Bicycle Touring

In the summer of 1980 I was on active duty, working nights, and was working part time in a bicycle shop. Three guys from Holland stopped while I was working, looking for a place to camp. We let them set up their tent in our yard.

I was already scheduled for 15 days leave and we were going camping. After talking with them over dinner, they found out how much we were already riding, looked at our bikes, and invited us to join them. So two mornings later, we were cycling out of Beaufort headed south.

Cycling long distance puts you in a different world than traveling by car. This picture was taken as I was changing a flat sometime the second or third day out, in the heat of the afternoon. We carried our water, food, tools, parts and equipment. If you didn’t have it, you better not need it.

It was a great trip, and we still bicycle.

A bicycle does get you there and more…. And there is always the thin edge of danger to keep you alert and comfortably apprehensive. Dogs become dogs again and snap at your raincoat; potholes become personal. And getting there is all the fun.
–Bill Emerson, “On Bicycling,” Saturday Evening Post, 29 July 1967


Sic Transit Gloria Mundi

I am older now, and have had a number of jobs, but I have never had a job since that gave me as much responsibility as I had as a 23 year old Sergeant in the Marine Corps.

This is one of the aircraft I worked on, I know this for sure because it still has VMFA-451 painted on the fuselage. It is one of the 12 that made up our squadron. The light grey paint scheme was the last one, used on the F-4/S we had our last few years before these planes were replaced with F-18s.

The F-4 was old, even then, and required a lot of maintenance. For every hour of flight, there were dozens of man-hours of work to keep them ready. We were all young, 18-25, Marines, and we defined ourselves by what we did. If someone asked us, “Who are you?” on the flightline, our reply would be , “Powerplants”, or “Com-Nav”, or …

They were once the hottest, most technically advanced fighters in the air. Held most of the world speed and altitude records. They were loud and fast. And they could be deadly, usually to the enemy, occasionally to the flight crews and mechanics.

Now they sit silent in the desert sun, and I sit at a keyboard, remembering. Airplanes, deployments, good times with the best friends a man could ever hope for.

Sic Transit Gloria Mundi
(Thus passes the glory of this world)

–from the text for the installation of a new Pope

February 23, 1998

It’s an important day, in retrospect. Late in Pr. Clinton’s administration, years before you can blame our policies on Pr. Bush. A wake up for those who think we can be just be kind and tolerant and everything will be ok.

Feb. 23, 1998 (Published) – “…In compliance with God’s order, we issue the following fatwa to all Muslims:
The ruling to kill the Americans and their allies–civilians and military–is an individual duty for every Muslim who can, in any country in which it is possible… We — with Allah’s help — call on every Muslim who believes in God and wishes to be rewarded, to comply with Allah’s order to kill the Americans and plunder their money wherever and whenever they find it. Unless you go forth, Allah will punish you with a grievous penalty, and put others in your place.”
–A Statement signed by the Islamic Jihad Leaders from most Muslim countries, first by Sheikh Osama Bin-Ladin

YouTube ad for John McCain

This is from Bruce at MassBackwards. I’ve been reading his blog a long time, and he is one of the reasons I started blogging.
You won’t see this on television, but you should. The truth about the differences between the candidates could not be more clear.

On the subject of Osama bin Laden… we will track him down. We will capture him. We will bring him to justice, and I will follow him to the gates of hell.
–John McCain