la bière d'épinette), at the little restaurant near the Oka ferry. It was just wonderful...


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The little things...

I climbed out of bed this morning at 0530, a half an hour before the alarm was due to go off. Primarily, because I just couldn't get comfortable and my shoulder was causing me grief. Secondly, because I got the notion that I would try to have a shower before heading into work today. Now, I have not had a shower at this point, since the accident on the 20th. of July.

Initially upon returning from the hospital, my lady would help me wash up with a facecloth as I stood in front of the sink. As I regained some mobility and my bandages were gradually retired, I was once more able to take charge of my own ablutions. It was still an imperfect process, but it served it's purpose. This morning, as soon as I had finished shaving, I turned on the shower and ditched my ever-present sling.

It felt incredibly good to just stand there in the stream of warm water. I found myself thinking how I had taken such a wonderful experience for granted. True, it was still a one-handed ordeal, but that Old Spice body wash had never smelled so good... nor could I recall feeling more refreshed once I had finished rinsing off. The towelling off proved a little problematic, as I simply threw a large towel across my back and trusted that over time it would suck the water off my body...

I suppose that psychologically, it was a win to simply be able to do one more thing that other 'normal people' do. It showed me that I had reached yet another benchmark, another stage at returning to normalcy. No matter that I resembled an arthritic bear as I attempted to dry myself afterwards. I had regained my independence and self-sufficiency on one more front. It's just a little thing, but I realize that it is this multitude of 'little things' which allows us to be who and how we are.

I will make a conscious effort from this day forth, to not take any of them for granted.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Another rider down...

I was just made aware through our national riders' website (Canadian X Riders Forum) last Friday, that a friend and fellow rider of mine, had also gone down recently. In fact, he was the third of us to have gone down in the last two months. It hits you like a physical slap, when you read the heading on the post. It fills you with dread and foreboding and you instantly find yourself wondering how bad it's going to be to read.

This recent incident took place out in BC, where several riders were heading to a VTX meet in Prince George. It was Thursday, the 14th of August early in the afternoon. 'Joe Racket' as he is known, was travelling North to Prince George. The initial post told us all simply that we should keep Moe in our thoughts and prayers, as he had gone down and sustained serious injuries. His bike, we were advised, had been totaled.

Having just survived my own ordeal (and being painfully aware of a rash of local bike accidents...), I was dumbfounded.

What the fuck was going on here?? Were we all falling asleep at the handlebars? Slowly, the details of what actually transpired began to emerge. As fellow rider "VTX Al" posted, the chain of events went something like this:

"Moe was in the vicinity of Clinton BC, which is a few klicks north of Cache Creek and following a Motorhome towing a boat/trailer in the left lane (fast lane) of a stretch of four lane highway ( 2 north, 2 south). The motorhome was moving fairly slowly.

Eventually Moe decided to pass him using the slow or right lane. Unfortunately there was a broken-down "B-train" flat-deck semi parked on the shoulder and partially blocking the right lane which Moe had been unaware of because of the Motorhome blocking the sightline. Obviously the motorhome driver knew the semi was there and that was why he was in the left lane instead of the slow lane.

Moe had just enough time apparently to lay his bike down and both him and his bike went under the rear of the rear trailer of the "B-train". According to what the police on scene told Carol Anne , Moe's lay-down maneouvre saved his life for sure.

I don't have a complete report on the extent of his injuries as yet but basically he has lost a ton of skin (was wearing a T-shirt/vest and jeans but not his jacket - temp was in the +30's range), broken bones, possible internal injuries etc... etc..

I will probably be talking to Carol Anne later today as she has gone back to Kamloops for the day today and has not returned as of this posting. Also, I think that Ricardo and Irene are planning on stopping in there on the way back today as well so between the two of us we should get a better feel on extent of injuries --- suffice to say the injuries were quite severe.

Additionally and unofficially, the word is that the broken-down semi had not displayed the proper flashers and warning signals etc that would normally be expected to warn other drivers of the hazardous situation."

So based on what we know so far, let's have a look at the scenario. I love Moe like a brother, but if we dissect the chain of events dispassionately, it is plain that there are four cardinal rules of riding that he broke, which led directly to this accident:

1) Impatience. Riding is all about relaxing. Chilling. To get agitated is to direct your attentions elsewhere than where they are required.

2) Passing on the inside. Even cagers are forbidden from doing so. The law is the same for us and as we can observe, there are some very good reasons for this.

