The Coyote's Ramblings - 2010C
July-September
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9/5/10
I would have updated lots earlier than this but every time I started, all I wanted to do was bitch and thought better than subjecting y'all to that.  Now, with the passage of a little time, I can be a little more civil.  Making a long story short, I had to have rotors, drums, pads, shoes and an axle seal replaced on the truck and, two days later had a caliper lock up, billowing smoke and needing a wrecker.  All good now, but I was in a really foul mood for a while.
 
Luckily, I've finally (after a 10.5" rain weekend) been able to get some good riding in.  Either I'm out of practice or just getting old, but my butt doesn't take 100+ mile days in the saddle like it used to.  I prefer to think the former.  Backroads Baldwin County has been really nice.  Either there is less traffic or else Alabama politician spend their money on smoother asphalt that Florida's, but I much prefer their's over Escambia County's.  I think today, though, will be in the Escambia, Santa Rosa, and Okaloosa venue.  I really hate for my gas taxes to go out of state.  Maybe I'll see you out on the road.  Take care, ride safely and beware the cell-phone-eared lane-drifter!
 
 
9/8/10
Sitting in the rocking chair on my front porch, sipping hot coffee and puffing on a cheroot, I finished the paper (such as it is, but I'm a creature of habit) and felt the gentle breeze on my face.  The same gentle breeze was lightly ruffling Old Glory on the pole in my front yard and causing a dove on my bird feeder to struggle for his balance.  At the same time, a neighborhood black-and-white cat crouched in the monkey grass, twitched her tail in anticipation of prey, hoped the dove would stupidly fall to earth.  Meanwhile, the tree-rat alert system was chattering away, wildly waving bushy tails to alert any brethran who may have been deaf.  After a while, I hissed at the feline and she jumped up, looking at me with an attitude that said, "hmmph, I was bored and leaving, anyway."  Another sip and puff, and I reflect that the slight, pleasant, breeze almost (but not quite) felt like a harbinger of Autumn.
 
Through the front door, cracked sightly for this very purpose, I hear stirrings in the house and mentally verify the removal of tripping hazards between Mom's room and the coffee pot.  Folding the paper beneath my arm, taking a last sip from the cup of Folgers Classic, I go in the house to begin another day.  Maybe I'll get to ride.  Life is good!
 
 
9/23/10
Over two weeks and none of you have e-mailed me to complain; either I have no audience left or you've finally gotten lives of your own.  In fact, this update has been started and deleted quite a few times and I suppose I'm just going to have to live with some folks pissed at me but here goes:
 
A famous American general was once allegedly quoted as saying, "Your job isn't to die for your country; it's to make the other poor bastard die for his!"  In other words, do whatever it takes to stay alive.  It's not up to the law to keep us alive; it's up to us, ourselves.  Yes, cagers are turning in front of us.  Yes, vehicles with no rear lights are stopped in traffic lanes, waiting to turn.  Yes, idiots with their ears glued to cell phones are drifting all over the place.  Anticipate!  I'm no smarter than anybody else out there on two wheels but, just maybe, I'm a tad wiser because I've been lucky enough to have survived my own stupid mistakes...and recognized at least some of them.
 
When I was younger, I (contrarily so) figured I would either live forever or die young, not giving a shit.  As I've gotten older, I just want to GET older, and with as little pain as possible.  Riding a motorcycle is inheritantly dangerous, simply because of our lack of a protective cacoon.  One of my coping methods is to assume any cage around me is going to do the stupidist thing imaginable.  Occasionally, someone still surprises me.  Try to anticipate traffic flow.  Try to keep a buffer zone around you to manuever in and take evasive action if necessary.  As our most recent tragedy points out, don't overdrive your headlights at night.  If you're riding in a group, large or small, ride your own ride according to your own capabilities.
 
Some have noticed I don't tend to do group rides anymore; I recognize my reaction time is slowing down and I try not to put myself in situations beyond my abilties, nor to impair what abilities I do still have.  Please, don't anyone take this as a holier than thou attitude, maybe as just a little older and luckier than thou.  I'm just deathly tired of losing brothers and sisters when they just might have been able to avoid, or at least mitigate, situations.  Just think about it, please.  We can't suspend the laws of physics involving mass in motion.  TAKE CARE!
 
