Category Archives: Military

Test to see where you fall in the Motorcycling Obsessive Compulsive Data Metrics Scale

Are you obsessed with motorcycling?  Take the short test below to see where you fall in the Motorcycling Obsessive Compulsive Data Metrics Scale or (MOCDMS).   The test is easy to complete.  Just answer Yes or No to each question below.  At the end of the questionnaire count the number of “Yes” Answers and correspond your result to the MOCDMS Result Metric at the end of the test.

TwoTireTirade is not responsible for future symptoms and or treatments of your Motorcycling Obsessive Compulsive Disorder nor is TwoTireTirade certified by any medical or physiological organization.  The research used in the MOCDMS was not done in the conjunction with the American Psychological Association.

Please see the twelve Questions immediately below and remember to be honest in your answers.  You will only answer Yes or No to each question listed.  Falsely answering questions may lead to an inaccurate data result.

  1. Have you ever just drove your motorcycle on a major highway to weave in and out of traffic?
  1. Do you gaze at helmets for long periods of time like others do fine art?
  1. Do you know what “Farkle” Means?
  1. Do you know why Motorcyclist often have bells on their cycles?
  1. Have you debated the benefits of Leather Jackets verses Synthetic Jackets?
  1. Can you define what the “Tail of the Dragon” means?
  1. Would you rather ride in the Rain on a Motorcycle rather than be dry in a car in the same conditions?
  1. Do you know what the term “Cage” Refers to?
  1. Can you describe in general terms what the concept “Counter Steering” means?
  2. Do you believe that Lane Splitting should be legal in all 50 States?
  1. Do you know how to avoid a “Yard Shark Attack”?
  1. Does your spouse/friends/family roll their eyes whenever you bring up Motorcycling due to the fact that they are just tired of your rants on the subject?

Please tally your Yes Responses to the above questions and correspond your Results to the Data Metrics Below:

Number of Yes Responses

0 – 4 Yes Responses

No need for medication or therapy at this time.  You are not at all fascinated by the motorcycling culture and should feel perfectly secure in the fact that you’re normal.

5 – 8 Yes Responses

You have dipped your toes into the world of motorcycling but have not dived in head first.  There is hope for you to maintain your status as being part of the social norm.  It is recommended that you stay away from motorcycle oriented retail operations and other motorcycle friendly establishments to curve your future motorcycle urges.  We recommend that your refrain from adrenaline enhancing behavior which may lead to ugly thoughts of life on two wheels.

9-10 Yes Responses

You have issues and should seek immediate medical and or psychological treatment.  You have been overtaken by the Philosophy of Life on Two Wheels. It will be a long hard road to get back to a normalized life.  You constantly think of motorcycling and plan the majority of your social interactions around your motorcycling life style.  The majority of your free time is spent dwelling about future motorcycling trips and or on plans to enhance your cycle.   Motorcycling has dramatically changed your life and has affected the relationships between you and your friends and family.  You have lost productivity at work because of your dependence on motorcycling.  Motorcycling is becoming you and you are desperately in need of professional help.

11 – 12 Yes responses

You have Terminal Motorcycling Obsessive Compulsive Disorder; for you there is no hope.  At this time, your best bet is to dive head first into your obsession and let it consume you to the bitter end.  Indulge in a new bike and or buy another cycle for your collection.  Given your horrific mental condition, ride hard and ride often.  Don’t toil over needless worries and ride free.   Dream big and live bigger.  Let no one diverge you from your passion and surround yourself with others whom suffer your same affliction.  As they say, misery loves company.

This community service has been provided by TwoTireTirade.  Leave me a comment and let me know how you did on the test.

 

Dogs and Cycles

 

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Love the Ride for the Pure Joy of Life and the Never Ending Dream

shark

I knew that it would be another tough day at the office filed with turbulence and strife.  My commute is about an hour and felt a profound satisfaction that my hectic work day would start and end on my motorcycle.  During my ride, I dwelled upon the end of winter and the beginning of a new season.