3) Failing to check before proceding to pass. You never swing out to pass, without verifying that the lane is free and clear. Shoulder checks are great, but you really have to know that as you swing out and pick up speed, that there is not something waiting there for you;

4) Dressing for the ride and not for the fall. We are all probably, every single one of us, guilty of this from time to time. It's called playing the stupid game and I myself was caught doing just this a scant 4 weeks ago.

To be truthful, whether the trailer had lights flashing or not, is pretty much a moot point. That may come in handy if someone is trying to split legal hairs in court, but a parked trailer half on the side of the road, is an awfully big thing to 'not see'.

Al followed up his post with the following: "Spoke with Carol Anne after she returned from visiting Moe at the Kamloops hospital and she asked me to pass along the following: Firstly, Moe was in good spirits today and talking about the accident, at least as much of it as he remembers right now. He will probably remain there for at least another week until the medics judge him ok to be transferred closer to home.

She also wants all to know how much she appreciates all the good wishes, offers of support, etc... that all are passing along to Moe. The litany of injuries includes, fractured sternum, several left side broken ribs, cracked ribs on the right side, possible spinal splinters, internal bleeding, possible bruised pancreas, and who knows what else.

She also says that he is already attempting to put "moves" onto the nursing staff - does this surprise anyone ?? Doctors tell her that given time and rehab he should make a good recovery."

Moe is one of those characters who is 'larger than life'. He promotes himself as such and frankly, I like him a lot. He is crusty, cantankerous and feisty enough to guarantee his own recovery, so long as he doesn't figure himself smarter than his doctors. I wish him a speedy and a full recovery, so that both of us might meet up on the road again.

I have recently posted on the same website, a thread entitled simply: "WTF...???". In it, I try to come to grips with this recent upsurge in accidents. Are we simply becoming complacent? Are we relaxing because we made it through the first few months of the riding season, which we consider the most dangerous? For myself, I point out 3 mitigating factors which had I heeded them, could have radically altered the outcome of my own event at that intersection...

1) My speed. I was clipping along at past 70kmh in a 60 zone. Truth be known, it was likely closer to 80kmh. Too fast for coming through an intersection which had left-turning cars stacked up in both directions. Too fast to manoeuvre or evade, should one of them start charging (which of course, one did...).

2) I was travelling in the left-hand lane. Common training dictates that a rider should shift over to the inside lane if clear to do so. This provides added room and precious seconds for evading or manoeuvring, should the need arise. Of course, if a car turns right from the cross-street, blocking your inside lane... you're pretty much fucked.

3) Dressed for the ride, not for the fall... though I doubt any gear could have saved my shoulder from being relocated the way it was.

So what am I saying here? I guess the bottom line is that for as much as those cagers out there are our nemesis and in many cases, are the catalysts for most car/motorcycle accidents, we as riders are not always completely blameless.

At some point we're going to have to step up our game, if we expect to see out the rest of the season from our saddle and not from the sidelines.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Thank God it's Friday...

Friday... at long last it seems. This week has seemed longer than most, for some reason. Last night saw the addition of new pegs to Baby. I was fortunate enough to have been able to enlist the help of Ben-Ben, a good riding friend of mine. Were it not for him showing up, I doubt very much if those pegs would have been installed. There remains only to fill and bleed the rear brake system, replace the hydraulic clutch fluid and finally... replace the left-hand side tank medallion.

She looks incredibly good sitting there, her hulking, brooding mass resting quietly, stoically. Without her windshield, she looks leaner... more muscular. Her lines flow closer to the ground. She is patient, but only to a point. If I allow my mind's eye to take over, I could swear I can see her flexing... keen to ward off the effects of such a long period of inaction. It is as though she knows she is just about ready to go once more. That all her wounds have been healed. This weekend when the work is done, I'll back her out into the driveway and let her come to life for a bit. I derive far more well-being from the sound of her throaty rumble, than from any bottle of prescibed medicine.

Then perhaps a good wash and wax would be in order. It would do us both a world of good, I'm sure...

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

On athletes...

There are doubtless many folks recently, who are feeling bad because Canada has yet to claim any Olympic medals this time around. Personally speaking, I really couldn't care less one way or the other. Let's face it... what does it mean (or not...) whether Canadian athletes win any medals at all? Seriously? That's right... it doesn't mean a goddamn thing. I could say that if you are an amateur athlete and strive to represent Canada, you have a long, hard road ahead of you. Canada does not go to any length to aid, support or train it's athletes. Perhaps our government has adopted the same view of athletes as I have, who knows...

