7/31/2020

Back In The US, Sorting it Out

I'm lost.  Here I am, back in the US, third day, and I'm totally lost.  Ana went to the doctor, find out, as I suspected, that she has damage in her shoulder from the broken wrist incident, so they gave her some exercises to do.  Hopefully by the time she comes back from Bosnia her shoulder motion will be better.  The other thing is that her wrist still hurts because of the hardware.  Doctor touched it in one spot and he knew exactly where, and said, yeah it has to come out.  So, she's going to have surgery when she comes back.  That means I won't be seeing her again until late October.  I guess at which point we'll be looking for housing unless we end up staying with Missy and Heath.

I had a plan, that would have taken years, and now the plan is gone.  I'm back in the US earlier than I wanted to be, and I have nothing to do.  I guess that's no different than when I retired, but at that point I did have things to do.  I was planning and preparing.  Now I have nothing to plan or prepare for.

The short term picture is I'm with my daughter in CO until they move.  I'm going to put the motorcycle on the truck and drive it to TN for them.  Hopefully they find a place that's big enough.  But regardless, I'm going to ride my bike to IL to see Rachel and the family, spend almost two months there, then ride back to TN, and take a flight out to Denver, meet Ana there and we'll drive the car back to TN, where we'll go house hunting.  If we can find something big enough and we decide we can get along, then it's for all of us, if not, then it's just for us.  But we'll be in that same area.  It's a nice area to be in.

8/22/2020
Well, we are four days from leaving CO and heading for TN.  I just got done with a two week regiment of two different antibiotics, because it turned out I had H-pylori, a gut bacterial infection/overpopulation that exactly fits all the symptoms I've been struggling with.  It is associated with ulcers and cancer of the stomach.  The treatment seems to have helped, now I have some healing to do.

Also, I'm looking at houses in TN, NC, GA corners.  That seems to be the path that lies before me.  Honey is still in Europe and having surgery on her wrist early October to have the metal removed from her wrist, which is causing issues.  She's also doing some therapy for her shoulder range of motion, which appears to be related to the wrist injury; her shoulder was hurt in the fall and has scared up.  I've scheduled a followup appointment with my gastroenterologist for the 19th.  Most likely will be my last appointment in CO, if I go to it, because I'm leaving the state. So, since I'm not traveling, and can't use Nomad insurance, I'll have to do something to get insurance; an expensive proposition.

3/16/2021
What the heck is going on? I'm just beside myself. Over a year since this whole COVID thing went down and we're still here. It's like the twilight zone. The fear mongering is still going strong, our southern border is being overrun, there's talk of the Great Reset, Bill Gates is the devil incarnate, everybody is getting censored, the government is spending trillions like they are going out of style, Texas froze and ran out of energy, and we got cancel culture, and it's killing Dr. Seuss and curious George!!! Dr. Seuss?!!! Really?!!! We have a president that can't string together a coherent paragraph and is afraid of the press and other world leaders... They don't even trust him with the nuke button (ok, maybe I agree with that one). Seriously... I thought 2020 was bad...

On the bright side, I do see that there are still some people traveling the world. Good for them! I'm just not one of them... will that change? I don't know. I don't want to hope cause I'm just getting over the fact that I had to stop. And every time I turn around the WHO and CDC are changing the rules on when things will be back to normal... the latest estimate is NEVER! So, I'm just keeping myself occupied, secretly looking for an opening. Opening for what? Who said that? Don't know, never mind, wasn't me. Go AWAY COVID! What? Who said that?...

So, honey and I bought a place in the rolling hills of Northeast Alabama and been hunkered down here since last November. Tell you what, this entire area of South central TN, Northwestern GA, Northeastern Alabama is just beautiful. Waterfalls, babbling brooks, twisty mountain roads, beautiful views... All I'm saying is that if I had to land somewhere, this is not a bad place to be... If you like any of the photos I'ma gona show ya, drop me a line, I will set you up.

What does hunkering down mean. Oh, you know, all the usual stuff when you buy a place... fixing stuff, preparing gardens to grow some food, if we can keep those frikin squires, moles and rabbits out of them. Oh, yeah, the deer too. I've become adapt at drilling holes through brick walls, moving car ports (take it down here, put it up there), making keyhole gardens (yeah, that's a thing), crawling through dark crawl spaces, knocking down spider webs and hornets nests, digging big holes and ditches, and filling them up again... (did you ever see Cool Hand Luke... I'm digging the hole boss)... scraping black dirt our of the forest area, dumping it in holes... moving dirt around in wheel barrows, planting fruit and nut trees... All this digging is either going to keep me in shape or kill me, but it's quickly becoming one of my favorite activities... like Zen and the art of digging holes.