 
8/26/10
Okay, here it is, several hundred miles, 3 soakings, a dribble and a drenching since our last chat.  I just got tired of riding only at night so I risked a few games of rain tag.  I don't think I'm gonna buy any Lotto tickets if this is the way my luck is going to run.  I will submit that I made it home today after a few hours in the relatively early daytime woth the only dampness experienced being sweat!  I took a run over into Baldwin county and decided to go check out Barber Marina since it was some months since I had.  He hasn't added any new dinosaurs in the woods, but there are a few new Roman gods and miscellaneous beasts lurking.  I'll expand on that if I run into you out on the road, somewhere, but suffice to say I do reccomend anyone to take a little jaunt down Baldwin 95 and check out this future millionaires' enclave.
 
Other than that, the evening routines have been Bands on the Beach for Tuesdays, Famous Dave's on Wednesdays and PMS the rest of the time.  As I have ridden around, there seems to be a dearth of bikes anywhere.  I attribute a lot of that to heat and the economy...but what do I know?  Y'all take care and ride safe.
 
 
8/17/10
A week and 4.5" of rain later, that low pressure area is STILL hanging around the area!  I have been doing enough riding, playing rain tag, to determine that it was absolutely necessary to finally wash the scoot.  I've been giving her little spit-baths, now and then, but even I was starting to be a little ashamed... and I don't shame easily.  There was a window of opportunity yesterday morning and I did manage to get her clean and dry before the sprinkles started but I finished some extra polishing in the bike barn.  That's when I was rudely reminded I had some leaks in the roof.  That was actually cold on the back of my neck, but I still didn't appreciate it.
 
This morning, I realized I had built the bike barn over 11 years ago (before I was aware of gasketed roofing screws), and used 3/4" roofing nails to put the corrugated metal down.  With enough heat and cool cycles, buffeting winds, and general age a few of the nails were letting seepage into my inner sanctum.  Since I'm not going to crawl onto the roof and replace them with screws, I'm going to try and seal them with rubberized spray undercoating...if this rain will ever quit for a day or so.
 
I wish I had some kind of news or gossip to send your way but, until the weather cools and/or dries some more, I'm kinda in stick-around-the-house mode.  Mom seems to being doing better on the new meds, with no more (apparent) mini-strokes, but she is slowing down more and more, with less and less energy.  For 91, she's doing great but she IS 91 and stubborn, to boot.  Y'all ride safe when you can get out and, just maybe, I'll seeya on the road.
 
 
8/10/10
I stil haven't been doing much riding in the daytime...or at night, for that matter. It seems the heat and humidity has been sticking around later and later into the evening and it just seems to sap me.  Friday's trip to the VA was a non-event; my T4 and TSH are right where the Doc wants it and my prescription wasn't changed.  What I did change was to switch from the VA pharmacy to WallyWorld's.  My co-pay went up and I can get a 90-day supply there for only a buck more than my 30-day co-pay, so that'll save some over the next year.  If you're on a maintenance drug, you may want to stop by a WalMart pharmacy and get their list of low priced generics to see if you can save some moolah.  Unfortunately, my omeprazole ISN'T on their list, but $9 a month through the VA is still okay.
 
Mom's still plugging away a day at a time, although she is spending more and more time resting in bed.  She had her outing yesterday while we took the long and winding way to Halsey's Index for more books...only to realize once we got there that they're closed on Mondays.  At least, though, we had an early dinner at Happy China and she got her fill of moo goo gai pan.  She goes real light on the chicken and heavy on the mushrooms and we both like them.
 
So what's happening now?  I'm just waiting for cooler weather or, at least, lower humidity so I can ride more comfortably.  We're watching a couple of low pressure areas to see what develops...if anything.  Beyond that, it's just running the household and getting rid of the moles in my yard.  I've gotten 5 and there have been no new trails for a couple of days so I guess I'll have to find a new diversion.  Y'all ride safe, stay hydrated, and I'll seeya when I seeya!
 
 
8/4/10
After Karl's funeral on Monday, the heat and the event so wiped me out that I didn't even try to ride yesterday.  Today, though, I decided to beat the heat and get an early ride in; I didn't realize I was going out to play rain tag.  I lost...big time!  The one saving grace was that it sure as hell cooled things down for me on the road.  The downside was I couldn't see diddly through the downpour.  I've finally gotten my soaked gear off and dried off enough to hit the keyboard without shorting something out.
 
I wish I had something more interesting to pass along but everything seems to be in a state of suspended animation for the time being.  I do have a routine follow-up with the VA on Friday and maybe I need to adjust the dosage on the Synthroid.  It would make me feel better than just getting old.  Y'all take care and ride safely.  Pay close attention to hydration and heat...even in the evenings and keep an eye out for the Cellphone-eared Lane-drifter; they really ARE out to get you!
 