And while we're on the topic, what about athletes? Particularily those who go under the banner of 'professional athletes'. Is there any other sub-group of our society which contributes less to it's overall welfare, while commanding the highest salaries of anyone? Can anyone even begin to understand, let alone explain the logic underlying this mode of thinking? So many other professionals, who contribute so much to our societies, are paid a mere fraction of what professional athletes are spoiled with. Truly, our sense of values are skewed. Doctors, nurses and other health care specialists, teachers, our military... people who contribute invaluable services to our society, earn far less than those who exist solely to entertain a certain segment of our population.

True, you'll never find large corporate entities willing to line up and sponsor/fund individual hospitals or doctors. The practise of medicine is not a competitive sport. Although with a little imagination, you can certainly see how it could be swung around to become so.

And the Olympics... Really? China should never have been given the Olympics. The IOC has sold out whatever morals they might have had left. There is not a nation that should have fielded an olympic team for attending these games. Everyone should have stayed home. This is just like the 1936 Olympics in Nazi Germany... But it's all about the money, isn't it? Never mind what they olympic ideals proclaim, China is a big mover and shaker on the world economic scene nowadays. China has a lot of ill-gained loot to spend and everyone out there wants a piece of it.

So let's sell our souls and our consciences too and jump on the bandwagon. Let's all get friendly with China. It's enough to make you puke. Tibet? Tiananmen Square Massacre - referred to in China as the June Fourth Incident? Do any of these ring a bell? No, of course not. It's all just 'ancient history' isn't it? Why punish China when they want to give away money?

I have not watched, nor do I intend to, any Olympic event to date. These games hold no meaning for me and I dare say that those who conceived them would spin in their graves if they could see them today. They are a farce... a travesty. Believe me when I say that the number of medals a country manages to bring home, is not any indication of how much you would love to live there. Ask yourself why this might be, the next time you're having any type of lucid moment...

What's the water like...?

In the category of: "So you think you've heard stupid so far...?", I have just received the following phone call from a gentleman who works for the Ministry of the Environment, Province of Ontario. (He was calling us, not surprisingly, from Toronto).

- "Hi... is this the Coast Guard here?"

- "No... you've reached the General Enquiries line for Fisheries and Oceans Canada here in Ottawa, ON. How can I help you?"

- "That's odd... I just took your number off a website here for the Coast Guard...though I noticed that it said in the upper corner: Fisheries and Oceans Canada...".

- "Should you realize it or not, Sir... the Canadian Coast Guard is in fact part of Fisheries and Oceans Canada. Now, how can I help you?"

- "Oh... okay. I work for the Ministry of the Environment here in Toronto. I have a female caller here who is looking for information on water conditions for Lake Ontario."

- "By water conditions, what do you mean, sir?"

- "Choppy... is the water choppy? She wants to take her dog swimming and wants to know if the water is too choppy to do that...".

- "Let me see if I understand this... your caller wants to take her dog swimming in Lake Ontario and so she is looking for a type of marine weather forecast for that area?"

- "Yes... pretty much. I have already been through the Ministry of Natural Resources for the Province of Ontario and it's not them. She thought it was us... Hah! Not likely...".

- "I think you'll find sir, that weather reports, specifically marine weather forecasts, are issued by Environment Canada".

- "Nope...".

- "What do you mean: 'Nope'...?"

- "I already called them and they said they have nothing to do with that. They referred me to you...".

- "Did they now...? Sir, Environment Canada is THE federal entity responsible for the gathering and dissemination of weather data across Canada. Through their Weatheradio service, they broadcast weather conditions, forecasts, warnings and watches across Canada (including Toronto...) on a VHF-FM radio band. They also have their Weatheroffice web site, which also provides marine weather forecasts. Finally, they have their Automated Telephone Weather Service, which also provides recorded marine weather forecasts...".

- "Well, I phoned them and they said they had nothing to do with it...".

- "Depending which section of the hundreds that make up Environment Canada that you were talking to, I can see how you might have gotten that response... Truthfully though, I don't see any section of the federal government of Canada, giving information on swimming conditions for small dogs. Be it in Lake Ontario or elsewhere...".

- "But I thought the Coast Guard did that...?"

