One gets the sense that the Ghosts of yesterday, Keep the Dreams of Tomorrow Alive in Jerome, Arizona. Sitting at 5000 feet, the small town is literally built into Cleopatra Hill and overlooks the Verde Valley in Northern, Arizona.
The town was once a thriving mining community which excavated gold, silver and copper from the bowels of the earth below it. The community grew quickly as many followed the money to the mountain town. As it goes with many boom towns, history dictates a quick rise and early fall to the community. In the early 1900s, Jerome was a thriving city made up of several churches, hotels, saloons, miscellaneous businesses and gambling halls. At its height, Jerome once supported a population of more than 14,000 residents. Mining operations began to decline in the area in the 1920s and by the 1950’s, no more than 100 individuals called Jerome home.
With conviction a town once dead can discover new life. The fires, sink holes and industrial economic upheaval could not ruin the Town of Jerome, and from the ashes rose an eclectic renaissance where the community now thrives. Tourism, artistic endeavors, and ghost hunting is now the basis of commerce in Jerome.
What is most interesting about Jerome, is that the City does not hide from its tumultuous decline. The remnants of brick buildings once burnt down now serve as landscape for recently completed artwork; their masonry shells protecting and showcasing individual skills of those who now reside in the area. If you’re in the vicinity, it worth visit. If the reported ghosts that haunt the town don’t get you, the winding mountain roads and scenery surely will.
I lived in a Portion of the Arabian Desert for about a year and vividly remember the sound of everlasting sand particles whipping against our frail canvas tent during storms which would appear at a moment’s notice. Once during a rare cold winter rain squall the tent flooded with a foot of water. We grabbed whatever we could and took shelter upon our cots which barely kept us out of the invading flood. The dry arid landscape surely presents many hardships and hidden dangers but during evenings in the desert, I found solace in the stillness of the nocturnal sky. In those chaotic days long past, the desert night sky provided a sense of peace in a place void of tranquility. There is beauty to be found is these vastly empty places.
I recently found myself in Saguaro National Park before sunrise on a frigid early morning walk. The park is located just outside of Tucson, AZ. I saw more than a few coyotes on my pre-dawn sojourn which was a bit intimidating. Saguaro is a different environment then the Arabian Desert but both places speak the same language, albeit with a different dialect. The sounds of the desert before sunrise eco the voices of life purged through the rugged reality of nature. If these creatures can survive the harsh struggles of the desert, then they deserve to be heard.
Leave all behind and walk the desert trails before dawn in Saguaro National Park, there is no telling what one will hear.
Memories recede beyond the dark abyss as the sun sets and rises again and again. Our history, our stories, our triumphs and failures deserve to be remembered, but sadly these stories mostly dwindle and fade away into forgetfulness. It’s as if the sun and the moon never notice life on earth or the efforts of those on the ground striving, working and yearning for something better. We mortals dwell, subsist and toil as best we can, but despite our greater works, the forces of nature care little of our deeds. From the stars, it’s hard to determine or measure the number of miracles that occur daily in the world below, but down in the weeds, where the footsteps of humanity tread in the muddy landscape, one can see miraculous events occur daily, if one is just willing to open their eyes to witness them.
Like the sun and the moon, humanity also suffers from the inability to observe such miracles, mostly due to human distractions which blind our perspective. What a world we could live in, if only we could open our eyes and see these wonderous events transpire before us. Our minds open to the goodness of humanity, which would allow us to absorb the positivity which emanates from these awe-inspiring works of art. Unfortunately, this is not the case, we our blinded in our own reality.
It is truly difficult to witness a miracle with so much ugliness surrounding us in the world. I firmly believe that both good and evil exists in the hearts of man. Even the most despicable person is worthy of genuine acts of kindness and vise-versa; the kindliest individual has the potential to do acts horrific beyond recognition. This duel characteristic of man makes life unpredictable and often blinds us to the good that is done daily. It’s the old story of the cowardly soul who accomplishes a courageous act making him an accidental hero or the loving supportive father and husband falling into temptation during a moment of weakness. These stories represent the multifaced characteristics that resides in all of us. We are awash with the tears of heavenly angels but still waiver against temptation and yearnings that lead us down very dark paths.
Maybe I have become an optimist in my declining years, but I believe there is more good in this world than bad and wonderous miracles happen every day. These events may not be huge or earth shattering from a broad perspective, but they are miracles none the less.
