Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Caption this:

The sooner you add a caption the sooner I'll take it off the top of the page!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Real Old Faithful!

I'm sure your Harley is a fine bike. I'm not going to put you down and say you don't ride a real bike just because you don't ride a Honda. I'll always wave to you as we pass bikes on the highway and I will never wear a t-shirt that belittles your manhood because your bike doesn't sound like mine. I will encourage you to do the smart thing and sell that loud, shaking hunk of wish-I-were-status and buy a Honda. With the money you save you can buy a helmet to cover that do-wrag wrapped peabrain of yours.

I put over 2,000 hard miles on her and she never once complained or failed to do what I asked going through the mountains on this past trip. It has over 30,000 miles on it total and has never given me a lick of trouble. It's as low-maintenance as an anvil but alot prettier.

I did learn something on this trip, though, and I hate to admit it but it shows how tough that bike is. I learned that, while it is always best to put the kickstand down when you get off, that is not a necessity. In fact, if you start to get off and you have not put down the kickstand it will help you off in a hurry! I stopped to adjust the load bundled on the back and just plain forgot to put the kickstand down. By the time I realized it was still up, it was too late and I wound up in the middle of the road squealing like a little girl. Evidently, when I tried to stop it from falling over, it was too late and all I did was wind up pulling the hamstring muscle in my left leg and the bike fell on my ankle. That was the second day of my trip and the rest of the time I had to pick up my leg by the pantsleg every time I got on or off of the bike.

I'm sure it didn't help the healing process when I broke my leg a week later but incredibly the bike seems to be in good shape even after being on the ground twice. My friend Ed called me in the hospital to tell me that he would pick up the bike while he was on vacation trailering his bike through the mountains and would bring it back at the end of his vacation. I haven't seen it in two weeks now. I bet Ed's bike is on the trailer right now and that Honda is carrying him through the mountains in style! For his sake, I hope he puts the kickstand down when he stops.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

My Red Green look

Before my trip to the northland my mother was telling me how worried she was about me but got some consolation from my sister. My sister told her not to worry about me because nobody was going to mess with me because I "look mean". She said she knew I was sweet but I looked like somebody mean. I was almost offended at first but I've come to like that idea. Then today at work a lady said I was starting to look kinda scary. Hmm...My facial hair looks like Red Green's without the sideburns. I just have the drip-down, goatee, fu-manchu thing going but it's getting kinda out of hand. Red Green says, "If the women can't find you handsome, at least they can find you handy." And I say if they can't find me handy then at least I can scare 'em.

The obligatory pic of Old Faithful

Evidently Old Faithful erupts every 45-60 minutes. I walked up and waited about 60 seconds before it popped off. It lasted for about 5 minutes. I was interested for about 2. Too many people around.

Trail Ridge Road in Colorado

I don't see this kind of scene very often in Texas. Those are 5 mature bull elks chilling out by the road.

Rodeo time

Pinedale throws a mean rodeo. Also, the best setting for one. Of course, my cell phone didn't capture the snow-covered mountains in the background. Use your imagination. Old Glory never looked better!

Rendezvous parade in Pinedale, Wyoming

I just thought this was a good picture of a cute little girl obviously very proud to ride her bald-faced horse in the parade. You have to understand that for the other 51 weeks of the year there is not much going on in Pinedale but this weekend the little town goes all out. I felt like such a dork taking pictures at the parade but I had fun! Every single person I met was extremely nice.

Pinedale, Wyoming

Rendezvous is obviously not just for the mountain men.

Moonrise over Wyoming

You're wondering where my pictures are of the sunrise, aren't you? Well, to tell you the truth, I think I slept through most of the sunrises and sunsets (and maybe even a bike crash). This picture was night four of my trip and the most beautiful moonrise I've ever seen. This is the one in Big Sandy that God made especially for me since I was the only one around to see it.

There were parts of Wyoming that I would go 75 miles without seeing a single building of any kind. When I say it's in the middle of nowhere, unless you've seen it, you can't understand it. When I pulled off of the highway onto the dirt road that led to this camping spot, there was not another vehicle in sight and had not been in probably 20 minutes in either direction. I traveled about 2 miles down this dirt road before I came to the most beautiful lake. It had two guys fishing on the bank and they soon left after I got there leaving me with a beautiful sunset along a 20 or 30 acre lake all to myself. I threw my sleeping bag out in a fairly grassy area and watched the moon and stars move across the big sky. Again, pictures don't do it justice.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


I was thinking on my trip recently to Yellowstone that God must be busy. I mean, think about it. Look at everything around us in nature. Flowers, trees, grass, animals. And God still has time to jack with me. Conversely, with all the time he takes with me it's a wonder the world doesn't crash! He must be a big God!
Isaiah 55:9
As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Is there an on-time doctor in the house?

Ok, I'll try to make this the last rant about doctors but I make no guarantee. Between growing old and "being very lucky" I have seen my share of doctors lately but I still don't really understand them. My wife works in the medical field and she has tried to help me understand the mindset but I have to admit I still don't. My appointment today was at 4:00 pm. My doctor bebops in at 5:12 pm. I'm sound asleep in the examining room chair and he walks in and all he has to say is, "Crutches, huh?" and then proceeds to lecture me about the dangers of motorcycles.