- "Allow me to elucidate you, Sir... The Canadian Coast Guard's Marine Communications and Traffic Services provide marine weather bulletins, for small craft operators when there is a sudden change in weather conditions. These are broadcast over marine VHF channel 16 and they are intended for recreational boaters and commercial shipping, not necessarily dog owners."

- "Oh...".

- "So if I may suggest, Sir... here is the regional number in Toronto for Environment Canada's Automated Telephone Weather Service, where your caller can obtain the regional marine weather forecast for Lake Ontario...".

The fact that this lad worked for the Province of Ontario and was every bit as clueless as his female caller, no surprise whatsoever. I have ceased being amazed at the level of stupidity Ontario residents are capable of displaying.

I'm just waiting for any of them to begin casting aspersions at Maritimers...

How fast was that...?

This morning on the way in to work, I made a little detour to our local UPS Centre. I picked up the errant spotlight for Baby's light bar. Sometime today, I expect to receive a phone call from my Honda dealership, informing me that my Kury Stiletto pegs are in and ready to be picked up as well. These constitute the very last parts that I require for Baby to be back on the road.

Last night after arriving home, I had a great supper of salad and chicken (buck-buck, as I like to call it...) prepared by my dear woman. I sat in the recliner, just happy to be able to rest. I had really been dragging my ass by the time she picked me up at work. Now I was finally home and able to relax. She has been negotiating the purchase of a Mazda MPV recently, through one of the dealers along Youville Drive in Orleans. She wanted to R/V with the sales rep to take it out for a test drive and sort out a trade-in deal for our Buick. Not being in any shape or frame of mind to deal with such matters, I opted to stay where I was and let her sally forth on her own.

As the evening progressed, I thought about the work I had done so far on the bike. The mirrors, grips and forward control extensions had been installed, the shifter plate and shifter lever had both been straightened... she had come some distance so far. Then it occurred to me that the bolts holding the extension plates had been reversed. The job was not yet complete. I would have to remove the two longer chrome bolts from the left-hand side and replace them with the two shorter ones from the right-hand side bracket. Once that had been done and the fittings properly torqued to 29 ft./lbs., then I could consider the project done.

"That's okay", I told myself. "I'll just change out one at a time. That'll make it easier...". And so I did. Before too long, I had finished. I stood looking at my handywork, but could not muster the feeling of accomplishment I wanted to. Why was that? Then it dawned on me. During the disassembly phase, I had disconnected the old rubber brake line and replaced it with a nice, new braided stainless one. During the swap, I had lost a considerable amount of brake fluid from the system. I still had to re-fill the rear master cylinder and bleed the rear brake system. I wasn't done yet. My mind then wandered to the other master cylinder, the one which supplies my hydraulic clutch. I had promised myself to bleed and replace it's fluid as well, once I had finished adjusting the length of the new shifter rod assembly.

Each one of these jobs takes approximately 20 minutes to complete. Hardly a day of slave labour, with tunes, cold drinks, a large fan providing a nice breeze and recirculating the air in the garage. Notably with the door open. Even as a conservative estimate, it would be safe to say that Baby will be road-ready in every respect, before this Friday. All I am required to do is to avoid giving in to this fatigue that washes over me at the end of the day. My wife thinks me silly to carry on working on the bike, when all my body wants to do is rest. It is precisely this brand of stubborn, pig-headedness which will stand me in good stead when I begin my physiotherapy. There are occasions in life when a person must perform actions or chores, regardless of whether or not they feel like it. Redardless of whether they engender pain or discomfort. Military training and conditioning go against taking the easy way out. We are made of stronger stuff...

With any luck, I will be able to enlist the aid of my riding buddies or my daughter. One hand will only get you so far, but with family of either type involved, the sky's the limit...

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Where has my summer gone...?

I note as I sit here, that we are currently at the 12th of August. This morning I noticed as I stepped outside, there was a distinct coolness to the air. It has been 23 days since the accident. 3 weeks and 2 days without riding. What remains of summer, is slipping away inexorably... like grains of sand through my fingers. I suppose I'm feeling somewhat melancholic because I have yet to resign myself to missing the rest of the riding season. I refuse to accept that it's a done deal for this year...

