Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Only a couple of days left...

It's now Wednesday. Only a couple of days left before I begin this epic journey. As always, I am experiencing butterflies and second thoughts. My better half has been asking me if I'm ready for this type of an adventure. I feel that I am, otherwise I wouldn't be going. I still wish she would come along, as she is missing out on the experience of a lifetime. Some people don't thrive on travel and adventure, I suppose.

We enjoyed a marvellous morning at the spa last Sunday. She surprised me by springing for not only a pedicure but a full body relaxation massage as well. It was very sweet of her. And after Saturday's Ride For Dad, I was more than happy to receive such a timely and welcome present. Afterwards we headed out along the 148 West, to Les P'tits Lutins for a great brunch.

The massage was heaven and I commented to my masseuse at the time, that I hoped she had her hands insured. She truly had 'million dollar hands'. Ever since then however, I find that my back has been acting up. I can't find the logic in it, unless it's simply protesting that it wants more of that massage stuff...and I can't say that I blame it if that's the case.

I have yet to do a dry run for packing. I must do that this evening, right after I wash my Joe Rocket ballistic pants and hang them to dry. Tomorrow I'll apply some fresh 3M waterproofing to them, as well as to my rain gloves. Maybe some dubbin to my riding boots... I should treat the saddlebags with some Armor All... Line them with trash bags, as well as the rear carrier, my sports bag which I'll use for stowing my footwear and the T-Bag which I will likely also be packing and securing to the pillion pad.

Still no snakebite kit but I've been doing some reading up on them on certain medical sites. For the most part they are inefficient and to treat a snakebite, they actually discourage cutting at the bite site, applying suction or applying a tourniquet. They do advise splinting the member, keeping the victim calm and getting them to a medical facility asap. In fact, in my research on these kits, I came across the following product evaluation/critique on the website. It deals with the Coghlan and Rothco snake bite kits:

By the way, 35 of 35 people found the following review helpful :)

This is dangerous! -
January 29, 2007
By Gary W. Topic "tour guide"
(NSW, Australia)

"I work as a tour guide in the outback of Australia. I was recently horrified to examine the contents of this snake bite kit that one of my overseas passengers was carrying. I seriously cannot believe that in this day and age of first aid wisdom, Coghlan's are still selling such a frighteningly wrong product.

Do they know nothing about correct snake bite treatment? No you do not inject antivenin immediately, as the instructions advise. Antivenin can be just as dangerous as a snake bite, if the wrong one is administered.

Further, if a snake bite is dry (most are), then the administration of antivenin is terribly dangerous. Only after a victim starts to show symptoms of invenimation should antivenin be given, and then only by an expert who has positively identified the type of snake. No you should not clean the site of the bite. Leaving the bite alone is crucial to the correct identification of the venom and administration of the correct antivenin.

God no you should never cut into a snake bite with a scalpel. Are these guys serious!? How can they be so out of touch with correct first aid procedures? Not only do you risk introducing the venom into the bloodstream but cutting a patient will no doubt cause much anxiety and heighten the pulse rate... precisely what you are trying to avoid happening.

The flowing blood will also wash away the venom which you need on the skin for identification purposes. No you should not use a lymph constrictor. The lymph system is best slowed down by bandaging with a regular elastic bandage from the bite site down to the end of the limb, then all the way back up to the top of the limb. But then if Coghlan's told people that, they wouldn't make any money from selling these dodgy snake bite kits, would they?

I'm amazed Coghlan's haven't been sued for selling this product. I would strongly advise they remove it from the market, because it is a dangerous bit of merchandise. If Coghlan's were in my first aid class, they would have received a fail."

So, no... no snake bite kit required, I reckon. I have a pretty good 'snake stick' in my cane. I know rattlers are often seen crossing the Skyline Drive and the Blue Ridge Parkway in the summer months. Virginia is populated by the Timber Rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus horridus), Northern Copperhead (Agkistrodon contortrix mokasen), Eastern Cottonmouth (Agkistrodon piscivorus piscivorus), as well as 31 other non-venomous species of snakes.

New York State itself has 17 species of snakes, 3 of them venomous: the Timber Rattlesnake (also called the Canebrake Rattlesnake), the Massasauga Rattlesnake (Sistrutus catenatus) and the Northern Copperhead.

Pennsylvania possesses 18 species of non-venomous snakes and 3 venomous species. The Timber Rattlesnake, Northern Copperhead and Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake. Of the top 10 states for deer-auto collisions, Pennsylvania ranks as Numero Uno. This according to surveys carried out by State Farm. Pennsylvania is apparently where they fabricate deer for all the other States. Coming in second and third were Michigan and Illinois, followed by Ohio and Georgia. Minnesota and Virginia ranked sixth and seventh respectively, while Indiana, Texas and Wisconsin rounded out the list at eighth, ninth and tenth.

North Carolina is home to the Copperhead (Agkistrodon contortrix), the Timber Rattlesnake, the Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake (Crotalus adamanteus), the Cottonmouth, the Pygmy Rattlesnake (Sistrurus miliarus) and the Eastern Coral Snake (Micrurus fulvius). One can also find 31 species of non-venomous snakes.

Tennessee is home to 32 species of snakes, of which 5 are venomous. These are the Northern Copperhead, the Southern Copperhead, the Timber Rattlesnake, the Western Cottonmouth (Agkistrodon piscivorus leucostoma)and the Western Pygmy Rattlesnake (Sistrurus miliarus steckeri).

Thank God none of these States are like Florida, where you would have to worry not only about indigenous venomous snakes, but 'gators and also pythons which have established breeding populations in the Everglades, and are wreaking havoc on the local fauna there. American alligators (Alligator mississippiensis) only extend as far North as South Carolina.

As with any thing that can be life threatening, the best thing to do with any of these aforementioned critters, is to leave them the Jesus alone. Mind you, if I saw one on the Parkway, you know I'd have to at least stop and get a picture of it...

So yes... many things yet to do in the next two days. I know I'll forget something, it's always the way. Passport, license, insurance, journal, phone, iPod, camera, batteries, chargers (3), Werthers Originals...

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