As the sun peaks over the horizon and shares its warm vibrant rays, I realize that winter has retreated north.  The scent of new life has permeated through the plains and mountains and one can almost smell the land coming alive from a winter’s desolate exile.  The rivers are more vibrant, fed by melting snow and the birds chatter among the trees in an epic devotional of the miracles of spring.   For motorcyclist living in a multifaceted climate, this time of year represents an open door to freedom which removes limitations to our ability to ride.   The warm air and gentle breeze call us from afar to find new paths to places rarely visited.

Motorcycling in spring is like waking up to find that one’s awe-inspiring fantasy has indeed become a reality.  Seize the moment and ride.  Find a new adventure, research the wonders of history in your backyard, visit a friend long-lost, and cherish the majestic environment that only spring can display.  We are our own leading restraint in finding happiness in this world; don’t let any obstacle get in your way.   Now is the time to leave the chaos of life behind and chase smiles and grins on black top covered dreams.

We live a life of risk and rewards.  Every day may be the last day but we are always planning for tomorrow.  It’s a life of balance and one must never lose touch with rationale thought but an occasional jaunt living on the edge builds character.  Find time to live and breathe the fresh air of an uncluttered mind.  Focus on the Ride and let the road be your long-lost muse.

No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn” –  Hal Borland

happiness


American Travesty Tour, Research before the Ride- Sand Creek Massacre and the Granada War Relocation Center

change behavior

I am in the process of planning a ride through Southeast Colorado which I am calling the American Travesty Tour.  I try to research the historical significance of places that I plan on visiting on my motorcycle.  I find that a bit of inquiry before the trip, makes the sites I see more vibrant and impactful.   Planning this ride really made me reflect upon the concept of the duel Characteristic of Man.  The notion that an individual can be both good and evil is not all that easy to swallow until one really dwells upon the deep unending depth of an individual’s soul.  Were all capable of doing wondrous positive things as well as committing horrific acts of evil.  What is an even more bazaar is that individuals often can do these things in conjunction with one another.  Researching the historical significance of the Sand Creek Massacre and the Granada War Relocation Center in Southeast Colorado put into perspective the wrongs that my own country has committed.  These are not the only sins that burden my own cultural identity but give me a sense of what we are all capable of doing if we do not live with an ethical and spiritual conscious.  As a combat veteran, I can tell you that I am proud to be an American but one also must keep their hearts open to learning opportunities that we can learn from the past.

On November 29th 1864, America lost its moral compass when a force of Colorado US Volunteer Calvary under the command of US Army Colonel John Chivington attacked a peaceful village of Cheyenne and Arapaho Native Americans.  The encampment was filled with mostly women and children, since the men were out hunting food for the upcoming winter. The band of Indians were requested to move to the Sand Creek area of Southeast Colorado and were guaranteed their safety by the American Government.    In their village flew an American Flag along with a White Flag underneath the stars and stripes which was raised by the tribe to show their peaceful nature.  Most adult Cheyenne and Arapaho men in the encampment were either sick or too old to attend the hunt.  There is no real accurate causality list but it is safe to report that more than 100 Arapaho and Cheyenne Native Americans were killed, mostly women and children.  This attack became known as the Sand Creek Massacre.  This blood bath lead to further violence throughout the region when countless reprisals were made against white settlers in response to the Sand Creek Massacre by Native American Warriors.     It’s a classic sad tale of hate begetting hate.   Not all the military personal under Colonel Chivington participated in the massacre.  Captain Soule who was in charge of Company D of the 1st Colorado Calvary ordered his men to stand down and did not attack when given the charge orders.  Captain Soule latter testified against Colonel Chivington.  On April 23, 1865 Silas Soule was murdered in Denver, CO while on duty as a Provost Marshal.  Evidence suggests that his untimely death was payback for his eye witness testimony against Colonel Chivington.

Granada War Relocation Center, also known Camp Amache was a Japanese Relocation Camp located just outside Granada, CO in Southeast Colorado.  In the spring of 1942, Japanese Americans were rounded up and forced from their homes and made to move to one of ten such Japanese Relocation Camps.  Individuals were only allowed to bring one bag to the relocation centers and were forced to sell their valuables and property including pets and livestock before getting forced out of their homes.  It’s hard to fathom such fear and hate which lead to such an abysmal act.  While their family members were stuck in War Re-Location Camps, Japanese Americans were fighting the fascists in Europe.  The US Army 442nd Regiment was made up of mostly men of Japanese ancestry and was the most decorated unit for its size and length of service in the history of American Warfare.  The 442nd Infantry Regiment earned 9486 Purple Hearts and was awarded eight Presidential Unit Citations.  Their motto was “Go for Broke” and they lived up to that creed with twenty-one of their members being awarded the Medal of Honor.