Yes, there is still that little voice inside of me that's saying: "Well c'mon... be realistic. You haven't even started physio yet! Your shoulder is still mending from the surgery. They can't possibly start you on any physio program before it's healed...". I know this. I accept it. But still, I remained convinced that as soon as I'm cleared to start my physio, I'll be at it like gangbusters. I am convinced that I can regain enough mobility to ride safely and competently, before the weather turns too cold and the snow flies. After all, I only need a nice weekend to accomplish the present goal I've set for myself. The trip to Syracuse, NY.

In the meantime, for those first few shorter trips, there is always Merrickville, Almonte, Smith Falls, Montreal, Morrisburg, Iroquois, Brockville, etc... I will take those rides to focus on my basics and gauge my own performance at the controls. Once I'm happy with that, I'll invite my spouse to come along if she wishes. Then hopefully, we'll get to do Syracuse again. Even if she decides not to go or follows in the vehicle. Once the snow flies, I'll spend the winter working my body. Getting stronger, improving my flexibility, maybe even shedding a few pounds... This accident will not end up being something which rendered me less capable. It will be an event which galvanized me into action and which will have left me more fit and capable that ever. It will be so because I wish it to be. I have the will, the drive, the focus, the strength of character required. I have this, my passion for the ride... to commune with my iron horse, my trusty steed, as we lean, bend and swoop as one, along the highways and byways.

Almost against my will, I am already planning what projects I might undertake on Baby this winter. True, there is very little left which might be done to her, other than a few small aesthetic additions. There is the matter of the license plate bracket. That should really be replaced by something a little classier:

Then there is the matter of cleaning up the rear fittings such as axles, plugs, caps, etc... Maybe a chrome cover set for the back end of the frame around the swingarm pivot area, and one for the drive shaft itself...

She has treated me very well, has provided me with untold hours of pleasure as we've travelled along. It's the very least I can do for her. But that will be for this winter. Winter is not here yet. Nor is fall...
Though it may feel like it at times, my summer is not yet gone. Not yet...

Monday, August 11, 2008

A great weekend...

Saturday was a little unusual, I suppose. Normally, we would have been out on a road trip with Baby. This week, we had to settle for the car. Mind you, with the sun roof open and the windows rolled down, it was a close second for getting my weekly dose of wind. We headed out to Cornwall, then to Massena, NY. The 138 which runs off the 417 Highway and leads South into Cornwall, is a very pretty little road. It's well maintained and scenic, as it winds through the countryside. Traffic was relatively light. We trundled along at a sedate 80kmh, just enjoying the day.

There was a bit of a lineup once we hit US Customs. It probably took us at least a half hour before we were on our way to the St.Lawrence Mall. Once there, I grabbed a bite to eat while my spouse went off in search of cool bargains. I was happy to stooge in the food court, though eventually I did limp over to their Sear's store, where I always find some incredible deals on tools. I was just lookin' this time around, though. I eventually met up with her and we both headed to Steve & Barry's. We were informed that the store would be closing down!! I have to admit I was not overly surprised, though I was disappointed. It is such a great outlet for clothing! Everything in the store is $9.86 US. Everthing!! No wonder they couldn't reap enough profit to keep it going...

Following the Mall, we went to the local Ponderosa for lunch. We both opted for the buffet, where for $9.50 you can eat until you fall on your head. The food is great! They generally have at least 2 types of chicken dishes, spare ribs, meat balls, mac and cheese, all manner of veggies, different types of spuds, chicken fingers, beef and a couple of soups. They have a very good assortment of desserts as well, including fruit cocktail, jello, pudding, cake and cookies. They also have an ice cream fountain, as if the rest wasn't enough. It's mental... For $1.00 more, they'll throw in an 8 oz. steak that you can chow down on for dessert.

After having our fill, we decided that we should investigate other surrounding towns for any possible motorcycle parts' dealers. We thought of going to Malone, but were advised that the nearest dealer was in Pottsdam, NY. So off we went, running the back roads looking for Pottsdam. It was a very pleasant ride, I'd have to say. I made a mental note to come back and retrace our footsteps once I was back in the saddle again. The roads were great and so was the scenery, although one should bear in mind that the NY State Troopers exert a constant presence here. Yes, even along the back roads... as witnessed by a local who was seen being detained by one of New York State's finest, along with his over-eager Porsche.