Honey is like a forest pixy, everything she touches grows. Gives my joy just to watch her sprinkle fairy dust as she flits about about... (look it up)

Sometimes I just go sit in the grass on the hill in front of our house, look around, listen to birds chirping, watch the wind blow the trees around, feel the sunshine beating down on my bald head. I look down and within a few square inches of field I can see a dozen different kinds of green things... most people would call them weeds, but it's a blend of tiny plants that cover acres, all existing in harmony with each other. The world could learn something from these weeds! And they're not bothered by COVID.

Ok, some pics and then more interesting blabbing (I'm building here... stay with me)... in no particular order, all this is within two hours or less from the homestead.

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Honey, the moles are using wheelbarrows now!
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So, yeah, I am not complaining. Consider myself blessed to have landed as I have.

They say what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. Unless of course you buy something in Vegas and then fly there to ride it home...

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Yup... It's my early 60th birthday gift to myself! It's a used 2018, with 58k miles on it, and now that I've ridden it home.. 60k miles on it!.. It's a sign. My first dilemma was do I really want to buy a motorcycle with 58k miles on it? Thought about it and figured if it made sense at all, it certainly made sense with a BMW, so got over that. And well, rode it for five days from Vegas, mostly interstate, and it didn't blow up, so that's a good start.

Yeah, riding it home. Had to think about that too. Seeing as Texas just froze it's nuts off two weeks before, I wasn't sure what I may run into this time of year, so I watched the weather and it looked like I had a window, used some miles to fly out there and it turned out pretty good. I only got a few hours of rain all five days, got down to low 40's a couple days, but with my heated vest and the heated grips on this thing, I was fine. I missed a five day snow storm in Flagstaff, by a day! Whew! Didn't realize some of that area is at 7000 ft elevation. Anyway, it cost me less to make the trip than to ship it, and I get to have a maiden voyage with it, so win-win!

Of course, this raises more questions. If/when I continue my RTW, do I take this bike, or do I stay with the DR? I bought the DR because it was low profile (doesn't stick out like a sore thumb), lite, simple, capable and any mechanic or I could work on it. This beast is none of those things. Well, it definitely has some capability, but it's none of the other things.

The world gives you lemons, you make lemonade, and sip it in the sun. Because at 60, there isn't "later"... now is later. Nope, there is no later, just now.

4/11/21

Well, ended up taking the BMW to my local dealer, with the hopes that my dealer in Vegas would stick to his word and fix the few issues, namely leaky fork seal and increased vibration at highway speeds (feels like out of true or bad wheels/tires/something).  But no such luck.. Frustrating.  So, will have to do it myself.  They did balance the rear wheel, and it's a little better than it was, but still not right. 

Next day after picking it up I went for a ride for a few hours.  Rode down to Little River Canyon and followed the road along the Northwest rim. 





The whole three hour round trip was nice.  Beautiful day.  Perfect weather.  The stretch of road from Little River Falls down to Little River is pretty nice.  Narrow twisty two lane with some nice scenic stops and views of the river.  Almost a little on the slow side with 25 mph limit in some places.  Also, a big part of that road is definitely not well traveled.  The center line disappears, the road is in disrepair, gravel here and there.  Gets very tight and twisty with steep climbs and drops. Definitely keeps you guessing!

Looking down into the valley from a couple of the view points.








This was in the less traveled section of that road along the river.  Lots of fun!


This was a really nice spot.  Would have stopped for lunch there, but there was a no parking sign... and ... well, Alabama does like it's guns, so respect the signage.




Looped back around at Little River and stopped back up at the main falls to stop and have a snack before continuing home.

4/15/21

This last week and the week before went on some hikes in Cloudland Canyon State Park.  I'll let the pictures speak for themselves.











Yeah, life could definitely be worse!

4/24/21

Seems it was just the start of March, and here we are near the end of April.  We actually had a night below freezing two nights ago.  Very unusual.  But no shortage of weird stuff going on.