 
7/26/10
Okay, I see the pattern forming, with 10 days being the new norm instead of a weekly update.  Maybe it's because, being retired from occupational restraints, I don't have a normal (for you still-working stiffs) week.  On the other hand, maybe it's because my life has kinda slowed down and this is my "new" week.  I do know that my life, as well as many others', is now emptier with the loss last week of my friend, Karl Murray.  Most knew Karl as the retired Navy Chief who was President of P.M.S. and a fun-loving spark plug of energy.  He was all that, and more, but I knew him as a kindred spirit who had taken care of his aging and ailing parents.  He was the one I could always confide in with my own doubts and inadequacies and come away with renewed strength and energy to continue taking care of Mom.  I miss you, Karl.
 
Alright, Folks, I'm now ready to take donations from anyone who's glad that Bonnie kinda petered out over the gulf.  You do realize that was all my doing, by putting in my whole-house generator.  Now that I've paid for it, I won't need it and everyone in the P'cola area is now under my umbrella of superstition.  So, maybe it doesn't really work that way, but it never hurts to ask.  It's kinda like politics, that way.  Between the heat and the rain, I haven't ridden much although I DID wash the bike and change the oil.  Of all the oil changes I've done over the years, I think this was the only one that took me over 2 hours, start to finish.  I had to break it down into discreet segments, seperated by cool-downs in the house, whenever the sweat got into my eyes too much.  I'm sure it was just the heat and humidity..not the effort of getting up and down off the ground.
 
'Nuf for now and the laundry is probably ready for the drier.  DO ride safely, and watch your 6 as well as the idiots in front of you; I can't afford to lose any more friends.
 
 
7/16/10
...and time keeps on slippin', slippin', slippin' into the future...  Not really a lot to say except, IT'S BEEN HOT!  I've tried a few morning rides but found the temperature is just so oppressive as to make it not worth it.   Of course, it's been pretty comfortable on the Interstate at 70 and above but I feel like passing out getting to and from.  Evenings haven't been too bad and, in fact, it was real nice to take in Bands on the Beach this Tuesday and there was even a nice breeze there.
 
The generator is completely done and I have the supplies laid in for first 2 oil changes.  This should almost guarantee we won't need it!  Of course, if I hadn't gotten it, we'd be slammed with power outages this season.  Oh, and by the way, there are apparently no alternatives to a Generac air filter.  Plugs and oil filters, yes; air, no!
 
Mom seems to be benefitting from the change in meds but the ol' machine is still wearing down, day by day.  even just riding in truck for sight-seeing is wearing, but she enjoys getting out of the house.  Last week, she wanted to go Perdido Pass to look at the oil booms and, on the way, I noticed thhat the old Hawgs Heaven building is now a BBQ joint.  We stopped on the way back for lunch and I was pleasantly surprised by the pulled pork sandwiches.  Melt in the mouth tender...and thick..  Try them if you're hungry and out on Perdido Key.
 
Okay, grocery shopping day and I smell my coffee calling.  Y'all be safe and I'll drop back in when I can remember to.  Maybe this heat will break and I can actually have some riding to tell you about.
 
7/5/10
A rainy Monday after an absolutely gorgeous 4th of July!  I was going to cut back some bushes this morning but the pleasant awakening to the sound of rain on my steel roof saved me from that.  On the other hand, I don't think I now have the luxury of avoiding vaccuming the house.  I really do need to clean up what I've tracked in while watching my whole-house generator being installed.  That was last Thursday and, despite my usng extra floor mats at the doors, I managed to make a visible trail.  The job should be completed tomorrow and I'll rest a tad easier this (and subsequent) hurricane season.
 
Between the heat, rain, and care-giving duties, I haven't gotten in much riding since the last update but Sunday was the exception.  Mom was up and settled in early enough that I was able to get on the road before 10.  Feeling the need for speed, I decided to use as much superslab as I could to get up the Milton for the Firecracker Bike Show.  Not to enter; just to visit for a bit. I was feeling great until I got off at the Bagdad exit and realized that last cup of coffee was annoyed with me.  I never realized before just how bumpy the back way into downtown Milton was.  After a rapid trip to the "facilty" I got to see a bunch of folks I haven't seen for a while, and probably won't again until the Toy Run in December.
 
Getting back on the interstate, I collected some more wind until I decided to get home and into the A/C by 2.  Dammit, I just ain't as young as I used to be! (But I may be able to get older if I can just remember that!)  Since the weather forecast seems to indicate more of this pattern, I doubt I'm going to get a lot of miles in before I'm back here.  For you more intrepid souls, be careful out there; the heat, rain AND traffic can all be killers and I don't want to lose any more friends...even ones I haven't met yet.  Be good to one another and I'll catch you next time.