We located Sovie's, the local Harley dealer just outside Pottsdam village. According to the sign, they also supposedly sold and serviced Hondas, but at the parts counter inside, it was clear that they were there to serve the Hurgle-Durgle crowd exclusively. I thought I might be able to pick up a set of KuryAkyn Stiletto pegs for cheap, but the lad who waited on us didn't have a clue. He claimed to be unaware that KuryAkyn actually produced a catalog for all the metric versions (read: non-Harleys...) of their custom parts. Frustrated by such stupidity, we left. It goes without saying that I will never again darken their doorstep and that I wouldn't piss on that lad if his head was on fire. We kept on the back roads until we reached Ogdensburg, where we crossed back over into Canada. By now, I was in a hurry to get back home and just chill. Sunday would be another day. One devoted to working on Baby.

For starters, I would have to say that never again will I take for granted, having two operational arms and hands!! This after having spent Sunday wrenching on Baby, trying to get her road worthy. Attempting to use two box wrenches to tighten a brake line, with one operational arm, is not a feat I look forward to repeating any time soon.

Working on Baby or any other other bike, is something which I normally do accompanied by some soothing tunes on the shop's sound system. It's generally a relaxing, therapeutic affair. Yesterday was more like a marathon. By the time I packed it in, I was exhausted. It had it's share of frustrating moments, but I would just take a step back, go for a short union break and restart fresh. I installed the new grips and actually supplemented them with a set of Kury Stiletto end caps. They look great! While I was at it, I cleaned up the throttle sleeve and lubed the handlebar and throttle cables with a teflon-based lubricant. The throttle operation is now slick and effortless, as it should be. I remember thinking to myself that this is one Hell of a way to finally get me to do my planned maintenance...

Following the installation of the new grips, I then proceded to replace the clutch and front brake levers. The areas were cleaned out thoroughly and re-greased as needed. She now looks better than ever, what with the new mirrors as well...

I disassembled the left and right foot peg assemblies and installed the forward control extensions. On the brake side, this also involved the installation of a replacement braided stainless steel brake line. Very nice! Once I was done, I noted that the bolts on the left side appeared longer than the ones on the right side. I had transposed the bolts, not realizing that one set were 100mm and the other set was 120mm. D-Oh!! I will switch them out when I return home this evening and retorque them.

I took time out and cruised on over to the dealership, to order a set of Kury Stiletto Iso-Pegs. They should be in by Wednesday of this week. Outside of the left-hand side gas tank medallion, they are the last items on the list. I am still playing tag with the UPS man, as far as the mini spotlight goes. They attempted to deliver the light on Friday, but of course nobody was home at the time. I have since contacted UPS and will have them hold the mirror at their warehouse on Stevenage Drive, so that I might pick it up in person...maybe tomorrow.

The left hand rear turn signal has a slight bend to it, no doubt caused bt the saddlebag when it left the rail. I'll have to remove it and see what all I can do about that. I have decided that this winter, I will install the Kury license plate bracket and mini lights combo. Baby deserves it...

That and a new set of Avon tires, will have her ready for another season of adventure. The windshield? I'll leave her as is, for the time being. It's still plenty serviceable and it won't hurt me to have this little reminder.

All in all, it was a very good weekend and I feel much better for it.

Friday, August 8, 2008

More progress...

Yesterday evening about 1915hrs, I slid on my sandals and wandered out around the corner from our place to our community mailbox, to see if we had received any mail that day. Arriving at the mailbox, I found the red key, indicating that I had an oversized piece of mail in the bottom locker. Upon opening it, I found a package from fellow VTX-er Big Dave from Waubaushene, ON. The postage alone (Expresspost) had cost him over $10.00...

True to his word, he had shipped me his set of stock '05 and up mirrors, complete with bugs. I was elated! Hurrying home (well okay... at a fast hobble) I opened the package, recording each step, to be posted later on in my Facebook album entitled: "Fixin' Baby". I removed the old mirrors, which were in fact rectangular in shape. These new ones were teardrop-shaped and would give Baby a new look which I really like.

I cleaned up the new mirrors and installed them in about 20 minutes. They look great! Today as I sit writing this, I am equally hopeful that more parts will materialize at the dealer's or again, in my mailbox (the spotlight replacement from Big Bike Parts in Rice Lake, WI). Saturday will be mostly taken up with a road trip to Massena, NY ( car, unfortunately), but I will begin wrenching upon our return that evening and on into Sunday.

It's all coming together, slowly but surely...

A big vote of thanks goes out to my VTX family, for helping me get back on track!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Updated sitrep...