I'm continually amazed at what is going on in government, the economy, and especially COVID because that's what's driving it all.  Recently I joined a discussion on ADV Rider regarding health passports.  You would think that motorcycle riders are a bit of a higher risk group, independent thinkers, that don't go along with whatever the mainstream says.  Not true.  Seems that most people in that discussion can't wait to take the vaccine and are perfectly fine with the possibility that they will have to have health passports, because it will allow everything to get back to normal.  And really, people like myself (even though I've had COVID and I'm probably better protected than anyone who takes a vaccine), who don't want the vaccine, are the one's causing the problem, prolonging the mystery, because we're selfish and thinking only of ourselves.  That's so wrong on so many levels.  And these people are also calling me names, a conspiracy theorist, clearly getting angry that I would even have a view different than their own.  Yeah, cancel culture is getting stronger and stronger.  Fall in line or suffer the consequences.  Tolerance of opposing views is dying quickly.

First, It's hard to believe that in a free society people are advocating that vaccines should be mandatory for everyone.  I guess that's nothing new, but on a world wide scale.  And why, because they believe the "vaccine", which it's really not, will eliminate people getting sick or spreading it.  But the manufacturers have said from the start, it doesn't keep you from getting sick and it doesn't keep you from spreading it, it only lessens your symptoms.  So, if I spread it whether I'm vaccinated or not, what's the difference if I'm vaccinated?  And if vaccination does protect you, and you're vaccinated, why would you care if I was or not?  Yeah, I see the argument that if we all got vaccinated now, things might be better.   Yeah, and if we treated it like measles, and everyone just went out and socialized, even made an effort to hand out with sick people, we'd all get it and be immune, if there is any immunity.

The giving assumption is that if we all just get it then there will be needless deaths, which can be prevented by the vaccine.  And what drives that assumption, that there are a lot of people dying from it.  Let's just stop there.  It is a fact that when COVID came around, the CDC changed the guidelines for how death certificates are supposed to be filled out, after having the same guidelines in place for 17+ years.  And even though such a guideline is suppose to go through public discussion and official approval, neither happened.  So, now, if a person dies of anything, and they test positive for COVID, then the cause of death is COVID.  There was actually a well publicized case of a guy dying in a motorcycle accident and his death was listed as COVID, until someone challenged it.  Many doctors have come out talking about these requirements and how misleading they are.

Why? Well, there's the obvious, that hospitals get a bigger payment if someone is listed as dying from COVID as opposed to some other cause.  Then you have the Great Reset, which anyone can go read about, papers, books, and internet.  The point being that the disruption caused by COVID and the fact that people are scared, can be used to further an agenda to reform society into a system as envisioned by leaders, Corporations, and the World Economic Forum.  Which, at first look seem to be a good thing.  Talks about universal income, eliminating poverty, eliminating capitalism in it's current form, etc.. One point is that people will become transhuman, like cyborgs, and we'll be plugged into a system, which is controlled by AI and manages resources equitably, so that no one will need to own anything.  I don't know, I don't really want to be transhuman, what ever that's going to mean, and I want to control my destiny, and if I don't own anything, who's going to own it and control it?  And there's the rub.  The only thing worse than a bunch of elitist rich controlling everything is some AI controlling everything, based on some rules that were programmed in, or worse yet, rules that it came up with on it's own.

So, the goal is to keep people afraid, keep them apart (divide and conquer), and slowly erode freedoms.  Of course the primary means of doing that is the "case count".  The number of people who currently are testing positive for COVID.  We know the death count is already bogus because of the change in how cause of death is assigned, but are the counts valid?  Well, first, who cares what the count is if the deaths are not overwhelming?  People die of all sorts of things, including flu, every year, even though many people get the flu shot.  But the other problem is that the case counts are based on the PCR test, which can be run at various "cycles", a sort of magnification process, and we know that the higher the cycle count, the more likely that any positive outcome is false.  From the beginning it's been clear that the testing is done at very high cycles, like 40+.  But Fauci, head of the NIH, had peviously said that anything higher than the teens or 20's is too much.  And even the CDC had to come out with a guideline reminding practitioners that a positive PCR test does not mean you have the virus.  You have to do the test at least twice and also show symptoms.  But of course one of the big things being pushed is that asymptomatic people are spreading the disease.  Either way, the numbers are blown out of proportion, and it's those "case" numbers that are being used to justify the lockdowns, and all the economic and social hardship that are resulting.  Which the WHO issued a memo on, that lockdowns should not be used as the primary system of control, because of the economic havoc they create.