I never have posted my pre-ride research before an upcoming ride but felt so affected by what I learned that I wanted to put in words and share.  I plan on taking this journey in the next few months and will hopefully be able to share more information.

442nd


Hope Lives for Two Wheels

Keep the faith people, it’s already January. Soon the road will shed its winter coat.
The cold and ice tear at my soul as I degrade to a frigid mental state. This is the pain of my discontent when it’s not feasible to ride on two wheels.
I don’t weep alone, my cycle weeps for an adventurous sojourn and dreams of an escape through the vast open horizon. I can feel her urge to break her bonds of entrapment and together we wait.
We wait for the sun to rise.
We wait for the daylight to come alive with a morning yawn and stretch its life to brighten our lives.
Soon the darkness will be recede and our day will come to ride again.

The Loneliest Road in America

The Loneliest Road in America

I have no photos to prove I rode the Loneliest Road in America.  Forgetting to take photos for a two-week ride on my motorcycle has not been my finest moment as an amateur blogger.  Over the same two-week trip, I also forgot to put on pants at a family re-union dinner.  Oh yes, this is a true story.  I walked into the room with a short sleeve shirt, shoes, hat and boxer underwear.  I totally forgot my pants but luckily was wearing white boxer briefs which could almost count as shorts but are definitely classified as underwear.  The whole family noticed my fashion blunder and I will go down in the family history as the dude that forgot his pants at the Family Reunion. Luckily shortly after that incident, I got back on my cycle to ride one of the most majestic roads in North America.  The Loneliest Highway through Nevada is not just a clever name to increase tourism, it is legitimately desolate beyond compare.  Think of the Desert Planet Tatooine in Star Wars and you will have an accurate representation of the isolated motorway.  The Loneliest Highway is part of U.S. Route 50 which starts in Ocean City, Maryland and runs all the way to West Sacramento, California.  Highway 50 has been named the Backbone of America which defines its rural spirit.  The Loneliest Highway is a subsection of this interstate which is located in Nevada.  This stretch of payment is a philosophical bikers dream.  It’s not filled with wondrous curves or insane pathway cliffs but its barren landscape breeds independent free thought.  In the desert, the lines of communication between our consciousness and soul become more linked and primed.  Back in 2003, I lived in the desert in South East Asia for a year.  During this time, I wrote without abandon with more conviction and feeling then I have ever felt.  This could be explained by many reasons but I always thought that the desert environment served as a muse which affected my soul directly leading to my literary expressions.  It could be the open skies, the vivid sunsets, mesmerizing dawns, murderous sun or extreme deadly heat but for some reason, the desert enhances ones own own self perspective. 

For me the Loneliest Highway started near Carson City, Nevada along U.S. Route 50 and ended in Delta, Utah.  If you’re going to ride this isolated route, then be prepared for nothingness.  For the first time in my life, I did my homework.  My research found a limited amount of Gas Stations along the way.  I packed an external gas reservoir, to supplement my small gas tank.  This was absolutely needed and was used on multiple occasions.   Sun block is needed and a lot of it.  With every stop, I applied sun block.   I found that the scent of the lotion much better than my natural odor (showers were limited on my trek).  There are plenty of places to camp for free in National Forest and Bureau of Land Management Property.  Watch out for small desert creatures that can ruin your evening if you choose to sleep under the stars.  I traveled with a foam bed roll, sleeping bag and fully enclosed bivi shelter.  I am a huge wimp; the thought of waking up with a rattlesnake in my sleeping bag or scorpion on my forehead makes the bivi shelter and absolute essential for desert camping.  Don’t be fooled, it may be scorching hot during the day but at night the temperature drops and a sleeping bag is mission critical.  Sitting under the night sky while camping on the Loneliest Highway is one of the most peaceful environments I have ever witnessed.  The sounds of the desert, vast star infested atmosphere and the loneliness of the place, transfixed my emotions and brought me into a dream while still conscious.  It’s a great place to be with one’s self and ponder life’s many conundrums.