No apology for being late. No "sorry I'm running a little behind" or "pardon my tardiness" or "excuse me for being an arrogant jerk who knows that my time is so much more valuable than yours and I know you can't do anything about it". No nothing. I can't even conceive of that! How can you have a scheduled appointment and run over an hour late and still keep your job much less be part of society and do it consistently and not feel any remorse for keeping somebody waiting. I had a month-old Time Magazine to help me pass the time. I'm just mad. Somebody tell me what society is going to do about this. Nothing? I should have crotched him with a crutch and lectured him on the dangers of lecturing me about anything. Yea, that's what I should have done.

Friday, July 17, 2009

The Great Rocky Mountain Tour '09

Ah...the wind in my face, the sun on my nose and the gravel in my ear! Good times! Wow, I don't know where to begin. I saw some incredible things, let me tell you. My quest: Yellowstone National Park and whatever else I could see from my faithful '02 Honda Shadow ACE 750. The plan was to camp in a tent every night so I didn't feel the need to make any reservations at any campgrounds and since I was going alone I didn't have to ask anybody's opinion.

I left Texas on July 3rd and traveled northwest to Raton, Mew Mexico where I spent the night in a beautiful little city park where I didn't even need to pitch my tent. I just threw down my sleeping bag next to a park bench and slept like a baby. Well...a baby with one hand on a Taurus .40 pistol.

I bragged to my wife that I was prepared for any kind of weather and that I fully expected to be rained on but that it wouldn't be a problem. And I was prepared for rain just not driving, pouring, slashing, blinding, freezing rain with hail that lasted all day long which is what I got the second day as I crawled pitifully into the Pikes Peak area of Colorado. Genius me didn't think it necessary to make reservations even though it was 4th of July and after asking every place in town if they had room for an 8x8 tent, I wound up finding a hotel room in Monument, Colorado. Maybe I should have said "yes" to the nice old gay Marine who asked me to stay with him but I didn't.

The next day was better and found me in Estes Park, Colorado where I slanted westward over the Trail Ridge Road. This was one of the absolute highlights of my trip and is the most beautiful country I have ever seen in person or on TV or the movies or internet. No exaggeration. Wow! Taking pictures only made me mad because the picture just couldn't hold the wonder of the scene. Alright, I'm going to use three words that I have never really used before that come to mind to describe this place: "vast", "breath-taking" and "majestic". Yes, they sound dorky and literary and over-used but if you can't use those three words to describe what I saw then take them out of the English language!

Night 4 found me in an ocean of sagebrush and nothing else at the Big Sandy Recreation Area on the southern Wyoming plain with nothing and nobody probably within 50 miles. It was pretty incredible when the huge full moon came up over the rise of the earth that night. It was as if God said, "Here, Todd, this moon is for you and you only!" I didn't put up the tent so I could appreciate it all night.

Night 5 cooled me off with the beautiful Tetons for babysitters in Colter Bay. Massive, snow-covered knife edges blast out of the prairie and after riding toward them for hours it looks like you could reach out your hand and cut your fingers on the top. Again, pictures and postcards just dissapoint compared to the real thing.

My sixth night was spent in the clouds above Gardiner, Montana on Jardine Road with elk for company and some horses in a pen nearby looking like they were waiting for David R. Stoecklin

to take their pictures. If my mansion in Heaven is built on that mountainside, I'll be very content.

I headed back south into Yellowstone the next day and camped with bison and deer within 50 feet of my tent in Pebble Creek Campground. I'll tell you in person the story of the bears I saw nearby. It's too good of a story not to tell audibly. Incredible sights, friendly people. Yellowstone did not dissappoint.

I had some of the most fun on my trip in Pinedale, Wyoming where they host the Pinedale Mountain Man Rendezvous. Free breakfast, parade, rodeo. It was the only place I spent two nights in the same place which was in a campground right in town that actually had showers and laundry services. Wow, I needed those! Even the mountain men were grateful I had cleaned up.

I left there Sunday morning and was headed to Moab, Utah to finish the last leg of my trip before heading home. The Utah mountains are beautiful and the warm sunshine and lower elevation warmed me and relaxed me probably a little too much. I remember crossing the Wyoming/Utah border thinking, "Well, isn't this nice! I'm getting a little bit slee..." My next memory was waking up in the emergency room in Vernal, Utah. The nurse said I took out a roadsign but she thought my bike was ok. She left and I realized I didn't know why I was there. The concussion left me very foggy-brained but I started the anatomy check. I first put my hands to my head. A little sore but I couldn't feel any bandages so I figured that was ok. My arms were ok. One of them had a new band aid but no problem. I pulled the sheet back that was across my lower body and prepared for a shock but everything seem attached where it was supposed to be. Then I noticed my good Wrangler's had been cut from my ankle up to my hip and I saw my knee was swollen like a grapefruit. Pretty painful but even then I knew it could have been alot worse.

My wife disobeyed me and she and a dear friend from church came and got me the next day and drove me home. Well, there you have the skeleton of the trip. I promise to tell some of the stories that happened in those 12 or so days here soon but now you know the basics. The doctor says I broke my tibial plateau and have to stay on crutches for 8 weeks. So between all that and my thoughts for getting Teddy home, I should have plenty of blog fodder for a while so stay tuned and I'll try not to bore you with pictures. They can't tell the whole story anyway!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

I'm back

Well, I'm back from the Great Rocky Mountain Motorcycle Tour '09 and I have some stories to tell. Give me a little while and I'll start to fill you in. Here's a hint: it didn't end like I was planning.