I think of a family friend who was severely injured with a traumatic brain injury during a motorcycle ride gone terribly wrong. This young man literally died and was brought forth back from death’s door. Doctors were confident that he would not survive but through what could only be a series of miracles, he survived and beat the odds. He continues to this day to make progress after numerous surgeries and procedures. The financial burden alone was enough to break him and his family, but they never wavered and continue to progress forward through their struggles and tribulations.
Three women saw this struggling family and endeavored to assist them in their time of need. These women have families, jobs, and burdens of their own, but their own problems did not stifle their yearning to make a positive difference. Filled with conviction, these ladies were truly motivated to make a positive difference. They developed an idea for a fundraiser and fervently worked the plan. Throughout their efforts, they faced roadblocks and pitfalls which impeded their progress, but unknown advocates assisted them along the way. They overcame many obstacles to raise more than four thousand dollars for the family in need. Their dedication to service was truly the divine spark which lead to the successful fundraiser, but we can’t forget the many people that helped them along the way and the generosity of those who attended the fundraising event that cold winter night to kindly and freely give to a worthy cause.
When I ponder the story above, I see miracles in action, combining with other positive acts of kindness. A miracle can be as small as a divine spark or as large as the widest ocean. My hope is that we can open our eyes more to the goodness that occurs every day instead of focusing on the negativity that brings us down. We can’t be naïve to the darkness that exists in our world but by focusing more upon everyday acts of good, maybe the world can be just a little bit brighter.
The Definition of Miracle
• An extraordinary event manifesting divine intervention in human affairs.
• An extremely outstanding or unusual event, thing, or accomplishment.
Just posted a video on my recent ride to Central City, Colorado. There is some good scenery, a brief history of the City and friendly banter. If you have a chance to visit, you should!!!
This time a year I dwell upon those American Colonials who took up arms against the British Empire which represented the greatest military of that age. What courage, what valor, what vicious tenacity it took our forbear’s to wage a war against such overwhelming odds. Our Colonial ancestors stood against tyranny but by doing so they put their very lives upon a gauntlet of death for an idea of Freedom. It was this Idea of Freedom that was eventually summarized into our Declaration of Independence which still stands as a testimony of what those brave souls fought for so many years ago.
Our Country is not perfect but Freedom still reigns true in the United States and I am so very Thankful for all those that have stood for and continue to defend the ideals of our Declaration of Independence.
Little Round Top is hallowed ground; it’s a place where courage, death, and valor met on a bloody hill. It’s a place where the extreme heroic actions of a few, helped extend the reach of freedom for those in bondage. Union men defended that small knoll and their sacrifice literally saved a young nation. Little Round Top served as the last Southern anchor point of the Union Army on the Second Day of the Battle of Gettysburg. If the defending soldiers were overwhelmed by the Confederate forces at this critical location, then the Union Armies Left Flank would fall. The Confederates would then gain the high ground and like dominoes, the Union Army would have toppled upon its self. If the Union Army was routed at Gettysburg in the Northern State of Pennsylvania, Confederate General Robert Lee would be free to march his Army south uncontested and force President Lincoln to capitulate to the Confederate Cause.
On the early morning of July 2, 1863, the high ground on the Union Force’s far left flank laid undefended from an impending Confederate attack. Without orders and on his own initiative, Union Colonel Strong Vincent, knowing the vital importance of the position ordered his Third Brigade to occupy and defend the high ground at a small hill called Little Round Top. The order to secure this vital position was given to the 20th Maine Volunteers Commanded by Colonel Joshua Chamberlain. Only a year previous, Colonel Chamberlain was a Professor of Rhetoric at Bowdoin College in Maine. He spoke more than 8 languages fluently but had little military experience and only became the Commander of the Infantry Company a month previously. Colonel Chamberlain was given the order from Colonel Strong Vincent to, “hold the ground at all hazards”. Within minutes of taking their positions on that little rocky hill, the 20th Maine was attacked by the 15th Alabama, Commanded by Colonel William Oates. Multiple attacks by the Confederates were thrown up that hill and were repulsed by the Union Troops. After each attack, the Confederates shifted their forces to flank and overwhelm the 20th Maine. After many assaults on their position, Union Forces found themselves stretched thin and without ammunition to defend against another attack. Colonel Chamberlain’s orders were clear, there was to be no surrender. Without hope of reinforcements, little ammunition nor men to hold the line, the situation was dire. At that moment, the Professor from Bowdoin College gave the order to those left in his Command to equip bayonets. With no other options available, Colonel Joshua Chamberlain issued the order to attack down the blood drenched hill. This action served to confuse and disorient the Confederate Forces and turned the tide of the battle. The Confederate forces never recovered from the Chamberlain’s bayonet charge and were driven from the field saving the high ground and the Union’s left flank.