Nevada

f1ff2972909174f8fafff7fb9e39accf


Why Do You Love Motorcycling?

Love to Rid Shirt

Why do you love to ride?  This question has been answered by millions of writers, enthusiast and bloggers throughout the last one hundred years. Songs have been inspired by the subject as well as movies made; all based upon our shared love of motorcycles. For me, the thought of the question never loses its luster. There is no wrong answer to why you love our two wheeled sport. As long as your personal reason is heartfelt, then no one can ever judge your response. The best part of this question is the desire amongst some of us to express it with such conviction and enthusiasm. The percentage of us who actually ride motorcycles is relatively few but our passion manifest its self throughout society. Yes it’s cool to be a motorcyclist but those of us who are really connected to riding care little of such trifle things. I am just another over weight middle aged balding dude who happens to ride a motorcycle but once I get on that cycle, life changes. When that engine starts my brain transcends reality. I no longer think about work deadlines, spreadsheets, mean people or silly little worries that hinder the soul. The sound of the engine drowns out all that negativity and life begins a new as the RPMs sky rocket down the road.
As we live our lives, we often get stuck in the quagmire of foolish discontent. For example, today I found a leak in my garage. There is a water leak around my chimney and I need to get it fixed. This was a real downer for me. The worry of the cost to stop the leak and to fix the interior damage stresses me and takes me down a notch. This worry is a legitimate concern and I have a responsibility to fix this issue for the welfare of my family. The problem becomes more of an issue because I will hyperfocus on this leak in my garage and if not careful will let this burden lead down a path of discontent. The cure is a ride on my cycle. Being on two wheels has the inherent ability to level set my consciousness and bounces me to a better place. When I am riding, I am no longer worried about bills and problems at home/work. All my attention is focused on listening to the sounds of the road. This is a two way conversation between your soul and environment around you. Our minds are so much attuned to the outside world because we are astutely aware of how much were exposed to the dangers of the world while on a cycle. It’s this feeling of exposure which is the reason for my love of motorcycling. There is something about putting oneself out there that make you feel the passion of life. Have you noticed that your sense of smell and hearing and sight are much more vibrant while riding? Once I get in that saddle, my awareness level peaks. It’s not exactly the same but I had a similar feeling while being deployed in combat scenarios in the Army. Ones senses just goes into overdrive and you feel that rush. That feeling is what drives me crazy about motorcycling but its more than that. When I am riding, I feel some sort of connection to the pathway set before me. So the road is not just a predestined route, it becomes integral part of the journey and is an extension of you and your motorcycle. Chasing adrenaline is part of my motorcycling experience but only a small part. Its more about that spiritual Zen like state that becomes you while riding.
Why do you love to Ride?

How I feel


More than 8 Years Ago, I still Remember this Ride

life and motorcycles

It was June; the early morning sun was warm to the touch and I awoke to a reality of a dream. For a year my motorcycle sat in storage in Golden, Colorado awaiting my triumphant return. My family moved to the east coast from Golden, Colorado and, due to a lack of space, the motorcycle could not join our eastward trek. I attempted to formulate a plan to retrieve my motorcycle and drive it from Colorado to New York. This would be a 1400 mile trip that I have been anticipating for 34 years. As long as I could remember, it was my dream to have a motorcycle and ride for days on end with only the wind, sun and moon as my companions. However, there was always something stopping me. The lack of money for a motorcycle, college, work, family and whatever else kept me off a cycle. In 2004, after serving 14 months in Iraq, I came home and bought a brand new 2003 Honda Shadow 750 ACE. My new bike, in many ways, symbolized who I was. It was simple, dependable and modest yet had a sense of character all its own.

For three years of riding my Honda, it had not once seen a single rain droplet and had only accumulated approximately 4000 miles; most of which were received on short trips up the numerous curvaceous valleys of the Eastern Foothills of the Rocky Mountains. I had exactly zero amount of experience riding long distance, let alone from Denver to New York. In early June of 2007, I left Rochester, New York via a US Airways Flight which was bound for a final destination to Denver, Colorado. Once in Denver it was my plan to pick up my bike and drive it back to New York via an obscure path not yet planned. Rather than a planned route, it was more about heading east and finding my way home.