So this morning saw a return visit to the OGH, for another check-up with Dr. Pollock. 5 new x-rays later and we were chatting about the progress I had made. Already, there are signs of new bone growing where the graft and metallic rebuild parts are located. As hoped for, I am now minus yet another bandage (the one on my right forearm), which now leaves only that one on my knee. Once I'm rid of that one, I'll actually be able to shower again!! I can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to that...

The good doctor was kind enough to renew my prescription for pain meds, so that I might have a fighting chance at getting some sleep at night. Some parts have begun arriving at the dealership, enough to give me something to do over the weekend. The forward control plates have yet to show up, but at least the grips, levers, shifter peg cover and shifter plate bolts have materialized. With any luck at all, I might receive the new spotlight by mail before Friday is done.

Things are turning around. My positive outlook has been rewarded by some good news and my body is well on the mend. My VTX brethren have all reached Cabano, QC safely. I wish them a wonderful time and wish I could be with them. It's just not meant to be this year, sad as it might seem. There will be other runs to attend, when all is well with the world. In the meantime, my work is cut out for me. Mind the doctor, get well and think positive! Syracuse cannot be all that far away...

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

State of the Union...

It's now been roughly two and a half weeks since my 'unplanned get-off'. All in all, my recovery is coming along quite well. I'm down to only two bandaged sites, one of which (my right forearm) should be discontinued this week sometime. The road rash sustained on my left forearm has healed remarkably well. So much so that I don't anticipate any scarring whatsoever. That will leave only my knee. My dressings are now changed every three days, as opposed to every day. A good sign. The sprain in my ankle still causes me to limp slightly and the swelling has yet to subside to any appreciable degree. I will concentrate on that from this day on, though it's impossible to not use it.

My shoulder of course, remains the sticking point and will be for some time, I'm sure. It is a constant source of pain and I have been off pain meds since three days after having left the hospital. This has led to a shortage of actual sleep hours, as it's prety much impossible to find a comfortable position in which to sleep at night.

Last night however, I actually managed to grab some shut-eye in two to three hour blocks. A marked improvement. So the progress continues, seemingly unabated. I am hopeful that my next appointment with my surgeon, slated for tomorrow at 0900, will provide me with some insight as to what is next on the agenda.

As for Baby, she waits patiently on her lift. The broken and scraped parts have been removed and she's been cleaned up. Most required replacement parts have been ordered or have been sent by mail to me, from my good brothers of the Canadian VTX Riders crew. By week's end, I will be doing some more wrenching on Baby, as I begin replacing those parts. The anticipation is just like Christmas when I was a wee lad. I'll drain and replace the hydraulic clutch fluid while I'm at it, as well as bleeding the front and rear brakes. It's all therapy for me. Physical as well as emotional. We'll heal together...

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

On the fraternity of riding...

Over my years of military service, I always felt a common bond with my fellow military, male and female. Not only for those I served with here at home, but for all military personnel of the free world, wherever they might be.

I have also noted over the years, that the same type of bond exists between most riders, if to a lesser extent. We are all part of a larger family and tend to be supportive of one another, regardless of what make or model bike we happen to ride (well okay, certain "Harleys Only" morons exluded...). I recently posted an article on the VTX Riders' website, basically describing what all I had been up to and the progress I had made to date. It was not long until I began receiving not only replies filled with good wishes and encouragement, but offers to supply whatever parts they could, so that Baby might once more be out in the wind.

Although certainly not surprised, I was genuinely touched by such generous offers. Big Dave has mailed a set of stock mirrors (both left and right), so that I might replace the left one. Mal has generously offered the port side VTX tank medallion. As he noted, it's from a fast, black bike, so it won't slow Baby down any. All the other parts required have been ordered, except for the foot pegs. I will order those in a couple of weeks, once I have paid off the other items.

My present goal is this: I have a little less than 3 months to recover enough to be able to ride. Once I am fit to ride, I plan on taking one last trip to Syracuse, NY to try those famous Dinosaur Bar-B-Q ribs. I'll bring back an order of pulled pork B-B-Q sandwiches to eat a little later on. That's my goal. If you don't have a goal, how do you work towards something?

It's all up to my healing. How well my body can recover from this latest setback... when I can begin my physiotherapy... when I can attain the desired amount of mobility in my arm. Good food, rest, exercise. I already have plenty of drive. As I mentioned to my home nurse, when she enquired as to whether I planned on riding again: "Ma'am... I'm Navy. The Senior Service! And you simply cannot stop us!!"