Colonel William Oats, Commander of the 15th Alabama Infantry who lost half his force on that gory day explained, “the dead literally covered the ground”. Union Army Colonel Strong Vincent who ordered the defense of Little Round Top was mortally wounded while rallying his men. He was promoted to General while on his death bed before succumbing to his wounds. Colonel Joshua Chamberlain survived the three-day Battle of Gettysburg and continued to lead men into battle. At the Second Battle of Petersburg, Colonel Chamberlain was severely wounded and was suspected to die of his wounds and was promoted to the rank of Brigadier General. He even out maneuvered death and survived the wound to live till age 85. After the war he served as the Governor of Maine as well as President of Bowdoin College.
The History that can still be felt at Little Round Top is palatable to the senses. Take the time to wonder the many monuments dedicated to all that fought there. My suggestion is to read the book “Killer Angeles” by Michael Shaara. Its not a long read but is informative beyond measure and written in such a way that is pure historical bliss. Reading the book will help you acclimatize yourself to the many facets of the Battle of Gettysburg and will give you additional information to help you more enjoy your visit.
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.
- Have you ever just drove your motorcycle on a major highway to weave in and out of traffic?
- Do you gaze at helmets for long periods of time like others do fine art?
- Do you know what “Farkle” Means?
- Do you know why Motorcyclist often have bells on their cycles?
- Have you debated the benefits of Leather Jackets verses Synthetic Jackets?
- Can you define what the “Tail of the Dragon” means?
- Would you rather ride in the Rain on a Motorcycle rather than be dry in a car in the same conditions?
- Do you know what the term “Cage” Refers to?
- Can you describe in general terms what the concept “Counter Steering” means?
- Do you believe that Lane Splitting should be legal in all 50 States?
- Do you know how to avoid a “Yard Shark Attack”?
- 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.
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.
A few days ago, I got my cycle out for a short jaunt. It was a sunny February day and the snow had melted and there was no ice on the roads, it felt safe to ride. Given the melancholy bleakness of winter, it felt like a hot summer August day. Weather can be a matter of perspective. I went to school in Buffalo, NY where it rained and or snowed 6 days of the week. Snow drifts the size of houses are a normal occurrence in Western, NY and the snow will last from November through March. This Sunny February day felt like the Bahamas but the reality was that it was about 40 degrees.
It felt good to ride again. I recently did a bunch of maintenance on my ride and she felt nimble and ready to pounce. As I was rounding a corner, I saw a golf course sprinkler system watering the greens. There was a brisk westerly wind pushing tiny droplets of water away from the golf course and onto the road. I automatically knew that given the temperature outside that the mist accumulating on cold tarmac would translate into a caustic situation. The fact that I was riding on a brand new front tire did not help the situation (Always Be Careful on New Tires). I was already in the curve and without thinking, I tried to upright my bike before going into the wet pavement because I felt that it may be ice. I am not right often but this time I was, that golf course sprinkler mist turned that corner into black ice carnage.
As soon as I hit the patch of water, I felt my tires sliding out of control and that is when my brain went into slow motion. It’s like you’re thinking in normal speed but everything in your environment is moving at a snail pace. This has not happened to me since Iraq. In combat situations, sometimes things just slow down. Do you remember in the movie Saving Private Ryan when Tom Hanks is on Omaha Beach on D-Day and everything just goes in slow motion, that is what it was like.
The funny thing is the first thought in my mind was the safety of my new Bell Helmet. It’s such a gorgeous helmet and the thought of it bouncing off the road chipping paint was just to horrific to contemplate. Then I thought of wanting steak and eggs with white toast, eggs done over easy fashion. Then I pondered my wife’s reaction, she would be so angry at me. I imagined being in a coma and having my wife lecture me for 43 hours straight on the dangers of motorcycling. Trapped in a coma listening to anti motorcycling propaganda sounded almost as bad as damaging my new slick painted retro lid. My last thought I remembered was hoping the dogs would be ok outside if I did not make it home till my kids got back from school. The beasts are inside dogs and it was a little chilly and hoped they would not be cold.
Then as soon as it happened the cycle righted its self and I was off the ice driving safely forward. The moment lasted less than a second but it felt like 4 minutes.
After further reflection, I am not sure about my contemplative priorities while getting ready to crash on the motorway. Luckily the crash never happened but it makes me think that we could all be only one second away from a life changing moment. Cherish the time you have on two wheels when you can get it and always let your loved ones know how much you care for them.
I don’t fear crashing as much as I fear not being able to ride.