But anyway, getting back to the health/vaccine passports.  Since when is it ok that everyone can ask you for your health history and you have to show it to them, or you're faced with not being able to shop, or go to a restaurant, or a sporting event?  Show me your papers... What happened to HIPAA? Yes, you have to be vaccinated to enter certain countries where certain diseases run, but this is not just at the border, of possibly to officials, and those are not mRNA genetic experimental treatments, they are vaccines that have a long history. The first problem is that it opens up an avenue for discrimination, based on medical status, which is not much different than what the Americans with Disabilities act explicitly prohibits.  The other problem is that the passports open up an avenue to personal intrusion like nothing else.  To really be effective they will eventually track where you are, who's around you, and then they will monitor your other apps and what you do on them.  And we already see that big tech is actively involved in analyzing our every move.  How much more so when the justification is everyone's safety? To fight the unseen enemy.   I listened to a talk the other day about how the Nazi's started segregating people, based on perceived medical threat.  They were "unclean" and doctors were complicit in advancing the genocide that took place under Hitler.  And all this sorting and classification was made possible through the use of punch cards and census data.   How much more data is available on us now, and how much faster can it be sorted and manipulated.  Clearly this plays right into the hands of the Great Reset plans to control everything and have AI take care of everything for us.

No, that's not something I can support.  But unfortunately many people don't see it and don't think it could ever happen in this country.  It's a lot harder to stop it once it starts than before.  I mean, China has this in place now, and they also have a social point system.  Israel has passes now, and those that are not vaccinated are kept out of certain activities; they are discriminated against, because they are the "unclean".  There are several states in the US that see the writing on the wall.  Florida has already passed a law against the use of health passports, other state governors have issued orders, but they really need to pass state laws.  Because the federal government is clearly signaling that industry developing these is OK.

Enough of that.  We're working on putting up the pool, planting stuff, and I'm riding when I can. Definitely need it now and then to keep my sanity.  Just feels better when I come back.  Waiting for my wheel balancing/truing stand to see if I can get to the bottom of the vibration at higher speeds.  Not sure how successful I'll be.  I've read that if the BMW wheels are more than .125 out of true, they can't be straightened with the spokes, you have to take them apart and then find someone with a machine that can straighten them. We'll see.

Anyway, took a ride a couple days ago.  It was beautiful weather and a nice ride.  The bike really is nice.  The fairing produces a relatively protected pocket.  You get wind, but it hits pretty high and smooth.  Even with the vibration that creeps in at about 60, it's just a pleasure to ride. 







That silver seat is my custom job.  Seems I have to do that on every motorcycle, because even aftermarket seats are not as comfortable as the one's I make.  Granted they are not as aesthetically well done, but they work.  I cut foam off the existing seat, built it up with new stiffer foam, made it wider and reshaped it.  Still trying to decide if it's as comfortable as I like.  It's way better than the stock seat, but it puts more pressure than I'd like on my thigh.  We'll see, it seems to get better as I ride it.

4/27/21

We took down the pool and decided to even out the ground a bit more.  It was 3" lower on one side and that's the limit.  With the pool partially filled on the bottom, we could measure exactly how much water was where so we know how much to raise it.  Worked on that most of the morning... digging up more dirt and clay right at the edge of our forest, carting it to the pool area, building it to the level we need it at.  I will say one thing, I'm stronger now than I was months ago when we got here.  I could barely push a wheelbarrow full of dirt all the way from the dirt pit to the pool without stopping for a break.  Now I'm filling the barrow and doing it in one straight shot.  It will kill me or make me stronger.

After that took the old bike for a ride.  I guy is coming tomorrow to take a look at it.  Must be pretty serious, because he's coming from North Carolina, which is a four hour drive.  We'll see.

After that I took the BMW out and took honey for a ride.  It's the first time she's ridden on the bike since I got it.  Even she says she notices the difference, compared to the DR650.  Yeah, there really is no comparison.  The DR only does on thing better, and that's serious off road, but with the right tires the BMW can get close.  Anyway, 80 degrees and sunny.  Beautiful day to just tool around.

I got my fork seals, so will start to work on that as time permits.  Focus will still be on getting the pool up and starting to fill it.  Temps hitting 80's, it's the right time.  Still waiting for my truing/balance stand, which apparently was shipped, but there's not shipping history for it. 