While in the military I was taught that piss poor planning resulted in piss poor performance. As it turned out they were partially correct. The long sleep that my motorcycle took during its time in storage reeked havoc on its running condition. After a fuel change, oil change, replacement of the fuel filter and battery the bike was ready for the 1400 mile jaunt. This unplanned maintenance took a full day. Fortunately, my plan was to have no plan so there was no real damage to my travel itinerary. With a working cycle, wet weather gear and change of clothing, I progressed east on my Shadow towards my home in Rochester, New York.

The first two hours of the trip went well, but then I noticed a few rain drops on my helmet. The scattered drops eventually became a down pour and, for the next two days, the skies did not dry up. Driving through Eastern Colorado and into Nebraska, on the back roads leading east, was like an oasis of views for one’s soul. The openness of the Great Plains is expanded tenfold while on a motorcycle. Not a dry fiber on my body, no windshield to divert the wind, the rain splashing down upon my legs likes mini daggers yet I simply wore a smile. It was a smile bred from being content and upon finding one’s place in the world. Maybe it was mild hypothermia, but my mind began to drift. I began to ponder actions done in the past and events not yet fulfilled. I became lost in thought while I drove through the prairie. It was like the openness of my surrounding somehow opened my mind to places long lost forgotten.

After my first 10 hours on the road, I decided to find a hotel, get a good meal and dry off a bit. I didn’t have camping gear and decided to just find cheap hotels on the road. It must have been the warmth of the hotel room because I did not know how sore and cold I actually was until I started to dry off. I ended the night with some really bad Mexican Food and a warm shower. Tomorrow was waiting.

The next day, I was a couple of hours into my trip when I found a Motorcycle Store about 45 minutes from the Iowa boarder. Just for a break off of the cycle I went into the place to have a look around. Twenty minutes later I came out with a SpitFire Universal Windshield and a leather jacket. At the time, I did not understand how precious of a commodity these items would be for the rest of my journey east. The little windshield really did not look like much, but it diverted at least 60 percent of the wind and rain away from my body. This protection increased my riding comfort tenfold. The leather jacket was on sale for sixty dollars, but was perfect for the warm summer. I never had any idea what a seventy dollar windshield could accomplish, but I will never again buy a motorcycle, which I plan on taking long trips on, without one. For the rest of the day it poured, but I found out something which was unexpected. A motorcyclist that is soaked, from top to bottom, but who still has a cheerful disposition breeds a curiosity in people. I found that every time I stopped to rest individuals would stop by my bike and ask me questions or make a funny comment about riding in the rain. It was strange. The standard social norms had seemed to be thrown out the window. People would just approach me and start a discussion. Was it because I looked like a drowned rat and they felt sorry for me or could it be that they found it fascinating that someone could be so content while being so bloody wet?

In Iowa, on the second day of my trip, I stopped at a Truck Stop and Diner. As I walked into the place I left puddles in my path. I picked a booth near a window so that I could keep an eye on my ride and ordered a BLT. I saw an elderly gentleman, obviously retired, walk across the restaurant and take a seat in the booth adjacent to me. At this point he asked me a few questions regarding my journey across country on a motorcycle. Those few questions transformed into a two hour conversation. John ended up owning the Truck Stop, but had relinquished operational control of it to his two sons. He was a teenager during the Great Depression, a World War II Combat Veteran, crop pilot, over-the-road trucker, farmer, Truck Stop Restaurant owner and family man. Throughout our conversation, I found that he lived a life filled with adventure, loss, joy, hardship, sorrow, fear and hard work. Also, I realized that he did not observe life as a spectator, he lived it.

I wish I could tell you the names of the roads that I traveled or the hotels in which I stayed, but I cannot. I kind of just drove east hoping to not run out of gas like I almost did so many times. Another lesson that I learned while on the road is that if you’re going to drive across country it’s a good idea to have a large gas tank. My gas reserve warning light would go off at approximately 120 miles and I would need to look for a gas station. In the city this is not such an issue, but in the middle of Iowa it could be a problem. Luckily I never did run out of gas. If I had, it would have been just another interesting situation.

Somewhere near the Iowa/Illinois boarder I began to ponder memories long hidden. In 2003 I was part of the invasion force into Iraq from Kuwait. The memories of the invasion often bring me night tremors and, at times, sullen depression. The thought of the war would strike at random times and would often be triggered by loud noises, smells but mostly by large crowds. It is actually pretty tough for me to even write about this, but I have figured out that if one speaks of the ills of his past that he will less likely be suffocated by the negative memories of yesterday. On the ride, I began to ponder the war and the part I played in it. The difference is that I thought of these issues on my terms and in my own way. For the first time in since I got back from Iraq, I found that I had control of the past and not vise versa. By no means am I saying that this motorcycle ride cured me of my past recollections and skeletons, but I can say, without a doubt, that I was able to get in a place that I felt like I could handle those memories and put them to rest. Do I still get a nervous twitch when I hear a loud noise? Well, yes but I am able to deal with it and continually move forward. For me, the trick is to vent these negative emotions, with a person who cares when the time is needed and not become consumed and transfixed by what occurred. With all experiences in life, one must progress forward along his or her chosen path and hope to learn and gain wisdom along the way.

The sun decided to show its’ fullness on the third day of my trip. I was content riding in the rain, but the sun brought a new perspective on riding. Instead of the people in the cars looking at me thinking, “How could he be on a motorcycle in the rain”; I was thinking, “How could these people be in a car on a beautiful day such as this.” Everything seemed perfect. By this time I was heading southeast towards Indianapolis. I remember getting lost a few times along the way. However, “lost” is a term that I use loosely because if one has no plan than where ever one ends up is exactly where he’s supposed to be. I approached the Indiana/Ohio boarder on my 3rd day. I found another mom and pop hotel to rest for the night.

Waking up on the 4th day I found that riding in the sun brings with it a nasty burn if precautions are not taken. The burn was not as bad as it could have been given the clothing I was wearing and the full face shield on my helmet, but I knew some sun block was needed. So I pulled into this gas station to fill up my tank and get some SPF 40 sun block. It was really early in the morning and I did not pull away from the gas pumps when I was putting on my protective lotion. Well, to make a long story short, while I was rubbing it onto my neck and face about ten mutant motorcyclists surrounded the gas pump. I looked up, with white lotion all over my face, neck and hands, and saw every one of those bikers staring at me. One guy, who looked like Andre the Giant, say’s to me, “We need to fill up, move your bike”. A personal pet peeve of mine is when someone doesn’t move away from the pump promptly after getting gas. So, I understood the situation from my large friend’s point of view and moved along. I spent six straight days on my motorcycle during my trip and this was the only negative experience that I witnessed and ironically it came from a fellow motorcyclist.

The next day of my trip brought me running north towards Cleveland, Ohio. I can tell you that I must have been deep in thought because, once again, I found that I was just about out of gas. It was around 8pm and it was a Sunday night. I was in a rural area and approached 4 different gas stations; each of them closed. During my quest for a gas station, I passed several different horse and buggy carts and was quite certain that I was deep into Amish Country. Though the scenery was great, I was really concerned that I was going to run out of gas. I eventually passed a couple of kids playing in one of the horse and buggy carts and I stopped and asked them for some directions. They gave me a perfect route to the only open gas station in the area. Once filled up, I thought of how ironic it was to be asking for directions for gas from a couple of kids who may never have been in a gas combustion automobile in their lives. That night I could not sleep all that well. I knew it was the last night on my dream ride.

The sixth day brought me home to Rochester, New York. My dream ride was better than I thought possible. I learned a lot about being a motorcyclist and about long distance riding. In some ways, I was able to learn about myself. Before returning home, I began planning my next long distance bike trip. Next time I will hopefully take my wife as well as some camping equipment and forgo the cheap hotels. For me, I really think it was the lack of a travel itinerary and the vastness of the Midwest that made my adventure so terrific. For some a perfect place may be in Aruba or a cabin in the Alps, but I feel most comfortable, on my motorcycle, facing the open road.