Missy, Heath, and the kids and dogs were here over the weekend.  It was nice to see them.  They went rock climbing on Sunday and the kids stayed with us.  Had some fun pushing them around on the swing and feeding the neighbors cow and goats across the fence with grass from our yard.  Played "slap" with the kids.  Giselle won the first game, then I started beating her in the second.  She quit.  We had a lot of fun.  Just being a 59 year old kid.

Played fetch with Neptune until he was dog tired! Hah.   Ah.. I have a love hate relationship with that dog.  He's a good dog, but just like all dogs, especially him because he's young, he's annoying and demanding.  The good thing is they spent the nights in the garage.  So, Heath didn't have to sleep out in the yard with them, because that would have been the only option.  They are not coming in the house.

5/20/2021

Well, almost another month has gone by and where are we?  The pool is up and basically ready to go.  Today it's suppose to be in the 80's, so honey is talking about using it.  I'm not so sure yet, I have long pants, shirt, and a hat on right now.  But anyway. 

I took a shot at trying to eliminate that vibration on the bike.  First I did get the guys in Vegas to allow me to take it in to the local dealer to check on everything.  Unfortunately, they couldn't find any issue besides the wheels being slightly out of balance.  Which of course is ridiculous.  But without their backing, the guys in Vegas weren't paying for anything.  They also said I didn't have a for seal leak, although I have multiple pictures of oil around the seal and up the fork leg.  So, paid them like $90, thanks for nothing. 

Since then I've replaced my own for seals, though they still seem to leak, so I think the aftermarket seals I bought aren't quite up to snuff.  I'm trying another set, but if that doesn't work, I'm going to spring for the BMW bits. 

The bigger thing was the vibration.  I decided to tackle truing of the wheels.  Found that the rear wheel really wasn't that far off, but the front had a noticeable wobble.  Now, supposedly these wheels shouldn't be attempted by anyone but a professional, even dealers just replace them if they are bad.  Yes, they are designed unlike any other, but they are still spokes and adjustable.  The idea that I can't adjust my own spoke wheels is ridiculous.  To make a long story short, I spent days getting the wheels as straight as I could. After the first couple times it was pretty clear that there was a bigger problem than just the trueness of the wheel.  So, I replaced the tire also, and it made a world of difference.  Even though the tire had only around 3000 miles on it, there was clearly something wrong with it. Now the bike is smooth, even past 100 mph.  Just need to decide if I'm going to press the Vegas guy and how far I'm willing to take it, for them selling the bike to me with problems.  Of course, just like the other dealer, they probably wouldn't have known the problem exists.  Anyway, the irony is that I just gave them a crappy review, and the owner responds to the review saying he's sorry I had a bad experience and to call Dave and he'll take care of me.  Yeah, the same Dave who has ignored just about every email I sent him.  We'll see.  The fact that I could fix the problems goes a long way to me not caring if they reimburse me or not.

Anyway, after getting it all sorted out I've been starting to take day rides.  The weather here has been unbelievable; sunny and in the 60-s to 70's.  Sweet home Alabama, where the skies are blue...

This was a loop over into GA and then back down into Alabama.  A lot of this path was labeled as the Trail of Tears.  That's Weiss Lake at the South.


This somewhere North of Graysville AL, just West of the GA border on route 99.  Seemed like the perfect spot to stop and have a lunch snack. 


This is by a boat ram at Cedar Bluff on Weiss Lake


Few days later went Northwest into TN, up past Sawanee.  There isn't a bad road between here and there.  And to either side of Sawanee on route 156 and 41A is a climb and descent.  This part of the country seems to be motorcycle heaven.  Beautiful scenery and curvy two lane roads that go on forever.







Couple days ago went straight East about 140 miles one way.  Mostly Route 136 and then 52.  That takes you past Cloudland Canyon State Park, and other State Parks in GA.  I randomly chose a waterfall as my destination point, but ended up running into a guy at my lunch stop, burnt mountain overlook, and we talked for a while, so I didn't quite make it as far as I thought.  But, again, an amazing ride, and the guy is a big motorcycle enthusiast, so we may go riding together.  Though he does live in GA, hours away, so some multi-day ride may make more sense than a day ride.



This is a curious spot.  Why have a fence?  You can walk around it.  It just serves to ruin the view. 










This is the Burnt Mountain overlook.  Looks like graffiti mountain, but ok... wonder why they call it Burnt Mountain.  Is this where all the burnouts hang out?



Somewhere on the way back... No, not much traffic on these roads, especially during the week.